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Ask a Bookseller: Olivia, Lizz and Sam from Max Minerva's Marvellous Books

Bookshops are the very best places to go for book recommendations – and booksellers are the friendliest, most knowledgeable of readers!

Olivia, Lizz and Sam from Max Minerva's Marvellous Books in Bristol have joined us to answer your questions and share their favourite picks.

Want a recommendation of your own? Submit a question for our guest booksellers and if it's answered, we'll send you a £15/€20 National Book Token to spend in your local bookshop.

Max Minerva's

What makes Max Minerva's a great place to visit?

"We want everyone to enjoy reading. That’s why we've got books from every genre, and a team with a wide variety of tastes, from romance to horror, picture books to history, literary fiction to children’s graphic novels. Come in and browse our shelves, ask for recommendations, or pick a book to read with your kids on the rugs, cushions and chairs in our children’s section." Sam

I'm looking for a graphic novel dealing with modern life and maybe romance. Can you help? – Angela

I'd try Alison by Lizzy Stewart. It's a beautiful coming-of-age story of a woman in the 1970s London art scene. Alternatively, Acting Class by Nick Drnaso follows the inner lives of a collection of misfits as they all attend an acting class together.

Alison by Lizzy Stewart

Which books from the past few years do you think will stand the test of time, and will be considered Classic Literature and must-reads, in 100 years? – Shona

Definitely Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, and Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. But I'd also say Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, The Song of Achilles by Madelline Miller, and A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

I'm desperate for something well-written and romantic, though not necessarily romance, that will make me laugh out loud and maybe cry. Lonesome Dove is the benchmark. Do you have any suggestions? – Lynda

In Memoriam by Alice Winn is a stunningly written coming-of-age and romance set in the trenches of the First World War. Absolutely breathtaking.

In Memoriam by Alice Winn

Who are good BIPOC authors for diversifying your bookshelves? – Aoife

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson is a tragically beautiful love story of two young black artists in London. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie is a fast-paced and uncompromising retelling of Antigone amid Pakistani-British political tensions. And Untold Day and Night by Bae Suah (translated by Deborah Smith) is an atmospheric, twisty mystery of a woman trying to unpick the traumatic events that lead to her memory loss.

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

I'm looking for some LGBT romance, preferably with a fantasy twist, but I have no idea where to start! Do you have any recommendations? – Fran

Fantasy romance is my favourite! A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske is gay historical fantasy, Malice by Heather Walter is a sapphic dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Payback's a Witch is a cosy queer romance, and Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao is polyamorous sci-fi. All are amazing!

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske


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