Book of the Month August 2017- Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett

Each month we choose a book for adults that we would like to recommend. Please let us know if you have enjoyed the book via Facebook or Twitter.

Greatest Hits by Laura BarnettGreatestHits-350

Cass Wheeler – a British singer-songwriter, hugely successful since the early 70s, whose sudden disappearance from the music world three decades later has been the subject of intense speculation among her fans – is in the studio that adjoins her home, taking a journey back into her past. Her task is to choose 16 from among the hundreds she has written since her early teens, for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits record, describing the arc of her life through song. It has been over a decade since Cass last put out an album; ten years since a tragedy catapulted her into a breakdown. In the course of this one day – both ordinary and extraordinary – each song Cass plays sets off a chain of memories, leading us deep into her past, and into the creative impulse that has underpinned her work.

Fans of Laura Barnett’s debut novel “The Versions of Us” will  welcome her second novel which is a very enjoyable read. However I did feel there are too many characters  in the book which leads to the narrative feeling a bit muddled in places, particularly as it hops backwards and forward in time.

An audio book read by Imogen Church will also be available shortly and this features  extracts from the album Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits by Kathryn Williams. Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits is available from One Little Indian Records.











Book of the Month April 2016

Each month we will choose two books that we would like to recommend for adults and young people. We would be interested to hear your views on the titles so please let us know your thoughts via Facebook or Twitter.

One Life by Kate Grenville9781782116875

When Kate Grenville’s mother died she left behind many fragments of memoir. These were the starting point for ‘One Life,’ the story of a woman whose life spanned a century of tumult and change. In many ways Nance’s story echoes that of many mothers and grandmothers, for whom the spectacular shifts of the 20th century offered a path to new freedoms and choices. In other ways Nance was exceptional. In an era when women were expected to have no ambitions beyond the domestic, she ran successful businesses as a registered pharmacist, laid the bricks for the family home, and discovered her husband’s secret life as a revolutionary. ‘One Life’ is an act of great imaginative sympathy, a daughter’s intimate account of the patterns in her mother’s life.

Kate Grenville is an award winning Australian author whose books include “The Idea of Perfection” and “The Secret River”.


beetle boyBeetle Boy by M G Leonard

Darkus is miserable. His dad has disappeared, and now he is living next door to the most disgusting neighbours ever.

A giant beetle called Baxter comes to his rescue. But can the two solve the mystery of his dad’s disappearance, especially when links emerge to cruel Lucretia Cutter and her penchant for beetle jewellery? A coffee-mug mountain, home to a million insects, could provide the answer – if Darkus and Baxter are brave enough to find it …

‘Beetle Boy’ made us laugh from the very first sentence and this exciting new series is suitable for anyone who likes quirky, fun, slightly odd stories about courage, determination and winning through against the odds.

M.G. Leonard has a first-class honours degree in English Literature and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from Kings College London. She works in London as the Senior Digital Media Producer for the National Theatre, and previously worked at the Royal Opera House and Shakespeare’s Globe. Leonard spent her early career in the music industry running Setanta Records, an independent record label, and managing bands, most notably The Divine Comedy. After leaving the music industry, she trained as an actor, dabbling in directing and producing as well as performing, before deciding to write her stories down.


To borrow these books, check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you:



Carnegie Longlisted Books to explore

We are posting book reviews about all of the long listed books over the next couple of weeks, let us know your thoughts on each of these amazing titles.


bookBook by John Agard

Quirky and humorous, part poetry, part reflection, this is the story of the book told by none other than Book himself! This extraordinary character begins by reminding us of his origins in oral story and clay tablets, then ponders on papyrus, parchment and paper, and on being a scroll who finally gets a spine. We see him lovingly illuminated by monks in medieval monasteries, then witness the massive changes brought about by the invention of the printing press, and the coming of paperbacks and e-books in the 20th century.

a song for ella greyA Song For Ella Grey by David Almond

I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both…knew how they lived and how they died. Claire is Ella Grey‘s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.

oneOne by Sarah Crossan

Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins. And their lives are about to change. No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?   Just as Tippi and Grace have begun to live like normal teenagers, Grace gets sick, so sick separation might be the only option left open to them. But separation could mean spending the rest of their lives in wheelchairs. Separation could mean death. And whatever happens, it means being torn apart.

the earth is singingThe Earth Is Singing by Vanessa Curtis

My name is Hanna. I am 15. I am Latvian. I live with my mother and grandmother. My father is missing, taken by the Russians. I have a boyfriend and I’m training to be a dancer. But none of that is important any more. Because the Nazis have arrived, and I am a Jew. And as far as they are concerned, that is all that matters. This is my story.


You can borrow these books from our libraries, so check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you:

Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Longlist 2016

PrintNominations have been published for two of the most prestigious prizes in writing and illustrating for children. The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book for children and young people while the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.

93 books have been nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and 69 nominated for the Kate Greenaway medal. The official long and shortlists identify a range of outstanding books for children and young people of all ages and interests and from new and established authors and illustrators. Our Reader Development Officer for Children, Elizabeth McDonald is currently judging this year’s prize, along with 12 other judges from around the United Kingdom.

The books long listed for the 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal are:
  • Book by John Agard
  • A Song For Ella Grey by David Almond
  • One by Sarah Crossan
  • The Earth Is Singing by Vanessa Curtis
  • The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner
  • The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
  • The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold
  • There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake
  • We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Neilsen
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  • Jessica’s Ghost by Andrew Norriss
  • Panther by David Owen
  • The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
  • Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders
  • The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
  • Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
  • Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine
  • My Name’s Not Friday by Jon Walter
  • Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle
The books longlisted for the 2016 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal are:
  • Please Mr Panda illustrated and written by Steve Antony
  • Where’s the Elephant? illustrated and written by Barroux
  • Willy’s Stories illustrated and written by Anthony Browne
  • This Book Just Ate My Dog! illustrated and written by Richard Byrne
  • Wall illustrated and written by Tom Clohosy Cole
  • There’s a Bear on My Chair illustrated and written by Ross Collins
  • Grandad’s Island illustrated and written by Benji Davies
  • How the Sun Got to Coco’s House illustrated and written by Bob Graham
  • The Imaginary illustrated by Emily Gravett, written by A.F Harrold
  • Once Upon an Alphabet illustrated and written by Oliver Jeffers
  • The Day the Crayons Came Home illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, written by Drew Daywalt
  • Sam and Dave Dig a Hole illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
  • Something About a Bear illustrated and written by Jackie Morris
  • Captain Jack and the Pirates illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, written by Peter Bently
  • Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death illustrated and written by Chris Riddell
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle illustrated by Chris Riddell, written by Neil Gaiman
  • The Bolds illustrated by David Roberts, written by Julian Clary
  • Animalium illustrated by Katie Scott, written by Jenny Broom
  • Footpath Flowers illustrated by Sydney Smith, written by Jon Arno Lawson
  • Lili illustrated and written by Wen Dee Tan

We will be posting book reviews about all of the long listed books over the next couple of weeks, let us know your thoughts.  You can borrow these books from our libraries, so check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you:


December’s Book of the Month

Each month we will choose two books that we would like to recommend for adults and young people. We would be interested to hear your views on the titles so please let us know your thoughts via Facebook or Twitter.

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson9780857522344

Twenty years ago, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his adopted country. The hilarious book that resulted, Notes from a Small Island, was taken to the nation’s heart and became the bestselling travel book ever, and was also voted in a BBC poll the book that best represents Britain. Now, to mark the twentieth anniversary of that modern classic, Bryson makes a brand-new journey round Britain to see what has changed. Once again, with his matchless homing instinct for the funniest and quirkiest, his unerring eye for the idiotic, the endearing, the ridiculous and the scandalous, Bryson gives us an acute and perceptive insight into all that is best and worst about Britain today.

It’s Snow Day by Richard Curtis and Rebecca Cobbsnowday

A snowy day, a deserted school and the teacher you least want to see. Welcome to Snow Day, the most magical day of the year . . . When Danny goes to school one quiet, snowy morning, the last thing he expects to find is a deserted school and his least favourite teacher. But that’s exactly what he does find. And what starts as the worst day imaginable, ends as the most life-affirming and magical day of the year.
An incredibly moving story about finding friendship in the most unexpected of places.
These books can be borrowed or reserved at your local Wokingham Borough Library, check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you:

September’s Book of the month

Each month we will choose two books that we would like to recommend for adults and young people. We would be interested to hear your views on the titles so please let us know your thoughts via Facebook or Twitter.

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis De Bernieres9781846558764

In the Edwardian Age, Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an eccentric household in Kent, with their neighbours the Pitt boys on one side and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood adventure are over-shadowed by the approach of war that will engulf them as they grow into adulthood. When the boys end up scattered along the Western Front, Rosie faces the challenges of life for those left behind. Confused by her love for two young men – one an infantry soldier and one a flying ace – she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastation that follow the Great War? Louis de Bernieres’ new novel follows the lives the three families through the traumatic times of the Great War, the Spanish flu epidemic and all the social change that follows. This is an interesting and thought provoking read, if a little over long, and a perceptive comment on  English society of the time.

How Harry Riddell got nearly almost famous by Simon Mayle, Illustrated by Nikalas Catlow9780007531905

Hi there, My name is Harry Riddles, and I live with my mum, my dad, my EVIL sister and my twin baby brothers in our house in Cornwall. But if my dad has his way we might not live here much longer. He’s got this crazy idea to take us all sailing round the world for like, two years! I’m not sure about it, I guess the swimming with dolphins, learning to scuba dive and climbing volcanoes would be pretty cool but how am I meant to win the school Battle of the Bands competition and get Jess to go out with me if I’m stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean? I’ve written to a load of famous people who might be able to help me sort out my problems who knows if they will write back. We’ll see. Good luck and have fun.

To borrow these books, check out our catalogue to see if it’s in a library near you:

Teen Book Group at Wokingham Library and a summer reading challenge for Teens

Wokingham Library’s Teen Book Group has finished for the summer.  Our first meeting after the summer is on Thursday 17th September at 4.30pm.  This group is for teenagers aged 11-18 years old.

We talk about books, get recommendations, check out new teen stock that the library has to offer, and do fun games and quizzes.

The teens created some  incredible ‘shape poetry’ at the last session of the Teen Book Group.

Each shape is based on a book or character,  all of the books can be borrowed from your local library.

The Fault in Our Stars    Stargirl            Opal Plumstead

Fault in our Stars by John Green     Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli            Opal Plumstead by Jacqueline Wilson

Matilda              All the Bright Places                                  Cuckoo Song

Matilda by Roald Dahl                 All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven         Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

This summer, the borough’s teenagers can take part in the Teen Reading Challenge at Wokingham Borough libraries.  The Teen Reading Challenge is a way to keep reading over the summer, there are lots of wonderful books around that young people can read for pleasure.

To take up the challenge all you have to do to join is have a Wokingham Borough library card.  If you don’t have one you can come and sign up for one at your local library.   To complete the challenge, teenagers need to borrow and read six books during the summer holidays.  The challenge ends on 13 September.   Any young person who completes the challenge will be entered into a prize draw for an eBook reader and two teen book stuffed goody bags.

There is also a poetry and short story competition for young people, we would like teenagers to write a poem or short story in less than 500 words on the theme of Record Breakers. Just pick up an entry form, and hand them both into your local library by Saturday 19 September. There are some amazing signed books as prizes this year.

New teen books in stock

The borough’s libraries have lots of brilliant new books in stock for teens to try including:

  • When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan
  • Under My Skin by James Dawson
  • Bubble-wrap Boy by Phil Earle
  • The Jaguar Trials by Ruth Eastham
  • The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
  • City of Halves by Lucy Inglis
  • The Revenge of Tommy Bones by Julia Jarman
  • Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler
  • Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman
  • The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

June’s Books of the Month

Each month we will choose two books that we would like to recommend for adults and children and young people. We would be interested to hear you views on the titles so please let us know your thoughts via Facebook or Twitter.

A Place Called Winter by Patrick GalePatrick Gale

Harry Cane has enjoyed a privileged existence growing up in Edwardian England, but the discovery of an illicit homosexual affair and the threat of arrest threaten to blow his world apart. He is forced to abandon his wife and child and emigrate to the Canadian prairies, where he begins a tough fight to survive hostile conditions, struggling to establish himself in a new way of life with immense challenges.He befriends his neighbours, a brother and sister who both go on to play important roles in his future, but as the threat of war reaches this remote outpost of the Empire, Harry’s life takes another dark turn. Patrick Gale’s latest novel draws on his own family history and is his first novel to be set mainly outside the UK.  A compulsive read with well-drawn,characters and a moving ending.

Grumbug! by Adam Stower  9781783700530

This is the second adventure for Oliver and Troll.  Oliver and his best friend Troll run a cafe in the woods. They make the best cakes – their troll customers would much rather eat cakes than children!  One particularly busy day in the cafe, Oliver’s sister Dolly disappears, so Oliver and Troll set off to find her. Their search takes them up Munch Mountain, where the biggest, meanest and grumpiest troll in the world lives. Oliver doesn’t believe all the scary rumours, but Troll’s not so sure! Fun adventure story with brilliant illustrations of Trolls galore.

Also look out for Oliver and Troll’s first adventure: trollTroll and the Oliver – Every day, Oliver goes to the shops and every day the troll tries to eat him. Luckily Oliver is too fast, too sneaky, or just too plain clever to be caught. But when things get quiet, and Oliver thinks he has won – CHOMP! He gets eaten! Unfortunately for the troll, Oliver’s don’t taste very nice. So he spits him out and discovers that Oliver has been buying ingredients to make cakes – and trolls LOVE cakes!

To borrow these books, check out our catalogue to see if its in a library near you:

What’s On in Wokingham Borough Libraries for Children and Families May Half Term 2015 and Library Fest for children

Where’s Wally? And other fun activities at the Borough’s Libraries this May half-term.

During May Half term, All Libraries will have “Where’s Wally?” activity tables and lots of amazing books for you to borrow!  Along with an Illustrator visit from Adam Stower, Bugs Galore session with Dinton Pastures, Family Percussion workshops and Friendship Bracelets as part of Library Fest.

Illustrator Visit with Adam Stower author of Troll and the Oliver, Silly Doggy and Naughty Kitty.  Adam will be talking about his own illustrations; there will be a ‘Guess the drawing’ game, storytelling and then ‘draw-along’ activity. Sessions will be on Friday 29 May. Please contact the relevant library to book a place.  Wokingham Library, 10.30am to 11.30am call 0118 978 1368 and Woodley Library, 2pm to 3pm call 0118 969 0304.  Adam’s books will be available to purchase courtesy of Chapter One Bookshop and signed after each session.

Wokingham in Bloom is the umbrella group for Wokingham town’s entry into the Royal Horticultural Society’s regional Thames and Chilterns in Bloom competition.  For more information about Wokingham in Bloom run by Wokingham Town Council visit the website.

At Wokingham Library we will be having Book displays on gardening, a Children’s activity board, that needs to be decorated with house, trees and flowers and a Bugs Galore session  with Dinton Pastures Rangers who will be coming along to talk about different bugs and their habitats with a fun camouflage craft activity. Just drop in on Tuesday May 26 10am to 11.30am

At Wokingham and Lower Earley Library on Tuesday May 26 you can join percussionist Jo May and learn to play the spoons and other percussion instruments, inspired by music from around the world. For children aged 7 to 12 and their parents. £1.50 charge. Please contact the relevant library to book a place, Wokingham Library 10am to 12noon call 0118 978 1368 and Lower Earley Library 2pm to 4pm call 0118 931 2150

At Lower Earley and Woodley Library children aged 6 and over can come and make some Friendship bracelets. Just drop in on Thursday May 28 to Lower Earley Library 10.30am to 11.30am and Woodley Library 2pm to 3pm. £1.50 charge per item created.

Don’t forget  you can also swim for free with your Wokingham Borough Library card between Saturday 23 May to Sunday 31 May 2015 inclusive at Carnival Pool, Loddon Valley Leisure Centre and Bulmershe Leisure Centre.”

Full list of activities are as follows:

Bugs Galore  Come and find out about Bugs with rangers from Dinton Pastures providing activities and crafts.  Just drop in! As part of Wokingham in Bloom. At Wokingham Library on Tuesday May 26, 10am to 11.30am

Library Fest – Making Connections Family Percussion Workshop  Come and join percussionist Jo May and learn to play the spoons and other percussion instruments, inspired by music from around the world. For children aged 7 to 12 and their parents. £1.50 charge. Places must be booked.  On Tuesday May 26  at Wokingham Library, 10am to 12noon and Lower Earley Library, 2pm to 4pm

Library Fest – Making Connections Friendship Bracelets  Just drop in and make some friendship bracelets. For children aged 6 and over. £1.50 charge per item. On Thursday May 28  at  Lower Earley Library, 10.30am to 11.30am and Woodley Library, 2pm to 3pm.

Illustrator Visit with Adam Stower  Meet the author of Troll and the Oliver and other amazing picture books. Hear the stories and have a go at drawing some of the characters. £2 charge. Places must be booked.  On Friday May 29 at Wokingham Library,  10.30am to 11.30am and Woodley Library, 2pm to 3pm.

Wokingham Library’s Teen Book Club

Wokingham Library’s Teen Book Club is a group of teenagers who meet and discuss their love for everything bookish.  They focus on young adult books which is an ever expanding genre.  Sessions include fun games, quizzes, recommendations and they have opportunity to explore new young adult book stock.

At the moment the Teen Book Club is shadowing the Carnegie Medal, which is an award for the most outstanding children’s book of the year awarded by Librarians throughout the UK.  Many schools throughout the Wokingham Borough shadow the Carnegie award every year, it allows the children to read and enjoy some fantastic books and to debate which book they believe could win.

The Carnegie 2015 Shortlist
The Carnegie 2015 Shortlist

CDTwN4DXIAAC3C_In the last book group session they focused on the books nominated for the Kate Greenaway Award, which is judged by the same people as the Carnegie Medal but on the quality of the illustrations.  The teenagers had fun looking through the illustrated books and judging for themselves against the criteria.

The next session will be focusing on Fairy Tale Retellings.  This is a popular trend at the moment in young adult books.  They will be looking at the following books and writing their own Fairy Tale Retellings, can you recognise the original fairy tales?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price.”

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman.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.”

Cinder by Marissa Meyer.Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.”

Briar Rose by Jana Oliver.For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She’s stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won’t let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who’s spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She’s tired of it all, so when, on her 16th birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she’s actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes – and then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can’t do it alone.”

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter.To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.”

The Crimson Thread by Suzanne Weyn.It is 1880. Bertie has recently emigrated to New York from Ireland. Struggling to make ends meet and care for her younger siblings, Bertie finds work as a seamstress for textile tycoon, J.P. Wellington. When the Wellington family fortune is threatened, Bertie’s father boasts that she can save the business.”

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.Maurice, an amazing cat who has survived on the toughest streets in the whole of Discworld, comes up with an idea involving talking rats and a stupid-looking child playing the flute. Everyone knows the stories about rats and pipers.”

Interested in any of the books mentioned? You can search for them on our catalogue and see if they’re at a library near you.

If you would like to come to the Teen Book Club they meet once TBC Leaflet Picevery three weeks on a Thursday in the Café at Wokingham Library, from 4:30-5:30pm for teenagers aged 11-18 years old.  Our next meeting is on Thursday 14th May.  There is a 50p charge and refreshments are available.  Please phone Wokingham Library on 0118 9781368 to book a place.

Wokingham Borough Libraries can be found on Facebook and Twitter @WBC_Libraries