Current and Upcoming Reads

What we’re reading


January/ February 2020

The Little Snake by A.L. Kennedy

This is the story of Mary, a young girl born in a beautiful city full of rose gardens and fluttering kites. When she is still very small, Mary meets Lanmo, a shining golden snake, who becomes her very best friend.

The snake visits Mary many times, he sees her grow and her city change, as bombs drop and war creeps in. Lanmo wonders, can having a friend possibly be worth the pain of knowing you will lose them?

March/ April 2020

The Slave Woman by Maria Firmina dos Reis, translated by Cristina Ferreira Pinto-Bailey

The short story “The Slave Woman” (“A escrava”) appeared for the first time in November 1887, in the third issue of A revista maranhense (The Maranhense Review), some six months before slavery was abolished in Brazil, on May 13, 1888. The author, Maria Firmina dos Reis (1825-1917), was an Afro-Brazilian woman born in Sao Luis, the capital city of Brazil’s northern province of Maranhao.  In addition to “The Slave Woman,” an abolitionist narrative, Reis had also published an antislavery novel, Ursula (1859), and abolitionist poems that first appeared in local periodicals and were later included in her 1871 collection of poetry, Cantos a beira-mar (Songs by the Seaside).

From “The Slave Woman”: an introduction by Cristina Ferreira Pinto-Bailey.

May/ June 2020

Nature Reads, in partnership with The Nature Library

The Nature Library is a reference library and reading space connecting people to land, sky and sea. On its shelves you’ll encounter many branches of nature writing from the classic to the contemporary, fiction and non fiction, memoir, poetry and children’s books. We hope you find something that takes you somewhere new — to the edge of the sea, into the mountain or to the top of the tallest tree.

In May and June, we’ll be picking a few of our favourite nature reads for a special nature writing themed edition of the Digital Book Group. Stay tuned for the titles!

July/ August 2020

The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow by Emily Ilett

“Shadows were meant to stay stuck, like ears and promises.”

On the morning of Gail’s birthday, she watches her shadow slip under the kitchen door. She’s not surprised it decided to leave. Her dad has gone for good. Her big sister Kay, once Gail’s best friend, has disappeared into sadness — and now her shadow has left too.

Determined to make things right, Gail chases after the shadows. But her adventures take her to unexpected places and she soon discovers that where there are shadows, there’s darkness, and that she’s not the only one looking for something missing…

A lyrical, immersive and luminous tale of sisterhood, The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow tells of bravery, the effect of mental health issues and being strong enough to ask for help when we really need it.

September/ October

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature?