Librarian’s (and family) Choice

This week’s blog is from Trudi (and her family), a Community Librarian based in the South of the city.

It’s almost Christmas and after all the festivities there may be time to relax and read. Looking for inspiration? Perhaps these will help…

Books for a Year Six child…

trudi-street-childStreet Child by Berlie Doherty
This is on a Year 6 reading list at a local primary school. The list also includes Goodnight Mr Tom and as most of the children had already read it, Street Child was the next most popular!
My youngest daughter is enjoying this immensely. The story is set in Victorian times and is about a boy called Jim, whose dad has died and his mum is going to die. There is no money and they are about to lose their home. A book about survival.

trudi-wimpy-kidDiary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
There are ten books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
The series started off online in 2004 and made its print debut in April of 2007. There are now more than 180 million copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid books available in 61 editions and 52 languages.
A few children I know have asked for a set of these books for Christmas! Ever popular, written in a comic format with drawings and speech bubbles, my daughter cannot get enough of these. Funny and complete escapism.

I asked my husband which book he would recommend as a gift for someone. His answer was…

trudi-fellowship-of-the-ringLord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
This is an epic adventure and renowned as a favourite for children and adults. My husband read it when he was aged 28 (almost 20 years ago) and loved being transported through lots of different lands and settings on a magical and fantastical grand adventure. He says that the books are much better than the films! If he could own only one book, this would be it.

And…

trudi-grapes-of-wrathGrapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
My husband read this recently and couldn’t stop talking about it.
With themes pertinent to society today, this is a journey with the Joad family who are evicted by greedy bankers recovering their farming properties in the American mid-west to sell to larger, more profitable farming companies. Their only hope is to travel to California to start a new life having been tempted by the misrepresentation of the land of opportunity. Everyone should read this!

My eldest daughter is almost out of her teens and her recommendations include:-

trudi-handmaids-taleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This book was lent to my daughter by a family friend and came highly recommended.
Written in 1985, this novel, in the genre of speculative fiction, is set in an oppressive imperfect world – where women exist to fulfil the desires of society but are chastised for it. A group of women are moved between wealthy men, to mother their children to keep the population stable. They are harshly judged by other women for this vital job. Although she found some of the themes terrifying, this book is very highly rated by my daughter as a ‘must read’.

trudi-the-girl-who-savedThe Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson
A poor girl from the slums of Soweto comes across a fortune and gets embroiled in a political secret. She is sent to Sweden where she meets a man who, in law, doesn’t exist. A completely bizarre and hilarious book. Another ‘must read’ from my daughter who was laughing so much trying to explain the storyline that it must just speak for itself!

What I will be reading over Christmas…

trudi-talking-headsTalking Heads by Alan Bennett
I first read this collection of monologues as soon as they were published in the late 1980s and realised quickly that although I was only in my teens, I had an old soul! Humorous and touching, all human life is here.
I love anything by Alan Bennett and look forward to reading Keeping On Keeping On!

trudi-a-million-yearsA Million Years In A Day by Greg Jenner
A good ‘dip in and out of’ book, this is a witty look at the popular history of everyday life and social rituals, from the Stone Age to the phone age, brought to you by the chief nerd of the Horrible Histories TV series.
If you secretly enjoy watching Horrible Histories then you will love this!

Librarian’s Choice -Personal Favourites

This blog is from Alli, a Community Librarian based in the south of the city.

alli-ninth-lifeThe Ninth Life of Louis Drax by Liz Jensen

This unforgettable book took my breath away, literally. The funniest first chapter I’ve ever read and the rest just such a compulsive read. Louis, 9, is on a family holiday in France with his family, when his life changes. A psychological thriller about a child’s connections to his parents. Fabulously written with well-drawn characters, it’s hard to say more about the plot of this book without giving it away. It’s a much bigger book in every way than the slim volume it is physically. Read it – I’d love to hear what you think of it.

alli-memory-gameMemory Game by Nicci French

First novel of the writing duo Nicci Gerard and Sean French in 1997, it’s a crime novel about the nature of memory and about recovered memory syndrome. I found it exciting and compulsive.

alli-pride-and-prejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I studied this for O’Level, but loved it. For me, an unexpected, understated, delight.

 

alli-the-lion-witch-wardrobeThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis

I read this during a spell in hospital when I was thirteen, having missed it when I was younger. I loved the adventure, the different levels of meaning, the imagination it created in me. I read all the books in the series as soon as I could get them from the library (the Mobile Library the used to visit the bottom of Pool Bank). It was so exciting, waiting to see if they had brought me another one!

alli-devotion-of-suspect-xThe Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

A mystery in which you know “whodunit” from the beginning. I suppose it’s a sort of Police crime thriller in which everything you read is a clue and everything is included to help you find out why. It’s like a literary game of chess and is logical, simple and really different.

alli-woman-in-whiteThe Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

This was the first book that I read when I started work in libraries and for me, it had everything. The cover had an Atkinson Grimshaw painting on the front, which immediately evoked an atmosphere of mystery. I was gripped form the beginning and remember being absorbed by its mystery, love and a touch of the sinister.

alli-elizabeth-is-missingElizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Maud is suffering from loss of memory, but is convinced her best friend Elizabeth is missing and she believes her to be in danger. No one listens (not her daughter, the police etc.), but Maud is determined to find out what has happened to her.

alli-thirteenth-taleThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Novelist Vida Winter wants to get the tale of her life recorded and so she engages biographer Maureen Lea. Maureen also has a story of her own and as she starts work on Vida’s, she starts to find out about her own….

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

Best friends Caddy and Rosie go to different schools. A new girl, Suzanne joins Rosie’s school and the dynamic of Rosie’s and Caddy’s friendship begins to change. It’s clear to Caddy that something has happened to Suzanne before coming to Brighton and she begins to find out what. Caddy’s friendship with Suzanne takes her on a journey that challenges her outlook, her upbringing and all that she has experienced so far. Caddy goes out on midnight walks with Suzanne, during which she learns more about Suzanne’s background and her fragile mental state. Caddy listens to Suzanne’s situation, but who is getting more out of this – Suzanne, or Caddy, who experiences being important to someone? When things go wrong and Caddy suffers serious injuries from an ill-conceived trip to an old building, Suzanne finally gets the professional help she needs, but with the consequence that she will have to move away from her “best friends”.
The way it covered friendships and their importance to individuals, I thought was excellent, making clear there is more than one way to support someone who is having a difficult time and that it’s the support that counts. The book was gripping in an uncomfortable way. It was a compulsive but disturbing read at times, with the feeling that all will not end well pervading whilst I was reading it. I was there in the situations Caddy found herself in and felt uncomfortable for her.