March Book Picnic Recommendations

On the first Wednesday of every month, GWL team members and volunteers share what we’ve read recently at our Book Picnic. In the current climate, our Book Picnic takes place remotely, giving all of us some valuable social interaction and providing us with many excellent book suggestions…

  • The Collector’s Daughter: The Untold Burrell Story by Sue Stephen      

    Recommended by Anna, this biography reveals the eventful and little-known life of Marion Burrell, the disinherited daughter of Scottish art collector Sir William Burrell. Written by the god-daughter of Marion, the book delves into Marion’s difficult relationship with her parents, and how she eventually forged her own path in life. 


  • Burntcoat by Sarah Hall 

    Recommended by Pauline, who described it as “mesmerizing”, this short novel includes a deadly global virus (not COVID, but COVID-like). Fictional British sculptor Edith Harkness deals with the long-haul effects of the virus 30 years on, which causes her to reflect on her life, artwork, relationships, and her time in lockdown.

  • While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart 

    This historical novel, recommended by Elaine, is told in alternating perspectives and in two time periods. Spring, 1944 during the German occupation of Paris, and 1953 in the USA and France. In 1944, Sarah is arrested, about to be sent to Auschwitz. When the train has to be temporarily unloaded, she sees her chance and thrusts her baby, Samuel, into the arms of nearby railway worker Jean-Luc. In 1953, Jean-Luc and his wife Charlotte are happily living in America with Samuel. Until a knock at the door throws everything into a tailspin. 

  • City of Jasmine by Olga Grjasnowa

    Recommended by Ronja, this book is set in Syria and follows the lives of Hammoudi, Amal, and Youssef. They are each faced with the inhumane choice of staying in their homeland and risking death, or leaving in search of a new life that comes with its own set of unimaginable challenges.

  • Gut Feelings Meri Jaan by Jasleen Kaur

    This booklet, recommended by Gaby, accompanies an exhibition and ceremony that examines the legacy of South Asian diaspora artists in the UK, and brings historically marginalized and underrepresented voices to the forefront. The booklet itself is an introduction to the exhibition, and contains a series of letters from Art Historian and and Research Curator Dr Alice Correia to Jasleen Kaur about her current research project in the archives at Touchstones Rochdale. Gaby described it as “a beautiful object” and especially enjoyed that every text was presented in both English and Urdu. This booklet is for sale for £3 in the GWL shop. 

If you’re looking to pick up some interesting reads for yourself, GWL is delighted to offer our ‘Select and Collect’ service.

Request up to 6 books in advance, and we’ll have them ready for you to pick up. Or, if you’re not sure where to start, we can select some titles or make up a “book bundle” for you. Click here to find out more!

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