CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals 2018 longlist announced


The longlist has been published for two of the country’s oldest children’s book awards for writing and illustration for children. The CILIP (Chartered Institute for Information and Library Professionals) Carnegie medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book written in English for children, and the Kate Greenaway medal is awarded for distinguished illustration in a book for children and younger people.

The two 20-book longlists have been whittled down from 237 nominations see here for list. Alongside previous nominees and winners such as David Almond, Patrick Ness, Marcus Sedgwick and Philip Reeve are some new names – debut author Angie Thomas is nominated for her young adult novel about the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate u Give, as are Irfan Master for his second young adult novel Out of Heart, and Kiran Millwood Hargrave for her second children’s novel The Island at the End of Everything.

This year’s Costa children’s book award winner Katherine Rundell is nominated for her novel The Explorer. There is one poetry book on the list: Joseph Coelho’s Overheard in a Tower Block, a poetic narrative about a city childhood.

For the second year in a row, one book is in the running for both awards: The Song from somewhere else, written by AF Harrold and illustrated by Levi Pinfold.

The shortlists will be announced on Thursday 15 March, with the overall winners revealed on Monday 18 June at a special daytime event at The British Library, hosted by June Sarpong.

The titles are available to borrow from Wokingham Borough Libraries or you can reserve via the online catalogue at



News and Events from Wokingham Borough Libraries March 2018

Events for Adults

 Quilling Workshop- Learn Quilling techniques with a Springtime theme. £2 chargeWokingham Library, Thursday March 1 10.30am to 12noon

International Women’s Day Book Group – Join us for our International Women’s Day Book Group and discuss the award winning feminist read – The Power by Naomi Alderman.Wokingham Library, Thursday March 8 6pm to 7pm

Glitz and Glamour- A costume presentation with Meredith Towne – Experience the golden age of Glamour with Edwardian ladies and the Flapper fashions of the thirties in our sumptuous costume presentation. £6 charge. Only a few tickets left!

Wokingham Library Wednesday March 14 2.30pm to 4pm

For Wokingham Library bookings call (0118) 9781368

VIP Book Group

Do you have a visual impairment or know someone who does? A book group for people with visual impairments meets regularly at Wokingham Library to talk about best-sellers, classics and other favourites. Discs are available to borrow free of charge. For more information about how to join up contact us on (0118) 9781368 or email

Reminiscence Groups meeting in Libraries

We currently have three groups meeting in our libraries where people come and chat about times gone by. These are drop-in sessions where we talk about topics from the past-this is a great opportunity for people to get together and make new friends too. Everyone is welcome. Call individual libraries for more details.

Wokingham Library-meets the first Thursday in each month 10.30am to 12noon

Woodley Library-meets the last Thursday in each month 10.30am to 12noon

Twyford Library-meets the first Tuesday in each month 10.3oam to 12noon

Relaxing Activities for Adults at Finchampstead Library – Enjoy some creative colouring or a reminiscence game, browse the beautiful photo books, try a jigsaw puzzle or game of dominoes, in a quiet corner of the library. Adults with Learning Difficulties and people living with Dementia and their carers are welcome at all sessions. FREE. Every Wednesday 10am to 3pm

 Children’s Events


Shakespeare Week Activity Session – Celebrate the joy of Shakespeare with this fun activity session with word scrambles and mask making, Just drop in! For children aged 4 to 11 years old. £1 charge.

Wokingham Library Thursday March 15 3.45pm to 4.30pm

Happiness Storytime with Alison Relax Kids – Come along and celebrate International Day of Happiness, with stories, activities and games to make you smile. For children aged 8 and under.

Wokingham Library Tuesday March 20 4pm to 4.30pm

 Struggling to get out and about? The Home Library Service is for you.

Do you know someone who enjoys reading, but with the cold weather and dark evenings finds it difficult to get to the library?

The Home library Service is a free book delivery service for people who may be housebound, recovering from an illness, have mobility problems or are caring for someone.  We arrange for a volunteer to visit regularly with books to match their reading tastes. The service is flexible and free. Robert Wall said “My wife would be lost without her books from the home library service.”

Please get in touch if you know anyone who may be interested in receiving the service.

Further details and an application form are on our website:


Self Service Kiosks in our Libraries

 Don’t forget you can save time queuing by using our new self-service kiosks.  You can use them to return, renew or borrow books and other items. They are available at the following libraries:- Woodley, Lower Earley, Twyford, Winnersh, Wokingham and Finchampstead. If you would like to use the self service kiosks but need a little help the first time please ask a member of staff and they will be happy to help you.

Why not search our online catalogue from the comfort of your own home to see what’s on offer:  

Don’t forget that we have a selection of eBooks, eAudio and eMagazines that you can access with your library card for free.

You can find more about events in libraries via our email newsletter. You can sign up for this at: Or alternatively download this publication at:

 Social Media:


Twitter: @WBC_Libraries




Maiden Erlegh Dual Use Library

  Maiden Erlegh Dual Use Library

For 34 years Wokingham Borough Council has operated a dual use library on the Maiden Erlegh School site to provide access to library services for local residents and school pupils.

This longstanding arrangement between the Council and the School has always included the ability for either organisation to end the lease with four months’ notice should either party have a reason to end the service on this site.

Maiden Erlegh School has told Wokingham Borough Council that it wishes to terminate the lease to operate the library from the school and has suggested that the library close and vacate the site from the end of the summer school term.

Despite the historic success and value of the Maiden Erlegh Library to the local community, the school now feels that the space in its site would be better utilised by being focused on the education of its pupils.

A spokesperson for the school states:

In a school that educates nearly 1800 students each day where space is at a premium, the school feels that the space currently occupied by the library can be utilised more appropriately to improve further the outcomes of the students at our school.

 Like most schools, increasingly we need to provide for a wider range of emotional wellbeing and behavioural needs. In addition to providing some additional administrative facilities, this space will allow us to strengthen our inclusion work further, thereby remaining true to our values of equality and inclusion.

 We are determined that all students have fair access to our high quality curriculum and equal chances to achieve success. The extra space provided will better enable us to do this.

Cllr Norman Jorgensen, Lead Executive Member for Environment including Libraries said:

I, like many people, will be sad to see the School close this popular local library and end the successful relationship between the Council and the School. In recent years Wokingham Borough Council has been very successful in bucking the national trend of declining library usage and has increased the opening times and access to library services across the borough.

The Council will now review its options for the provision of library services to the residents in the area. I encourage users of the Maiden Erlegh library to visit either the Lower Earley or Woodley Library which are both only a couple of miles away.

 Customers who do choose to use neighbouring libraries at Lower Earley or Woodley will find the same range of services available as they are used to. They will also benefit from longer opening hours, and can save time when visiting by using our self-serve kiosks. For those customers wishing to access library services from the comfort of their own home there are also a range of online services. We provide free downloadable ebooks, electronic magazines, and audio books, available to library customers via our website at

Maiden Erlegh Library

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is the library closing?

The public library has been in Maiden Erlegh School since 1984. It has always operated under the arrangement that either the council or the school can end the arrangement if necessary. The school have notified us that they now need the space to meet their educational needs.

  • When is the library closing?

The library will close on Saturday 30th June.

  • What if I have books I need to return to the library after the 30th June?

You can return library books to any library within the Wokingham Borough. A full list can be found at

  • Is there another library I can use instead after it has closed?

You can use any of the 9 other libraries in the borough. You can find details of their locations and opening hours here: . The nearest library is Lower Earley library which is just over a mile away, or Woodley library which is 2 miles away.

  • What if I can’t make it to another library?

We have a range of online services available including downloadable ebooks and audio books, these can be accessed via: .

If you are unable to get to another library as your health makes this difficult you may be eligible for our Home Library Service ( ). If you think this may apply to you please let us know by emailing or by calling(0118) 978 1368.

  • Will the council provide a new library in Maiden Erlegh?

In the coming months we will undertake an assessment for the closure of the library. If there is a suitable site available, and an ongoing need is identified for a library in the area, a library may be provided in line with our Library Offer which was approved by the council’s executive in 2016 after public consultation.



Waterstones Children’s Prize 2018


The Waterstones Children’s Prize shortlist for 2018 has been announced. Chosen from the many thousands of new titles that pass through the Waterstones booksellers’ hands, the shortlist represents the very best of emerging talent in children’s publishing today.

There are three categories: illustrated books, younger fiction, and older fiction.

The illustrated books are:

  • I Really Want the Cake by Simon Philip and Lucia Gagiotti
  • Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann
  • The Night Box by Louise Greig and Ashling Lindsay
  • Superbat by Matt Carr
  • Fergal is Fuming! by Robert Starling
  • The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton

The younger fiction books are:

  • A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan
  • Who Let The Gods Out? by Maz Evans
  • Kid Normal by Greg James, Chris Smith and Erica Salcedo
  • The Five Realms: The Legend of Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood
  • The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
  • Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

The older fiction books are:

  • The Disappearances by Emily Bain
  • Troublemakers by Catherine Barter
  • Ink by Alice Broadway
  • Thornhill by Pam Smy
  • This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The winner of each category, and the overall winner will be unveiled on Thursday 22 March. The titles can be borrowed from Wokingham Borough Libraries or visit


Discover the Wellcome Book Prize 2018


The Wellcome Book Prize longlist for 2018 has been announced, celebrating the many ways in which literature can illuminate the breadth and depth of our relationship with health, medicine and illness.

The longlist of twelve titles was chosen by a judging panel chaired by artist and writer Edmund de Waal OBE, with Dr Hannah Critchlow, Bryony Gordon, Sumit Paul-Choudhury and Sophie Ratcliffe.

The titles are:

  • Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
  • The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s quest to transform the grisly world of Victorian medicine by Lindsey Fitzharris
  • In Pursuit of Memory: the fight against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli
  • Plot 29: a memoir by Allan Jenkins
  • The White Book by Han Kang
  • With the End in Mind: Dying, death and wisdom in an age of denial by Kathryn Mannix
  • Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
  • To Be a Machine: Adventures among cyborgs, utopians, hackers, and the futurists solving the modest problem of death by Mark O’Connell
  • I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen brushes with death by Maggie O’Farrell
  • Mayhem: A memoir by Sigrid Rausing
  • Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst by Robert Sapolsky
  • The Vaccine Race: How scientists used human cells to combat killer viruses by Meredith Wadman

Three of the novels are about the different stages of love, life, birth and death. The three memoirs look at the impact of addiction, trauma and near-death experiences. Death and mortality are explored through palliative care workers and an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The list includes the science of our cells to the science of our minds, and looks to the history and the future of medical science.

The shortlist for the prize will be anounced on Tuesday 20 March, with the winner revealed on Monday 30 April at the Wellcome Collection in London.

All these titles are available to reserve from Wokingham Borough Libraries. To order your copy, pop into any branch, or visit the libraries website

Chinese New Year – February 16

The Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 16, and marks the beginning of a new year according to the traditional lunar Chinese calendar.

The Chinese year beginning in 2018 is the year of the brown earth Dog. People born in the year of the Dog are usually independent, sincere, loyal and decisive according to Chinese zodiac analysis.

We have information books for children about Chinese New Year – to find out how to celebrate why not reserve a copy by either poppng in to a Wokingham Borough Library or go to the online catalogue

Books for Teens for LGBT History Month 2018

To celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) month we have put together a list of recommended titles for teen readers:2018-Badge-354-x-354-JPG-300x300


Read me like a book by Liz Kessler

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling – that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It’s enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents’ marriage troubles. There’s just one thing bothering her. Shouldn’t it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way – not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

Beyond magenta : transgender teens speak out by Susan Kuklin

Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender identity. Portraits, family photographs and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken.


Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. He’s a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong – why he sometimes fantasises about having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak? In razor-sharp verse, Kristin Clark folds three narratives into one powerful story. Brendan trying to understand his sexual identity, Vanessa fighting to keep her and Brendan’s relationship alive, and Angel struggling to confront her demons.


This book is gay by   James Dawson

Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author James Dawson gives an uncensored look at sexual orientation and gender identity. Including testimonials from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, this frank, funny, fully inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know – from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more.

Two boys kissing by David Levithan

The two boys kissing are Craig and Harry. They’re hoping to set the world record for the longest kiss. They’re not a couple, but they used to be. Peter and Neil are a couple. Their kisses are different. Avery and Ryan have only just met and are trying to figure out what happens next. Cooper is alone. He’s not sure how he feels. As the marathon progresses, these boys, their friends and families evaluate the changing nature of feelings, behaviour and this crazy thing called love.


Out by Joanna Kenrick and illustrated by Julia Page

‘I think I’m gay’ are not the words a teenage girl wants to hear when she’s about to confess to her best friend that she fancies him. But Natalie’s got to disguise her own feelings for Will when he tells her his secret. Can she help him as he comes out to the rest of their class at school?


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

16-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. And worse still, so will the privacy of ‘Blue’, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing. With messy dynamics emerging in Simon’s once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s life suddenly becomes just a little complicated. Now Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out – without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


Hero by Perry Moore

Thom Creed is used to being on his own. Even though he’s a basketball star, his school classmates keep their distance. They have picked up on something different about Thom. Plus, he can’t escape his father’s history. Hal Creed was one of the greatest superheroes of his time until a catastrophic event left him disfigured and an outcast.

The art of being normal by Lisa Williamson

David is funny and quirky and has always felt different from other people – but he also has a huge secret that only his two best friends know. Ever since he can remember, he has felt like a girl trapped in the body of a boy.

Like other girls by Claire Hennessy

Here’s what sixteen-year-old Lauren knows: she’s not like other girls. She also knows it’s problematic to say that – what’s wrong with girls? She’s even fancied some in the past – but if you were stuck in St Agnes’s, her posh all-girls school in Ireland, you’d feel like that too. Here everyone’s expected to be Perfect Young Ladies – it’s even a song in the painfully-cheesy and sexist musical they’re putting on this year, directed by Lauren’s arch-nemesis. Lauren is not like other girls, and nor is her friend Evan, who’s just come out as a trans boy – which Lauren knows she’s supposed to be cool with but still feels betrayed by. (Having had an unrequited crush on Evan for years doesn’t help, either). Why can’t everyone just be themselves without obsessing over labels? Then Lauren discovers she’s pregnant – the most girlish thing of all.


Our own private universe by Robin Talley

15-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it’s mostly about sex. No, it isn’t that kind of theory. Aki already knows she’s bisexual – even if, until now, it’s mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki’s theory is that she’s only got one shot at living an interesting life – and that means she’s got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It’s time for her to actually do something. Or at least try. So when Aki and her friend Lori set off on a trip to a small Mexican town for the summer, and Aki meets Christa – slightly-older, far-more-experienced – it seems her theory is prime for the testing. But something tells her it’s not going to be that easy.


Fight like a girl : 50 feminists who changed the world by Laura Barcella

Feminism is a hot topic. The battle for gender equality is being fought by everybody from politicians to indie social media campaigners, celebrities to school girls. But how did we get here and who paved the way for today’s badass women? ‘Fight Like a Girl’ profiles 50 fearless women – both the historical icons and the unsung heroes – such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Frida Kahlo and Roxane Gay. Each extraordinary life story is accompanied by a stunning portrait, along with eye-opening sidebars on their hard-fought causes and iconic quotes. Be inspired by their stories, arm yourself with their knowledge, get active and ‘Fight like a girl.’


Release by Patrick Ness

Today will change Adam Thorn’s life. Between his religious family, unpleasant boss and his ex-boyfriend, the bindings of his world are coming undone. And way across town, a ghost has risen from the lake. Is there time for Adam to find his release?



History is all you left me by Adam Silvera

OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin’s own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means.

The last days of Archie Maxwell by Annabel Pitcher

Dads leave home all the time. It’s not that unusual, really. Leon’s dad walked out. So did Mo’s. But Archie’s? Well, that’s a different story – a story that Archie must keep secret at all cost. Archie knows he should accept Dad for who he is, so he hides his turmoil until he can stand it no longer. With nowhere else to turn, he finds himself at the railway track. The track has been calling to him, promising escape, and release. The only problem is, it’s been calling to someone else too.


If I was your Girl by Meredith Russo

My name is Amanda. I’m 18. When you look at me, you might see that I’m pretty and popular, you might think my life is easy. But being me has never been easy – because I haven’t always been Amanda. When I was born, I was named Andrew. Now, at my new school, I finally feel like myself. But do I owe my new friends the truth about my past?


Lies we tell ourselves by Robin Talley

In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever. Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept ‘separate but equal.’ Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.


All of the recommended titles can be borrowed from Wokingham Borough Libraries or visit

New Revision Study Guides for GCSE and A-Level

Are you or someone in your family starting to think about revising for GCSEs or A-Levels this Summer? If so, you might be interested to know that we have lots of new revision study guides available to borrow from Wokingham, Lower Earley and Woodley libraries.

We cover the Edexcel, OCR and AQA examination boards for GCSE and A-Level, with updated guides for the new Grades 9 to 1 GCSEs.

Subjects include Mathematics, English Language and Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics (including Combined Sciences), French, German, Spanish, Computer Science, Religious Studies, Business Studies, Geography, History, Economics and Psychology.

Titles can be reserved via the online library catalogue

Books for Children for LGBT History Month 2018

To celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) month we have put together a alist of recommended titles for Children2018-Badge-354-x-354-JPG-300x300


Heather has two mummies by Lesléa Newman

Heather’s favourite number is two – she has two arms, two legs, two pets and two lovely mummies. But when Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy – and Heather doesn’t have a daddy! But then the class all draw portraits of their families, and not one single drawing is the same. Heather and her classmates realise – it doesn’t matter who makes up a family, the most important thing is that all the people in it love one another very much.


Josh and Jaz have three mums by Hedi Argent ; illustrations by Amanda Wood

This illustrated book for children aged five to eight helps to explain the diversity and ‘difference’ of family groups, and encourages an understanding and appreciation of same sex parents


And Tango makes three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell ; illustrated by Henry Cole.

The heartwarming true story of two penguins that create a nontraditional family. At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.


This is my family : a first look at same-sex parents by Pat Thomas and illustrated by Lesley Harker

This text introduces children to families that have parents of the same sex. Whether a family has a mum and a dad, or two mums or two dads, this book shows that all parents love, care, and support their children in the same way.


The boy in the dress by David Walliams

Dennis was different. Why was he different, you ask? Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book. Charming, surprising and hilarious will touch the hearts (and funny bones) of children and adults alike.


The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems.

My princess boy: a mom’s story about a young boy who loves to dress up by Cheryl Kilodavis and illustrated by Suzanne DeSimone.

A heart-warming true story of love and acceptance A nonfiction picture book about acceptance. With words and illustrations even the youngest of children can understand, My Princess Boy tells the tale of a four-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by dressing up in dresses, and enjoying traditional girl things such as jewelry and anything pink or sparkly. The book is from a mom’s point of view, sharing both good and bad observations and experiences with friends and family, at school and in shopping stores.

Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton

Errol and his teddy, Thomas, are best friends who do everything together. Whether it’s riding a bike, playing in the tree house, having a tea party or all of the above, every day holds something fun to do together. One sunny day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad, and Errol can’t figure out why. Then Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: ‘In my heart, I’ve always known that I’m a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.’ And Errol says, ‘I don’t care if you’re a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.’ A sweet and gentle story about being true to yourself and being a good friend, Introducing Teddy can also help children understand gender identity.

Baking with dad by Aurora Cacciapuoti

When dad decides it’s baking day, be prepared for creative chaos! From choosing the recipe and sorting the ingredients, to storing the mix and baking in the oven, each moment is full of surprises! Follow this comical, culinary adventure to discover what they are baking and who will be there to eat it!

We are family by Patricia Hegarty and illustrated by Ryan Wheatcroft

All families are different – and yet in many ways the same! This book uses a gentle rhyming text to follow eight different families, celebrating their everyday differences as well as the similarities they share.



All of the recommended titles can be borrowed from Wokingham Borough Libraries or visit

Books for Adults for LGBT History Month 2018

To celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) month we have put together a list of recommended titles for adult readers:


Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Like most people I lived for a long time with my mother and father. My father liked to watch the wrestling, my mother liked to wrestle; it didn’t matter what.” — Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts. At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Hours is a daring and deeply affecting novel inspired by the life and work of Virginia Woolf. In 1920s London, Virginia Woolf is fighting against her rebellious spirit as she attempts to make a start on her new novel. A young wife and mother, broiling in a suburb of 1940s Los Angeles, yearns to escape and read her precious copy of Mrs Dalloway’.And Clarissa Vaughan steps out of her smart Greenwich village apartment in 1990s New York to buy flowers for a party she is hosting for a dying friend. Moving effortlessly across the decades and between England and America, this exquisite novel intertwines the stories of three unforgettable women.

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Written at the end of the World War II, this novel mourns the passing of the aristocratic world which Waugh knew in his youth and recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by the austerities of war. In so doing, it provides a study of the conflict between the demands of religion and of the flesh.

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
Death in Venice tells the story of Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but aging writer who follows his wanderlust to Venice in search of spiritual fulfillment that instead leads to his erotic doom.
In the decaying city, besieged by an unnamed epidemic, he becomes obsessed with an exquisite Polish boy, Tadzio. “It is a story of the voluptuousness of doom,” Mann wrote. “But the problem I had especially in mind was that of the artist’s dignity


Carol by Patricia Highsmith
First published in 1952 under a pseudonym, this novel was described as the first gay book with a happy ending. It is a love story about Therese, 19, and Carol, a sophisticated married woman.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. As passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
The day Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison opened the Whistle Stop Cafe, the town took a turn for the better. It was the Depression and that cafe was a home from home for many of us. You could get eggs, grits, bacon, ham, coffee and a smile for 25 cents. Ruth was just the sweetest girl you ever met. And Idgie? She was a character, all right. You never saw anyone so headstrong. But how anybody could have thought she murdered that man is beyond me. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is a mouth-watering tale of love, laughter and mystery.


Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Zoe Baxter has spent ten years trying to get pregnant, and just when she’s about to get her heart’s desire, tragedy destroys her world. When Zoe allows herself to start thinking of children again, she remembers that there are still frozen embryos that she and her husband never used. But she needs his permission to use them.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

There’s only one person who has ever truly understood 14-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter, Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her once inseparable older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confident, and best friend.


Inseparable: Desire between Women in Literature by Emma Donoghue
Love between women crops up throughout literature: from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Charlotte Bronte, Dickens, Agatha Christie, and many more. In ‘Inseparable’, Emma Donoghue examines how desire between women in literature has been portrayed, from schoolgirls and vampires to runaway wives, from cross-dressing knights to contemporary murder stories.

Proud by Gareth Thomas

The autobiography of former Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas, who represented Wales in both rugby union and rugby league. Thomas announced publicly he was gay in 2009, making him the first openly gay professional rugby union player.

Good as You by Paul Flynn

‘Good As You’ is the 30 year history of British gay culture – from the identification of the HIV virus in 1984, through Manchester’s self-selection as Britain’s gay capital, to Eastenders’ Colin and Barry’s first primetime televised gay kiss and the real-time romance of Elton John and David Furnish’s eventual marriage. Including candid interviews from major protagonists such as Kylie, Russell T. Davies and Holly Johnson, as well as the relative unknowns crucial to the gay community, Flynn charts the fight for equality both front of stage and in the wings.

Pride and Joy by Sarah and Rachel Hagger-Holt

Pride and Joy‘ is a practical, positive guide for lesbian, gay, bi and trans parents. It draws on experiences and advice from a diverse range of LGBT parents and their children.

Queer City by Peter Ackroyd

In ‘Queer City‘, Peter Ackroyd looks at London in a whole new way – through the story of its gay population. In Roman Londinium the city was dotted with lupanaria (‘wolf dens’ or public pleasure houses), fornices (brothels) and thermiae (hot baths). Then came the Emperor Constantine, with his bishops, monks and missionaries. And so began an endless loop of alternating permissiveness and censure. Ackroyd takes us right into the hidden history of the city; from the notorious Normans to the frenzy of executions for sodomy in the early 19th century. He journeys through the coffee bars of sixties Soho to Gay Liberation, disco music and the horror of AIDS.

The Oldest Gay in the Village by George Montague

Born in 1923, George Montague has seen many changes in his lifetime, few greater than the attitude towards being gay – attitudes that saw him criminalised for the sin of loving another man. This charming, funny book is a unique social history from a truly remarkable man.

Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nut

This is the inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family’s extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the uniqueness in us all.

Philomena by Martin Sixsmith

Philomena‘ is the tale of a mother and a son whose lives were scarred by the forces of hypocrisy on both sides of the Atlantic and of the secrets they were forced to keep. A compelling narrative of human love and loss, Martin Sixsmith’s moving account is both heartbreaking yet ultimately redemptive.

Trans Britain edited by Christine Burns

Over the last five years, transgender people have seemed to burst into the public eye. From our television screens to the ballot box, transgender had suddenly become part of the zeitgeist. This apparently overnight emergence, though, is just the latest stage in a long and varied history. The renown of Paris Lees and Hari Nef has its roots in the efforts of those who fought for equality before them, but were met with apathy – and often outright hostility – from mainstream society. ‘Trans Britain‘ chronicles this journey in the words of those who were there to witness a once invisible community grow into the powerful movement we recognise today: activists, film-makers, parents, broadcasters, an actress, a rock musician and a priest, among many others.


All of the recommended titles can be borrowed from Wokingham Borough Libraries or visit