BOOKMARK December 2022 Book recommendations
View previous months
The Survivor by Simon Conway
(Hodder & Stoughton, 2022)
Simon Conway, The Survivor (ISBN: 9781529334340, hardback) appeared at this year’s BOOKMARK Festival, talking about the first two thrillers in the series, The Stranger and The Saboteur – it’s a good sign of a good book when people come into the bookshop to demand the next in the series, and I note it’s been named as a Sunday Times Thriller of the Month! Once again, in The Survivor, our protagonist, M16 spy, Jude Lyon, takes us through a roller coaster of high-octane action, where the stakes couldn’t be higher.
A Heart Full of Headstones by Ian Rankin
(Orion Publishing Co, 2022)
Ian Rankin’s latest book, A Heart Full of Headstones (ISBN: 9781398709355, hardback), will also surely find itself under many a tree this year. John Rebus stands accused of a crime that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life, and Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke finds her loyalties stretched to breaking. A great plot, and characters we love.
SAS Rogue Heroes by Ben Macintyre
A cracking good story on the non-fiction front is Ben Macintyre’s SAS Rogue Heroes (recently republished to coincide with the fantastic BBC series, ISBN: 9780241996904, paperback). I’m reliably informed that the TV series is nearly as good as the book….. Note the ‘nearly’. Ben Macintyre was given full access to SAS archives to write this first-ever authorised book on the SAS. It tells the story of how they came about – at the height of the North Africa campaign, when a new type of warfare was desperately needed – unconventional, no rules, brilliantly audacious, often suicidal. These words could apply to the men of the SAS as much as their style of attack.
Rose Nicholson by Andrew Greig
2022 BOOKMARK Book of the Year winner, Rose Nicolson by Andrew Greig (ISBN: 9780857054869, paperback) At the risk of incurring a Just A Minute penalty for repetition, Rose Nicolson, set in the turbulent years after the Scottish reformation, has all the pace and intrigue of John Buchan and the emotional draw of fascinating, well-depicted characters.
Lily by Rose Tremain
(Vintage Publishing, 2022)
Lily by Rose Tremain (ISBN:9781529115178, paperback), was shortlisted for the BOOKMARK Book of the Year prize. Lily has pace and peril, but with a liberal dose of pathos and a distinctly Dickensian feel in its setting, plot and characters.
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak (ISBN: 9780241988725, paperback). Short-listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022, this book is here because numerous customers keep telling me how good it is – so I felt I should pass on their tip! Starting in Cyprus in 1974, when two teenagers from two divided communities meet and then vanish as war breaks out, it is a story of love, family secrets and displacement. Author David Mitchell describes the book as ‘wise’, and ‘a balm for our bruised times’.
The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carokll
Lewis Caroll’s The Hunting of the Snark (ISBN: 9781854379566, hardback). Illustrated by Tove Jansson (creator of the Moomins), this particular edition is simply superb! With his unlikely crew – including a beaver, a butcher, a baker, a banker and tailor – Captain Bellman heads off to find the elusive Snark armed with courage, a blank map and no sense – or should that be ‘nonsense’?
Shackleton by Ranulph Fiennes
Shackleton by Ranulph Fiennes (ISBN: 9781405938020, paperback)- an extreme adventurer, this book offers an insider’s view on what it took to be at the forefront of exploration in some of the world’s most inhospitable places, and how Shackleton’s experience was crucial to bringing home his crew alive when their ship, The Endurance, was crushed in the ice.
The Ship Beneath the Ice by Mensun Bound
(Pan Macmillan, 2022)
Fascination with the fate of The Endurance has persisted this year culminating in finding the ship, still remarkably well-preserved, sitting on the seabed. The story of the campaign and expedition to find The Endurance is told in The Ship Beneath the Ice by Mensun Bound (ISBN: 9781035008414, hardback, Pan Macmillan, 2022): it is a captivating story of a very modern tale of endurance.