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Books to Inspire and Delight

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Here at Little’s, we have been inspired by those who continue to spread hope and optimism during what has undoubtedly been a challenging time. With this in mind, each week our team will be sharing experiences we have been enjoying or are looking forward to, whether that be a binge-worthy boxset, a must-follow Instagram account, or the best dine at home experiences.

This week, the Little’s Team are sharing the books they have enjoyed recently. Prize winning novels, essay odes to joy, culinary tales, and courtroom dramas – whatever mood you are in, there is a book here that we are sure will inspire or delight you (or perhaps both). While we may not be able to peruse the physical shelves of our favourite bookshops at the moment, we have been impressed by how many independent booksellers have adapted their business model to face the challenges of the time and are now offering a wonderful online service. As proud supporters of local Scottish businesses, the links to each of the books discussed should take you to some of our favourite independent bookshops in Scotland: The Golden Hare, The Portobello Bookshop, and Topping & Company Booksellers. We hope you find something to lose yourself in for a while among our book recommendations.

Heather and Melissa recommend: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet may have won the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, but it also won the hearts of Heather Matthews, our Managing Director, and Melissa Reid, our Marketing and Communications Assistant, who both say the book is their favourite of last year. This lyrical and profoundly moving novel – about siblings, motherhood, love, and loss – tells the story of the son of a famous playwright and is beautiful and heart-breaking in equal measure. Heather read the book in three days straight while staying at The Machrie last year, and Melissa found great solace listening to the audiobook while painting her bedroom back in November – a task that kept her up into the early hours because she kept wanting to listen to ‘just one more chapter’, and now, she says, the smell of paint transports her back to the Elizabethan England O’Farrell conjures so deftly.

Kenneth recommends: A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain

Kenneth Good, our Operations Director, has mostly found himself reading books with a musical or culinary theme, and a particular favourite of his recently has been A Cook’s Tour. The book follows chef and internationally bestselling author Anthony Bourdain as he sets out to eat his way around the world in an effort to find ‘the perfect meal’. It is an engaging and humorous account, and Kenneth admits he already has a special place in his heart for Bourdain because of his recipe for carre d’agneau au moutarde and gratin dauphinois from his Les Halles Cookbook (another book to check out if you are needing some inspiration in the kitchen.)

Stuart recommends: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

If you are looking for a story to help you escape the 21st century for a while, then this epic saga of wrongful imprisonment, adventure, and revenge might do the trick. Set against the backdrop of high-society in Napoleonic Europe, The Count of Monte Cristo comes highly recommended by Stuart MacMillan, one of our Glasgow-based chauffeurs. While its near-1000 pages might seem somewhat daunting, Stuart was so gripped by the story that he finished the book in around two weeks and he now counts it as one of his favourites.

Melissa recommends: The Book of Delights by Ross Gay

For those looking for an uplifting book to read in small bursts, Melissa recommends poet Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights. Taking the form of short lyric essays – some less than a page – the book is about the small ‘delights’ that Gay observed over the course of a tumultuous year, and it is a beautiful antidote to the constant cycle of bad news. ‘I first heard Ross Gay being interviewed on Krista Tippett’s podcast On Being,’ Melissa says, ‘and I really admire his commitment to paying attention and actively looking out for joy while still acknowledging the complexity and difficulties of life. The book is a meditation on gratitude and the beauty of the everyday, and it feels important – even necessary – right now.’

David Anderson recommends: the works of John Grisham

Chauffeur David Anderson is currently binge-reading the novels of John Grisham and has been making his way through them at a steady rate. So far, he’s enjoyed A Time to Kill, Sycamore Row, and The Chamber, and – at the time of writing this – he is halfway through The Partner. Most of Grisham’s stories are based around American courtroom dramas and they make for compelling reading, especially when life at home can feel like it’s slowed down right now.

Heather recommends: Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking by Matthew Syed

We could keep going – but our final recommendation comes from Heather again who enjoys reading a mixture of fiction and business related books. One on the business side of things, she recently enjoyed Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking by Matthew Syed. In Rebel Ideas, Syed – who has written six bestselling books on the subject of mindset and high performance – writes about harnessing the power of ‘cognitive diversity’ to tackle the great challenges of our times. Drawing from case studies, psychology, anthropology and network theory, this fascinating book will inspire you to break free of the echo chambers we so often find ourselves in and find new ways of thinking.

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