Catching up with the BookCafé

Central Library’s BookCafé is a regular, women-only, shared reading group. Each month (on a Wednesday, 1 to 2pm) a short story by a woman writer is read out whilst the group drink tea and coffee or eat their lunch, then chat about whatever themes the story offers. There is no preparation required, no homework and no pressure to speak. The BookCafé is a welcoming and thriving group initially set up by the Glasgow Women’s Library at Central Library and is continued by staff member Sarah and volunteer Ro.

The intention of the group is to share writing from worldwide authors to find connections within women’s experiences – we have more in common than divides us – and introduce new writers to our group.

Sarah and Ro tell us that despite the lingering winter, the BookCafé has continued to thrive, bringing quality literature to this ever popular lunchtime group. With only a couple more dates left in the BookCafé calendar before the summer break they thought it was time to have a wee catch-up with this year’s readings and share some of their plans for the future.

“Since September the group has looked at traditional storytelling forms (some of which had very dark themes), more modern magical realism with respectful nods back to that tradition, and stories from other countries with familiar themes and emotions. We’ve had spooky stories, humorous stories, heart-warming stories and inadvertently topical stories. Authors have included Muriel Spark, Sophie Kinsella, Catherine Lim, Sarah Dyer, Alissa Nutting, Tove Jansson and Andrea Levy. Despite the diverse nature of the settings, we found women’s experiences to be similar or familiar at the very least, across time, age and geography, and it’s a joy to discuss the connections our members find with the texts.

We’ve had a couple of exciting meetings planning the group into next year. We’ve ordered some cracking anthologies from worldwide writers, looked into author visits, discussed non-fiction in the form of poetry and articles, and hope to set up a ‘BookCafé Recommends’ display in the library”.

Join them for the next sessions on 16 May and 20 June in the George Washington Browne Room at Central Library. Book your place if you can (so they know how many cups for coffee/tea to have ready) or just turn up. They look forward to welcoming you and discussing whatever the text brings to your experiences.

The BookCafé will then break for the summer and return in September 2018.

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Spring forward with Chatterbooks

Chatterbooks reading groups give children a chance to build a lifelong love for reading and to share their love of books with others. It’s estimated that there are almost 9000 children belonging to Chatterbooks groups across the UK. Contact your local library to find out about a Chatterbooks group near you!

As the clocks go forward this weekend some of our Chatterbooks groups will be reading books about time travel. Here are some of our favourite time travel stories to get you started:

A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
A children’s sci-fi classic recently made into a film starring Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon.

When Charles Wallace Murry goes searching through a ‘wrinkle in time’ for his lost father, he finds himself on an evil planet where all life is enslaved by a huge pulsating brain known as ‘It’. How Charles, his sister Meg and friend Calvin find and free his father makes this a very special and exciting mixture of fantasy and science fiction, which all the way through is dominated by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels known as Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which.

 

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright  – Christopher Edge
When Albie’s mum dies, it’s natural he should wonder where she’s gone. His parents are both scientists and they usually have all the answers. Dad mutters something about Albie’s mum being alive and with them in a parallel universe. So Albie finds a box, his mum’s computer and a rotting banana, and sends himself through time and space to find her.

 

Fortunately, the Milk – Neil Gaiman
You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is DON’T FORGET TO GET THE MILK. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back.

 

Felix Frost, Time Detective: Roman Riddle – Eleanor Hawken
Join Felix Frost, secret boy genius, his chameleon Einstein and his classmate Missy as they travel back in time to Ancient Rome, where terrifying danger and embarrassing togas await.

But can they solve the riddle of a mysterious gladiator skeleton without getting themselves skewered in the gladiator arena?

 

Myth Raiders: Claw of the Sphinx  – A.J. Hunter
Geology-mad Sam and her American cousin Trey are the Chosen Ones, destined to save the world from destruction by gathering together the scattered fragments of The Warrior’s Shield. They’ve already rescued one section of the enchanted shield from the terrifying Medusa, and now learn that the second piece is being guarded by a fearsome sphinx – a creature with the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle and the face of a human. So Sam and Trey must travel to Ancient Egypt, and face mummies, beast-headed warriors… and the deadly sphinx itself!

Raising awareness of Young Carers

25 January 2018 was Young Carers Awareness Day, a day with the aim to identify and raise awareness of the 700,000 young carers across the UK who care for a sick or disabled family member. By raising awareness, they hope it will help young carers to get the support they desperately need.

Portobello Library has been running a book group in partnership with Edinburgh Young Carers since March 2017. The group meets monthly during term time and has varied in size and composition during this time but has a core of 6 regular members between the ages of 7 and 9. The reading group involves a book discussion, activities and a snack. Themes for these meetings have included favourite books, countries and Halloween horror with some spooky reads.

Last month, to mark Young Carer’s Awareness Day, the group accompanied by a member of staff from Portobello Library and Edinburgh Young Carers support workers went to Blackwell’s Bookshop to buy children’s books for Portobello Library and were also able to select a book for themselves.

The group will next meet in Portobello Library on Tuesday 27 February, when the theme will be Poetry and Jokes with readings from Roald Dahl’s classic ‘Revolting Rhymes’.

Edinburgh Young Carers aims to make a positive difference in the lives and futures of young carers through support, information, respite, personal development and training. Get in touch with Edinburgh Young Carers if you know someone who would be interested in joining the young carers book group.

Solo or group reading!

We’ve just finished updating our Book Group Collections list so thought we’d flag it up to you all again as a really useful resource. Obviously its a brilliant source of information about the collections that you can borrow through the library for you and 14 members of your book group. All for free, with 4 week loans and easy collection from your local library thrown in.

It’s also really handy for non-book group members though as it’s a fantastic list of “must-read” titles. Perfect for dipping into when you’re not sure what to read next. Many of the titles are also available to borrow in ebook or downloadable audiobook format and there’s information about the formats available beside each title.

So if you are planning a cozy Christmas filled with lots of reading why not check out our book group collections list and get some first class reading ideas.

Big Library Read – digital book club

What Happened to Lizzie Lovett?  That’s the mystery that you can unravel by participating in the world’s largest digital reading club Big Library Read! The book this time is Chelsea Sedoti’s young adult debut novel, The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett, and unlimited people will be able to read it from our OverDrive site at the same time from 12th till 26th October. Not only will the ebook be available, but also the audiobook so you can choose whatever format you fancy.

Told with a unique voice that is both hilarious and heart-wrenching, Sedoti challenges readers to distinguish the line between reality and fiction. Popular girl Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the one fascinating mystery her sleepy town has ever had. Classmate and teenage misfit, Hawthorn Creely has her own theory for Lizzie’s disappearance. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. After all, it’s not as if he killed her-or did he?

Author Chelsea Sedoti says “The protagonist of The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is no stranger to reading; she knows all about using books as an escape. Seventeen-year-old misfit Hawthorn Creely is dissatisfied with the real world. She’d rather lose herself in fiction, where everything is bigger, better, and more magical. But when Hawthorn applies this mindset to the disappearance of her former classmate, Lizzie Lovett, life goes awry.”

Readers can join an online conversation about the book at BigLibraryRead.com. All you need is library membership so you can login with your library card and PIN. Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.

 

Found in Translation

Today, we hand the blog over to Cecylia from the Edinburgh and Scottish Collection to tell us about Central Library’s Found in Translation book group:

The Found in Translation book group meets in Central library every first Monday of the month and we read and discuss English translations of fiction from around the world. Every book takes us on a literary and cultural journey to a different country. We are a diverse group spanning many nationalities, backgrounds and careers. We come from different parts of Europe: Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, Scotland and Ireland.

This year we were chosen to shadow the Man Booker International Prize. This prize is given annually to a book which is translated into English and published in the UK. We were asked to read the shortlisted title, ‘Compass’ by Mathias Enard, review it and join in the online conversation about the book and the prize on Twitter and Facebook. 

 

We have absolutely loved the whole experience – from the excitement of being picked by the Reading Agency as a shadowing group, to reading beautiful and challenging  ‘Compass’, sharing our thoughts online and finally discussing it as a group during our monthly meeting. Read our reviews to see what we thought of ‘Compass’.

We have gained so much from reading books from many languages and cultures and we’d encourage readers to get out of their reading comfort zones and join us.

The winner was announced last week and the prize went to A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman and translated by Jessica Cohen. Read this and the other Man Booker International 2017 longlist from Your Library.

 

Page Flipper the penguin visits the Library

Central Library’s Dyslexia Chatterbooks Group meets on the last Tuesday of each month in the Central Children’s Library. page-flipper-2The following is an extract from a story created by the group at a recent meeting. The children started by putting their ideas together on a storyboard with the help of Library Advisor, Beth Cochrane. The original idea for the story started with a missing toy Penguin, who mysteriously turned up in the library one day…

When he entered Page Flipper found himself surrounded by lots and lots of books, so he decided to pick one up and read it. It was called ‘The Giant Penguin Book.’ But as he started to read, he started to grow! Once he had finished the book, he realised he was now a giant penguin!

After searching for more fun and interesting books, Page Flipper found himself a little bitpage-flipper-1 lost. He shouted for help, and along came a friendly librarian. With a big smile on her face she said: “Hello! My name’s Sophie, would you like to come to our Chatterbooks?” Page Flipper was happy to be invited so along he went, and made lots of new friends at Chatterbooks. So many new friends, in fact, that he decided he would live in the Library forever!

For more information about the Dyslexic Chatterbooks Group contact carol.marr@edinburgh.gov.uk