Zvezdana investigates the book of the week ‘Troubled Blood’ by Robert Galbraith

In a special Facebook event, Robert Galbraith in conversation with Mark Billingham, Galbraith, alias J K Rowling, was asked about ‘unreliable narrators’. 

One version of the crime in Troubled Blood comes from someone with a very warped perception of what happened. Do crime novels need unreliable narrators? 

J K Rowling’s answer was that “crime novels gain from having witnesses who do not perfectly recall, because that’s real life. People tend to remember things that interest them.” 

In preparation for the Book of the Week and my presentation of ‘Troubled Blood’, I visited Clerkenwell. For those who have not read the book, yet, Clerkenwell is the most important location for the latest Strike’s investigation. Forty years ago, a doctor, Margot Bamborough, disappeared from her surgery in Clerkenwell. She was supposed to meet a friend, Oonagh Kennedy, at the nearby pub – The Three Kings, but never arrived.  

As lockdown is lifting, shops and pubs opening, it would be quite probable that the filming of ‘Troubled Blood’ has started.  

True or not true, I do not know, but I can definitely inform you that I recorded some “suspicious” activities in Clerkenwell, in the early afternoon, on Wednesday, 28 April 2021. The Three Kings is still closed. The St James’ Church is under scaffoldings, but a filming on Clerkenwell Green is happening! 

Unfortunately, no signs of Tom Burke or Holliday Grainger. Even the location at Denmark Street did not prove productive.   

By Zvezdana, Your ‘unreliable reporter’.

Book Awards Announced Recently

With award season in full swing the longlist for the Women’s Fiction prize has been announced.

*Copies of the books are available for Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea Libraries.

To search the Kensington and Chelsea Libraries catalogue, click the link below: https://trib.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/client/en_GB/rbkc/

You can select and collect the book or alternatively many are available to download via our new Libby app or via Cloud Library.

This year’s longlist honours both new and well-established writers and a range of genres and themes – family (twins and siblings, mother-daughter relationships); motherhood; rural poverty and isolation; addiction; identity and belonging; race, class and gender; grief and happiness; coming-of-age and later life. The novels span a range of different global settings, from South London to Deep South US; Ghana, Hong Kong, Barbados, Brooklyn and a fantasy realm.

*some books will be available soon or are currently on a waiting list.

Shortlist to be announced 28th April Winner announced 7th July

BOOKSELLER “NIBBIES” AWARDS

The Bookseller has shortlisted its books of the year in various categories:

Fiction:

Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

The Evening and the Morning – Ken Follett

The Lying Life of Adults – Elena Ferrante

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

The Mirror and the Light – Hilary Mantel

The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett

Fiction: Debut

Exciting Times – Naosie Dolan

Ghosts – Dolly Alderton

Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart

The Girl with the Louding Voice – Abi Dare

Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid

Rainbow Milk  – Paul Mendez

Fiction: Crime and thriller:

The Guest List – Lucy Foley

Troubled Blood – Robert Galbraith

The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman

The Sentinal – Lee Child

The Patient Man – Joy Ellis

A Song for Dark Times – Ian Rankin

Audiobook:

The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

Troubled Blood – Robert Galbraith

A Promised Land -Barack Obama

Grown Ups – Marion Keyes

Greenlights – Matthew Mcconaughy

Piranesi- Susanna Clarke

Think like a Monk – Jay Shetty

Sandman – Neil Gaiman

Non-Fiction: Narrative

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough

Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty

Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day by Captain Sir Tom Moore

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

Me And White Supremacy by Layla F Saad

Non-Fiction: Lifestyle

Not a Diet Book by James Smith

Skincare by Caroline Hirons

Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain

Think Like a Monk – Jay Shetty

Five Minute Mum: Give Me Five by Daisy Upton

What Mummy Makes by Rebecca Wilson

Check out these great titles from Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea Libraries.

YA (YOUNG ADULT) BOOK PRIZE 2021 SHORTLIST

10 titles have been nominated for The Bookseller’s YA book of the year, with the winner being announced on 6th May 2021 during the Hay festival. Wide ranging subjects feature in the books, and all titles are available from Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea libraries.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week, 1-7 March 2021

From Monday 1st to Sunday 7th March, join Beating Eating Disorders UK, to create a future where people experiencing binge eating disorder are met with understanding and compassion.

Binge eating disorder will affect one in fifty of us in our lifetime, it is the most common but least understood. It isn’t about being greedy or lacking in willpower, but a serious mental illness which many suffer with alone, often with the fear of how others might react the reason they don’t reach out for help.

 

We know the sooner someone gets the treatment they need, the more likely they are to make a full and fast recovery. As well as campaigning to improve the services available, we recognise that we must raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder and encourage and empower people to act now no matter how long their symptoms have been present.

In March, during Eating Disorders Awareness Week you can start to help change that.

Watch their campaign video:

https://youtu.be/ZDAz6JTowxg

About eating disorders:

Around 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from these illnesses, many in secret. They are of all ages, genders and backgrounds – eating disorders do not discriminate.

Eating disorders include:

  • Bulimia
  • binge eating disorder
  • avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
  • other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED),
  • Anorexia, which tragically has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, though all eating disorders can be deadly.

While this is the worst-case scenario, there are many ways in which eating disorders severely affect the quality of life of both those suffering and those who care about them. They steal childhoods, devastate relationships and pull families apart. But, with the right treatment and support, recovery is possible.

 

“Only 1 in 4 receive the help and support they desperately need to recover from binge eating disorder. Without it, many struggle to get better and some even blame themselves. Sign up to receive your free fundraising pack to support our service for everyone affected by eating disorders.”

 

Why Binge Eating Disorder?

This is the first time a specific eating disorder has been chosen as the theme for Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Binge eating disorder is the most common but often the least understood. It is especially difficult to find treatment and our Helpline Advisors consistently hear that people with binge eating disorder experience significant shame and fear in reaching out for support.

Eating disorders are as diverse as the people they effect, and we are committed to make sure all of our communications and activities represent the broad communities we serve.

In November 2020, 29% of contacts to Beat’s Helpline were about binge eating disorder but only 6% of the media coverage we generated in the last year spoke specifically about binge eating disorder, there is little representation on the ‘your stories’ section on our website, and only 5 of our Ambassadors have lived experience of binge eating disorder. We’ve also never run a campaign that specifically asks for better treatment, despite repeatedly hearing about the particular difficulties people face.

We must challenge the unhelpful and damaging opinions so many people carry about the disorder so people living with this terrible mental illness can find kindness and compassion when they bravely reach out for help. We hope Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2021 will lay the first stone for this to happen.

Beating Eating Disorders UK welcome feedback for any of Beat’s activities and if you would like to do so please email comms@beateatingdisorders.org.uk.

To find out more about Bing Eating disorders, visit: https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/types/binge-eating-disorder

 

Helplines:

Help for adults
The Beat Adult Helpline is open to anyone over 18. Parents, teachers or any concerned adults should call the adult helpline.
Helpline: 0808 801 0677
Email: help@beateatingdisorders.org.uk

Help for young people
The Beat Youthline is open to anyone under 18.
Youthline: 0808 801 0711
Email: fyp@beateatingdisorders.org.uk

Company information:

Beat is a charity registered in England and Wales (801343) and Scotland (SC039309). Beat became our working name in February 2007.

Our legally registered charity name is: Beat (Formerly Eating Disorders Association). Beat is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales under number 2368495, with registered offices at Unit 1, 19 Rosary Road, Norwich NR1 1SZ. VAT Number: 700 285963.

Online Event- IT and Research on Friday 19 March 2021

Need help with your research? Not sure how to research? Trying to find online sources for your project? This might be the workshop for you!

 

The Workshop takes place on Friday 19th March 2021 at 11am to 12noon. To book your free tickets, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/it-research-workshop-tickets-137421199507 .

 

About this Event:

We understand that research can be a daunting and difficult task, here at Westminster Reference  Library, we’ve teamed up with the specialists at London South Bank University to give you some tips, tricks and advice on how to undertake your research and how to best utilise your online software!

 

Topics include:

  • An introductory digital skills session into Microsoft Office: including Word, PowerPoint and Excel!
  • Literature hunting – What is a journal article? How to use Google Scholar & learning how to evaluate information!
  • IT Security – Protecting your device and your files, avoiding dangerous sites and documents!

These workshops are designed for students, researchers or anyone working on a project that involves searching the internet for information. Whether you’re just starting or a more advanced researcher, we’ve got something for everyone!

Janice Johnson is the Digital Skills Training Manager at the Digital Skills Centre, London South Bank University. She has over 16 years’ experience teaching digital skills to staff, students and professional organisations.

Emma Perry is an Information Skills Librarian within the library at London South Bank University. Having worked there for over 8 years, her main role is to teach students in classes and one-to-ones about research, evaluating information and referencing.

Please note, this will be a Microsoft Teams meeting/Teams Broadcast,  and, although you do not have to have Microsoft Teams downloaded to your device, you will get a better experience if you have the app.

***Please avoid using Safari – we have had reports that Safari users have issues accessing Teams live broadcasts. Please try using Chrome or any other browser – most people who experience problems when signing in find them resolved if they try using a different browser. We are really sorry for the inconvenience this may cause and are working on finding a solution.

“Can You Run Away from Sorrow?” by Ivana Bajić-Hajduković 

To mark the International Migrants’ Day, RBKC libraries are organizing the talk that explores how emigration affects those left behind. Ivana Bajić-Hajduković, the social anthropologist and author will be joined at this talk by her colleague and friend, Dr Julie Botticello, an expert on migration and health and a Senior Lecturer at the University of East London.  This event is taking place on Friday 18 December from 6.30 to 7.30 pm and you can book your place here.  

 

“Can You Run Away from Sorrow?” is an anthropological study by Ivana Bajić-Hajduković.  The subtitle – “Mothers Left Behind in 1990s Belgrade” – tells us more about its content and I was intrigued to see how the 1990s collapse of Yugoslavia was presented. I agree with Ivana that it had “a profound impact on everyone, regardless of age, social status, or wealth”. I was personally involved, as well.  I lived in Yugoslavia for 32 years, struggled to survive one year in new Croatia, and came to London with my twenty-months old daughter from Croatia, in October 1992.  So, I can certainly relate to the context and issues the author researched.  

It was very interesting to see that she focused, not on those who left, but on those who stayed, mainly mothers left behind during their children’s exodus. Ivana Bajić-Hajduković’s book “highlights the poignancy and struggles of this invisible side of migration. The loss experienced by mothers left behind, their coping mechanisms, and their everyday practices are explored through the study of material culture. The study of everyday practices and engagement with the material world reveals incredibly rich and at times surprising insight about the relationships between mothers left behind and their migrant children. The gifts from children that mothers hold on to, the food they send to their migrant children, and the everyday rituals performed around their homes tell us more about how ordinary women experienced the collapse of the country than any history book documenting the unravelling of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.” 

I wondered why Ivana’s research concentrated on mothers. Why not on the wider family – fathers and siblings? She pointed out a significant gender imbalance she faced; as in most cases, the wives outlived their spouses, so the gender bias gave her research a different perspective. 

Reading “Can You Run Away from Sorrow?”  inspired me to rummage through my own memories – old photo albums and letters, that I still keep. It’s funny (perhaps ridiculous) to mention, but in winter 1992/93 the most precious and most sought-after food for me was, actually, real coffee. There were scarcely any proper coffee shops in London at that time. I will never forget how I was struck by the scent of coffee by Baker Street tube station. Like a cartoon character I drifted, levitated, following the smell. Everything else stopped! Whenever any one of my friends received a parcel “from home” containing ‘Minas’ or ‘Jacobs’ coffee, we shared it like medicine between us. 

The link between food and the past, memories who you are, or who you once were, are so powerful. Even stronger than how Marcel Proust describes. The food shortages in Serbia in 1990s did not prevent mothers to squirrel the favourite food of their children and send it in parcels to London, to Canada… As long as they could send something to keep the memories alive, not because their children were hungry. 

Ivana wrote: “A common theme throughout these cases is the relationship between memory and kinship. We mostly see mothers’ efforts to instil certain memories in their children and grandchildren through food. In these cases, eating food from one’s homeland was the closest one could get to ‘tasting home.’  Food in the context of nostalgia for home has been a subject of some excellent anthropological studies. However, in this particular case, we see how grandparents use food as a medium for conveying a specific kind of memory, not necessarily of themselves as individuals but of the extended family to which their children and grandchildren belonged, as well as memories of the tradition and culture of their ancestors.” 

Have you heard of ‘Embargo Cake’, ‘UNPROFOR Cake’, ‘Crazy Dough’, ‘Cake of nothing’…? The handwritten recipes were shown to the author as many informants told sad and funny stories from the 1990s, showing how resourceful the people were. The chapter is even more interesting, considering our own short-term food shortages this spring, during the first lockdown, when Jamie Oliver suggested some “lockdown” recipes. Nevertheless, bigger problems were caused by gradual change in interests in home-food. That rejection and acceptance of new habits, meant to mothers more; like losing their children for the second time. 

While doing her research, Ivana Bajić-Hajduković saw how the material culture of the home revealed more about the relationship between mothers and their migrant children than any conversation or interview ever could. Remembering Christmas fairs and fundraising events in my daughter’s primary school in London – sharing the memories, customs and traditions, favourite recipes, tasting food from Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Turkey, Ghana, the Balkans, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, China…, I have realised how this anthropological study resonates with people from many different countries, nationalities, races.  This book extends geographical and disciplinary boundaries making it universal, genuine and relevant. 

 Zvezdana, Chelsea Library 

 

Books we love

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo 

Image of the book cover of Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
Book cover of Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

This week’s book review is on Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo. Over to Fiona from Brompton Library to tell us more about this fantastic read! 

Three Women is a non-fiction book written as a novel, based on the lives of three women from different backgrounds. We hear from Lina, a bored suburban mother, Maggie, a seventeen-year-old high school student in North Dakota who becomes involved with her teacher, and Sloane, a successful restaurant owner from New York State whose husband has interesting sexual tastes.   

Taddeo spent eight years interviewing these women and becoming immersed in their lives.  The book explores the women’s emotional lives and their desires, showing how women keep themselves hidden and how they are judged by society.  As a piece of non-fiction written as fiction, it manages get into the inner lives of these women.  The external reality of their looks, their lives, and their selves are much less important than what is happening for them internally. Their perceptions of themselves and what they want are often in conflict with how society sees them and what it allows them to be and to have.   

I really enjoyed this book.  The stories are great, the characters are interesting and relatable, and I think what Taddeo has done is quite unique; having used real women, she keeps the authenticity of their stories and them as women, while making it into a very readable book.  My only criticism would be that the writing at points is a little clunky, but it didn’t stop me enjoying the book. 

Fiona, Brompton Library  

Three Women is available to borrow in our libraries and to download with your RBKC library card from cloudLibrary here

Have you read Three Women? What did you think? Let us know in the comments 

Recommended Reads

This week’s Book of the Week is A Streetcat Named Bob, by James Bowen. Fittingly, our theme this week is cats, so we have put together a list of feline-centred novels for you to flick through and enjoy!

Continue reading “Recommended Reads”

Recommended Reads

This week’s Book of the Week is The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, which deals with racial abuse and trauma in 1940’s America. We have put together a list of similarly anti-racist titles for you to look through and borrow.

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The Wornington Word: A People’s History, Part 1

The Wornington Word: A People’s History of The Wornington Green Estate W10 is a recently completed oral history project featuring 18 residents of the estate talking about their memories and regeneration.

Continue reading “The Wornington Word: A People’s History, Part 1”

Recommended Reads

Our Book of the Week this week is Call for the Dead by John le Carré, a spy novel introducing the now-infamous George Smiley. We have put together a list of similar spy thrillers and non-fiction exposés for you to enjoy today.

Continue reading “Recommended Reads”