Themed Lists & Recommendations from our Booksellers

Meet our booksellers, read about what we’ve been reading, browse themed lists, and get in touch for personal recommendations.

Leah is new to bookselling and joined the shop in September 2021. Her background is in Art History and Photography, and she is particularly interested in books that play on memoir and the essay form, but she also loves reading modernist and contemporary novels!

Tom opened Gloucester Road Books in 2021, having worked in bookselling since 2007. He loves brief strange books of any genre, short story collections and good dark crime novels. However, surrounded every day by tantalising books of all kinds, his reading inevitably wanders far and wide.

Joe Melia has worked in several Bristol bookshops for more than 20 years as well as co-ordinating the Bristol Short Story Prize. He has also been Bristol 24/7’s Books and Spoken Word editor, a library assistant, fiction editor and had numerous book reviews published. Joe likes to read a wide variety of books – all types of fiction including contemporary and historical, thrillers, short stories, dystopian tales, plus popular culture, politics, history, sport, music, essays and lots more.

Some Themed Lists

We will add to these themed book lists on a regular basis. We hope you will find them an interesting way to browse books, or even genres, you might not otherwise have explored.

Short Stories

Here are some jaw-dropping short story collections which we’re highlighting to mark the release of the 15th Bristol Short Story Prize anthology. They feature finely chiselled and deftly wrought tales, showcasing the form in all its honed-down glory. One of the beauties of the form is that it offers sudden and powerful encounters without the padding or distraction of longer fiction. Perhaps start with the ground-breaking Nikolai Gogol, included because not only is it full of unforgettable stories but it also features The Overcoat (first published in 1842) which may well mark the birthplace of what we know as the modern short story.

Contemporary Irish Writing

All the writers listed come highly recommended, but if you are looking for excellent writing that also captures the experience of place in Ireland, look to Niamh Campbell who brilliantly captures an up-to-the-minute, post-recessionary Dublin in We Were Young. Or Anne Enright’s The Gathering, which is a powerful account of a family unpacking its dark history against the backdrop of a dramatically different, Celtic Tiger-era Dublin. Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond centres on a woman’s life in a Galway cottage written in her highly original and innovative prose.
Claire Keegan’s chilling novel Small Things Like These transports you to the 1980s, to a small Wexford town still in the grips of the Catholic clergy. And for writing that immerses you in the Irish landscape, both Sara Baume and Kerri ni Dochartaigh write beautifully on connection to land and sea.

Some Favourite Crime Writing

Good crime writing needs to be well plotted and tautly told, but really good crime writing is always about much more than just the mystery. Here are some greats, both classic and contemporary. Detectives soaked in moral ambiguity; investigations that run from the most exclusive mansions in the California hills down to skid row through all the fascinating social strata in between; perfect neighbours who become murderous monsters in one snap; avenging scourges devouring cassoulet and despatching nemeses; cinematic London peasoupers concealing vicious opportunists; all of life (and much death) is between the covers of these excellent books.

Guest List

Every now and then we’ll invite someone to put together a selection of their recommended reads for us. These might follow a particular theme, or they might just all be damn fine books. Either way, it’s a good excuse to poke around in the bookshelves of someone else’s mind for a while.

Gloucester Road Books

Independent bookshop
Est April 2021

184 Gloucester Road,
Bishopston,
Bristol BS7 8NU

0117 924 6638
hello@gloucesterroadbooks.com

December Opening Times

Monday–Tuesday
9.30–5.00

Wednesday–Saturday
9.30–6.00

Sunday
11.00–4.00