The civil servant, the actor and a library’s final summer

St James's LibraryYou may know that, sadly, St James’s Library will be closing on 23 August this year. But does this mean that the library will limp quietly through its final summer? Of course not!

As well as a full programme of children’s events for the Circus Stars Summer Reading Challenge, they’ve continued with their Customer Choice displays, showcasing the favourite books, films and music of a selection of customers and indeed staff.

Michelle English is one such customer. A prolific reader and a regular user of St James’s Library, she jumped at the chance to put together a display.

Michelle English“I try to read a range of genres and authors and am always looking for new ideas for books.
The staff and customer picks in the library is a great idea as it has introduced me to books I’ve never thought of and I hope I can do the same with my list.  It’s a bit like rummaging around in someone’s bookcase.

“My choices include Don’t Look Behind You (a safari guide’s story), Howard’s End is on the Landing (which is a bibliophile’s paradise), Jubilate by Michael Arditti (who is an amazing author I have just discovered, and I’m urging everyone I meet to read him), and The private memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner (which has such an intriguing title you can’t help but be interested in the contents).

I’ve chosen books that I have read and reread and would be the ones I would choose if I ever get cast ashore on that fabled desert island.  I also wanted to choose authors and books that people might not have come across before and to try to select a range of genres to reflect the different books I love to read.  The hardest thing about this was narrowing my choices down to a short list!”

Michelle's display at St James's LibraryWhen she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a book, civil servant Michelle is involved in fringe drama. Her next outing, where you can meet her and tell her what you think of her reading choices, is at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden with Are You Lonesome Tonight? from 16 – 18 August.

Previous choices displayed have included: The Rats (“James Herbert portrays realistic characters, before having them eaten by giant carnivorous rats”); Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls (“A terrific coming-of-age story set in Ireland in the late 1950s”); Sophocles’ The Theban Plays (“King Oedipus is the original whodunit”); Doctor Who: Masque Of Mandragora (“One of the best of the Tom Baker stories. And not so very different to the new series”); P.P. Arnold The First Cut (“A stylish selection from an almost-forgotten female vocalist of the 1960s”) and Beach Boys Pet Sounds (“One of the best albums ever made”).


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