What are you reading?

Published 7 March 2024

To celebrate world book day 2024, we asked the LYC office team to share their current read or recommendation. There’s something for everyone, so, read on…

Sabriel – Garth Nix
Alice (Head of Development)

I recently re-read this fantasy fiction series while I was in need of some serious literary escapism and it really delivered! Dark but funny, wonderfully detailed and with some really beautiful and imaginative evocations of musical magic. It’s written for young adults but I really enjoyed it as a ‘proper’ adult too – hope you enjoy it as much as me!

The book cover of Sabriel by Garth Nix. The background is the yellow/orange of dusk, with two distant figures and mountains at the bottom. Sabriel is at the top in orange. In the centre, there is a symbol made of fire. Text at the bottom reads 'One warrior to challenge the dead'. A quote reads 'Sabriel is a winner', by Philip Pullman.
The Island – Victoria Hislop
Alison (Head of Safeguarding & Pastoral Care)

I discovered this book shortly after I came back from a holiday in Crete last year and had explored the Island of Spinalonga where the Cretians used to send patients who had leprosy. Being sent to Spinalonga was a one-way journey but ‘The Island’ is a novel that imagines the lives of those who were sent, and those who were left behind.

The front cover of The Island. Two people are in a rowing boat, one rowing and the other standing up. the background is a pale brown colour with pale blue above, unclear where the water ends and h=the sky starts.
Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro
Amy (Development Officer)

I really loved reading Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro recently. Klara is an artificial friend (robot), whose sole purpose is to keep a human child, Josie, company. Klara observes the human condition; love, loss and loneliness. Its a really lovely read, resembling Ishiguro’s earlier novel ‘Never let me go’.

The front cover of Klara and the sun. The background is an orange red, with a square in the middle like a window, mostly blue but with the sun visible in the top right corner. This sky and sun can also be seen in a column down the right hand of the cover.
Just Kids – Patti Smith
Arielle (Membership Assistant)
My current read is Just Kids by Patti Smith.  Written firsthand, it’s an insight into her life and journey as an artist and musician, highlighting her creative partnership with Robert Mapplethorpe.
I’m loving her compelling and poetic writing style, which immerses you into her vibrant life in New York. I’m excited to see where her journey goes, particularly seeing how her views on creativity, self perception and relationships evolve!
The front cover of Just Kids. A black background, with a square shaped black and white image in the centre of two young adults. There is a gold circle on the cover saying 'National Book Award winner'. White writing at the top of the cover says The Sunday Times Bestseller.
Tales of Moonlight and rain – Ueda Akinari (translated by Anthony H. Chambers)
Freddie (membership & EDI Manager)

This book contains nine supernatural stories written by the Japanese 18th century author, Ueda Akinari. I absolutely love them! They’re creepy, fantastical, ambiguous and mysterious and I’m finding them to be quite inspiring from a creative/music making point of view. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to be spooked and loves made-up monsters and ghoulies.

The front cover of Tales of Moonlight and Rain. The background is a grey cloudy sky with the full moon visible just above the tops of trees.
A Terrible Kindness – Jo Browning Wroe
Hannah (Marketing & Communications Consultant)
A novel I enjoyed a few months ago is A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe, which tells the story of an ex-Cambridge chorister who becomes an embalmer during the Aberfan landslide in 1966. It may sound slightly niche, but it’s become a top 10 Sunday Times bestseller! I loved the way choral music is woven through the novel, specifically Allegri’s sublime Miserere.
The front cover of A Terrible Kindness. A blue background, with a drawing of a young schoolboy facing to the right, his scarf blowing in the wind behind him. Autumn leaves are dotted around the cover.
The Wisdom of Tea – Noriko Morishita (translated by Eleanor Goldsmith)
Ishani (Head of Engagement)

I came across this book in the shop at the Horniman Museum in South London, after going to their brilliant exhibition on tea. I like it because it doesn’t sit in one genre; philosophy, mindfulness, ancient cultures, food (drink?), biography and because it is translated beautifully from the Japanese, Morishita’s writing has a subtlety and directness which is very appealing. It has been a calming companion when navigating a sometimes stressful commute or when relaxing with a cuppa at home.

The front cover of The Wisdom of Tea. The background is a pale pink, with a few branches of Japanese cherry blossom at the top. Between the title and author is a black and white illustration of the components involved in making tea.
The Second Cut – Louise Welsh
James (Finance Director)

A gritty contemporary crime novel set in Glasgow. Auctioneer Rilke receives some business advice from an old friend, and feels he must take responsibility for what happens next when the police refuse to investigate.

Suitable for age 18+.

The front cover of the second cut. The author and title are in large orange writing. The background is black with a window in the middle surrounded by black walls.
The Whitest Flower – Brendan Graham
Nicola (Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager)
My recommentation is The Whitest Flower by Brendan Graham – it is about Irish history in a wonderful fictional story. I loved learning about my family’s history in this way!
The front cover of The Whitest Flower. The design is a canvas pulled apart into two, with wooden planks in the middle. The top part of the canvas as an image of a ship near the coast at sunset, and the bottom half has a plant with white petals.
The Talent Code – Daniel Coyle
Nina (Executive Director)
This was an absolutely fascinating read (I couldn’t put it down!) which challenges the widespread view that talent is inherent – either you have it or you don’t! By drawing on the most recent discoveries by scientists and educationalists, David Coyle reveals how the brain can undergo physical rewiring and enhancement through deliberate training, thereby forming a ‘talent code’.
The front cover of The Talent Code. The background is white. The 'O' in 'Code' has been replaced by a gold circle with a tick inside it.
Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami (translated by Philip Gabriel)
Tom (Head of Operations)
A surreal and poignant novel full of reality-bending symbolism and seemingly irreconcilable paradoxes. And lots of talking cats.
The front cover of Kafka on the shore. A black background, with the author's name at the top and title at the bottom, both in white. In the middle is a red circle with the black silhouette of a cat inside it, with a white eye.
Demon Copperhead – Barbara Kingsolver
Zoe (Operations & Communications Executive)
I’ve just finished reading this, and absolutely raced through it. It’s the story of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, set in a poverty-stricken community in the southern Appalachian Mountains of Virginia. An incredibly engaging read.
The front cover of Demon Copperhead. A young boy with ginger hair is looking out of a steel structure and squinting at the sun. The blue sky is above, with the book's title and author.

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