1. Book of Daniel - E. L. Doctorow

'Art on this level can be only a cause for rejoicing' Joyce Carol Oates

A semi-historical novel about the infamous execution of spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg through the eyes of Paul and Rochelle Isaacson (collieries to the Rosenbergs) son, Daniel. 

Writing his thesis (‘The Book of Daniel’) about the events decades later, in 1967, Daniel is caught between his trauma from the past, and the present destruction of the Vietnam War.

2. The Short Stories of Saki (H.H. Munro)

3. Time Machine/The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells

4. Come and Tell Me Some Lies - Raffaella Barker

5. Howard’s End is on the Landing - Susan Hill

Do you ever feel a wince of guilt and frustration when you look at all the books on the landing which you still haven’t read? Susan Hill did, and she decided to do something about it. She took a year out to read all the books which were sat in the bookshelf neglected, and writes this book about the journey of her discoveries. It is an insight into the lifetime’s reading, writing and book-collecting of the brilliant author.

6. A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan

7. The Sellout - Paul Beatty

Do believe the hype. This book deserves its status as the Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2016. The story of an unnamed man (with the surname ‘Me’) who tries to reinstate slavery as well as segregation in a local high school, leading him to come face to face with the Supreme Court. The novel offers a profound commentary on the US constitution and the civil rights movement.

8. The Finkler Question - Howard Jacobson

9. Beloved - Toni Morrison

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 and finalist for the 1987 National Book Award, this is a stunning story inspired by the African American slave, Margaret Garner, who found freedom from slavery in 1856, by escaping to Ohio. The protagonist Sethe is also a slave who escapes by reaching Ohio. But under the fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the authorities come to retrieve her. Sethe chooses to kill her daughter, Beloved, rather than allow her to be taken back into slavery. However, she cannot escape the ghost of Beloved, which comes back to haunt her.

10. Stoner - John Williams

11. How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff

12. My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell

This story has had a resurgence of popularity in the wake of the ITV’s recent adaptation of the novel. But don’t neglect the book - it is the charm and wit of Gerald Durrell’s writing as he relates his personal memories of Corfu which makes this story such a classic.

Raffaella's Books