In times of uncertainty, what better comfort than the company of a good book? Each week, NCW Programme Director Peggy Hughes will attempt to address your bibliotherapy needs with a handful of book recommendations.

Peggy HughesIf you’ve got a request – by genre, theme or anything else – send an email to info@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk with the subject line ‘Bibliotherapy’ and Peggy will do her best! You can also send your requests via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.


For readers of ‘The Milkman’…

‘I’m currently reading ‘The Milkman’ and want to read something completely different next! – Dacwfe

Oooh so many ways in which a book could be different from the wry strange claustrophobia of Milkman, Dacwfe! I wonder if Conviction by Denise Mina (Harvill Secker) might be one answer?  A gripping story, in which a murder that can’t be ignored sees our reluctant heroine investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall… a read in one sitting kind of book! Read more

Anything by the late great Iain M. Banks will transport you to curious worlds far from Anna Burns’ Northern Ireland, or indeed anywhere else you might have visited in your reading…

Hope

‘I’d love to read some true, real-life accounts of people surviving through historical events just like we are now. So any memoirs or diaries. Something to give hope.’ – Donna

I love memoirs myself, Donna. Recently I especially admired Found and Lost by Alison Leslie Gold (Notting Hill Editions), a luminous memoir of courage and survival from the time of the Holocaust, told through a series of letters to the living and the dead. Sad but beautiful. Read more

Among the Living and the Dead by Inara Verzemnieks (W. W. Norton & Company) uncovers the remarkable story of her Latvian grandparents, as their homeland is conquered by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Read more

For something slightly different, Shaun Bythell’s The Diary of a Bookseller (Profile Books) is his very funny account of the unique challenges of running Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. Read more

Latin American fiction

‘Have you got any Latin American fiction recommendations? I’m a big fan of Roberto Bolano and César Aira but I’m open to books from any era, always trying to find new writers!’ – Dylan

Dylan, just two words for you: Charco Press! This fierce independent publishing outfit based in Edinburgh has made it their mission to find outstanding contemporary Latin American literature and, working with brilliant translators, to bring it to new readers in the English-speaking world. You can truly start anywhere with their list, but I personally particularly loved Resistance by Julián Fuks, translated by Daniel Hahn (1970s, military dictatorship and family placed in extreme circumstances from one of Brazil’s rising stars). Read more

Brenda Lozano’s Loop: translated by Annie McDermott, a love story, irreverent, unconventional and threaded with reflections on love, solitude and more. Or you could trust treat yourself to one of their bundles and sample a year’s worth… Read more


Got a request?

In need of a personal bibliotherapy recommendation? Send your request – whether it’s by genre, theme or anything else – to info@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk with the subject line ‘Bibliotherapy’ and Peggy will do her best to help! You can also send your requests via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

 

Where can I buy?

Many of your favourite independent bookshops are continuing their business online or by phone and will deliver anywhere in the UK. Why not give them a shout?

Norwich – The Book Hive, Jarrold, Tombland Books, Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, Abstract Sprockett, Norfolk Children’s Book Centre

London – Burley Fisher Books, Daunt Books, Brick Lane Bookshop, Pages of Hackney, Dulwich Books, Stoke Newington Bookshop, South Kensington Books, Newham Bookshop, Pages of Cheshire Street, The All Good Bookshop, Pickled Pepper Books, Owl Bookshop, Persephone Books

Edinburgh – Golden Hare Books, Typewronger Books

Wadhurst – Barnetts Books

York – Ken Spelman Books

Petersfield – The Petersfield Bookshop

Stockton-on-Tees – Drake the Bookshop

Arundel and Chichester – Kim’s Bookshop

Nottingham – Five Leaves Bookshop

Hexham, Northumberland – Cogito Books

Explore The Bookseller’s list of independent bookshops and the services they can offer