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7th March 2024 – Written by Ade

Welcome to the Mortgage Brain Bookshelf in Celebration of World Book Day

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It’s ‘World Book Day’! The parents amongst us are shuddering at the idea of having to create yet another elaborate book character costume and then settling for Where’s Wally (again!).

But at Mortgage Brain we thought, ‘why should the kids have all the fun?’  Reading is for everyone. Whether you’re an avid bookworm or an occasional ‘by the pool on holiday’ page-turner, there is a book out there to suit all readers.

So, when we asked the team here at Mortgage Brain HQ to come up with their book recommendations, we were not disappointed! There were so many suggestions that we just had to share them.  Welcome to the Mortgage Brain Bookshelf!

Cosy up, get comfortable and settle in for some inspiring reads and ‘knock your socks off’ stories this World Book Day.

Cozy Reads and Escapism


A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

“This is a tearjerker but beautiful. As a dog lover I always wonder what my dog is thinking or seeing so this book gives the opportunity to see life through a dog’s eyes.”

Grace Teager, PMO Analyst

Cameron’s narrative is a tender exploration of love, loyalty, and the joyous moments shared with our furry companions. Warning: may require a box of tissues!

Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie

“My favourite read is “Cards on the Table” by Agatha Christie, an amazing Hercule Poirot novel. Firstly, Poirot is my hero and this novel is said to be his favourite case that he ever worked on! Without giving too much away – it’s just so clever – the host, Mr Shaitana organises a dinner party for 8 ….. four possible murderers (all with alibis) and four detectives. The host, who ends up being the victim, is murdered in plain sight with no witnesses and you are kept guessing right up until the end with a brilliant twist. The murderer is no match for Poirot who of course cracks the case using his “little grey cells”! The book doesn’t take itself too seriously – it has humour which I love! Everybody should read at least one Christie novel in life – fact!”

Katie Thompson, National Account Manager

Nothing says cosy like curling up with an Agatha Christie mystery. “Cards on the Table” features the beloved detective Hercule Poirot in a brilliantly constructed whodunnit. With its clever twists and engaging humour, it’s a perfect read for some classic escapism.

Bookworm sitting on a pile of books for world book day

Professional Development


Social Media Guide For Mortgage Brokers: How to Grow Your Brand on Social Media by Rosalia Lazzara-Tilley

“For anyone working in the mortgage industry who is looking to boost their work profile or generate new avenues of business through social media, then this is an excellent read.  It’s a really practical and honest book that demystifies social media marketing.  The author offers strategies to build your personal brand from scratch along with examples to follow and I really like that it’s engaging and conversational, breaking down complex strategies into simple language. There are also some really powerful inspirational quotes to motivate the reader. If you want to build a profile on social media then this book makes it feel achievable rather than just aspirational.”

Pollyanna Puddephat, Head of Marketing


Autobiographies to Entertain and Inspire


Listening To The Animals by Noel Fitzpatrick (aka The Supervet)

“This is a quietly inspiring autobiography – a really open and honest account of Fitzpatrick’s life, a man who is clearly very gifted and has achieved incredible success, yet who remains modest and self-effacing. The book details his childhood, influences, and the forces that drove him to become a world-leading vet who is always pushing the boundaries of what is possible when it comes to caring for animals. It reminds us of the amazing bond between humans and animals, and how each can help save the other.”

Mark Baker, Developer Consultant

And Away by Bob Mortimer and Margrave of the Marshes by John Peel

“I’m not one for non-fiction usually but I’ve recently read two autobiographies which I think are worth a mention. Bob Mortimer’s book, “And Away” is both funny and surprisingly sad in equal measure but a very interesting read. It makes you think about how fate can sometimes throw us a curve ball which forces us to reflect on how we’ve lived our lives. In Bob’s case it was the sudden, out-of-the-blue diagnosis of a critical heart condition that led him to reassess and to write this book.

“The John Peel autobiography is one that really stands out for me. I spent many hours listening to Peely under the covers when I was a nipper and he totally shaped my musical tastes to be anything that wasn’t middle of the road. I often referred to him as Uncle John, because that was how he always came across on the radio. He never got to finish his book – he died far too early – and in the end, his wife finished it for him. Quite an emotional read.”

Ade Susman, Marketing Executive




Hope by Niall Harbison

“Like so many others, watching Niall’s stories and posts on social media has become part of my daily life. Seeing Niall and the other volunteers shine their love and time on the amazing stray dogs of Thailand hits me in the heart. As Niall references throughout, dogs have taught him about the meaning of life, the purity of love and how the simple life is the best. Despite horrendous abuse and mistreatment at the hands of humans, these dogs, given love, good food and time, give back nothing but love. They need very little, and neither do we. Finding purpose, forgiving, and letting go of the past are ways we can move forward with hope in our hearts. And perhaps most important of all, kindness is everything.”

Becky Dimmock, PA to the Executive Team

Dive into the heartwarming journey of Niall Harbison in “Hope,” a story that explores the themes of redemption, love, and the unbreakable spirit of hundreds of stray dogs in Thailand. Niall’s story is a testament to the power of finding purpose and the sheer joy of giving back. This book doesn’t just tell a story; it invites you to be part of a movement of kindness and hope.

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

“First released in 1959, this book is about combating negative thinking. If you think small, you’ll only achieve small. If you think big, you can achieve big. The author explains how to achieve big by thinking big, and how to overcome the negative thoughts which hold us back.”

Adam Weber, Developer

A must-read for those ready to expand their horizons and embrace the limitless potential of positive thought.


Thought-Provoking Non-Fiction


Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters by Steven E. Koonin (former Undersecretary of Science for the U.S. Department of Energy under the Obama Administration)

“Unsettled” is a superb work of picking apart the ‘Science’ of climate change and taking an evidence-based look at what we know and what we don’t. It asks the right questions and provides carefully evidenced and referenced answers, challenging the reader to think critically about the narratives surrounding climate change. Importantly, it raises the point that Science is never ‘settled’ and is the ideal antidote to those who seem to think climate science is a done deal. It’s a compelling read for the inquisitive mind.”

Karl Burkes, Technical Architect

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez; Facfulness by Hans Rowling; The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

“These three books changed my life and are perfect with International Women’s Day just round the corner.  “Invisible Women” blew my mind by highlighting the data and design bias we have towards men, that the seatbelt in my car will save a man’s life but not a woman’s.  How medical text books don’t even document the female symptoms of heart attack.

“Hans Rowling, who in my opinion was a genius, highlights how wrong we are in our thinking about the world.  This highlighted to me how important it is to use data to influence our decisions because our assumptions are usually wrong.

“Melinda Gates demonstrates how empowering women changes the world. “The Moment of Lift” is more than just a book; it’s a call to action, urging readers to contribute to a movement that uplifts women and, by extension, humanity itself.”

Cloë Atkinson, Chief Operating Officer

Playgrounds of the Gods: A Year of Sporting Fantasy by Ian Stafford

“A great book where Ian Stafford, a sports journalist, lives out his dreams of being a professional sportsman. The book really helps you appreciate the dedication and effort required to be an elite athlete. It levitates sports stars to an even higher level of appreciation – seeing beyond the mammoth wages and social media superstars that they are and acknowledging that their training and will to win are what makes them tick. As a failed sportsman, it helped me reconcile with the reality that I was never going to run or row in the Olympics, be a middle-weight boxer or play professional rugby!”

Alastair Brown, Chief Finance Officer

“Playground of the Gods” is the extraordinary account of one frustrated sportsman’s exciting, hapless and painful sporting experiences around the world. Stafford ran with top long-distance runners in Kenya, rucked with the South African national rugby team in Johannesburg,  and boxed against Roy Jones, to name a few of the sporting feats he tackled and survived!  A must-read for all sports fans.


Up All Night Thrillers!


The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell and Magpie by Elizabeth Day

“I love a good thriller but couldn’t decide between which of these two to recommend – so they’re both on the list!  Both are psychological thrillers which are great for an escape from the everyday life. They had me staying up late at night wanting to read on to see where the story went. Completely addictive! I was gripped from the start.  On the edge of your seat page-turners that weave a tale of mystery, intrigue, and dark family secrets. Both of these are guaranteed to keep you up well into the night.”

Grace Teager, PMO Analyst


World Fiction


Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden; The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez; The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

“I love stories that take me away to a new world, whether that be a different time in history, a story that takes place in a far-away country or a book that immerses me in another culture. All four of these stories took me away to another place and time. If you like escaping to another world, I can highly recommend all of these books.”

Cloë Atkinson, Chief Operating Officer

Memoirs of a Geisha is an historical novel set in Japan about the life of a geisha in Kyoto before and after World War II. It tells the story of how she transformed from a poor fisherman’s daughter into one of the most renowned geishas in Japan.

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is set in Afghanistan and tells the story of five different women who find solace, understanding, and strength in each other’s company amidst the backdrop of a war-torn country. The coffee shop serves as a sanctuary and a place of community for these women, offering a glimpse of hope and normalcy in their otherwise tumultuous lives.

The Night Circus is a fantasy novel set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, revolving around a mysterious, magical circus that arrives without warning, open only at night. The circus, known as Le Cirque des Rêves serves as the venue for a fierce competition between two young illusionists, Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair. Unbeknownst to them, they have been bound since childhood by their mentors to a magical duel in which only one can be left standing. It’s a captivating read for those who enjoy fantasy and romance woven into a backdrop of magical realism.

American Dirt tells the story a bookstore owner in the Mexican city of Acapulco who has to flee her home with her young son when a drug cartel murders her husband and other family members.  They become migrants trying to find their way to the US.  The book aims to humanise the stories of migrants and refugees, shedding light on the reasons they flee and the perilous journeys they undertake in search of safety and a better life.

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