What Took You So Long? by Alex Barr
January 29, 2018
On The Up by Tamsin Cottis
February 11, 2018

February Reads

Here are our recommendations for February. We hope you enjoy them. James


"A delightful long read, this is a Russian epic beginning in 1922 in which communism and the second world war are merely a backdrop. It begins when Count Alexander Rostov is placed under house arrest at his hotel. A comic novel about parental duty, friendship and romance, it is character driven, though the plot development in the last hundred pages is extremely gratifying. The Count is loveable, witty, admirable, and so tenderly drawn, that when I finished the book, immediately I missed him." - Elinor Johns

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles


"The relationship between an adolescent boy and his hostile step-father turns the cogs of Tobias Wolff's coming-of-age memoir, This Boy's Life, set in 1950's America. As with his fiction, the seamless storytelling is sprinkled with humour and tenderness for his protagonist, in this case the writer's own flawed and younger self." - Stella Klein

This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff


"The frequently novelistic biography of Richard Chopping and Denis Wirth-Miller, whose relationship lasted six decades, and inspired by the visitors’ book kept at their Wivenhoe, Essex home containing entries from key figures of English Bohemia before and after WW2. The couple’s great friend Francis Bacon features prominently and behaves exactly as badly as you’d expect. An essential chronicle of gay life in the middle decades of the twentieth century." - James Kennedy

The Visitors’ Book by John Lys Turner


"The voice of the book's main character, Mattie Ross, gripped me straight from the first line, a kick ass heroine with a powerful presence of mind, fearlessness and determination that far outshines the men she hires to avenge the death of her father. I would not normally pick up a "cowboy story" but this is much more, with a surging sense of adventure and evocative descriptions of an unforgiving landscape." - Katherine Vik

True Grit by Charles Portis


"Shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize, 'Exit West' is a love story and a tale of survival and hope. Nadia and Saeed have fallen in love and are just daring to make plans for their future when civil war rips their city apart. Fleeing through a series of doors into other countries this novel is slightly reminiscent of 'The Underground Railroad'." - Louise Hare

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid


"Intimate and comprehensive. Informative and moving. An essential bearing of witness to the AIDS tragedy by someone who was on the frontlines in New York in the 1980s. Mainstream (i.e. straight) media depicted activists such as ACT UP as hysterics. Hardly surprising when the average life expectancy of a person with AIDS was 23 months and men in their 20s were dying by the thousand. A lesson in the importance, when it comes to writing history, of POV." - James Kennedy

How to Survive a Plague by David France


"Turtle's father is a monster. So why doesn't she run away? This book pushes the boundaries of love to its terrifying edges. Everything I read after was muted in comparison. " - Peter Coles

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent