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Behind-The-Books Blog

An Anniversary Reading List

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

imageIf you had come across me about this time in 2006 I was probably on the rumpled side. You see, I was doing the clichéd post-student thing of sleeping on friends’ and family’s sofas and floors, not just for the ‘fun’ of it, but so that I could do work experience placements and short-term jobs at London publishing houses. Any glamour this may have had at first was definitely getting a little tarnished, but then, a while after I had done a stint at Allison & Busby Ltd, I had a job! And I was even able to refuse another – jobs, buses, they’re all alike!

In the ten years I’ve been working in various roles at A&B I would like to think I’ve gotten to know our list of titles pretty darn well, and I’m busy reading more books that might end up on your shelves soon. So here is an only slightly biased list of titles I really think you, your aunt or your dog (OK, pushing it slightly perhaps) should curl up with as soon as possible.

  1. Crooked Pieces by Sarah Grazebrook. I remember reading this while on my placement and was rooting for Maggie throughout.
  2. The Basic Eight by Lemony Snicket’s alter ego Daniel Handler is very slick and very funny. It’s ostensibly YA, but the sting in the tail/tale will I’m sure appeal more widely than that.
  3. Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. How can you book lovers out there possibly resist this intricately braided story of Rapunzel and the woman who first penned the tale?
  4. Boomsday by Christopher Buckley. Ingenious and hilarious in equal measure. With the upcoming American elections, perhaps Buckley’s outlandish version of Washington’s political scene might not seem that far away.
  5. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley. I’m a sucker for historical romance, and Kearsley also adds the complication of time travel to the mix which works on many levels.
  6. Shifting Colours by Fiona Sussman. From Apartheid-era South Africa to the bleak shores of Britain, we follow one girl as she tries to reconnect with her mother and her past. A beautifully constructed story, and *forthcoming must-read klaxon* watch out for Fiona’s follow up this May: The Last Time We Spoke
  7. The Whole World by Emily Winslow. I love the city of Cambridge, and no other book set there has made me feel like I was walking the cobbles and side streets like this. The different POVs add layer upon layer of interest to this puzzle of a crime novel.
  8. [Insert title here] by Jacqueline Winspear. Don’t worry, that wasn’t me being inattentive drafting this blog, but an indication that I would find it very hard to choose between any of Jackie’s Maisie Dobbs novels. But we do have the brand new one, Journey to Munich, coming 1st April. Anyway, Maisie works just around the corner from the A&B office in Fitzroy Square, so it’s kind of neighbourly to highlight her. If you like historical crime fiction, then do make a note to check out these gems set between the wars.
  9. Young Bess by Margaret Irwin. I mentioned that I love historical fiction, yes? Irwin set the standard for the likes of Susanna Gregory back during the 1940s and she’s still one to investigate now, particularly with this, the first following the young Elizabeth I.
  10. Envelopes by Harriet Russell. I love explaining this one to people! Illustrator Russell put Royal Mail to the test by ‘hiding’ the address of a series of envelopes in an entertaining design. Every time I thumb through I fall in love with it again.

Happy reading!

Lesley Crooks, Publishing Manager


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