House of Books News

Booker Prize Shortlist September 2021

picture FT 14th September 2021

On 14th September the jury finally announce the last six novels nominated for this years Booker Prize 2021. The final six are the following:

Patricia Lockwood, No One Is Talking About This

Damon Galgut, The Promise

Richard Powers, Bewilderment

Anuk Arudpragasam, A Passage North

Nadifa Mohamed, The Fortune Men

Maggie Shipstead, Great Circle

The judges will reveal the winning book during a prize ceremony at the BBC Radio Theatre on November 3rd. 

Read more about it on their official website:

Congratulations to all nominees, and the best of luck to the final 6!

12 new End-of-summer-must reads 2021

A short, sharp shock of a novel that anatomises a toxic relationship between mother and daughter. Riley’s icy style and uncanny ear for dialogue create unflinching prose that is funny and devastating by turns.

Focusing on a family who emigrate from Ghana to the deep south in the US, it’s an investigation of science and faith, addiction and ambition, and the way trauma is passed down the generations.

This account of a life derailed by mental illness is both darkly funny and deeply touching. Martha looks back on her failed marriage to Patrick, a family friend, but the real love story in this novel, billed as “Fleabag meets Patrick Melrose”, is with her wry sister, Ingrid.

A stranger comes to stay in this fascinating, uncomfortable exploration of creativity, the male gaze and the gendered experience of freedom. Cusk’s story of a female writer’s power struggle with a male artist is one of the first novels to take inspiration from lockdown.

Edie is a young black woman in New York who starts a relationship with an older white man, and gets complicatedly close to his wife and adopted black daughter. The sentences crackle in a virtuosic skewering of race, precarious modern living and the generation gap.

An Edinburgh tenement building is haunted by tall stories and unnerving strangers, from William Burroughs to the devil’s daughter, in this weird and wonderful gothic confection.

Spufford follows his 18th-century romp Golden Hill with a brilliantly achieved interweaving of working-class lives in postwar south London. The book’s metaphysical conceit – that the children whose stories he spins, from the blitz into the 21st century, died when a German bomb dropped on Woolworths – infuses this tale of the miracle of everyday existence with an elegiac profundity.

Based on a real-life mystery, this stylishly written debut interweaves a range of voices to explore the disappearance of three Cornish lighthouse keepers in 1972. Both a slow-growing, atmospheric portrait of claustrophobic relationships and a relentless page-turner, this is a hugely satisfying read and a passionate love letter to the sea.

A soaring epic of female adventure and wanderlust that ranges across decades and continents, from the early 20th century to the 21st, as a Hollywood star investigates the mysterious disappearance of an early aviator.

Taddeo follows a nonfiction investigation of female desire, Three Women, with an excoriating debut novel that puts female rage in the spotlight. Her transgressive antiheroine, making a US road trip of revenge and self-discovery, is a wisecracking voice to relish.

A speculative epic of parallel Londons, set in a world where colonialism and slavery never happened, enables a superhero story that’s thought-provoking as well as action-packed.

Described as “the Thelma and Louise of the 17th century” and based on a real-life scandal at the court of James VI and I, this irresistibly immersive novel follows a friendship between two women that leads to Tyburn and the Tower.

That's your September sorted! Enjoy the last weeks of sunshine and summer with these excellent reads.

The 2021 Booker Prize Longlist Announced

picture by


On the 27th July the 13 books for this year’s longlist were announced. These titles are chosen by the 2021 judging panel made of historians, editors, novelists, professors and writers. The list was chosen from 158 novels published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021.

The Booker Prize for Fiction is open to works by writers of any nationality, written in English and published in the UK or Ireland.

The 2021 longlist is:

A Passage North, Anuk Arudpragasam (Granta Books, Granta Publications)

Second Place, Rachel Cusk, (Faber)

The Promise, Damon Galgut, (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, PRH)

The Sweetness of Water, Nathan Harris (Tinder Press, Headline, Hachette Book Group)

Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber)

An Island, Karen Jennings (Holland House Books)

A Town Called Solace, Mary Lawson (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, PRH)

No One is Talking About This, Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)

The Fortune Men, Nadifa Mohamed (Viking, Penguin General, PRH)

Bewilderment, Richard Powers (Hutchinson Heinemann, PRH)

China Room, Sunjeev Sahota (Harvill Secker, Vintage, PRH)

Great Circle, Maggie Shipstead (Doubleday, Transworld Publishers, PRH)

Light Perpetual, Francis Spufford (Faber)

Maya Jasanoff, chair of the 2021 judges, says:
“One thing that unites these books is their power to absorb the reader in an unusual story, and to do so in an artful, distinctive voice. Many of them consider how people grapple with the past — whether personal experiences of grief or dislocation or the historical legacies of enslavement, apartheid, and civil war. Many examine intimate relationships placed under stress, and through them meditate on ideas of freedom and obligation, or on what makes us human. It’s particularly resonant during the pandemic to note that all of these books have important things to say about the nature of community, from the tiny and secluded to the unmeasurable expanse of cyberspace. Reading in lockdown fostered a powerful sense of connection with the books, and of shared enterprise among the judges. Though we didn’t always respond in the same way to an author’s choices, every book on this list sparked long discussions amongst ourselves that led in unexpected and enlightening directions. We are excited to share a list that will appeal to many tastes, and, we hope, generate many more conversations as readers dig in.”

That’s your summer reading sorted.

Pulitzer Prize 2021

And it was this time of the year again. The Pulitzer Prize winner have been announced for 2021.
Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer gave money in his will to Columbia University to launch a journalism school and establish the Pulitzer Prize. It allocated $250,000 to the prize and scholarships.He specified “four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one in education, and four traveling scholarships.” After his death on October 29, 1911, the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded June 4, 1917. They are now announced in April.
Today the Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition within the United States. Prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories.
Our favourites this year are the winners in Poetry, Fiction and Biography.

Winner Fiction

Winner Poetry

Winner Biography

Independent Bookshop Week 2021

The Independent Bookshop Week 2021 will take place Saturday 19th June – Saturday 26th June.
Thanks to this years headline sponsor, Hachette UK. Part of this fabulous week are many events hosted by independent bookshops like we are. One of the exciting highlights is are the Indie Book awards.
The shortlist was announced on Friday 14th May. The winners will be announced from 10am on Friday 25th June on Scala Radio,  being the official media partner of the Indie Book Awards.

Also, 2021 is the 15th anniversary of Independent Bookshop Week. As we are  independent bookshops ourselves we love the events and support the organisation. Be part of it too and support your local bookshop.

International Booker Prize Winner 2021

We are celebrating with the author David Diop and the translator Anna Moschovakis. 

The novel about A Senegalese Man who fought for France on the Western Front during the First World War is a chilling and hypnotic read. The protagonist’s journey, Alfa Ndiaye, through his life and war is intense, and connected to his best friend, “his-more-than-brother”, Mademba, who makes everything kind of bearable. But one day he is mortally wounded, and without him Alfa is alone amidst the savagery of the trenches. He feels lost, far from home, far from all he knows. His way out of the sadness and fear is to commit to this war with an intensity that soon begins to scare even his own comrades in arms.

Diop presents a world in which we can’t make out the line between courage and madness, murder and warfare. Alfa’s final transformation he is going through to deal with his lost and war experiences is unexpected and poetic, and heart-breaking at times. 

Get your copy now in any of our shops.

Pushkin Press, £8.99

Blind Date With A Book at The House of Books

“Blind Date with a Book” is a hand wrapped book, carefully curated from a wide range of popular genres that is tagged with intriguing clues alluding to the book inside. This curated collection includes everything from mystery, romance, classics, horror, adventure, science fiction to young adult.

Our ever growing selection of Blind Dates is available at all of our shops for £7.

Don’t miss the chance for a date of your dreams!

Chiltern Publishing at The House Of Books

Chiltern Publishing was formed in 2018. Their vision: to create the most beautiful classics, inspired by Jane Austen’s original books. Their goal: using a perfect mix of tradition and the very latest in printing techniques. The size and format of the Chiltern Editions are the original format of Jane Austen books. The publishers themselves are saying:

“With wonderfully detailed covers, sparkling guilt edges, creamy pages and stitched binding they are the most beautiful classics ever published.”

All 24 Chiltern Classics and their notebooks are available in our shops.