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Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Books on the Big Screen

In Book Review, Miscellaneous on December 11, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I can’t wait to see An Unexpected Journey in cinemas on 14 December. Most of all I am intrigued to discover if it can recreate Tolkien’s magic. Here in libraries we hope that you will discover the books behind some of the films that are showing in cinemas now. These books are available to borrow or reserve for free now.

hobbitThe Hobbit

The classic bestseller behind this year’s biggest movie, this film tie-in edition features the complete story of Bilbo Baggins’ adventures in Middle-earth, with a striking cover image from Peter Jackson’s THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and drawings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. The prelude to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies since its publication in 1937, establishing itself as one of the most beloved and influential books of the twentieth century.

 

parades endParade’s End Ford Madox Ford

The Great War changes everything. In this epic tale, spanning over a decade, war turns the world of privileged, English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens upside down. It forces him to question everything he holds dear – social order, morality, marriage and loyalty. And it rocks the very foundations of English society. This is a powerful story about love, betrayal and disillusionment in a time of horror and confusion by one of Britain’s finest novelists. Ford Madox Ford’s monumental novel comes to our screens  as a major BBC adaptation, with a screenplay by the legendary playwright Tom Stoppard and a stellar cast. This edition of the novel includes all four parts, originally published separately between 1924 and 1928.

 

silverThe Silver Linings Playbook

Pat Peoples has a theory. The theory is this: his life is actually a movie produced by God. And Pat’s God-given mission in life is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure the movie is a romcom, complete with happy ending – which, for Pat, means the return of his estranged wife Nikki, from whom he’s currently having some ‘apart time.’ It might not come as any surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental-health facility. When Pat leaves hospital and goes to live with his parents, however, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends now have families; his beloved football team keep losing; his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy. And he’s being haunted by Kenny G. There is a silver lining, however, in the form of tragically widowed, physically fit, and clinically depressed Tiffany, who offers to act as a go-between for Pat and his wife. If only Pat will give up watching football, agree to perform in this year’s Dance Away Depression competition, and promise not to tell anyone about their ‘contract’. Easy, really . .

 

great exGreat Expectations

Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations – now a major new film from director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harry Potter) – charts the course of orphan Pip Pirrip’s life as it is transformed by a vast, mysterious inheritance. This Penguin Classics edition is edited with notes by Charlotte Mitchell, and an introduction by David Trotter. Adapted from Dickens’s novel by bestselling author David Nicholls (One Day), Great Expectations stars Ralph Fiennes (The Reader), Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) and Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) and also features Robbie Coltrane, David Walliams and Sally Hawkins. A terrifying encounter with the escaped convict Abel Magwitch in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decrepit Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella at Satis House; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor – these form a series of events that change the orphaned Pip’s life forever, and he eagerly abandons his humble station as an apprentice to blacksmith Joe Gargery, beginning a new life as a gentleman. Charles Dickens’s haunting late novel depicts Pip’s education and development through adversity as he discovers the true nature of his identity, and his ‘great expectations’.

 

lifeLife of Pi

One boy, one boat, one tiger . . . After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan – and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.

Some of our favourite books of 2012

In Book Review, Miscellaneous on November 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

2012 was a great year for books. Here are some of our favourites:

We love this bewitching tale of heart break and hope. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on making a fresh start in the raw Alaskan wilderness. In a moment of tenderness, the pair build a snowman – or rather a snow girl – together. The next morning, all trace of her has disappeared. But Jack can’t shake the notion that he glimpsed a small figure running in the trees in the dawn light.

 

 

A wonderful, warm novel from a new American voice. Most young men at Westish College know that their 4 years on the baseball diamond are all they have left. Only Henry Skrimshander seems to have a chance of keeping his dream alive. That is, until a routine throw goes astray. 5 lives brought together at Westish are forever changed by Henry’s single error.

 

 

Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012 – this is a breathtakingly original rendering of the Trojan War – a devastating love story and a tale of gods and kings, immortal fame and the human heart.

 

 

 

The sort of book that you want to spend the whole day reading. D-Day, 6 June 1944, the turning point of the Second World War, was a victory of arms. But it was also a triumph for a different kind of operation: one of deceit, aimed at convincing the Nazis that Calais and Norway, not Normandy, were the targets of the 150,000-strong invasion force.

 

 

 

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012. When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life.

 

 

This has been a bestseller across Sweden and the rest of Europe and now readers in the UK can find out why. It starts on the 100th birthday of Allan Karlsson: a special party is planned in his old people’s home, but Allan decides he’s not going to be there. He climbs out of the window in his slippers and makes his getaway. It’s the start of a picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, we also learn more about Allan’s rather remarkable life. Definitely one to watch.

 

 

Tamia Challey is horrified when her husband, Scott, is accused of something terrible – but when she discovers who his accuser is, everything goes into freefall. Backed into a corner and unsure what to think, Tamia is forced to choose whom she instinctively believes.

 

 

 

Summer, 1584. The Protestant Prince William of Orange has been assassinated by a fanatical Catholic, and there are whispers that Queen Elizabeth will be next. Fear haunts the streets of London, and plague is driving citizens away. Giordano Bruno, philosopher and spy, chooses to remain, and finds that someone is following him.

 

 

 

Inspired by his father’s lifelong devotion to Newcastle United, Duncan Hamilton charts the progress of postwar British football to the present day. But at the heart of the book is his exploration of the bond between father and son through the Beautiful Game and how football became the only connection between two people who were totally different from one another.

 

 

Be sure to borrow these from Brent Libraries.

Our guide to James Bond 007

In Book Review on November 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

In celebration of Bond’s 50 years on screen, and the release of the 23rd movie, Skyfall, we bring you our definitive guide to Bond books. He has featured in over 40 novels, including the originals by Fleming, later John Gardner and Raymond Benson, and more recently Sebastian Faulks and Jeffrey Deaver. In 2013 William Boyd will be taking Bond with a new novel set to tie in with the 60th anniversary of the secret agent’s creation.

Classic Bond books Brent Libraries recommend are:

Casino Royale

At the casino in Deauville Bond’s game is baccarat, for stakes that run into millions of francs. But away from the discreet salons, it’s 007 versus one of Russia’s most powerful and ruthless agents.

 

 

 

The club where James Bond is asked to settle the dispute over ungentlemanly behaviour is embarrassed. The accused is the unimpeachable Sir Hugo Drax, head of the multi-million-pound Moonraker missile programme on which Britain’s future depends.

 

 

 

Meet Tiffany Case, a cold, gorgeous, devil-may-care blonde. She stands between James Bond and the leaders of a diamond-smuggling ring that stretches from Africa via London to the States. Bond uses her to infiltrate this gang, but once in America the hunter becomes the hunted. Bond is in real danger until help comes from an unlikely quarter.

 

 

 

Bond Retold

Fresh from Afghanistan, James Bond has been recruited to a new agency. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of Five, Six and the MoD, its very existence deniable. Its aim: to protect the Realm, by any means necessary.

 

 

 

Picking up from where Fleming left off in 1966 with ‘The Living Daylights’ and ‘Octopussy’, Faulks has written a continuation of the ‘James Bond’ legacy. ‘Devil May care’ is set during the Cold War and features all the glamour , thrills and excitement that one would expect from any adventure involving Bond.

 

 

 

Reserve these books for free from any Brent Library

Between the sheets

In Book Review, Miscellaneous on October 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm

 Between The Sheets is  a month-long celebration of the erotic treasures that libraries hold within their collections. The collection launches on November 16 in Brent Libraries. Here is a sneak preview of some of our lascivious recommendations. All the books can be reserved for free.

Fifty Shades of Grey – totally liberating and addictive this novel will possess you and stay with you forever.

 

 

Librarian Gwendolynne Price finds love notes the suggestion box at work. She finds them both shocking and liberating.

 

 

 

Student by day, hooker by night Sarah’s birthday plans are to taste her first drink and lose her virginity. When her boyfriend lets her doen she goes ahead with the drink, but is mistaken for a call girl ….

 

 

 

Strings free, erotic and witty. Brief encounters in the bar, seductions in the pool or a menage in the elevator – this haven for the hedonistic promises as much heat, steam, lust and excitement as those who pass through it can handle.

 

 

 

Are you suffering from Fifty Shades withdrawal? Then meet Travis….

 

 

 

 

The story of two voices – his and hers. Two strangers meet on a phone chat line and find it impossible to hang up. Classic erotic reading.

 

 

 

This novel of sex, secrecy, and escape explores the truth about love and sex. Following the sexual awakening of its female protagonist who gradually becomes embroiled in a world of fantasy and recklesness, it will make readers question whether it is ever entirely possible to know another person.

 

For more novels like this check out Between the Sheets, in libraries from November 16

Back to school reading

In Book Review on September 26, 2012 at 10:20 am

Starting to read

With many schools now teaching phonics, there has been a great demand for books based on phonics for parents and children to share. Our libraries stock the easy readers that complement the reading that your child does in school really well. So if it is Biff, Chip and Kipper books that you are after pop along to us after school. All reservations are free.

These series of books can also support your child’s reading.

Finding Out

Many children are starting to learn new subjects. Here are a few recent information books that might prove useful:

JK Rowling and other hot new books

In Book Review on September 26, 2012 at 9:20 am

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

This years most anticipated fiction read is out this month. When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. The empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has ever seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

 

My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding

Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. Her father a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers. Here, she describes how she learned some of life’s toughest lessons through the animals.

Mystery of Mercy Close by Marion Keyes

Meet Helen, youngest of the Walsh sisters, black sheep of the family and a law unto herself. She was sacked from every job she ever had before she found her true calling as a private investigator. But times are tough for PIs and Helen’s had no choice but to take on the case of missing boyband has-been Wayne Diffney.

Battle castles: 500 years of knights and siege warfare by Dan Snow

Battle Castles’ brings to life a cavalcade of medieval fortifications: Dover Castle, Edward I’s Conwy, Chateau Gaillard, Gibralfaro, Malbork, headquarters of the Teutonic Knights in Poland, and, in Syria, Krak des Chevaliers, a feat of Crusader engineering.

 

 

The woman who dived into the heart of the world by Sabina Berman

In the wake of her sister’s death, Isabelle moves from her home in California to her birthplace in Mexico to take over the running of the family tuna company. There, she discovers a wild child with no name, who turns out to be the autistic niece she never knew she had. Isabelle names the girl Karen. So begins a miraculous journey for Karen.

 

 

The light behind the window by Lucinda Riley

Emilie de la Martinieres has always fought against her aristocratic background, but after the death of her mother, she finds herself sole inheritor of her grand childhood home in the south of France. As she rediscovers her family’s story, Emilie realizes that the chateau may hold more secrets than just fond childhood memories.

 

 

Don’t buy them, borrow them! All reservations are free.

The Man Booker Prize Shortlist

In Book Review on September 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm

 

The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers. All these books can be borrowed for free from Brent Libraries. If they are not in stock – reserve them for free

The sequel to ‘Wolf Hall’, ‘Bring up the Bodies’ explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn.

 

 

 

 The Garden of Evening Mists is the eagerly awaited second novel from the author of The Gift of Rain

 

 

 

 

 

Stretching across three decades, ‘Narcopolis’ portrays a city in collision with itself. With a cast of pimps, pushers, poets, gangsters and eunuchs, it is a journey into a sprawling underworld written in electric and utterly original prose.

 

 

  Swimming Home’ is a subversive page-turner, a merciless gaze at the insidiuos harm that depression can have on apparently stable, well-turned-out people. Set in a summer villa, the story is tautly structured, taking place over a week in which a group of beautiful, flawed tourists in the French Riviera come loose at the seams.

 

 

  The Lighthouse begins on a North Sea ferry, on whose blustery outer deck stands Futh, a middle aged, recently separated man heading to Germany for a restorative walking holiday. As he travels, he contemplates his childhood; a complicated friendship with the son of a lonely neighbour; his parents’ broken marriage and his own. But the story he keeps coming back to, the person and event affecting all others, is his mother and her abandonment of him as a boy, which left him with a void to fill, a substitute to find.

 

 Her father raises his umbrella and, thrusting her in front of him, they cut through the gaggle. Mister Death, the conductor says, tipping his hat, and they squeeze up the stairs and make their way to the front seat.

Recommended Olympic Reads

In Book Review, Miscellaneous on July 30, 2012 at 8:56 am

Read about the stories behind the inspirational Olympians and games gone by.  We’ve included some guides to those lucky enough to have Olympic tickets as well. All these books can be reserved for free if they are not available on the shelves.

 

In pursuit of glory: The autobiography by Bradley Wiggins

The controversial memoir from Britian’s most successful cyclist, published in the aftermath of the Olympic games where he is challenging for three gold medals.

Tom Daley: My Story

Tom Daley had hearts in mouths when he dived at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where he won two gold medals. In this title, Tom offers unprecedented access to the pressures, challenges and fascinating experiences of a world-class Olympian.

London 2012 e.book

This guide informs readers about London’s thriving nightlife as well as the classic tourist destinations. It includes hotel and restaurant recommendations for all budgets, practical travel advice and suggested itineraries.

The Dirtiest Race in History

The men’s 100m final at the 1988 Olympics has been described as the dirtiest race ever – but also the greatest. Aside from Ben Johnson’s blistering time, the race is infamous for its athletes’ positive drug tests. This is the story of that race, the rivalry between Johnson and Lewis, and the repercussions still felt in the sport.

Gold Rush: What Makes an Olympic Champion

Michael Johnson is a living icon of the Olympic Games – as both an athlete and now as a BBC broadcaster. This book is his analysis of the fascinating combination of psychological and personal qualities, as well as internal and external factors, that go to create an Olympic champion.
The Fastest Men on Earth: The stories of the men’s 100 metre champions

This title presents the story behind the men’s Olympic 100 metres champions, the fastest men on Earth. It discusses not only the race itself, but also the preliminary rounds, dramas and controversies.

Great Olympic Moments: by  Steve Redgrave

Complete with specially selected photographs, Sir Steve Redgrave recounts his favourite Olympic stories and reveals what it is that makes these moments truly great. All the stars of past and present are here, including Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Nadia Comenech, Mark Spitz, Jesse Owens, Fanny Blankers-Koen, Bob Beamon, Ed Moses, and Flojo.

London Olympics 2012

Fantastic information book for young children.

This series offers up-to-date and comprehensive information specific to the Olympic games in 2012. It looks at new technologies that are making a huge impact in the world of sport and explores the history, present day, and future of the Olympics, incorporating Paralympic and Winter Olympic information.

 

Richard and Judy’s Summer 2012 Book Club

In Book Review, Miscellaneous, Reading Groups on July 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm

 

R&J logo & book summer 2012

Richard and Judy have launched this year’s Summer Book Club with ten irresistible titles to complete every reader’s summer book list. They hope they have created the perfect summer read compilation with a mix of debut and more established authors so have a look and see what you think:


The Man Booker Prize 2012 Longlist

In Book Review, Miscellaneous on July 27, 2012 at 8:15 pm

The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers. Make sure that you borrow these books from us. If any of these books are out on loan you can reserve them for free.

This year’s nominees are:

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Bring Up the Bodies Book Cover

The sequel to ‘Wolf Hall’, ‘Bring up the Bodies’ explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn.

Communion Town by Sam Thompson

Communion town Book Cover

Every city is made of stories: stories that intersect and diverge, stories of the commonplace and the strange, of love and crime, of ghosts and monsters. In this city an asylum seeker struggles to begin a new life, while a folk musician pays with a broken heart for a song and a butcher learns the secrets of the slaughterhouse.

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil

Narcopolis Book Cover

Set in old Bombay and stretching across three decades, ‘Narcopolis’ portrays a city in collision with itself. With a cast of pimps, pushers, poets, gangsters and eunuchs, it is a journey into a sprawling underworld written in electric and utterly original prose.

 Philida by André Brink

Philida Book Cover

Philida is the mother of four children by Francois Brink, the son of her master. The year is 1832 and the Cape is rife with rumours about the liberation of the slaves. Philida decides to risk her whole life by lodging a complaint against Francois, who has reneged on his promise to set her free

Skios by Michael Frayn

Skios: a novel Book Cover

On the Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation’s annual lecture is to be given by the young and charming Dr Norman Wilfred, an authority on science. The Foundation’s guests are soon eating out of his hand. Meanwhile, in a remote villa at the other end of the island is a balding old gent called Dr Norman Wilfred

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy

Swimming home Book Cover

Swimming Home’ is a subversive page-turner, a merciless gaze at the insidiuos harm that depression can have on apparently stable, well-turned-out people. Set in a summer villa, the story is tautly structured, taking place over a week in which a group of beautiful, flawed tourists in the French Riviera come loose at the seams

 The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman

Egon Loeser’s carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theatres of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve the mystery of whether it was really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, Adriano Lavicini.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry Book Cover

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life

The Yips  by Nicola Barker

Yips Book Cover

2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods’ reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defence League does not exist yet. Storm-clouds of a different kind are gathering above the bar of Luton’s less than exclusive Thistle Hotel

Umbrella by Will Self

Umbrella Book Cover

A brother is as easily forgotten as an umbrella. James Joyce, Ulysses Recently having abandoned his RD Laing-influenced experiment in running a therapeutic community – the so-called Concept House in Willesden – maverick psychiatrist Zack Busner arrives at Friern Hospital, a vast Victorian mental asylum in North London, under a professional and a marital cloud.