We always feel cheery when we see a new Jenny Colgan book on the shelves – her books are a delight and she’s such a lovely person (and a fellow Doctor Who fan!). Borrow one and book yourself a duvet day – you know you deserve it.
“Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly – dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books, not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing.”
“If The Girl on the Train was the woman of 2015, then Sophie Stark is this year’s model. Anna North’s new novel, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark , has been a hit in America, with Lena Dunham describing its protagonist as a “totally unforgettable female antihero”. Out now – soon every girl on every train will be reading it” Sunday Times
“Who is the real Sophie Stark? The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is the story of an enigmatic film director, told by the six people who loved her most. Brilliant, infuriating, all-seeing and unknowable, Sophie Stark makes films said to be ‘more like life than life itself’. But her genius comes at a terrible cost: to her husband, to the brother she left behind, and to an actress who knows too much. With shades of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves , A Visit from the Goon Squad and Where’d You Go, Bernadette , it combines a uniquely appealing sensibility with a compulsively page-turning plot.”
Write your own letter
What would you say to the children of your community about reading and libraries? You could draw on your own childhood experiences or hopes for the future.
Read the original letters sent to the Children of Troy Public Library for inspiration. This is the one from Isaac Asimov.
More recent #libraryletters from writers, musicians and other personalities.
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Single and starting to feel miserable about Valentines day already? This book might be just what you need: a sharply observed collaboration between an American comic and an award-winning sociologist, exploring all angles of dating around the world- with an eye to working out why we’re not happier.
A hilarious, eye-opening tour of the new romantic landscape, from one of America’s sharpest comic voices and one of its leading sociologists. In the old days, most people would find a decent person who lived in their village or neighbourhood, and after deciding they weren’t a murderer, get married and have kids – all by the age of 22.
Now we spend years of our lives searching for our perfect soul mate and, thanks to dating apps, mobile phones and social media, we have more romantic options than ever before in human history. Yet we also have to confront strange new dilemmas, such as what to think when someone is too busy to reply to a text but has time to post a photo of their breakfast on Instagram.
And if we have so many more options, why aren’t people any less frustrated? For years, American comedian Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at dating and relationships, and in Modern Romance, he teams up with award-winning sociologist Eric Klinenberg to investigate love in the age of technology. They enlisted some of the world’s leading social scientists, conducted hundreds of interviews, analyzed the behavioural data, and researched dating cultures from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to New York City. The result is an unforgettable picture of modern love, combining Ansari’s irreverent humour with cutting-edge social science.
Nina came to London in the 1980s and was employed as a nanny in a literary North London family. She can’t cook and her employer doesn’t object to her interesting approach to looking after the two boys, which means that Nina’s letters home to her sister make for very amusing, and sometimes laugh-out-loud reading.
Nothing exciting or outrageous happens, but the everyday events of family life are reported in these chatty letters to Vic which include recipe tips and reports of conversations over the dinner table with famous neighbours who call round for meals.
In the second part of the book, the literary influences begin to have an effect on Nina and she struggles through an A level in English Literature, in order to get into higher education. I loved the light touch that she gives to the unfolding story, and am delighted that she’s gone on to have her first novel published – I’ll definitely be borrowing it!
A book that has managed to excite both fans of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series and the legions of readers who love Ken Follett, this new thriller is making waves. Reserve a copy here.
A war is coming, a battle that will stretch from the prehistoric forests of the ancient past to the cutting-edge research labs of today, all to reveal a true mystery buried deep within our DNA, a mystery that will leave readers changed forever . . . In this groundbreaking masterpiece of ingenuity and intrigue that spans 50,000 years in human history, New York Times bestselling author James Rollins takes us to mankind’s next great leap. But will it mark a new chapter in our development . . . or our extinction?
You can find a hand-picked selection of January’s new releases here. With new books out from Adriana Trigiani, John Irving, Jo Nesbo and many more, there’s sure to be something to please everyone…
The Costa Novel Award Winner 2015
A thoroughly deserved win, this author won both the First Book Award & Book of the Year back in 1995 when this prize was the Whitbread. Since then, Life after Life (to which this is a companion piece) won the Costa Novel award in 2013.
Judges described this book as “Utterly magnificent and in a class of its own. A genius book.”
Much loved in Norfolk libraries, this book has been extremely popular. Just out in paperback, if you haven’t read it yet, you certainly should. Although, perhaps, read Life after Life first!
Kate Atkinson’s ‘Life After Life’ explored the possibility of infinite chances, as Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In ‘A God in Ruins’, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy – would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.
What links penguins, giant squid, the moon, Darwin and Napolean?
One man, Alexander von Humboldt. The namesake of Humboldt Penguins, the moon’s Mare Humboldtianum, the Humboldt squid; he inspired Darwin and Napolean was famously jealous of him. More things have been named after Humboldt than anyone else- but he’s been largely forgotten since. This prizewinning biography aims to set that straight.
Judges awarding the prize said: “Alexander von Humboldt is the most brilliant polymath you’ve never heard of. The thrillingly readable story of a visionary 18 th century scientist and adventurer who travelled the globe, from the South American rainforests to the Siberian steppes, and foresaw the destructive impact of mankind on the world.”
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy’s Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world’s highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolivar’s revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, ‘the greatest man since the Deluge’. Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps – racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles – Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and The Invention of Nature traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it’s only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.
1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of ‘The Railway Children’ and listening to her mother’s grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change. Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared. Her life is reduced to a piano which makes music but no sound, a forest where all that grows is a means of survival. And a tiny wooden hut that is everything. She is not seen again for another nine years.
Reserve your copy here.