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Stonking summer reads

10 books to take on your hols, chosen by Gullivers Bookshop in Wimborne, the Best Bookshop In Dorset, Somerset & Bristol (it's official!)

One the best things about being on holiday is having the time to get stuck into a really good book. Who better to ask for recommendations than Gullivers Bookshop in Wimborne, voted the Best Bookshop in Dorset, Somerset & Bristol in the Muddy Awards 2022.

The family-run independent bookshop, a fixture in the town since 1969 and organisers of the Wimborne Literary Festival, has a brilliant selection of books of all genres. If they haven’t got what you want in stock, they can get it for you within 24-48 hours – so forget Amazon and support local! Here’s what Jane of Gullivers suggests we read this summer.

My Sand Life, My Pebble Life : A memoir of a childhood and the Sea, by Ian McMillan

A nostalgic look at life by the sea, the book takes you back to childhood holidays on a rainy beach, to games played in the sunshine, tea and cake.  There are tales of caravans and holiday cottages and the best fish and chips ever eaten!  Definitely a book to read if you’re holidaying in the UK.

A Waiter in Paris : Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City, by Edward Chisholm

Edward Chisholm was born in Dorset and recently appeared at the Wimborne Literary Festival.  This is his story of Paris, of the Paris that is rarely seen, the backstage of a Paris bistro.  Edward tells the tales of his colleagues, the thieves, the immigrants and the aspiring actors.  We also learn about the terrible conditions, the poor wages and the awful managers but through it all Edward works on because of his love for the city.

Unsettled Ground, by Claire Fuller

Claire Fuller, another author who lives nearby, won the Costa Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction for this novel, a dark look at the people who fall between the cracks.  It’s about twins, Jeanie and Julius, who still live with their mother Dot at the age of 51 in an isolated rural, dilapidated cottage.  The twins lose Dot suddenly and the story details how their lives unravel, how they cope and how they try to rebuild their lives.  It leaves you wanting to know more!

The Lincoln Highway, by Amor Towles

An epic book of an adventure through America.  We follow Emmett and Billy as they embark on a quest to find their long lost mother.  They begin in Nebraska and plan to end in New York, picking up runaways as they go who ultimately send the road trip in the opposite direction.  There is peril and there are tears, love and joy; it’s a book to lose yourself in.

The Spanish Love Deception, by Elena Armas

If you’ve been within an inch of TikTok then you will have seen the phenomenon that is this book.  It’s all over “Booktok” and was The Sunday Times Bestseller Winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards Debut Novel of the Year (catchy title!). It’s the perfect enemies to lovers story, a fake date tale with a steamy happy ending.

The Whalebone Theatre, by Joanna Quinn

Joanna is another author from Dorset, who brought her novel in to show us prior to its publication.  The Whalebone Theatre in the book was inspired by the whalebone that washed up at Boscombe Pier in the 1890s and most of the story takes place on the Dorset coastline.  It’s about Cristabel, an unmanageable orphan, growing up in a traditional English manor house, the bone washes up on the shore and the orphan stakes her claim.  The Whalebone Ttheatre is born, the children entertain themselves while the adults party until it is abandoned due to war.  This book spans decades and coastlines.  It’s fabulous.

The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer, by Joel Dicker

A gripping thriller from the bestselling author of The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair.  A  quadruple murder was committed in the small coastal town of Orphea; the case is solved and closed.  Twenty years later, just as one of the officers involved is about to retire, he is contacted by a journalist, Stephanie Mailer, who believes mistakes were made in the case and that the real murderer was never found.  Before they can talk further, Stephanie disappears taking the evidence with her. This is a real page turner.

Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Plunge yourself deep into the eighties with this fun, escapist blast of a book. The story revolves around the Riva family, surfers, supermodels and world famous singers. The Riva annual end of summer party is nigh and it’s the one that everybody wants an invite to.  The party doesn’t end quite as expected as the secrets flow along with the alcohol and it ultimately all goes up in flames.  You’ll never want this book to end, it will suck you in and spit you out!

Still Life, by Sarah Winman

BBC Two’s Between the Covers Book Club Pick and a Guardian Best Book of 2021, this is a story of families and friendships.  A story of people and a parrot!  The book is mostly set in Tuscany and London. It’s 1944 and bombs fall on Ulysses, a young British soldier and Evelyn, a 64-year-old art historian as they shelter in the ruins of a Tuscan wine cellar.  This fateful meeting will change the life of Ulysses and those who love him at home in London.  This book is full of wonderful characters, of love, beauty and kindness.

And Away… by Bob Mortimer

If you’ve enjoyed watching Bob on Gone Fishing with Paul Whitehouse then you absolutely have to read this!  It’s hilarious and sweet and also very moving.  The book begins with Bob’s heart condition diagnosis which spurs him on to look back at his life with as much wit and warmth as you can imagine.  A brilliant read.


Gullivers Bookshop, 47 High Street, Wimborne, Dorset BH21 1HS. Call 01202 882677 or email to order any book in print.

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