Recommended Reads

This week, our Book of the Week is The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste. Set during Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King is an exhilarating tale of a band of female fighters refusing to submit to European colonisation. If you’ve already been wowed by Mengiste’s novel, we’ve selected some empowering reads for you to enjoy.

 

forna-memory-of-love-coverThe Memory of Love, by Aminatta Forna

Set in Sierra Leone, Forna’s novel explores the physical and psychological impact of warfare alongside the love which endures through horrific circumstances. The Memory of Love follows the lives of three people; Elias Cole, dying and reflecting on his obsessive love for Saffia, Adrian Lockheart, a psychologist new to the country, and Kai Mansaray, a young colleague of Adrian’s. Recording their loves, their friendships and their suffering, Forna’s novel is a poignant reminder of what makes us human and the emotions which bind us all together.

 

broken glass book cover

Broken Glass, by Alain Mabanckou

Broken Glass, frequenter of Congolese bar ‘Credit Gone West’ has been commissioned by the bar’s owner to write an account of the characters who comprise the bar’s patrons. A disgraced alcoholic and former schoolteacher, Broken Glass records his writings in his notebook. The notebook is Glass’s legacy, dedicated to his love of French literature and to his former drinking buddies.

 

 

a tall history of sugar book coverA Tall History of Sugar, by Curdella Forbes

Moshe Fisher has always been treated differently. “Born without skin” and abandoned at birth, Moshe’s appearance defies racial categories. Arrienne Christie is Moshe’s best friend, determined to protect him from the world and its intolerance. A Tall History of Sugar follows Moshe’s life from Jamaica, and the colonial legacy left behind there, to Britain and the looming uncertainty of Brexit. Forbes’ writing is a lyrical blend of Jamaican Englishes, recounting Jamaican histories and stories through Moshe and the people he encounters.

hidden figures book cover

Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly

Now an iconic motion picture, Hidden Figures follows three brilliant African American women whose minds launched America into space. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson initially worked as human computers for NASA. Forced into the background as a part of a female team of calculators, whose job was to solve problems for the male engineers, Dorothy, Katherine, and Mary fought against racial segregation and sexism in an incredibly male-dominated field. Shetterly focusses on Katherine Johnson in particular, and her work calculating rocket trajectories for the Mercury and Apollo missions. Johnson pushed herself forward throughout her career, and, when her abilities were recognised, she could attend all-male meetings within NASA. This is an incredible and insightful biography and well worth a read!

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. 

Recommended Reads

This week’s Book of the Week is The Hunting Party, by Lucy Foley. New to the crime writing scene, Foley has already been shortlisted for a number of awards for her chilling writing style. We have put together a list of similar crime novels for you to enjoy. Happy reading!

 

no going back book coverNo Going Back, by Sheena Kamal

Nora has a talent for reading people and discovering their deepest secrets, but this skill can’t solve all her problems. Nora’s teenage daughter, Bonnie, is being targeted by a Chinese crime organisation. After rescuing her daughter from their clutches two years ago, Nora must now track them down to ensure the crime bosses do not enact their revenge. Her search will span the globe, but Nora must do what is necessary to keep herself and her family safe.

 

dear wife book coverDear Wife, by Kimberly Belle

Beth is on the run, covering her tracks to escape an abusive husband. Sabine is missing, her car lying abandoned, seemingly kidnapped or worse. As the police search for any leads, the case becomes progressively convoluted. Where is Sabina? And who is Beth?

 

 

we begin at the end book coverWe Begin at the End, by Chris Whitaker

Vincent King, recently released from prison after doing 30 years for murder, is back in Cape Haven, California. But not everyone is happy about his return; especially Star, the sister of the woman Vincent murdered all those years ago. When Star’s daughter, Duchess, inadvertently sets off a chain of events leading to tragic consequences, the past appears to repeat itself. Can the family escape this doomed cycle?

 

lakewood book coverLakewood, by Megan Giddings

When Lena’s grandmother dies, the scale of her family’s debt is revealed. Lena decides to drop out of college and take a job in the mysterious town of Lakewood, Michigan. On paper, the job looks perfect. Medical expenses covered, excellent pay… All for the price of secrecy. Behind closed doors, Lakewood is home to a programme of intense human experimentation. But underneath the utopian promise that these medical experiments could ‘change the world’ is a very real threat to black bodies. How can Lena protect her family when she cannot tell them the truth?

 

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, just click here – it’s completely free to join and use our resources. 

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”

Recommended Reads

 

 

Our Book of the Week is Chan Ho-Kei’s Second Sister. This novel deals with the themes of crime, family, and investigation, so we have put together a list of similar titles we hope you will enjoy. Continue reading “Recommended Reads”

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 

17 Books for 2017

Here are seventeen books we recommend you read this year!

1. The Humans by Matt Haig
This book is about an alien’s trip to earth, but it’s also about what it means to be human. It’s funny and uplifting and it explains the difficulties and the joys of being alive.

2. Slade House by David Mitchell
This is a clever ghost story about a paranormal house. You never know whether you can trust what you’re reading.

3. The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
A dramatic family saga full of secrets and lies. Gripping! Continue reading “17 Books for 2017”

Story-time at Chelsea Library

When I first started doing the under-5s at Chelsea I had no experience at all, in fact I had come from delivering the housebound service in Hammersmith, so I was used to dealing with the very elderly who were often slow on their feet and very polite. I was in no way prepared for the chaos of pre-schoolers: the tired and distracted mothers and the nannies on their mobiles.
My God they were a tough audience!

I soon realise why so many people were reluctant to take on the responsibility. Some fellow workers were not brave enough to put on the baritone voice of the ogre in The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
The Three Billy Goats Gruff

There was almost a sense that the children’s library should be free of noise and chaos.

Did we really need class visits when books were left strewn across the carpet? Well, yes we did! We needed to embrace the chaos.

I soon developed a taste for amateur theatrics and found myself thinking my way inside Mr Bear’s mind in the wonderful ‘Peace At Last’ where the adults are amused by Mr Bear’s wretched sleepless night, his snoring wife and the horrible brown letter from the Inland Revenue which appears at the end and is clearly responsible for the wiggly lines etched round his eyes.

Last month I was sent on a story-time training session in Barnet where I hoped to pick up some new tips.
Would there be some hints on puppetry?
How to throw your voice or even a magic spell to aid concentration?

The session in Barnet was led by three high octane women. They had a personal interest in all the stories and like fans of music they felt a special relationship with Lucy Cousins and Jez Alborough. They had taken ownership of the books. Their enthusiasm was a little daunting for the first timer. I both appreciated the course and squirmed with embarrassment at having to sit on a small inflatable ring in a mock-up of a farm yard. Story-time means you have to let go, become cartoonish, engage the children with eye contact and big swirling gestures.

What I learnt is that repetition in a story is great, less text too, stories that elicit a call and answer response and some of those almost silent books such as ‘Hug’ which repeat one word over and over are the best. Most important of all don’t be afraid of repeating the same story. They will soon know Jack and the Beanstalk by heart.

Hug by Jez Alborough
Hug by Jez Alborough

We had a busy Summer Reading Challenge party and began with some themed record breaker questions for the completers. No one was prepared for the weird questions quizmaster Vince Symmons prepared: the length of the longest nose hair or the greatest distance covered by a skate-boarding goat?
Answers on a postcard please.
The more absurd the question the better the children responded.

Furry Creatures
Furry Creatures

Story-craft this month was structured around monsters. Di devised some brilliantly huggable creatures with folding arms and big furry bodies – a bit like an angry sporran. Earlier we designed frogs with red woollen tongues and a squashed fly on the end.

Frogs and flies
Frogs and flies

We also had a visit from the Holland Park ecology centre. The staff brought cockroaches and millipedes to the library and they did very well with our very own two-legged mini beasts!

By Daniel Jeffreys
Customer Service Assistant, Chelsea Library

 

Nour Festival Event – Syria A Recent History

John McHugo
John McHugo, author of Syria – A Recent History

John McHugo headlined Kensington Central library on Tuesday 20th October with a talk based around his book ‘Syria: A Recent History’ as well as addressing both current and future concerns for the country and putting them in a wider context.

130 people attended this inaugural event of the Nour Festival which concluded with an intensive and thorough Q&A before John signed copies of his book. It was all made possible through partnership working with Saqi books who also sold copies on the night and Nour who continue to have an excellent range of events and provided assistance on the day.

Syria A Recent History Audience
Syria A Recent History Audience

We were especially pleased to invite John McHugo back after his appearance in 2013 as part of The London History Festival. This year’s festival runs for 10 days and commences on 16 November with the line-up including Marc Morris, Jessie Childs, Max Hastings, Tom Holland, Helen Castor, Dan Jones and more.

Our next event at the library which was also part of the Nour Festival was on Saturday 31st October, entitled ‘Site Unseen: Safeguarding MENA (Middle East and North African) Cultural Heritage.’ It was a panel discussion with 4 academics about the ongoing crisis of preserving Middle East heritage, looking at the current state of archaeological sites and artefacts, the laws on the protection of heritage during conflict, the illicit trade of artefacts, and rescue and educational remedies in the field.