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.

the testaments book cover

The Testaments

The much-celebrated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments is a fascinating story of resistance in a totalitarian regime. The novel is written as multiple split narratives, each tale intertwining gradually to form a bigger picture of widespread opposition and defiance. The Testaments is a must-read for any dystopian fans, and for anybody desperate to know the future of those living under The Republic of Gilead.

the water cure cover

The Water Cure

Sophie Mackintosh’s debut novel takes toxic masculinity literally, imagining a world where men are physically poisonous. The novel is written like a fable, detailing the lives of a family who have chosen to live on an island to escape the threat posed by men. The father of the family, called King by his wife and daughters, claims to be the exception to the rule. But when three male castaways wash up on their shores, the family’s world is changed forever. How can the daughters reconcile their growing feelings for the men with what they have always believed?

women talking cover

Women Talking

Toews’ novel follows a group of women in an isolated religious colony, struggling with reconciling the rules of their faith with the continuous sexual assault they experience at the hands of the colony’s male inhabitants. Based on the accounts of a real Mennonite colony in Bolivia, Toews interrogates male supremacy in a heart-wrenching account which places the lives of real women at its heart.

pet book cover


Although originally written for young adults, Emezi’s Pet has been acclaimed for its deep symbolism and understanding of ignorance. Jam has grown up believing that no monsters exist in the city of Lucille. But when she meets Pet, a creature who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and tells her they have come to hunt a monster, Jam must challenge the authority and uncover the truth.

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 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!


disgrace book cover

Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee

Our first recommended read this week is J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace. Coetzee’s novel interrogates consequences and relationships, creating a powerful and shocking tale. David Lurie, Coetzee’s antihero, is a twice divorced lecturer at a university in Cape Town. Seeking excitement, he has an impulsive affair with a student which leads to a series of unforeseen events…

ian mcewan atonement

Atonement, by Ian McEwan

Mistaken accusations and family trauma abound in this highly celebrated modern classic. Three lives are changed forever when Robbie Turner is accused of a crime he did not commit. Will his accuser ever be able to atone for her mistake?

the white tiger book cover

The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga

Criminal and ‘self-made entrepreneur’ Balram writes his life story to depict ‘the real India’ for a visiting Chinese dignitary. Telling the story of Balram’s blood-spattered rise to success, this is a riveting novel full of questionable morality and difficult decisions.

things fall apart book cover

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

Our last recommended read this week is Chinua Achebe’s classic, Things Fall Apart. Set in Nigeria, Things Fall Apart chronicles the life and death of Okonkwo, an Igbo chief. Like Barnes, Achebe examines community and virtue in this timeless masterpiece.


All of these books are available to download from our cloudLibrary here.  All you need is a Kensington and Chelsea 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

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.

11 Missed Calls, by Elisabeth Carpenter

If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers and suspense, this book is perfect for you. Past and present are woven together in Anna’s desperate search for answers. What happened to her mother 30 years ago? And, on the discovery of another woman’s love letter in her husband’s wallet, is there anyone left she can trust?

Dead Man’s Folly, by Agatha Christie

A classic crime favourite, Dead Man’s Folly is a detective story featuring one of Christie’s best-loved detectives, Hercule Poirot. Summoned to Devonshire to investigate the details of a Murder Mystery Party, Poirot begins to realise not all is as it seems as a real murder plot emerges amongst the summer festivities.

Cat Spitting Mad, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

If you’re looking for a more modern read, try Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s Cat Spitting Mad, a humorous take on the crime genre narrated by felines. Joe Grey and Ducie are two former housecats turned detectives in their bid to absolve an old friend from a gruesome murder. Will they prove successful?

Splinter, by Sebastian Fitzek

Our last recommendation is Sebastian Fitzek’s Splinter, a chilling tale of memory loss and illegal experimentation. Wrecked with grief after the death of his wife, Marc wants nothing more than to forget everything. When Marc returns home one day to find his wife still alive, he is plunged into a nightmare unable to recognise reality from fiction. But is there a deeper conspiracy at work?

All of these books are available to download from our cloudLibrary  here.  All you need is a Kensington and Chelsea 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.

Brompton Library Graphic Novel Reading Group – Assemble!

From Christian Stevens & David Bushell at Brompton Library:

On Thursday 3rd July Brompton Library hosted its first ever Graphic Novels reading group. We were discussing the frankly crazy yet genius fantasy graphic novel Saga (Volume 1) by Brian K Vaughan. The heat of the day was tempered by the special occasion refreshments and good company, some of whom we knew, along with some surprise visitors from elsewhere who shared our enthusiasm for the art form.

The first ever Graphic Novels reading group at Brompton Library, July 2015
The first ever Graphic Novels reading group at Brompton Library, July 2015

It was easy for the flow of conversation to get started as we laughed about the very adult themes in the book and the funny content, as well as a collective admiration for the artwork and storytelling within, along with our own personal stories of discovering the joys of graphic novels.

Chew by John LaymanIn the end it was all good fun and the feeling of something more regular and established was begun, with us looking forward to the next event – which is today, Thursday 6th August.

If you’re interested please come along! Don’t be shy. We will be discussing Chew by John Layman.


Are you ready to read?

Join the Record Breakers Summer Reading Challenge!

Schools have well and truly broken up for the summer and several more weeks of long holiday lie ahead… what will your children be doing? Visit your local library this summer to see all the events and activities for children which are on offer. There are events on throughout the holidays, so there is lots to choose from!

Record Breakers logo

If your children like a Challenge, why not bring them to join this year’s Record Breakers? All they need to do is read 6 library books over the holidays, and they’ll receive stickers and rewards for telling us about them.

It’s free to join, just visit your nearest library to sign up – all that’s needed is a library card. There’s a medal for everyone who reads 6 books!

What weird, wonderful or wacky records will you and your kids discover?


Babita Sinha, SCSA at Brompton library, writes:

Just like last year, the kids at Brompton Library performed very well in the Summer Reading Challenge this year too. We had an extra special party for all those who completed the Summer Reading Challenge and read six books over the summer – A huge well done to them all.

We combined the Finishers Party on 15th September with the re-launch of Chatterbooks, our monthly reading group for children.

There were 30 children who joined us for the party. We had loads of fun, food and music. They played musical chairs and statues, coloured their favourite characters from the Mythical Maze and took part in a Mythical Hunt. They loved the theme this year very much. They had their favourite monsters: Ben’s favourite monster was the Minotaur, whereas Nessie was Stephanie’s favourite.

Musical statues!
Musical statues!

They enjoyed the party very much and are waiting for the next one….

We had lots of enthusiatic comments about reading:

From Lana
From Lana

From Estelle
From Estelle

As if that wasn’t enough our special guest Mike Clarke, Director-TriBorough Libraries and Archives, rolled up his sleeves and joined in the fun! (Sadly, no photos available…)

If you want to find out more about Chatterbooks, or any of our children’s activities, look on our website or ask in a 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


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!