Let’s face it, there are few such essential piece of holiday kit than the books you pack (you don’t pack…you download?? Oh, let’s not even go there…). Everyone can remember the mini break ruined by an unsatisfactory novel or the long train journey that seemed to go on forever because you had–gasp–nothing to read!
Here at West End Lane Books we take holiday recommendations very seriously. They’re like prescriptions, for heaven’s sake. How do you want to feel? Do you like your books fictional or real? Slow or high-octane? Here are some suggestions for this summer, from books we’ve most recently savoured…in no particular order
Exquisite by Sarah Stovell: keep this in your hand luggage, because you won’t want to be parted from it for long. Psychological drama involving a successful novelist and an aspiring student writer who becomes obsessed with her…or is it the other way around?
The Lie Of The Land by Amanda Craig. Beautifully written and realised, zeitgesity tale of our times: the Bredins can’t afford to divorce so they rent out their London home, move to a much cheaper pile in the country and plan to part when they’ve saved enough money. A post-Brexit story of money, desire, country and city.
The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser. Family and friends saga in shades of Elizabeth Jane Howard. Opes at a country house gathering in 1936; behind the country idyll there are already tensions set to combust. Travels through to the outbreak and end of WW2. A highly readable story of commitment, loyalty, duty and love.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. Startlingly fresh, bright and impressive debut finds Dublin undergraduate friends and sometimes lovers Frances and Bobbi drawn into the milieu of 30 something alpha couple Melissa and Nick. Sophisticated, perceptive, funny and smart.
Dear Mr M by Herman Koch. More disturbingly dark and ingeniously plotted fiction from the quirky Dutch writer who can do no wrong as far as we’re concerned (remember The Dinner?). Here we have a ebbing, aging novelist and a devoted fan/stalker with a vested interest in the writer’s most famous work: the story of of a a teacher, his student, an affair and a brutal murder…although the body never did get found
Upstairs Room by Kate Murray Browne. An urban ghost story de nos jours. North London/gentrification/property prices/relationship anxiety…and an uneasy feeling about the house you can’t afford but have just bought
One of the truly scariest things a parent can do is to throw a party for their children! The noise! The mess! The expense! The faff! We can’t help with the noise and the mess but we can mitigate the faff and the expense with our book-themed Party Bag service for all ages/interest and budgets.
Simply tell us what age children/ interest/ how many books/your budget and we will do the rest: we’ll order your books, add balloons, stickers, bags, bookmarks etc and bag them all up for you.
You can choose between 20% off the books or a free book for the birthday child. And you only pay for the books, we throw everything else in completely free and that’s one little birthday item you can cross of your To Do list! A couple of days’ notice is preferable, but, in an emergency we can source stock from the shop or offer an overnight service!
For the avoidance of family strife, it’s our civic duty to give you ample warning of the rapid approach of Father’s Day on June 18th. And to make things as easy peasy as possible-providing Dad with a gift to make even the gruffest of paters melt, and you with instant brownie points and favoured child status– we’re offering expertly selected (by us) bundles of books for the big guy in your life.
There are four selections: Fiction (one hardback and two paperbacks), Non-Fiction (ditto) Deluxe (one fiction & non fiction hardback plus a mystery deluxe edition) and a gift for a young child to give to their daddy (hardback or paperback). With all selections we will gift wrap for free and also throw in a Father’s Day card of your choice, gratis
This way, all you’ll have to do is hand over the goods and take the credit
Banish the despair of the feigned-smile-while-opening-awful-present forever! Just set up a Wish List with us, tell all your friends and then Bob’s your uncle: Christmas/birthday/bar-mitzvah etc holds no fear because you know that you will be receiving exactly what you want! And if that wasn’t good enough, we will also gift wrap for free, when your nearest and dearest buy from your list!
We end November with a swagger on Nov 25th when Woody Woodmansey, legendary David Bowie henchman and drummer with the Spiders From Mars, joins us in conversation with journalist Simon Goddard (see our event page for more details).
To mark this grand occasion, we have designated the week of 21 Nov onwards as Bowie Week: anyone buying a Bowie (or Woody) book will receive a free West End Lane Books bag and be entered into a draw to win a brilliant Bowie bundle!