Book group titles
Borrow up to 12 copies of a book from our book group collections. You can choose from the dozens of book group collection titles listed below and borrow them for up to four weeks. It's easy and it's all free.
Here’s what you have to do
- Choose a person from your book group to join as a Library Book Group member.
- Get a Book Group ticket at your nearest library.
- Choose the book you'd like to read, taking your pick from the titles listed below. You can also download the list as a customisable spreadsheet. Some titles are available in ebook or audiobook format.
- Make your request to the library where you want to collect your order.
- If any title you pick is unavailable, we shall substitute another title. You can put forward a suggested substitute at the time of ordering, if you wish.
- The list will be updated every two months. If your group meets montly you should order two collections. Please always select new collections from the current list on the website.
- The deadline for applying from the current list is 24 February 2023. The collections ordered from this list will be delivered to libraries week beginning 6 March 2023. They need to be returned to the library by Saturday 6 May 2023.
- A new list will be posted week beginning 3 April 2023 with orders be placed by 21 April. Those orders will be delivered to libraries week beginning 8 May 2023. They need to be returned to the library by Saturday 1 July.
- Every second month the updated list will be posted with the relevant dates.
- We are unable to supply book group collections outwith the specified dates.
- We are unable to renew book group collections as they may be booked by others.
- Please contact your library to check that your order has arrived for you to collect.
If you have any suggestions for titles, then please submit these through our suggest a book service. Add ‘book group collection’ in the ‘other information' section.
If you already have a library card you will still be able to use it for your own personal reading. You should always use your book group card to borrow from the book group collection.
Book Group Collection titles
Stay with Me
Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, ‘Stay with Me’ is a story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the power of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about the desperate attempts we make to save ourselves, and those we love, from heartbreak.
Stay with me is also available as an ebook via Libby.
The Crime at Black Dudley
When George Abbershaw is invited to Black Dudley Manor for the weekend, he has only one thing on his mind – proposing to Maggie Oliphant. Unfortunately for George, things don’t quite go according to plan. A harmless game turns decidedly deadly and suspicions of murder take precedence over matrimony.
The Crime at Black Dudley is also available as an audibook via BorrowBox.
The Versions of Us
Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman, approaching him on a bicycle, swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future - together, and apart - as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.
Are You My Mother?
A memoir about her mother – a voracious reader, a music lover, a passionate amateur actor. A woman, unhappily married to a gay man, whose artistic aspirations simmered under the surface of Bechdel’s childhood… and who stopped kissing her daughter goodnight, for ever, when she was seven. Poignantly, hilariously, Bechdel embarks on a quest for answers concerning the mother-daughter gulf, in graphic novel form.
Lie with me
Philippe, now a famous writer, spots a handsome man walking by who reminds him strikingly of his first love when he was in his last year in high school in 1984. A bestselling novel about love between two teenage boys, in 1984 France.
Love is blind
A passionate, sweeping novel set at the end of the 19th century. Brodie Moncur is a young Scottish musician, who when offered a job in Paris seizes the chance to flee Edinburgh and his tyrannical clergyman father. An intimate exploration of revenge, artistic endeavour, and one man's life.
Set in Hamburg in the post-war Germany of 1946. The story revolves around Colonel Lewis Morgan who surprisingly decides to share the requisitioned mansion with the German owners rather than have them removed. The characters display a lot of emotion from guilt and treachery to grief and longing. Coming at the time of British involvement in the reconstruction of Germany this is a thought-provoking novel.
The Aftermath is also available as an audiobook via Libby.
Brown, George Douglas
The House with the Green Shutters
First published in 1901 this is a Scottish classic. It is an uncompromising novel without the sentimentality of many of its’ contemporaries. Set round the story of John Gourlay, a successful businessman, and his relations with the inhabitants of the village above which he built his ‘house with the green shutters’. John’s success is undermined by James Wilson, a merchant who returns to the village. You realise that things are starting to go wrong for John both professionally and personally. It also lays bare the interaction with his wife and daughter who fear John and his temper, and his son who is on a downward spiral.
The Road to Little Dribbling
Funny and informative, this book takes us all the way across Britain, journeying along a straight line from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath. In his usual style filled with obscure detail and delightful facts, Bryson creates a nuanced and compelling picture of Britain.
The Road to Little Dribbling is also available as an audiobook via Libby.
A hilarious, tender, and sometimes painful coming of age story set in modern London. Heartbroken, struggling at work, and battling waves of anxiety - Queenie's life seems to be spiralling out of control. Can she piece it back together? Carty-Williams deftly writes on tough topics, such as consent and stigma around mental health, with a light touch. Queenie is refreshingly candid, delightfully compassionate, and bracingly real. A Sunday times bestseller and winner of the British Book Awards 2020.
A Single Thread
After losing her brother and fiancé to the Great War, Violet Speedwell is part of a generation of woman doomed to live out the rest of her life as a spinster. But she wants more from her life than caring for her grieving mother and living on boiled eggs and toast. Violet must fight for independence and community in a world where women aren't expected to be seen.
A Single Thread is also available as an ebook via Libby and an audiobook via Libby.
The Wolf in the Winter
The town of Prosperous, Maine has always been thriving and wealthy whilst other communities around it have suffered. A disappearance in the town brings private investigator Charlie Parker to Prosperous. With him he brings danger, rage, and vengeance to a once sheltered community.
Woman of the Ashes
This is the first in the trilogy ‘Sands of the Emperor’. Set in C19th Mozambique at a time of colonial war between African leaders and Portugal this is the story of a girl caught up in the hostilities. She has one brother siding with the Portuguese and the other with the African leader. Despite these divided loyalties she acts as an interpreter for the Portuguese. The danger of war and cultural tensions very much abound in this novel which also interweaves folklore to give us a riveting read.
As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders - two men and a dangerously magnetic woman - arrives on the woodland borders triggering a series of events that will see Walter Thirsk's village unmade in just seven days: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, cruel punishment meted out to the innocent, and allegations of witchcraft. But something even darker is at the heart of Walter's story, and he will be the only man left to tell it...
Acts of Allegiance
Paris: May, 1969. Scents of spring blossom, coffee and high-octane petrol. Irish diplomat Marty Ransom has been summoned to meet Charles J. Haughey, the Irish Minister for Finance what's decided between them will change the course of Irish history. The Minister wants a go-between with the new IRA faction in the North: he knows a key player is Marty's cousin Ignatius. He has no idea Marty is reporting to MI5 in Dublin. As the deadly endgame draws near, Marty must choose between the past and all he holds dear.
Acts of Allegiance is also available as an ebook via Libby.
Dahl, Kjell Ola
An historical thriller set in 1938 Norway. This starts out as a routine case for PI Ludvig Paaske and his assistant. However, it leads to Ludvig’s assistant being accused of murder as the investigation links back to his shady past. This novel has the tension of imminent war and the threat of the Nazis alongside a mystery to be solved. It is a hard-hitting novel in the Scandi crime tradition.
Turning the Stones
1750s, Georgian England. A foundling, Emily Smith, is brought to Sedge Court, seat of the ambitious Waterlands, to be raised alongside their daughter Eliza. When Emily finds herself implicated in a horrific crime, she runs for her life, across the country, on board a ship, and upon the mercy of its enigmatic Captain McDonagh. But there is a more potent force drawing Emily on: a spirit whose presence she has felt all her life, and whose irresistible design will force her onwards to a distant shore.
The Office of Gardens and Ponds
When master carp-catcher Katsuro drowns, his village is thrown into turmoil. It has to be Miyuki, Katsuro’s grief-stricken widow. But when she reaches the Offices of Gardens and Ponds, Miyuki discovers that the trials of her journey as far from over. For in the Imperial City, peril lurks in every corner of the Emperor’s Court.
A Tale of Two Cities
Dickens takes us to the year 1775, where England and France are undergoing a period of social upheaval and turmoil. The forces that are leading to revolution in France are colliding with a circle of people in England, causing their destinies to be irrevocably intertwined.
A Tale of Two Cities is also available as an ebook and an audiobook via Libby.
House of Cards
An entertaining tale of skulduggery and intrigue within the Palace of Westminster. Its scheming hero, Chief Whip Francis Urquhart, who uses fair means and foul to become Prime Minister, is the politician we all love to hate. Acclaimed for its authenticity and insights into a secret world – the result of many years working behind the scenes for the Conservative Party.
House of Cards is also available as an audiobook via uLIBRARY.
All the light we cannot see
A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, to teach her the way home. The layers within the diamond that her father guards in the Museum. The walled city, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth. In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways that people try to be good to one another.
All the light we cannot see is also available as an ebook and audiobook via Libby.
Anna Kerrigan accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared, and the country is at war. One evening at a nightclub Anna meets Dexter styles again and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life and the reasons he might have vanished.
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed
A dark, feverish, magical realist short story collection. This is a world of witchcraft and revenge - where curses haunt the neighbourhoods and children lead others to their deaths. In these tales, women and girls are an unsettling force of nature.
As I Lay Dying
A deceptively simple classic. As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s powerful, harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. The narrator shifts between each family member and even Addie herself.
The Duchess of Richmond’s ball held in Brussels on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo is to have great consequences for the upwardly mobile Trenchard family 25 years later. This novel of society and scandal recalls the style of Downton Abbey, also written by Julian Fellowes.
Aren't We Sisters
The 3 leading female characters in this novel are all in danger of a killer. This mystery centres round Norah, Lettie and Rae. It is their friendship and hidden secrets which drive the narrative.
Aren’t We Sisters is also available as an audiobook via Libby.
My Brilliant Friend
This bestselling novel set in the outskirts of Naples is the story of 2 girls Lila and Elena. Beginning in the 1950s the narrative follows the ebb and flow of the girls’ friendship as they grow up and their lives at times cross and at times diverge. Through their story we learn of the history of Naples and Italy at the time. This volume is the first in a quartet.
My Brilliant Friend is available as an ebook and an audiobook via Libby.
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Paul O'Rourke, 40-year-old slightly curmudgeonly dentist, runs a thriving practice in New York. Yet he is discovering he needs more in his life than a steady income and the perfect mochaccino. But what? As Paul tries to work out the meaning of life, a Facebook page and Twitter account appear in his name. What's at first an outrageous violation of privacy soon becomes something more frightening: the possibility that the online 'Paul' might be a better version of the man in the flesh. Who is doing this, and will it cost Paul his sanity?
The Memoir of an Anti-hero
"The Second World War. Poland. Our narrator has no intention of being a hero. He plans to survive this war, whatever it takes.
Meticulously he recounts his experiences: the slow unravelling of national events as well as uncomfortable personal encounters on the street, in the café, at the office, in his love affairs. He is intimate but reserved; conversational but careful; reflective but determined. As he becomes increasingly and chillingly alienated from other people, the reader is drawn into complicit acquiescence."
Keeping the World Away
Lost, found, stolen, strayed, sold, fought over... This engrossing, beautifully crafted novel follows the fictional adventures of an early 20th-century painting and the women whose lives it touches. It opens with bold, passionate Gwen, struggling to be an artist, leaving for Paris where she becomes Rodin's lover and paints a small, intimate picture of a quiet corner of her attic room. Then there's Charlotte, a dreamy intellectual Edwardian girl, and Stella, Lucasta, Ailsa and finally young Gillian, who share an unspoken desire to have for themselves a tranquil golden place like that in the painting.
River of Smoke
In September 1838 a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. When the seas settle, five men have disappeared. On the grand scale of an historical epic, River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbours of China. All struggle to cope with their losses - and for some, unimaginable freedoms - in the alleys and crowded waterways of 19th century Canton.
All Our Yesterdays
A deceptively simple classic. As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s powerful, harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. The narrator shifts between each family member and even Addie herself.
Of Stone and Sky
A profound mystery set across a farming estate in the upper reaches of the River Spey. When highland shepherd Colvin Munro disappears - his possessions are found strewn across the Cairngorms. Of Stone and Sky spans several generations of a shepherding family in a paean to the bonds between people, their land and way of life.
The Last Tudor
Jane Grey was Queen of England for nine days. Using her position as cousin to the deceased king, her father and his conspirators put her on the throne ahead of the king’s half-sister Mary, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her crown, and locked Jane in the Tower. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block. There Jane turned her father’s greedy, failed grab for power into her own brave and tragic martyrdom.
The Last Tudor is also available as an ebook via Libby and an audiobook via BorrowBox.
‘Stalingrad’ is the prequel to his later novel ‘Life and Fate’. This epic novel which is akin in length and depth to ‘War and Peace’ and demands much investment in the time of the reader. However, this investment is well rewarded. The plot follows the Shaposhnikov family and all the impacts of the siege on their daily lives and relationships. The translation from the original Russian has received many plaudits in its’ own right.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the colour yellow. This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighbourhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is also available as an ebook and an audiobook via Libby.
Bad Dreams and Other Stories
Two sisters quarrel over an inheritance and a new baby. A housekeeper caring for a helpless old man uncovers secrets from his past. A young girl accepts a lift in a car with a group of strangers. An old friend brings bad news to a dinner party. In these gripping and unsettling stories, the ordinary is made extraordinary and the real things that happen to people turn out to be every bit as mysterious as their dreams.
How to Stop Time
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old history teacher, but he's been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen it all. As long as he keeps changing his identity he can keep one step ahead of his past - and stay alive. The only thing he must not do is fall in love...
How to Stop Time is also available as an ebook via Libby.
Hanns and Rudolf: the German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz
Hanns Alexander was the son of a prosperous German family who fled Berlin for London in the 1930s. Rudolf Hoss was a farmer and soldier who became the Kommandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp and oversaw the deaths of over a million men, women and children. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the first British War Crimes Investigation Team is assembled to hunt down the senior Nazi officials responsible for the greatest atrocities the world has ever seen. Lieutenant Hanns Alexander is one of the lead investigators, Rudolf Hoss his most elusive target. In this book Thomas Harding reveals for the very first time the full, exhilarating account of Hoss' capture.
Hanns and Rudolf is also available as an audiobook via Borrowbox.
I Who Have Never Known Men
A haunting, dystopian French sci fi novel from 1995. A young woman is kept in an underground bunker with thirty-nine other women, all guarded by armed men. Whatever crime she might have committed is long forgotten and, in the bunker, her sense of her own humanity is slipping away... 12 copies
War and Turpentine
A translated memoir from the famous Flemish poet. Shortly before his death, Stefan Hertmans' grandfather Urbain Martien gave his grandson a set of notebooks containing the detailed memories of his life. During the First World War, Urbain was on the front line confronting the invading Germans, and ever after he is haunted by events he can never forget.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
In this first novel, we are introduced to suave, handsome Tom Ripley: a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan in the 1950s. Ripley is struggling to stay one step ahead of the law when an acquaintance unexpectedly offers him a free trip to Europe and a chance to start over. A dark reworking of Henry James's The Ambassadors, this is one of the best novels of the 20th century.
The Devil in the Marshalsea
London, 1727 - and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into a hell of a debtor's prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol's ruthless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules - even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, as brought further terror to the gaol.
To a tiny island in Orkney, peopled by a devout community of thirty, comes Victor Frankenstein, driven there by a Devil’s bargain: to make a wife for the Creature who is stalking him across Europe. In this darkly wrought answer to Frankenstein, we hear the untold tale of the monster’s wife through the perspective of the doctor’s housemaid. Oona works below stairs with her best friend May, washing the doctor’s linens and keeping the fires lit at the big house. An orphan whose only legacy is the illness that killed her mother, Oona knows she is doomed. But she is also thirsty for knowledge, determined to know life fully before it slips away. As tensions heighten between Victor and the islanders, Oona becomes the doctor’s trusted accomplice, aiding in secret experiments and seeing horrors she sometimes wishes to forget. When May disappears, Oona must face up to growing suspicions about the enigmatic employer to whom she has grown close – but the truth is darker than anything she could imagine.
Monster’s Wife is also available as an ebook via Libby.
The Book of Mother
Darkly funny, emotional, and brave. The Book of Mother follows beautiful and energetic, Catherine, aka 'Maman'. She smokes too much, drives too fast, laughs too hard and loves too extravagantly. During a joyful and chaotic childhood in Paris, her daughter Violaine wouldn't have it any other way. Until Maman is hospitalised for a breakdown after her third divorce, and everything is changed forever.
No, I Don't Need Reading Glasses
Marie may be 'getting on a bit' but it's certainly not getting her down. She's working part time so there are more hours each day to enjoy life. She has her friends. She has Pouncer, the cat, as well as a darling grandson. And she has Archie to share her bed. All this, plus the Daily Rant's screaming headlines to wake her up in the morning. Life's good. But nothing stays the same for long. A roller-coaster of a year beckons - a year that contains love and death, laughter and tears and the bizarre decision to take up temporary residence in a tree.
No, I don’t need reading glasses is also available an audiobook via BorrowBox.
A professor arrives in a beautiful Spanish village only to find that her host has left, and she must cope with fractious neighbours alone; a holiday on a Finnish island is thrown into disarray by an awkward and critical child; an artist returns from abroad to discover that her past has been appropriated by a former friend.
Travelling Light is also available as an ebook via Libby.
A husband and wife from Paris rent a cottage in a remote part of France. Lise, the wife, wants to escape from the technology of the modern world with no ‘phones, wi-fi etc. Her husband struggles with this, but gradually starts to accept his surroundings to be more at one with nature. However, this demonstrates his more savage side. Whilst this couple are most definitely from the C21st century this novel also weaves in the story of a circus animal trainer who came to the village in WWI. In both time zones the book has a dark and threatening overtone. A hugely successful book in the author’s native France.
Border: a Journey to the Edge of Europe
Kassabova returns to her native Bulgaria to explore the border it shares with Turkey and Greece. A shadow history of the Cold War and a investigation into the migration crisis told through the wide array of people she meets. In this novel the dense stunning landscape intertwines with myth, politics, and violence.
This is Going to Hurt
A memoir journaling life as a junior doctor for the NHS. This is Going to Hurt captures the pain, love, and struggle that goes into working in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Britain today. This memoir in heart-breaking, darkly humorous, and full of heart.
This is Going to Hurt is also available as an ebook via Libby.
The Health of Strangers
Set in Edinburgh after a mutant strain of influenza virus has spread around the country. It's up to the HET - the North Edinburgh Health Enforcement Team - to stem the spread of the Virus. Nobody likes the North Edinburgh Health Enforcement Team, least of all the people who work for it.
The Health of Strangers is also available as an ebook via Libby.
Another Time, Another Place
A novella which charts a war time romance in the rural north-east of Scotland over the summer of 1944. Another time, Another Place is a haunting tale of love and war.
Death is Hard Work
Set three years into the Syrian civil war the novel follows Bobol after the loss of his father as he, with the help of his siblings, undertakes a journey to fulfil his final wish and bury him in his ancestral home of Anabiya. A dark yet humane novel about ordinary people facing down the stuff of nightmares.
Knausgaard, Karl Ove
The Morning Star
Knausgaard's first major novel since his autobiographical My Struggle series. A huge, new star has appeared in the sky - bringing with it a sense of dread. This is an exploration of different people's perspectives and the tensions between strangeness and mundanity.
The follow-up novel to Death and the Penguin, Victor seizes the opportunity to create a new life for himself in Kiev with a brand-new identity. Starting work for a mafia boss in Ukraine - he is given precious information about the whereabouts of his beloved penguin, Misha. Determined to be reunited - he begins a search for his penguin across the Soviet Union.
Penguin Lost is also available as an ebook via Libby.
From the Pulitzer Prize winning author, this is Lahiri's first novel written in Italian. A novel of vignettes which follow the unnamed narrator across a year of her life in an unnamed location. A meditation on loneliness, home, intimacy, and estrangement.
Whereabouts is also available as an ebook on Libby.
Diary of the Fall
"A schoolboy prank goes horribly wrong, and a thirteen-year-old boy is left injured. Years later, one of the classmates relives the episode as he tries to come to terms with his demons. Diary of the Fall is the story of three generations: a man examining the mistakes of his past, and his struggle for forgiveness; a father with Alzheimer’s, for whom recording every memory has become an obsession; and a grandfather who survived Auschwitz, filling notebook after notebook with the false memories of someone desperate to forget. Beautiful and brave, Michel Laub’s novel asks the most basic – and yet most complex – questions about history and identity, exploring what stories we choose to tell about ourselves and how we become the people we are.
The President’s Hat
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. Daniel's thrill at being in such close proximity to the most powerful man in the land persists even after the presidential party has gone, which is when he 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.
The President’s Hat is also available as an ebook via Libby.
Le Carre, John
A Delicate Truth
This is John Le Carré’s 23rd novel. It is a spy novel set in the Blair-Bush era of politics of 2008-11. It starts with a secret meeting on the Rock of Gibraltar. This meeting is linked to an operation codename Wildlife arranged by the British to kidnap a terrorist arms buyer. 3 years later the Private Secretary, Toby Bell, excluded from the original meeting is called to the home of a retired diplomat. Toby is faced with choosing between his own morality and duty to the service of the country. This novel reflects that the end of the Cold War did not mean the end of the spy. Espionage is now shown to be just a little more commercialised.
A Delicate Truth is also available as an ebook and an audiobook via Libby.
Le Tellier, Herve
During a terrifying storm, Air France flight 006 - inexplicably - duplicates. Now there are two of every passenger - each with the same memories, personalities, minds and bodies. But whilst one plane lands in March, the other doesn't arrive until June. Each one of them must fight to keep the life they think is their own...
Leaving the Atocha Station
Adam Gordon is a brilliant, if highly unreliable young American poet on a prestigious fellowship in Madrid, struggling to establish his sense of self and his attitude towards art. It's not just his imperfect grasp of Spanish, but the underlying suspicion that his entire personality is just as fraudulent as his poetry.
Leaving the Atocha Station is also available as an ebook via Libby.
The Luminous Novel
An autofictional diary that makes procrastination seem like high art. When Levrero won a Guggenheim grant to complete the novel he had been working on for over 16 years - he instead spent his time documenting his procrastination. He wrote about his frustrations, distractions, wasted time and, in the process, unwittingly wrote the Luminous Novel.
An immensely powerful first novel set in Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II, its ambition and achievement reminiscent of Rachel Seiffert's 'The Dark Room', Hans Fallada's 'Alone in Berlin', and Helen Dunmore's 'The Siege'.
The Undertaking is also available as an ebook via Libby and an audiobook via Borrowbox.
A collection of poetry originally written in Chinese and Nuosu which has been translated into three strands of Scots languages: Lallans by Stuart Paterson, Doric by Sheena Blackhall and Shetlandic by Christine de Luca. Alongside an English translation by Denis Mair. This collection presents a perfect symmetry in a globalized world where we need a dialogue not only between the powerful but also between the local and marginalized.
Beatrice and Virgil
Fate takes many forms. When Henry receives a letter from an elderly taxidermist, it poses a puzzle that he cannot resist. As he is pulled further into the world of this strange and calculating man, Henry becomes increasingly involved with the lives of a donkey and a howler monkey named Beatrice and Virgil.
Beatrice and Virgil is also available as an ebook via Libby.
In a rocky cove in the bay of Hakata, the bodies of a young and beautiful couple are discovered - the police are quick to rule the case a lovers' suicide. But two Tokyo detectives, the experienced Torigai Jutaro and his young colleague Kiichi Mihara, think that there's more to the case than meets the eye...
Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home – a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse – but not with John. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb.
Nutshell is also available as an audiobook via BorrowBox.
SAS: Rogue Heroes - the authorised wartime history
In the summer of 1941, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, came up with a radical plan: a small undercover unit that would inflict mayhem behind enemy lines. Despite intense opposition, Winston Churchill gave Stirling permission to recruit the toughest, brightest and most ruthless soldiers he could find. So began the most mysterious military organisation in the world: the SAS. Now, 75 years later, the SAS has finally decided to open its secret archives for the first time, to historian Ben Macintyre. The result is an exhilarating tale of fearlessness and heroism; of extraordinary men who were willing to take monumental risks. It is a story about the meaning of courage.
SAS: Rogue Heroes is also available as an ebook via Libby and an audiobook via uLIBRARY.
MacLean, Russell D.
Meet Jen Carter, who works in a bookshop, and...oh, she's about to be branded The Most Dangerous Woman in Scotland. Jen is a failed writer with a rubbish boyfriend, Ed. That is, until she accidentally kills him one night. Now that Ed s dead, she has to decide what to do with his body, his drugs and a big pile of cash. Soon Jens on the run from criminals, corrupt police officers and the prying eyes of the media. Who can she trust? And how can she convince them that the trail of corpses left in her wake are just accidental deaths?
Kick-Ass The Graphic Novel
Dave Lizewski is just an ordinary American teenager. He has a MySpace page, he loves comic books and he is unable to find a girlfriend. Then an idea hits him: why not become a real-life superhero? Soon, his life will never be the same again.
Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
Six gentlemen, one goal - the destruction of Hitler's war machine. In the spring of 1939, a top-secret organisation was founded in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler's war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage. The guerrilla campaign that followed was to prove every bit as extraordinary as the six gentlemen who directed it. The book is based on hitherto unknown archival material and is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.
Glasgow, 1957. It is a December night and William Watt is desperate. His family has been murdered and he needs to find out who killed them. He arrives at a bar to meet Peter Manuel, who claims he can get hold of the gun that was used. But Watt soon realises that this infamous criminal will not give up information easily. Inspired by true events, The Long Drop follows Watt and Manuel along back streets and into smoky pubs, and on to the courtroom where the murder trial takes place. Can Manuel really be trusted to tell the truth? And how far will Watt go to get what he wants?
Long Drop is also available to as an ebook via Libby and an audiobook via BorrowBox.
A psychological thriller set in Tel Aviv. We follow the lives of 3 women and their connection to the same man, Gil. All 3 women are walking into danger. Lies and deception are at the core of this novel. Winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique 2021. It is a tense and suspenseful read.
The Pursuit of Love
Longing for love, obsessed with weddings and let's not even mention the mysteries of sex, Linda and her sisters and cousin Fanny are on the hunt for the ideal lover. But finding the perfect match is much harder than any of the sisters had ever dreamed. Linda is first courted by a Tory MP and then becomes embroiled with a handsome but humourless communist, before she risks everything on a chance at real, head-over-heels love in war-torn Paris…
The Pursuit of Love is also available as an ebook via Libby and an audiobook via BorrowBox.
C17th Amsterdam is ablaze with tulipomania. Cornelis, a merchant, has made his wealth from the flower. His desire now focuses on his young wife and his wish for an heir to seal his immortality. To date no heir has been forthcoming, but Cornelis engages a young artist to paint him and his wife as a lasting record. Soon greed, lust and deceit come to the fore in the household leading to a tragic end. This is an historical novel that highlights Amsterdam of the time, human nature, and art.
Tulip Fever is also available as an audiobook via BorrowBox.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking was a young girl. It was love at first sight. Lale was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did too.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is available as an audiobook via BorrowBox.
The Reindeer Hunters
A stand-alone novel that is part of the historical Sister Bells trilogy. Set in the fictional town of Buntangen, Norway - it spans from the introduction of the first electric light to the Great War in Europe. A tale about love, revenge, and bitter rivalries.
The Sixteen Trees of the Somme
Edvard grows up on a remote mountain farmstead in Norway with his taciturn grandfather. The death of his parents has always been shrouded in mystery. Edvard’s quest to unlock the family’s secrets takes him on a long journey – from Norway to the Shetlands, and to the battlefields of France – to the discovery of a very unusual inheritance.
Kim Jiyoung Born 1982
Kim Ji-young is at breaking point. Representative of all women in a society rife with sexism, Kim ji-young is passed over, disrespected, and harassed. This is a book simmering with rage and power. Having sold over 1 million copies it marks a reckoning against South Korean misogyny.
Little Fires Everywhere
A poignant and observant novel about suburban America's dark underbelly. Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. Shaker Heights is a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland where everything is meticulously planned. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons.
Mirror, Shoulder, Signal
Translated from Danish - this is a funny and perceptive exploration of modern life. Sonja's over forty, and she's trying to move in the right direction. She's learning to drive. She's joined a meditation group. And she's attempting to reconnect with her sister. But Sonja would rather eat cake than meditate, her driving instructor won't let her change gear, and her sister won't return her calls.
First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Harry August is on his deathbed, again. Every time he dies, he is reborn in exactly the same time and place, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, he always returns to where he began, and nothing ever changes. He only knows that there are others like him, living with but apart from the rest of us. This is the story of what he does next - what he did before - and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow
The Memory Police
A surreal and haunting dystopic novel. In this unnamed island objects, meanings, and words are gradually disappearing. Only a few inhabitants have the power to remember these disappeared objects. They live in fear of the Memory Police - an organisation committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.
Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life. In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. They rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news.
This Glorious Thing
Set in Edinburgh in 1916, this funny, sometimes tragic, beautifully written novel centres on a group of young people trying to find their place in society. Edinburgh writer Christine Orr examines the changing role of women, politics and religion against the backdrop of the First World War. Recently republished by Napier Students/Merchiston Press.
Where the Crawdads Sing
For years, rumours of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her. A powerful, beautiful, and moving coming of age story.
Where the Crawdads Sing is also available as an audiobook via Borrowbox.
The Year of the Hare
Vatanen the journalist is sick of his job and fed up with city life. One evening, when he is out in his car, he hits a young hare on a country road. Vatanen goes in search of the injured creature, and this small incident becomes a life-changing experience as he decides to break free from the world’s constraints.
Book of Disquiet
Part diary, part poetry, part narrative - The Book of Disquiet was published 50 years after Pessoa's death. It is an astonishing work beautifully evoking 1930s Lisbon. A mosaic of dreams, hope, and despair.
Shortlisted for the booker international prize 2022, this is a deep, unique crime fiction novel which explores themes of disability, freedom, and memory. After Rita is found dead in a bell tower, the investigation is quickly closed. But her mother Elena, who is struggling with Parkinsons, is determined to find out who murdered her.
Elena Knows is also available as an ebook via Libby.
The Silent Companies
Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband's crumbling country estate, The Bridge. Set in a crumbling country mansion - this is a heart stopping, gothic, ghost story.
In Climbing Days, Dan Richards is on the trail of his great-great-aunt, Dorothy Pilley, a prominent and pioneering mountaineer of the early twentieth century. For years, Dorothy and her husband, I. A. Richards, remained a mystery to Dan, but the chance discovery of her 1935 memoir leads him on a journey. Perhaps, in the mountains, he can meet them halfway? Climbing Days is a beautiful portrait of a trailblazing woman, previously lost to history, but also a book about that eternal question: why do people climb mountains?
The Undiscovered Deaths of Grace McGill
Grace McGill is a cleaner - and she knows better than most that death is not the end. When people die alone it's her job to clean up what's left behind: clutter, bodily remains, or dark secrets. A unique, sinister, disturbing mystery set across Glasgow.
The Mermaid of Black Conch
Near the imaginary Caribbean island of Black Conch, a lonely fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But instead of the usual fish darting beneath the waves, David is shocked to see the barnacled Aycayia staring back at him. An innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live out her life as a mermaid. This mythical feminist tale explores the realities of everyday life through the lens of myth and legend.
The Mermaid of Black Conch is also available as an ebook and an audiobook via Libby.
Conversations with Friends
Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are interviewed and then befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence, beginning a complex ménage-à-quatre. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, the sharply witty and emotion-averse Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.
Conversations with Friends is also available as an ebook via Libby.
The Radetzky March
A timeless masterpiece. Set against the doomed splendour of the Austro-Hungarian Empire - The Radetzky March tells the sweeping, epic tale of the Trotta family's rise and fall over three generations.
Sayers, Dorothy L
A 1923 mystery novel and the first book in the Lord Peter Wimsey series. The body was that of a tall, stout man wearing only a pair of gold pince-nez. In this, his first murder case, Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath.
Whose Body? is also available as an audiobook via Libby.
Unsettling, fascinating, and absorbing, Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life. A woman is dying in hospital, a young boy is by her side. This is a ghost story and a love story in one.
The Murmur of Bees
Set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution and the devastating influenza of 1918. Old Nana Reja finds an abandoned baby underneath a bridge - a moment which changes the course of the town’s history forever. As the child grows up, he finds he can see what no one else can—visions of all that’s yet to come, both beautiful and dangerous.
This story is a modern incarnation of Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’. It is very much a story of our time presenting the reader with the challenges that occur when love and loyalties clash. It is a heart-breaking read from an award-winning author.
Home Fire is also available as an ebook via Libby and as an audiobook via BorrowBox.
The Fair Botanists
It's the summer of 1822 and Edinburgh is abuzz with rumours of King George IV's impending visit. In botanical circles, however, a different kind of excitement has gripped the city. In the newly installed Botanic Garden, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower - an event that only occurs once every few decades. When newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband's aunt Clementina, she's determined to put her unhappy past in London behind her. As she settles into her new home, she becomes fascinated by the beautiful Botanic Garden which borders the grand house and offers her services as an artist to record the rare plant's impending bloom. In this pursuit, she meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for botany and the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation.
Minor detail revolves around a war crime committed against a young Palestinian woman during the Nakba. Many years later, a woman becomes obsessed by this seemingly 'minor detail' of history.
The first of the seasonal quartet by Ali Smith. Set just after the EU referendum, Autumn is a subtle and poignant meditation of how we experience time. A playful book which melds dream, memory, and transient realities.
Autumn is also available as an ebook and an audiobook via Libby.
Karolina or the Torn Curtain
Noted for its’ detail of turn-of-the-century Poland and its’ light-hearted and fun narrative it still addresses some serious issues. The protagonist, Zofia, feels compelled to investigate the murder of her maid, Karolina. Along the way she unearths gang crime, trafficking and other evils still present in to-day’s society as in the time of the setting of this novel.
In the sweltering summer of 1938, with Lisbon in the grip of Portugal’s fascist dictatorship, out of nowhere a young man arrives on an elderly widower’s doorstep. Dr Pereira lives a quiet monotonous existence. When charismatic Monteiro Rossi bursts into his life, Pereira strikes up an unlikely alliance that will result in his political awakening and a devastating act of rebellion.
Pereira Maintains is also available as an ebook via Libby.
A Cat, a Man, and Two Women
After her husband takes up with his new younger lover, Shinako desperately tries to claim back her beloved cat, but her husband seems unwilling to let go in this story of a most intriguing love triangle. 15 copies
A Cat, a Man and Two Women is also available as an ebook via Libby.
Memoirs of a Polar Bear
A polar bear, born and raised in captivity, is devastated by the loss of his keeper; another finds herself performing in the circus; a third sits down one day and pens a memoir which becomes an international sensation, and causes her to flee her home. Through the stories of these three bears, Tawada reflects on our own humanity, the ways in which we belong to one another and the ways in which we are formed.
Shards of Earth
The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery. Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade his mind in the war. And one of humanity's heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers. Eighty years ago, Earth was destroyed by an alien enemy. Many escaped, but millions more died. So mankind created enhanced humans - such as Idris - who could communicate mind-to-mind with our aggressors. Then these 'Architects' simply disappeared, and Idris and his kind became obsolete. Now, Idris and his crew have something strange, abandoned in space. It's clearly the work of the Architects - but are they really returning? And if so, why?
Thiong'o Ngugi Wa
The Perfect Nine
An epic novel which blends folklore and myth. Gikuyu and Mumbi settled on the peaceful and bounteous foot of Mount Kenya after fleeing war and hunger. When ninety-nine suitors arrive on their land, seeking to marry their famously beautiful daughters, called The Perfect Nine, the parents ask their daughters to choose for themselves, but to choose wisely.
Take Six Girls
The eldest was a razor-sharp novelist; the second was loved by John Betjeman; the third was a fascist who married Oswald Mosley; the fourth idolised Hitler; the fifth was a member of the American Communist Party; the sixth became Duchess of Devonshire. They were the Mitford sisters: Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica and Deborah. Born into country-house privilege, they became prominent in the high society of interwar London. The intertwined stories of their lives – recounted in masterly fashion by Laura Thompson – hold up a revelatory mirror to upper-class English life before and after World War II.
Take Six Girls is also available as an ebook via Libby.
All My Puny Sorrows
Yoli is conflicted. Her sister, Elf, has battled depression for her whole adult life, and is in a psychiatric ward under permanent observation after attempting suicide - again. She has always looked up to her as her talented and beautiful older sister. She loves her with a fierce passion and wants to believe in the possibility of a future together, one in which Elf gets better. But it's looking unlikely and Yoli has to decide if the person you love is tired of living, is it kinder just to let them go?
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Set in the depths of winter in a remote Polish village - Janine, a middle-aged reclusive woman, spends her time in the company of animals, learning astrology and translating the poems of William Blake. Until the day her neighbour, Big Foot, turns up dead and Janine takes it upon herself to join the investigation. A murky, feminist noir which champions animal rights and the voiceless.
The 2018 Man Booker Prize winner, Flights is a novel interweaving stories of travel, humanity, life and death across several centuries.
Flights is also available as an ebook via Libby.
A Spool of Blue Thread
This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that summer’s day in 1959. The whole family on the porch, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. From that porch we spool back through the generations, witnessing the events that have come to define the family. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century – their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their home…
A Spool of Blue Thread is also available as an ebook via Libby and an audiobook via BorrowBox.
The Glass Castle
A memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted mining towns of the American Southwest to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Vibrant and dysfunctional - Jeannette Walls brings to life her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents. 15 copies
The Lemon Grove
Jenn and her husband Greg holiday each year in Deià, enjoying languorous afternoons by the pool. But this year the equilibrium is upset by the arrival of Emma, Jenn's stepdaughter, and her boyfriend Nathan. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn. As she is increasingly seduced by the notion of Nathan's youth and the promise of passion, the line between desire and obsession begins to blur. What follows is a highly charged liaison that put lives and relationships in jeopardy
Dead Men's Trousers
The last book in the acclaimed trainspotting series. Mark Renton is finally a success. An international jet-setter, he now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with his life. He's then rocked by a chance encounter with Frank Begbie - But the psychotic Begbie appears to have reinvented himself as a celebrated artist and doesn't seem interested in revenge. Sick Boy and Spud, who have agendas of their own, are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, but when they enter the bleak world of organ-harvesting, things start to go so badly wrong.
The Salt Path
Days after Raynor learns that her husband Moth is terminally ill, they both lose their home and livelihood. In the face of these life altering griefs they make the decision to walk the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path together - with almost no money for food or shelter. The Salt Path charts their windswept journey and the ancient healing powers of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt, and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.
The Salt Path is also available as an ebook and an audiobook via Libby.
Diary of a Void
Set in Tokyo, this a subversive, feminist novel. Shibata starts a new job hoping to escape the sexual harassment she faced in her old office - only to find that her new workplace is not much better. All the menial tasks fall to her: clearing away cups, dishing out food, making the coffee. Until she announces she can't clean their dirty mugs anymore because she's pregnant and the smell makes her nauseous. The only issue is - Ms Shibata isn't pregnant.
This 1949 novella about the violent expulsion of Palestinian villagers by the Israeli army has long been considered a modern Hebrew masterpiece, and it has also given rise to fierce controversy over the years.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
A.J. Fikry, the grumpy owner of Island Books, is going through a hard time: his bookshop is failing, he has lost his beloved wife, and a prized rare first edition has been stolen. But one day A.J. finds two-year-old Maya sitting on the bookshop floor, with a note attached to her asking the owner to look after her. His life - and Maya's - is changed forever.