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#BlackLivesMatter may not be trending anymore, but that doesn't mean that the problem has disappeared. It's important that as a predominantly white society we continue to actively work towards learning and improving, to strive for better equality. In order to gain a finer understanding of the perspective of Black people, or people of colour (POC), why not read books through their narrative?

Romance and chick-lit books are always fun to read. If ever you're craving a bit of light escapism to distract you from this slightly worrying reality we're all living through at the moment, then romance is the way to go. We've compiled a list of fun romance books, perfect for easy reading, all featuring characters who are Black/POC, to help you diversify your shelves. Because at the end of the day, everyone deserves a happily ever after, no matter the colour of your skin.

You Had Me at Hola

Award Winning author Alexis Daria brings readers an unforgettable, hilarious rom-com set in the drama-filled world of telenovelas—perfect for fans of Jane the Virgin and Ugly Betty.

After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling, Jasmine, finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she lands a coveted, starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez. 

After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents.

Naturally though, rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.

The Sun Is Also A Star

So much more than a teen love story.

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

This hilarious best-seller is quite frankly, a treat, which perfectly illustrates the age-old relationship trope, when opposites attract.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost-but not quite-dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”. She’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

That's when she enlists Red to help her out; the tattooed handyman and artist — not to mention he drives a motorcycle!

Now That I've Found You

This is a YA novel about searching for answers, love, and your eccentric grandma in all the wrong places. It features romantic tension, Hollywood scandal and a fun-filled chase all around New York — what's not to love?

Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . .

Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress— her retired grandma, Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway.  Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears.

With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma — and herself.

The Marriage Game

This entertaining rom-com featuring a high stakes wager between an aspiring entrepreneur and a ruthless CEO, is wonderfully scattered with references of Indian culture.

After her life falls apart, Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco to start a new business above her father's restaurant. But what she doesn’t know, is that her worrisome father has set her up on a dating site and arranged a series of blind dates, just for her — leaving Layla completely in the dark, until the first one comes knocking on her door…

CEO, Sam Mehta, is in search of a quiet new office, when he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he's forced to share his space with the owner's beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

Real Men Knit

After the death of his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, Jesse and his brothers struggle over what to do with her Harlem knitting store. Jesse wants to keep the store open; his brothers want to shut it down.

Jesse makes an impassioned plea to Kerry Fuller, his childhood friend who has had a crush on him her entire life, to help him figure out the knitty-gritty of how to run the business. The more time they spend together, the more the chemistry builds. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe this relationship will exist longer than one can knit one, purl one. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her—after all, real men knit.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a sweet YA romance, is the story of Lara Jean. She's never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed.

But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh.

As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

The Worst Best Man

Critically acclaimed author Mia Sosa delivers a sassy, steamy enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about a woman whose new job requires her to work side-by-side with the best man who ruined her wedding: her ex-fiancé's infuriating, irritating, annoyingly handsome brother.

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own.

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them.

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That’s right, Twilight fans! Stephanie Meyer just announced that she has two more Twilight books on the way. 

This is following on from the massive success which Meyer’s most recent novel received. Midnight Sun, which is Twilight told through Edward’s perspective, was released on August 4, and ended up selling more than a million copies in its first week, encouraging Meyer that the Twihard fan-base are still completely devoted.

Meyer announced in a livestream event with Books-A-Million that she’s working on two more Twilight books, which are currently in progress. “There are two more books I think in the world that I want to write. I have got them outlined and a chapter written, I think of the first one, so I know it's there,” Stephanie said.

However, it’s anticipated that these two new Twilight books won’t be in Edward’s perspective, following on from Midnight Sun. Stephanie said in an interview with The New York Times that writing in his point of view was not a super pleasant experience. 

“This is it for Edward. Writing from his point of view makes me extra anxious. I think this gives you enough of a sense of what it’s like to be Edward that you could go and look at the other books and you would know what’s going on in his head,” Meyer stated.

Before you get too excited though, you probably shouldn’t expect a release date any time soon, as Meyer has also said that she wants her next novel to be something completely different. When asked what she plans on writing next, Meyers told The New York Times, “I’d like to do something in fantasy fantasy, where you have to have a map in the beginning of the book.”

While we’re waiting for more information, we'll just have to figure out how to convince Robert Pattinson to get back on board, and finish off the Twilight movie franchise for us.

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While we may not be jetting off to exotic places this Summer, at least we have more time to dedicate to our never-ending reading lists.

With so many exciting titles being released each and every day, from such incredible authors, it really was a struggle to whittle it down. However, somehow we managed to figure out our top 10 reads, which we can’t wait to dive into — along with our book of the month: The Bird in the Bamboo Cage.  

  1. Midnight Sun 

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella's side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward's version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward's eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward's past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?

  1. The Midnight Library

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?

A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time, Matt Haig.

  1. Finding Freedom

The first, epic and true story of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s life together, finally revealing why they chose to pursue a more independent path and the reasons behind their unprecedented decision to step away from their royal lives, from two top royal reporters who have been behind the scenes since the couple first met. 

Finding Freedom is complete with full colour photographs from Harry and Meghan’s courtship, wedding, Archie’s milestones, and many more unforgettable moments.

  1. Hell in the Heartland

On December 30, 1999, in rural Oklahoma, 16-year-old Ashley Freeman and her best friend, Lauria Bible, were having a sleepover. The next morning, the Freeman family trailer was in flames and both girls were missing.

While rumours of drug debts, revenge, and police collusion abounded in the years that followed, the case remained unsolved and the girls were never found.

In 2015, crime writer Jax Miller, who had been haunted by the case, decided to travel to Oklahoma to find out what really happened on that winter night in 1999, and why the story was still simmering more than fifteen years later. What she found was more than she could have ever bargained for. These forgotten towns were wild, lawless, and home to some very dark secrets.

  1. Death Sets Sail

The final novel in the number-one bestselling, award-winning Murder Most Unladylike series.

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are in Egypt, where they are taking a cruise along the Nile. They are hoping to see some ancient temples and a mummy or two; what they get, instead, is murder. Daisy and Hazel leap into action and begin to investigate their most difficult case yet. But there is danger all around, and only one of the Detective Society will make it home alive…

  1. The Liar’s Daughter

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon. But grief is the last thing that Joe's daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

 As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe's death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won't be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him.

The Liar's Daughter is a dark, powerful and twisty psychological thriller that will keep you glued to the pages.

  1. The Pull of the Stars

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

  1. The Friendship List

Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever…

Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?

The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy,” Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humour, heartache and regrettable tattoos.

  1. Jump: One Girl’s Search For Meaning

The point of all this has nothing to do with finding yourself. It’s about what you can do to lose what you don’t need.

Daniella is 26, a highly successful radio presenter, model and influencer, but panic is building in her head and chest, the internal state of affairs she has been trying to ignore finally spilling over into something undeniably physical. She is frozen, petrified, looks to her boyfriend and says, ‘I don’t know who or where I am.’ This day changed Daniella’s life. It derailed almost everything she had worked to achieve and set her on a new path. 

Jump is the story of what happened when Daniella quit her job to backpack around the world for two years, and how freedom from the trappings of what society considers success leads to true contentment, strength and authenticity.

  1. Utopia Avenue

Utopia Avenue are the strangest British band you've never heard of. Emerging from London's psychedelic scene in 1967. Fronted by folksinger Elf Holloway, guitar demigod Jasper de Zoet and blues bassist Dean Moss, Utopia Avenue released only two LPs during its brief and blazing journey. From the clubs of Soho and draughty ballrooms to Top of the Pops and the cusp of chart success, to glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome and a fateful American fortnight in the autumn of 1968.

David Mitchell's new novel tells a story about Utopia Avenue; of fame's Faustian pact and stardom's wobbly ladder.

 

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British mummy-vlogger and social media sensation, Louise Pentland, has written a new book all about her experiences with motherhood, and it’s out now! 

Louise started her blog, Sprinkle of Glitter, in 2009, and shortly afterwards created a YouTube channel of the same name. Nowadays Louise’s channels cover topics such as plus-size fashion, motherhood and family-life, garnering an audience of 2.3 million subscribers. You can also be sure to catch her on Instagram, regularly taking the cutest photos of her two adorable daughters, and all the adventures they get up to together. 

Her latest book, MumLife, is a real deep dive into the ups and downs Louise has had to face over the years — and let’s just say there’s been a few! From a traumatic birth with her first daughter, to single motherhood, to finding love again and having a second child, Louise's parenting journey has been full of surprises.

Source: Instagram
Source: instagram.com/louisepentland

 

Discussing the realities most working mums face, plus the impact of maternal mental health, Louise is on a mission to make other mums feel less alone, and very much heard. She beautifully reveals her own imperfect but perfect route to motherhood, as well as the loss of her mum so early in her life, how it shaped her and the mother she became.

Reflective and uplifting, with her signature wit, MumLife will share Louise's ups and downs and the honest truth, from someone who's been there and experienced it all.

“Thought it’d be a cute little Mummy Memoir but it turned out to be so much deeper than I thought it would. I’m glad. There are happy, funny bits (the whole chapter on dating as a #singlemum lol) to balance it out but I’m glad the tough stuff is in there- that’s life isn’t it? Ups and down, happy and sad. That’s what makes us human,” Louise wrote on Instagram.

If you’re not a mum though, don’t worry — Louise has assured us that MumLife is for anyone who loves her online content, which she lovingly refers to as ‘MummyContent’. MumLife is published by Bonnier, and you can pick up a copy here.

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There are many books out there that helped mould me into the person I am today, but Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig opened my eyes more than any other book.

The best-selling author analyses our relationship with the Internet and how it affects our mental health.

Matt is often vocal about his mental health struggles, which is something I admire most about the author.

 

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His honesty is heavy at times, but necessary. He filled Notes on a Nervous Planet with words of wisdom that are bound to change the way you view the world.

I simply couldn’t put the book down, it was practically glued to my hands for 24 hours.

As someone who struggles with mental health issues, I found Matt Haig’s honesty reassuring and comforting. His words made me, and many others, realise that you are not alone in your battle.

One of the most thought-provoking parts of the book is the chapter in which Matt discusses the pressure we put on ourselves to do everything. He advises readers to change the way they think about what we can do in life.

We often worry about the things we’ll never get to do, but he urged us to focus on what we can achieve and what we can enjoy.

“To enjoy life, we might have to stop thinking about what we will never be able to read and watch and say and do, and start to think of how to enjoy the world within our boundaries.”

We need to cut ourselves some slack. Sure there are millions of movies to watch and books to read and places to visit. Realistically, we’ll never be able to visit every single place or tune into every single movie, but what we can do is revel in the ones we do have time for.

 

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Maybe I’ll never visit Asia or Texas.

Maybe I’ll never get time to read War and Peace or Lord of the Flies.

Maybe I’ll never watch Star Wars or The Princess Bride.

However, this book helped me accept that we just can’t do everything in our time on this nervous planet and that is perfectly fine.

You can purchase a copy of Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig here.

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This time of year can be extremely dark and troubling for so many people. The post-Christmas comedown can take a major knock on your mental health and leave you feeling extremely low. The lack of daylight, financial woes and quieter social calendars don’t help either.

One thing that has helped me get through dark moments in my life is reading.

There are dozens of books available in both your local library and bookshops that offer helpful advice and fill you with hope during these hard times.

I decided to put together a list of the top books that will hopefully help you beat the January blues. 

As always, we encourage anyone who is suffering with their mental health to reach out to a loved one or a professional. You can call the Samaritans on 116 123.

  1. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Matt Haig has been praised for how incredibly honest he is about his mental health struggles. The author has encouraged so many people to feel that little bit more comfortable when talking about their personal troubles. In Notes on a Nervous Planet, Matt discusses modern life and the impact it has on our mental health.

  1. Big Magic By Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s words have been a huge source of comfort to many women around the world. Her book Eat, Pray, Love is one of the most beloved tales that helped so many of us realise that your own company is the most valuable of all. Big Magic is full of Gilbert’s words of wisdom about love, hate and finding the “strange jewels” hidden inside of us.

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  1. It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

This collection of essays curated by Scarlett Curtis has got to be one of the warmest (and biggest) books I’ve ever owned. It is full of words of advice, tales of loss, stories about struggle and most importantly, hope. Emma Thompson, Ben Platt, Elizabeth Day, Scarlett Moffatt, Fearne Cotton and more pen essays for this raw and touching book.

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  1. How To Fail by Elizabeth Day

Elizabeth Day has taught me that you can learn from your failures. The journalist’s podcast of the same name has been a massive comfort to me when I feel like I’m not doing good enough. Elizabeth speaks to her guests, all successful in their fields, about three failures in their lives. The book is genuinely one of the most uplifting and refreshing reads. I couldn’t recommend it more.

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  1. Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Another book by the fantastic Matt Haig because nobody writes about mental health like he does. This book genuinely saved my life, and I’m not the only one. Matt opens up about the darkest time in his life when he was suicidal and suffering from the most crippling anxiety. The chapters are eye-opening, reassuring and will fill you with so much hope for the future.

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The Christmas holidays are almost here and I am more than ready to unwind and switch off for a couple of days.

One thing I cannot wait to do is catch up on the giant mountain of books on my bedside locker. I’ve got dozens of reads calling my name,  so I decided to share a list of my top Christmas tales that are bound to warm your heart on a cold December day.

  1. It Won’t Be Christmas Without You by Beth Reekles (One More Chapter)

From the author of The Kissing Booth, this festive tale follows two sisters, Eloise and Cara, who have grown apart since workaholic Cara moved to London. Will she make it home for Christmas or will Eloise be left heartbroken when her twin sister is absent for the holidays?

This is a short and easy read that will show you that Christmas is all about who you spend it with.

  1. One Winter Morning by Isabelle Broom (Penguin)

Evangeline isn't feeling festive this December as it marks the one year anniversary of her adoptive mum’s death. However, could things look up when she travels to New Zealand to find her birth mother or will it be another lonely Christmas?

  1. Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb (Harper Collins)

A tense and touching tale set during the First World War. This book is told through personal letters, making it easy to read and all the more touching. Watching Thomas and Evie’s love develop through their words was so intimate and stunning. 

I was left in floods of tears as I read the last word on the final page. Beyond remarkable.

  1. Rewrite the Stars by Emma Heatherington (Harper Collins)

This book has been on my TBR pile for quite some time so I cannot wait to read it this Christmas. From the moment they meet one December day there’s something between Charlotte Taylor and her brother’s best friend, Tom Farley. But Tom’s already taken and Charlie has to let him go…

Will they risk it all and say those three little words? Or will they be left wondering ‘what if?’ forever?

  1. One Day In December by Josie Silver (Broadway Books)

I read this sublime book last Christmas but must read it again this December. It has got to be one of the most thrilling and tense love stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. 

Laurie is convinced love at first sight doesn't exist anywhere but the movies. But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees Jack, who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic… and then her bus drives away.

 

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Adare Manor: The Renaissance of an Irish Country House by Turtle Bunbury (Published by Adare Manor)

Adare Manor has always been remarkable. Its story began eight centuries ago when the original manor was granted to a Norman knight while a substantial monastic community was established on the nearby riverbanks. Turtle Bunbury’s book traces Adare Manor’s wonderful journey from a medieval manor house to its 21st century status as a luxury five-star resort. The book is available exclusively from Adare Manor.

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way by Carsten Krieger (Published by O’Brien Press)

Take a photographic journey down Ireland’s Atlantic coast from Donegal in the north to Cork in the south. This beautiful book showcases the west coast in all its wild beauty: dramatic views, abundant nature and wildlife, lighthouses, harbours and quaint seaside villages, as well as heritage, history and people. 

The Wild Atlantic Way is a fully-signposted route along the west coast of Ireland that brings the visitor to some of Ireland's most spectacular scenery and liveliest towns: from surfing in Rossknowlagh to birdwatching at the magnificent cliffs of Moher, from the boats in Galway Bay to traditional music in Doolin, from dolphins in Kerry to castles in Cork there’s something for everyone on the wild west coast.

Ireland the Best by Sally and John McKenna (Published by Harper Collins)

Sally and John McKenna, travel and food writers and authors of Ireland The Best, have selected 100 extraordinary places that epitomise what is truly great about Ireland. This personal and diverse compendium is illustrated with beautiful and evocative images. John and Sally McKenna have drawn on a lifetime of experiences to create this list of the 100 best places in Ireland: reflective, magnificent and human places.

Some choices may be surprising but all are exceptional. This gorgeous book is John and Sally’s ultimate collection selected from the hundreds of places that feature in the independent guide to Ireland. As well as expert commentary, all 100 places include highly selective recommendations of where to walk, eat and sleep nearby. Beautiful and evocative images capture the essence of each place. From wild glens to ancient buildings, remote islands to vibrant cities, this is John and Sally’s list of the places in Ireland that you really should visit in your lifetime.

Seven Worlds, One Planet by Jonny Keeling, Scott Alexander with foreword by David Attenborough (Published by Penguin)

Long ago, our planet had only one gigantic land mass. Then something monumental happened. That supercontinent ruptured and seven different worlds were born. Each of those worlds – or continents – evolved, and continues to evolve, its own way of life. From the jungle of the Congo or the majestic Himalayas to the densely populated wilds of Europe or the comparatively isolated Australasia, Seven Worlds, One Planet explores the natural wonders that give each of our continents its distinct character.

Following the animals that have made these iconic environments their home, it discovers spectacular wildlife stories that reveal what makes each of these seven worlds unique. With a foreword by Sir David Attenborough and over 250 breath-taking images, including stills from the BBC Natural History Unit’s spectacular footage, Seven Worlds, One Planet is a stunning exploration of the planet, and the worlds within it, that we call home.

Return to Sender – Revisiting John Hinde’s Ireland by Paul Kelly (Published by Gill Books)

Revisit a jewel-bright Ireland as Return to Sender beautifully captures the then-and-now of John Hinde’s postcards. Throughout Paul Kelly’s chidhood in California, his father, Patrick Kelly, sent him John Hinde postcards when he was vistiting the land of his youth. By the time Paul was nine, he was accompanying his father on these trips and developed his own love of Ireland. In 2015 Paul’s father died and in 2018 Paul came back to live in Ireland with his family. In tribute to both his father and John Hinde, in the summer of 2018 Paul set about recapturing the modern-day versions of Hinde’s postcards, which are set against the originals in this book.   

Return to Sender pairs Hinde’s iconic postcards from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s with corresponding contemporary photographs, illustrating the ways Ireland’s rural and urban landscapes have changed over the decades or, in some places, not changed at all. This side-by-side contrast wonderfully captured by Paul Kelly, elicits feelings of nostalgia for Hinde’s instantly recognisable jewel-bright Ireland.

Where the Wild Cooks Go (Hardback) by Cerys Matthews (published by Penguin)

Cook your way around the world with Cerys Matthews' Where the Wild Cooks Go, with a Spotify playlist ready for each country, as well as poems, proverbs, curiosities and some very surprising aspects of world history. The pages of her 'folk cookbook' are brim-full of generations' old nuggets of wisdom, as well as stories about Catatonia touring days and other escapades, plus over a hundred recipes and cocktail ideas from 15 countries.  

Easy haggis, jambalaya, cawl, traditional and vegan Welsh cakes, tequila prawns, chocolate and Guinness fondants, thousand hole pancakes, pineapple and chilli, potato, chickpea and coconut curry, dahl and hedgerow salad are just some of delicious, sustainable and fuss free ideas served in this beautiful book.

Arise And Go: W.B. Yeats and the people and places that inspired him by Kevin Connolly (Published by O’Brien)

Arise And Go W.B. Yeats and the People and Places That Inspired Him By Kevin Connolly. The idea of place runs like a river through the life and works of the poet and playwright W.B. Yeats. This book focuses on his time in Dublin, London, Sligo and elsewhere in the west of Ireland, embracing the homes, landscapes and people that impacted his life and stimulated his vast body of work.

Bird: Photographer of the Year Foreword by Chris Packham (Published by Harper Collins)

This beautiful book accompanies a new photographic competition celebrating some of the best bird photography of the year. The Bird Photographer of the Year competition celebrates the artistry of bird photography, and this large-format book is lavishly illustrated to reflect this. A celebration of avian beauty and diversity, it is a tribute to both the dedication and passion of the photographers as well as a reflection of the quality of today’s modern digital imaging systems.

The book includes the winning and short-listed images from the competition, now in its fourth year, showcasing some of the finest bird photography, with a foreword by BTO President and head judge, Chris Packham. A proportion of the profits from the book goes directly to the BTO to support their conservation work. 

The Dublin Marathon – Celebrating 40 years by Sean McGoldrick (Published by O’Brien)

The Dublin Marathon is written by Irish Book Award nominated author Sean McGoldrick in co-operation with the Marathon. In addition to the history, routes and all the information on and about the Dublin Marathon over the years, a call out was made to the public earlier this year for their personal stories of the Marathon (running it, being involved, cheering family or friends), and the best of these are featured in the book.

Game of Thrones: A Guide to Westeros and Beyond by Myles McNutt (Published by Penguin)

Feeling lost without Game of Thrones? Relive all 8 series with the only official tie-in guide – the PERFECT GIFT for any fan this Christmas. 

Covering all eight seasons of the hit HBO show, this remarkable volume offers a unique and exciting visual exploration into the incredible world of Game of Thrones. In two parts, the book follows the story of the South, where kings and queens battle for the Iron Throne, and of the North, where the White Walkers and their army of the dead gather. Fully illustrated with stunning photography, infographics, timelines and insightful essays, this is the essential guide for any Game of Thrones fan.

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It’s been an incredible year for Irish writers. Some of the most heartwarming, hilarious and honest reads have been released this year, including Once, Twice Three Times an Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen and Overcoming by Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan.

We have teamed up with the wonderful people at the An Post Irish Book Awards to give one bookworm the dream prize. We have six of the best Irish fiction books up for grabs and you’re in for a real treat. All of these books have been nominated for the National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year category.

The books include:

Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen (Gill Books)

Filter This – Sophie White (Hachette Ireland)

Postscript – Cecelia Ahern (HarperFiction)

When All is Said – Anne Griffin (Hodder & Stoughton)

Schmidt Happens – Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (Penguin Ireland)

Seven Letters – Sinéad Moriarty (Penguin Ireland)

To be in with a chance of winning this incredible prize then head over to our Instagram account here

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The An Post Irish Book Awards celebrate and promote Irish writing to the widest range of readers possible.

Each year it brings together a huge community passionate about books – readers, authors, booksellers, publishers and librarians – to recognise the very best of Irish writing talent across sixteen categories, including Novel of the Year, Children’s, Cookery, Crime Fiction, Popular Fiction, Nonfiction, Sports, Short Story, Poetry, Teen and Young Adult and Irish Language.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

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Bookworks, the airwaves are set to get a hell of a lot more interesting. Sunday evenings will once again come alive with literary debate on RTÉ Radio 1 with the return of The Book Show this December, with new presenter Rick O'Shea at the helm. 

Rick, an avid bookworm, has said he considers his upcoming role presenting the show to be "the job of a lifetime".

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Book Show, which will be broadcast on Sunday evenings, will also produce extra content which will be available to listeners via podcast. The show celebrates books and the world of writing with readings, discussion, author interviews and special features

"I run the largest book club in Ireland, The Rick O'Shea Book Club on Facebook, with 28,000 members. I'm a lifelong obsessive reader and have been immersed in the book world for the last five or six years, doing interviews with authors at arts festivals and book reviews on radio, so this is the logical culmination of all those things" Rick O'Shea said.

Rick has been a broadcaster with RTÉ since 2001. He was previously on RTÉ 2FM and presented RTÉ  Radio 1’s The Poetry Programme. Rick currently presents weekday mornings on RTÉ Gold.

The last season of The Book Show featured authors John Boyne, Eimear McBride, Eoin Colfer and Liz Nugent,  who each guest-presented programmes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Book Show will return to RTÉ Radio 1 on December 8 from 19.00-19.30pm for three weeks. 

A Christmas Day Special of The Book Show will be broadcast at 17.00-18.00pm on RTÉ Radio 1 on December 25.

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As we approach the festive season, we’ve started to think about Christmas presents. What should we buy our little sister, our mum, our neighbour, our best friend? One of the best things to give a loved one is a book. It’s a personal and touching gift that always goes down well.

We have already started scouting out presents for our nearest and dearest, and Charlie Mackesy’s book is at the very top of our list.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Meet the Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, four unlikely friends, and the creation of artist Charlie Mackesy. You may have seen these four friends already – they’ve been shared thousands of times online, inspiring all who come across them with their life lessons of hope, kindness and friendship.

Charlie has amassed over 120,000 global followers on his Instagram where he shares daily posts of the conversations between his characters. His illustration have brought joy to thousands of people – his illustrations ‘help’ and ‘kind’ have been shared over 1,000,000 times around the world.

Charlie commented, “My hope is that the book goes some way to helping people live more courageously, more honestly and with more love for themselves and others.”

For adults and children alike, this is Ebury Publishing’s 2019 gift book of the year.

Have a look at some of the stunning illustrations featured in Charlie’s book. We can guarantee you’ll be flying out the door to your nearest bookstore to pick up a copy of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse:

You can pick up a copy of Charlie’s book here.

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Once in a while we are blessed with a book that transforms your life for the better and this year that book is Everyday Ubuntu by Desmond Tutu’s granddaughter, Mungi Ngomane.

This book will capture readers interested in ancient wisdom and personal development. It shares a warm, inspirational message of togetherness for a divided and fragmented world.

Ubuntu is an ancient South African philosophy that says, ‘I am only because you are.’ It is the belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness towards others. By embracing Ubuntu it’s possible to overcome division in a world where the wise build bridges, not walls.

Exploring ideas of kindness and forgiveness, tolerance and the power of listening, Everyday Ubuntu shows how we can all benefit from embracing others. Including practical applications and mindful exercises, it is an inspirational guide to a more fulfilling life as part of the large family to which we all belong.

In Everyday Ubuntu you’ll discover 14 simple and engaging lessons with clear takeaways and reflections that will help us all to live better, together.

Read an extract of Everyday Ubuntu below:

1. Accept the situation. This is the way you’re feeling, so honour it – cry and release your emotions. Ubuntu tells us that we need to take care of ourselves and be honest about our feelings. This helps to identify why you’re feeling hopeless. Is it because of a recent upset? Or is it a long-term struggle? Whatever it is, naming the reasons for your feelings will help you to release them. 

2. Take action. Some call it ‘wallowing’ but hopelessness can easily feel like a spiral into which you’re sucked and out of which it is impossible to pull yourself. You feel lethargic, unmotivated and in despair. Listen to your internal dialogue. It might contain phrases such as, ‘but I can’t’, ‘there’s no point’ or ‘I’ve already tried’. The first step is turning those words around and changing every negative into a positive. Say these new phrases out loud – ‘I can’, ‘I won’t give up’ and ‘I’ll try again’ all send a powerful message to our subconscious. 

3. Live in the present moment. Do something to make yourself feel better physically, even if you’re struggling mentally – the two are linked. A long brisk walk, calling a positive friend, eating wholesome food. These are all small things we can do to help change our immediate concerns. Worrying is wishing for what you don’t want to happen, so don’t agonize over the future. Focus on the present. Do anything that takes you out of yourself, even if it’s just for a few moments. 

4. Write a gratitude list. Ubuntu shows us that we all have something for which to be grateful, so now is the time to examine the good stuff in detail. You might be thankful for your physical health, your family, caring friends, the delicious cup of coffee you’re drinking. Name the things you feel good about right now. It’s an exercise that will shift your mood, energetically and quickly. 

5. Set goals. If you’ve reached a place of desperate hopelessness, you need to put in work each day to overcome the feeling. Get going by setting yourself new goals, and begin with very small ones – incremental and easy-to-achieve steps. 

If you’ve lost your job, start by reaching out to trusted contacts for advice, then build up to looking at job adverts before applying for positions. If you’ve been ditched by a partner, give yourself time to grieve and talk things through with a counsellor or friend. Allow yourself space to heal before even thinking about dating again. If you’re in despair because you’ve gained weight, find a simple exercise app to inspire you, build up the amount of exercise you do every day, find a workout buddy, then look at food plans to help you make a bigger transformation. Small steps help hope to gather momentum. 

6. Find your faith. This could be a long-term goal that evolves over time. It doesn’t have to be a religious faith, but having faith in something you can trust is something everyone needs. It could be faith in your abilities or your choices. You could put your faith in going for a daily run to improve your mental health or in eating nutritious food so that you have energy for the day. 

Build some of these hopeful ideas into a new daily routine. They’ll bolster you and give you an inner strength and hope on which to rely when things become difficult.

Everyday Ubuntu by Mungi Ngomane is published by Penguin. You can order your copy here.

 

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