Cousins in Mayfair

Cousins by Salley VickersMayfair Library Reading Group met yesterday to discuss Cousins by Salley Vickers.

May 1994: Will Tye, a student at Cambridge, falls from the tower of King’s College. This event is the starting point for a story running through three generations of the Tye family, told from the view point of three different women: Will’s sister Hetta, grandmother Betsy and his aunt Bell. The group felt that this device was sometimes confusing, they weren’t always sure who was speaking.

All agreed that the ending (which we won’t give away!) was the best part of the book, when the story really picked up. They saw it as interesting rather than shocking or surprising.

Salley Vickers is probably best known for her first novel, published in 2000, Miss Garnet’s Angel. You can find her other books, including Cousins, in Westminster Libraries.

Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers  The Boy who could see Death by Salley Vickers  The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers

The group meets at the end of March to discuss their next book, Cartes Postales from Greece by Victoria Hislop. Come and join in!


Arthur sends his apologies

The apology of Arthur Tresbit by Robert Thayer

“Arthur Tresbit is about to cause the destruction of civilisation as we know it… And for that he’s very sorry.”

Robert ThayerAuthor Robert Thayer gave a balanced and interesting talk about the nature of high finance, and in particular the financial crash of 2008, to the Paddington Library Reading Group recently.
The illustrated talk formed a backdrop to his recently published novel, The Apology of Arthur Tresbit, an amusing fictional account of an ordinary man who destroys the world financial system.

To find out more about forthcoming events at Paddington Library, visit our News & events page.


Charlie’s Trips at Paddington Library

Charlie's Trips by Jack FelsonLocal author Jack Felson recently gave a thoughtful and interesting talk about his novel Charlie’s Trips to the Paddington Library Reader’s Group and guests.

The book is a futuristic version of The Wizard of Oz, a dark tale that deals and plays with many of America’s institutions and values such as family, religion, army, marriage and fame.It’s a science-fiction work as well as a comedy, a social satire and a disaster story. It basically deals with a paradox, the main character being able to see into the future when he lost his past.

Jack talked about the book but also about his life as a bi-lingual French author and film director living in London, about America, politics and more – a thought provoking and entertaining evening!


Mohini Kent at Paddington Library

Black Taj, by Mohini KentLast week, author Mohini Kent visited the Paddington Library readers’ group (plus guests) to talk about her recently published novel Black Taj.

The novel is set in India in 1993 and is about a Hindu woman’s relationship with a Muslim man. There are echoes of the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 and this trauma hangs heavily over the story.

Mohini Kent is also a journalist, film-maker and charity worker. She has written for India Today, the Times of India, The Week magazine, and The Tablet and Asian Age.

Mohini Kent at Paddington Library, July 2016

Ten Days into thirty

April is here again, and that can only mean one thing if you’re a library member in London: Cityread!

Cityread LondonEach April, Cityread asks London’s citizens, workers and visitors to pick up a book – the same book – and read it together. Taking the chosen novel as a starting point, a month-long programme of book groups, film screenings and other events takes place across all 33 London boroughs in libraries, bookshops, museums and other venues.

This year’s book is Ten Days, a newly published and gripping thriller by Orange Prize-shortlisted author Gillian Slovo:

Ten Days by Gillian Slovo‘Ten unpredictable days of violence erupt from a stifling heatwave. And, as Westminster careers are being made or ruined, lives are at stake. Ten Days is about what happens when politics, policing and the hard realities of living in London collide.’

Here in Westminster we have a programme of special events including historical talks and a walk around key ‘rebel’ points in Westminster’s streets. Our many reading groups will be joining in and discussing the book at meetings throughout the month – pick one and come along!

Click on the book cover above to find copies of Ten Days available in your library. It’s also available as an ebook and we have limited numbers of free copies to give away – ask in your library.

We’d love to know what you think of the book. If you can’t get to a reading group to discuss it, let us know your views in the comments.



Hetty Feather books by Jacqueline Wilson Warrior Cats books by Erin Hunter Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney

Do you live by the Warrior Cat Code?
Who’s your favourite: Tom Gates, the Wimpy Kid or Hetty Feather?
Are you desperate to join Cherub?
Or has the retro appeal of Enid Blyton adventures got you gripped?

Whatever you’re into, it’s more fun when you can share your views with others.

Chatterbooks Reading Groups are a great way for children aged 8-11 to chat with friends old and new about what they’re reading, find out about what other books they might enjoy, play games and pick up book-related goodies.

The next Chatterbooks session is at Marylebone Library this Thursday, 11 February, from 4 to 5pm.

Previous activities have included designing your own book cover, word bingo, quizzes, craft sessions and taking part in competitions. Currently, the search is on for children to join the Best of the Best Children’s Book Award judging panel – if you’re keen to apply, why not join the group and get help and ideas for your book review? Bring a friend and start chatting!

Cherub books by Robert Muchamore Tom Gates books by Liz Pichon Books by Enid Blyton

Let’s talk about books

Book Talk recently planned its programme for this year. What’s Book Talk?
It’s our telephone-based reading group for the housebound residents of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea. Among the titles to be discussed at the monthly meet-up over the phone are:

Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend Shakespeare by Bill Bryson Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale  The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson Margot at War by Anne de Courcy The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

Ten Days by Gillian SlovoThe selection is a great mixture of fiction and non-fiction, and includes Shakespeare by Bill Bryson in this 400th anniversary year. We’ll also be joining many other reading groups, right across London, in reading the Cityread London book – Gillian Slovo’s Ten Days – in April.
Next on the schedule though is February’s title, Queen Camilla by Sue Townsend.

If you’d like to find out more about Book Talk, get in touch. Here’s what a couple of group members think:

“It’s a challenge to read something I wouldn’t normally try.”

“People aren’t interested in other people in London. But at least we have one another to talk to about the books.”


Philosophical Toys in Paddington Library

About two dozen members of the Paddington Library Reader’s Group attended an interesting talk by author Susana Medina last week. Susana has won a number of literary awards and has curated various well-received international art shows in abandoned places.

Philosophical Toys by Susana MedinaSusana promoted her recently published novel Philosophical Toys, which touches on a number of topics, including the irrational and the Unconscious, Luis Buñuel, our relationship with objects, consumerism, Alzheimer’s and language (adopting a second language as one’s writing language).

Susana was asked about how she coped with hearing loss and how it led her to writing Philosophical Toys.

The audience were also very interested in Susana’s ability to adapt the book to a short film format. The book depicts a man who collects a large number of shoes. Susana joked she might buy many pairs of shoes, use them for filming and return them to the shop within 28 days!

Laurence Foe & Susana Medina (author, 'Philosophical Toys'), Paddington Library October 2015. Picture credit: Francis Medina
Laurence Foe & Susana Medina (author, ‘Philosophical Toys’), Paddington Library October 2015. Picture credit: Francis Medina