Recommended for September 2019 by Kate, Library Officer at Fielden campus.
We don’t typically dare to consider that the war offered fertile ground for success, but for the tattooist of Auschwitz, Lale Sokolov, his life was transformed in every way imaginable, and then, in ways perhaps less imaginable.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz offers a narrative arena in which to look at WWII from a new lens, but it certainly doesn’t dilute the brutal horror, or the sorrow, of the war; it simply demands that readers receive this biographical tale with a broader range of emotions and insight than they perhaps first expected to experience. This story will unapologetically amuse you then disturb you, then amuse you gain; it will intrigue you and repulse you; reassure you then demand compassion you didn’t dream you could feel for the abhorrent. If you don’t approach it open-mindedly from the outset, this novel will unravel conventions and assumptions until it opens your mind regardless.
Recommended for July-August 2019 by Carole, Library Co-ordinator at Openshaw FE campus:
Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx is one of the few who are unwilling to accept things as they are and goes on a voyage of discovery to one of the last remaining places in the world where humans still live an old, ‘imperfect’ life of natural reproduction and simpler survival known as a ‘Savage Reservation’.
Brave New World explores the negatives of an ostensibly successful world in which everyone appears to be content and satisfied but where ultimately the stability is only achieved by sacrificing personal responsibility and autonomy. A dystopian masterpiece that belies the fact that it was written in 1931; it reads like a contemporary vision of a not so distant future.
Recommended for June 2019 by Phill, Library Coordinator at Shena Simon campus:
In the early 1870s, the boomtown of Birmingham erupted in a series of vicious gang wars. Mobs of youths armed with stones, knives and belt buckles fought pitched battles in a struggle for territorial supremacy. Known as "sloggers", they drew their numbers from the workshops and factories that made guns, nails and jewellery, and lived cheek-by-jowl in overcrowded, insanitary slums.
Recommended for May 2019 by Yvonne, Library Officer at Wythenshawe:
Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?
Recommended for April 2019 by Rory, Library Officer at Fielden campus:
Captivating, challenging and controversial, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a true masterpiece of Latin American writing. It is at once magical and and mundane, bizarre and banal. Marquez creates a world in which nothing is impossible, the most ordinary of scenarios is presented alongside the most fantastical happenings. Documenting the founding of the settlement of Macondo in South America, as well as the unusual and extraordinary events that happen to the townspeople, history repeats itself and Latin American history is presented in the inimitable style of Marquez in One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Recommended for International Women's Day March 2019 by Kate, Library Officer at Shena Simon campus:
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her - from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it - in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations - and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Recommended for February 2019 by Nick, Library Officer at Nicholls campus:
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started the treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming… This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth. Winner of several prestigious book awards, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving tale of love, loss and hope set against a backdrop of supernatural horror and suspense.
Recommended for January 2019 by Carole, Library Coordinator at Openshaw FE campus:
This is young adult fiction but it is just wonderful. It’s about a twelve year old girl with Dyslexia who befriends a girl at school whose family are asylum seekers. Topical, well written, funny and poignant. Highly recommended by the Openshaw FE Library team.
Recommended for November 2018 by Hannah, Library Officer at Fielden campus:
Arundhati Roy’s Booker Prize-winning novel was the literary sensation of the 1990s: a story anchored to anguish but fuelled by wit and magic. This is the story of Rahel and Estha, twins growing up among the banana vats and peppercorns of their blind grandmother’s factory, and amid scenes of political turbulence in Kerala. Armed only with the innocence of youth, they fashion a childhood in the shade of the wreck that is their family: their lonely, lovely mother, their beloved Uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher) and their sworn enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun, incumbent grand-aunt). The story is at once exotic and familiar to the Western reader, written in an English that’s invigorated by the Asian Indian influences of culture and language.
Recommended for October 2018 by Donna, Library Officer at Northenden campus:
He’s the man who needs no introduction, and yet he is the ultimate enigma. From a troubled and desperately poor childhood in the dockland of Glasgow he is now the most intimate of household names the world over. But who is the man behind the myth? If anyone knows Billy Connolly better than himself, it’s his wife, Pamela Stephenson. In this extraordinary book, she combines the very personal with a frank objectivity that makes for a compellingly moving – yet hugely entertaining – biography. This is the real Billy Connolly.
Recommended for September 2018 by Nick, Library Officer at Nicholls campus:
A powerful and riveting story narrated by Death himself. Death tells the story of Liesel, a young girl who lives in Germany during the Second World War. She loves to read but books are difficult to come by with the Nazis in charge, so Liesel has to steal books. Sometimes she has to steal books to save them from the Nazis who will burn them in great bonfires. Death is a busy man during wartime, but he manages to visit The Book Thief three times.
Recommended for August 2018 by Jenny, Library Coordinator at Wythenshawe campus:
Hendrik Groen may be old, but he is far from dead and isn't planning to be buried any time soon. Granted, his daily strolls are getting shorter because his legs are no longer willing and he had to visit his doctor more than he'd like. Technically speaking he is... elderly. But surely there is more to life at his age than weak tea and potted geraniums? Hendrik sets out to write an exposé: a year in the life of his care home in Amsterdam, revealing all its ups and downs - not least his new endeavour the anarchic Old-But-Not Dead Club. And when Eefje moves in - the woman Hendrik has always longed for - he polishes his shoes (and his teeth), grooms what's left of his hair and attempts to make something of the life he has left, with hilarious, tender and devastating consequences. A funny, touching and poignant World Book Night read.
Recommended for July 2018 by Yvonne, Library Officer at Wythenshawe campus:
Faith is clever, curious and interested in everything around her - but because she is a girl, no-one pays her any attention, so she's learned to exist in the background. Faith's father is a famed natural scientist, who is forced to flee to a remote island under a cloud of scandal, dragging his family with him. When he dies in mysterious circumstances, Faith links his death to a strange plant in her father's possession, the Lie Tree. This tree, when fed lies, bares fruit that reveal deep secrets to whoever eats them. A sense of isolation and mystery radiates off every page as the gripping tale twists towards its thrilling climax. An exhilarating read.
Recommended for June 2018 by Peter Harris, Lecturer in Maths, Physics and Engineering at City Labs campus:
Alan Johnson was orphaned by the age of 13, he was then brought up by his remarkable sister Linda. This Boy, Please Mister Postman and The Long and Winding Road; follow Alan Johnson’s journey from working in Tesco, to the post office and finally culminating with him becoming the home secretary under Gordon Brown. The titles reflect the Alan Johnson’s hero worship of Paul McCartney. These are three very warmly written books that chart the life of a very compassionate man, it would be nice to see more people like him in government.
Recommended for May 2018 by Hannah, Library Officer at Fielden campus:
The day after the Manchester Arena attack, Tony Walsh read his now famous poem ‘This Is The Place’ at a vigil outside the town hall. In this book over 60 Manchester creatives have collaborated, each taking a line from the poem to inspire unique pieces of art, illustration, design and photography. The book is one-of-a-kind and a pleasure to hold, with embossed bee on the cover. The roll call is extensive including world renowned agencies and designers like Peter Saville (Factory Records designer) and Malcolm Garrett (Buzzcocks designer) and personal messages from Tony Walsh and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. This book has heart, with sale proceeds split between the charities Forever Manchester, We Love MCR Emergency Fund and The Greater Manchester Mayors Homelessness Fund.
Recommended for April 2018 by Nick, Library Officer at Nicholls campus:
People often say that they devour books or are hungry for a good read, and that is because reading, like food, can be warming, can be nourishing, while it can also be sugary and exhilarating. Sometimes you can want a hearty meal, sometimes a sugary treat. But there will come a time in every reader’s life when you want a little bit of everything and this is where Cloud Atlas comes in. It is a buffet that spans across the ages, across countries and across genres; everything from mystery and suspense to science fiction and back again, crossing over everything in between. I guarantee you've never read a book that starts with a mid-19th-century boat journey through the South Pacific, follows sordid affairs in an old Belgian mansion, finds time to uncover a corporate conspiracy in 1970s America, escapes from a Ratchett-run nursing home, travels to a high-tech Korea hundreds of years in the future, and into the irradiated wasteland beyond – AND somehow makes it back to where it started! How does that whet your reading appetite?
Recommended for March 2018 by Alex, Library Officer at Nicholls campus:
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy started as a radio play then became a book, a film, a TV series and a stage play. Often described as a trilogy in five parts, it is available as five separate volumes. I have read the books five or six times and never tire of the comic pseudo-science and improbable situations the characters find themselves in. Douglas Adams, the author, has an incredible imagination and a way with words that seems logical in his universe but are improbable in the real world. For example his description of some huge spaceships, 'The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't', and 'A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely fool proof is to underestimate the ingenuity of fools'. Read the books and meet Marvin the Paranoid Android and find the question if the answer is 42.
Recommended for February 2018 by Sue, Library Officer at Fielden campus:
Written during the 1930s but unpublished in the USSR until 1966, it is an amazing work of fantasy, a love story, a satire on Soviet life under Stalin and much, much more. The main plot deals with the arrival of the Devil in atheist Moscow and the mayhem he and his accompanying demons unleash together. My favourite is undoubtedly the loudmouthed, gun-toting large black tomcat, Behemoth. The other main characters are the Master, a writer, and his lover, Margarita. The Master is writing a novel about Jesus and Pontius Pilate so there is a sub-plot of excerpts from this book which cast a fascinating light on the conversations that may have occurred between the two men. Margarita’s love and fidelity towards the Master demonstrate the good and redemptive side of human nature. This is a novel that warrants reading and re-reading and is on my list of all-time favourite books. It’s not always an easy read - sometimes brutal, sad and menacing but often very funny. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Recommended for January 2018 by Marie, Library Officer at Harpurhey campus:
Lee Child is one of my favourite authors. In this book Jack Reacher is back with his charm and wit and a bit more empathy in this case, while giving us the pleasure of his eventual confrontation with the bad guys. As usual, Child gives us intrigue, a hint of titillation and in this novel, a tongue-in-cheek dig at the US pharmaceutical industry as the biggest drug pushers. Well worth the read!
Recommended for December 2017 by Lisa O'Loughlin, TMC Principal:
A biography of the acclaimed fine artist and ceramicist Grayson Perry, in which he tells his own story, his voice beautifully caught by his friend, the writer Wendy Jones. The book sees Grayson reflecting on his childhood, emerging transvestitism and how this shaped his emerging art practice. In 2003, Grayson accepted the Turner Prize as his alter-ego Clare, wearing his best dress, with a bow in his hair.