To celebrate World Book Day, we invited our team to recommend some of their favourite books.
The Kicking the Bucket List
Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.
At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’.
But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’ bucket list was about so much more than money…
Six Hard Days In Andalusia
When an old-time British villain and his crew meet their end in a bloody shoot-out on the Costa del Sol, it’s of little concern to most. After all, gangsters get killed. It’s what happens in their line of work. Allegiances change. Men die. It’s the way of things. However, when Mary Lawson a.k.a. ‘The Accountant’, a former MI6 agent turned independent contractor to the mob, is instructed by her shady bosses to investigate, things quickly get a lot more complicated. Hardened by her years in British military intelligence and ruthlessly professional, the woman who is no stranger to death and suffering, sets out to find who is responsible. However, on the ‘Costa del Crime’ with its regular influx of millions of tourists, a history of political corruption, and a diverse and thriving criminal underworld, nothing is ever simple.
The Fast 800
Six years ago, Dr Michael Mosley started a health revolution with the 5.2 Fast Diet, telling the world about the incredible power of intermittent fasting. In this book he brings together all the latest science – including a new approach: Time Restricted Eating – to create an easy-to-follow programme. Recent studies have shown that 800 calories is the magic number when it comes to successful dieting – it’s an amount high enough to be manageable but low enough to speed weight loss and trigger a range of desirable metabolic changes. The secret of this new programme is that it is highly flexible – depending on your goals, you can choose how intensively you want to do it. Along with delicious, low-carb, Mediterranean-style recipes and menu plans by Dr Clare Bailey, The Fast 800 offers an effective way to help you lose weight, improve mood and reduce blood pressure, inflammation and blood sugars. Take your future health into your own hands.
The Tent, the Bucket and Me
For the 70s child, summer holidays didn’t mean the joy of CentreParcs or the sophistication of a Tuscan villa. They meant being crammed into a car with Grandma and heading to the coast. With just a tent for a home and a bucket for the necessities, we would set off on new adventures each year stoically resolving to enjoy ourselves.
For Emma Kennedy, and her mum and dad, disaster always came along for the ride no matter where they went. Whether it was being swept away by a force ten gale on the Welsh coast or suffering copious amounts of food poisoning on a brave trip to the south of France, family holidays always left them battered and bruised.
But they never gave up. Emma’s memoir, The Tent, The Bucket and Me, is a painfully funny reminder of just what it was like to spend your summer holidays cold, damp but with sand between your toes.
Fabulous Finn: The Brave Police Dog Who Came Back from the Brink
Hertfordshire, October 5th 2016. At around 2 a.m., PC Dave Wardell and his dog, PD Finn, were trying to apprehend a robbery suspect when he turned around and attacked them. Finn was stabbed with a ten-inch-bladed knife, both through his chest, via his armpit and then – the knife bound for Dave – through the top of his head. Finn no doubt saved Dave’s life, but the race was on to try and save Finn’s.
Dave Wardell’s heartfelt memoir charts an incredible journey of friendship and loyalty. It is a celebration of the bond between one man and his dog, from when Dave collected Finn from his kennels at just nine months old, all the way through to Finn’s recent and hard-earned retirement. The book charts the career of a highly trained, highly decorated dog. In his time on the job Finn tracked offenders of all kinds; found missing children; tackled armed offenders; saved lives. But Finn isn’t just a police dog – he’s also a cherished family pet and this is his remarkable, life-affirming story.
Who Lost Russia?: How the World Entered a New Cold War
The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was hailed as the beginning of a new era of peace and co-operation between East and West. But in the years since, Russia has made incursions into Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, leaving the Western powers at a loss. What went wrong?
Drawing on exclusive interviews with key players, Peter Conradi examines the pivotal moments of the past quarter of a century and outlines how we might get relations back on track before it’s too late. Who Lost Russia? provides the essential background to understanding the bizarre and shifting relationship between Trump’s America and Putin’s Russia. This updated edition includes a new chapter on the year following the 2016 US presidential election.
J. K. Rowling
The novels chronicle the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story arc concerns Harry’s struggle against Lord Voldemort, a dark wizard who intends to become immortal, overthrow the wizard governing body known as the Ministry of Magic, and subjugate all wizards and Muggles (non-magical people).
Persuasion is the last novel fully completed by Jane Austen. It was published at the end of 1817, six months after her death. The story concerns Anne Elliot, a young Englishwoman of 27 years, whose family is moving to lower their expenses and get out of debt, at the same time as the wars come to an end, putting sailors on shore. They rent their home to an Admiral and his wife. The wife’s brother, Navy Captain Frederick Wentworth, had been engaged to Anne in 1806, and now they meet again, both single and unattached, after no contact in more than seven years. This sets the scene for many humorous encounters as well as a second, well-considered chance at love and marriage for Anne Elliot in her second “bloom”.
In 2006, a groundbreaking feature-length film revealed the great mystery of the universe—The Secret—and, later that year, Rhonda Byrne followed with a book that became a worldwide bestseller. Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it. In this book, you’ll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life—money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You’ll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that’s within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life. The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers—men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.
The President’s Hat
This prize-winning French bestseller is a charming fable about the power of a hat that takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through French life during the Mitterrand years.
Dining alone in an elegant Parisian brasserie, accountant Daniel Mercier can hardly believe his eyes when President François Mitterrand sits down to eat at the table next to him.
After the presidential party has gone, Daniel discovers that Mitterrand’s black felt hat has been left behind. After a few moments’ soul-searching, Daniel decides to keep the hat as a souvenir of an extraordinary evening. It’s a perfect fit, and as he leaves the restaurant Daniel begins to feel somehow . . . different.
Has Daniel unwittingly discovered the secret of supreme power?
For two years the iconic item of headgear plays with the lives of the men and women who wear it, bringing them the success that had previously eluded them. Antoine Laurain’s brilliantly orchestrated tour captures entertaining portraits of a rich gallery of characters.
Shot through with a delicious, wicked sense of humour, The President’s Hat is a vivid re-creation of the everyday life of an era.
Any Human Heart
Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary, and Logan Mountstuart’s – stretching across the twentieth century – is a rich tapestry of both. As a writer who finds inspiration with Hemingway in Paris and Virginia Woolf in London, as a spy recruited by Ian Fleming and betrayed in the war, and as an art-dealer in ’60s New York, Logan mixes with the men and women who shape his times. But as a son, friend, lover and husband, he makes the same mistakes we all do in our search for happiness. Here, then, is the story of a life lived to the full – and a journey deep into a very human heart.
The Penguin Lessons
Tom Michell is in his roaring twenties: single, free-spirited and seeking adventure. He has a plane ticket to South America, a teaching position in a prestigious Argentine boarding school, and endless summer holidays. He even has a motorbike, Che Guevara style. What he doesn’t need is a pet. What he really doesn’t need is a pet penguin.
Set against Argentina’s turbulent years following the collapse of the corrupt Perónist regime, this is the heart-warming story of Juan Salvador the penguin, rescued by Tom from an oil slick in Uruguay just days before a new term. When the bird refuses to leave Tom’s side, the young teacher has no choice but to smuggle it across the border, through customs, and back to school. Whether it’s as the rugby team’s mascot, the housekeeper’s confidant, the host at Tom’s parties or the most flamboyant swimming coach in world history, Juan Salvador transforms the lives of all he meets – in particular, one homesick schoolboy. And as for Tom, he discovers in Juan Salvador a compadre like no other…