Author Katherine Arden to visit Brompton Library

We are very excited to announce that in April author, Katherine Arden will visit Brompton Library. Katherine is the author of The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, the first two books in the Winternight trilogy. She will read from the third book in the trilogy, The Winter of the Witch, which is due to be published in August this year. The trilogy is inspired by the fairy tales and folklore of medieval Russia that Katherine read while living there, and set in its snowy landscape.

To celebrate her visit, we will be reading the first two Winternight novels during February and March. Join us on Thursday 8 February when we will be discussing The Bear and the Nightingale which has been described as haunting, lyrical and a beautiful deep-winter story full of magic and monsters.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya, these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods…

‘Frost-demons have no interest in mortal girls wed to mortal men. In the stories, they only come for the wild maiden.’

These books are suitable for children aged 14 years plus. Katherine says:

“My absolute favorite thing to hear from a reader: ‘I read your book and then I gave it to my daughter.’”

To get your copy, please visit Brompton Library, or email libraries@rbkc.gov.uk to get a copy sent to your local library.

If you’d like to attend the special reading group meeting in February, please book a place via Eventbrite

Edited to add – the next meeting of this special reading group will be on Thursday 8 March where they’ll discuss the second book in Katherine’s trilogy, ‘The Girl in Tower’. For more info or to book your free place, please visit Eventbrite

Fiona at Brompton Library

Bond behind the scenes

Last week we had a reading list from the staff at Brompton Library all about Young James Bond. This week they’re back with a collection of books that take us behind the scenes of Britain’s most successful action movie series.

Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films

Following the highs and lows of the Bond film franchise from when it started in the 1960s up to its present day resurgence in popularity. Drawing on hundreds of previously unpublished interviews with cast and crew, a definitive guide for all fans.

Bond on Bond

Who better to give an inside look at the Bond films than everyone’s favourite Bond, Roger Moore. Giving us his inside view with his inimitable charm and charisma, Moore talks us through all the bond films and his involvement in them. Accompanied by many great shots of the gadgets, the cars and the Bonds’ themselves on the set and behind the scenes, this is the ultimate James Bond guide written by the ultimate Bond.

Blood, Sweat and Bond: Behind the Scenes of Spectre

A photographic account of the filming of Spectre with many great shots of the sets, the fight scenes and the actors at work and at play. There are also little bits of information about costumes, sets and shooting, as well as quotes from cast and crew. A beautiful book to savour over long after the film is finished.

We’ll be back with more reading lists soon, and do let us know (in the comments below) if Roger Moore isn’t your favourite Bond…

The staff at Brompton Library

Young James Bond

The staff at Brompton Library, after a well-deserved Christmas break, are back with some more reading lists – this time they’re about Bond, James Bond…

The last Ian Fleming Bond stories to be published was in 1966, two years after the writer’s death. Did you know that since then, there have been over 30 Bond novels and stories written by other authors including Kingsley Amis and Anthony Horowitz?

Not only that, but writer Charlie Higson has also created as series of novels based on the early life of the spy during his school years at Eton. Critics immediately dismissed the idea that the Young Bond novels would do justice to the iconic character of Bond but, after the publication of SilverFin, the first in the series, the critics were silenced and the whole series went on to achieve great success, including being made into a game and a series of graphic novels. There is even talk of a film being made, although this has not yet been confirmed. Charlie Higson has always said that he wanted to stay true to Ian Fleming’s vision of Bond and has only read the Fleming’s Bond stories.

Here is a summary of each of his Young Bond novels, all of which are available in our libraries in a range of formats from graphic novels to audiobooks, as well as paperbacks.

SilverFin

It’s James’ first day at Eton and he soon makes friends, and enemies. During the summer break he visits Scotland where he meets a boy called Red Kelly who’s looking for his missing cousin. They venture up the hill to Lake Silverfin where the adventure is just beginning.

Blood Fever

Back at Eton, James is now a member of a secret risk-taking club known as the Danger Society and one of his classmate’s family has gone missing. The summer brings more mystery and adventure when he travels to Sardinia on a field trip with one of his professors. He discovers another secret society known as the Millenia, a society who want to restore the Roman Empire. Is there a connection? Only Bond will find out…

Double or Die

Set entirely in England during Christmas, when a professor is kidnapped at gun point, a suspicious letter full of cryptic clues arrives at Eton leading Bond into the darkest corners of London. Once he as solved the clues, he has just forty-eight hours to save not just the professor, but the future of the rest of the world. Classic bond with Russian villains, a casino scene and a car chase, but will he get the girl in the end?

Hurricane Gold

Only danger is guaranteed in the exhilarating chase set in the Mexican jungle. Taken out of school by his aunt, James relaxes in the Mexican sun. When his aunt leaves him with the children of war hero Jack Stone, they get caught up in a political storm with gangsters, stolen government documents and a chase that leads to a Caribbean island.

By Royal Command

Following a treacherous Alpine rescue mission, Bond is back at Eton. All is not as it seems though, as his every move is being watched. He holds the clue to a sinister plot that will bring bloodshed and carnage to his school and his country. The only solution is to flee to Austria with only a beautiful but dangerous girl by his side. A nightmare reunion with a bitter enemy once again plunges him into the face of death.

We hope you enjoyed this, we’ll be back next week with more Bond books.

Staff at Brompton Library

Musical anniversaries 2018

This month’s display of books from the Biography Collection at Kensington Central Library showcases musicians with significant anniversaries in 2018. Those we have most books on in the collection are Leonard Bernstein (born 1918), Claude Debussy (died 1918), and Gioachino Rossini (died 1868), but we include many others.

Gioachino Rossini

Other hard copy resources for music in our libraries are:

• Scores in at Kensington Central Library’s store

• CDs at Kensington Central Library

• DVDs of operas, shows etc and books on music, across all all our libraries

• A special collection of music reference books at Kensington Central Library

All these can be looked for on our library catalogue

We also have resources online:

Naxos Music Library – we have a workshop about using this music streaming service, more details below

Biographical and newspaper online resources useful for musician biographies and performance and recording reviews

Naxos Music Library workshop

Naxos Music Library workshop
Friday 26 January
2 to 3pm
Kensington Central Library

Come along to our workshop to find out more about the Naxos Music Library, the music streaming service which is free for library members. You will be shown how to:

  • Access the service
  • Find the sort of music you are interested in
  • Find multiple recordings of a work, or all the recordings available on the site by one recording artist or composer
  • Put together a playlist of your favourite music
  • Share your favourite tracks or albums

This event is free, no need to book – just turn up.

The Biography Store Team at Kensington Central Library

Christmas modern crime fiction

The staff at Brompton Library have been really busy – putting together Christmas reading lists for children and adults alike. We’ve been publishing a list every morning since Tuesday on the blog this week.

Today our last list is Christmas modern crime fiction –

Merry Christmas Alex Cross

When Detective Alex Cross gets a phone call on the night before Christmas, he knows he won’t be good news. Henry Fowler has kidnapped his ex-wife and his children. He is high, armed and dangerously unstable. Meanwhile, a major terrorist attack is unfolding. Will Alex save the day…?

Murder in the Dark

Set in Australia in the 1920s our heroine Phryne Fisher, wealth aristocrat and private detective, is invited to the Last Best Party of 1928. When three party guest go missing, Phyrne must follow the scavenger hunt clues to find them. Part of the Phryne Fisher series.

The Other Mrs Walker

A detective story without a detective. When Mrs Walker passes away in a frosty, Edinburgh flat, she leaves only an emerald dress, six orange pips and a Brazil nut engraved with the ten commandments. Meanwhile, Margaret finds herself back in Edinburgh on a whim and working for the Office for Lost People. Given the task of finding out who Mrs Walker was, the unusual collection of objects leads her into the past of Mrs Walker and ultimately into her own story.

A Maigret Christmas

Nine of Simeon’s best Christmas tales set in Paris that see Inspector Maigret on cat and mouse chases all over the city, including following the trail of a mysterious intruder dressed in red and white. We see his paternal heart, as he is helped on many of the cases by some bright children.

How the Light Gets In

When Chief Inspector Gamache is sent to Three Pines to investigate the disappearance of a colleague’s friend, he discovers that the missing person is one of the most famous in the world. With no one he can trust, can he find a safe place for himself and his trusted colleagues?

Dying for Christmas

A chilling twist on the twelve days of Christmas when an obsessed stalker takes the object of his obsession hostage, he tries to win her over with a bizarre “gift” on each of the twelve days. Terrified that the final gift will be her death, Jessica has her own secret. Will it be enough to save her life?

We really hope you enjoyed these lists and have been inspired to try a festive read. Our libraries are open as usual up until Christmas Eve, more info here

Staff at Brompton Library

PS here are our previous lists: Christmas reads for younger childrenChristmas reads for older children and Christmas classic crime fiction

Christmas classic crime fiction 

The staff at Brompton Library have been really busy – putting together Christmas reading lists for children and adults alike. We’ve been publishing a list every morning since Tuesday on the blog this week.

Today it’s Christmas classic crime fiction –

It’s the perfect time to come in from the cold, turn off the TV and curl up with a crime novel. Fractured family gatherings, suspicions and intrigue in remote country houses, Christmas provides the perfect backdrop to a case of murder. Here is a selection of some of the best in festive crime fiction.

Mystery in White by J Jefferson Farjeon

‘The horror on the train, great though it may turn out to be, will not compare with the horror that exists here, in this house.’

When heavy snow brings a train to a halt near a small village some of the passengers find shelter in a country house. The fire has been lit and the table laid but no one is home. As they unravel the secrets of the house, a murder strikes. A chilling Christmas classic.

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie

When multi-millionaire Simeon Lee unexpectedly invites his estranged family for Christmas, suspicions are raised. As Simeon plays with his guests’ emotions, the festive games turn deadly as he is found brutally murdered. Everyone has a motive but only one man can find out whodunit. An especially bloody Agatha Christie Christmas classic.

Murder for Christmas by Francis Duncan

Christmas Eve in a country house and the party is in full swing. As the clock strikes midnight the revellers find there’s more than just presents under the tree. Luckily one of the guests is amateur sleuth Mordecai Tremaine! Find out who killed Father Christmas in this long-forgotten classic first written in 1949.

Silent Nights: Christmas Mysteries Edited by Martin Edwards

A collection of crime fiction from some of the best writers of the genre. A mixture of much-loved classics and more obscure tales, bringing together some of the finest crime fiction of the past.

The Santa Klaus Murder by Mavis Doriel Hay

A cocktail of all the right ingredients to make the perfect country house murder-mystery. The Melbury family patriarch is found shot in the head by a guest dressed as Santa Klaus. His family all have a motive but not Santa Klaus, the only guest with many chances to pull the trigger! Get immersed in the action right beside Constable of Haulmshire as each character tells you their statement.

Crimson Snow

A collection of crime stories set in Winter, often at Christmas. With mysterious tracks in the snow, some unpleasant carol singers and a very odd Santa Claus. A perfect collection of stories, each introduced by crime expert Martin Edwards.

The Mistletoe Murder

A collection of four of the best of P. D. James Christmas short stories, originally commissioned for magazines. Each of them tantalising puzzles to be solved, she keeps you guessing to the end with her atmospheric story telling.

The Thin Man

Set in December in 1930’s New York when prohibition is coming to an end. Can the rich and glamorous Nick and Nora Charles solve a murder case in between Martinis and fast-talking wise cracks?

Murder at the Vicarage : A Christmas Mystery

As the snow deepens around the village of Byford and its residents are settling down for Christmas, the vicar’s son-in-law is murdered. With a difficult personal relationship and a group of suspects all trying to sabotage the investigation, Jill McGowan pays homage to Agatha Christie in this classic with a rather uncosy twist.

See you tomorrow for our final list!

Staff at Brompton Library

PS here are our previous lists: Christmas reads for younger children and Christmas reads for older children

Christmas reads for older children

The staff at Brompton Library have been really busy – putting together Christmas reading lists for children and adults alike. We’ll be publishing each list every morning on the blog for the rest of this week.

Today it’s Christmas reads for older children – a collection of classic tales and modern takes on Christmas themes for older children.

The Haunting of Charity Delafield

An old-fashioned tale of a girl brought up with no mother and a strict father in a vast remote house. Unable to leave the house due to an unnamed illness, Charity knows little of the outside world, or even about her own family and has just her cat and a nurse to keep her company. She is haunted by a recurring dream about a secret corridor hidden in the house. When one day she finds the corridor, it leads her on a journey of discovery about her mysterious past.

The Christmas Mystery

When a boy buys an advent calendar, he finds that each door of the calendar tells the story of a little girl who chased after a lamb and ended-up travelling back in time to Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth. As he opens more doors he also finds out more about the man who made the calendar and Elizabeth Hansen a girl who disappeared many years earlier. Stories within stories in this magical Christmas mystery.

Letters from Father Christmas

Every year on Christmas Eve in the Tolkein house, a letter would arrive from Father Christmas. Tolkein wrote these for his children. The letters include stories and sketches and tales of an accident prone polar bear. Delightful for all ages.

The Fox at the Manger (we currently don’t have a copy in our catalogue but staff have requested it)

Christmas Eve and the bells of St Paul’s are ringing for the first time since the end of the war. Three boys make fun of the service until the hear the story of Christmas told by a fox and their innocence is restored. Written by Mary Poppins author L.P. Travers and recently reissued, The Fox at the Manger reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.

A Boy Called Christmas

Born on Christmas day, Nikolas is given the nickname Christmas. When his woodcutter father is given the chance to work in the land of elves, Nikolas is left with his child-hating Aunt Carlotta but after a few months, he can stand it now more and leaves to find his father. The story of Father Christmas came to be, a magical and fun modern classic.

The Little House in the Big Woods

Part of the Little House on the prairie series, its wintertime and the Ingalls family live among the wild animals. The story tells how they live together in harmony and sometimes in fear of danger.

Mistletoe and Murder

When Daisy and Hazel go to snowy Cambridge for the Christmas holidays Hazel is expecting dreamy spires and cosy fires. Two days before Christmas there is a terrible accident. Or was it an accident. Daisy and Hazel must do everything they can to solve the mystery before Christmas.

The Dark is Rising

Its midwinter’s Eve and Will can sense that something is not right. When he wakes up and finds himself in a snow-ravaged wintery land, he realises he must find six circles of light by twelfth night to stop the world being taken over by dark forces.

The Christmasaurus

From inside the flap:

“Forget everything you thought you knew about the North Pole, pop a crumpet in the toaster and get ready to meet…a most unusual dinosaur.”

William never thought he’s find a dinosaur at the north pole, but he does! The magical home of Santa Claus brought to life as you’ve never seen it before.

Paddington and the Christmas Surprise

When Paddington visits Santa’s grotto he causes quite a stir when he gets lost in a grand London department store, but will he get to meet Santa?  A fun tale from our best loved bear.

Michael Morpurgo’s Christmas Stories

A tale on a farm, a fairy tale, Christmas in World War I and the Nativity story.  Four beautifully illustrated tales from the children’s laureate.

Reindeer Girl

On Christmas Eve on holiday in Norway, Lotta wakes up to find herself in her Grandmother’s story. She has her own reindeer and calf to look after. When the reindeer goes missing, will Lotta find her before the calf dies? And can she ever go back to ordinary life?

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale of coming of age with the March sisters, as they prepare for Christmas without their father. Beautifully told with real and likeable characters. A very moving and timeless story.

See you tomorrow!

Staff at Brompton Library

PS – yesterday’s post was Christmas reads for younger children

Christmas reads for younger children

The staff at Brompton Library have been really busy – putting together Christmas reading lists for children and adults alike. We’ll be publishing each list every morning on the blog for the next four days.

Today it’s Christmas books for younger children –

Mr Men The Night Before Christmas

It’s the night before Christmas and everyone is ready – except Mr Wrong, oh and Mr Muddle and of course Little Miss Late, who only sent her letter to father Christmas that morning!  Will he get it in time?  Join the Mr Men and the Little Misses for some Christmas Eve fun.

I Love Christmas

Join Ollie and Fred on Christmas Eve as they tell us everything they love about Christmas.  Joyful and beautifully illustrated.

Ben and Holly’s Christmas Adventure

When Father visits the Little Kingdom on Christmas Eve everything is going well – the elves have made the presents, the fairies have made the crackers and the pine elves have grown the Christmas trees.  Uh oh!  Wise old Elf gets stuck in a tree, Queen Thistle is wrapped up inside a Christmas present and King Thistle is trapped inside a Christmas cracker!  Will they ever get out?  A fun and Christmassy tale from the creators of Peppa Pig.

The Tooth Fairy’s Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve and the little Tooth Fairy has been blown away!  Not to worry.  Who does she meet but Santa in his sleigh!  A funny and magical fairy story told in a lovely rhyme with colourful and dynamic illustrations.

The Night Before Christmas

A Christmas classic, illustrated version of Clement Moore’s poem about Christmas Eve.  Nothing could be more festive.

All I Want for Christmas

Get ready for Christmas with mummy and baby penguin as they bake cookies, decorate the tree, make Christmas lists and wrap presents.  The true meaning of Christmas.

That’s Not My Santa

Part of the popular series, this touchy feely book is perfect for baby’s first Christmas with bright colours and lots of textures from Santa’s boots to his fluffy white beard.

The Nativity

The story of the Nativity in a bright and beautiful board book with great little details in the illustrations.  A lovely retelling of the first Christmas.

Duggee’s Christmas

Join Duggee and his friends decorating the Christmas tree and giving out presents, but where is Enid the cat…?

The Magic of Christmas

Join this family of mice as they get ready for Christmas, sitting by the fire, hanging decorations, making snowballs and playing in the snow. Celebrating the real magic of Christmas.

A Christmas Carol (retold by Lesley Sims)

With beautiful watery, wintery illustrations, this classic Charles Dickens tale is retold here bringing the story to life for younger children.

The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas

A cautionary tale about being greedy, The Dinosaur Pooped Christmas is a less in being careful what you wish for… Not for the squeamish!

See you tomorrow!

Staff at Brompton Library 

Christmas art and craft activities galore at Chelsea Library

Heavy snowfall in December led to scores of schools closing across the country, bringing Christmas holidays closer for some happy children. Snowy and icy conditions caused widespread travel disruption. Nevertheless, if you were lucky to be on Primrose Hill or in Hyde Park, while it was snowing, you probably had a wonderful time!

Our Christmas art and craft activities at Chelsea Library skilfully avoided snowy showers, plummeting temperatures and icy winds and offered a great fun to children and adults. We created Christmas decorations – baubles, wreaths, lolly stick decorations and paper-plate angels. In fact, we have two more sessions before Christmas – more info here.

Our guest from Belgrade, Ana Milovanovic, faced bigger problems than a few inches of snow and wasn’t able to be with us to run her  Azbuka Puppets’ Workshop.

So, we created another activity – ‘Let it snow’. Snowflakes in numerous designs, shapes and sizes and named in a variety of languages generated quite a joyful snowstorm for our display. In two hours we had representatives of English, French, German, Serbian, Macedonian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese speakers. When at 4.20pm a bunch of new people arrived, they could not understand why we all cheered when I discovered that they were from Malta! Snow – or borra – is not a frequent occurrence in Malta, but it made a fantastic contribution to our display!

Naturally, whoever comes to Chelsea Children’s Library, has been asked to give their own input and make their language-snowflake. So, it continues to snow at Chelsea Library!

Christian, Marion and Zvezdana, Chelsea Library

Winter Fair at Kensal Library

On Thursday, there was a very special event at Kensal Library – over to the staff there to tell us more –

We had so much fun at Kensal Library’s Winter Fair. There was a lot to keep everyone busy from decorating gingerbread men, having your photo taken via the photo booth, arts and crafts, guessing which stocking had the prize, drinking some tasty hot chocolate from the hot chocolate bar, a lucky dip and writing letters to Father Christmas.

The lucky dip proved to be very popular and we’re going through the letters to Father Christmas before posting them to the North Pole to find the best one which will win a prize.

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We believe we made a few new friends and we hope to see you all again throughout the new year!

Thanks to all our helpers: Ayoub, David, Kate, Eve, Isabelle and Sundus.

Merry Christmas from all the staff at Kensal Library!