Jonathan Squirrell has range of recommendations across many a genre, so enjoy!
That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx, a tale of eccentrics and escapades from the Texas panhandle. It’s beautifully written, every word evoking the hard landscape and lifestyle, but there is warmth and wit too, and amidst the yarns and anecdotes of local lives, an intriguing plot is developing. Strongly recommended!
Hilary Mantel justly receives plaudits for her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, I’m also a fan of A Place of Greater Safety, her novel set during the French Revolution. For a gentler slice of historical fiction, anything by Georgette Heyer makes great comfort reading, The Convenient Marriage is a fun place to start.
Russian writer Boris Akunin is worth exploring. Erast Fandorin is a quirky and likeable hero, appearing first in The Winter Queen, though the series arguably grows stronger as it progresses. Akunin’s Sister Pelagia novels are also highly entertaining.
Three Men in a Boat is probably my favourite book of all time, although it’s as much a travelogue and history lesson as a comic masterpiece. For a fresh twist, The Mystery of Briony Lodge by David Bagchi borrows the same characters and splices them with Sherlock Holmes for a lighthearted mash-up caper.
Two books I can’t recommend highly enough are The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Both build fantasy onto recognizable worlds, but in very different way, and both several hundred pages long, so now may be the perfect time to read or re-read them!
Clare Tomalin is an outstanding biographer, so if you’re interested in the stories behind the literary giants her work is a must. Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self is an entertaining and informative journey through the life of the celebrated diarist.
If you prefer your fiction bite-sized, try Schema by Joe Hakim. Joe is a friend, and a great supporter of local artists in Hull. He is also a very gifted author in his own right. Smart, often hilarious, sometimes brutal, always authentic, you can find his stories here: https://joehakimwriter.weebly.com/schema