The Leaves Are Falling by Lucy Beckett (2014) Patient and poignant World War II historical fiction that enriches as it stirs. It treats tragedy with sensitivity and remains uplifting; its characters are intriguing and well-shaped.
Voyage to Alpha Centauri by Michael O’Brien (2013) Lengthy and rewarding, this is exploration narrative, dystopian thriller and speculative fiction all in one. Awe-inspiring and spine-tingling, it evokes Lewis’s Perelandra trilogy, as well as Miller’s Canticle for Leibowitz.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (2013) A murder mystery centred upon numerous, painstakingly drawn characters, worth reading beyond the first challenging fifty or so pages. Remaining civil even where disagreeable, it offers fascinating dialogues and is an enriching and at times enchanting read.
Luigi’s Freedom Ride by Alan Murray (2014) Moving biographical fiction that uses cycling as a metaphor for life, exploring hope and endurance in war, lives rebuilt from disaster and courage and perseverance of the innocent.
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them by Anthony Holden and Ben Holden (2014) A hundred men—including academics, film directors, writers, and other cultural luminaries—provide an example of a poem that has brought them to tears, or close to it.
Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn (2001) Holistic romance valuing depth of character above superficial infatuation (with a great deal more to the plot than romance).
Crossover by Judith Eubank (2014) A satisfying mystery with a taste of drama, romance, thriller, sci-fi and historical fiction.
The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett (2014) A poignant, heart-warming, and all-round delightful picture book.
100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz (2014) Charming rhyming words and colourful illustrations that are bound to brighten up the day.
The Kingdom of Silk by Glenda Millard (2003-2014) A beautiful series that exudes a quiet wisdom; characters who learn to be happy even when facing real difficulties.
Do nice. Be kind. Spread happy. by Bernadette Russell (2014) An excellent collection of activities to inspire kindness.
Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design by Stephen C Meyer (2013) Challenges methodological naturalism which believes the natural world can be explained by material causes without recourse to purposive intelligence. A book by a biological evolutionist for biological evolutionists, not a defence of Biblical Creationism.
Kidnapped by the Taliban: A Story of Terror, Hope, and Rescue by Seal Team Six by Dilip Joseph and James Lund (2014) A succinct and touching account of a good man in the wrong place at the wrong time; a man who never lost hope, and whose faith he credits from beginning to end.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert (2014) Documents the history of mass extinction events from the dawn of life on Earth to the present day. Kolbert urgers readers to believe that no problem humans create is too complex for humans to solve.
The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal (2010) Cultured and radiant, telling the story of the Ephrussi family—of which the author is a scion—from the late-nineteenth century to the present day.
The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha (2010) A catalogue of daily occurrences to be enjoyed, reminding us to experience life with the wonder and excitement of a child.