March Book Group

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In this issue...

  • New reading ideas
  • Essex Book Festival
  • Tell us about it
  • Prize Draw
  • LoveReading
  • Essex Future Library Service Strategy
  • Books unlocked

New Reading Ideas

Misty Memories

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Memories can be very powerful, whether bittersweet, painful, heart-warming, or faded. Remembering and forgetting are the themes in this month’s booklist.



Try something different from our LGBT Reads

Hands in a heart shape

Last month was LGBT History Month, an annual event celebrating the history and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in the United Kingdom.
Why not try one of the selection of books written with their distinctive voices.

Essex Book Festival

Essex Book Festival Logo

The Essex Book Festival is nearly over for another year and it’s been an amazing festival so far! Christopher Skaithe, The Ravenmaster, and break out star of Channel 5’s recent documentary Inside the Tower of London, sold out within days of the box office opening. The audience at Witham Library jumped at the chance to hear bestselling author Ann Cleeves talk about her TV detective Vera, and those at Canvey Island Library were treated to free ice cream at the fascinating talk by Patricia Volante from the Rossi Family.

There are still a few events to go including the Book Club Symposium at Chelmsford Library on 28 March. It’ll be a very interesting event, so come along and hear Sarah Moss and Carolyn Kirby talk about their powerful and thought-provoking new novels. Tickets are available at the door, or from the box office.

Tell us about it!

Book Groups of Essex, we’d love to hear from you! What did you think of your latest read? Send us your reviews (they don’t have to be long) and we’ll share them in this newsletter.

Prize Draw

Book jacket of Home by Toni Morrison

Broomfield U3A book group shared their thoughts on Home by Toni Morrison. They had a mixed response to the book which is reflected in these two reviews. If your group decides to read Home tell us what you thought of it.

'Really liked it, about racist America, main character rescued his young sister. A journey finding himself after coming back from Korea. Very descriptive, loved some phraseology. Simple straightforward writing style. 9/10'

'I found this book easy to read and it was a fairly straight forward story, however I found it quite depressing and knew that the characters were always going to find life hard even though they were helped by the church. The author certainly gets the message of oppression across. A thought provoking book but I don't think I'd read another by this author. 5/10'

Let us know what makes your group special to you. Perhaps your group meets in an unusual place, maybe on a boat or in a castle, or you have a great way of choosing your books. We’d really love to hear anything quirky about your group!

Image of book jacket Disturbance by Marianne Kavanagh

Enter our latest prize draw to give your book group a chance of winning a set of 10 books. All you have to do is answer one simple question.

This month’s prize, kindly donated by Hodder is Disturbance, a deliciously dark and tense thriller by Marianne Kavanagh.

Sara is lonely. No one talks to her - not even her bad-tempered workaholic husband, or her two beloved sons. Her solace is her house, the biggest in the village, hidden away behind high hedges. Then she strikes up a friendship with Katie, a student living nearby, and a new world opens up. But nothing is quite what it seems…

Prize Winners

Book jacket of The Rumour by Lesley Kara

The winners of the last issue’s prize draw were Hooked on Books from Wickford Library and Crouch Vale U3A from South Woodham Ferrers Library.

Both groups have won a set of The Rumour, by Lesley Kara, a gripping thriller set in Essex, in the fictional seaside town of Flinstead-on-Sea!

Congratulations to all and many thanks to Penguin Books for kindly donating the prizes!

LoveReading website

If you or your group are ever stuck for what to read next, have a look at LoveReading. It’s the UK’s leading book recommendation website full of great reading ideas, such as weekly staff picks, the LoveReading Top Ten and books of the month. You can also sign up for personalised book suggestions straight to your inbox.

Essex Future Library Service Strategy

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Thank you for all your responses to Essex County Council's recent consultation on its proposed strategy for library services.

The consultation closed last month and there has been a terrific number of responses from across the county.

We appreciate the time you've taken to give us your feedback. More information regarding the Essex Future Library Service Strategy will follow in summer 2019.

Your chance to help unlock the power of reading!

Does your group want to get involved in a fantastic shared reading project? Books Unlocked is a National Literacy Trust initiative helping to break down barriers between prisoners and their local community. We’re looking for two book groups who would like to take part. Your group and a group of men at HMP/YOI Chelmsford would be reading a Booker Prize shortlisted title and would come together in the Prison Library to talk about it.

This will be the third year that we’ve run the project and the groups that have taken part before have found it a really enjoyable and rewarding experience. If you would like to know more about the project or want to get involved, email

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