We Asked You To Choose Our Books!

We Asked You To Choose Our Books! - The Willoughby Book Club

As a bit of fun in this sunshine-soaked May we asked our Instagram followers to vote for which book we should read next. It actually felt quite liberating to have the decisions made for us about what to read, particularly as we all put in so much time choosing books for others! 

Thanks so much for your input, this was really fun. We can't wait to try this again with Round Two and a brand new selection of titles.

Here are our selections, and the titles chosen by you! Which would you have chosen?



We asked you to choose between

Villager by Tom Cox and Summer Will Show by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Villager tipped the vote- just!
Here's what Marianne has to say about the book so far:

I had been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Villager.

Set in a fictional moorland village or Underhill, from prehistory until 2099, Tom Cox’s most recent novel is inspired by Dartmoor’s life, landscape and folklore. With multiple time settings and a motley band of narrators, including that of a blow-in Californian folk musician who records a selection of haunting tracks that re-surface throughout the novel, this is a gentle, funny and somewhat psychedelic meander through characters, times, stories and landscape. Underpinning the whole is the character of the Earth Spirit, the sense of place as a character in itself, a consideration of residents' relationships to the land, and in turn all of our relationships to the earth that nurtures us.

I can’t wait to get properly stuck in to this book having really enjoyed other work from Tom Cox and being brought to giggles from his previous book ‘Notebook’. I feel as though he writes in the way I see the world, and to have that articulated in such an amazing way, is a wonderful thing to read.



We asked you to choose between

Shy by Max Porter and Vladimir by Jukia May Jonas.

Shy won a resounding victory, and here's what Liv has to say about it so far:

Max Porter’s fourth novel ‘Shy’ is a slim novel set over the course of several hours in the life of a young, troubled boy.

Shy’ is attending a boarding school for troubled teens called ‘Last Chance’ and decides to set off into the night on his own. What follows is a wonderful torrent of language and thought, as the reader takes a walk with Lanny who is on the very cusp of something crucial.

Like with his previous works Grief is the Thing With Feathers and Lanny, Porter uses an unpretentious and poetic writing style to explore themes of trauma, love, family, and boyhood.

Liv says: I absolutely fell in love with Max Porter's short, sharp prose when I read Lanny. Similarly, with Shy, he never wastes a word and his experimental writing style is practically symphonic. I'm savouring every page!



We asked you to choose between 

The Poppy War by R F Kuang and The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. 
The Poppy War won the vote fair and square, and here's what Aishah has to say about it so far:

Sinegard is Rin's only chance to take control of her life. The alternative is to be sold off in an arranged marriage and smuggle opium.

Getting into Sinegard, the country's most elite military school, she is determined to excel.

Things get complicated when she discovers that the gods of old are not just myth and that she has an aptitude for the near-mythical art of shamanism.

Under so much pressure and with murmurs and stirrings of a third Poppy War on the horizon, Rin finds the control she sought slipping further and further from her grip.

The first in an epic trilogy, The Poppy Wars is a must read for fantasy lovers. The combination of Chinese mythology and the intricacies of war and magic make this book utterly enticing and I couldn't put it down during the second half!



We asked you to choose between

Sunny by Sukh Ojila and Juniper and Thorn by Ava Reid.
Sunny was victorious, and here's what Alisha has to say about it so far:


A pro at living a double life, Sunny is upbeat, entertaining to her friend and always willing to share dating horror stories. But at home she is playing the role of the perfect daughter. With many of her friends settling down with partners, Sunny finds herself back in her childhood bedroom, helping her mum cook and hiding alcohol in her underwear drawer.

She's always seemed to manage (from the outside!) her two lives quite well until her mum sees her being dropped off by a date and now her two worlds are colliding and she's not sure what to do!

Alisha says: It's an incredibly relatable book about family, friends and mental health. I'm rooting for Sunny! I'm glad she's starting to figure out who she is and I love reading about her evolving relationship with her mum. Sukh Ojla injects humour at just the right moments in this warming and emotional story.



We asked you to choose between

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors and Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski.
Cleopatra and Frankenstein was the clear champion. Here's what Lauren has to say about it so far:

British painter, Cleo, currently in New York, is still trying to find her place in the city when she meets Frank a few months before her student visa runs out.
Twenty years older than Cleo, Frank has the stability in life that she does not and soon offers her a chance to be happy, have the freedom to paint and a green card to go with it!

With their impulsive marriage, there comes unexpected changes to their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

 Lauren says: This was the perfect read for my summer holiday! I've been carrying it around with me, waiting for moments by the pool and before dinner to get back to it. If you want a witty, rompy read, this is the one for you.

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