The month of May has come, and libraries are blossoming with events and activities. We are celebrating Local History Month and Mental Health Awareness month – that’s a double May bonanza – with author visits and writing workshops.
This month, our Library team have surpassed themselves with books to thrill and chill. Memoirs of 70s suburbia and surviving a brutal care system. After that you’ll need to cheer yourself with a peculiarly British sixties psychedelia and fox spotting!
Top Fiction: Winchelsea by Alex Preston
Chosen by Ethelred
For Local and Community History Month we have Winchelsea… a gripping, gory, historical yarn all set in and around Winchelsea, Rye and the Marshes!
The year is 1742. Goody Brown, saved from drowning and adopted when just a babe, has grown up happily in the smuggling town of Winchelsea. Then, when Goody turns sixteen, her father is murdered in the night by men he thought were friends. To find justice in a lawless land, Goody must enter the cut-throat world of her father’s killers.
This is a complex tale of smugglers, thieves and vagabonds, with a great protagonist in Goody Brown – who is not a Gentlewoman. This is an exciting and well researched historical novel all set in our local area.
Alex Preston is visiting Rye Library to talk about his novel, tickets are free, but must be booked.
Top Non-Fiction: Bageye at the Wheel by Colin Grant
Chosen by Joanna
This is the story of a father seen through the eyes of his ten-year-old son. It’s a wry and gentle comedy about unfulfilling day jobs and late-night poker games, of illegal mini-cabs and small-scale drug-dealing.
And it is also about a family struggling to belong in post-Windrush Britain and growing up in a vanished world of 1970s suburbia.
Anybody growing up in a working class neighbourhood in the 70’s will enjoy this book and relate to much of it, no matter where they come from. It is told with such humour and affection that I couldn’t put the book down. Like the best memoirs, the book reads like a novel – a lively and dramatic one, with a full cast of vibrant local characters and long-suffering family members.
Colin Grant is visiting Hastings Library to talk about his books, tickets are free, but must be booked.
Chosen by Stanley
At the age of seventeen, after a childhood in care homes, Norman Greenwood was given his birth certificate. He learned that his real name was Lemn Sissay. He was British and Ethiopian. And he learned that his mother had been pleading for his safe return to her since his birth.
Here, Sissay recounts his life story. It is a story of neglect and determination. Misfortune and hope. Cruelty and triumph. Some of this is heart breaking and difficult to read, but it clearly shows how a child can be lost in the care system. Read it and weep.
Top Comic: Steed & Mrs. Peel by Ian Edginton and Marco Cosentino
Chosen by Emma
Steed and Mrs. Peel are the original Avengers; they are instrumental in forming the view of smart, stylish, psychedelic spy heroes and the comic sparring and flirting between the main characters and the ambiguous nature to their relationship would be the model for years to come. You can see it in everything from Moonlighting, to The X-Files.
They live on in these lovingly crafted delightfully silly spy capers: adventure; fun; fashion; witty banter; brollies, bowlers; catsuits; a very ominous ice cream van; a deadly cleaning lady and a delightful old devil.
Top Children’s Fiction: The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant
Chosen by Claire
The Hatmakers is an inventive and funny story with a cast of unforgettable characters who adults and children alike will love. Merchant has a knack for giving magical elements charming, witty names with historical and literary allusions in the same vein as the Harry Potter universe. An ideal new fantasy world for olders readers to immerse themselves in.
Shortlisted for the East Sussex Children’s Book Award #ESCBA. The winner is up to you.
What book do you want to win the 2022 East Sussex Children’s Book Award? You can only vote once – so think carefully! Voting closes on 20th May 2022. Vote Now!
Top children’s non-fiction: British Mammals by Clare Collinson
Chosen by Isaac
Wherever you live in Britain, you will be amazed at how much mammal life there is right on your doorstep. Even in the busiest cities, there are small rodents, such as this squirrel, and larger predators, such as foxes. In this book find out all about the mammals that live in British cities, the countryside and in our waterways. Discover the best ways to spot them and learn about the classification of mammals.
Have you read any of the books featured this month? If so, we’d love to hear what you thought! Leave your reviews in the comments below. Missed April’s book reviews? Catch up on them here.
You can find out more about libraries in East Sussex by visiting the East Sussex County Council website.