-By Emma Bilsborough, Retail Team Leader
Lauren Child is a writer, illustrator and Children's Laureate all wrapped up in one. Whether you're reading the Charlie and Lola books, or Clarice Bean, the endearing 'That Pesky Rat', or her young adult series Ruby Redfort, Lauren Child's work is fun, unique and the illustration style is so bright and colourful its hard not to love it.
The Secret Garden was my favourite book as a child. I remember it well, and it is so wonderfully optimistic and sweet that I find time to read it regularly, and it's a perfect Summer book, it might just encourage you to do that gardening you've been putting off!
Michael Ende's Neverending Story acts as a doorway for children into the world of fantasy writing. It's also a brilliant representation of what it means to read books as a child (and even for some of us as an adult). Though Bastian quite literally loses himself in the story, we can all relate to his curiosity and need to find out where the story ends. We recommend this one when you're in the mood for an adventure.
Where the Wild Things are, like Harry Potter, always lands itself on any reading lists I write. There's a trend on this list of fantasy worlds and adventures, from secret gardens to worlds hidden within books. I can't help but be drawn to children's books that make my imagination run wild. Like Lauren Child's books, what I love best about Where the Wild things are is the illustrations.
What better time than the Summer to read Bilbo's tale? Another fantasy story filled with Dragons, Dwarves, Elves, and all of the best parts of the genre. I'm massively fond of this story, and should be enjoyed by every young reader.
Is Harry Potter on every reading list of ours? Absolutely! If you're on school/college/university holidays, it's the perfect time to re-read the Harry Potter series.
John Green's Looking for Alaska is one of his six famous YA novels, alongside An Abundance of Katherines, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and The Fault in Our Stars. Looking for Alaska follows Miles "Pudge" Halter as he navigates a new school and new friends. Pudge has a fascination with famous last words, such as Francois Rabelais's "I go to seek a great perhaps". It's a unique coming-of-age novel and John Green is a must for Young Adult readers.
Eleanor and Park is the story of two young misfits in the 1980s. It's a love story, that begins with the two bonding over comic books and music. Another perfect YA novel, working through the struggles of growing up. The author, Rainbow Rowell, has also written two other novels, Fangirl and Carry On, and now works on the Marvel Runaways comics.
Debut novel by Becky Albertalli, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is the coming out story of teenage boy Simon Spier. It has since been adapted into a film, which has drawn a large fanbase to the story due to its unique representation of LGBT teens. Albertalli has just last month released the sequel, Leah On the Offbeat, in which Simon's best friend Leah is the protagonist.
Another Young Adult novel turned popular movie, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a fun read for those of us who were (or are) teenage misfits and outcasts. The story is told in a unique way, through photographs and narrative.
A Monster Calls is on this list because of its truly beautiful artwork. The story isn't something to snub, but the illustrations are what draw me to it. Illustrated by the incredible Jim Kay, who gave us the illustrated editions of the first three Harry Potter books (Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban), the story was inspired by an unfinished story from Siobhan Dowd, who died before being able to complete it.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the most ridiculous and super fun set of books I've read. I love the silliness of it. A great read for the summer, as it is easy going and easy to digest.
Quite the opposite of the previous recommendation, the A Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones) by George R R Martin is full of blood, guts, sword fights, dragons; everything you expect from the books that brought us the intense TV show. Bit hard going to read, but worth it.
I'll admit, I've not actually read every one of the forty-one novels in the Discworld stories. There are plenty of members of staff at Bookbarn who have - and they can wax lyrical about how wonderful they are, and that's why they're on this list. The books that I have read were intelligent, witty and enjoyable, and I really do intend to read the rest of the series (just add it to my giant pile of books to be read).
It's likely that you have heard of Eleanor Oliphant before. It's taken the book world by storm, and has just been named Book of the Year. It's an optimistic tale, filled with reminders of the important of kindness. Read it, you'll love it.
Last year's Man Booker Prize winner by George Saunders depicts President Abraham Lincoln's grief after the loss of his son. It's always good to check out the prize winners.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is everything good in the world - talented novelist, feminist and all round awesome woman, her novels are vibrant and moving and intelligent, and truly brilliant reads. Purple Hibiscus is her first novel, and sets a trend of great work from her. We'd also recommend Half of a Yellow Sun, and any of her short story collections, or essay collections.
Call me by your name took the world by storm last year, and it makes me long for a summer in Italy. It's the story of the ultimate summer romance between Elio and Oliver, and the years that follow. A romantic and poetic novel, perfect for reading on a hot day.
Another all round superstar woman to add to your bookshelves, Maya Angelou was an incredible poet and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, spanning across her life and her struggles. They are brilliant, and worth taking the time to read.
Published in 1949 as a dystopian novel, reading 1984 now is truly chilling, as so much of it reflects the world that we live in today. A must read for our current time.