Read any good books recently? Bradley Millington, chief librarian at Upper Norwood Joint Library, has plans to get us all reading – and discussing – the same books.
Why do you want more people to get into reading?
Reading can be creative and fun and enrich lives, but is also critical as a life and employment-based skill. With the pace of modern living, it is a pleasure that is becoming increasingly difficult to indulge.
What are you doing to encourage us to pick up a book?
We are challenging the whole of Crystal Palace to read the same book during the same month (October). We want to turn Upper Norwood into one gigantic reading group, with opportunities to meet authors, reviews and promotions, a quiz based on the featured book (with twelve prizes and a first prize of £100 for the winner, kindly provided by the Upper Norwood Library Campaign) and multiple copies to borrow or buy.
Tell us about the books you’ve chosen
The four books have been chosen by library staff for a variety of reasons.
The Dirty South (Alex Wheatle) was felt to be a gritty and realistic view of modern urban life, with a very local slant. We felt that although a very challenging read, it was one that would reflect the life experiences of many young people in the 16-23 age group.
Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson) was selected after several members of staff had watched the film and felt moved to read the book as well. It is an inspiring and emotional tale of friendship and the power of the imagination, which we felt would speak to children in a positive and uplifting way.
We chose That Pesky Rat (Lauren Child) to help show young children that their lives, although perhaps not perfect, are fantastic in comparison with that of a street rat’s lot!
Something Might Happen (Julie Myerson) was selected as it seemed to capture the often fragile and uncertain nature of modern life, in a very realistic and human drama. Although ostensibly, a murder-mystery, the author proved adept at presenting a more original slant by showing the effect of the crime on a small and close-knit community. Once again, this was a challenging but very gripping choice, aimed at adult readers.
And the authors are getting involved?
Yes, Julie Myerson will be visiting the Upper Norwood Joint Library at 7.30 pm on Thursday 30th October to talk about her book Something Might Happen and how she crafts her novels. Alex Wheatle will be visiting on Saturday the 29th of November at 3.00 pm to talk about his work and his most recent book, The Dirty South. And Lauren Child has agreed to judge the Park and Read children’s competition, inspired by That Pesky Rat.
To find out more, go along to Upper Norwood Joint Library, 39-41 Westow Hill, London SE19 1TJ. Tel: 020 8670 2551.
Photo: Thanks to margolove on Flickr.com with CCL.