This year, in order to celebrate our favourite books of the year, we have decided to establish our very own annual literary award: The Little Award!
We have drawn up a longlist (soon to be a shortlist) of our favourite books published in the last 12 months, and we have two smart little trophies to award- one for our winning adult title and an even smaller one for our winning children’s book of the year!
We are also offering 10% of our entire longlist until we announce the winners later in the month.
Come into the shop to browse our chosen titles or click below to read a mini review for each one.
All The Light We Cannot See -by Anthony Doerr
Set in occupied France during the Second World War, this book takes two separate stories (that of a blind French girl and a German boy) and carefully winds them together with fantastic historic detail, and delicious, sensory imagery. Its about finding the beauty of the world in other people, in your surroundings. Its about being the best version of yourself even in the most difficult circumstances.
A Year of Marvellous Ways -by Sarah Winman
This book sang to me! It was many songs at once- a love song, a lullaby and a sea shanty all rolled into one glorious ballad. It is full of passion, pain and poetry. It is uplifting, joyful and simply marvellous.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes -by Caitlin Doughty
If you’ve ever thought that death could be handled better in the West and you don’t mind some gritty truths – this book will really interest you. I found it fascinating, inspiring and oddly humorous. Life and death affirming.
Warriors of the Storm -by Bernard Cornwell
Cornwell writes about authentic, epic historical fiction and this is the latest in the brilliant Last Kingdom series. Set in the time of Alfred the Great, Uhtred has reached middle age but is certainly not slowing down! Vikings, Saxons priests, swords, axes, shields, and the lovely Aethelfiaed.
Our Souls at Night -by Kent Haruf
This touching story of friendship and love in older age is hopeful and poignant. I wept, I smiled and said, ‘ You go girl!’ many times. It’s about finding comfort in the long dark of the night – and not minding what other people think.
The Versions of Us -by Laura Barnett
This was actually one of my favourites of last year, but it’s now out in paperback so I’m cheating a little and putting it in this year’s selection. If you’re anything like me, you spend time sometimes wondering what life would be like if you’d made different choices, said yes instead of no, turned left instead of right. This life story explores the different possibilities in the relationship of Eva and Jim. It’s complicated!
Lamentation –by C J Sansom
Lamentation is the latest medieval crime novel from C J Sansom featuring hunchback lawyer, Matthew Shardlake, who represents Catherine Parr, 6th wife of Henry VII. It’s a brutal time and the book starts with a burning at the stake….
Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End -by Atul Gawande
A thoughtful, moving discussion of how medical science may be keeping us alive for longer, but the manner in which we currently live is not necessarily providing the elderly with dignity.
Everyday Super Food –by Jamie Oliver
I’m not usually Jamie’s biggest fan, but this book is full of colourful, healthy and delicious recipes which are entirely do-able. It has changed my entire view of breakfast! My favourite recipe (so far) is called ‘Awesome Granola Dust- nuts seeds, oats & fruit galore.’ I just call it DUST!
At Hawthorn Time –by Melissa Harrison
A thoughtful look at a village’s relationship with the countryside that surrounds it. Homeless Jack wanders the English forests and fields, living off the land. He understands the tides and turns of nature in a way that most have forgotten. This is a wise story that observes our secrets, our hopes, and the often cruel way that society treats those who refuse to live within the accepted mould.
The Butchers Hook –by Janet Ellis
I approached this book with a slight unwillingness to accept that Janet Ellis might also be able to write a good novel as well as present Blue Peter…but was completely sucked into the raw and bloody world of Anne Jacobs and her butcher boy lover, Fub. I’m rarely surprised by a book – I think I usually know what sort of book I’m reading – but this one did genuinely catch me off guard!
What Paintings Say: 100 Masterpieces in Detail –by Rose-Marie Hagen
Here’s a book jam-packed with information about paintings, many of which you may well think you know well already, but the detailed observations have astonished me and encouraged me to look at paintings in a new light. One of the most amazing things about this book is the price – it’s only £12.99! How?
Our Endless Numbered Days -by Claire Fuller
Peggy and her father live alone in a cabin in a clearing in the forest. She cannot leave because her father has told her that the rest of the world has been destroyed in an apocalypse…. or has it? This is a beautifully spun tale with some dark twists about how idyllic fantasies can tip over into horror stories when they become reality.
The Bricks that Built the Houses -by Kate
Kate Tempest’s first novel retains the gritty, universal truths of her spoken word poetry. Her plot is tense and absorbing, her words are rhythmic – some pages are just begging to be read aloud. . Tempest picks at a thread of her characters and unravels them, exposes the contents of their hearts, their hopes, their flaws, their disappointments, their families, their history and how they came to be- walking on the pavements of London.
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep -by Joanna Cannon
In the sweltering summer of 1976, a seemingly ordinary cul-de-sac on an English housing estate becomes the scene of a missing person inquiry. This is a witty and insightful who-dunnit, starring two ten year old detectives, which explores the shame and secrets hidden behind suburban doors and the devastating consequences of ignorant assumptions.
Olga da Polga -by Michael Bond – illustrated by Catherine Rayner
Not a new title but a gorgeous new edition with amazing Catherine Rayner illustrations. Olga is a guinea pig with attitude and a head full of stories.
Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat –by
Stanley is an unusual cat who loves to knit woolly creations for his friends. Will he find enough yarn to complete his entry for the Woolly Wonders Competition?
The Bear and The Piano –by David Litchfield
This bear is something special! He teaches himself to play the piano and sets off around the world, entertaining audiences far and wide, but not forgetting his friends back home. Will they, however, have forgotten him?
Quick Quack Quentin -by Jim Field and Kes Gray
Quentin the duck has lost the letter ‘A’ from his QUCK. He visits the farm and the zoo to see if any of the animals can give him one of their letters. None of them seem to work until….
Meet at the Ark at Eight –by Ulrich Hub
Simply hilarious! A giggle on every page. Three silly penguins, a plump dove, an Ark and a suitcase. Oh, and a great deal of rain! Read it together (or on your own!).
Claude: Going for Gold -by Alex T Smith
Ah Claude! Get ready for the Olympics with Claude the dog and his faithful friend Sir Bobblysock. A STONKING BIG SPORTS DAY, stretchy sports knickers, a glitzy gold cup and our favourite canine hero. We LOVE it!
The Box and the Dragonfly -by Ted Sanders
A secret society of time-twisting, reality-bending heroes, fighting to keep the balance of good and evil in the world. This book is endlessly imaginative and original. The first story in an exciting new adventure series.
Goodbye Stranger –by Rebecca Stead
A charming, double- stranded story about Bridge, a teen with a strong sense of her own uniqueness, and someone else who is in a lot more trouble.
The Wolf Wilder -by Katherine Rundell
A thrilling adventure set in the Russian forests. Feo and her mother spend their lives re-wilding wolves to enable them to live in their natural environment. When Russian soldiers attack their home, Feo and her wolves are forced to go on the run. This is a story about standing up for yourself and fighting for what you believe in – fantastic, classic story telling.
First Class Murder –by Robin Stevens
The detective society duo are enjoying the holiday of a lifetime when a murder is committed. Join Daisy and Hazel on the Orient Express to solve the mystery. We love this feisty series of books.