Books That Have Stayed With Us

Blog · Posted May 20, 2024

These are the books we read, adored and have not stopped thinking about since.

It is a true testament of brilliant writing when a book is able to hold the attention of a bookseller long after they have turned the final page. Here is just a handful of the books that have stayed with the Mainstreet team for various reasons over the years.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry – Chosen by Rosamund

It’s sixteen years since Mainstreet launched, and this remains one of my evergreen favourites to recommend.  All of life is here. Set in India during Partition, you know it’s not going to be without pain, but the writing and storytelling is just out of this world, you can hear the singsong language almost as though it’s being read to you.  If you haven’t already discovered it, I urge you to read this remarkable book.

Buy this book

Dissolution by CJ Sansom – Chosen by Vicky 

In Dissolution, C J Sansom introduced a whole new genre. By creating his fictional characters and rooting them in a real historical environment, they come into contact with the likes of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII and are swept along in the political upheaval. Add to that a thrilling murder mystery – what more could you want? This book immerses you so completely in the Tudor world that you won’t want to leave. 

If you haven’t met Shardlake, I envy you – you’re in for one hell of a ride!

Top tip – there are 7 books in the series, but don’t race through them too quickly. I’m still searching for something that matches up to C J Sansom’s genius.

Buy this book

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – Chosen by Vicky 

A book you remember exactly where you were the first time you read it. Mystery, love, murder, betrayal, and one of the greatest villains in literature, The Woman in White has it all.  The first sensation novel of its kind, so many authors today owe a lot to this man.  Without doubt my favourite book. For those who haven’t discovered Wilkie Collins yet, this is just the beginning. 

Buy this book

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls – Chosen by Jack 

David Nicholls completely understands both the ecstasy and panic of being a teenaged boy falling in love. Backdropped by the character’s involvement in an amateur production of Romeo and Juliet, he brings nuanced self-awareness to his story. After finishing, I felt like I had lost a handful of friends and had to lie down for an hour.

Buy this book

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck – Chosen by Sarah 

This is one of those books that I regularly run to for comfort. Cannery Row shows Steinbeck’s wit and humour and, unlike most of his other stories, leaves you feeling hopeful.  The book is simple, yet charming, and is driven by the marvellously imperfect cast of characters and eloquent prose. Dare I say it, but I think Cannery Row is Steinbeck’s best. It is one of my favourite types of books, one that is full of nostalgia and needs to be savoured.

Buy this book

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng – Chosen by Sarah 

Beautiful. Tender. Fascinating. In The Garden of Evening Mists the story of an unusual friendship and the trauma of war elegantly unfolds. Tan Twan Eng is able to capture the role that memory and forgetting plays in both personal and shared histories, with a haunting wistfulness that lingers with you after the final page. This is one of those novels that you wish you could go back and read for the first time and makes you envious of those who have yet to discover it.

Buy this book

Our booksellers love to recommend books and share their favourite reads with other booklovers (it is their job but also their hobby). Our blog is a good place to start to find some recommendations but if you still need some help, simply pop into the shop, give us a call or shoot us an email.

Find out how to contact us HERE.