As we’re whizzing around socialising with friends & family, spare a thought for the many people who face an isolated and lonely Christmas and New Year. Chris Garnsworthy heads up the lovely team at Hackney Community Library Service, providing over 700 house-bound residents across Hackney with a personalised selection of books, DVDs and jigsaws throughout the year, together with a much-needed home visit and contact with one another via initiatives like the telephone reading group.
Here, he picks his own favourites as well as readers’ favourites. We’re raising a glass and a mince pie to Chris, Lucy, Ali, Naz and Jaki, who work tirelessly all year round to being comfort and joy to people who need it most.
It’s not often that anyone goes into a bookshop or a library asking for a ‘Dutch classic’ however I can recommend Stillness and Speed, the autobiography of Dutch classic footballer Dennis Bergkamp. Arsenal’s best ever player tells his story through interviews with journalist David Winner with fascinating additions from footballing greats. This book should be read and enjoyed by sport enthusiasts and I recommend that they find a quiet place and a moment to themselves at home to enjoy reading the book with the special awareness that Bergkamp was such a master of!
Great Tales from British History, was Queen Victoria Ever Amused.… by Robert Gambles is a fun Christmas gem for all ages. The author tests the truth of 40 historical legends from King Cnut onwards with each story being examined as reality or a legend that has stood the test of time. The book is a really enjoyable chance for you to make your mind up from the evidence provided behind stories from Britain’s heritage. If Queen Victoria was really never amused, I think even she might have cracked a smile when perusing this super gift.Away from my own selections I think I should reflect the most requested genres from my place of work, Hackney’s Community Library Service. As approximately three quarters of our readers are 75+ this may help when selecting a book for granny, granddad, cougar or sugar daddy!
When we enrol new members for the home visit service by far the most popular requests are for family stories, murders, romance and, believe it or not, horror.
Carol Rivers writes gritty family dramas that reflect the thrills and spills of East End Life. A Wartime Christmas is her offering for the 2013 festive season and follows other popular titles including East End Angel and Cockney Orphan. The story reflects the hope that Christmas brings to an East End family after their father becomes the victim of some terrible accusations then is reported missing in action.
Our most requested crime writer is Martina Cole who mixes the shady criminal underworld with hard hitting family drama. This is obviously a potent mix, as reflected by her popularity. Her latest title is Revenge which tells the seedy story of Michael Flynn who learns the hard way that there can be no forgiveness of sins.
As for horror, I think I will skip that as the final choice is sure to be horrific for many of you in itself. Mills and Boon romance remains a popular choice and we have a massive collection mainly in large print for those with bad eye sight (you can make up your own jokes on that one!) and The Mistress Files; The Case of the Brokenhearted Bartender by Tiffany Reisz is the gift I shall leave you with.
Happy Christmas and happy reading.
© 2021 Stoke Newington Literary Festival. Stoke Newington Literary Festival C.I.C. is a company limited by guarantee.
Registered in England & Wales number 7990786. Registered Office: 52 Bayston Road, London N16 7LT.
Site by Zerofee. All festival photos©: www.davidxgreen.com. Ticket icon designed by Mateo Zlatar from the Noun Project