Three stacks of books, featuring Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara, Love by Roddy Doyle, and Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler.

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler (2020)

Micah Mortimer is by all standards average, plodding through life with his strict routines and dull familiarity. That is until a teenager appears at his doorstep claiming to be his son, and his girlfriend tells him she’s been evicted and is moving in, turning his life as he knows it on its head. Longlisted for the Booker prize, Redhead by the Side of the Road is yet another masterclass from Anne Tyler in pulling extraordinary from the ordinary.

Sisters by Daisy Johnson (2020)

Fans of Shirley Jackson will adore Sisters, a gothic tale of sibling love and rivalry from Booker Prize-longlisted author Daisy Johnson. Both named for the months they were born, July and September move with their mother to an abandoned seaside home after a terrible unnamed event and in this isolated place find themselves drifting apart. Followed by shocking revelations about their past, it’s a sinister and delicious story to devour on a commute back home for Christmas. 

Inside Story by Martin Amis (2020)

This intimate portrait of Martin Amis’s life as a man and as an author was penned right after the death of his closest friend Christopher Hitchens and bleeds with the sentiment on every page. It hasn’t been an easy year for many of us, but Inside Story is the antidote: a love letter to life that teaches us to live fully and to embrace the ups and downs.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (2019)

It was the biggest literary moment of the year, but if the #1 bestseller somehow passed you by, the Christmas break is the perfect opportunity to dive back into Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale. Prepare to immerse yourself in the dystopian world of Gilead, where two girls from opposite ends of the regime come face-to-face with the infamous Aunt Lydia. Now out in paperback. 

Daddy by Emma Cline (2020)

After publishing her bestselling The Girls, Emma Cline found herself battling a lawsuit from an ex-boyfriend who claimed she’d stolen the story (a claim later dismissed in court). Perhaps, then, it’s no wonder that she’s penned Daddy, a powerful collection of short stories about the impacts of male power. Sophisticated and subtle, these cautionary tales make for compelling reading for the times we are in.

The Travelers by Regina Porter (2019)

Woven over the course of six generations, The Travelers by Regina Porter is a delightful story on how our histories can determine our paths. It begins in post-war America, centred on two New Yorkers – James, a White Irish-American lawyer climbing the career ladder, and Agnes, a Black woman with bad fortune and an unhappy marriage – and continues down their lineage to reveal how the families come to intertwine.

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (2020)

Deepa Anappara’s heartwarming debut plunges right into an exciting quest led by Jai, a nine-year-old boy on a mission to find out why the children of the slum where lives keep disappearing. Set in a sprawling fictional city evocative of Delhi or Mumbai, it’s a touching coming-of-age novel that also addresses class divide in India with subtle effect. 

The Perfect Nine by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (2020)

Nobel Prize-nominated author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has long spun words with dazzling aplomb, and The Perfect Nine is no exception. Mixing myth, folklore and allegory in feminist verse, he tells the story of the founding of the Gĩkũyũ people of Kenya and how their daughters become matriarchs of the clan.

Islands of Mercy by Rose Tremain (2020)

Set in Bath in the late nineteenth century, nurse Jane finds herself torn between an affair with a female lover and the promise of marriage to a doctor. Seeking sanctuary and a sense of self, we follow Jane and a cast of characters from England to Borneo, Dublin and Paris in this grand offering from Rose Tremain.

Love by Roddy Doyle (2020)

Two old friends meet in a pub to reflect on their former years (some flashbacks rather eventful and involving lots of booze). As the anecdotes build, a long-hidden secret is brought to the surface in a surprising anticlimax, true shaggy dog style. Roddy Doyle tells a tale of how we navigate all the different types of love. 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (2019)

Loved by authors like Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton, this Waterstones Book of the Month from Ocean Vuong is beautiful, original and heartbreaking. Told over a series of letters from a Vietnamese American son, Little Dog, to his illiterate mother, it tells of the lasting impact of war and pieces together fragments of the past. The perfect little book to curl up with this Christmas when you just want a nice big cry. 

Read more

We use cookies on this site to enable certain parts of the site to function and to collect information about your use of the site so that we can improve our visitors’ experience.

For more on our cookies and changing your settings click here

Strictly Necessary


Preferences & Features

Targeting / Advertising