Top Staff Picks – December 2021
Wolf paints both a fascinating story and, crucially, an important way of understanding how we arrived at our ideas of normalcy and deviancy - ideas which are with us to this day. Most powerfully, she recounts how a dying Symonds helped write the book on 'sexual inversion' that created our modern understanding of homosexuality. She convinces that his secret memoir, mined here fully for the first time, stands as the first gay rights manifesto in the west - proving that the literature of love will ultimately triumph over censorship.
Languages of Truth by Salman Rushdie
"Salman Rushdie is celebrated as a storyteller of the highest order, illuminating deep truths about our society and culture through his gorgeous, often searing, prose. Here he brings together insightful and inspiring essays, criticism, and speeches that focus on his relationship with the written word, and solidify his place as one of the most original thinkers of our time. Gathering pieces written between 2003 and 2020, Languages of Truth chronicles Rushdie's own intellectual engagement with a period of momentous cultural shifts. Immersing the reader in a wide variety of subjects, he delves into the nature of storytelling as a deeply human need, and what emerges is, in myriad ways, a love letter to literature itself. Rushdie explores what the work of authors from Shakespeare and Cervantes to Samuel Beckett, Eudora Welty, and Toni Morrison mean to him, often by telling vivid, sometimes humorous stories of his own personal encounters with them, whether on the page or in person. He delves deeper than ever before into the nature of truth, revels in the vibrant malleability of language, and the creative lines that can join art and life, and he looks anew at migration, multiculturalism and censorship. The ideas, true stories, and arguments presented here are at once revelatory, funny, and eye-opening, enlivened on every page by Rushdie's signature wit and dazzling voice, making this volume a genuine pleasure to read."--Publisher.
Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE. In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child – not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens the gods, she is banished to the island of Aiaia where she hones her occult craft, casting spells, gathering strange herbs and taming wild beasts. Yet a woman who stands alone will never be left in peace for long – and among her island's guests is an unexpected visitor: the mortal Odysseus, for whom Circe will risk everything. So Circe sets forth her tale, a vivid, mesmerizing epic of family rivalry, love and loss – the defiant, inextinguishable song of woman burning hot and bright through the darkness of a man's world.
A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ni Ghriofa
In the 1700s, an Irish noblewoman, on discovering her husband has been murdered, drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary poem. In the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy. On encountering the poem, she becomes obsessed with its parallels with her own life, and sets out to track down the rest of the story. A devastating and timeless tale about one woman freeing her voice by reaching into the past and finding another's.
Young Adult Fiction Picks
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
"From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic. Kell is one of the last Travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes--as such, he can choose where he lands. There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there's Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne--a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see--a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive--and that is proving trickier than they hoped. "-- Provided by publisher.
A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos
Long ago, following a cataclysm called 'The Rupture', the world was shattered into floating celestial islands, known now as Arks. Ophelia lives on Anima, an Ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, Ophelia hides two powers: the ability to read the past of objects and their human owners, and the ability to travel through mirrors. When she is promised in marriage to Thorn, the young girl must leave her family and follow her fiancé to Citaceleste, the floating capital of a distant Ark. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity?
Children’s Fiction Picks
As head of a specially trained task force, her role is to protect the Amazon from the farmers, loggers and miners who are illegally destroying the precious rainforest. It's a dangerous role and when she upsets some of these land-grabbers, they decide to teach her a lesson by kidnapping her son, Carlos. Taken deep into the Amazon, Carlos manages to escape his captors only to find himself trapped by the fast-moving fires. Will he be able to outrun the flames as the world around him burns to the ground? The terrifying reality of illegal deforestation and the destruction of the rainforest is revealed in this powerful and gripping Amazonian adventure from bestselling author Steve Cole.
Age rating: 8+
The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah
Twin sisters Hassana and Husseina are torn apart after a brutal raid on their village. This tragedy will set them on a voyage to unfamiliar cities and cultures where they will forge new families, ward off dangers and begin to truly know themselves. As the twins pursue separate paths in Brazil and the Gold Coast of West Africa, they remain connected through their shared dreams. But will they ever manage to find each other again?
Age rating: 12+
Children's Young Fiction Pick
Secret of the Water Dragon by Tracey West
When Drake discovers that his friend and fellow Dragon Master, Bo, is trying to steal the Dragon Stone, he wonders if the dark wizard might be behind it, and he must try to find a way to protect the stone while keeping Bo's family out of danger.
Age rating: 6-8
Picture Book Pick
We breathe deep and expand like the galaxy, We breathe out many thousands of stars, And if ever we start to feel panicky, this reminds us of just who we are. The perfect soothing read for quiet time, Happy gently encourages young readers to explore their emotions and the beautiful world around them, with stunning illustrations and thought-provoking rhymes on every page. This poetic journey to a place of happiness and calm will inspire and empower your child to enjoy the practice of mindfulness.
Age rating: 4-8