A world of writers from the Biography Collection

As we look forward to celebrating World Book Night on Tuesday 23 April, this month’s Biography Collection display at Kensington Central Library brings together biographies of great twentieth century writers in languages other than English. There are a couple of exceptions, such as Han Suyin who wrote in English but whose autobiographical works are considered some of the greatest records of modern Chinese history and Wole Soyinka whose Anglophone work is pivotal to African literature.

Including many winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, this is a parade of some of world literature’s greatest voices, some of whom waited many years to be translated into English. Some are household names, some less well known outside their own continents; all open worlds of artistic beauty and cultural insight, and their biographies allow us to follow the experiences of how great writers develop in very different cultures and environments.

In a departure from our usual displays, which include only books from our Biography Collection, we have this month included some of the fiction by these writers alongside their biographies and memoirs, in the hope readers will discover some less familiar gems.  From Chile’s Isabel Allende to Austria’s Stefan Zweig, including Finland’s Tove Jansson (better known as an artist, her exquisite short stories were not available in English until decades after she wrote them); India’s Rabindranath Tagore, Egypt’s Naguib Mahfouz, Japan’s Junichuro Tanizaki, Isaac Bashevis Singer who brought his native Yiddish from Poland to the US and became the custodian of a vanished culture and many, many more, discover a world of writers on our shelves.

Happy World Book night from us to you all, happy reading!

Claudia, Kensington Central Library

Top 10 giveaways for World Book Night

Just a quick update about World Book Night, where over 100 books were given away for free to happy customers! In case you missed the fun, these are the titles we gave away…and they’re available on our catalogue for all!

 

reasons_to_stay_aliveReasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive…

 

now_you_see_meNow You See Me by Sharon Bolton. A savage murder on London’s streets, 120 years to the day since Jack the Ripper claimed his first victim. A crime with all the hallmarks of a copycat killer. Detective Constable Lacey Flint has never worked a murder case, until now. When another mutilated victim is found she agrees to be the bait to lure out the monster. But this killer is one step ahead, and already fixated on Lacey . . .

 

love_poemsLove Poems by Carol Ann Duffy. Whether writing of longing or adultery, seduction or simple homely acts of love, Carol Ann Duffy brings to her readers the truth of each experience. Her poetry speaks of tangled, heated passion; of erotic love; fierce and hungry love; unrequited love; and of the end of love.

 

rotters_clubThe Rotters’ Club by Jonathan Coe. Jonathan Coe’s widely acclaimed novel is set in the 1970s against a distant backdrop of strikes, terrorist attacks and growing racial tension. A group of young friends inherit the editorship of their school magazine and begin to put their own distinctive spin onto events in the wider world.

 

theodore_booneTheodore Boone by John Grisham. When it comes to giving advice on divorce issues and impounded pets, 13-year-old Theodore Boone is first choice with his teachers and classmates. Theo knows more about the law than most lawyers. But he also knows he has no business getting involved in his home town’s first murder trial in years…

 

10_daysaTen Days by Gillian Slovo. It’s 4 a.m. and Cathy Mason is watching dawn break over the Lovelace estate. By the end of the day, her community will be a crime scene. By the end of the week, her city will be on fire. (Also this year’s brilliant Cityread title)

 

 

pearl_earringGirl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. Griet, the young daughter of a tilemaker in 17th century Holland, obtains her first job as a servant in Vermeer’s household. She loves being drawn into his artistic life, but the cost to her own survival may be high.

 

 

private_peacefulPrivate Peaceful by Michael Morpurguo. Told in the voice of a young soldier, the story follows 24 hours in his life on the frontline during World War I, and captures his memories as he looks back over his life. Full of detail and engrossing atmosphere, the book leads to a dramatic and moving conclusion.

 

decemberA Week in December by Sebastian Faulks. London, the week before Christmas, 2007. Over seven days we follow the lives of seven major characters. With daring skill, the novel pieces together the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life.

 

 

black_hills Black Hills by Nora Roberts. Lil Chance fell in love with Cooper Sullivan pretty much the first time she saw him. Each year, with Coop’s annual summer visit, their friendship deepens – but then abruptly ends. Now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.

 

World Book Night success!

World Book Night at Kensington Central library was a really special event as, for the first time, this year it fell on a day when we would normally close at 5pm but the lending library stayed open until 8pm.

Not only were the regular lending services available thanks to our staff members Mandy, Lynn and Nina but we celebrated with free tea, coffee and finger food, free special edition World Book Night books to give away and a fascinating talk by author and musician Max Décharné.

Max Decharne at the Central Library
Max Decharne at the Central Library

He talked about his latest book Capital Crimes: Seven Centuries of London Life and Murder to an enthusiastic audience, some of whom went on to buy signed copies from our partners, Waterstones. The feedback from the public was great, two people came from Maida Vale especially for it, other people said it was a really interesting talk and someone else was extremely grateful for the free books! Max, the author, was impressed with the questions after his talk and very complimentary about the look of the Central library.

Max Decharne at the Central Library
Max Decharne at the Central Library

Thanks are also due to our staff members Mzu and Wendy for their help setting up, meeting and greeting and clearing up afterwards and also to Wendy for her World Book Night bunting which finally found its place indoors!

World Book Night at the Central Library
World Book Night at the Central Library

Join us for a night of books…and Max Décharné

The next best thing to reading a wonderful book is introducing it to someone else- and next Wednesday (23rd April) is World Book Night, the perfect opportunity not only for readers but also for non-readers to discover and explore more about books and reading.

World Book Night

From http://www.worldbooknight.org/:

World Book Night sees passionate volunteers give hundreds of thousands of books away in their communities to share their love of reading with people who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure or own books. 

In the UK 35% of people don’t regularly read despite reading for pleasure being a globally recognised indicator in a huge range of social issues from poverty to mental health.

World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging those who have lost the love of reading – or are yet to gain it – to pick up a book and read. Line by line, paragraph by paragraph until they too have discovered the power of reading and the opportunities in life that reading can open the door to.

We’ll be celebrating World Book Night at Kensington Central Library with extra late opening hours and a special guest: author Max Décharné.

Max Decharne

 Max Décharné is an author, journalist and rock’n’roll musician probably best known for being the drummer for Gallon Drunk (who toured with Morrissey). His writing career has included short stories, journalism, songwriting, books on hipster slang and cinema. The latter two were an opportunity for Décharné to watch his favourite films and indulge his passion for pulp fiction novels from the 1950s and 1960s. He has written for magazines such Mojo and Bizarre, even writing on his North American tour with Gallon Drunk in the former. He was the last man to interview John Peel before he died (Peel and Décharné were mutual admirers).

Max’s latest book, Capital Crimes: seven centuries of London life and murder tells the shifting story of crime and punishment in London through vivid re-creations of a series of murders that stretches from the killing of Roger Legett, a notorious ‘questmonger’, during the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381, through to the hanging of Styllou Christofi in 1954. These lives and fates have much to tell us – about London’s changing underworld, about the slow evolution of policing in the capital, and about the sometimes strange workings of the law. Illustrated throughout with contemporary engravings and photographs, this is an essential read for all devotees of London – and of crime.

Capital Crimes
Capital Crimes

  For more information about this event, please click here– we hope to see you on the night!