THIS WEEK Librarians’ Choices

Five librarians from across the UK pick autumn highlights

Indie publishers and big presses feature in the selections of five UK-based librarians, who share a quintet of titles they are particularly looking forward to in the coming months

Daren Kearl

Adult fiction stock and development librarian, Kent Libraries

I really loved the atmosphere and message in Sarah Moss’ Summerwater. The story of a woman in quarantine who goes hill- walking at dusk, The Fell (Picador) should chime with lots of us who used walking in the countryside as a means to keep our mental health during lockdowns.

My interest in Rose Tremain’s writing was reignited after Islands of Mercy; as a fan of Joseph Conrad, the Malay settings were familiar and such was the power of the writing and investment in the characters’ lives, I didn’t want it to end. Lily: A Tale of Revenge (Chatto & Windus) looks to be another engaging novel exploring the Victorian underbelly.

I always enjoy reading a haunting story around Halloween and The Haunting Season (Sphere), a new collection of stories from a fantastic range of authors—such as Bridget Collins, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Elizabeth MacNeal and the folk horror master Andrew Michael Hurley—will be my go-to read this October.

Following The Librarian and Grandmothers, Salley Vickers is on a roll, using her psychology background to produce interesting, nuanced characters. The Gardener (Viking), a tale of a neglected English garden being brought back to life by an Albanian migrant hired by two sisters, looks like a reflection on the present day—and I love any books that hold a mirror up to now.

I really enjoyed the intelligent literary murder mystery Snow, and sequel April in Spain (Faber) is set in the rather warmer climes of Spain, following John Banville’s exploration of some of the darker aspects of Irish history.


Andy McDonald

Libraries development officer for digital delivery, enterprise & innovation, Cumbria County Council

I grew up on Narnia and I’ve always loved the tangential material, from Shadowlands to Neil Gaiman’s The Problem with Susan. I also love reading about the creative process, how ideas take shape and develop. So Once Upon a Wardrobe (Harper Muse) by Patti Callahan, a novel about how C S Lewis built his fantasy world and what motivated him, is a must.

The 1619 Project (W H Allen) by Nikole Hannah-Jones is a timely history of colonial America and how its legacy is still felt today. Rather than being a phase the US grew out of, this book argues that the colonial influence resonates in every aspect of society and needs to be urgently addressed.

Harlem Shuffle (Little, Brown) by Colson Whitehead is set in New York in the 1960s: organised crime, the Civil Rights movement, the counterculture—and a massive heist at Harlem’s grandest hotel. This should be sharp, funny, thrilling and impossibly cool.

John le Carré’s final novel Silverview (Viking) revisits old territory: concepts of public duty and private morality and the gaps between our true selves and the faces we show the world. He was a master of depicting social changes and confronting the big issues we all face.

Nobody parodies tabloid culture quite as accurately or mercilessly as Viz and its annual offering of pinpoint social and political satire The Copper’s Torch (Dennis Publishing) will have me giggling throughout Christmas Day. I particularly love Simon Ecob’s send-ups of Boy’s Own comics, while the reader’s letters and Top Tips are tiny comedic masterpieces.

Library Focus Librarians’ Choices


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