The Literary Almanac – Francesca Beauman

Published By: Quercus
Pages: 191
Released On: 30/09/2021

Discover over 300 seasonal book recommendations in the ultimate reading list for book lovers everywhere. Spanning the dreary, cold days of January to the first flushes of spring and then the blazing August heat, bibliophile Francesca Beauman offers up a wealth of book recommendations. From The Count of Monte Cristo to Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, each has been selected to chime with a particular time of year and provide a richer reading experience.


Thanks to Francesca, I now have a long list of books to add to my even longer to-be-read list, which if we’re being honest, is basically the entire contents of my bookcases, but who’s counting.

I’ve never identified with someone when it comes to books as much as Francesca. She never goes anywhere without taking a book with her, even to the delivery room to have her baby. I am exactly the same. Okay, I haven’t had a baby so can’t comment on the latter, but I’m sure I would do this too. But I don’t leave the house without a book in my handbag – 2 if I know I’m close to finishing one of them. Even if I’m going for an appointment where I know I’ll probably only be waiting for 5 minutes, I make sure there’s a book. Better 5 minutes of reading than no minutes. And having had many visits to hospital for emergencies and appointments, I know how late things can run, so I’ve learnt my lesson there.

I love the combination of classics, foreign pieces, and modern novels that Francesca has included. Normally in book lists, it’s all the classics (nothing wrong with classics), and not everyone likes them or has the time to invest in an 800-page Russian tome. So this gives a nice variety of genres, formats, and topics so you’re bound to find at least one book you want to read – or in my case, you’ll want to read all of them.

A lot of books about books can be preachy and a bit snooty, but Francesca isn’t. She picks the books, gives a small overview, and explains why it is important to her, but she doesn’t force her choices down your throat, or look down upon you for your choices.

Every so often, there are some illustrations which are beautiful in their simplicity. They don’t spoil the book or give away its ending; but they’re enough to remind readers of their favourites, but also to entice new audiences.

I personally link curling up with a good book with the cold long winter nights, but Francesca does give a good argument for books being just as much of a comfort during the summer. I hate the summer, so I’m normally still curled up inside with a good book, even if it’s 30+ degrees outside.

Each book gets between 1 quick paragraph and 2-3 full pages, and each one is described so well that books that would never have appealed to you start showing up on your bookshelves. This is obviously such a great read for book lovers, but even if you’re not as much of an avid reader, give this a try, you might just surprise yourself and find that perfect book.

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