Latitude Loves… World Book Day

Happy World Book Day! To celebrate the day dedicated to the written word, some of the Latitude team have shared (a selection of) their all-time favourite reads…

Ami, Lavish Lounge – The Vegetarian by Han Kang

It feels an impossible task to single out one book as my ‘favourite’, but The Vegetarian by Han Kang definitely stands out. Reading it felt like a fully immersive experience, so brilliantly crafted it was breathtaking. Shockingly beautiful, visceral, passionate, unsettling and matter-of-fact all at the same time. The images and feelings conjured up when reading the Vegetarian haunted me, in the best way, for years.

Chloe, Family programming – The Third Door by Alex Banayan

I love the book The Third Door by Alex Banayan. Alex essentially says in life success is like a nightclub with 3 doors. You’ll have the route of the main entrance where everyone has queues to get in, the second door where all the VIPs go and then the third door, where you go above and beyond / do whatever it takes to get inside… because there is always a way in. In life and throughout my career as a woman in the music industry, I’ve always felt like I had to go through the third door. Reading about Alex’s journey gave me great comfort as it’s always nice to know you’re not ‘alone’ in your journey.

Corinne, Mind, Body & Zen – The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now: I read this book for the first time when I was going through a challenging period of my life. It helped me to realise the importance on making time to appreciate the small things and try and be present. It can be hard to do that in a fast paced world – but this book is a great source of wisdom and ways to reassess life!

Ed, Music programming – The Atrocity Exhibition, Dune, Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, The Dawn of Everything

The Atrocity Exhibition [J.G. Ballard] is up there for me; my attention span appreciates its format and my brain appreciates its density. Feels like purposeful escapism. It’s embarrassingly ‘relevant’ but my longstanding absolute favourite ‘genre’ novel is Dune [Frank Herbert]. Immense worldbuilding that’s heavily influenced most subsequent sci fi; deep, flawed, challenging, mortal characters; a counter to messiah-shagging hero’s journey tropes. Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney’s Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl is a fantastic, hilarious, devastating, articulate memoir. And The Dawn Of Everything: A New History Of Humanity [David Graeber & David Wengrow] remains the non fiction book that’s changed how I see the world most, for better and worse.

Are any of these my favourites? Perhaps!

Emily, Marketing – The Snail and The Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler

The Snail and The Whale: I’m mum to a little boy who is a Julia Donaldson stan! As parents, we really enjoy reading this one aloud – the lilting tones make it good for a bedtime read. We also love the story – a snail in a Glasgow dock dreams of seeing the world and gets to experience the beauty of tropical beaches, ice flows and far away shores thanks to the kindness of the Whale. When in danger the snail proves that you don’t have to be big to make a big difference. What wonderful concepts to introduce littles to.


photo of woman in the latitude bookshop

Flora, Arts programming – Madeline

My favourite book is a hardback copy of Ludwig Bemelmans Madeline that I’ve had for as long as I can remember, and is the epitome of nostalgia for me as I must have made my mother read it to me night after night for (probably far too many!) years. In fact – I’m probably still line perfect on a few pages! The story itself is one thing, but it was the illustrations that had me hooked from the get go. They are simple yet detailed, colourful, playful and just LOVELY. I am still as obsessed with the full yellow ensemble the troop of 12 schoolgirls wear as I was when I first looked at the pages. Where can I get one of the hats?!

Kaye, Mind, Body & Zen – The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer

I’ve just finished reading The Surrender Experiment written by Michael A. Singer and loved it! It recounts the author’s personal and spiritual journey from the moment he decided, as a college student, to relinquish control and surrender to the flow of life. I really enjoyed the overarching theme that we simply can’t control very much of what is going on in the outside world, but what we can manage is our inside world – our own mind and thought patterns. Throughout Singer’s journey, the one thing he committed to was his daily meditation practice and how his life unfolds is nothing short of inspiring.

Kirsty, Arts programming – I Capture The Castle, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Mr Bridge and other favourites

I Capture The Castle was the first book I read where I felt I was reading as an adult. A Short History of Nearly Everything changed the way I saw science as integrated with our world. The first line of Mr Bridge, if you have already read Mrs Bridge, is absolutely breathtaking and my favourite first line of all. Fugitive Pieces, Lanny and Priestdaddy tie for language that immediately transports you to our world seen differently. I Am, I Am, I Am and the Sarah Winman book with the sunflowers on the cover (Tin Man) make me feel I’ve lived other lives.

Lucy, Production – Not That Kind of Girl, Everything I Know About Love, I Feel Bad About My Neck

As a lover of chick-lit, my list of reads tend to tell the same story on repeat, and I always just keep going back for more (of the same) – Marian Keyes, Jojo Moyes, you know the sort…! I love being swept up in a story and lost in its made-up world, yet the books that have stuck with me are those light-hearted, fun, real stories, by real women. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham was a book I read in my early twenties when I first moved to London, followed by Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love in my late twenties. Both of these books felt like I was hearing stories told my best friends, and I love that familiarity. I am currently reading I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron, and despite still being a chapter from the end, I’m going out on a limb here and saying… it’s my new favourite book! It’s funny, real, right up my street and something that I’m sure will sit on my shelf and be shared with friends throughout my 30s and 40s.

Sharon, Family programming – Half of a Yellow Sun, His Bloody Project, The Mercies and other favourites

Historical fiction combines my love of world history, social politics and travel.

So I’m transported from the Biafran War of Half of a Yellow Sun to the 19th century Scottish Highlands of His Bloody Project, 16th century Norwegian witch trials of The Mercies to modern day America for the epic Demon Copperhead. Homegoing traces the shadow of the slave trade for its Ghanaian perpetrators and victims over hundreds of years, while the Wolf Hall trilogy focuses on just 30 years of Tudor court intrigue! And while Small Island gives exquisite depth to the Windrush story, Days Without End explores love and unconventional family in the ashes of the Indian, and American Civil War.  I lose myself endlessly in lives and voices from across the centuries and across the globe… pure joy!

image of the bookshop at latitude, featuring a sign saying 'latitude authors'
The Bookshop returns to Barclaycard presents Latitude for 2024, where you can hear some of our favourite award-winning authors telling tales and sharing stories. Broadcaster, comedian and writer extraordinaire Robin Ince will be hosting a series of talks at The Bookshop this year, plus more to be announced very soon…