Our volunteers and staff recommend… Book Picnic of the month

The seasons go by, Christmas is coming, but our book picnic group remains. We are coming back to you now with wonderful book recommendations to help you deal with the cold that is settling! Classics, thrillers, magical and healing readings, as always, no recommendation is the same…

The Mindfullness in Knitting by Rachael Matthews 

Everyone can pick up a pair of needles and a ball of yarn. And everyone can be mindful. The Mindfulness in Knitting casts fresh light on this famously calming craft, and reveals how the simple repetition of plain and purl can in itself nurture wellbeing. Rachael Matthews explores the joys of making and looks at the benefits of taking up one of the simplest and most useful of crafts.

Maybe that reading this book will start you on knitting, if you aren’t already, like our volunteer Claire!

Recommended by Claire

 

Valley Of The Moon by Melanie Gideon

In the heart of the Sonoma Valley, on the edge of a sun-drenched meadow, lies the idyllic community of Greengage – where the residents wear simple clothes, lead quiet lives and whose manners could almost seem to be of another time. Into this world stumbles single mother Lux Lysander, trying to lose herself in the peaceful beauty of the Californian countryside while her young son visits his grandparents. It’s a world far away from the unpaid bills piling up and the overwhelming sense of struggle to make ends meet. Soon, Lux finds herself drawn into the lives of the people of Greengage, discovering not only the secret at the heart of their community but also a sense of belonging she didn’t know she was looking for. Torn between this life and her own with her son back in San Francisco, can Lux turn her back on the only place that has ever truly felt like home?

Recommended by Elaine

 

The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman 

Born in a Bristol brothel at the end of the eighteenth century, Ruth Webber, her toe upon the scratch, is ready to face all comers.
Lady Charlotte Sinclair, scarred with small pox and bullied by her boorish brother, is on the verge of smashing the bonds of convention that have held her for so long.
George Bowden, without inheritance or title, is prepared to do whatever it takes to make his way in the world.
Let the fight begin . . .

Recommended by Elaine

 

Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay 

From the moment when, as a little girl, she realizes that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her birth parents, her Highland mother and Nigerian father, Jackie Kay’s journey in Red Dust Road is one of unexpected twists, turns and deep emotions. In a book remarkable for its warmth and candour, she discovers that inheritance is about much more than genes: that we are shaped by songs as much as by cells, and that what triumphs, ultimately, is love.

Recommended by Pauline

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

Who are you?
What have we done to each other?

These are the questions Nick Dunne finds himself asking on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they weren’t made by him. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife?

Recommended by Celestine

 

Gilgamesh by Joan London 

Edith and Frances, living with their mother on a tiny farm in the south-west of Australia, are visited by their cousin Leopold and his Armenian friend Aram. The two young men are taking the long way home after working on an archeological dig in Iraq. It is 1937. The modern world, they say, is waiting to erupt. Among the tales they tell is the story of Gilgamesh, the legendary king of Uruk in ancient Mesopotamia. Gilamesh’s great journey of mourning after the death of his friend Enkidu, and his search for the secret of eternal life, is to resonate through all of their lives.
In 1939 Edith and her young child set off on an impossible journey of their own, to find themselves trapped by the outbreak of war. The story of this journey is the story of encounters and escapes, of friendship and love, of loss aqnd acceptance.
Moving between rural Australia, London, the Caucasus and the Middle East, from the last days of the First World War to the years following the Second, Joan London’s stunning novel examines what happens when we strike out into the worlld, and how, like Gagamesh, we find our way home.

Recommended by Anna

 

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy 

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in the fictional county of Wessex, Hardy’s novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

Recommended by Laura

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