Breesha Maddrell grew up in the south of the island and is the director at Culture Vannin. A former lecturer at the University of Liverpool’s Centre for Manx Studies, she was tempted to make this a list of 10 Manx books or obscure world music tracks but opted instead for books which jumped off her shelves. Next week, her top 10 will undoubtedly be different. When she’s not working, she’s playing music or singing with various bands and choirs, walking the hills or swimming in the sea. She enjoyed living in England, Scotland and Germany as a student, but the Isle of Man is most definitely the place she calls home.

1. The Summer Book by Tove Jannson

Jannson is best known for her Moomin books (which I love), but her books for adults are very precious, too – this one is about what it is to be human in many respects, and talks of love, life, nature and the sea.

2. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

A chance find on the shelves of the Bridge Bookshop in Port Erin many years ago led me into the jazz-infused dreamlike world of Murakami – this particular novel of his starts with a missing cat.

3. Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

I love Greene’s writing so much that I looked for his characters the first time I went to Brighton.

This dark comedy is set far from Brighton Rock in 1950s Cuba and involves a former vacuum cleaner salesman turned spy – well almost.

4. Wizard of Earthsea trilogy by Ursula K Le Guin

I wanted to choose so many of Le Guin’s books – she is an incredible writer with real foresight, imagination and understanding. I discovered this trilogy when I was young and will never tire of re-reading it.

5. Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman

A thought-provoking, rich collection of short ‘what ifs’ of life, now and ‘after’.

6. The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers

About 25 years ago, I spent a lot of time researching and writing about resistance culture in Nazi Germany.

The Seventh Cross was written in the 1940s and speaks of the remarkable power of people, solidarity, and resistance in the face of unthinkable adversity.

7. Manx Ballads and Music by A W Moore

I could have made this a list of my top 10 Manx books, but I’ve chosen just one.

Moore’s collection contains beautiful and sometimes quirky song texts in Manx and English that tell us so much about the history and character of the communities that went before us.

8. His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

Pullman’s writing is what I jump into when I want to be lost in a book, the kind of writing I have to ration for fear of finishing too quickly.

9. Writing Home by Alan Bennett

There’s something special about Bennett, whether he’s reading Winnie the Pooh, telling you about his life or spinning a funny yarn.

He has great powers of observation, attention for detail, and shows a real warmth and understanding towards those around him.

10. Matters of Life and Death by Bernard MacLaverty

Irish writers are amongst the very finest out there, and could have easily taken over the whole list with their poetry alone.

MacLaverty’s short stories are closely observed, beautifully written, and at times shocking. This collection will leave you wanting to explore his other writing (I can also recommend Grace Notes).