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 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.

Continue reading “Recommended Reads”

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”

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

This week’s Book of the Week is The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was born on the 21st July 1899, this week marking his 121st birthday. We have put together a list of similar titles for you to look through and enjoy.

life of pi pic

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

The Patel family decide to sell their zoo in India and sail to Canada with a few remaining animals. Suddenly, tragedy strikes in the form of a horrendous storm, leaving the Patel’s son Pi as the sole human survivor. However, Pi is not alone in the ocean; a fearsome Bengal tiger has also survived the storm. The pair must learn to trust one another over the coming months if they are to last their voyage.

 

the great gatsby book cover

 

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald’s most famous work, The Great Gatsby, has been heralded as a modern American classic. When young and impressionable Nick moves in next door to extravagant millionaire Gatsby, he is drawn into a series of events leading to catastrophic consequences. Gatsby spares no expense in his attempts to win over childhood love Daisy, now married to old-money brute Tom Buchanan, and Nick can only bear witness to his friend’s downfall.

 

the alchemist book pic

 

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Originally written in Portuguese, The Alchemist has become an international bestseller. It is an allegorical novel, following the life of an Andalusian shepherd named Santiago who dreams of finding treasure in the pyramids of Egypt. Believing his dream to be prophetic, Santiago journeys to Egypt to seek his fortune. There, he experiences love, loss, and adventure in a powerful and moving tale.

 

if beale street could talk book pic

 

If Beale Street Could Talk, by James Baldwin

Set in Harlem in the 1970’s, Baldwin’s classic is a love story following the lives of Fonny, a sculptor, and Tish, the book’s narrator. When Fonny is falsely accused of rape, Tish, 19 and pregnant, must help their families win justice for her lover. Past and present mingle to form a passionate and powerful novel, widely regarded as an essential read for our time.

All of these books are available to download from our cloudLibrary here.  All you need is a 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 Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. We’ve put together a selection of some historical fiction you may enjoy after reading Gregory’s Tudor romance. Continue reading “Recommended Reads”

The Butchers

Our Book of the Week this week is Ruth Gilligan’s The Butchers, a novel looking back to the time of The Troubles in 20th Century Ireland via a very different perspective; the world of meat and dairy farming. Continue reading “The Butchers”

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”

Come on in, the door’s open

Nicky Smith, Enquiry  Librarian, Triborough Reference Service, writes: 

‘Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications’. There’s a snazzy title for a document that I’m sure all of you have pored over. Or maybe you know it better as the Finch Report. Or maybe you don’t know it at all?a2r1

To be honest, it doesn’t matter – all any of us need to know is that it’s a Jolly Good Thing because it recommended that publicly funded research should be available to the people who paid for it: the public. Us, in fact. So Proquest (who some of you may know as the publishers of Ancestry, the fantastic online genealogical resource) were signed up to provide the ‘Access to Research’ front-end, which is about as user-friendly as it’s possible to be, and various publishers were brought on board. The current “offer” is impressive – 8,000 journals, many with long back files, containing 4 million freely-available articles. And these are from top academic publishers, 17 of them and counting, including big names like Oxford University Press and Wiley.

The range of subjects is extraordinary – some of the topics are obscure (Journal of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, anyone?) but there is plenty of more mainstream stuff (Journal of popular film and television for example). The point is that if you need access to research, esoteric or otherwise, and don’t belong to an academic library or have an awful lot of money at your disposal, you now have it.

So how does it work? You simply visit your local library – access is available in Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, and Hammersmith & Fulham libraries, as well as many other participating library services across the UK. Log onto a library computer and, in Kensington & Chelsea, go to our Online Databases page (the Access to Resource link is available at the bottom of the page). The interface couldn’t be simpler. Just enter your search terms (as with Google, you can use inverted commas around the term if you want to search for an exact phrase, so “joan crawford” will return 102 results and joan crawford 1494). You will be asked to accept the Terms and Conditions (don’t worry – you only have to do this once each session). Do have a look at them – the most important condition is that users can’t save documents electronically although they can print out one copy of each article. Accept the T&Cs and then look at the results.

When you click on an article, it will open up in a new tab so your results list remains open. You can read most of the articles as HTML format (like a straightforward webpage) or as a PDF (probably better if you intend to print it out ).

You don’t have to do a keyword search – you can Browse All Journals, using a drop-down menu to choose a subject. Or if you choose Advanced Search you can search by Author and narrow down your results by date.

Don’t forget to return to the original search screen to make each new search. The search results pop up on the websites of the various publishers, but if you stay there and use their own search boxes, you may find that you reach areas which are not part of the scheme, and get asked to pay unnecessarily.

This is all material that has previously not been available to The Public, only to those attached to academic institutions. So we should certainly make the most of it. Happy researching!