Right Book, Right Time

16 June 2023

Sometimes in our lives we might hear a song or watch a film that touches us. We might be going through a difficult time and that song or film helps us through it. Or maybe it chimes with thoughts and feelings that we’re experiencing. Whatever it is, everybody’s experienced something along these lines at some point in their lives.

Books can have the same impact. Have you found this on your Road to Reading? A book that will stay with you for days, weeks and maybe even years afterwards. Here at The Reading Agency, we each have a book that’s had a profound effect on us. Read on to find out what has been the right book at the right time for some of our team.

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

Selected by Alex Turton, Marketing and Communications Manager

The book follows George, an English professor who is teaching at a Los Angeles university and processing the loss of his partner, Jim. I first read this book in my early twenties when I was newly living in Berlin, and the way it captured the feeling of trying to connect with one’s surroundings – or being both an observer and participant – really resonated with my experiences in a new city, knowing very few people and feeling very much like an outsider. It’s a deeply ironic and at times sarcastic novel and the story is contained over one day, which appeals to me as a reader.

And Away… by Bob Mortimer

Selected by Hannah Pimble, Programme Officer

In 2015, comedian Bob Mortimer was diagnosed with a heart condition that required immediate surgery and forced him to cancel an upcoming tour. The experience made him reflect on his life and write this hilarious and moving memoir. I read this book at a time when I really needed a laugh. As you’d expect, it’s funny and silly and it really cheered me up. I’ve heard the audiobook, read by Bob himself, is great too!

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Selected by Temi Adeyeye, Communications and Campaigns Assistant

Queenie was a book that I not only really enjoyed, but I connected with the character as a black woman. It was impactful because it really allowed me to begin a journey of self-introspection and self-evaluation. The book is centred on a person whose life is entirely different to mine, but completely relatable, and emotion resonated with me. When I finished the book, I felt almost invigorated. It made me assess my life and think about the ways I could improve it, but also weed things out that might be harming me. All while understanding that the circumstances you are in or grow up in may hinder that process.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Selected by Kathryn Rose, Campaign Manager

I read A Spool of Blue Thread in summer 2020, when many of us felt so unsure about what was happening in the world. Anne Tyler’s writing immediately feels like being enveloped in a warm hug. It’s calming, comforting and is like being with an old friend or close family member. This multi-generational story about a family in Baltimore is full of love, humour, sadness and connection. It was the first Anne Tyler book I read, but has not been the last!


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