Recommended Reads

Our Book of the Week this week is A House Through Time by David Olusoga and Melanie Backe, which looks at British history through the lens of our homes. We have put together a list of similar non-fiction titles for you to look through and enjoy. Happy reading!

 

black and british book cover

Black and British, by David Olusoga

Published to accompany Olusoga’s BBC 2 series of the same name, Black and British calls for a re-examination of our nation’s history. Olusoga’s work illustrates how Black British history is all around us and has been for thousands of years. From Roman nobility, to medieval courtiers, to modern day street names, black and white Britons’ intertwined past is laid bare for all to read.

 

the anarchy book cover

The Anarchy, by William Dalrymple

In his in-depth examination of the East India Company, Dalrymple charts the transformation of the organisation from multinational trade company to aggressive colonial army. Within 40 years of its inception, the Company had amassed a security force of over 200 000 men, using them to subjugate the entirety of India by 1803. The Anarchy reveals the horrific exploits of the first global corporate power for a chilling account of Victorian colonialism.

 

love in the blitz book coverLove in the Blitz, by  Eileen Alexander

Told in letters, Love in the Blitz illustrates the lives of a couple, Eileen and Gershon, torn apart by war. Although Gershon’s letters have been lost to history, Eileen’s remain as a testament to their love. These letters are an incredibly intimate portrayal of life in London during WW2, particularly as they so eloquently illustrate the lives of women living and working during the Blitz. This is a must-read for any fan of wartime history, providing an inside perspective into the realities of living and loving through war.

 

in the land of men book cover

In the Land of Men, by Adrienne Miller

This fiercely personal memoir is Miller’s account of coming of age as a woman writer in the journalism industry. Miller was hired as an editorial assistant in her early twenties at GQ, dealing with misogyny and the unquestioned authority of powerful male egos on a daily basis. Miller’s book charts her journey to the top of her industry, making it an empowering read for any woman wanting to push the boundaries of her glass ceiling.

 

Some of these books are available to download from our cloudLibrary here.  All you need is an RBKC library card and if you are not a member, don’t worry,  just click here – it’s completely free to join and use our resources. 

Celebrating black voices in literature – classics

If the last few weeks have taught us anything it is that we should be lifting black voices, authors, artists, etc every day of the year, not just when there’s a protest or when it is Black History Month. With that in mind we searched through our online catalogue to find the best in black literature and over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting different genres from non-fiction to Young Adult.

This week we’ve chosen four classic books that have stood the test of time and continue to be read and read again by literature lovers. Filled with complicated characters experiencing the full spectrum of emotion these books are rich and timeless. Continue reading “Celebrating black voices in literature – classics”

Celebrating black voices in literature – young adult

If the last few weeks have taught us anything it is that we should be lifting black voices, authors, artists, etc every day of the year, not just when there’s a protest or when it is Black History Month. With that in mind we searched through our online catalogue to find the best in black literature and over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting different genres from non-fiction to Young Adult.

This week we’ve chosen Young Adult fiction and non-fiction which is at the forefront of the fight for diversity in publishing. Young Adult readers are demanding change and campaigning for publishers to open the doors to diverse voices and we couldn’t be prouder of them. Continue reading “Celebrating black voices in literature – young adult”

Celebrating black voices in literature – adult fiction

If the last few weeks have taught us anything it is that we should be lifting black voices, authors, artists, etc every day of the year, not just when there’s a protest or when it is Black History Month. With that in mind we searched through our online catalogue to find the best in black literature and over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting different genres from non-fiction to Young Adult.

This week we’ve chosen four adult contemporary fiction books. We have a long way to go before black voices are as elevated as they should be in the literary world but if we continue to fight for diverse voices at every level then we can hopefully see more black authors nominated and winning the big literary prizes. Continue reading “Celebrating black voices in literature – adult fiction”

Recommended Reads

This week, our Book of the Week is The Butchers, by Ruth Gilligan. The Butchers deals with the subjects of the Irish borderlands, Catholicism vs Celtic Tradition, and family relationships. We have selected a list of similar books you might enjoy.   Continue reading “Recommended Reads”

Celebrating black voices in literature – non-fiction

If the last few weeks have taught us anything it is that we should be lifting black voices, authors, artists, etc every day of the year, not just when there’s a protest or when it is Black History Month. With that in mind we searched through our online catalogue to find the best in black literature and over the next few weeks we’ll be highlighting different genres from non-fiction to Young Adult. We’ve chosen four books this week that look at antiracism and help us understand race, bias, and privilege. Continue reading “Celebrating black voices in literature – non-fiction”

Recommended Reads

Our Book of the Week is The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. This novel deals with the themes of feminism and dystopia, so we have put together a list of similar titles we hope you will enjoy. Continue reading “Recommended Reads”

Recommended Reads

This week’s Book of the Week is The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Narrated by retiree Tony Webster, The Sense of an Ending is a portrayal of human struggle, examining decisions, friendships, and closure. Our Recommended Reads this week deal with similar themes- we hope you enjoy looking through our suggestions! Continue reading “Recommended Reads”

The Windrush Betrayal and Sitting in Limbo

SS-Empire-WindrushHow would you feel if all of a sudden you are told by authorities that are you an illegal immigrant, that you can no longer have a job and that you will be deported to a country you have not lived in before? Amelia Gentleman’s The Windrush Betrayal and the BBC’s Sitting in Limbo cover some of the stories and facts involved in the biggest UK political scandal of the century so far. Continue reading “The Windrush Betrayal and Sitting in Limbo”

Barn Burning – a short story from The Elephant Vanishes written by Haruki Murakami 

A married man meets a young girl who works as an advertising model and studies pantomime.  They meet sometimes and go out for meals and he enjoys talking to her.  One day her father dies and she asks him to look after her cat while she travels to Africa.

When she returns, she has a new boyfriend in tow, a rich young man with a European sports car.  The girl and the boyfriend turn up at his house with lunch one afternoon and, after a few drinks, the young man admits to enjoying burning barns, an admission that creates an obsession in the older man.

True to his style, the story is simple with many subtle complexities and ambiguities.

BurningHeader

Burning – a film directed by Lee Chang-Dong

In the film, the main character, now called Jongsu, is no longer an older married man but a recent graduate with no money or parental support, trying to make his way as a writer.  Making him younger, adds a coming of age element that is reminiscent of Murakami’s other work such as Norwegian Wood.  The relationship between Jongsu and Hai-mae is more developed and her Americanised boyfriend Ben, now a Jongsu’s peer, becomes his rival.

The location of the story has moved from Tokyo to Seoul and Paju, the small town where Jongsu grew up.  Barns are now greenhouses, more appropriate to the South Korean countryside, and propaganda messages can be heard coming over the border from North Korea.  At one point there is news coverage of Trump talking about America in the background, making the film relevant and contemporary, while keeping and expanding on the important elements of the story and paying a lot of respect to Murakami.

Chang-Dong has taken the story and turned it into an unsettling and mysterious film that builds into a gripping thriller.

Beautifully shot and acted with a great soundtrack.