12 More Picture Books from 2016

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As promised yesterday, here are twelve more of our favourite picture books published in 2016.  These are aimed at slightly older children than yesterday’s selection, but every child is different.

We hope you find some more of your favourites here – and maybe some ideas for books you’ve not yet read.  All of our suggestions from yesterday and today are available to borrow from Hampshire Libraries.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting – Michelle Robinson & David Roberts

Are you going for a walk in bear country? Bears can be very dangerous, but this helpful guide should help you get through safely. Probably. If you study it carefully.

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An Animal A B C – Alice Pattullo

A beautifully illustrated alphabet book, suitable for the whole family to share.  Each double page spread has a letter with an appropriately named and illustrated animal, but also includes interesting facts about the different creatures.  For example, did you know that rhinos suffer from sunburn?

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The Detective Dog – Julia Donaldson & Sara Ogilvie

Peter’s dog, Nell, has an amazing sense of smell – she can find anything! This is a gun celebration of reading, libraries and a friendship between one boy and his dog.

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Don’t Call Me Choochie Pooh! – Sean Taylor & Kate Hindley

Another dog story, this time about a spoilt little dog with plenty of attitude. She just wants to be like all the other dogs.

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15 things NOT to do with a Granny – Margaret McAllister & Holly Sterling

If your children enjoyed 15 things NOT to do with a baby then you will want to look at this new title from the same team. Personally I think the grannies all look fabulous!

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I Am Bear – Ben Bailey Smith & Sav Akyüz

Another bear book – or should that be bare? Or purple? However you describe him, this bear is trouble.

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Lionheart – Richard Collingridge

Richard is small and scared, so he runs until he reaches a magical jungle full of animals – and a monster. But he also finds a friend who helps him find his courage and to make more friends.

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Meltdown! – Jill Murphy

This book will probably be appreciated more by parents than children. Jill Murphy turns her eagle eye on toddlers, tantrums and supermarket trolleys.

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Monster in the Hood – Steve Antony

Three friends have heard all about the Monster in the Hood, but they wanted to see it for themselves. “Come out, come out, wherever you are! You won’t scare us!” Will the three friends get more than they bargained for?

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Odd Bods – Steven Butler & Jarvis

Ava is an odd bod. Boris is too… Clara, we’re not sure about. I think she’s odd, don’t you? This is an alphabetical celebration for every child who ever felt different.

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Rain – Sam Usher

It’s pelting down with rain and one little boy can’t wait to get outside.  Unfortunately his granddad has some important paperwork to do.  When at last he finishes the two leave the house together and have an amazing adventure.

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Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat – Emily MacKenzie

Stanley is a talented and passionate knitter. He knits wonderful gifts for his friends, but then he has an opportunity to enter the Woolly Wonders Competition. Will he put the knitting competition before his friends?

Beat Blue Monday

What is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday, typically the third Monday of January, has been suggested as the most depressing day of the year, according to Cliff Arnall, former tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

Top Tips

If you’re looking for some motivation to kick start the year, why not try some our top tips below…

Depression is a daily struggle, and we know that those feelings aren’t dictated by the date, if you need help with mental illness, you can find advice and information on the Mind website.


12 Picture Books from 2016

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At this time of year we generally share twelve of our favourite picture books published during the last twelve months.  This year has seen a bumper crop of fabulous books and it was a struggle to cut my long-list of book choices down to such a small number – so I haven’t.

Today we are sharing twelve picture books which are arguably for slightly younger children.  Tomorrow we will offer another twelve books, this time for slightly older children.  We hope you find some of your favourites here and maybe some ideas for books you’ve not yet read.  They are all available to borrow from Hampshire Libraries.

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The Best Bit of Daddy’s Day – Claire Alexander

Follow Bertie and his daddy through their day, until they get to the bit that Daddy likes best.

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Goodnight Everyone – Chris Haughton

The sun is going down and everyone is sleepy – well, almost everyone.  A lovely book full of yawns, stretches and Zzzzzz’s.  Just right for bed time.

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The Greedy Goat – Petr Horácek

Goat has had enough of eating grass, so she tries lots of different things.  This is a fun, cautionary farmyard tale that shows, just because we would like to eat something, doesn’t mean we should.

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The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight – Helen & Thomas Docherty

Leo loves to read, but his mum and dad don’t think that’s the way knights should behave. They send him off to fight a dragon – and any other fearsome creatures he might meet along the way.

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Love Matters Most – Mij Kelly &amp Gerry Turley

An evocative book showing many of the natural wonders of the lands around the Arctic Circle. More importantly, it shows a mother (polar bear) searching for and finding her lost cub. *sniff*

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Nibbles The Book Monster – Emma Yarlett

This book is great fun – with flaps, cut-outs and add-ins to help you follow the trail of Nibbles, the book-eating monster, through all sorts of places he doesn’t belong.

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Oi Dog! – Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field

If you shared Oi Frog! with your children last year, then this book is a must.  Frog decides to change all the rules about who sits where.  The last page is brilliant.

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Solomon and Mortimer – Catherine Rayner

Another sequel, this time from Solomon Crocodile. In this book, Solomon has a friend to share in his exploits. Sounds like trouble to me!

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Tidy – Emily Gravett

Pete is a badger who likes everything clean and tidy. Unfortunately, he takes things a little too far and finds himself tidied out of his own home. Will he learn his lesson?

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The Truth According to Arthur – Tim Hopgood & David Tazzyman

Today Arthur did something wrong. He knows his mum will ask him about it. Will he tell the truth? Or will he bend it, stretch it and try to cover it up? A good starting point for discussions about honesty.

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Vrooom! A Race for First Place – Jonathan Litton & Kasia Nowowiejska

Ten busy, whizzy vehicles line up for a race. This is a tactile, counting-backwards book where vehicles disappear throughout the race. Who will be left at the finishing line?

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We’re in the wrong book! – Richard Byrne

Bella and Ben need your help, nice reader. Bella’s dog has bumped them off the page and now they are lost in the wrong book. Can you help them find their way home to a happy ending?

Costa Book Awards 2016

The Costa Book Awards is one of the UK’s most prestigious and popular literary prizes and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year, written by authors based in the UK and Ireland.

Since their launch in 1971, the awards have rewarded a wide range of excellent books and authors across all genres.

Uniquely, the prize has five categories – First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book – with one of the five winning books selected as the overall Costa Book of the Year. It is the only prize which places children’s books alongside adult books in this way.

Explore, reserve and read this year’s short list below

Novel Award

Days without end, Sebastian Barry

This must be the place, Maggie O’Farrell

The Essex serpent, Sarah Perry

The Gustav sonata, Rose Tremain

First Novel Award

The good guy, Susan Beale

My name is Leon, Kit de Waal

The words in my hand, Guinevere Glasfurd

Golden Hill, Francis Spufford

Biography Award

Dadland: a journey into unchartered territory, Keggie Carew 

Elizabeth: the forgotten years, John Guy

The return: fathers, sons and the land in between, Hisham Matar

I’m not in the band: a writer’s life lost in music, Sylvia Patterson

Children’s Book Award

The bombs that brought us together, Brian Conaghan

Orangeboy, Patrice Lawrence

The monstrous child, Francesca Simon

Time travelling with a hamster, Ross Welford

Dry January

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, the UK Chief Medical Officers’ advise it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.

If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it’s best to spread your drinking evenly over three or more days. If you want to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.

What does 14 units a week look like?

  • 6 pints of 4% beer
  • 6 (175ml) glasses of 13% wine
  • 14 (25ml) glasses of 40% spirits

Dry January 2017 – What could you save?

It is estimated that in the UK (in 2014), the average weekly spend for alcohol consumed in the house was £7.90, whilst £7.20 was spent on alcohol consumed outside the house, at restaurants, pubs and bars (www.drinkaware.co.uk)

So if you gave up alcohol for a week, you could save yourself, on average, £7.55. This could buy you a trip to the cinema or a visit to a local attraction, such a museum or gallery.

Giving up alcohol for a whole month (Dry January) could save you, on average, £33.40. By saving this money, you could have a fun day out with the family at a local Hampshire attraction.

On average, it is estimated you could save nearly £400 if you can give up alcohol for a year. That’s the price of a weekend away!

Why not see how long you can give up for? Find an empty jar and put the average weekly spend in it. It won’t be long before the jar starts to fill up, a brilliant incentive to keep on going! And don’t forget to start planning on what you’ll be spending that saved money on.

If you don’t think you could give up for that long but would still like to cut down, drinkaware.co.uk has some brilliant tips for drinking less at home and when you’re out and about

 When drinking spirits at home, measure them properly instead or free pouring.
 If you’re at a party, try and pour your own drinks. If a host is topping up your half filled glass, it can be difficult to keep track of how much alcohol you’re drinking.
 Drink spritzers if you like wine, or try a shandy if you like lager. You’ll still be getting a large drink but with less alcohol.
 Whether at home or out and about, alternate your alcoholic drink with a soft one and stay properly hydrated.

Out and about? Many pubs and bars are now offering a designated driver program, where you may be entitled to a free soft drink. Why not check with your local pub or bar.

For more information and advice on making better choices about alcohol, visit http://www.drinkaware.co.uk.

Books to get you through Dry January

Ditch the hangover, reduce the waistline, and save some serious £££ by giving up alcohol for 31 days the January. Hampshire libraries can help you find alternative activities with our courses, and pick up some seriously healthy habits with our range of self-help and fitness books, eBooks and eMagazines.

10 Books to get you through Dry January

The power of now, Eckhart Tolle

To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart Tolle offers simple language and a question and answer format to guide us. Surrender to the present moment, where problems do not exist. It is here we find our joy, are able to embrace our true selves and discover that we are already complete and perfect.

Sane new world, Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax – comedian, writer and mental health campaigner – shows us how our minds can jeopardize our sanity. With her own periods of depression and now a Masters from Oxford in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy to draw from, she explains how our busy, chattering, self-critical thoughts drive us to anxiety and stress. If we are to break the cycle, we need to understand how our brains work, rewire our thinking and find calm in a frenetic world. Helping you become the master, not the slave, of your mind, here is the manual to saner living

Mindfulness in eight weeks, Michael Chaskalson

Find your way into Mindfulness with this engaging and practical step-by-step guide that you can follow in your own time and in the comfort of your own home. Mindfulness training can change your life: recommended by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Excellence and prescribed by the NHS, it helps you to experience less stress and anxiety, and to discover more joy and deeper sense of being in each moment. In just eight weeks, people who have learnt these simple and easy-to-follow methods describe how it gives them new zest for life and an increased courage to face whatever obstacles they come across.

Easy way to control alcohol, Allen Carr

This text is bold and controversial and takes issue with many experts in the field and much received wisdom. It dispels all illusions about the benefit of alcohol, promises no withdrawl symptoms and removes the desire and need for alcohol.

Stop drinking now, Allen Carr

Most drinkers are convinced that it’s almost impossible to stop drinking and to free themselves from addiction; they also feel unable to solve any of the widespread problems drinking causes. The wonderful news is that this book shows them how to stop immediately, painless and permanently.

The 10 secrets of 100% healthy people, Patrick Holford

Do you know the ten habits that could help you thrive – not just survive – in the 21st century? In order to discover what those secrets are, Patrick Holford and his team have carried out Britain’s biggest-ever health and diet survey, the 100% health survey, which has now been completed by over 55,000 people. This book is a distillation of the fascinating insights provided by the survey’s top scorers and the author’s 30 years of experience studying good health and how to achieve it. It shows readers how to discover where they are on the scale of 100% health and provides a new system of good health that is easy to follow and easily measurable – one that will enable people to transform their health and wellbeing, whether they are relatively fit and healthy or struggling with various health issues.

Manage your stress for a happier life, Terry Looker

This book explains why you feel stressed and how to do something about it. It includes a free package of ‘biodots’, which will help you diagnose and manage your stress; it will also explain the causes of your tension, and show you all the different strategies you can use to deal with it. It explains how better physical health can lead to better mental health, gives practical information on things like decluttering and work-life balance, and reveals what the new discoveries of NLP and similar techniques can do to help you banish stress forever.

Be your own life coach, Fiona Harrold

All of us have dreams about what we’d like to do, who we’d like to be and where we’d like to go in life. But most of us are never able to make these dreams a reality. Now, in this highly motivating new book, Fiona Harrold uses her experience as a life coach to show us that we can turn our own lives around. With encouragement, humour and an emphasis on the practical, Fiona sets out the 10 steps to taking control of our lives. First we must set our goals, however crazy they may seem; then we must start on the path to achieving them.

Feel the fear and do it anyway, Susan Jeffers

Internationally renowned author Susan Jeffers has helped millions of people overcome their fears and heal the pain in their lives with her simple but profound advice. Whatever your anxieties, Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway will give you the insight and tools to vastly improve your ability to handle any given situation. You will learn to live your life the way you want – so you can move from a place of pain, paralysis, depression and indecision to one of power, energy, enthusiasm and action. An empowering and life-affirming book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway will help you triumph over your fears and move forward with your life.

How to stop worrying, Frank Tallis

Frank Tallis explains how you can avoid stress and anxiety, if you know how to control it. You can learn to understand your fears, and face the possibilities of life calmly.

New year, new hobby!

What better time to start a new hobby than the new year? At Hampshire Libraries, we have a huge selection of courses and activities to help you choose something new, or brush up on something you haven’t been able to do for a while.

If you like art, why not try…

Fine painting and drawing

Drawing & painting for improvers

Painting and drawing using mixed media

3D polymer clay workshop

Watercolour painting for all

If you like music, why not try…

Singing – Find your voice

An introduction to the ukulele

Blues guitar workshop

Learn to read music

Introduction to rock and roll guitar

If you like languages, why not try…

Spanish for beginners

Everyday English for speakers of other languages

Italian improvers

French for beginners

If you like to keep healthy, why not try…


Qi Gong for beginners

Tai Chi for beginners 

Yoga mixed ability

Let’s sit down and move


Happy birthday Stephen Hawking

To celebrate 75 years of one of the most influential scientists of our time, we’ve put together our ultimate Stephen Hawking booklist for you to enjoy! Whether your a physics enthusiast or just browsing for your next read, take a look at our suggestions…

A brief history of time, Stephen Hawking

Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries? These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time, from the Big Bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and strong theory. To this day A Brief History of Time remains a staple of the scientific canon, and its succinct and clear language continues to introduce millions to the universe and its wonders.

A briefer history of time, Stephen Hawking & Leonard Mlodinow

Although this book is literally somewhat ‘briefer’, it actually expands on the great subjects of the original. Purely technical concepts, such as the mathematics of chaotic boundary conditions, are gone. Conversely, subjects of wide interest that were difficult to follow because they were interspersed throughout the book have now been given entire chapters of their own, including relativity, curved space, and quantum theory. This reorganization has allowed the authors to expand areas of special interest and recent progress, from the latest developments in string theory to exciting developments in the search for a complete, unified theory of all the forces of physics.

The universe in a nutshell, Stephen Hawking

in The Universe in a Nutshell, Stephen Hawking brings us fully up-to-date with the advances in scientific thinking. We are now nearer than we have ever been to a full understanding of the universe. In a fascinating and accessible discussion that ranges from quantum mechanics, to time travel, black holes to uncertainty theory, to the search for science’s Holy Grail – the unified field theory (or in layman’s terms the ‘theory of absolutely everything’) Professor Hawking once more takes us to the cutting edge of modern thinking.

Travelling to infinity, Jane Hawking

‘Travelling to Infinity’ is a moving and engaging memoir written by Stephen Hawking’s first wife about the turbulent years of her marriage with the astro-physics genius, her traumatic divorce and their recent reconciliation.

From eternity to here: the quest for the ultimate theory of time, Sean Carroll

Twenty years after Stephen Hawking’s 9-million-copy selling A Brief History of Time , pioneering theoretical physicist Sean Carroll takes our investigation into the nature of time to the next level. You can’t unscramble an egg and you can’t remember the future. But what if time doesn’t (or didn’t!) always go in the same direction? Carroll’s paradigm-shifting research suggests that other universes experience time running in the opposite direction to our own. Exploring subjects from entropy and quantum mechanics to time travel and the meaning of life, Carroll presents a dazzling new view of how we came to exist.

Time, Andy Goldsworthy

Time, always a crucial element in the work of Andy Goldsworthy both as a medium and as a metaphor is celebrated in this book. An introduction by the artist conveys the importance to him of time, change and place. A sequence of works made around his home in Scotland often shown in series recording their gradual disappearance or transformation is followed by Goldsworthy’s diaries of visits to five locations in North America and Europe, vividly evoking, in text and pictures, the process of exploration and response to each place.

Greetings, Carbon Based Bipeds! Arthur C Clarke

The reader is swept into the course of events and becomes an active and informed participant rather than a remote bystander. From predicting the role of geosynchronous satellites decades before they existed to his groundbreaking reporting from Kennedy Space Center in the 60s, to anticipating the internet decades before it happened, Clarke has acted both as technological prophet and cultural conscience, celebrating the great scientific powers of man — but simultaneously warning of the perils of a world where power and greed reign unchecked. Each essay has a new introduction by Clarke to provide perspective.

Why are black holes black? Thomas Canavan

How far could you throw a ball on the Moon? How much rubbish have humans left in space? How do astronauts go to the loo? Find out the answers to these questions and lots of other incredible facts about planet outer space. Bitesize chunks of information mean this book is full of stuff you’ve never even thought of on everything that is unique or impressive about the world we live in.

George’s Secret Key to the universe, Stephen & Lucy Hawking

George’s pet pig breaks through the fence into the garden next door – introducing him to his new neighbours: the scientist, Eric, his daughter, Annie, and a super-intelligent computer called Cosmos. And from that moment George’s life will never be the same again, for Cosmos can open a portal to any point in outer space . . .

George’s cosmic treasure hunt, Stephen & Lucy Hawking

‘We are going,’ said Annie, ‘on a great cosmic journey. So listen up, Savers of Planet Earth, and prepare to meet the Universe.’George’s best friend Annie needs help. Her scientist father, Eric, is working on a space project – and it’s all going wrong. A robot has landed on Mars, but is behaving very oddly. And now Annie has discovered something wierd on her dad’s super-computer. Is it a message from an alien? Could there be life out there? How do you find a planet in outer space? And if you could talk to aliens, what would you say?

Holocaust Memorial Day 2017

The 27th January marks Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, promoted and supported by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust. It’s a time for everyone to pause to remember the millions of people who have been murdered or whose lives have been changed beyond recognition during the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The theme for 2017 is How can life go on?


This year, HMDT have a new microsite called Reflections on loss and living,  which explores living with absence after the Holocaust and genocide, and the roots of life. They are inviting people to take part in their nationwide arts programme and submit their own artistic responses to our Wall of Life.

You will also be able to pick up Holocaust Memorial Day booklets produced by the HMD Trust at Winchester, Basingstoke and Gosport Discovery Centres as well as Andover, Chandler’s Ford, Fareham, Farnborough, Lymington, Petersfield, Waterlooville and Fleet Libraries.

We’ll be sharing, tweeting and posting on our social media accounts using the hashtag #HMD2017, so follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep yourself up to date.

It is important for us to hear your thoughts, stories and feedback, share your comments with us below.

Get cosy with a Christmas read

There’s nothing better to escape from the turkey cooking, present wrapping, Christmas madness than a great book. Here’s our list of the 10 of the most popular books for adults in 2016, all available in Hampshire libraries for free, to give you a little inspiration for your Christmas distraction. So you sort the sprouts, and we’ll take care of the stories!

Harry Potter and the cursed child, JK Rowling

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

The girls, Emma Cline

California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life.

Night school, Lee Child

It’s 1996, and the Soviets are long gone. But now there’s a new enemy. In an apartment in Hamburg, a group of smartly-dressed young Saudis are planning something big. Jack Reacher is fresh off a secret mission and a big win. The Army pats him on the back and gives him a medal. And then they send him back to school. It’s a school with only three students: Reacher, an FBI agent, and a CIA analyst. Their assignment? To find that American. And what he’s selling. And to whom.

The whistler, John Grisham

The most corrupt judge in US history. A young investigator with a secret informant. The electrifying new thriller. Lacy Stoltz never expected to be in the firing line. Investigating judicial misconduct by Florida’s one thousand judges, her cases so far have been relatively unexciting. That’s until she meets Greg Myers, an indicted lawyer with an assumed name, who has an extraordinary tale to tell.

When breath becomes air, Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.

My name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of her life: her impoverished childhood in Amgash, Illinois, her escape to New York and her desire to become a writer, her faltering marriage, her love for her two daughters.

Small great things, Jodi Picoult

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father. What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.

Swing time, Zadie Smith

Two girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

The sellout, Paul Beatty

Born in the ‘agrarian ghetto’ of Dickens – on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles – the narrator of The sellout is raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, and spends his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. Led to believe his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes, he is shocked to discover, when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, that there never was a memoir. All that’s left is a bill for a drive-through funeral. Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from embarrassment.

His bloody project, Graeme Macrae Burnet

The year is 1869. A brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. A memoir written by the accused makes it clear that he is guilty, but it falls to the country s finest legal and psychiatric minds to uncover what drove him to commit such merciless acts of violence. Was he mad? Only the persuasive powers of his advocate stand between Macrae and the gallows.