We would like to recommend you some books that have been read and enjoyed by library staff during this lockdown period. Where indicated they are available in our digital library at https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries/library-services/e-books/
This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel
This novel tells the story of the Walsh-Adams family, and their chaotic but wonderful life with their five boys. The youngest of these, Claude, is an exceptionally bright three year old with lots of ambitions for when he grows up, including being a scientist, a farmer and a dinosaur. He also wants to be a girl. This is the start of a long and complex journey for Claude, as he makes the decision to become Poppy. His parents and brothers do everything in their power to help, but unfortunately discover that society is not always as welcoming or understanding and difficult times lie ahead for the family.
This novel deals sensitively with some complex and difficult themes around gender, parenting and what it’s like to be different in a world where conforming is seen as the norm. It’s a moving and thought-provoking read, that has at its heart a remarkable child who can help us all learn something new about acceptance.
The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen
In this novel we meet William and Clare, who have somehow reached a point in their marriage where they no longer even seem to know how to talk to each other. Williams spends his days in the Lost Letters Depot, trying to reunite wayward mail with its intended recipient. He is a failed novelist, too scared to try again in case he fulfils his parents’ belief that he will never amount to anything. Clare is a high-flying lawyer, building a career to prove she is a success and to escape a traumatic childhood, but beset by doubts that this is the life she really wants. One day William discovers a letter addressed only to ‘My Great Love’, signed ‘Winter’. He feels instantly that this letter was meant for him and that destiny has brought it to his desk. As more letters arrive and William’s obsession with finding the mysterious Winter grows, his marriage to Clare comes under increasing strain and he feels torn between the reality of his life now and the promise of a life with Winter.
Throughout this novel we hear both William’s and Clare’s viewpoints as they battle with their emotions, and it’s impossible not to get drawn into their story as they try to decide what their future holds. Set in a time before emails and texts and instant messaging, it’s a gentle reminder of the joy that a simple letter in the post can bring. This is availabe as an ebook and eaudio book.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This novel tells the story of Kya, or as she is known locally The Marsh Girl. She is left alone at a young age to fend for herself in a landscape of marshland, isolated and shunned by the residents of the local town. The marsh provides company, an education and a way to make a living, but what Kya craves most of all is human company. This, however, will have unexpected and devastating consequences.
This is a lovely novel, filled with detailed descriptions of the wildlife that surrounds and supports Kya. It deals with some big themes, including domestic violence and racism and is an interesting social commentary on how people fear the unknown and what they don’t understand.
Our Dark Secret by Jenny Quintana
Life is not easy for Elizabeth as an overweight, clever teenager growing up in the 1970s. Her life changes with the arrival of a new family, and their daughter Rachel. Rachel is everything that Elizabeth yearns to be – popular, beautiful and slim – and the two form an unlikely friendship. Rachel’s life is not all it seems though, and her bright façade hides a darker side. Twenty years on a body is discovered and Elizabeth finds herself being drawn back to events that she has spent her adult life trying to escape.
This novel is a brilliant illustration of what life is like as a teenager when you feel that you don’t quite fit and are struggling to make sense of an adult world. The relationship between the two girls, and the impact this has even far into their adult lives, is fascinating to follow.
This book is available as an ebook