Our favourite books of 2019!

The 2019 vintage was a good one. Here’s our pick of the page-turners, from literary fiction to crime thrillers and from poetry to recipe books.


Fiction

THE TESTAMENTS by Margaret Atwood (Chatto & Windus, £20)
The Handmaid’s Tale – arresting dystopia of the Eighties, iconic feminist novel and recently made into an award-winning TV series – was always going to be a hard act to follow, but Atwood has stood up to the challenge with her long-awaited, Booker prize-winning sequel. Blessed be the fruit!

CLICK TO BUY

THE SECRET COMMONWEALTH: The Book of Dust Volume Two by Philip Pullman (Penguin and David Fickling, £20)
We are back in Pullman’s compelling alternative world of daemons, truth-telling devices and sinister theocratic organisations, but this is no fluffy fantasy tale: Lyra and Malcolm are now grown-up and the stakes are higher than ever. Expect terrorist attacks, refugees huddling on precarious boats, MeToo-ish encounters – even Lyrain a hijab. 

CLICK TO BUY

THE LANGUAGE OF BIRDS by Jill Dawson (Sceptre, £18.99)
A nanny in the Seventies in London becomes enmeshed in the drama of an embittered marriage and a shocking murder in this fresh, fictionalised take on the Lord Lucan scandal.

CLICK TO BUY

THE MAN IN THE RED COAT by Julian Barnes (Jonathan Cape, £18.99)
A masterful portrayal of the Belle Epoque centring on the subject of a John Singer Sargent painting, society doctor and freethinker Samuel Pozzi (in the scarlet garment of the title).

CLICK TO BUY


 

Non-Fiction

THE NORTHUMBRIANS: North-East England and its People – A New History by Dan Jackson (Hurst, £20)
The northerners in your family will welcome this learned but accessible trawl through all things Geordie, from the Venerable Bede and the Vikings to Viz and Geordie Shore.

CLICK TO BUY

HOW WAS IT FOR YOU? Women, Sex, Love and Power in the 1960s by Virginia Nicholson (Viking, £20) 
A trip to the trippiest of decades, a world of Beatlemania, Mary Quant miniskirts, Vidal Sassoon haircuts, hippies and the pill. From models in swinging London to a Jamaican lesbian in Hastings, all of Sixties women’s life is here.

CLICK TO BUY

INVISIBLE WOMEN: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez (Chatto & Windus, £16.99) 
We know that, historically, the dice have always been loaded in favour of men, but this book exposes just how much this is still the case today. Male bias is clear to see in the facts and figures she uncovers – hidden in plain sight in our supposedly more egalitarian world.

CLICK TO BUY

TALKING TO STRANGERS: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell (Allen Lane, £20) 
The bestselling author of The Tipping Point on how we continually misread other people, often with tragic consequences – and how to challenge our assumptions. In typical Gladwell fashion, it’s a fun read and an eye-opening intellectual journey.

CLICK TO BUY

AT THE POND: Swimming at the Hampstead Ladies’ Pond (Daunt Books, £9.99) 
A collection of lively essays inspired by London’s celebrated Kenwood Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath. The varied contributions range from Esther Freud on swimming through all four seasons to Nell Frizzell on her perspective as a lifeguard. Perfect to dip into.

CLICK TO BUY

THE CROWN DISSECTED by Hugo Vickers (Zuleika, £6.99) 
It’s easy to forget that the popular Netflix series The Crown is not always a faithful retelling of events. Royal historian Vickers separates fact from fiction in this much-needed corrective. This book should be required reading for all viewers.

CLICK TO BUY

DOMINION: THE MAKING OF THE WESTERN MIND by Tom Holland (Little, Brown, £25) 
An erudite and fascintating look at the enduring legacy of Christianity, which, as numbers of believers are dwindling, continues to shape our world. It combines a wide range and broad focus with insightful close-ups.

CLICK TO BUY


Coffee Table Books

Yves Saint Laurent Catwalk: The Complete Haute Couture Collections 1962-2002 by Suzy Menkes, Olivier Flaviano et al (Thames & Hudson, £48)
Forty years of haute couture design from the inimitable master who rewrote the high-fashion rules, starting with his first game-changing collection of 1962.

CLICK TO BUY

INTERIORS: The Greatest Rooms of the Century by Phaidon editors (Phaidon, £59.95) 
Showcasing 400 of the most striking living spaces from around the world, created by the most influential designers of the last century, this luxury edition – with a velvet cover in a choice of four colours – is one to enjoy and treasure.

CLICK TO BUY

A BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION: Jimi Blake’s World of Plants at Hunting Brook Gardens by Jimi Blake and Noel Kingsbury (Filbert Press, £25) 
Offering instruction and inspiration in equal measure, innovative garden designer and plantsman Jimi Blake shows us round his marvellous creation outside Dublin – a riot of colours and textures combined in unexpected ways.

CLICK TO BUY


 

Food & Drink

GREEN: Veggie and Vegan Meals for No-Fuss Weeks and Relaxed Weekends by Elly Pear (Ebury Press, £22) 
Since you can’t get away from all things plant-based these days, you might as well embrace them and enjoy doing it: here’s a collection of delightfully easy and super-tasty recipes. 

CLICK TO BUY

SPIRIT AND SPICE by Ghillie Basan (Kitchen Press, £25) 
Writer and broadcaster Basan shares her experience of bringing up her family in whisky country, in a remote corner of the Highlands, and making the best of local ingredients. Wild Scottish landscapes and their produce, exotic spices and single-malt pairings: what’s not to love? Slàinte! 

CLICK TO BUY

CHETNA’S HEALTHY INDIAN by Chetna Makan (Mitchell Beazley, £20) 
‘Good for you’ needn’t mean bland: Makan gives the flavours of India a modern, healthy twist in these zingy recipes for everyday meals, from onion and whole spice chicken curry to paneer and cavalo nero saag. Guaranteed to brighten up any January diet.

CLICK TO BUY

THE BOOK OF ST JOHN by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver (Ebury Press, £30) 
With more than 100 new and never-published recipes from the chef and owner of London’s pioneering ‘nose to tail eating’ restaurant St John, opened in 1995, this is the next best thing to being there.

CLICK TO BUY

https://lady.co.uk/sites/default/files/styles/facebook_teaser/public/featured-images/books_2.jpg?itok=STVzkqAw&c=c735e249542058dd7f3187564c3be2aa