WRITERS and book shop keepers have offered their top reads for 2018. Marlborough’s White Horse Bookshop manager Angus Maclennan has picked Rosamund Young’s ‘Secret Life of Cows’ as a top read in the new year for its affectionate and intriguing look at these farm animals.

Describing ‘Lost Words’ by bestselling nature writer Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, Mr Maclennan said: “All over the country, there are words disappearing from children’s lives as our natural world is besieged by the modern world. This book takes a stand against the disappearance of wild childhood and captures the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for young and old. It’s gorgeous.”

Mr Maclennan added ‘Churchill at the Gallop’ to his list and said: “Renowned author, broadcaster and former jockey, Brough Scott, traces Churchill’s hoofprints; from galloping his pony in Blenheim Park to playing polo in India.”

Poet Mark Whelehan has published ‘cassiopeia Lying Eastward', a series of poems inspired by Wiltshire, and David Roberts, novelist of the Lord Edward Corinth detective series, who celebrated the local bookshop and the the success of books despite the rise in electronic. He said: “The good news is readers are turning away from ebooks to real books.”Not that there is anything wrong with the Kindle on holiday or commuting – but at home we luxuriate in the well-designed book. Books are better produced, designed and manufactured than ever before and people like me relish that.” in preference to the instant garbage of the computer game or the reality TV show.

“Let us give thanks for having a very good bookshop at the heart of our town. We must support it if we do not want to lose it.