Literary Challenge #1 – Banned Books

For 2016 Hillingdon Library Staff have to read a book of their choice on a particular theme each month.

For January the theme was ‘Banned Books’ just to explore the length & breadth of fantastic books we are able to access in the library service without having to worry about censorship. Fiction seems to have always battled with censorship whether it be because of religion, politics, sex or that someone important just doesn’t like it.

Eleven of us signed up to read our favourite banned books – here they are for you to peruse. Do you think they should be banned?


  1. Ulysses by James Joyce


In these days of Fifty Shades of Grey and all its spin off’s, one could be forgiven for thinking Ulysses is pretty-tame meat, if not easily comprehensible! But, remember, nearly one hundred years ago, literature was only just escaping the moral strictures of the Victorian Age. Again, there is relatively little sex, obscenity or bad language in this classic modernist text; but what there is is both necessarily and stylistically justifiable in the context of Joyce’s artistic concerns – which are……no less than to meld the ancient epic tradition of the Odyssey with just about every genre of established literary form e.g. realism, romance, lists, dramatic presentation & of course the infamous stream of consciousness technique for which Joyce is most frequently remembered. Read this book with a wry ironic mind; appreciate its complexities, depths and allusiveness; but above all do not be put off, surprised or offended by any of its minor transgressions of taste. And then, watch the 1967 film version, which is excellent, too! To use a brilliant quote from Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake (1939), there is indeed a fun-feral on every page of Ulysses!

5 out of 5 stars

Len – Harefield Library


2.  For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

For-Whom-the-bell-TollsErnest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls dominates over Western literature but despite its reputation as a classic it has received multiple bannings over the years. In 1941 the U.S. Post Office refused to mail the book because of its references to Marxism. In 1973 eleven Turkish publishers of the book were put on trial for spreading “unfavourable” propaganda. The novel is set during the Spanish Civil War and focuses on the young American Robert Jordan and his mission to blow up a bridge. He is sent to a small guerilla outfit in the mountains and meets their drunken leader Pablo (who may have lost his courage), the old but formidable Pilar and Maria, who has escaped from the Fascist regime.All of the classic ingredients of the Hemingway Daiquiri are there. It is tragic, darkly comic, cynical and romantic. Death dominates the novel, from the doomed mission that must be undertaken to philosophical ponderings on the morality of killing during war and suicide. Hemingway captures both the formal and informal dialects of the Spanish language, the overwhelming romance of an ill-fated and all too brief relationship and the troubled thoughts of a soldier in a foreign war. Some odd stylistic choices aside (the repeated uses of “I obscenity in thy milk” and “mucking,” while perhaps necessary, are a bit distracting and at times of over abundance, downright humorous) this is a powerful novel.

4 out of 5 stars

Mark  – Uxbridge Library


3. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H Lawrence

lady-chatterleys-lover-chatterley2 For a book with such notoriety, that was banned under the “Obscene Publications Act” I was slightly disappointed. I was expecting (possibly hoping) for more graphic lasciviousness and lots of incredibly naughty affairs but felt that Lady Chatterley was completely justified and wondered how she stayed good for so long! With a husband who unfortunately cannot in any way satisfy her (through no fault of his own), of course this was going to happen, in fact her own father encouraged it! The language is flowery and pleasant and the love scenes with Mellors the Gamekeeper are beautifully described but the essence of this novel is more about class than sex and that’s what you’re more focused on – how class, at that time, got in the way of everything.

I enjoyed the read, the characterisation, the plot and felt a real sympathy for Lady Chatterley but if you’re looking for your next fix after fifty shades this definitely isn’t it.

4 out of 5 stars

Lara – Harefield Library



4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Western FrontHitler ordered all copies of this book to be burned as he felt the content, written by a German author was unpatriotic. He probably felt as world war two approached that this books incredibly bleak portrayal of war would deter men from joining up to fight. The narrator of this novel really describes the fear, horror and indignity of fighting in the trenches during world war one. What he really reiterates throughout the novel is how the young men have lost their young adulthood, they went from school boys, living at home with parents, encouraged to join the war effort by teachers, to men who are haunted by what they have seen and experienced. He feels that he has become an old man and missed out on experiencing life, unsure what he will do if he manages to survive the war.

4 out of 5 stars

Siobhan – Uxbridge Library



5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Huckleberry Finn Here’s a book that has been banned many times, the first occasion within a month of publication in 1885. It’s been banned (nationally, statewide and in schools in America) for many reasons over its history, including unchristian behaviour in its protagonist, vulgarity, and more lately the frequent use of the n-word. It did take a while for me to adjust to this last factor, but understanding both the context of the word and the aims of the writer helped me overcome this – Mark Twain was an abolitionist and the word didn’t come to be taboo until well after the book was written. The novel is written in a number of dialects and takes us on a journey down the Mississippi river on a raft with Huck and an escaped black slave, Jim. During the course of the adventures, Huckleberry Finn questions whether the sense of rightness that’s instilled in him really is the best and only way to be – he ends up a kinder, more thoughtful person by rejecting the perceived wisdoms of his elders, realising Jim is as human as he is, a friend he’d rather protect that hand over, despite everything he’s been taught. He’s a hero with an independent mind, like many of the fictional characters we love. Whilst the adventures themselves tend to get tedious, and Tom Sawyer’s 11th hour intervention drags it out even longer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a deeply political and moral work, a Great American Novel disguised as a boy’s-own adventure. That we have to overcome our own misgivings about a word is a small price to pay for reading it.

4 out of 5 stars

Darren – Uxbridge Library



6. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

One Day in the Life of Ivan

Solzhenitsyn’s own experience as a prisoner in a Soviet labour camp inspires this vivid, unsentimental evocation of a harsh regime, the attempted dehumanisation and the little victories. Written in the simple prose appropriate to the ordinary man at its centre, it speaks with the authenticity of personal experience. It is less surprising that the Soviet Union banned it in 1964 than that publication was originally allowed in 1962, though this was presumably because it dealt with the Stalinist era, then being discredited by the current Soviet leadership. What stays with you is the cold (this is Siberia) and the indomitability of the human spirit.

5 out of 5 stars

Mike – Eastcote Library



7. The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien


Burned by the local parish priest,banned by the Irish Censorship Board and condemned as “filth and should not be allowed in any decent home” by the Taoiseach ,Charlie Haughey,The Country Girls caused waves in the Irish establishment.There is no description of sex in the book but the great taboo, of challenging the catholic church and having a relationship with a married man,outraged the establishment.The two main characters,Caithlin and Baba were determined to shake off the shackles of the oppressive religion and live their own lives.The Ireland of the 1950’s was harsh and the people were manacled by religion.It is a story of optimism despite all the frowning,disapproving faces but the ending is heartbreaking.This is a very well written story taking the reader to a time when people were hardly aware of the world outside their small communities.

4 out of 5 stars

Marian – Northwood Hills Library



8.  A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthut Conan Doyle

study in scarlet

‘A study in Scarlet’ was the first Sherlock Holmes novel and I was intrigued by the ways Holmes and Watson met and how their friendship began. Holmes is revealed as a brilliant and eccentric individual whose success in solving crimes derives from his powers of observation and deductive reasoning. Watson is his loyal and stable companion who narrates the stories. Although I enjoyed reading the book, there were times when I found it hard to imagine some scene settings, but I enjoyed the character descriptions and was intrigued by its plot elements. The book was banned for its representation of Mormons.

3 out of 5 stars

Franka – Hayes End Library


Having watched so many ‘Sherlocks’ on TV it was an eye opener to re-read this ‘banned’ book.It was banned by American school boards for it’s portayal of Mormons. I had forgotten that Dr Watson narrates the story for a start. I was disappointed actually with the whole thing. I think I’ve been spoilt by the TV adaptations. The controversial section involving Mormons could even have been left out and not affected the story! Also this was Conan Doyle’s first novel so I expect he was finding his way. It had the intricate deduction which I love, but it just didn’t do it for me

3 out of 5 stars

Marie-Louise – Hayes End Library


9. American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis


American Psycho was an enjoyable novel which follows the story of a wealthy young businessman named Patrick Bateman. His fast paced world is the epitome of sex, drugs and rock and roll, or at least night club music. I enjoyed the style of writing as the main character narrates his own story. As this progresses Patrick Bateman seems to become more psychotic and his murders become more and more sadistic, complicated, drawn out and torturous. The novel tells the tale of an unwinding mind and mistakes even start to appear in the telling of the story and confusion of accounts that are given. It makes you start to wonder how much of the activities that are being described are real or are they just a figment of an over-active imagination fantasising about how they could spice their real world up. Either way Psycho was enjoyable and really made me think about the psychology of the main character. It got a bit confusing at times but I think that would be part of the draw to some people and trying to untangle the web of this disturbed mind as it guides you along. I think this book would be enjoyable to anyone who enjoys crime fiction with fairly graphic murders. It definitely gives it a further dimension with the psychological aspect to give you something else to think about. American Psycho was banned in Queensland, Australia. I think it is probably one of the more understandable books to be banned due to the graphic nature and adult themes.

3 out of 5 stars

Richard – Harefield Library


10. The Giver by Louis Lowry


At a time when I seem to be reading a lot of Young Adult books The Giver by Lois Lowry a YA novel published in 1993 really stood out on the different lists of banned books for me. It is one of the most challenged & banned books in American schools with the reasons often cited as ‘Violence’ or being unsuitable for children. The book looks at a world where there is no pain, no hunger, no choices and even no colour, freedom is very much a thing of the past and funnily enough the characters aren’t allowed to read books other than the dictionary or the Book of Rules. The Giver features a world where everything is assigned to you and you don’t question anything, you are even assigned a job when it is time. Jonas, the male protagonist in this book is assigned the role of Receiver of Memory where the exisiting Receiver, an old man known as The Giver has to transfer all memories of the ‘real’ world to Jonas. This process opens Jonas’s eyes to a whole new world and leaves him beginning to question everything he thought he knew and at the end of the book making a radical decision to try and make a change. What I find most interesting about the reason The Giver has been banned & challenged so many times is that it is a book about taking away people’s choices and that those challenging the book or banning it are taking away people’s choice to read it. I found the book both beautiful and alarming, the world that Lois Lowry creates is quite shocking. She does a great job of immersing you into the story and taking you on a journey with Jonas as he begins to learn the truth about the world. Not sure how I feel about reading the other three books that make up this series as I kind of like how it ended but I will be watching the film adaptation in the near future.

4 out of 5 stars

Sam – Manor Farm Library


So will you venture into Banned Book Territory? If you do please let us know what you think.



Cover of the week

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

wonder struck backThere is an eye staring at me. This is what drew me to this beautiful book, an eye staring at me from the spine. Being such a hefty book there is plenty of space for the richly coloured illustration of a young girl that wraps the back cover and spine of this book. The front cover is a startling contrast, blue against the orange of the back cover design, picturing lightening striking a town.

Admittedly it was the wonder struck frontauthor’s name that drew me to search this book out. Selznick’s (also the books illustrator) books may be classed as children’s fiction but their beautiful illustrations make them a joy to read. This is not a picture book, nor is it a graphic novel, it is a story told in silent pictures and written chapters. Selznick’s previous book, ‘the Invention of Hugo Cabret’ was transformed into a highly successful film by Martin Scorsese in 2011. It is easy to see why Selznick’s imagery inspires people. I must also admit that I probably prefer the cover of ‘the Invention of Hugo Cabret’, but ‘Wonderstruck’ was the book that jumped out at me this week.

The story focuses on two characters, Ben, whose story is told in words and Rose, whose story is told in pictures. The detail and tone of the pencil drawings is what draws me inside this book.

Read an interview with the author here or visit the Wonderstruck website.

Book of the Week: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

book-of-lost-things-uk-225Our book of the week this week has been chosen by Lara over at Harefield Library.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Totally not what I expected from John Connolly who is best known for his ‘Charlie Parker’ crime series – but I am so pleased he took a leap into the unknown.
For those of you who love fantasy merged with reality, especially twisted adult fairy tales this book is a delight. I am a huge fan of Angela Carter, Neil Gaiman & Ransom Riggs and this book did not disappoint. I picked it up when I saw that it has been selected for the ‘Times Book Club’ and read on the back that it has been recommended as an ‘Adult Fairy Tale’ I was gripped.
A slow start describing the main characters life and how much he hates in against the background of the second world slowly gets interesting when you are not sure what the boy is dreaming and what’s real. Soon total immersion comes and he has to fight his way back home.

The Blurb

“Everything You Can Imagine is Real.” – Pablo Picasso
Twelve 12 year old David, mourns the loss of his mother and detests his step-mother. He is angry and along with only the books on his shelf for company.
But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness, and as he takes refuge in the myths and fairytales so beloved of his dead mother he finds that the real world and the fantasy world have begun to meld. The Crooked Man has come, with his mocking smile and his enigmatic words: ‘Welcome, your majesty. All hail the new king.’
And as war rages across Europe, David is violently propelled into a land that is both a construct of his imagination yet frighteningly real, a strange reflection of his own world composed of myths and stories, populated by wolves and worse-than-wolves, and riled over by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a legendary book…..

Cover of the Week

Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies

reasons she goes into the woods‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ is the well known saying. Well, that is exactly what I am going to do. The cover of a book is a hugely influential part of our decision of whether to pick it up or skim past it. Whether we like it or not, a book’s cover can determine whether or not it ever gets read. So what makes us go for different books? Each week I’m going to look at covers that have stood out to me, or to my colleagues, and why.

This week it’s ‘Reasons She Goes to the Woods’ by Deborah Kay Davies, cover art by Jenny Grigg (Her website is full of fantastic designs and delicate tissue creations). I’ve not read this book, but since picking it up off the shelf an hour ago and adding it to my pile of blog hopefuls it has managed to rise to the top and engage my interest. Grigg has designed a great many memorable book covers such as The Luminaries (written by Eleanor Catton) and a series of covers for Penguin’s classics series. The cover for ‘Reasons She Goes to the Woods’ is delicate and tactile. I want to be able to touch the folded tissue paper and rearrange the picture. I love the simplicity of the shapes and the tones the layering of the paper achieves. From reading the blurb it appears that the delicacy of the  illustration links well with the themes of the book:

‘Pearl can be very, very good. More often, though, she is very, very bad. But she’s just a child…’

From the rest of the blurb I am expecting the story to be far darker than the cover suggests, making me look again at the image of the child and wander more about what she is doing, and significance (if any) of a flower falling. Flicking through the pages of the book, it is laid out in vignettes, or single page chapters, with intriguing titles such as ‘Clump’ or ‘New Friend’. The cover has definitely drawn me in and made me want to read the book, which is now sitting in my bag waiting until I get home!

Check out reviews of the book itself on Goodreads and the Guardian .

Reading Group Review

Russian Tattoo by Elena Gorokhova

Russian Tattoo

Russian Tattoo explores the true life story of Elena Gorokhova after her whirlwind marriage to Robert, a doctoral student at a Texan university, and her consequential emigration from Russia to America in the 1980’s. The book begins with her feeling isolated and out of place amongst the clean and luxurious United States where no one has to queue and everyone smiles politely and wishes you a nice day.

The themes of personal identity versus national identity as well as motherhood and family come through strongly is this book. However as a group we felt that some of this was a bit forced. Elena’s experience of immigration did not feel that different to other stories from people across the world. By far the most interesting aspect of this book was the details of life in Russia before her departure and the experiences of her friends and family after she left.

The relationship between Elena and her mother is a difficult one, and a constant throughout the book. Elena’s mother is portrayed as strong willed and overbearing. Elena states, ‘The possibility of leaving Russia was never as thrilling as the prospect of leaving my mother.’ an idea that seems to repeat itself as Elena’s own daughter leaves home and college to travel around America. Ultimately, in both cases, there is a reunion of mother and daughter. This reunion in the case of Elena and her mother is somewhat strained as Elena’s mother becomes dependant on her after moving to America.

We found the reflective element of the last chapter of the book, dealing with Elena’s mother’s decline into ill health, to be frustrating. The sentiment of regret was very strong and also very repetitive. However, as a true to life story, it is easy to understand why this is there. The book appears as a kind of therapy session for Elena, in some parts this is interesting to read, and in others the repetition of her feelings of regret and isolation become tedious.

I had high hopes for Elena’s relationship with her daughter, Sasha, and was disappointed with how this came across. I would have enjoyed reading some of the more touching moments, that I refuse to believe didn’t happen in childhood, as well as the moments of angst.

Some members of our reading group have tried teaching their children a second language as Elena does with Sasha. All had the same experience of Elena, their children lost interest in their teens. We felt this was down to a teenager not wanting to feel different from their peers. I did enjoy the end of the book, and Elena’s acceptance of her daughter’s tattoos and the feeling of a bond developing between them. However not everyone in the group shared this sentiment, mostly as they themselves do not like tattoos or piercings!

Together we gave this book an average 6 out of 10

Oak Farm Reading group meet the second Tuesday of every month 2-3pm, spaces in the group are currently available. If you are interested in joining please contact Rosie on 01895 556242. Next month’s meeting on 9th February will be to discuss The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Book of the Week: A Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

Every week for the rest of the year we are going to be sharing our book of the week as suggested by library staff. The book could be a new best-seller, a well known classic or a book from a rising talent.

qulaityThis week we want to share our love for A Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton.

I adored Sister and loved Afterwards so couldn’t wait to read A Quality of Silence over the festive period and it was a real treat of a book. I was so happy just a few days after reading it to see that it had been selected as a Richard & Judy Book Club for Spring 2016. From the very first pages I was immediately immersed in the world of 10 year old Ruby and her mother, Yasmin as they set out into the Alaskan wilderness to find Ruby’s father.

This is such an atmospheric read and you feel as though you are right there making the dangerous trek along the ice roads with Ruby and her mother. It’s packed with suspense and tension as you try to work out just who is following them and what do they want. A chilling thriller that messes with your emotions. Need more convincing then check out the blurb below.

The Blurb

On 24 November Yasmin and her ten-year-old daughter Ruby set off on a journey across Northern Alaska. They’re searching for Ruby’s father, missing in the arctic wilderness.

More isolated with each frozen mile they cover, they travel deeper into an endless night. And Ruby, deaf since birth, must brave the darkness where sight cannot guide her.

She won’t abandon her father. But winter has tightened its grip, and there is somebody out there who wants to stop them.

Somebody tracking them through the dark.

Copies are available in some Hillingdon Libraries but will be in all very soon.

By Sam (Manor Farm library)

Library Staff Recommendations

Who doesn’t like a good book recommended to them? Especially if it’s from someone who works at a library! Here are some recommendations from the lovely staff at Uxbridge Library –



Where’d you go Bernadette By Maria Semple

This book was so quirky and fast paced. The reason I loved it was that the 15 year old daughter, Bee, tells the story in a series of emails, memos and documents.


crickley hall

The Secret of Crickley Hall By James Herbert

A book full of suspense, with a number of smaller storylines which link the plot throughout.  The main characters are trying to escape the trauma and guilt the mother feels, having lost her son.

The old country house the family moves into also has a tragic past. It was used as a home for evacuees during WW2.

The descriptions of the mother’s anguish and the small child’s isolation make for traumatic reading. If you like your stories creepy, this is the perfect read!


frank derrick

The extraordinary life of Frank Derrick Age 81 By J.B. Morrison

This was a charming story and the beginning is brilliantly described by Frank after he is knocked down by a milk float.

I loved his frequent visits to the charity shop.



The Sandman (Series) By Neil Gaiman

This New York Times Best Seller is the story of Morpheus, the personification of dreaming. We follow his adventures in a series that combines horror, science fiction and fantasy, featuring starring roles and cameos from Orpheus, William Shakespeare, Batman, Clark Kent, John Constantine and Dream’s little sister Death.

It’s dark, it’s surreal and it’s majestic.


across the sun

A Walk Across the Sun By Corban Addison

This is the moving story of two orphans caught up in the international sex trade. It’s a vital novel that highlights contemporary global issues but it’s also a pacy thriller that is difficult to put down (I read it in just three days)!


psychopath test

The Psychopath Test By Jon Ronson

A very readable and often entertaining exploration of the dark side of the human mind. Jon Ronson meets murderers, scammers, and also successful businessmen, politicians and bankers all of whom meet the definition of Psychopath.



The Secret History By Donna Tartt

My favourite book. I have read this many times and enjoyed it just as much every time. Interesting characters and very well written.



Hellboy by Mike Mignola

Looking for a graphic novel series that packs in occult Nazis, giant Lovecraftian monstrosities, mad monk Rasputin and characters from Irish to Siberian mythology, held together by a kick-ass demonic hero with real attitude and breathtakingly beautiful illustrations? Then look no further!


station eleven

Station Eleven By Emily St. John Mandel

Hillingdon’s many am-dram fans could well love this novel. Shakespeare and theatre both play big roles in Emily St. John Mandel’s slightly sci-fi tale, which is set both before and after a massive, world-changing pandemic.  



Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary By Anita Anand

The gripping read was enthralling from start to finish. Learn more and more about the fascinating life of Princess Sophia Alexandra Duleep Singh, granddaughter of the exiled Maharaja of the Punjab.




The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Watch your step.” This is an engrossing, ambitious post-modern take on the Victorian novel.

Our heroine is Sugar, a prostitute determined to rise from the gutter on her own terms. This novel won’t spare your blushes, and will keep you company for a long time.



Moby-Dick by Herman Melville   

Of all the classics with a daunting reputation, this one is perhaps the maddest of the lot! ‘Call me Ishmael’, it begins, although we’re never sure if that’s really his name or half the time if he’s really the narrator. Meditations on religion, life and death, fate and the sea are side by side with chapters about whaling and an ageless tale of one man’s obsession.  


Take your pick and go check one out at a Hillingdon Library near you!


By Lara (Harefield Library)



2016 Reading Challenges

Happy New Year!


How many books did you read in 2015? How many different types of books did you read in 2015? How many did you listen to? Are you looking to broaden your bookish horizons? If so you have come to the right place.


Various blogs, libraries, bookshops and individuals online have been publishing their new reading goals for 2016 and the shared view among everyone is diversity. Opening our reading-minds and hearts to things we would never normally try like a graphic novel, or finishing that book we started reading 10 years ago and is somewhere upstairs under the bed.

Hillingdon Library staff have taken on their own challenge on reading one book a month a varying themes. It looks a little something like this:

  1. January – Banned Book
  2. February – Made into Film
  3. March – LGBT
  4. April – One-Word Title
  5. May – Female Author
  6. June – You can finish in a day
  7. July – Bad Reviews
  8. August – Graphic Novel
  9. September – Book you never Finished
  10. October – Translated into English
  11. November – Short-Stories
  12. December – Mystery/Thriller

Hopefully, there will be between 10-15 library staff participating every single month and then telling you all about it on the blog or on twitter. I shall publish an overall blog post for each challenge at the end of each month. Feel free to join in with us and give us your input 🙂

Happy reading!

By Lara (Harefield Library)




The Peculiar Perfection of Spine Poetry

Spine Poetry, I hear you say…..what on earth is that?

For us library workers and for those in bookshops too, I would imagine, spine poetry is the stuff of dreams. A niche where workers get to unleash their own creativity and personal style. Where finding the right book or group of words has the power to make or break your masterpiece; but if all fails you can always make another one!

Spine poetry essentially is trying to make up a complete sentence or phrase using titles of books. As it’s a very visual art form some describe it as a meme (which is a humorous image passed around the internet) but there are those that argue that Spine Poetry should be an art form in it’s own right.

This is my profound effort from last week –


Spine poetry originated in 1993, when artist Nina Katchadourian began a photography project titled “Sorted Books” that involved stacking books in a particular order in order to create a sentence or story. A collection of her sorted book photographs, titled Sorted Books, was published by Chronicle Books on March 5th, 2013. The concept was first adapted to poetry in a post on an arts and crafts blog called buildmakecraftbake titled “Book Spine Poetry” published on February 11th, 2009. Here are some of Nina’s arrangements –

I hope this has inspired you all to create something wonderful with the books you already have in your house or even the ones you have borrowed form the library. For my part, I plan to try and create a new masterpiece in the library every Saturday…whether or not it actually is a masterpiece I will leave up to you to decide.

Keep tabs on Hillingdon Libraries twitter account every Saturday.

By Lara (Harefield Library)



Staff Review: A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones

modernThis cookbook is AMAZING! It says on the cover, over 200 satisfying, every day vegetarian recipes (that will make you feel amazing), and that is not a lie!
I’m not a full time vegetarian, however for the last 6 months I’ve been attempting to eat completely vegetarian at least three or four days of every week and this book has really helped. Anna Jones creates some beautiful and accessible recipes, which look gorgeous and taste even better. If you are just starting out eating vegetarian, granted there will be some new ingredients that you will have to search out, however as a British author all the ingredients are easily found in your local grocery store.
I especially love her “How to’s” where she offers quick suggestions and processes for making things like pestos, hummus or salads, allowing you to have some fun and be creative while ensuring you are making a balanced and tasty dish.
There is also a beautiful selection of sweet things at the end, just note, this is NOT a diet book and there is sugar in there. However for the most part, she substitutes with natural ingredients such as honeys and syrups as well as slightly more out there ingredients like agave or coconut sugar. She also dedicates pages to finding the right sweetener, or flour for your baking or cooking, detailing the merits of each and how they are best used.
Jones has really written an informative, fun, beautiful cookbook. I’ve tried so so so many of the wonderful recipes and each reaction is YUMMMM, I’m so making this again!!
by Amanda (Ruislip Manor library)