We carry a wide range of new titles for adults – customers are often surprised to find that something they’ve only just read about is already on display in the shop. We’re not only about new books though – we have an extensive selection of backlist titles across all genres. Whether you’re interested in fiction, history, biography, politics or science, you’ll find a good read on our shelves. And we cater for practical needs too – we’ve a very well-stocked travel section, a great collection of cookery books, and much more.
I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death
This is a hugely personal memoir, if that’s not a contradiction in terms, this is a sort of Book of life told through near death experiences. As the reader, you feel Maggie is speaking directly to you and only you. She has the amazing ability to write as a friend, her warmth and compassion oozes from the pages and there are times when you want to stop reading, turn to her and hug her.
She talks about university, about revising and passing exams to get degrees that really don’t matter in the grand scale of life. Writes about a near death experience on a flight to Hong Kong when it hit turbulence resulting in some passengers being hospitalized afterwards. In all there are seventeen near death experiences and these provide the chapters of this brilliant memoir.
The book opens with a dramatic encounter with a murderer in a remote location from which she might never have escaped. This encounter is startling, frightening and deeply sad for the life wasted by the inaction of the police.
For me the most personal writing was about the miscarriages and her daughter’s Anaphylaxis. She writes about the miscarriages with pain and they are heart-breaking to read. I could not remember another writer describing the miscarriages in such a way, often it is a topic not discussed.
The title of the book, I Am, I Am, I Am is taken from The Bell Jar and whilst only just over 200 pages this is a book that will have a profound effect on you as she explores the fragility of life through her own near death experiences. The trick that Maggie pulls off with this hugely personal memoir is that it is not a sad book but a book when you finish it and you will stand back in awe at her, her life and think how lucky you are.
It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.
And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael,
who are inseparable.
And the boys become men,
and then Annie walks into their lives,
and it changes nothing and everything.
In some ways I don’t have enough words to tell you how brilliant this book is. I absolutely loved it. There’s not a word wasted as Sarah Winman tells the story of Ellis, Michael and Annie supported by the wonderful character of Mabel and not forgetting Mr Khan. This is the story of how you fall in love, in what is a love letter to human kindness and friendship, loss and living.
I’ve been a fan of Sarah’s since God Was A Rabbit and Tin Man is a triumph and a joy to read.
This is the story of The Music Shop, owned by Frank. Frank is set in his ways, appears to be settled and definitely never going to stock CD’s. His shop is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need. There are wonderful scenes of customers popping by, unhappy or lost and Frank shows them to the record booth, plays a track for them and they feel right again.
Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann. Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music…
The Music Shop is a story about good, ordinary people who take on forces too big for them. It’s about falling in love and how hard it can be. And it’s about music – how it can bring us together when we are divided and save us when all seems lost.
Rachel Joyce is a great storyteller and in The Music Shop she was written an hugely enjoyable and wonderful story.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Currently the bestselling books in Village Books, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once an aching love story and a decisive remonstration. It is told in a whisper, in a shout, through tears and sometimes with a laugh. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, mended by love-and by hope. For this reason, they are as steely as they are fragile, and they never surrender. This ravishing, magnificent book reinvents what a novel can do and can be. And it demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Hardback Special Price in Village Books £10
Hazel’s favourite book of 2017, this is a debut title that’s a powerful tale that highlights the loneliness of life and the power – and changes – a little kindness can bring.
A delightful tale that we’d highly recommend for a good read. Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
The story slowly develops around Eleanor as you get to know her and Honeyman gently pulls you into the book. By telling little snippets of Eleanor’s life, how she lives you begin to form a warmth for her and an understanding of her. We know early that she is housed in social housing, with twice yearly visit to see how she is coping, we know that something terrible happened in her early life and that she is haunted by her relationship with her Mother.
There is delightful humour in Honeyman’s style for Eleanor, such as the tale of Eleanor getting a bikini wax. I loved the descriptions of Eleanor talking about “simple family meals” which included sourdough toast, manchego cheese and quince jelly. There’s a great description of a place when she calls it Spam Valley, or describing a person with “she wasn’t chewing gum but her demeanor was very much that of a gum chewer”.
The sinister and uncomfortable element comes through the Mother daughter relationship and Honeyman builds that into the story very well. The highlights for me were Eleanor’s conversations and relationship with Raymond. Here I thought the passages were at their strongest and most enjoyable.
With humour throughout the book makes this a highly readable novel of loneliness and isolation in cities.
Local author Laura Barnett had the biggest selling debut of 2016 and she follows up this month with a wonderful and hugely enjoyable novel, Greatest Hits.
Sheila absolutely loved this novel which tells the story of Cass Wheeler, a fictional singer who enjoyed huge success from the early seventies, only to retire mysteriously at the height of her fame. Two decades later, she is spending a single day in her recording studio, picking out tracks for a very personal Greatest Hits album. Each chapter of Greatest Hits opens with one of these songs and takes the reader back through Cass’s life, from her childhood, through her earliest days as a singer, to the terrible crisis that caused her to flee her own life.
And in a wonderful addition the amazing singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams – a woman who spins musical magic out of thin air is launching an album to bring Cass’s songs to life. The sixteen tracks in the book, with music by Kathryn and lyrics by us both.
A sweeping love story set during the 1950’s in Italy, filled with mystery, glamour and danger which Sheila loved reading. The story took her back to a period in time that oozes glamour and Foley depicts the images beautifully.
Everyone is very much looking forward to hearing Lucy talking about the book in the bookshop on Tuesday 13 June.
The Woolgrower's Companion
Set in Australia in 1945, this is the story of Kate, a young woman brought up to be a lady, who has to fight against social conventions to try to save her family’s sheep farm. Hazel loved this – it is a gripping tale beautifully told that has been described as “Captain Corelli meets The Thornbirds”, though she thinks it has a flavour of
A Town Like Alice.
Cyclist Who Went Out In The Cold
Scaling a new peak of rash over-ambition, Tim Moore tackles the 9,000km route of the old Iron Curtain on a tiny-wheeled, two-geared East German shopping bike. In this book, he reflects on the curdling of the Communist dream, and the memories of a Cold War generation reared on the fear of apocalypse – at a time of ratcheting East-West tension.
From one of the biggest personalities in British politics, Clarke reveals his remarkable journey from working-class scholarship boy to high political office.
The Guardian said “Despite this extraordinary act of self-harm, Clarke maintains his jolly air throughout this memoir. “