Resources

07 Feb 2017

CWA 2017 Longlist - Brian McGilloway

Brian McGilloway is the bestselling author of eight crime novels, five featuring Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin and three in the DS Lucy Black series. In addition to being shortlisted for a CWA Dagger and the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year, he is a past recipient of the Ulster University McCrea Literary Award and, in 2014, won the BBC Tony Doyle Award for his screenplay, Little Emperors. Brian’s ninth novel, Bad Blood, again featuring DS Lucy Black, will be released in May...

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07 Feb 2017

CWA 2017 Longlist - Chris Ewan

Born in Taunton in 1976, Chris Ewan now lives in Somerset with his wife, Jo, and their daughter. Safe House, his first stand-alone thriller, was a number one bestseller in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award. Dead Line, his second thriller, was published in 2013 and is optioned for film. Dark Tides was shortlisted for CrimeFest’s eDunnit award for the best crime fiction eBook, and Long Time Lost, described in the Independent as...

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07 Feb 2017

CWA 2017 Longlist - Nicola Upson

Nicola Upson was born in Suffolk and read English at Downing College, Cambridge. Her debut novel, An Expert in Murder, was the first in a series of crime novels whose main character is Josephine Tey – one of the leading authors of Britain’s Golden Age of crime writing. She lives with her partner in Cambridge and spends much of her time in Cornwall. Nicola has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library 2017. Download the resource to find out more about Nicola, and the book she...

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07 Feb 2017

CWA 2017 Longlist - Alison Bruce

Alison Bruce is a crime novelist and creator of the Cambridge-based Gary Goodhew series. Her seventh novel is Cambridge Black. She has also written two factual crime books and a number of short stories. Alison is an RLF Fellow at ARU in Cambridge. She is keen to promote creative writing and frequently speaks at libraries, schools and writers’ groups. Since 2008 she has sponsored Fordham Primary School’s storyteller-of-the-year award and she is the patron of Lakenheath Library in...

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07 Feb 2017

Thin Air by Michelle Paver - discussion questions

It is 1935, and young medic Stephen Pearce travels to India to join an expedition with his brother, Kits. The elite team of five will climb Kangchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain and one of mountaineering’s biggest killers. No one has scaled it before, and they are, quite literally, following in the footsteps of one of the most famous mountain disasters of all time – the 1906 Lyell Expedition. Five men lost their lives back then, overcome by the atrocious weather,...

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04 Feb 2017

Holding by Graham Norton - discussion questions

Duneen is a quiet place, far enough from the big towns to have kept its own rhythms. Its residents include cast down policeman PJ who lives a lonely, uneventful life punctuated only by the next meal – until now; the beautiful and mysterious family of three spinster sisters each with their own secrets and sorrows; and of course, the town’s gossip who think she knows the answers. When a grim discovery is made on a building site up by the old school, it becomes the catalyst for half lived...

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31 Jan 2017

We Chose to Speak of War and Strife by John Simpson - an extract

In corners of the globe where fault-lines see the into bloodshed and civil war, foreign correspondents have, for hundreds of years, been engaged in uncovering the latest news and – despite obstacles bureaucratic, political, violent – reporting it by whatever means available. It’s a working life that is difficult, exciting and undeniably glamorous. We Chose to Speak of War and Strife brings us pivotal moments in our history – from the Crimean War to Vietnam; the siege of Sarajevo to the fall...

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31 Jan 2017

Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germay by Norman Ohler - an extract

The Nazis presented themselves as warriors against moral degeneracy. Yet, as Norman Ohler’s gripping bestseller reveals, the entire Third Reich was permeated with drugs: cocaine, heroin, morphine and, most of all, methamphetamines, or crystal meth, used by everyone from factory workers to housewives, and crucial to troops’ resilience – even partly explaining German victory in 1940. The promiscuous use of drugs at the very highest levels also impaired and confused...

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31 Jan 2017

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova - discussion questions

When Kapka Kassabova was a child, the border zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece was rumoured to be an easier crossing point into the West than the Berlin Wall so it swarmed with soldiers, spies and fugitives. Today, this densely forested landscape is no longer heavily militarised, but it is scarred by its past. In this book. Kassabova sets out on a journey through a hidden corner of the continent, and meets the people of this triple border – Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks, indigenous...

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31 Jan 2017

The Girl Before by J. P. Delaney - an extract

Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection … but can you pay the price? Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist...

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31 Jan 2017

What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren - an extract

A New York Times–bestselling book which has been featured on the Radio 2 Book Club: Fact Not Fiction. When Cat Warren adopted Solo, an unruly German shepherd puppy, she soon began to wonder what she’d let herself in for. Solo’s boundless energy was what made him loveable ― but it also made him exhausting, and difficult to train. Then she struck upon an idea: what Solo needed was something to do. Like many dogs, Solo was destined to work: using his nose to help the police locate missing...

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31 Jan 2017

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi - an extract

Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations. Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly...

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30 Jan 2017

Looking for Captain Poldark by Rowan Coleman: Quick Reads learning resource

These resources have been designed for those using Quick Reads independently, as well as for those using Quick Reads in a group.

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30 Jan 2017

The Other Side of You by Amanda Craig: Quick Reads learning resource

These resources have been designed for those using Quick Reads independently, as well as for those using Quick Reads in a group.

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30 Jan 2017

Dead Simple by Harry Bingham (Editor): Quick Reads learning resource

These resources have been designed for those using Quick Reads independently, as well as for those using Quick Reads in a group.

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13 Jan 2017

My Old Man: Tales of Our Fathers by Ted Kessler - an extract

If you were asked to write about your father, what would you say? No two paternal relationships are the same. Every experience, every bond, is unique. And whether happy or sad, fond or fraught, the memories and stories we have about our dads stay with us for ever. In this carefully curated collection, a dazzling list of contributors – including Florence Welch, Paul Weller, Nina Stibbe and the sons and daughters of Ian Dury, Johnny Ball, Roy Castle, Leonard Cohen and many others –...

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13 Jan 2017

Les Parisiennes by Anne Sebba - discussion questions

“This is a fascinating book I couldn’t stop reading. She understands everything about the chic, loathsome collaborators and the Holocaust victims, and their stories are told in an irresistible narrative flood.” Edmund White, author of The Flâneur “Sebba reminds us that we should listen and put ourselves in their shoes, before leaping immediately to judgement, and backs this up with testimonies from many women whose voices have remained unheard.” Kate Mosse,...

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13 Jan 2017

Les Parisiennes by Anne Sebba - an extract

What did it feel like to be a woman living in Paris from 1939 to 1949? These were years of fear, power, aggression, courage, deprivation and secrets until – finally – renewal and retribution. Even at the darkest moments of Occupation, glamour was ever present. French women wore lipstick. Why? It was women who came face to face with the German conquerors on a daily basis – perhaps selling them their clothes or travelling alongside them on the Metro, where a German soldier had...

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12 Jan 2017

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge by Daniel Rachel - discussion questions

“A triumphant oral history of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge . . . a tale of resistance: first, against a surge of racism and bigotry that an inspired group of activists and musicians played a key role in rolling back; and then against a government, as the same spirit of defiance quickly resurfaced in opposition to the social revolutions of Thatcherism … a vivid portrait.” Guardian “Charts punk, 2 Tone and then Red Wedge’s subsequent battle for a...

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12 Jan 2017

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge by Daniel Rachel - an extract

Walls Come Tumbling Down charts the pivotal period between 1976 and 1992 that saw politics and pop music come together for the first time in Britain’s musical history; musicians and their fans suddenly became instigators of social change, and ‘the political persuasion of musicians was as important as the songs they sang’. Through the voices of campaigners, musicians, artists and politicians, Daniel Rachel follows the rise and fall of three key movements of the time: Rock...

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06 Jan 2017

Full Marks for Trying: An unlikely journey from the Raj to the rag trade by Bridgid Keenan - an extract

Brigid Keenan was never destined to lead a normal life. From her early beginnings – a colourful childhood in India brought to an abrupt end by independence and partition, then a return to dreary post-war England and on to a finishing school in Paris with daughters of presidents and princes – ordinary didn’t seem to be her fate. When, as a ten-year-old, she overheard her mother describe her as ‘desperately plain’, she decided then and there that she had to rely on...

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06 Jan 2017

Full Marks for Trying: An unlikely journey from the Raj to the rag trade by Bridgid Keenan - discussion questions

“With flashes of Nancy Mitford wit … Brigid Keenan is as skittish as a kitten with needle claws, as stricken as a deer in headlights, and as smart as a cage of monkeys.” The Times “Keenan, I suspect, was quite possibly put on this planet with the express purpose of writing.” Katie Hickman, Sunday Times “A new comic genius – the sort that can make you laugh out loud three or four times a page.” William Dalrymple This memoir is a fabulous book to...

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06 Jan 2017

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell - an extract

Shortlisted for the Costa Book Award. Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Award. Shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year Award. This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell crosses time zones and continents to reveal an extraordinary portrait of a marriage. A reclusive ex-film star living in the wilds of Ireland, Claudette Wells is a woman whose first instinct, when a stranger approaches her home, is to reach for her shotgun. Why is she so fiercely protective of her...

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05 Jan 2017

My name is Leon by Kit De Waal - an extract

“Unforgettable, heartbreaking and uplifting – just read it.” “Leon is pure goodwill in a wicked world, and he won’t leave you when you put this unique book down. Authentic and beautiful, urgent and honest.” Chris Cleave, bestselling author of The Other Hand A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you’d least expect to find one. Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has...

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05 Jan 2017

The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jack Arnopp - an extract

It was no secret that journalist Jack Sparks had been researching the occult for his new book. No stranger to controversy, he’d already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed. Then there was that video: forty seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account. Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed – until now. Here are some reviews of The Last Days of Jack...

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05 Jan 2017

Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and a Scattershot World by Brian Brett - an extract

For thirty years, Brian Brett shared his office and his life with Tuco, a remarkable parrot given to asking such questions as “Whaddya know?” and announcing “Party time!” when guests showed up at Brett’s farm. Although Brett bought Tuco on a whim as a pet, he gradually realizes the enormous obligation he has to the bird and learns that the parrot is a lot more complex than he thought. Simultaneously a biography of this singular bird and a history of...

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05 Jan 2017

Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and a Scattershot World by Brian Brett - discussion questions

Brian Brett is the author of Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life, which won the Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize, and Uproar’s Your Only Music, a Globe and Mail Book of the Year. He has also written numerous books of poetry and fiction. Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and a Scattershot World is biography about a history of bird/dinosaurs and the human relationship with birds, Tuco also explores how we “other” the world—abusing birds, landscapes, and each...

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04 Jan 2017

Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield - an extract

“Thoroughly engaging.” Sunday Times, Books of the Year “Gripping, unusual, moving.” Times, Books of the Year “An irresistible little byway in 18th-century medical and social history.” Oldie “A scintillating portrait of Barry’s life…that feels almost Dickensian in style.” Guardian These are just some of the reviews about the fascinating non-fiction book, Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time. Dr James Barry was many things in his life:...

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04 Jan 2017

Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield - discussion questions

Dr James Barry was many things in his life: Inspector General of Hospitals, army surgeon, duellist, reformer, lady killer, eccentric. He performed the first successful Caesarean in the British Empire, outraged the military establishment, and gave Florence Nightingale a dressing down at Scutari. At home he was surrounded by a menagerie of animals, including a cat, a goat, a parrot and a terrier. But most astonishingly, long ago in Cork, Ireland, he had been a young girl and a mother. Drawing...

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04 Jan 2017

The Tobacconist by Robert Seethaler - discussion questions

We have attached some discussion questions for you to use with your reading group about The Tobacconist. From the bestselling author of A Whole Life, comes a moving account of an ordinary boy living through extraordinary times, and the lengths we will go to in order to protect what we love. “Set at a time of lengthening shadows, this is a novel about the sparks that illuminate the dark: of wisdom, compassion, defiance and courage. It is wry, piercing and also, fittingly,...

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