Welcome to the bit of the year where you don’t just have to look for books that you might love, but also books for the assembled throng of friends, family & colleagues that you might be shopping for this season.
So, in the spirit of being helpful, here’s a bunch of our current bestsellers (our top 21…because we just couldn’t bear to leave number 21 off) plus a selection of books that we, the staff of your friendly, neighbourhood bookshop, would recommend without a nano-second’s hestitation:
The Book Off Dust, Philip Pullman
21st Century Yokel, Tom Cox on family, folklore & the countryside that shapes us
A Short History Of Drunkeness, Mark Forsyth, supremely erudite, knowledgeable & funny
Life In The Garden, Penelope Lively, a Radio 4 Book of the Week & a real treasure
Call Me By Your Name, Andre Aciman, a must for anyone enjoyed the film (it’s leagues better)
Gentleman In Moscow, Amor Towles, charm, intelligence & insight & a NYT bestseller
Winter, Ali Smith, dazzling 2nd part of her seasonal quartet
Uncommon Type, Tom Hanks, it turns out that he can really write
Private Eye 2017 No explanation required, ed
Dead Now Of Course, Phyllida Law, thespy reminiscences from NW6’s National Treasure
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, what if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but went on to become an astronaut? Every home should have a copy!
My Life, Our Times, Gordon Brown, ’nuff said
Belsize Remembered, beautiful collection of well illustrated personal histories
The Bad Mood And The Stick, Lemony Snicket, one of our favourite picture books of the year
Anatomy, beautifully realised large format non-fiction for kids
Here We Are, Oliver Jeffers,subtitled Notes For Living On Planet Earth, stunningly lovely hardback picture book written to welcome the author’s newborn child
The Wind In The Willows, a gift edition, lavishly illustrated, to last a lifetime
The Sparsholt Affair, Allan Hollingsworth, this writer back in sparkling form in a novel set over 3 eras of 20th & 21st century
The Dreams Of Bethany Mellmoth, William Boyd, One of the country’s finest writers doesn’t disappoint in these mesmeric and moving short stories
Autumn, Ali Smith, Booker shortlisted, now in paperback
Eleanor Oliphant, Gail Honeyman, a real shop favourite and a breath of fresh air: funny, moving and completely captivating
Some of our own favourites:
Spook Street, Mick Herron, Improving with every novel, the Jackson Lamb series of smart, zeitgeisty and wickedly funny wonky spy stories is peerless
The Lie Of The Land, Amanda Craig, town v country/ heart v head: an unhappy 21st century London couple relocate to the country for a year to make enough money to divorce. Brilliant
Anything Is Possible, Elizabeth Strout, One of the US’ finest writers since Updike IMO
The Dry, Jane Harper, out of nowhere a completely dazzling Aussi thriller set in the badland of the outback and beyond
The Locals, Jonathan Dee, Pulizter nominated novelist in devastating form on the American self and selfishness
Reservoir 13, Jon McGregor, the rhythms of the natural world as a backdrop to a story of loss that ripples through a community
The Awkward Age, Francesca Simon, A North London blended family gets more blended than anyone foresaw
The Other Woman, Laura Wilson, Domestic Noir at its finest from Guardian crime reviewer
Posted on 28th November 2017
Picture the scene: it’s Christmas Day and your loved one is opening a gift from you. They gasp as their eyes behold the splendour and temptation of a pristine Moleskine Diary. Oh, the anticipation of everyday pleasure, for as every diarist knows, a Moleskine diary is an exquisite everyday joy!
So what could *possibly* improve your gift?
Only the chance of having your recipient’s name/motto/petname embossed on the cover at absolutely no extra cost…and what’s to stop you creating your own Moleskine for yourself? Nothing!
All you need to do is to call/email/pop in on Friday Dec 8th between 3–7pm when the magical man (or woman) from Moleskine will be here to emboss like, er, a boss. You can have your diary/notebook embossed on the spot or buy and leave to collect later. If you won’t be here or can’t be here we can take advance payment and hold or post to you, wherever you happen to be!
2018’s looking pretty damn good already
Posted on 7th November 2017
Any fool knows that Christmas shopping can be a slog: tube into town/jostling with crowds in the West End/what to choose for that difficult partner/child/auntie etc (delete as applicable) and then there’s the wrapping…
Never fear, though! We are here to help! We can recommend a huge variety of heavenly books for even the most pernickety friend or relation and all you need to do is to give us a list of your recipients/their interests and a budget and we’ll choose the whole lot and even wrap them for you gratis
All you need to do is to pay and then sit back and wait for the thanks and whoops of pleasure on the Big Day!
[Our personal shopping service is also available generally for birthdays/weddings/christenings/books wishlists etc]
Posted on 26th October 2017
What turns an already wonderful book into a perfect gift? Getting it signed by the author, of course!
We’ve amassed a treasure trove of such literary riches ready for you to browse, whether you live nearby and can pop in and pick up or far, far away–in which case we can post to whatever far flung corner of the world you happen to inhabit.
Here follows two lists–adult and children’s titles–of what’s currently on offer and we’ll keep updating it so that if you are on the lookout for something a little bit special, we just might be able to offer a solution!
General signed titles:
Munich, Robert Harris
The Word Is Murder, Anthony Horowitz
Forest Dark, Nicole Krauss
Some Fantastic Place, My Life In and Out Of Squeeze, Chris Difford
The Marsh King’s Daughter, Karen Dionne
How Not To Be A Boy, Robert Webb
The Writers’ Retreat, Indu Balachandrian
October, China Mieville
Her Every Fear, Peter Swanson
Slade House, David Mitchell
The Inside Track, Laura Trott & Jason Kenny
Out of Heart, Irfan Master
Children’s signed books:
A Skinful of Shadows, Frances Hardinge
Mr Penguin, Alex T Smith
Hortense & The Shadow, Natalia & Lauren O’Hara
This Zoo Is Not For You, Ross Collins
Posted on 24th October 2017
Are you friendly, fearsomely punctual, flexible and creative, organised and hardworking, tireless in your love for books and a passionate supporter of independent retail?
We’re looking for an exceptional soul to join our small but committed and happy team. Weekend work and some unsociable hours involved.
Drop your cv, along with a covering letter explaining what you would bring to West End Lane Books, inside the shop or email to email@example.com
Posted on 27th September 2017
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
Posted on 31st July 2017