The Duchess of Cornwall has launched season two of her book club: These are the titles to add to your list

Camilla is known for being a voracious reader, so you can trust her recommendations

Eva Waite-Taylor
Thursday 15 April 2021 12:03
<p>From ‘The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth’ by Philip Pullman to ‘Girl’ by Edna O’Brien, there’s a broad range up for discussion</p>

From ‘The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth’ by Philip Pullman to ‘Girl’ by Edna O’Brien, there’s a broad range up for discussion

The Duchess of Cornwall – Camilla Parker Bowles – is known as an advocate of reading.

Holding seven patronages related to literature, including the National Literacy Trust and the Royal Society of Literature, the duchess has also supported the Booker Prize since 2013 and has spoken at length about how important a fantastic novel is to her.

“To me, reading is a great adventure. I’ve loved it since I was very small and I’d love everybody else to enjoy it as much as I do. You can escape, and you can travel, and you can laugh and you can cry. There’s every type of emotion humans experience in a book,” she said.

Following the positive reaction to the launch of her lockdown reading lists, both at Easter and during the summer last year, she launched her very own book club: The Reading Room.

The first season, which launched in January, included The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Restless by William Boyd and The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak.

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And now she has launched the second season of her book club with her latest recommendations ranging from a fantasy novel to a harrowing depiction of an abducted woman.

As with the previous season, each title will be explored on The Reading Room’s Instagram account for a fortnight, with information and details from the author, alongside a book club kit to spark discussion among readers.

If you enjoyed the first book club and are looking to futher satiate your need for literature, read on to discover Camilla’s second selection of recommended books and add them to your collection now.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

‘The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth’ by Philip Pullman, published by Penguin Random House Children’s UK

The first of the four books to be discussed in the book club, from 16 to 29 April, The Secret Commonwealth is the second volume of Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust.

This fantasy novel weaves together the story of Lyra Silvertongue and Malcolm Polstead as they discover new secrets while travelling from Oxford across the globe. It’s an action-packed adventure that explores what it means to grow up.

‘Girl’ by Edna O’Brien, published by Faber & Faber

Edna O’Brien is known for her ability to craft masterpiece after masterpiece, and Girl is no different. Grounded in research and interviews, it tells the story of a girl captured, abducted and married into Boko Haram, a terrorist group based in Nigera. O’Brien sensitively touches on the sexual, religious and social oppression of women in this harrowing read. Girl is the second novel in the book club and will be discussed from 30 April to 13 May.

‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles, published by Windmill Books

Featuring in our review of the best uplifting books, our writer noted that “Amor Towles’s first novel, Rules of Civility (£6.65,, was named as one of the best books of 2011 by theWall Street Journal.” This is the author’s second book, and it has already sold more than one million copies.

Set in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, it tells the story of Alexander Rostov, who is deemed to be an unrepentant aristocrat and is stripped of his wealth and is sentenced to house arrest while Russia goes through decades of turbulent upheaval. With “lively descriptions of life in Russia over a period of 30 years”, our reviewer called Towles’s book “a delight”.

A Gentleman in Moscow will be discussed on The Reading Room’s Instagram from 14 to 17 May.

‘The Red Notebook’ by Antoine Laurain, published by Gallic Books

The fourth and final book in the book club – discussed from 28 May to 11 June – The Red Notebook is said to be a cosy, easy read. If you’re looking for a holiday novel, this could be it.

It tells the tale of a middle-aged bookseller, Laurant, who finds an abandoned handbag in Paris that is almost empty except for a small red notebook. As he tries to find its owner, two lonely souls encounter one another. Expect beautiful and illustrative depictions of Paris.

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