Alexis Brown, unlash
Image: Unsplash/ Alexis Brown

My Book Club’s Recommendations

All I ever talk about is books, books and more books…you’re probably sick and tired of me by now. So, I thought I’d be a bit different and let my friends take the stage to tell you a bit about some of their favourite books. We’ve been part of our own book club for over a year now, so as you’d guess, our brains are full of books and we’re so eager to tell you all about them.


Let’s start with Louise whose favourite book genre is a suspenseful and gripping thriller. Among all the characters she has encountered in literature, Amy March stands out as a favourite. And, if she had to pick one of her most memorable childhood books it would be Buried Alive by Jacqueline Wilson.

As one of her recommendations, Louise has chosen Where the Crawdads Sings by Delia Owens which follows the story of a young girl named Kya, who learns to navigate life in the marshlands of North Carolina after being abandoned by her family.

“This is a profoundly reflective coming-of-age novel that truly encapsulates the beauty of the North Carolina marshlands and I felt deeply connected with Kya’s isolated and mysterious life”

Here is what Louise had to say: “This is a profoundly reflective coming-of-age novel that truly encapsulates the beauty of the North Carolina marshlands and I felt deeply connected with Kya’s isolated and mysterious life. The murder-mystery aspect of the novel kept me emotionally invested in the fate of all the characters and I developed a deep appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit. The ending evoked such a whirlwind of emotions, and I was left very contemplative for a long while after finishing the book. The sense of justice, as well as the lingering sadness, really rounded of this story and left me completely stunned.”


Another of her recommendations is Kammy: My Unbelievable Life by Chris Kamara a funny and moving autobiography about his life and how he has dealt with having apraxia.

Here’s what she praised: “This was such an inspiring read filled with humour and openness. Kammy’s perseverance in the face of his communication challenges is a testament to overcoming the barriers that life unexpectedly throws at you. I was uplifted by his spirit which shone through every page. It reminded me of the power of a positive attitude and how determination can get you far. It also highlighted the importance of embracing the uniqueness of your journey through life.”


Up next, we have Amy who has a deep appreciation for the historical fiction genre. Among the many characters she admires, Peeta Mellark holds a special place as her favourite. And, looking back on her childhood, she treasures Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson as one of her most memorable books.

Her first recommendation for you is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak a story which follows an orphaned girl, Liesel, who steals books and learns to read whilst helping her new parents hide Max, a Jew, in the basement of their house.


Here’s what Amy had to say: “I read this book for the first time three years ago and since then, I have never found a book that can match it. There is a fairly controlled emotional aspect throughout the novel, which really added a level of anticipatory grief whilst reading. It feels like a modern tragedy – you know the ending, and yet you are constantly hoping that there will be a moment where fate will be changed. Zusak’s choice to tell this story from the perspective of Death was an incredible decision that added so much grace to the text. I will never love a book the way I love this one.”


Amy’s next recommendation is The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer a story which revolves around two main characters: Alice, a present-day woman, and Alina, a young woman living in Poland during World War II. As the narrative unfolds, these two women’s lives become intertwined through a shared family history.

I have read so many novels around this era of history, but there are very few that have moved me in the same way this one did

Here’s what Amy loved: “This book is impossible to get out of my head. I have read so many novels around this era of history, but there are very few that have moved me in the same way this one did. There were parts that I sobbed at and parts that genuinely shocked me – Rimmer is great at a plot twist. It really touches on the lost stories of this time, and how they have to be told, no matter how painful they may be, because so many were lost to hatred, and we owe it to them to carry on their memories. This book has tragedy, beauty, love, and loss, but above all, a focus on people, who do what they can.”


Next up, we have Emilie who is a big fan of (non-fantasy) romance books which may be why her favourite book character is Connell Waldron from Normal People. A book that takes her back to her childhood days is Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose by Julia Donaldson.

Her first recommendation is Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, a story which centres on a blossoming romantic relationship between 17-year-old Elio Perlman and a 24-year-old scholar named Oliver in 1980s Italy.

it reminded me how much a book can put you into a new world

Here’s what Emilie had to say: “I think this might be one of the books that made me fall in love with reading again in my late teens; it reminded me how much a book can put you into a new world. It was a lovely book to read in the winter as it is set over a summer in Italy, and the author does an incredible job of putting you in the quiet, warm village. The writer does an incredible job of fleshing out all the characters, making it easy to become attached to them all. I bawled my eyes out at the end of this book, so if you’re not ready for that, maybe it’s not the current book for you. Whenever we score books in book club, I compare the current book to others I’ve read in the past to think where it lands on the scale of one to five, and this book is my bar for five stars on a few of the categories, it is an all-round masterpiece.”

Emilie’s next recommendation is This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay, a non-fiction book that is structured around a collection of diary entries written by Kay during his medical training from 2004 to 2010.

Here’s what Emilie loved: “It was so hard to pick just two books when Hannah asked for my recommendations, especially when I read quite a variety of genres. I love a good medical or biology-related book, and this has been one of my favourites thanks to the plethora of medical insights and the funny, sarcastic writing style.  I liked the structure of this book a lot; each chapter started with an update on the author’s life and progression towards becoming a registrar and then led onto short diary entry-style stories from his time at that point of his medical training or rotation.

I’ve never laughed at a book as much as I did this one

I’ve never laughed at a book as much as I did this one. It really amazed me how silly some people can be, and his no-nonsense, dark-humoured retelling of the stories was right up my alley.”

And last but not least we have Holly, whose love for a bit of magic and the occasional dragon makes fantasy her favourite genre. After reading Remarkably Bright Creatures, Marcellus the Octopus climbed to the top of Holly’s favourite book characters list. And, Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson always takes Holly back to the times when her dad would read to her before bed and put on an absolute performance for her.

Holly’s first recommendation for you is Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, an urban fantasy take on the detective novel that gives a close-up view of a modern London with undercurrents of magic.

Here’s what Holly had to say: “This is the perfect mix of crime and thriller with fantasy threaded through. The idea of adding magic into the Met Police made it feel like they fit so seamlessly together. It’s a magic system that actually makes sense, and the policing element isn’t too bogged down in terminology which can really take my interest away sometimes. I also love the range of characters you meet in the first book which makes a great introduction to the world. I highly recommend listening to this via audiobook; Kobna Holdbrook-Smith who reads it does an amazing performance and he is Peter Grant to me now”.


And the final recommendation of this article is Normal People by Sally Rooney, a story which follows Marianne and Connell who weave in and out of each other’s lives during their university years, developing an intense bond that exposes their traumas and insecurities.

The story is just so beautifully devastating

Here’s what Holly praised: “I remember one summer reading this book in one day, which is something I never do. I was instantly hooked on the intertwined lives of Marianne and Connell, feeling like I had an insight into their personal lives. No surprise, but I loved how normal it was, how the characters felt like people I could have gone to school with, how the emotions felt real, and everything wasn’t just wrapped up in a nice bow. The story is just so beautifully devastating.”


And that is all. This article could go on forever (we have book recommendations for days), but I think that’s quite enough. Book recommendations are always a way to share knowledge, encourage reading, and build connections. We hope that our recommendations have provided you with new avenues for exploration and enjoyment of all things books.   

Comments (2)

  • All of these books are so different yet they all seem to intrigue me! Book clubs are always a great way to bring people together and to read books you would never have even thought of! This group of people sounds like such a lovely bunch not to mention their great taste 🙂

  • I love that normal people got two shout outs, shows how good of a book it is!!

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