Top 10 Fiction Books for Christmas
I love a good book, don’t you? Often Christmas and my summer hols are the only time I get to read, and my sister often comes up trumps on the stocking fillers with a decent read.
If you’re looking for a bit of guidance and inspiration, here is the second of the Muddy book guides to help you decide the best tomes for Christmas. As usual we’ve deployed an expert, this time Rachel at The Woodstock Bookshop. Find a comfy seat, and enjoy the read.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
This novel traces the friendship between two girls who dream of being dancers and moves between London and West Africa. Her fifth novel and in my opinion every bit as good as the others – a brilliant study of female friendship and growing up and identity.
I love this novel which focuses on young woman and her son towards the end of the Second World War, living a strangely suspended life in an almost deserted manor house in East Prussia, and shows how we are slow to adapt to the reality of war around us. Awakening, when it comes, is rapid and changes everything.
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Our find of the year – Kent Haruf’s final book, completed just before he died – a love story written for his wife about growing old. Everyone we recommend it to has enjoyed this. His other books are excellent too – he turns small town America into poetry.
The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett
Mostly unjustly criticised by Virginia Woolf, I think Bennett’s tale of two women‘s lives from youth to old age is brilliant. As Deborah Moggach says in her introduction, ‘an amazing feat of empathy… in fact it’s the perfect novel.’
Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift
Transit by Rachel Cusk
In the wake of a family collapse, a writer and her two sons move to London – this continues the themes of her earlier book, Outline. I find these books completely addictive. The writing is spare and totally satisfying.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
A beautifully written historical novel, a love story set in Victorian Essex. Shortlisted for the 2016 Costa novel award.
Conclave by Robert Harris
Robert Harris has done it again – an un-put-downable book and about the intrigue and machinations of choosing a Pope. From the first page I was hooked by this intelligent thriller. Totally recommended.
Raymond Chandler – all, any!
An oldie but a goodie. I recently read The Lady in the Lake and loved it – dry wit, exquisite writing, good pace, dead-pan humour, and like most books, even better than the films!