Skip to content

Book reviews

Find your local library to borrow or reserve a book.

Buy books for you or your group from hive.co.uk to support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no additional cost to you.

Browse The Reading Agency booklists on bookshop.org to find a range of recommended titles for adults and children. Sales will support The Reading Agency’s work and independent bookshops.

Read on for our recommended reads. You can also search for any book you have read and leave a review, or search for a book to see what other readers thought.

International Booker Prize 2021

The International Booker Prize is awarded every year for a single book that is translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland. It aims to encourage more publishing and reading of quality works of imagination from all over the world, and to give greater recognition to the role of translators. These 6 books have been chosen by the judges as the 2021 shortlist. Find out more about the list. Let us know what you think of the books on Twitter and Instagram using @readingagency and @TheBookerPrizes.

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut, and Adrian Nathan West
The Employees: A workplace novel of the 22nd century by Olga Ravn, and Martin Aitken
The War of the Poor by Eric Vuillard, and Mark Polizzotti
In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, and Sasha Dugdale
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez, and Megan McDowell
At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, and Anna Moschovakis

Women's Prize for Fiction 2021

The Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award celebrating and honouring fiction by women. The Prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women in English from throughout the world. These 16 novels have been chosen by the judges as the 2021 longlist. Find out more about the list. Let us know what you think of the books on Twitter and Instagram using @readingagency and @womensprize.

Exciting Times: THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER and shortlisted for the An Post Irish Book Awards 2020 by Naoise Dolan
The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig
Small Pleasures: The word-of mouth hit book of the summer by Clare Chambers
Nothing But Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
Summer by Ali Smith
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
The Vanishing Half: from the New York Times bestselling author of The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Luster by Raven Leilani
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House: A powerful, heart-wrenching novel of the other side of an island paradise by Cherie Jones
Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
No One Is Talking About This: 'A literary star' Guardian by Patricia Lockwood
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Because of You: The Instant Sunday Times bestseller 2020 by Dawn French
Consent by Annabel Lyon

Inspiring Women Writers

Our first collaborative booklist with Damian Barr’s Literary Salon is a good one! March is #WomensHistoryMonth so our teams have come together to recommend books by inspiring women, about inspiring women. The list is filled with beautiful stories, struggles and words of wisdom spanning countries and generations. There are some great picks from Damian Barr and lots more! Check out the booklist on Bookshop.org. Let us know what you think of the books on Twitter and Instagram using @readingagency.

All Made Up by Janice Galloway
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
The Color Purple: The classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker
The Choice: A true story of hope by Edith Eger
The Sealwoman's Gift: the Zoe Ball book club novel of 17th century Iceland by Sally Magnusson
Voices of Powerful Women: Words of Wisdom from 40 of the World's Most Inspiring Women by Zoe Sallis
Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

Themed booklists

We’ve collected together some of our previous booklists on a variety of themes and topics. Take a look to find your next read.

Climate Change
Books of the Year
Non-fiction November 2019
NaNoWriMo – Debuts of 2019
Food, Glorious Food
Space Chase
Changemaker Reads
Side-splitting Stories
Dementia friendly booklist from Wendy Mitchell
All The World’s a Stage
International Women’s Day
Lasting Letters
Tall Tales
International Migrants Day
Books of the Year 2018
Inspiration for NaNoWriMo: Debuts of 2018
Non-fiction November
Spooky Reads
Summer 2018
Book to film adaptations
Inspirational Women
Pride 2018
Books of the Year 2017
Debuts of 2017
STEM Non-Fiction
A splash of colour for a grey day
Science fiction from the last twenty years
Women in translation
Hot, hot, hot!
Books to make you laugh and cry
Travel books
Romance reads without the cheese
Marmite reads
Back to school
City vs. Country

View our other programmes