Here at Isabella Oliver we love a good book and lunchtime conversations often end with discussions about what books we’ve been reading recently. The titles we love range from current bestsellers to classic stories and everything in between.
If you’re looking for a recommendation, take inspiration from our favourite books below or if you’ve read something you just can’t put down, please let us know!
Love, the Isabella Oliver team
The Millennium Series by Steig Larsson
This series of bestselling novels was originally written in Swedish by the late Stieg Larsson. The series includes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. What I love about them are the primary characters in the series, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Lisbeth is an extremely intelligent and eccentric woman in her twenties- a brilliant hacker with a photographic memory and poor social skills. Blomkvist is an investigative journalist with a history similar to Larsson’s.
The Darwin Awards: Countdown to Extinction by Wendy Northcutt
I like this book because it tells the stories of how people have met their maker through the ‘interesting’ (silly) choices they have made. It makes me laugh!
By The River Piedro I Sat and Wept by Paul Coelho
It is very poetic and mesmerising, along the lines of the ‘follow your heart’ theme Paul Coelho is known for. It covers fear and rejection, passion, love & courage….and it’s full of inspiration. He writes so beautifully that as the reader you kind of get transported to the character’s world. It was perfect for back seat reading through France and wiling away hours on the beaches of Spain and even better sitting at Venetian cafes along the canal!
Skellig by David Almond
It’s a beautiful story about a boy who moves house and discovers a man living in his shed. He is having a tough time at home as his mother is in hospital, so he is feeling very alone. He spends time getting to know this man, who seems very fragile and ill, and feeds him up to strength, bringing him his favorite Chinese takeaway. After a while, he discovers this man is actually not fully human, and realises that he has wings and he has in fact been helping to heal not a person, but an angel.
It’s a short story, but so lovely because its shows the simplest acts of kindness can really help make a difference to a person in their hour of need.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I like novels that are based in different places and from past eras. The 1920’s and the 1930’s are my favourites.
Shantaram by Gregory David Robert
Although the book had over 900 pages, I couldn’t put it down and after reading this I can’t wait to go to India. It’s amazing and mesmerizing first novel by Gregory Roberts, set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Addressing issues of race and injustice in 1930’s Alabama, this story is told by a young girl who recounts the story of the trial of man in her town who is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. It is an intelligent and engrossing story which I first read when I was in my early teens and since then I try to read it every couple of years.
La’ Toya loves:
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
The book is authentic, vibrant, unpredictable and raw and I wasn’t able to put it down.
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
First published in 1932, it parodies romanticised ideals of rural life between the wars. The heroine – Flora Poste, is a 20 year old orphan who only has £100 a year to live on which ‘hardly keeps you in stockings and fans’ and unwilling to find herself employment, decides the only way is to live off of one of her relatives and decides on the Starkadders, of Cold Comfort Farm in rural Sussex. Who curiously call her ‘Robert Postes Child’ and vow to put the right the ‘wrong that my man did to your father’.
The farm is a ruin (this is blamed on a supposed ‘curse’) and inadequately run by the extended family, the figure head of which is Aunt Ada Doom, who has said to have been driven mad by seeing “something nasty in the woodshed” as a child.
Flora in her idealistic and spirited way drags the Starkadder family and the farm into the 20th century.
This wonderfully written book is subtle British humour at its best….
One Day by David Nicholls
Starting from the day of their graduation in 1988, this story follows the friendship of Emma and Dexter, visiting them on the same day each year for the next twenty years. A touching and very real will-they-won’t-they story, this novel is an absorbing page-turner that has the ability to make you laugh and cry. This novel is currently being adapted into a film but I urge you to read it first as you won’t want to put it down!
The Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
I enjoyed reading this book as I like Bill Bryson’s writing style and hearing about his travels in various places around the world. This book is a witty insight to his childhood in 1950’s America.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Set in Nazi Germany during WW2 it tells the story of a young orphaned girl and her relationship with her foster parents, the other residents of her very poor neighbourhood (in particular her best friend Rudy, the boy next door) and the Jewish fist fighter they hide in their basement. A very moving book, told through the eyes of the Grim Reaper (Death). It made me cry!!!!