Books of the Month


You loved your last book, but what are you going to read next? We will help you find great books to read that will keep you inspired. Below are top three most popular books, based on the number of page views in the last thirty days.

When Breath Becomes Air

Be ready. Be seated. See what courage sounds like. See how brave it is to reveal yourself in this way. But above all, see what it is to still live, to profoundly influence the lives of others after you are gone, by your words – Abraham Verghese, foreword to When Breath Becomes Air.

An intimate and exquisitely written meditation on the meaning of life by a young neurosurgeon facing terminal cancer. Dr. Paul Kalanithi wrote When Breath Becomes Air in the last 22 months of his life. The result is an inspirational account of family, medicine and literature, on publication swiftly finding an audience of booksellers moved by its gradual shift from hope to Kalanithi’s dignified acceptance of life’s end.

We strongly recommend the emotional investment to read it. At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade's training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.

One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi's transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity - the brain - and finally into a patient and a new father.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?

Birdcage Walk

‘Like all great writers who pass too young, her readers will long for the books that might have been but alongside these regrets lies a gratitude for a life spent in literature and the wonderful books that she gave us over a quarter of a century of dedicated writing.’ J. Boyne

I liked Birdcage Walk, especially late at night, when darkness and the rustle of nocturnal creatures gave an edge to the safety of the paved path. It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence.

Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol's housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war.

Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat. Diner believes that Lizzie's independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants.

In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner's passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone. A stirring and visceral exploration of women’s lives in Georgian Britain, Birdcage Walk considers the traces we leave through history when we die through the voices of women who dared to think beyond the confines of their time.

Described by Kate Kellaway in a glowing review for The Guardian as 'the finest novel Helen Dunmore has written', Birdcage Walk was also Dunmore’s last. Published before her death from cancer in 2017 it contains many of the themes that suffuse her novels; love, family, identity and what legacy we bequeath to later generations. Dunmore, in an interview on BBC R4’s Open Book shortly before her death commented of the novel:

“I think of what is the mark that any human being leaves behind, which when you are very ill you’re bound to think about... ‘What is the purpose of my existence? Have I fulfilled my existence?’ and the characters are asking that question of themselves...”

The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District

'Absorbing, often funny, and beautifully written... a testament to the importance of maintaining a connection to the land' - The Observer

Some people’s lives are entirely their own creations. James Rebanks’ isn’t. The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, he and his family have lived and worked in and around the Lake District for generations.

In evocative and lucid prose, James Rebanks takes us through a shepherd’s year, offering a unique account of the rural life and fundamental connection with the land that most of us have lost.

www.waterstones.com

*Cover image CC0 Creative Commons by pixabay

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