Despite ‘The Barefoot Investor’ dominating book talk and library requests in 2017, our staff still managed to branch out and discover some other new reads for themselves.
Here’s what some staff rated as their favourite read of 2017:
Ali – My fave from 2017 was Victoria the Queen by Julia Baird
I’m still reading it actually, as it’s a bit of a tome! It’s well-researched and written, interesting, compelling and definitely not a dry historical book. I heard a podcast on ‘Conversations with Richard Fidler’ were Julia Baird told how she had access to primary sources in the archives at Windsor Castle.
The book covers all aspects of Victoria’s life – personal, family and political, and shows perhaps a more truthful view of the queen without referring to clichés and preconceptions. I would recommend this book if you like biographies.
Helen – I read a few books in 2017, but my favourite was The Book Shop by Shaun Bythell
It is a non-fiction diary style account of the day-to-day events in Scotland’s second-largest secondhand bookstore in Wigtown. It is written in a matter-of-fact account of what happens each day in the life of a secondhand book store. The humour is very dry – but laugh out loud funny! Through reading each diary entry, I got to know more about the staff who worked at the store (or who didn’t in some cases) and the challenges of running a business – especially in the digital age – and the owner’s fight with Kindles.
I feel I enjoyed it due to some similarities of the customers encountered by public libraries. The bookshop has its own Facebook page – which is just as amusing as the book itself. Thankfully there is a follow-on book!
I had a heap of stand-outs this year but my top pick would be Hunger by Roxanne Gay
This book is a memoir about the author’s relationship with her body after she is attacked as a young girl. Roxanne Gay’s writing is raw, beautiful and powerful. I couldn’t put it down.
Last year I had to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for an English class at university. After a few pages, I was completely hooked. It’s a beautifully crafted, chilling story that explores gender, freedom, control, and consequences in a dystopian society. The Handmaid’s Tale is a timeless classic that I would thoroughly recommend!
I picked up The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer at Dillon’s Bookshop in Norwood early last year, after my curiosity was piqued by the striking book cover. Two things stood out straight away – Amanda’s sharp and honest writing, and the incredible anecdotes she weaves together to share her story from poverty-stricken street artist to world famous cabaret-punk performer. The scenes she writes about asking for money from her husband, writer Neil Gaiman, are hilarious and show how much confidence she lacked, when she felt she couldn’t ask her husband to financially support her during a downtime. It’s a great book for creatives, and navigates the tricky area of exchange in the Digital Age.