October has to be the most packed month in the Library calendar, how do you select books that celebrate Libraries Week, Get Online and Black History Month?
To celebrate Black History Month we have Storytellers telling Stories from the islands and the Windrush Generation and a very special poetry event. As well as books, eBooks, eComics and eAudio collections that recognise the contribution and achievements of Black Britons throughout our history. This Get Online Week we encourage you to Try One Thing – maybe an eAudio book, maybe research your family history – and we have library volunteers ready to give you ongoing support. For Libraries Week we have writing for wellbeing workshops, author-led storytelling sessions, creative writing courses, poetry and pantomime (oh yes we do!)
October is also Halloween Month, the nights draw in and there’s a chill in the air. It is the perfect time to read some spooky stories…
Top Fiction Beloved by Toni Morrison
chosen by Paul
It feels diminishing to label Toni Morrison’s classic as a ghost story, but it this is a book filled with ghosts, magic and terrifying horror!
The time is the early 1870s and Sethe is haunted by the violent spectre of her dead child, the daughter who died nameless and whose tombstone is etched with a single word, ‘Beloved’. Morrison spent a lot of time researching the historical record of slavery and thinking about its effects and meaning. Beloved is beautiful, the writing is lovely and lyrical, often about some of the most disturbing things imaginable.
Top nonfiction Burning the books: a history of knowledge under attack by Richard Ovenden
chosen by Walter
It’s Banned Books Week and it is worth remembering that Libraries increasingly face challenges to stock and events from anti-book activists.
Opening with the notorious bonfires of ‘un-German’ and Jewish literature in 1933 that offered such a clear signal of Nazi intentions, Bodleian Libraries Director Richard Ovenden takes us on a 3000-year journey through the destruction of knowledge and the heroes – librarians! – who fight against all the odds to preserve it.
This a timely reminder of the importance of truth, history and ideas at the heart of your local library.
Top Audio Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi
chosen by Julie
‘I would be lying if I said my mother’s misery has never given me pleasure.’
This is a tale of obsession and betrayal. This is a poisoned love story. But not between lovers – between mother and daughter. Tara and Antara, a woman and her angry shadow. But which one is which?
An unreliable, slightly woozy and narcotic narrative for fans of psychological horror in the vein of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? or Topor’s The Tenant. The novel is fascinating, paranoid and hypnotic.
Top comic Upgrade Soul by Ezra Claytan Daniels
chosen by Julia
Upgrade Soul follows the story of Molly and Hank, an elderly couple, contemplating their mortality. They agree to be the first human subjects for an ethically and legally dubious new experiment to provide them with a new life span. Instead, the process goes awry, and they are confronted with severely disfigured yet intellectually and physically superior duplicates of themselves.
This wonderful mishmash of sci-fi and old tech is a fresh spin on Frankenstein and Flowers for Algernon.
ComicsPlus is a huge collection of comics and graphic novels available to download to a tablet or smartphone, or stream on a computer. Download the app from your favoured app store and log in with your library card number and PIN.
Top Junior NonFiction Bedtime Stories: Beautiful Black Tales from the Past – Wendy Shearer et al
chosen by Yvonne
A beautiful, celebratory and joyful book of bedtime stories. Written and illustrated by Black creators, including the wonderful Wendy Shearer – coming to a library near you!
Bedtime Stories showcases a curated collection of tales from Black history, based on important figures and events from around the world. Each story is the ideal length to read at bedtime as well as any moment when young readers are looking for an inspirational read!
Each tale has been carefully curated and showcases history’s untold stories in a highly accessible way. The illustrations are rich and inviting and each story glimmers with tales of inspiration and empowerment.
Top Junior fiction Elmer the Elephant by David McKee
chosen by Nidhi
It’s okay to be different!
First published in 1968, Elmer remains one of the most iconic and widely read children’s book series of all time. Elmer, the patchwork elephant’s story explicitly, yet simplistically weaves themes of identity, diversity and tolerance into its narrative. It offers its readers, both adults and children, an opportunity to think about and start a dialogue around these topics.