Barefoot Bookseller Recommendations

Mother’s Boy: A Writer’s Beginnings by Howard Jacobson

Jacobson’s backlist of books is substantial, and to name but a few; The Man Booker Prize winning The Finkler’s Question, to the tender and terrifying J, to the seriously funny Zoo Time.

And in 2022, Jacobson returned with his latest non-fiction book entitled, Mother’s Boy: A Writer’s Beginnings. In it, he tells the story of grappling with his family’s history, his Jewish identity and beyond. Taking us from the growing pains of childhood in Manchester to studying at Cambridge University, before heading to Sydney as a maverick young professor, through to his changing family life.

This is the story of his path to becoming a writer along with the twists and turns life takes to becoming a first-time author at 40. It’s full of his trademark wit, is completely candid and moving.

 Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Idea that Reveal the Cosmos by Priyamvada Natarajan

The cosmos, once understood as a stagnant place, filled with the ordinary, is now a universe that is expanding at an accelerating pace, propelled by dark energy and structured by dark matter.

Priyamvada Natarajan, is our guide to these ideas, and is at forefront of the research in the field―an astrophysicist who literally creates maps of invisible matter in the universe. She not only explains for a wide audience the science behind these essential ideas but also provides an understanding of how radical scientific theories gain acceptance.




Small Things like These by Claire Keegan

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.

Shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2022, this book was loved and lauded by the likes of Hilary Mantel, Colm Toibin and Douglas Stuart for its masterful storytelling filled with taught prose that is profound and multi-layered. Completely exquisite.

Brilliant Maps: An Atlas for Curious Minds by Ian Wright

Ever wondered which nations have North Korean embassies? Which nations have the tallest men? How many countries have bigger economies than California? Who drives on the ‘wrong’ side of the road? And where can you find lions in the wild?

The answers are waiting to be discovered in this enlightening, thought-provoking and fun book by Ian Wright. Brilliant Maps is a unique atlas of culture, history, politics and miscellanea, compiled by the editor of the iconic Brilliant Maps website. Visually arresting and full of surprising facts and figures, this is a stunning piece of cartography that maps our curious and varied planet that makes for the perfect gift for the festive season.

10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

‘In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila’s consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore…’

For Leila, each minute after her death recalls a sensuous memory: spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the birth of a yearned-for son; bubbling vats of lemon and sugar to wax women’s legs while men are at prayer; the cardamom coffee she shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each fading memory brings back the friends she made in her bittersweet life – friends who are now desperately trying to find her…

Life-affirming and beautiful yet heartbreaking and stark, Shafak returns with a novel that will captivate from the first page.

Nodding Off: The Science of Sleep by Professor Alice Gregory

If you’re still struggling to get a proper night’s sleep then you need Professor Alice Gregory’s book, Nodding Off; The Science of Sleeping.

Sleep plays a crucial role in our waking lives, and we need to start paying it more attention. The latest research tells us that it’s essential for learning and memory, for mental health and physical wellbeing and yet we tend to only think about it when it’s proving a struggle.

Professor Gregory, along with other renowned experts in the area, offer helpful tips to improve your sleep quality and quantity along with answering questions you’ve always wondered about; from adolescent sleeping patterns, to anxiety dreams, to understanding sleep disorders.

Practical, engaging and incredibly helpful

The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood

Set on the outskirts of London in the picturesque village of Marlow, we meet Judith Potts; she’s seventy-seven years old, lives on her own in a faded mansion and is kept busy setting crosswords for The Times newspaper. One evening Judith witnesses a brutal murder, but the local police dismiss her story so she decides to investigate. Soon she is joined by fellow would-be sleuths Suzie and Becks. And together they are the Marlow Murder Club. When another body turns up, they realise they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. And the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might not escape…

This is a modern-day Agatha Christie inspired “whodunnit” with a twist, and is perfect for fans of Richard Osman, Peter James and Janice Hallett. Written with verve, full of charm and fiendishly fun; you will be dying to solve this murder-mystery with a big cup of Earl Grey tea.

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