Recent Events

BOOKS & THE CITY: CONNECTION AND CREATIVITY ( 1st November 2018 )

What do George Orwell and Bleak House have in common with Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime? They all offer an insight into urban life and – in a discussion that ranged from the early 18th century to the present day – they were among the authors and titles discussed by the ‘Books and the City’ panel at our recent Desert Island Books event.

The members of the panel included photographer Colin Moody; John McTague, lecturer in English at the University of Bristol; novelist and poet, Lucy English; Alon Aviram of The Bristol Cable and Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing at Bristol City Council.

L-R: Colin Moody, Dr John McTague, Lucy English, Alon Aviram, Cllr Paul Smith

The event was the latest in the Desert Island Books series and we asked the panel to recommend a book on a city-related theme as well as a ‘wild card’ – a favourite book in any genre – which they would want when castaway.

Colin, who specialises in photographing Bristol and its people, chose Down and Out in London and Paris by George Orwell. Although Orwell’s book was published in 1933, Colin could see clear parallels between the world that Orwell portrays and as he said, “how tough it is for people on the streets of Bristol today.”

Lucy linked Colin’s observations and Orwell’s experience to Joe, the crossing sweeper in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House. This dense, complex and captivating novel was her desert island pick because the book spans every layer of society and, as Lucy pointed out, it shows that, “even in the seething mess of the city, we are all connected to one another.”

The liberating aspects of the city are explored in John’s recommendation, Fantomina; or Love in a Maze by Eliza Haywood. Written in 1725, the book explores the ways in which people can use the anonymity of the city to construct social status and new identities in a way that would not have been possible in traditional village societies.

Moving forward in time to the early 21st century, Alon’s desert island choice was Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime by Dan Hancox. The book shows how a new musical genre was created on inner London council estates, against a background of protest, pirate radio, police harassment, riots and gentrification.

Picking up the theme of social housing, Paul Smith chose Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing by John Boughton for his desert island book. As Paul pointed out, council housing offered a new beginning for working class families moving out of Victorian slums, but the concept was subsequently undermined. Nevertheless, Paul is optimistic. If we learn the lessons of history, he said, “opportunities for council housing can happen again.”

“International photographers show us who we are,” said Colin introducing his ‘wild card’, Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers by Alona Pardo and Martin Parr. Lucy, a spoken work poet, chose a verbal snapshot with Bristol Slam Poetry Anthology, edited by Glenn Carmichael and published in 1998. This book, Lucy said, is “a celebration of the melting pot that is still part of Bristol city.”

John chose Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, a collection of prose poetry about what it means to be black in the US today, while Alon’s ‘wild card’ was Q by Luther Blissett, a historical novel that creates a world of violence and intrigue along with political and religious fervour.

Paul brought the discussion to a close on an unexpected – but reassuring – note. His ‘wild card’ was the Ladybird book that had comforted him every night as a small child, Tootles the Taxi and Other Rhymes by Joyce Clegg.

You can order most of the books discussed on the Libraries West website at: www.librarieswest.org.uk

 

Summary of Book Choices

  • Colin Moody: (1) Down and Out in London and Paris by George Orwell (2) Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers by Alona Pardo and Martin Parr
  • Lucy English: (1) Bleak House by Charles Dickens (2) Bristol Slam Poetry Anthology, edited by Glenn Carmichael
  • John McTague: (1) Fantomina; or Love in a Maze by Eliza Haywood (2) Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • Alon Aviram: (1) Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime by Dan Hancox (2) Q by Luther Blissett
  • Paul Smith: (1) Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing by John Boughton (2) Tootles the Taxi and Other Rhymes by Joyce Clegg

BOOKS & THE SEA: ABOVE AND BENEATH THE WAVES ( 16th October 2018 )

From the history of the shipping container to Moby Dick – by way of the Western Isles and the secrets of fish – the panel at our recent Desert Island Books event discussed the many ways the sea influences our literature and our lives.

The theme of the event was ‘Books and the Sea’ and the panel included, Dr Kate Hendry, Royal Society Research Fellow and Reader in Geochemistry at the University of Bristol; Dr Laurence Publicover, Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Bristol; Captain Richard Whalley, Royal Navy; Professor Rosamund Sutherland, School of Education at the University of Bristol and Trustee of the SS Great Britain.

L-R: Captain Richard Whalley, Professor Rosamund Sutherland, Dr Laurence Publicover, Dr Kate Hendry

We asked the panel to recommend a book about the sea, as well as a ‘wild card’ – a favourite book in any genre that they would want to take with them to a desert island.

Richard, who specialises in naval logistics recommended The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson. The book, he explained, was recommended to him by a friend at the Admiralty library. It is, he said, “a fascinating story of invention and innovation …and how something quite humble can change our lives.”

From global trade to life beneath the waves, Kate chose Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher’s Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything by Helen Scales. An underwater journey that invites us to enter the fascinating world of fish, the book includes accounts of Helen’s own aquatic adventures, both recently and as a child. Since Helen is Kate’s sister, the childhood stories are also her own.

Moby Dick must be literature’s most famous whale and Moby Dick by Herman Melville was Laurence’s desert island pick. He acknowledged that it is a book more people have heard about than actually read, but encouraged us to persevere. As Laurence said, Melville not only tells you everything you could possibly want to know about whaling, he also “uses the sea as a way of thinking about life.”

Rosamund is a keen sailor and her choice, Off in a Boat by Neil Gunn reminds her of a holiday in 2015 when she and her husband sailed around the west coast of Scotland. Rosamund’s love of books that explore the idea of wilderness on both land and sea was also reflected in her ‘wild card’ choice, Wild Places by Robert McFarlane.

Richard continued the nautical theme with his ‘wild card’, which was Three Corvettes by Nicholas Monserrat, a collection of short stories about the terrible reality of war at sea. Kate travelled to the future with a science fiction ‘wild card’ Embassytown by China Mieville, while Laurence went back to the past with Evelina by Fanny Burney. Set partly in Bristol, Evelina is a social satire with a great plot. It is, Laurence said, “a lot of fun and thoroughly recommended.”

You can order most of the books discussed on the Libraries West website at: www.librarieswest.org.uk

 

Summary of Book Choices

  • Richard Whalley: (1) The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson (2) Three Corvettes by Nicholas Monserrat
  • Kate Hendry: (1) Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher’s Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything by Helen Scales (2) Embassytown by China Mieville
  • Laurence Publicover: (1) Moby Dick by Herman Melville (2) Evelina by Fanny Burney
  • Rosamund Sutherland: (1) Off in a Boat by Neil Gunn (2) Wild Places by Robert McFarlane

JANE DUFFUS AND THE WOMEN WHO BUILT BRISTOL ( 27th September and 4th October 2018 )

“Where are all the women?” asked Jane Duffus when she discovered the history of Bristol was dominated by men, “they can’t all have been mousey types sitting at home.” So she started to research Bristol’s women and found that many have helped shape not only the city, but also our everyday lives.

Jane discovered so many inspiring stories that she collected them into a book, The Women Who Built Bristol 1184-2018, which was published earlier this year to raise funds for Bristol Women’s Voice.

Like many other people, we were fascinated by Jane’s book and invited her to give two talks at the library – the second arranged by popular demand – so that she could tell us some of her favourite stories. Here are just a few:

Frances Power Cobb (1822-1904) Suffragist, Campaigner

“If you are a woman and you have graduated from university, you have her to thank,” said Jane.

Frances not only fought for women to take university examinations and be awarded degrees, she also wrote widely on women’s suffrage and the legal rights of married women. Her pamphlet Wife Torture ultimately influenced the Matrimonial Causes Act 1878, which gave abused wives not only the right to a separation, but also custody of any child under the age of ten.

Seeing a link between some men’s attitude towards women and cruelty to animals, Frances also established the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and the Anti-Vivisection Society, for which she won the support of Queen Victoria.

Persuasive and indefatigable, Frances was much admired by her contemporaries. In 1902, to mark her 80th birthday, she was presented with an album signed by 300 respected women – including Florence Nightingale and Millicent Fawcett. Given “as an expression of sincere regard,” the album commemorates the “philanthropic activity and high moral purpose” of Frances’ long life.

Matilda Bennett (born 1830) Pottery Maker

Matilda’s story offers a snapshot of a working-class child’ life during the Industrial Revolution. Starting work as a painter at Bristol Pottery when she was just nine years old, Matilda became a case study for an inspector checking on the pottery’s working conditions in 1841.

According to the inspector’s report, Matilda “paints cups and saucers from 6am to 6pm with a half hour for breakfast and one hour for dinner….Is paid as much as she earns and gets 4s 6d a week at most or sometimes 2s 9d. Has her health very well and likes her work and treatment.”

Jane pointed out that we do not know what happed to Matilda. There is a report in the Western Daily Press of 20 August 1906 about a woman called Matilda Bennet who was found dead by the Victoria Pottery in St Philips, having been knocked over by a train. But whether this is the same woman, it is impossible to say.

Elsie Stephens and Violet Frampton (dates unknown) Nurses

On night during the March 1941 air raids, Lilian Braund went into labour while trapped beneath the rubble in the cellar of her bombed house. Braving the raid – and the broken gas mains – Assistant Matron Elsie Stephens and Nursing Sister Violet Frampton, volunteered to help.

The two nurses made their way into the cellar although, as the London Gazette reported in May 1940, “There was considerable danger as the whole building was liable to collapse.” Eventually, Lilian gave birth in the rubble, but remained trapped until 1.00pm the following day, when she and her baby were taken to hospital and found to be in good health. A few months later, both Elsie and Violet were awarded the George Medal.

In its report the London Gazette paid tribute to the fact that despite danger all around, “the Sisters carried on.” As Jane said, this phrase could be used for most of the women in her book because as her research shows, “Women will pull together and get things done.”

 

The Women Who Built Bristol 1184-2018 can either be reserved online through Libraries West at: www.librarieswest.org.uk or you can buy a copy from Bristol Women’s Voice at: https://bristolwomensvoice.bigcartel.com/product/the-women-who-built-bristol-book

BOOKS & POETRY:  PERFORMANCE, EXPERIENCE AND STORYTELLING ( 13th September 2018 )

“What is poetry?” asked Richard Jones, publisher of Tangent Books and Small Press Books. Is it about a sense of identity? Does it tell a story or is it more abstract? Should it be written, spoken, experienced – or all three? These were just some of the questions explored by the panel as they discussed ‘Books and Poetry’ at our recent Desert Island Books event.

Joining Richard on the panel were Clive Birnie, publisher of Burning Eye Books; Vanessa Kisuule, Bristol City Poet 2018-2020 and Rebecca Kosick, co-director of the Bristol Poetry Institute at the University of Bristol.

L-R : Clive Birnie, Richard Jones, Dr Rebecca Kosick, Vanessa Kisuule

We asked the panel to recommend a poetry collection or a book about poetry, as well as a ‘wild card’ – a favourite book in any genre that they would want to read and re-read on a desert island.

Fascinated by the question of who we think we are, Clive chose Nigh-No-Place by Jen Hadfield. As he explained, Clive is descended from Peterhead fishermen and this collection, which is rooted in the ever-changing Shetland landscape, reflects his own deep-seated connection to Scotland.

From a sense of identity to poetry as storytelling, Richard’s recommendation was High on Rust by Bristol poet, Ray Webber. The collection, which tells the story of Webber’s life, was published in 2016 when Ray was 93. Influenced mainly by TS Eliot and the Beat Generation poets, Webber’s work has, as one critic said “a fierce sense of energy, vitriol and devilish laughter.”

Rebecca’s pick was An Ordinary Man by Ferreira Gullar and translated by Leland Guyer. Born in Brazil, Gullar was part of the inter-disciplinary neo-concrete movement. He believed that poetry should be part of everyday lived experience and as Rebecca explained, that the reader’s participation makes the work complete.

An increasingly popular way of experiencing poetry is the spoken word and Vanessa, who has herself won many poetry slam titles, chose Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith. Vanessa described Smith as a poet “of both the page and the stage,” who writes about being a black man in America in a collection illuminated by “moments of joy”.

Vanessa’s ‘wild card’ was equally challenging. She recommended Fishnet by Kirsten Innes, a meticulously researched novel about the sex industry and Coming Out Like a Porn Star, a book of essays by Jiz Lee, both of which she said, made her “look at sex work in a much more nuanced way.”

Rebecca’s oldest child has just started school and her ‘wild card’ was a book about learning to read, Lines, Squiggles, Letters, Words by Ruth Rocha, translated by Lyn Miller Lachmann. Richard’s pick was Dylan Thomas Selected Works because, as he said “his prose is often more poetic than his poetry.”

Bringing the event to a close, Clive returned to Scotland with his ‘wild card’, Cancer Party by Andrew Raymond Drennan. A bleak, gritty novel set in Glasgow, this book shares the colloquial immediacy of the spoken word poetry that first inspired Clive to set up Burning Eye Books.

You can order some of the books discussed on the Libraries West website at: www.librarieswest.org.uk

 

Summary of Book Choices

  • Clive Birnie: (1) Nigh-No-Place by Jen Hadfield (2) Cancer Party by Andrew Raymond Drennan
  • Richard Jones: (1) High on Rust by Ray Webber (2) Dylan Thomas Selected Works
  • Dr Rebecca Kosick: (1) An Ordinary Man by Ferreira Gullar and translated by Leland Guyer (2) Lines, Squiggles, Letters, Words by Ruth Rocha, translated by Lyn Miller Lachmann
  • Vanessa Kisuule: (1) Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith (2a) Fishnet by Kirsten Innes and (2b) Coming Out Like a Porn Star by Jiz Lee

BOOKS, RELIGION & ETHICS ( 14th August 2018 )

“It’s the journey not the destination that’s going to count,” said Kieran Flanagan at the start of our Desert Island Books event on ‘Books, Religion and Ethics’. Although Kieran’s comment referred to his own choice of books, it soon became clear that he had identified the main theme of the evening; the value of the journey and its potential for change.

Along with Dr Kieran Flanagan, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol, the panel included: George Ferzoco, Research Fellow, University of Bristol; Reverend Dr Tim Gibson, an Anglican priest and Senior Lecturer, University of the West of England; Reverend Rachel Haig, Community Minister, Tyndale Baptist Church, Bristol and Rabbi Monique Mayer, The Bristol & West Progressive Jewish Congregation.

L-R (Seated) : George Ferzoco, Rabbi Monique Mayer, Rev’d Dr Tim Hutton, Rev’d Rachel Haig, Dr Kieran Flanagan

We asked the panel to recommend a book on religion and ethics, together with a ‘wild card’ – a book in any genre that they would like to take with them to a desert island.

Kieran began the discussion by recommending Crossways by Guy Stagg, a book that charts the author’s pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem and his struggle to recover from years of mental illness. Along the way, Stagg becomes fascinated by Christianity and although he does not find faith, he does find healing.

Rachel’s pick was William Horwood’s Duncton Wood, the story of a mole empire and the struggle between good and evil, love and hate, traditional and modern values. Against these classic themes, the book also highlights the value of the simple things. “It’s life-changing,” said Rachel, “and that’s not something you can often say about moles.”

With a warning that his choice is a harrowing – but rewarding – read, Tim selected The Enduring Melody by Michael Mayne. While writing this meditation on a lifetime of faith, Mayne was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Looking back over his life, he traces and celebrates ‘the enduring melody’, which as Tim explained, is the rhythm that affirms our relationship with God.

Monique developed the theme of the spiritual journey with her pick, Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar by Alan Morinis. Mussar is an ancient system of ethical ideas and practice that can guide us through life, helping us to change our behaviour not only for our own benefit, but also to improve the world.

Dante’s The Divine Comedy charts one of the great journeys in literature and this was George’s recommendation. George teaches Dante at the University of Bristol and talked about the poet’s life and work, giving the audience an insight into the beauty and complexity of his desert island choice.

Staying in Italy, George’s ‘wild card’ was The Story of a Humble Christian by Ignazio Silone, a book about an elderly hermit who briefly became Pope Celestine V in 1294, abdicating when he came into conflict with the realpolitik of Church bureaucracy. From the historical past to a dystopian future, Rachel chose The Power by Naomi Alderman, an easy read which she said, helps us to think through many of the difficult questions we face today. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness was Monique’s ‘wild card’, a book she said, that raises powerful issues around truth and lies.

For his ‘wild card’, Kieran recommended The Samurai by Shusaku Endo, a pilgrimage into Christianity that gradually uncovers the differences between Eastern and Western psychology and faith. The evening’s final journey was across France’s Haute-Auvergne with Tim’s ‘wild card’ The Wisdom of Donkeys by Andy Merryfield, a very good book, he explained, “for cheering people up”.

Most of the books discussed are either on the shelves of Redland Library or you can order them through the Libraries West website www.librarieswest.org.uk

 

Summary of Book Choices

  • George Ferzoco: (1) The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri* (2) The Story of a Humble Christian by Ignazio Silone
    * Recommended translations by: Robert Hollander, Charles Singleton or Robert Durling
  • Rabbi Monique Mayer: (1) Everyday Holiness: The Jewish Spiritual Path of Mussar by Alan Morinis (2) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Rev’d Dr Tim Hutton: (1) The Enduring Melody by Michael Mayne (2) The Wisdom of Donkeys by Andy Merryfield
  • Rev’d Rachel Haig: (1) Duncton Wood by William Horwood (2) The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Dr Kieran Flanagan: (1) Crossways by Guy Stagg (2) The Samurai by Shusaku Endo

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: LIBRARY CONSULTATION ( 28 July 2018 )

If anyone doubts that Redland Library is one of the busiest in Bristol, it would be a good idea to drop in on a Saturday afternoon. That’s when we held an informal community consultation about the future of the library and – in between changing books, catching up with periodicals and using the public access computers – local people had lots to say.

Everyone was relieved that the Council has guaranteed funding until 2020 and looking ahead, they had some interesting suggestions about planning for the future. People were also enthusiastic about the Desert Island Books events and gave us some excellent ideas to investigate.

Thanks to the Co-op on Whiteladies Road, we were able offer tea, brownies and flapjack to all who had time for a chat. And, thanks to Councillor Clive Stevens – who lent us his flipchart and went to Sainsbury’s to buy us some coloured felt tip pens – we could record everyone’s thoughts.

Thank you to all who came along and if you weren’t able to join us, please send your thoughts and ideas to: FriendsOfRedlandLibrary@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

BOOKS, ENVIRONMENT & GLOBAL WARMING ( 17th July 2018 )

“What is the one action everyone could take to fight climate change?” asked a member of the audience at the recent Desert Island Books event at Redland Library. “Read some books, find out what’s going on and start some conversations,” said Ian Roderick, a member of the panel discussing ‘Books, Environment and Global Warming.’

Ian Roderick is Director at the Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems and joining him on the panel were Darren Hall, Project Manager, Bristol Community Land Trust; Honor Eldridge, incoming Head of Policy, The Sustainable Food Trust; Chris Bennett, Head of Behaviour Change and Engagement, Sustrans and Jenny Briggs, Account Manager, Green House PR.

L-R: Darren Hall, Honor Eldridge, Chris Bennett, Ian Roderick, Jenny Briggs

We asked each member of the panel to recommend a book about the environment or global warming, together with a ‘wild card’ – a book in any genre that they would like to read on the desert island. From the Wild West to the perfect tomato – and practically everything in between – they gave us plenty to think about.

Darren started the discussion with his recommendation Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari. Tracing the evolution of our species from pre-history to the present day, the book looks at how humans became custodians of the natural world and examines our impact of on the planet.

In a more specific context, Honor chose Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth Century America by Richard Slotkin. Showing why nature has only economic – rather than intrinsic – value in the United States, Slotkin offers a valuable insight into recent political decisions affecting the physical landscape of America.

Capitalism also plays a major role in Chris’ desert island pick, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein, which shows that society must fundamentally transform if we are to tackle climate change. A daunting prospect, but as he pointed out, it is a hopeful book.

Continuing the optimistic theme, Ian recommended, The Winning of the Carbon War by Jeremy Leggett. Written in the style of a diary from 2013 to 2015 in the lead up to COP21 in Paris, the book shows that although environmental change is super-tanker slow, it can – and does – happen.

Jenny recommended Roger Deakin’s nature writing classic, Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees, which takes the reader across Europe to Central Asia and Australia to discover what lies behind our profound connection with wood and trees.

With her ‘wild card’, Jenny went for My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis, by Diana Darke. Ian chose Lila by Robert Persig, a book he has already read three times and would happily read again. The Snow Leopard by Robert Matthiessen, the story of a journey through the Himalayas, was Chris’ ‘wild card’, while Honor’s pick was Diana Henry’s Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons: Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa, because, “It was one of the first cookery books to make me care about food.”

Closing the event with a call to action, Darren’s ‘wild card’ recommendation was Trying Hard is Not Good Enough by Mark Friedman, a reminder that if we are to fight climate change we must all play our part. Taking Ian’s advice, reading the panel’s recommendations is a good place to begin.

Most of the books discussed are either on the shelves of Redland Library or you can order them through the Libraries West website: www.librarieswest.org.uk

 

Summary of Book Choices

  • Ian Roderick:  (1) The Winning of the Carbon War by Jeremy Leggett  (2) Lila by Robert Persig
  • Darren Hall:  (1) Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari  (2) Trying Hard is Not Good Enough by Mark Friedman
  • Honor Eldridge:  (1) Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth Century America by Richard Slotki  (2) Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons: Enchanting Dishes from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa by Diana Henry
  • Chris Bennett:  (1) This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein  (2) The Snow Leopard by Robert Matthiessen
  • Jenny Briggs:  (1) Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Roger Deakin (2) My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Crisis by Diana Darke

BOOKS & THE WORLD OF CRIME ( 14th June 2018 )

Proving that crime is the most popular fiction genre in the UK, a capacity audience filled Redland Library for the Desert Island Books event, ‘Books and the World of Crime’.

Following our usual format, we asked an expert panel to recommend a book about crime. We then asked them to choose a ‘wild card’, a book in any genre that they would like to read – and possibly re-read – on the desert island.

The panel included Sue Mountstevens, Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner; Chief Inspector Leanne Pook, District Commander of North Somerset, Avon & Somerset Police; Marcus Keppel-Palmer, Associate Head of Bristol Law School, University of the West of England and Cally Taylor, who as C L Taylor, is the best-selling author of a series of psychological crime thrillers.

L-R: Sue Mountstevens, Chief Inspector Leanne Pook, Cally Taylor, Marcus Keppel-Palmer

Although she has little time for reading in her current role, Sue recommended Philosophical Investigations by Philip Kerr. A futuristic novel that blends police work and philosophy through the diaries of a detective and a serial killer, the book reveals a chilling – though thought-provoking – vision of criminal justice.

Back in the present day, Leanne chose Blue: A Memoir – Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces by John Sutherland. As she explained, most novels and television programmes do not reflect the reality of policing. But John Sutherland is a former Chief Inspector with the Metropolitan Police and as she said, “He tells the truth because he is one of us.”

As a writer of psychological crime fiction, Cally Taylor is interested in the impact of crime on its victims and the motivation of its perpetrators. Her pick was Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent, a complex ‘whydunit’, which maps the making of a sociopath.

For his desert island choice, Marcus focussed on the reporting aspect of the criminal justice process. He recommended Evidence of Blood by Thomas H Cook, an evocative thriller set in America’s Deep South, about a real-crime writer’s search for the truth behind a forty year old murder.

Marcus continued the reporting theme with his ‘wild card’, which was The Run of his Life: The People v. O J Simpson by Jeffery Toobin. With her ‘wild card’, Cally revealed her love of dystopian novels with The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist, while Leanne talked about loneliness and the importance of kindness with her pick, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Sue’s ‘wild card’, which highlighted another aspect of kindness, was Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton. Women in public roles, she felt, are more open to criticism than men and we should give them more support.

Most of the books discussed are either on the shelves of Redland Library or you can order them through the Libraries West website www.librarieswest.org.uk

Two books, Unravelling Oliver and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine are also available as audio books.

 

Summary of Book Choices

  • Sue Mountstevens: (1) Philosophical Investigations by Philip Kerr (2) Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton
  • Ch.Insp. Leanne Pook: (1) Blue: A Memoir – Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces by John Sutherland (2) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • Marcus Keppel-Palmer: (1) Evidence of Blood by Thomas H Cook (2) The Run of his Life: The People v. O J Simpson by Jeffery Toobin
  • Cally Taylor: (1) Unravelling Oliver by Liz Nugent (2) The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist