Title: I Work at a Public Library

Author: Gina Sheridan

Pages: 160 Pages

Publisher: Adams Media

The Blurb

Straight from the library–the strange and bizarre, ready to be checked out!

From a patron’s missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan’s circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, “What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?” Whether she’s helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn’t have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan’s bizarre tales prove that she’s truly seen it all.

Stacked high with hundreds of strange-but-true stories, I Work at a Public Library celebrates librarians and the unforgettable patrons that roam the stacks every day.

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

I love books like I Work at a Public Library. They put me in mind of Jen Campbell’s two part book series Weird Things People Say in Bookshops. And since I work in a library – a school library that is – I am well versed in hearing the funny conversations around me and being asked random questions. 

The quirkiness of this book is very endearing. The chapters are broken down to numbers within the Dewey-Decimal system and the stories are catalogued alphabetically. 

As you read along – an inevitably snort with laughter – I swear it will make you want to work in a library.

Such a great book.

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan is available now.

Yesterday, I had the magical experience of going to what may be the most amazing bookshop I have ever been to. I don’t say that lightly. I am 37 and I have been to a lot of bookshops in my time but never have I been in one with so much wow factor.

I know you are wondering what is this magical shop of which I speak. Well let me tell you. 

Kingsley and Co.

Kingsley and Co is a bookshop that is specifically for young people. The books that they sell are pre-loved and they sell them for a meagre fee per book. It is a registered charity and has an ethos to try and raise a love of books in Bootle, an area of Liverpool that is in the lowest 6% of the UK for literacy levels.

So far, so nice. Right?

These features, whilst they are always things that I appreciate (I work in a school and have spent the past 12 years trying to promote a love of reading among young adults) they were not the main reasons why I fell in love with this bookshop. 

The reason I am so in awe of Kingsley and Co is that it exemplifies exactly what a bookshop should be. When you enter the shop you are entering a world of adventure. The staff are lovely, engaging and happy to share the secrets of the store – of which there are many – and all of this is done on a voluntary basis. The staff genuinely are book wizards. 

What came across more than anything is that the staff really loved books and reading. They were not doing this job because it is a way to spend their day. They seemed to honestly care about improving literacy but more than that they want to making people fall in love with stories. Going to Kingsley and Co felt like going on an adventure.

For adults, besides giving your child the gift of reading – a gift that the power of cannot be underestimated – there is an in-store cafe so you can have a few moments to yourself whilst knowing that your child is in the safe arms of children’s authors. Furthermore, besides the pre-loved books Kingsley and Co sell lots of things that will make ideal gifts for loved ones. It really is a treasure trove.

I beg you, if you have children who love books then please take them to visit Kingsley and Co. They will not be disappointed. Please remember that it is a charity and please buy books. You are supporting charity and encouraging children to drop the tablets and mobiles and encouraging them to travel the world whilst staying in the one place. 

One final thing before I stop with my bookshop fangirl rant, Kingsley and Co rely on the kind donations of patrons for good quality children’s books. If you have any please donate them to this wonderful charity. 

And I am done. Kingsley and Co – Bookshop and Literacy Project I will be back for a visit and book binge soon!

Please follow Kingsley and Co. on these various social media platforms.

Twitter: @kingsleyand co_

Facebook: @kingsleyandcoYkids

Instagram: @kingsleyand co_

Website: www.kingsleyandco.org

Registered charity no. 1141530

Title: A Kind of Spark

Author: Elle McNicoll

Pages: 192 Pages

Publisher: Knights of Media

The Blurb

A KIND OF SPARK tells the story of 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her Scottish hometown. Addie knows there’s more to the story of these ‘witches’, just like there is more to hers. Can Addie challenge how the people in her town see her, and her autism, and make her voice heard? A story about friendship, courage and self-belief, perfect for fans of The Goldfish Boy.

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

A Kind of Spark is a lovely story about difference and about acceptance. It tells the story of Addie. Addie is autistic and finds life a bit difficult sometimes. Things that neurotypical people take for granted Addie struggles with on daily basis. 

When she and her classmates start to learn about the persecution of women considered to be witches she sets about to change people’s opinions and wants to memorialise them. 

Elle McNicoll has done a fabulous job in which she uses the witch trials as an allegory for the misunderstanding that surrounds autism. As we are seeing the story from Addie’s perspective we feel her sense of unfairness and especially feel her frustration at being on the outside of a world that solely caters for neurotypical people.

I can honestly say that A Kind of Spark broke me at several points in this novel. I laughed, I cried and I desperately wanted to make the world right for Addie. I really think this book is a must read for every school teacher and should be given to all school children to read. It is the kind of book that makes you want to be a kinder person. 

A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll is available now.

For more information regarding Elle McNicoll (@BooksandChokers) please visit her Twitter page

For more information regarding Knights of Media (@_KnightsOf) please visit www.kinghtsof.media.

Title: An Eye for an Eye 

Author: Malorie Blackman

Pages: 99 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

In a world where the two classes are divided by colour and never treated as equals, Sephy – a Cross and daughter of a top politician – is six months pregnant. The child’s father, Callum, is a Nought, but worse, he is dead and Callum’s brother is out for revenge. Can two wrongs make a right?

(GOODREADS BLURB)

The Review

An Eye for an Eye is the short story follow up to Noughts and Crosses that prepares us somewhat for the full length sequel Knifes Edge. 

In this short we see Jude, Callum’s brother, determined to act out his vengeful justice on Sephy. He blames her and all other Crosses for his brother’s death. What he isn’t banking on is Sephy feeling the exact same way.

Even though this is only a short story we see so much development in the character of Sephy. She has been forced to grow up and she now knows that life isn’t always fixable especially if you are a nought. 

We are also given a close up look at Jude who was relegated to a secondary character in Noughts and Crosses even though it was usually his actions that incited the most drama.

Blackman has been very clever in setting up Knifes Edge. The hope from Noughts and Crosses has been firmly stripped away and we are seeing a much darker and sinister story lingering. 

An Eye for an Eye by Malorie Black man is available now.

For more information regarding Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman) please visit www.malorieblackman.co.uk.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Failosophy – A Handbook for When Things Go Wrong

Author: Elizabeth Day

Pages: 112 Pages

Publisher: 4th Estate

The Blurb

‘Most failures can teach us something meaningful about ourselves if we choose to listen’

In Failosophy Elizabeth Day brings together all the lessons she has learned, from conversations with the guests on her award-winning How to Fail podcast, from stories shared with her by readers and listeners, and from her own life, and distils them into seven principles of failure. Practical, reassuring and inspirational, these principles offer a guide through life’s rough patches.

From failed exams to romantic break-ups, from career setbacks to confidence crises, from navigating anxiety to surviving loss, Failosophy recognises, and celebrates, the fact that failure connects us all. It is what makes us human.

With insights from Malcolm Gladwell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Lemn Sissay, Frankie Bridge, Nigel Slater, Emeli Sande, Alain de Botton, Mabel, Fearne Cotton, Meera Syal, Dame Kelly Holmes, Andrew Scott and many, many more, Failosophy is the essential handbook for turning failure into success.

The Review

I really like Elizabeth Day. I enjoy her writing – both fiction and non-fiction and I enjoy listening to her podcast. When I was given the opportunity to read How to Fail I jumped at the chance. The same goes for Failosophy. When you get so much from a writer you gorge yourself on all of their works and fortunately for me I have yet to be disappointed. 

Failosophy is an extension of both he book and the podcast How to Fail. Whereas the book How to Fail was about Elizabeth Day’s journey and the podcast invites us to listen to a plethora or diverse and interesting people and their journey what you get from Failosophy is guidance for your own journey. I’ve said journey far too much and now I feel like I am in a montage at the beginning of The X Factor.

This pocket-sized guide is great to dip in and out of and helps to remind you that not all failures are failures. It really is a joyful things to read 

Failosophy – A Handbook for When Things Go Wrong by Elizabeth Day is available now.

For more information regarding Elizabeth Day (@elizabday) please visit www.elizabethdayonline.co.uk.

For more information regarding 4th Estate (@4thEstateBooks) please visit www.4thestate.co.uk.