Heart breaking and heart warming: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

When a very good friend in Glasgow texted me especially but urgently to recommend a book, I took note. “This needs to be on your shortlist”, Susan wrote, “I’m half way through. Great book… sad and hilarious”. Susan was right: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is beautifully sad and touchingly hilarious. It’s also compelling and heartwarming. What’s more, it works brilliantly as an audiobook.

Scottish and snide and highly entertaining: The Diary of a Bookseller

Sometimes when I’m at the library, a book will literally leap from the shelf into my arms and shout ‘take me home with you!’ Not always, just sometimes.

So it was with The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell. One minute the book was sitting on the shelf, the next it was in my custody, despite having no previous inclination to read it. The randomness of this book coming home with me meant I had no expectations for it. Low expectations + a pretty good book = delighted reader.

Walking the Lights: Quite a lot of walking, and not a lot else

I had high hopes for Walking the Lights by Deborah Andrews. It’s been shortlisted for this year’s The Not the Booker Prize; it’s published by an independent Scottish publishing house that gave us last year’s The Not the Booker Prize winner (Fishnet by Kirsten Innes); it’s set in Glasgow, and its blurb promises that it ‘perfectly evokes 90s Britain and those living on the margins, while others prosper’.  A winning combination, I thought.