Uxbridge Library 2018

Uxbridge Library had a very busy 2018. Here are a few of our highlights!


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We’ve dressed like witches, read like pirates, danced traditional Polish dances and met scary dragons, we’ve heard the story of A Christmas Carol, enjoyed music from Brunel students, Handbell Ringers, St. Andrew’s School Choir and local performers at our Open Mic nights, we’ve remembered the history of women, Hillingdon, Poland, WWI and more!

Here’s to 2019 and many more library adventures!


By Mark (Uxbridge Library)


Reading Group Review – Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton

After a rainy morning Botwell Green Library Reading Group met to discuss

Now You See Me: Lacey Flint Series, Book 1 by [Bolton, Sharon] ‘Now You See Me’ by Sharon Bolton.

We had a wide-ranging discussion and apart from Christmas films, the subjects we touched up on including; homelessness, houseboats and Jack the ripper, were all raised because of this book. The first in the series of the Lacey Flint crime fiction novels: A savage murder on London’s streets, 120 years to the day since Jack the Ripper claimed his first victim. A crime with all the hallmarks of a copycat killer. DC Lacey Flint must outwit a psychopath whose infamous role model has never been found…

As a group we enjoyed the book from cover to cover and rated the story as good.
We would recommend this book to those who enjoy crime fiction but had reservations reading the author again (though not me, I’m on book 4 and think they’re great!)
Individual reviews were varied:
“I would only read this author to save my life” – MW
“I’d watch it on TV if it was a film” – J
Two more considered leaving the book as they don’t like crime fiction but were pleasantly surprised:
“Halfway through, the plot thickened and full lessons on Jack the Ripper ensued but the connection to the story was made clearly throughout the book. Initially the chapters regarding events 11 years ago were confusing but the connection was revealed. Though there were some gaps, Sharon Bolton tied all the loose ends together. It was an easy read and I finished it quickly” – R
“The Story became intriguing when parallels with the ripper were drawn – all the characters well developed and the suspense of  the two sisters identity being well hidden forced one to read on. Simply written, simple story and entertaining” – MM
As for me, I’m pleased that after a difficult read last month, I found this month’s a page-turner. Fans of MJ Arlidge should enjoy this series, available to borrow from Hillingdon libraries.
Next month we discuss non-fiction title The Hare With Amber Eyes, a memoir by Edmund de Waal. Billed as: part treasure hunt, part saga, I’m hoping this award winner is a popular distraction from “Christmas overload”.
Next meeting is at 2pm Friday 4 January 2019. Copies still available.

Reading Group review Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Synopsis: Griet, the young daughter of a tile-maker in seventeenth century Holland, obtains her first job, as a servant in Vermeer’s household. Tracy Chevalier shows us, through Griet’s eyes, the complicated family, the society of the small town of Delft, and life with an obsessive genius. Griet loves being drawn into his artistic life, and leaving her former drudgery, but the cost to her own survival may be high.  

51xkR+DDLmL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_This month has been difficult to form a group review because although most of us enjoyed the book to some extent, we all had a varied response to the set questions which makes a strange summary!

We enjoyed this book for the first few chapters and overall, the story was ok. Despite this average response, we would recommend this book to anyonewho enjoys a good read and would read this author whenever we discover another title!!

Individual comments included:
“Chevalier lovingly recreates Vermeer’s 17th Century Delft, telling the story behind the painting…unfortunately I did not have the patience to read this highly-detailed, walking watercolour and read only a few pages!” – B
“No I did not like this book. It is not my cup of tea. Too “Me Too”. Also did not like the criticism of Roman Catholic Religion. I found it offensive” -G
Below is Botwell Green Library reading Group member Rekha’s review:
I had heard of the film a few years ago  but hadn’t seen it so was able to approach the book fresh.
I enjoyed the book as it opened up a new city and the way the rich treat the poor. It was so sad to read of the (mis)fortunes of the tiler family. The strong family ties came through the book. Griet’s life turned upside down because of the fathers accident.
It’s not clear what would have happened to Griet if she hadn’t taken on the maid’s job – perhaps done a full circle and still married the butchers son.
Griet was certainly not a simple and naive girl (slaps Cornelia on her first day), how much of the move to the attic was manipulated and how much the master wanting her close by?
Vermeer used to paint women/young girls quite often as his other paintings show.
It was not surprising to see the way Griet was treated by the mistress, though it was confusing to understand the role of the girls/daughters as they seem to be learning the household chores at times.
As is often the case Vermeer dies a poor man necessitating the wife to sell their possessions.
It was an easy read. I saw the film after I read the book which was a pretty good translation but missed certain points of the book.
I enjoyed the book from cover-to-cover and overall the story was good. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read and would read this author whenever I discover another title.

Curtain Up! Uxbridge Library’s Award Winning Playwright


Melville Lovatt celebrating his award!

Uxbridge Library’s ‘Curtain Up!’ Play Reading Group recently celebrated one of their very own winning the Noda Inaugural Performance Showcase Competition 2018. Melville Lovatt, who has been a member of the group since 2013, shares his experiences of Curtain Up and how it led to his award winning collection.

The Uxbridge Play Reading Group has been meeting monthly at Uxbridge Library since 2007. The group has always been very welcoming and friendly and attendance figures have significantly increased. Tea and biscuits (or cakes on special occasions) are provided free and each meeting is a warm, social occasion.

Uxbridge Library has an amazing selection of plays and library manager, Zoe Iggulden, always makes sure we read something different and challenging. Several members are experienced, accomplished readers, having gained acting experience with Ruislip Dramatic Society and other drama groups.There is no obligation on anyone to read but first time readers often find it great fun, particularly if the play is a comedy or farce.

 Fairly recently, the group has created and supported Uxbridge Library Events such as The World War One Remembrance Evening of Drama and the ‘Script In Hand’ Scratch Night Presentation of New Plays.We are also very actively involved in producing original drama for Hillingdon Hospital Radio.

The Reading Group also offers opportunities to playwrights and monologue writers like myself. I first started attending in 2013. It is invaluable for a playwright to hear his work read aloud and many of my plays and monologues were read aloud at Uxbridge for the first time.I feel I have benefited considerably from this and am pleased to report that my plays and 16 monologue collection, ‘Standing Alone’ will soon be available on the Uxbridge Library shelves.

‘Standing Alone’ (16 Monologues.)

 Winner of The Noda Inaugural Performance Showcase Competition 2018 is now available from tslbooks.uk

The Playreading group meets at Uxbridge Library on the first Tuesday of the month from 2:30-5.00 pm


Botwell Green Library – Reading Group #BookReview

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning


For the July Botwell Reading Group, My Notorious Life was discussed. Based on a true story from the scandalised headlines of Victorian New York City, My Notorious Life is a portrait of Axie Muldoon, the impoverished daughter of Irish Immigrants who becomes an enormously successful—and controversial—midwife.

Synopsis of the book

Inspired by a real midwife who became one of the most controversial figures in Victorian New York City, —part love story, part family saga. The confessions of a charismatic and passionate woman who changed the lives of countless others. Meet the incomparable Axie Muldoon. Axie’s story begins on the streets of 1860s New York. The impoverished child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day. In vivid prose, Axie recounts how she is forcibly separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband parlay the sale of a few bottles of “Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint” into a thriving midwifery business. Flouting convention and defying the law in the name of women’s rights, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendour of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, amassing wealth while learning over and over never to trust a man who says “trust me.”

Reviews & Opinions

As a group we enjoyed this book from cover to cover!

Overall the story was excellent

We would recommend this book to, anyone who enjoys a good read.

Below is a review by reading group member “T”.

“As well as a thundering good read, this story throws up much to think about including, sexual politics, attempts at society to keep individuals ignorant, society and class, unequal distribution of money resources, etc. The power of men over women was interesting, as well as disregard for women’s physical & mental health. The main character was well drawn, balanced, and with her own conflict about what she would and would not do. She was happy to enjoy the money she earned. It also explored her deep seated issues with trust, which was explained by her early childhood and took many decades to overcome.

Just the sort of book I hope to find by joining the book club!

Very high praise indeed.

About the Author


Kate Manning is the author of the critically-acclaimed novels, Whitegirl, and My Notorious Life. O, the Oprah magazine called My Notorious Life “a daring page-turner, meticulously researched and astonishingly current.” NPR’s Kurt Anderson said, “It’s a fantastic yarn…absolutely Dickensian.” And novelist Marisa Silver writes, “Kate Manning has taken a little-known nugget of history and spun it into a remarkable novel that is mesmerizing and resonant. Her New York City of the late 19th century is passionately evoked, and Axie Muldoon is as fierce and alive a character as I have read in recent fiction. In its exploration of a subject no less pressing now than it was over a hundred years ago, My Notorious Lifeis an essential novel for our time.” A former documentary producer for WNET-13, where she won two Emmy Awards, Kate has written for the New York Times, the Washington PostGlamour and More magazines among others. She has taught creative writing at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan, where she lives with her family, and a dog named Moon, who walks her regularly.

Thank you for reading.


Uxbridge Bear Club’s Favourite Holiday Books!



This week in Bear Club at Uxbridge Library we are reading books about holidays! We are all excited that the summer holidays have arrived, especially our storytime mascots Bernard and Ralph. We can’t wait to play games, eat ice cream and do lots of reading during the summer.


Did you know that we are now running our annual summer reading challenge for children aged four to 11? The theme this year is Mischief Makers, celebrating Beano’s 80th birthday. All you have to do is read six books during the holidays and you will get stickers, Starborg cards and prizes each time you take out a book. To join the challenge just ask a member of staff at any Hillingdon Library.


George Goes On A Plane By Nicola Smee


Everyone at storytime loved joining George on his exciting adventure at the airport. There were lots of interesting things to learn and look at and we all giggled when teddy went through the x-ray machine!


Maisy Goes To London By Lucy Cousins

download (12)  Untitled drawing (5)

Maisy is one of our favourite book characters at Uxbridge Bear Club. We enjoyed exploring the city of London with Maisy and saw lots of famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace and we even got to ride a water taxi and double-decker bus! Luckily Bernard remembered his Oyster card this time.

The Wheels On The Bus (Peppa Pig) by Martin Jenkins


The Wheels on the Bus is one of our favourite nursery rhymes at Uxbridge Bear Club and we all love Peppa Pig too! Bernard enjoyed playing with the real wheels that you can spin and go round and round, round and round… ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

We would love you to join us at Uxbridge Library for stories and nursery rhymes at Bear Club which we run every Monday 11am to 11.30am and Thursday and Friday 2pm to 2.30pm. To book your free place call us on 01895 250714 or pop in and speak to a member of staff. Next week’s theme is Mischief Makers!


By Sarah (Uxbridge Library)

Join the Summer Reading Challenge 2018!

Calling all Mischief Makers aged 4 to eleven!

Join the Summer Reading Challenge, free, at your local Hillingdon Library from 7 July.

Mischief Makers


This year’s Beano themed challenge features tons of incentives to support children reading over the summer.

Children visit the library six times, borrow a book each visit, and receive a fantastic prize! Water the garden with an animal squirter or prank your friends with a whoopee cushion. Collect our unique Starborg cards and uncover a hidden secret.

Children who complete all six visits will receive a certificate and medal (see list of gifts below).

The Summer Reading Challenge supports children’s reading throughout the summer, so they are not behind when they return to school.

It’s free to join Mischief Makers and suitable for children aged four to 11 years.

Children just need a library card, if your family does not have library cards, becoming a member is easy and free,. You don’t even have to live in Hillingdon to join at a Hillingdon Library.

Children joined to the challenge can book on to our free events running in libraries throughout the summer. Events include fancy dress, comic strip workshops and shows with children’s comedian Mark Jones.


Visit https://www.hillingdon.gov.uk/summerreading to find out more!