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Our favourite books

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As a group of people that love to read, picking our favourite books is no easy feat. The History Press team have chosen their top picks, from all publishers, across all genres - from YA novels and photography to non-fiction and memoirs. Nothing was off limits and our top choices were varied as you'll see below! 

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

This is my favourite book of all time. The perfect antidote to grimdark fantasy such as Game of Thrones, brimming with political intrigue and elves – what more could a girl want?’

Jess, Marketing Executive

Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Obsessed, as I am, with the bigger picture I like the idea that humanity is just a bump in the evolutionary road towards some non-sentient data processing future. Wow, we know how to party!

 Gareth, Managing Director

House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

Horowitz was commissioned by the Conan Doyle estate to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel, and he brilliantly captures the spirit and adventure of Sir Arthur’s stories. The new characters feel as if they have come straight from Sir Arthur’s pen, and there is a twist at the end that is every bit as shocking as anything from the original stories.

Mark, Commissioning Editor

The Life and Rhymes of Benjamin Zephaniah: Poet, Lyricist, Writer, Activist by Benjamin Zephaniah

He’s a cool dude and not someone I knew anything about until I moved to the UK six years ago. I’ve just started to read this book and am already hooked. He is of my age group and I am enjoying reading about his early childhood in Birmingham - funnily enough not dissimilar to how many around me grew up in New Zealand (believe it or not). The overt racism dealt out is something that hits home and already he is showing strength of character in fighting this.  I find myself laughing out loud in places, saddened in others and I know this will not be an easy to put down book.

Adventures on the High Teas by Stuart Maconie

‘As a Kiwi now living in the UK this was an amusing insight into what might be ‘Middle England’.  It made me laugh out loud a lot!’

Diane, Sales & Data Operations Manager 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

‘I’m a YA fiction obsessive, so it was always going to be something from this genre. This is a book that really, really shouldn’t work. It has cyborgs, androids, people from the moon with special powers, plague, emperors, queens and … well the last thing would be a massive spoiler, so I won’t mention it. Anyway, I couldn’t put this down – definitely a unique retelling of the Cinderella story.’

Chrissy, Commissioning Editor

The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane

‘I love all of his books but this is the one I have read most recently. The books are travel writing if you need to put them into a category but to me they are much more than that. They are spiritual, deeply thoughtful, literary and a thorough immersion in the natural world. The author’s passion for exploring as well as his curiosity for historical and cultural knowledge is compelling and his writing takes you right to the place, as if you are walking alongside him on his adventures. I heard someone once say that it was more travel meditation than travel writing and that is precisely it captured in two words.’

Love’s Executioner by Irvin D Yalom

‘Tales from a master in the world of existential psychotherapy, these real stories from the therapy room are so very human and real that I am sure they would appeal to anyone with an interest in the human condition. The stories are deeply moving, sometimes shocking but Yalom’s approach and honesty is revealing and extremely thought provoking.’

Sarah, Web & Data Manager 

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

‘My favourite book this year was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It’s a clever and exciting tale of revenge – and that revenge is exacted so well! The Count is the ultimate, enigmatic superhero. I didn’t want the book to end.’

Abbie, Project Editor

The Island by Olivia Levez

‘The first one that comes to mind is The Island by Olivia Levez; a gripping YA adventure story packed full of action from beginning to end, that centres around a damaged and angry teenage girl, Frances, whose plane full of other ‘delinquents’ and their camp leader crashes into the ocean. Apparently the sole survivor, Frances finds herself struggling to stay alive on a desert island. I loved Frances’s voice, the survival elements of the book, the constantly high level of danger, and the moving emotional core involving her relationships with her mother and little brother.’

Amy, Commissioning Editor

Breakdown by Taylor Downing

‘I would recommend Breakdown: The Crisis of Shell Shock on the Somme by Taylor Downing. It's an interesting account of the psychological effects of war on individuals, and the military authorities’ response to it.’

Darren, Scanner Operator

The Tale of the Duelling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean

‘This book is full of amazing (if slightly gruesome) tales of people who survived brain injuries or mental illness and explains how changes in their subsequent behaviour led scientists to new discoveries of how the brain works. Despite the weighty subject matter, it is very easy to read as the author is really good at explaining the complexities of the brain in simple language that anyone can understand and it is full of extraordinary information – did you know, for example, that some people can suffer from 'glass delusion'? Charles VI of France was one such sufferer and was convinced that he had glass buttocks and wore reinforced clothing to protect his backside. Other people have suffered so strongly from the delusion that they were dead that they went so far as to try to cremate themselves.’

Beth, Senior Editor for The History Press Ireland

Nobody Told Me by Hollie McNish

‘I am currently reading a book called Nobody Told Me: Poetry and Parenthood by Hollie McNish and it's the best thing I have read in ages! It is an honest look at pregnancy and parenthood through Hollie's diary entries and her gritty but emotionally charged poems. There are highs and lows…. The book is hilarious, sad and beautiful all at once. I love this book because it is refreshing to hear somebody telling it like it is, dealing with issues such as gender, race and stereotype along the way. Her words stick with you long after reading them.’

Jemma, Senior Designer

Grief Is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

‘In this strange book, Crow swoops into a grieving family’s life to give hilarious, disgusting, heartening and demented ‘advice’ for moving on.’

Caitlin, Campaigns Manager

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

‘When a murder mystery author is himself murdered, his editor sets out to uncover the truth. An unputdownable take on the cosy crime novel.’

The Death of Downton Tabby by Mandy Morton

‘Hettie Bagshot and her sidekick, Tilly, from the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency, have been hired to oversee security at the town’s first literary festival, featuring such distinguished stars as the Bronte sisters and the famous aristocat, Sir Downton Tabby, but are soon plunged into crisis when a killer strikes. 

Perfect murder mysteries for editors on cold winter nights…’

Emily, Managing Editor for The History Press Local

In Search of Anne Brontë by Nick Holland

‘Any Brontë fan will love this book, as it opens the door on perhaps the lesser known of the sisters. Anne’s books were grittier and more harrowing than her sisters’, and in this biography Nick Holland delves into her relationships, particular that with her sister Charlotte, and reveals why she was perhaps one of the more complex writers of her generation.’

The Humans by Matt Haig

‘I recently enjoyed Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive so decided to read one of his novels. This is science fiction with a great philosophical twist – the story is very funny at times but it’s also a heart-warming tale of how the imperfections that make us human also allow us to love and be loved.’

Sophie, Publisher for General History & Gift

The Muse by Jessie Burton 

‘I'm a huge fan of historical fiction so this was the perfect read for me. After reading Jessie Burton's first book, The Miniaturist, I had high hopes for her second book and was not disappointed! Without giving it away, I loved the twists and turns and journey that this book took me on, and I really didn't want it to end. Eagerly awaiting her next book...’

Becs, Marketing Executive

Vivian Maier by John Maloof

‘This is an extraordinary collection of Vivian Maier’s photographs taken over decades when she was employed as a nanny to various wealthy American families. Her work was more or less unknown when she was alive and the chance purchase of undeveloped rolls of film just two years before her death revealed an amazing and original eye for the bizarre, abstract and profound in everyday scenes.’

Helen, Marketing Executive

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