* * * BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2019 * * *

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Bookshop

Books are the heart of what we do. Although we are a general bookshop, our largest sections are devoted to children’s books, fiction, cookery and biography.  If we don’t have the book you are looking for, we’d be more than happy to order it for you, usually within 24hrs.

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We want the experience of our bookshop to be inspiring, ever-changing and welcoming to all. We believe in ‘extreme curation’, so we aim to stock the books we love, and those we think our customers will too. You can read about some of our current favourite books below, and check out our book review archive here.

Thank goodness bookshops still exist – especially magical Mainstreet! Your books fly off the shelves, window displays are amazing, and you could not have a more delightful and knowledgeable team.” Marylin Stovold

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BOOKS WE LOVE

Vivian

A work of non-fiction which reads like fiction and where the reading of the authors’ note and prologue are essential. This arrived with much fanfare and deservedly so. Lisa Taddeo followed the lives of, among others, Maggie, Lina and Sloane for several years before compiling their stories into this description of the desperate ways in which women’s lives can be controlled by the desire for approval and the judgement of others, and I’m not just talking men. A clarion call to those among us who willingly judge without understanding.

Vivian

Jess Kidd’s third novel is set in Victorian London and features Bridie Devine, a female detective searching for a kidnapped child Christabel Berwick. With the added complication that Christabel is not supposed to exist.
Jess manages to tread a fine line between fantasy and reality in her novels. Generally leaving the reader wishing the former was the latter. Populated by characters to both loathe and love, they are also shot through with a healthy dose of humour. What’s not to love?

Vivian

Recently long-listed for the Booker prize, Lanny is a sublime piece of writing. An unnamed village in rural England is home to the usual village characters, but also to Lanny and his mother and father, Mad Pete, a reclusive artist and Dead Papa Toothwort, a timeless shapeshifter who sees, and has seen, everything.
Anyone who heard Max’s reading of Lanny at Mainstreet will know it to be inventive, funny, clever, heart-rending and yes, sublime.

Vivian

16 yr old Robert sets out to explore the countryside around his home in the North of England before assuming the role assigned to him by nature of birth and locality. The war has left its’ stain but also infected him with a desire to rebel and explore. Instinctively following an overgrown track to a solitary cottage, he encounters Dulcie, an extraordinary and knowledgeable older woman.
The Offing stole my heart. I wanted to know Robert, Dulcie and Romy (not forgetting Butters). I loved their ethos and their passion and the visceral description of the countryside and coast. Wow!

Vivian

Set in 1940, when neither swearing nor violence were casual and written in a pastiche of wartime language, Dear Mrs Bird is a breath of fresh air, particularly for readers who have not yet become inured to profanity!
Henriette Bird is a particularly stringent agony aunt whose newest recruit, our heroine Emmy Lake, cannot resist the temptation to inject a little compassion into her boss’s brusque replies.
In turns amusing and heart-wrenching, this is a book to warm the cockles (as they used to say…).

Vivian

Moss’ description of the sheer terror which, for the fortunate amongst us, only occasionally breaks through the monotonous surface of daily parenting, is breath-taking. I came to this book late – but I now aim to read Sarah Moss’ backlist. Her writing is honest, and tender, and just gorgeous.

Rosamund

Madeline Miller’s first novel, The Song of Achilles, took the literary world by storm when it was published in 2011, and we were lucky enough to host her first event in Scotland. Her second book, Circe, returns to the ancient world, this time with a heroine for modern times. A child born to the house of Helios, she is spurned as neither beautiful nor talented. Love drives Circe to a malicious act of revenge resulting in her banishment to the island of Aiaia. A woman alone, she must defend herself from many who cross her shores, finding love and power as she nurtures skills forbidden to Gods, witchcraft.
Circe is a novel and a character to sweep you away, whether or not you know your Gods from your Goddesses.

Rosamund

A searing, ‘hold your breath’ brilliant memoir of how Tara Westover, despite never attending school, decided, aged 16, to educate herself, ending up with a PHD from Cambridge. This, against the background of her extreme ‘End of Days’ Mormon upbringing in Idaho.

A short review cannot do justice to this remarkable and compassionate story of family, love and learning, you must read it for yourself.

Book group

The Daytime Book group meetings are held monthly in the barn (above the DELI) on a Wednesday at 11am, the Evening Book Group meets in the bookshop at 6pm. You don’t need to be a member, just come along and give it a try. Dip into the Book Group archive to see a selection of what we have read in the past. See below for what we are reading next…

WHAT WE ARE READING

Daytime Book Group

Wed 22nd Jan, 11am
The Sea, The Sea
by Iris Murdoch

Evening Book Group

Wed 29th Jan, 6pm
Longbourne
by Jo Baker

Daytime Book Group

Wed 19th Feb, 11am
Circe
by Madeline Miller

Evening Book Group

Wed 26th Feb, 6pm
The Spy and the Traitor
by Ben MacIntyre

Window Displays

We are very lucky that many of the Mainstreet team are talented artists. All our displays are made by hand, often using recycled cardboard boxes from our book deliveries. If you would like to see some of our windows through the years visit our window display archive.

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