Recommended English Books

If you're not sure what to read, don't worry.  We can recommend a book for you.  It could be one we've read, or one that a forum member has recommended.  And don't forget, you can recommend a book too.

The Suicide Club by Andrew Williams (Hodder & Stoughton)

THE never-ending slaughter of the First World War is the backdrop for this novel but mainly seen through the eyes of those involved in the murky world of the spy.

The central character is Alexander Innes, a captain wounded at the Somme, and now working with the resistance in Belgium.

He is called back to London for a briefing and then dispatched to just behind the front line to Field-Marshall Haig's army headquarters in France.

Read more: Recommended Book - The Suicide Club

The Green Room by Anne Enright (Vintage)

by Patrick O'Connor

THIS is a fascinating multi-faceted look at a dysfunctional family.

It focuses on the Madigans, mother Rosaleen and her children Dan, Emmet, Constance and Hanna who meet up for a Christmas gathering in the west of Ireland for the first time in many years.

Different sections of the book deal with each character over a 25 year period from 1980 but it is Rosaleen's influence over all them which is the key factor.

Her oldest son Dan announces his intention to become a priest but when we catch up with him later he is a flamboyant and prominent figure in New York's gay scene.

Constance is a mother to three teenagers, awaiting a mammogram, Emmet is back in Ireland after many years as a charity worker in various points in the globe and Hanna is an actress and new mother trying to copy with alcoholism.

Enough there to keep any mother awake at night but Rosaleen has difficulties in her relationships with all her children, aggravated when it is announced she is planning to sell the family home.

Enright is an accomplished novelist and enables the reader to connect with all five characters despite their many foibles.

Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Vintage)

THE horrors of life in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War are graphically explored in this novel.

But a parallel story-line also traces Australian army surgeon Dorrigo Evans' love affair with his uncle's wife back in Aussie and his luke-warm relationship with his own wife Ella.

Evans is a complex character, hailed after the war as a hero, but a serial adulterer consumed by self-loathing.

The author's father survived the Burma death railway, and the atrocities imposed by the Japanese on Australian soldiers are described in great detail.

Read more: Recommended Book - Narrow Road to the Deep North

The Silence of Ghosts by Jonathan Aycliffe (Corsair)

IF you love a good ghost story, this book is a real treat. It has all the classic ingredients, a spooky house, things which go bump in the night, and a remote isolated setting in the Lake District.

Dominic Lancaster has been badly injured serving in the Navy during the Second World War, having a leg amputated as a result. When the Blitz makes life in London dangerous, his wealthy family send him off to the family summer home in the Lakes, along with his partially deaf young sister Octavia.

Read more: Recommended Book - The Silence Of Ghosts