Together We Read 2022

We are holding another UK Together We Read digital book club, giving unlimited access to a popular ebook and audiobook until 20 October. Access it through the Libby app or Libby website.

This year’s brilliant title is How to Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie which is  outrageously funny, compulsive, and subversive. A wickedly dark romp about class, family, love… and murder.  They say you can’t choose your family. But you can kill them. Meet Grace Bernard. Daughter, sister, serial killer…Grace has lost everything. And she will stop at nothing to get revenge.

As usual the ebook can be accessed on tablet, smartphone, computer or ereader (except regular Kindles!) and full instructions can be found on our Libby help pages. Why not encourage your friends and family to read it too and host your own book group get-together!

For further information contact

A historical summer read

Join millions of others around the world in reading a fantastic historical novel during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 12-27 July, readers can borrow and read the ebook and audiobook versions of The Girl in his Shadow by Audrey Blake from our Libby by OverDrive service. Borrow this suspenseful historical novel with no waiting lists on the Libby app or by visiting our Libby website.

An unforgettable historical fiction novel about one woman who believed in scientific medicine before the world believed in her. Set in London in 1845, orphan Nora Beady is raised by the eccentric surgeon Dr. Horace Croft after losing her parents to a deadly pandemic. While other young ladies were raised to busy themselves with needlework and watercolours, Nora was trained to perfect her suturing and anatomical illustrations of dissections. Women face dire consequences if caught practicing medicine, but in Croft’s private clinic Nora is his most trusted – and secret – assistant. That is until the new surgical resident arrives and Nora must learn to play a new and uncomfortable role—that of a proper young lady.

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby app and the Libby website from the 12 July and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can even discuss the book online or use #biglibraryread on social media for a chance to win a Samsung tablet and goody bag. Full instructions for using Libby can be found on our Your Library website.

Central Library’s Book Talk Group ‘Keep the Heid’ with a six-minute read-in in the Lending Library

Last Wednesday, three members of Book Talk, a group who meet fortnightly at Central Library had a ‘read-in’ in the lending library, to celebrate Keep The Heid.

Margaret, Lily and Kenneth from the Book Talk Group at Central Library

Keep The Heid, a Scotland wide initiative, saw over 400,000 people pledge to read for six minutes on the eleventh of May to promote health and wellbeing.

Before the read-in, group members Kenneth Macleod, Lily Johnston and Margaret Lobban spoke to library advisors about their group, libraries and why reading is important for so many reasons.

“We started off following an SQA,” says Lily, “but when we lost funding for that we decided we wanted to continue ourselves, so we moved the group to the library. We all work together, bringing texts and making suggestions of what we should read next. Margaret was a volunteer with the group, and when we moved, she chose to come with us.”

Lily from the Book Talk group at Central Library

The group have read books including a A Street Cat Named Bob and Greyfriars’ Bobby and often read short stories or a couple of chapters of a book together.

“It’s improved my reading a lot” said Kenneth, “I’ve been reading lots of books, I like science fiction, railways, music books.”

Lily agrees that reading with the group has hugely improved her confidence in her own ability both reading, and speaking publicly; “Quickreads have really encouraged me to do more reading, only if picking a book up for five or ten minutes. We read aloud in the group and it’s given me the confidence to do readings in church.”

“Reading out loud is really important”, agrees Margaret, “it gets across the fluency of the written word.”

“It’s a friendly group”, says Lily, “we give everyone the chance to do the reading and we help each other out, after we’ve read something we have a chat about it among ourselves. We’ve been doing this for ten years in some shape or form. It’s a great way to build up your confidence.”

Group members can bring in things other than books to share with the group, Lily has previously bought in some wordsearches she enjoys doing, another way the group can share their interest in words.

The group have found particular value in Quick Reads, short books and great stories by bestselling authors which provide a route into reading through accessible and easy to read writing styles and Journey For Learning books. The group also recommend titles in large print. “Large print books are magnificent”, says Margaret, “for those with dyslexia say, or people who aren’t confident and fluent readers”.

Margaret from the Book Talk group at Central Library

“We recently read a chapter from In My Life by Alan Johnson”, says Margaret, “and it was brilliant, it’s a music memoir, so everyone was saying, ‘Oh yes, I remember that year, what music were we listening to?’ And talking about it.”

“I like MC Beaton books”, says Kenneth, talking about writers the group has introduced him to, “Agatha Raisin [the detective] always arrives in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The group illustrate brilliantly the importance of reading for mental health and wellbeing, the key aim of Keep the Heid.

For the read-in, Lily has chosen Heidi by Joanne Spyri, which she reads on her ereader. Kenneth has chosen Red River Ransome, a mystery novel by Eric Wilson, while Margaret, a beekeeper, has chosen Dancing With Bees by Brigit Strawbridge Howard.

Kenneth from the Book Talk group at Central Library

As they move off to take position in the library, library advisor Fernando photographs them, and they read their chosen text for six minutes to show their commitment to Keep The Heid.

Margaret is eager to emphasise the importance of libraries, not only as a place for the group to meet and talk about books, but for everyone  – “you have more range here than any bookshop, I see over there, you have Urdu, Arabic, here you have large print and audio, there’s something for everyone, a library is such a gateway”.

Watch the video of the Book Talk group talking about books for Keep the Heid, Scotland’s Reading Moment on Wednesday 11 May.

Do you want to improve your reading in a friendly, supportive group for adults?  The Book Talk group welcomes new members.
They meet at Central Library every second Thursday from 2.15 to 4.15pm to read together and discuss their reading. If you’d like to find out more, please call Liz on 07922 416232.

A thrilling Big Library Read!

June2021_BLR_Libby_1200x675Read a fantastic new thriller during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 28 June -12 July, readers can borrow The Quiet Girl by S.F. Kosa, a tightly-woven book that inspires questions about trauma, memory, and how well we ever know the people we love. Borrow it for free from our OverDrive service with no waiting list on the Libby app or by visiting our OverDrive website

Good girls keep quiet. But quiet girls can’t stay silent forever—and the consequences are sure to make some noise. When Alex arrives home to patch things up with his new wife, Mina, he finds an empty wine glass in the sink, her wedding ring on the desk, and a string of questions in her wake. The police believe that Mina simply left, their marriage crumbling before it truly began. But what Alex finds in their empty cottage points him toward a different reality: Mina has always carried a secret. And now she’s disappeared.

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby/OverDrive apps and the OverDrive website from the 28 June and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can even discuss the book online or by using #biglibraryread on social media you’ll be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet and book signed by the author!

Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.

A stress-free Big Library Read!

Join millions of others around the world in reading a timely book about dealing with stress during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 5-19 April, readers can borrow and read Dr Brian King’s ebook The Art of Taking it Easy from our OverDrive service with no waiting list. Find out how to cope with bears, traffic and the rest of life’s stressors with the Libby app or by visiting our OverDrive website

Psychologist and stand-up comedian Dr Brian King gives us a practical, yet laugh-out-loud guide to embracing humour to reduce stress and live a happier, fuller life. In this brilliant guide he presents hands-on techniques for managing stress by rewiring our brains to approach potentially difficult situations through a lens of positivity. Exploring what stress is, where it comes from, and what it does to our bodies and brains, he delves deep into how to address everyday stress—as well as anxiety, insecurities, repression, and negativity—and gives insight into resulting ailments such as anxiety disorders, depression, hypertension, obesity, substance abuse disorders, and more.

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby/OverDrive apps and the OverDrive website from the 5 April and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can even discuss the book online or by using #biglibraryread on social media you’ll be entered into a prize draw for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet and book signed by the author!

Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.


Edinburgh Queer Sci-Fi Book Club

Today we hand over to Jac, Jess, Liz, and Kate from the Edinburgh Queer Sci-Fi Book Club who normally meet at McDonald Road Library on the first Monday of the month. Whilst it’s not been possible to meet in the library, they’ve continued to meet online and they welcome new members. Anyone interested in more information or getting added to the book group list should email:

Poster of the Edinburgh Queer Sci-Fi Book Club

During the past year they’ve read:

Book cover of Woman of the Edge of Time

Woman on the edge of time by Marge Piercy
In this feminist sci-fi classic, Marge Piercy imagines both a utopian society we could get to if we dare to dream and act on those dreams and the dystopian world that we might head towards instead if we give up on hope. Set in New York in the 1970s, the story follows Connie Ramos, a working class Latinx woman, first into a psychiatric hospital and then into two possible but very different futures. With themes of poverty, domestic and institutional violence and psychiatric abuse it is a dark book. But it is also a book of hope and inspiration for anyone who is dreaming of a gender-less society based on sexual liberation, inter-generational community and co-operation.
Available to borrow as an ebook.

Front cover of 'Pet'

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Pet centres on Jam, a Black trans girl living in a community formed in the aftermath of a revolution, where there are, or should be, no monsters left. Aimed at the younger end of the young adult range, Pet is an astonishing feat of craft that asks difficult questions about what allows child abuse to go unchecked, what it might take to recognize it, and what justice might mean. Emezi handles emotive subject matter with a sensitivity and deceptive simplicity that in no way detracts from its power.
Available to borrow as an ebook.

Front cover of The left hand of darkness

The left hand of darkness by Ursula le Guin
The left hand of darkness is a classic for good reason. Exploring themes of gender and sexuality through the meeting of interstellar cultures, it was groundbreaking when written and continues to be thought provoking to this day. It follows the story of ambassador Genly Ai who is sent to negotiate the joining of the planet Gethen into a federation of planets he represents. Although it isn’t a perfect book (it foregrounds heteronormative relations) its poignancy and insight make it well worth a read.
Available to borrow as an audiobook.

Lilith’s Brood by Octavia Butler
Octavia Butler’s acclaimed trilogy, Lilith’s Brood, imagines humanity as a species saved from near extinction through the intervention of aliens, the Oankali. Apparently benevolent, the Oankali seek to free humanity from its violent, hierarchical tendencies, and to combine their peoples’ genes to transform them both. Butler’s powerful and disturbing work reflects on colonialism, slavery, and humanity’s capacity for change.

To be taught, if fortunate by Becky Chambers
Chambers novella, To be taught, if fortunate, explores the idea of what if instead of colonizing and changing other planets, we changed ourselves? Set in a very near future, it is about a group of four scientists who have been sent on a several decade long mission to explore four planets with vastly differing ecosystems. Though short, it is a thought-provoking book which explores themes of colonialization, the role of scientific research and mental health. While at times quite intense, it is a book that feels very human and asks big questions despite being short.

Trouble on Triton by Samuel Delaney
Trouble on Triton tells the story of self obsessed jerk Bron and his slightly bungling journey of self discovery through infatuation, rejection, and his attempt to find happiness in a society which offers everything he could reasonably want. Delaney skilfully uses Bron to explore and critique gender roles in a society at war with Earth in a book that’s difficult to love but well worth a read.

The long way to a small, angry planet by Becky Chambers
In The long way to a wmall, angry planet, Becky Chambers manages to write a space opera that feels like a comforting hug or a warm bubble bath, which is something we could probably all do with right now. Centred very much on the characters and their relationships, it follows the multi-species crew of the Wayfarer whilst they are doing their job of building wormholes in different corners of the galaxy. If you are after a book full of thrilling adventure and suspense, this might not be the right fit for you. But if what you are looking for is to read a cosy story about a multi-species queer chosen family in space, then this is the one for you.

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
Kate Mascarenhas’ The Psychology of Time Travel interweaves the perspectives of four women united by their invention of a time machine in 1967. It’s an intricate and multi-layered book whose strengths lie in its focus on the emotional and psychological impact of time travel, in how knowledge of the future might limit the possibility of equality within romantic relationships, and affect people’s ability to connect with one another. In a genre still often perceived as overwhelmingly straight, cis, and male, Mascarenhas’ novel is refreshing in its representation of women’s relationships with one another: professional, personal, and romantic.  
Available to borrow as an ebook and an audiobook.          

Front cover of The Outside

The Outside by Ada Hoffmann
The Outside explores theme of the unknown in space. Our main character is a queer neurodiverse scientist university of AI gods. By banding together with an alien crew aboard a sentient ship to track down a rogue professor, they explore the nature of truth and whose truth really matters.
Available to borrow as an audiobook.

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
There’s something instantly magical about Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam. The palette of colours and the staggering illustrations are fabulous enough, but the story is gripping and bold, telling of rebellious teen Mia and her adventures on board a spaceship as part of a queer crew that repairs and documents old buildings. There’s love, danger, and workplace solidarity all beautifully depicted amongst an exuberant backdrop of galactic ruins.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon
Rivers Solomon’s The Deep builds on the mythology developed in the music of Drexciya and clipping, which imagines the children of enslaved Black women thrown overboard during the Atlantic slave trade as founders of a new, underwater society. Solomon’s book reflects on what it means to struggle with intergenerational racial trauma, how memory and storytelling might open up more inclusive futures, and the possibilities of queer love.

Front cover of Octavia's Brood

Octavia’s Brood edited by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha
Octavia’s Brood is a collection inspired by the science fiction accessibility ethos of Octavia Butler, who said that science fiction should be for everyone. Each short story is written by an activist or artist to explore social justice themes and ideas. Often this is each authors first foray into writing fiction and the tales are interesting and varied including space environmental concerns and frequent post apocalyptic themes. Each of the 22 writers takes a new spin to their story which can includes nightmares or visions of their future dream. This diversity of thought keeps you engaged and the only disappointment is when your favourite story ends too soon.
Available to borrow as an ebook.

Discover these and more great titles in our collection of LGBTQ+ fiction and non-fiction ebooks and audiobooks available on Overdrive and via the Libby app.

Not your average book group

Central Library’s BookCafé is five years old this year. So, what makes the BookCafé so special? It has a drop-in structure, on the lunchtime of the third Thursday of each month and attendees don’t know what will be read to them by one of the current facilitators, Sarah, Hope and Rowan. So, no homework. And when was the last time someone read you a story as an adult?

It’s a lovely feeling when someone in the room puts emotion and character into the reading. The facilitators go to great lengths to find different pieces by women writers from across the globe and across time, covering everything from old favourites by Alice Munro, Katherine Mansfield, and Muriel Spark, through contemporary writers including Katalina Watt, Jackie Kay, AL Kennedy and Leila Abdoulela through to beautifully written non-fiction by Nadine Aishe Jassat, Maggie O’Farrell and CJ Hauser. Once or twice a year, we try to get a local author to read from their work, always an exciting experience. The stories can be funny, challenging, expansive, educating and sometimes scary, but the choices always come from the very best women writers.

It’s women only too. Isn’t this sexist, out-dated and not very 21st century PC, we hear you cry? Quite the opposite. It is still necessary for certain groups to serve one gender; in this case, the group follows the principles of founders, the Glasgow Women’s Library as to inclusion i.e. cis, trans, inter-sex and non-binary individuals of every race and creed. This encourages women who might not be confident about voicing thoughts and opinions in other spaces, to be more sanguine within this supportive and safe space.

The BookCafe goes online!

Everyone brings something different to the readings, their experiences on that particular day; if you’ve been rushed, just sitting quietly listening to and absorbing the reading can be an intimate and soothing experience, exploring great short stories from a wide range of places can open up the world. It’s a bit different online of late, but the beauty of that is that attendees have joined in from as far afield as Canada and Norway so far. During the early months of lockdown, accessing this online facility is a literature lifeline for many. Silver lining stuff.

It’s not clear when BookCafé will be able to meet again in person but will continue in the online format for now. Unlike the in-person sessions, it’s essential to book, via Eventbrite so as to receive the link to the session. We can promise a diverse range of stories and conversation, along with a warm welcome and tea or coffee and biscuits – although bring your own cuppa for the online sessions!

The next meeting of the BookCafe on Wednesday 18 November at 1pm, is available to book online.

Join in with the Big Library Read

Join millions of others around the world in reading a historical fiction thriller during the Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club. From 3-17 August, readers can borrow and read Tim Mason’s “intellectually stimulating and viscerally exciting” ebook or audiobook The Darwin Affair from our OverDrive service. Solve the mystery from home – with your library card and no waiting lists, with the Libby app or by visiting our OverDrive website. You can even discuss the book online.

Historical fiction novel The Darwin Affair takes place in London during June 1860. When an assassination attempt is made on Queen Victoria, and a petty thief is gruesomely murdered moments later, Detective Inspector Charles Field quickly surmises that these crimes are connected to an even more sinister plot. Soon, Field’s investigation exposes a shocking conspiracy in which the publication of Charles Darwin’s controversial On the Origin of Species sets off a string of murders, arson, kidnapping, and the pursuit of a madman named the Chorister. As he edges closer to the Chorister, Field uncovers dark secrets that were meant to remain forever hidden. Tim Mason has created a rousing page-turner that both Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would relish!

The book will be available on the home page of the Libby/OverDrive apps and the OverDrive website from the 3 August and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. If you use #biglibraryread on social media you’ll be entered into a draw to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet!  Full instructions for using OverDrive can be found on our Your Library website.

Found in Translation Book Group

Found in Translation is a book group which has been meeting every month at Central Library for the past 5 years. They are a diverse group spanning many nationalities, backgrounds and careers. They come from different parts of the world: USA, Bulgaria, Italy, Poland and Scotland. They read and discuss English translations of fiction from around the world. Every book takes them on a literary and cultural journey to a different country.

Since libraries closed in March, the group wasn’t able to meet for their monthly discussions. They decided to move their meetings into the virtual world and discuss their books via a video conferencing app. So far they have read and discussed ‘Year of the Hare’ by Arto Paasilinna, a Finnish classic, ‘This Little Art’ by Kate Briggs (book on the practice of literary translation) and the Man Booker International Prize winner ‘Celestial Bodies’ by Jokha Alharthi. They were able to listen to ‘Celestial Bodies’ as an audio book available to any Edinburgh Libraries member on RBdigital through the Edinburgh Libraries website.

Since last year they have been in touch with a Finnish book group in Iisalmi as part of a new partnership between Edinburgh and Iisalmi Libraries in Finland,  part of the NAPLE Sister Libraries Programme. They were planning to have a Skype discussion with the book group in Finland and talk about ‘Year of the Hare’. Unfortunately, due to lockdown that had to be postponed. Found in Translation decided to have a chat about the book during their first virtual meet up in May. 

Photos of members of the Found in Translation Book Group

Members of the Found in Translation Book Group

Here are some of their thoughts on ‘Year of the Hare’:

“I thought the idea behind this book was really interesting and intriguing but some of the actual incidents were barely credible though I did get a feel of both the countryside and the Finnish rather dark humour.” Agnes

“This 1975 picaresque novel by the Finnish author Arto Paasilinna, translated into English by Herber Lomas in 1995, feels very pertinent in 2020. It almost anticipates the moment of multiple crises we find ourselves today. The novel calls for repositioning of our values, of readressing of our work and life balance, of challenging authorities and systemic discriminations. The hare emerges as the symbol of our environmental hope.” Iliyana

“I really enjoyed reading “A Year with a Hare” and found it a great romp through the backwoods of Finland. It turned out to be a book version of the Tardis from Dr. Who, containing multitudes and providing endless adventures within a pretty small volume.” Ana

It was National Reading Group Day on Saturday 20 June, promoted by the Reading Agency. The Found in Translation book group joined in the online discussion and shared what they love about their group.  Sam, one of the members said:

“What I like about the group the most is being exposed to texts that I never would have read otherwise, and exploring new cultures through the translations we read. It’s the only way to travel right now.”

Join an online book group

Some of our libraries are keeping in touch with readers by starting up online book groups. Why not join them?

Open Book with Craigmillar Library 

Craigmillar Library are partnering with Open Book to host an online book group via Zoom. The meetings will be once a fortnight on Tuesday mornings, from 10 to 11 am.

Open Book provide all the material and each session it is a short story and a poem or two. The theme this month is Future. Participants can take part in shared reading or staff will be happy to read the whole thing. If participants feel more comfortable just listening, they can turn their video off. The reading stops every now and again for the group to discuss the story or poem.

Staff are already thinking of how these sessions can continue in the future once things return to normality and how they can work with other local services to reach out to people who might enjoy shared reading.

Booking is via Eventbrite and the next session is on 19 May.

‘Heard a good book lately’ with Stockbridge Library
A new online audio book group has been started up by Carol who works at Stockbridge Library. Using the RBDigital service, everyone in the group can borrow and listen to the same audiobook at the same time. There is a huge range of authors and genres, but Carol decided to pick titles which are not only good for discussion, but gives themes to explore and research too. The first book chosen is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  The novel depicts the story of two slaves in the south east of the USA set in 19th century and their bid for freedom. It won the Pulitzer prize for fiction 2017.

The concept of the audiobook group however is no stranger to Stockbridge Library, a group has existed for over a year now with inclusion and accessibility at the core. However the beauty of audiobooks is that anyone can enjoy them at any time, if you are out and about, doing stuff about the house or relaxing.
“The audio book group has been fantastic opportunity to bring people together with or without sight loss. It also allows another option to discuss books in different formats. It’s not just about the writing, you’ve got to enjoy listening to the narrator. A few favourites have been ‘A Girl of slender means’ by Muriel Spark and ‘Our man in Havana’ by Graham Greene.” 
With the advent of lockdown it’s important to keep discussion and a sense of community going, so Carol is hoping you can join her on Tuesday 26 May at 7pm. Joining details are available on the Stockbridge Facebook page or Eventbrite.

‘Reading takes you places’ with South-west Edinburgh Libraries

Our Libraries in the South-west neighbourhood of Edinburgh have joined together to create a virtual book group too. So if you enjoy chatting about books and are looking for new reading suggestions, this one is for you.

Whether you’re already a member of a library book group, or have never been part of a book group before, you’re all invited to join.

A live discussion will take place through a free online video/ audio call service (such as Skype) fortnightly. The next meeting will take place on Thursday 21 May at 3pm, when they will discuss ‘The Humans’ by Matt Haig.

All books chosen for the book group have multiple ebook copies available through Edinburgh Libraries, so everyone will be able to borrow a copy for free. Guidance on accessing and borrowing e-books from the library is available on the Your Library website.

If you are interested in joining the book group, please email


This summer’s Big Library Read

Travel through history along with millions of readers during Big Library Read, the world’s largest digital book club! From 17th June – 1st July, book-lovers can borrow LP Fergusson’s harrowing wartime love story, A Dangerous Act of Kindness, from Edinburgh Libraries OverDrive service as an ebook with no waitlists or holds.

A Dangerous Act of Kindness is a beautiful, harrowing love story, perfect for fans of Rachel Hore and Santa Montefiore. It tells the story of widow Millie Sanger, who finds injured enemy pilot Lukas Schiller on her farm during World War II. Compassionate Millie knows Lukas will be killed if discovered and makes the dangerous decision to offer him shelter from the storm. On opposite sides of the inescapable conflict, the two strangers forge an unexpected and passionate bond. But as the snow thaws, the relentless fury of World War II forces them apart, leaving only the haunting memories of what they shared, and an understanding that their secret must never see light.

The ebook will be available on the home page of Libby/OverDrive apps and the OverDrive website from the 17th June and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can also join an online conversation about the book at and if you use #biglibraryread on social media you’ll be entered into a draw to win a Kobo Aura H20 ebook reader! 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.

Big Library Read – Digital Book Group

We’ll be having another Big Library Read from 1st-15th April on OverDrive! Unlimited people can download the ebook version of this very topical autobiography called  Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung. Read the story of Abu Bakr who along with his family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life, but they moved to Syria – just before the Syrian civil war broke out. Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone – and eventually found safety in Canada.

The ebook will be available on the home page of the OverDrive website and Libby/OverDrive apps from the 1st April and with unlimited downloads is perfect for discussing with your friends and family. You can join an online conversation about the book at 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.

Together We Read!

Our ebook supplier OverDrive, are holding another UK Together We Read digital book club, giving unlimited access to a popular ebook from the 1-15 November.

They’ve chosen a brilliant title this time – Circe by Madeline Miller, which scores 4.4 stars on Good Reads and is a Guardian “Must Read” title of 2018! This is the latest novel from Orange Prize winner Miller, who continues with her previous theme of Greek mythology. Circe, daughter of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft. It’s an intoxicating tale of gods and heroes, magic and monsters, survival and transformation!

As usual the ebook can be accessed on tablet, smartphone, computer or ereader (except regular Kindles!) and full instructions can be found on our OverDrive help pages. Why not encourage your friends and family to read it too and host your own book group get-together!

For further information contact or 0131 242 8047

Join in with our audiobook group

Love audiobooks? Then come along to our monthly Stockbridge Library audiobook group starting on Friday 16 November, 2.30-3.30pm. You’ll get tea, biscuits and some lovely chat about our chosen audiobook! Our first title is Shaun Bythell’s The Diary of a Bookseller.

Shaun owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. In these wry and hilarious diaries, he provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates, recommends books and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life.

This audiobook is available for you to borrow for free from our RBdigital service. Simply download to your phone, tablet or computer to join in. Full user instructions can be found on our RBdigital help pages or get in touch with the Digital Team if you need any extra help (  0131 242 8047).

Listen to your book group!

Are you part of a book group or maybe thinking of starting one up? Why not try something different and listen to an audiobook this month instead of reading a printed book?

Our audiobook service RBdigital, has over 1000 multi-access titles meaning unlimited people can listen at the same time.






You’ll find it a great talking point, discussing the effect that the narrator has on your understanding and enjoyment of the story.






Browse through our Excel list of multi-access audiobooks today, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Zoe Ball Book Club

We are excited to hear that there’s to be a new TV book club hosted by Zoe Ball starting on ITV the 17th June – perfect if you’re not able to go along to one yourself!

And even better, you can borrow some of the featured titles from our downloadable library services! –

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

Available to download as audiobook from RBdigital




A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee

Available to download as ebook and audiobook from OverDrive




The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson

Available to download on audiobook from uLIBRARY




The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman

Available to download as ebook from OverDrive and audiobook from RBdigital



The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Available to download as ebook  from OverDrive




Killer Intent by Tony Kent

Available to download as ebook from OverDrive




Dark Pines by Will Dean

Available to download as ebook from OverDrive




This is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

Available to download as ebook from OverDrive




Fancy starting your own book group – did you know you can borrow sets of books from the library? Find out how by reading the Book Group Collections blog post.

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.

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.