Zadie Smith

Novelist Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother. She read English at Cambridge, graduating in 1997.  Her latest work – Intimations – is a collection of essays written as lockdown started in the UK and completed around the time that George Floyd was murdered in the US.  

Her acclaimed first novel, White Teeth (2000), is a vibrant portrait of contemporary multicultural London, told through the story of three ethnically diverse families. The book won a number of awards and prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book). It also won two EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Awards) for Best Book/Novel and Best Female Media Newcomer, and was shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Author’s Club First Novel Award. White Teeth has been translated into over twenty languages and was adapted for Channel 4 television in 2002. 

Her third novel, On Beauty, was published in 2005, and won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. She has also published two collections of non-fiction, Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays (2009) and Feel Free (2018), and a collection of short stories, Grand Union (2019). 

Smith has won/been nominated for the following awards: 

Langston Hughes Medal 
Man Booker Prize (longlist) 

Women’s Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 

Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize 
British Book Awards Decibel Writer of the Year 
Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book) 
Orange Prize for Fiction 
Somerset Maugham Award 

Man Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 

Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize for Fiction 
Orange Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 
Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 

Authors’ Club First Novel Award 
Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best First Book) 
Orange Prize for Fiction (shortlist) 
WH Smith Award for Best New Talent 

EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award) for Best Book/Novel 
EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award) for Best Female Media Newcomer 
Guardian First Book Award 
James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) 
Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (shortlist) 
Whitbread First Novel Award 

Smith is an environmental campaigner and activist who supports Writers Rebel.

You are never stronger… than when you land
on the wrong side of despair

Zadie Smith, White Teeth

White Teeth

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Zadie Smith’s White Teeth is a classic international bestseller and an unforgettable portrait of LondonOne of the most talked about fictional debuts ever, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing – among many other things – with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book.

The Autograph Man

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Zadie Smith’s deeply funny, subversive and splendidly entertaining The Autograph Man is a whirlwind tour of celebrity and our fame-obsessed times. Following one Alex-Li Tandem – a twenty-something, Chinese-Jewish autograph dealer turned on by sex, drugs and organised religion – it takes in London and New York, love and death, fathers and sons, as Alex tries to discover how a piece of paper can bring him closer to his heart’s desire. Exposing our misconceptions about our idols – about ourselves – Zadie Smith delivers a brilliant, unforgettable tale about who we are and what we really want to be.

On Beauty

Available as an eBook and physical book

When Howard Belsey’s oldest son Jerome falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing Monty Kipps, both families find themselves thrown together, enacting a cultural and personal war against each other. 

Changing my Mind

Available as an eBook and physical book

Features a collection of essays on literature, cinema, art – and everything in between.


Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke and Russell. Five identical blocks make up the Caldwell housing estate in North West London. Caldwell kids Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan have all moved on. They occupy separate worlds in an atomized city. Then one afternoon a stranger comes to Leah’s door, forcing her out of her isolation.

The Embassy of Cambodia

Available as a physical book

Zadie Smith takes us deep into the life of a young woman, Fatou, domestic servant to the Derawals and escapee from one set of hardships to another. Beginning and ending outside the Embassy of Cambodia, which happens to be located in Willesden, NW London, Zadie Smith’s absorbing, moving and wryly observed story suggests how the apparently small things in an ordinary life always raise larger, more extraordinary questions.

Swing Time

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Two girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, ‘Swing Time’ is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. 

Feel Free

Available as an eAudiobook and physical book

In ‘Feel Free’, pop culture, high culture, social change, and political debate all get the Zadie Smith treatment, dissected with razor-sharp intellect, set brilliantly against the context of the utterly contemporary, and considered with a deep humanity and compassion. This electrifying new collection showcases its author as a true literary powerhouse, demonstrating once again her credentials as an essential voice of her generation.

Grand Union

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Interleaving ten completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Zadie Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction. 


Available as a physical book

Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of essays on the experience of lockdown, by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time.

Sometimes I wonder if people don’t want freedom
as much as they want meaning.

Zadie Smith, Swing Time

Digital Readers – October 2020

The book our online reading group will be reading (or listening to) and discussing in October has been decided on through a vote in the group. The results are in and the October book is…

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

It’s late one night at the Spanish port of Algeciras and two fading Irish gangsters are waiting on the boat from Tangier. A lover has been lost, a daughter has gone missing, their world has come asunder – can it be put together again?
Night Boat to Tangier is a novel drenched in sex and death and narcotics, in sudden violence and old magic, but it is obsessed, above all, with the mysteries of love. A tragicomic masterwork from a multi-award-winning writer, Night Boat to Tangier is both mordant and hilarious, lyrical yet laden with menace.

From 1 October, until the end of the month, this book will be available to download through the BorrowBox app without having to wait or having to reserve it. It will be available to simply download right away – as both an eBook and an eAudiobook.

The group is open to anyone above the age of 16, with a Facebook account and a Hampshire Library card. If you would like to join the group; just head over to our Facebook page.

Hang on; how does an online reading group work?

Through the BorrowBox app, using your Hampshire Library Card, you will be able to download an eCopy of the selected title to your tablet or smart phone to read and enjoy. Ther will be hundreds of copies, of both the eBook and the eAudiobook version, available for you to download right away, so no need to reserve it or get it added to a waiting list; just download it right away and get reading!

Throughout the month you will be able to talk about the book with others in the group, and there will be regular discussions happening, so check back in to join in on the conversations as they pop up. As is the case with any reading group, there will be books you love, and books you might wish you had never picked up -and that’s okay!
In the group you will be able to discuss your opinions, feelings and thoughts on the month’s title in a friendly environment. To keep the group friendly, and ensure everyone feels confident expressing their thoughts, we ask that everyone keep the language clean and show respect to one another.

There won’t be a set day or time when you have to be available; this means you can join in the discussions whenever it suits you! There is also not a physical place to meet, as all discussions are taking place in the Facebook group, so you won’t have to leave the house to be part of the reading group!
On the last Friday of each month, the book for the following month will be announced, it will then become available for download on the 1st of each month.

If you don’t have a Hampshire Library card, you can apply for one online. It is completely free to sign up to the library, and as long as any physical items borrowed are returned on time, it will continue to be free.
After you sign up, your library card will be sent to your home and you can then join the reading group using your Facebook account.

If you would like to join the group, then head over to our Facebook page and join the ‘Digital readers’ group, you can find it here!

No wait, No fuss – October’s collection

Do you love eBooks or eAudiobooks, but find you have to wait for a copy to become available? Well, you will love this collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks then!
Each month a collection of titles, some in both formats, become available to download. There’s an almost unlimited number of copies of each title, meaning there’s no wait, no fuss or reserving; just download and enjoy right away.

This month we have 7 eBooks and 15 eAudiobook titles available to download without any wait; have a look at the titles available, and find them on the BorrowBox app.
We’ll start with the children’s ones, so keep scrolling if you would like to see the adult titles.
These titles will be available from 1 October.

eBooks and eAudiobooks for children

Let Sleeping Dragons Lie
by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

Odo and Eleanor are now officially knights, helped (and sometimes hindered) by their magical but rather difficult to control magical swords. But if they thought life as a knight was going to be easy, they are wrong! Before they know it, their first task is to tackle some ferocious bile wolves! A funny fantasy triumph from Garth Nix and Sean Williams, the perfect sequel to Have Sword, Will Travel.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Oliver Hembrough
Suitable for ages 8+

by Anthony Horowitz

Twelve-year-old Joe Warden isn’t happy. Sure, he’s rich, but his parents don’t care about him. His grandmother should make everything better, except that Joe’s granny is a nightmare. She’s not just physically repulsive, she’s horribly mean. Everyone thinks she’s just a dotty old woman, but Joe knows the truth. He’s seen behind her mask and glimpsed the wicked glimmer in her eyes – she is pure evil. And now she’s out to get Joe, unless he can stop her and her band of nasty grannies first.

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Nickolas Grace
Suitable for ages 10+

eBooks and eAudiobooks for adults

Night Boat to Tangier
by Kevin Barry

It’s late one night at the Spanish port of Algeciras and two fading Irish gangsters are waiting on the boat from Tangier. A lover has been lost, a daughter has gone missing, their world has come asunder – can it be put together again?

Night Boat to Tangier is a novel drenched in sex and death and narcotics, in sudden violence and old magic, but it is obsessed, above all, with the mysteries of love. A tragicomic masterwork from a multi-award-winning writer, Night Boat to Tangier is both mordant and hilarious, lyrical yet laden with menace.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Kevin Barry

The Witches’ Tree
by M.C. Beaton

Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead – and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered – and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds – a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation – and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn’t make her feel any better …

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Penelope Keith

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
by Reni Eddo-Lodge

n February 2014, Reni Eddo-Lodge posted an impassioned argument on her blog about her deep-seated frustration with the way discussions of race and racism in Britain were constantly being shut down by those who weren’t affected by it. She gave the post the title ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’. Her sharp, fiercely intelligent words hit a nerve, and the post went viral, spawning a huge number of comments from people desperate to speak up about their own similar experiences.

Galvanised by this response, Eddo-Lodge decided to dive into the source of these feelings, this clear hunger for an open discussion. The result is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today, covering issues from eradicated black history to white privilege, the fallacy of ‘meritocracy’ to whitewashing feminism, and the inextricable link between class and race. Full of passionate, personal and keenly felt argument, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is a wake-up call to a nation in denial about the structural and institutional racism occurring in our homes.

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Reni Eddo-Lodge

The Key to Rebecca
by Ken Follett

He is known to the Germans as ‘Sphinx’, to others as Alex Wolff, a European businessman. He arrives suddenly in Cairo from out of the desert, armed with a radio set, a lethal blade and a copy of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca – a ruthless man with a burning, relentless conviction that he will win at all costs.

The stakes are high, for the survival of the British campaign in North Africa is in the balance. Only Major William Vandam, an intelligence officer, and the beautiful courtesan Elene can put an end to Wolff’s brilliant clandestine reports of British troop movements and strategic plans.

As Rommel’s troops come closer to victory, Vandam edges nearer to Wolff and the crucial key. Follett builds tension and suspense to a nerve-tearing pitch as he follows the adversaries across the infernal desert to a confrontation which will determine who wins – and loses – in this deathly struggle.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Tim Downie

The Crossing Places
by Elly Griffiths

When she’s not digging up bones or other ancient objects, Ruth Galloway lectures at the University of North Norfolk. She lives happily alone in a remote place called Saltmarsh overlooking the North Sea and, for company; she has her cats Flint and Sparky, and Radio 4. When a child’s bones are found in the marshes near an ancient site that Ruth worked on ten years earlier, Ruth is asked to date them.

The bones turn out to be 2000 years old, and DCI Harry Nelson, who called on Ruth for help, is disappointed. He’d hoped they would be the bones of a child called Lucy who’s been missing for ten years; he’s been getting letters about her ever since. Then a second girl goes missing and Nelson receives more letters.

Soon it becomes clear that Ruth is in grave danger from a killer who knows that her expert knowledge is being used to help the police with their enquiries.

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Jane McDowell

My Name is Monster
by Katie Hale

After the Sickness has killed off her parents, and the bombs have fallen on the last safe cities, Monster emerges from the Arctic vault which has kept her alive. When she washes up on the coast of Scotland, everyone she knows is dead, and she believes she is alone in an empty world. Monster begins the long walk south, scavenging and learning the contours of this familiar land made new. Slowly, piece by piece, she begins to rebuild a life. Until, one day, she finds a girl: another survivor, feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. But the lessons the girl learns are not always those Monster means to teach . . . I

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Christine Hewitt

A Skinful of Shadows
by Frances Hardinge

When a creature dies, its spirit can go looking for somewhere to hide.
Some people have space inside them, perfect for hiding.

Makepeace, a courageous girl with a mysterious past, defends herself nightly from the ghosts which try to possess her. Then a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard for a moment.
And now there’s a ghost inside her.
The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, but it may be her only defence in a time of dark suspicion and fear. As the English Civil War erupts, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Tuppence Middleton

by Helen Oyeyemi

Perdita Lee may appear your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor flat with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (and, according to Wikipedia, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. In fact, the world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend, Gretel Kercheval – a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.

Years later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story, as well as a reunion or two. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Helen Oyeyemi

The Woman in the Wood
by Lesley Pearse

London, 1960

The lives of teenage twins Maisy and Duncan change for ever the night their sick mother is taken to an asylum. Sent to live in the New Forest with their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham, they feel unloved and abandoned.

At least they have each other.

But one day Duncan doesn’t come home from exploring in the forest and no one – least of all his grandmother – appears to care about his disappearance. The police, who’ve found the bodies of other missing boys, offer little hope of finding Duncan alive.

Yet Maisy refuses to give up. Though she doesn’t know the woods well, she knows someone who does. The strange old woman who lives at their heart.

Dare Maisy enlist the help of the woman in the wood?

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Rosie Jones

The Five; The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
by Hallie Rubenhold

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Louise Brealey

The Adulterer’s Wife
by Leigh Russell

Julie is devastated to learn that her husband, Paul, is having an affair. It seems her life can’t get any worse – until she comes home to find his dead body in their bed.

When the police establish he was murdered, Julie is the obvious suspect. To protect her son from the terrible situation, Julie sends the teenage boy to his grandparents in Edinburgh while she fights to prove her innocence.

With all the evidence pointing to her, the only way she can escape conviction is by discovering the true identity of her husband’s killer. But who really did murder Paul?

The truth is never straightforward …

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Phillipa Leigh

The Color Purple
by Alice Walker

Celie has grown up poor in rural Georgia, despised by the society around her and abused by her own family. She strives to protect her sister, Nettie, from a similar fate, and while Nettie escapes to a new life as a missionary in Africa, Celie is left behind without her best friend and confidante, married off to an older suitor, and sentenced to a life alone with a harsh and brutal husband.

In an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear, Celie begins writing letters directly to God. The letters, spanning 20 years, record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment guided by the light of a few strong women. She meets Shug Avery, her husband’s mistress and a jazz singer with a zest for life, and her stepson’s wife, Sophia, who challenges her to fight for independence. And though the many letters from Celie’s sister are hidden by her husband, Nettie’s unwavering support will prove to be the most breathtaking of all.

Available as an eAudiobook
Narrated by Alice Walker

Villa of Secrets
by Patricia Wilson

Rebecca Neumanner’s marriage is on the brink of collapse, as her desire to be a mother becomes an obsession. Then she receives news from her estranged family in Rhodes.

Called back to the beautiful Greek island of her birth, she realises how little she knows of the grandmother she has eluded for over a decade. Bubba has never spoken of the Nazi occupation during her youth, but there have always been whispers. What desperate measures did she take that terrible day in 1944 when her family was ripped apart? Can the rumour she had blood on her own hands really be true? But Bubba intends to take her secrets to the grave.

However, as Rebecca arrives on Rhodes, bringing the promise of new life, this broken family must come together. The time has come to tell the truth about the darkest of days . . .

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook
Narrated by Lucy Paterson 

Download the BorrowBox app and log in with your Hampshire Library card to enjoy these titles, and thousands of others!


Did you know

  • 7 million people die each year as result of direct tobacco use 
  • 1.2 million non-smokers die each year as a result of being exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • Waterpipe tobacco use is damaging to health in similar ways to cigarette tobacco use.
  • E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, but do contain nicotine which is highly addictive and are harmful to health – especially for children and adolescents. However, it is too early to provide a clear answer on the long-term impacts of using them or being exposed to them.
  • E-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking cigarettes and can help you quit – it’s a tool to help you quit, not a replacement for smoking cigarettes.

To stop smoking you need support, without it you are more likely to fail or start smoking again. That is why Stoptober encourage as many smokers as possible to prepare to quit from 1 October by taking part in the campaign and utilising the range of free resources and support available.

Launched in 2012, Stoptober is the 28-day stop smoking challenge from Public Health England that encourages and supports smokers across England towards quitting for good. Stoptober is based on the insight that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to be able to stay quit for good. The campaign chunks down the quitting process, presents it as a more manageable 28 days and rallies people around a specific date to get started.

Public Health England

NHS One You have a page dedicated to quitting smoking with some helpful tips, an app to keep track of your progress and how much money you are saving and support and advice. Find the page here: NHS – Quit Smoking and begin your journey to a smoke free life.

Have you tried to quit before, but not quite been able to kick the habit?
Don’t worry; you’re not alone! Nicotine is highly addictive, which makes smoking a tough habit to stop. But with help and support you can do it!

Quitting tips by the NHS:

  1. List your reasons to quit.
  2. Tell people you’re quitting.
  3. If you have tried to quit before, remember what worked.
  4. Use stop smoking aids.
  5. Have a plan if you are tempted to smoke.
  6. List your smoking triggers and how to avoid them.
  7. Keep cravings at bay by keeping busy.
  8. Exercise away the urge.
  9. Join the Facebook group for support and advice.
  10. Throw away all your cigarettes before you start. Remember, there is never “just 1 cigarette”. You can do it!

Books to help you on the way

Did you know we have books to support and help you quit smoking? You can reserve your copy today for a small fee, or try one of the eBook versions directly on your phone or tablet.

Stop smoking now: the survival guide
by Josephine Spire

Studies show that few people understand the specific health risks of tobacco use. Many smokers who are aware of the dangers of smoking want to quit but are deep into addiction. Why do they carry on smoking? Is it because they are too deeply addicted, is it because the habit is no longer controllable, or is it the brainwashing that is sabotaging their ability to stop smoking? The purpose of this book is simply to help people to use the powers that they already possess to quit smoking and become a non-smoker for good.

Quit smoking boot camp : the fast track to quitting smoking again…for good
by Allen Carr

Short of time? Or have you stopped smoking and found it hard to stay stopped? If so, then this is the book for you. ‘Quit Smoking Boot Camp’ is a revolutionary and concise version of the Easyway method, delivered in short, dramatic chunks to help you quit smoking and transform your life in the easiest way possible. Just obey all the instructions. It’s recommended that you read this book over four days – start on a Tuesday, finish on a Friday – and it’s divided into four bite-sized sections to help you do so. Change your mindset overnight and stop smoking immediately and painlessly.

How to quit smoking : the ultimate smokefree formula
by Professor Robert West with Chris Smyth and Jamie West

This book shows how you can create your personal SmokeFree Formula so that you are free from cigarettes for good. Professor Robert West is a world authority on smoking and addiction and has been helping smokers stop for more than 30 years. He is an advisor to the Department of Health and helped set up the NHS Stop Smoking Services.

Stop smoking with CBT: the most powerful way to beat your addiction
by Dr Max Pemberton

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is widely recognised as the most effective treatment for overcoming addiction. This book draws explicitly on this set of mind-training tools to help you stop smoking once and for all.

Allen Carr’s easy way to stop smoking: be a happy non-smoker for the rest of your life
by Allen Carr

Allen Carr’s cigarette addiction drove him to despair, but, after countless attempts to quit, he eventually kicked the habit. This book offers a complete system to allow smokers to finish that last cigarette and quit for good.

How to stop smoking: 30 solutions to suit you
by Matthew Aldrich

‘How To Stop Smoking’ offers anyone who wants to stop honest, balanced and trustworthy advice on how to kick the habit – forever. Written by a former smoker, now personal trainer and health guru, this is a practical guide which demolishes all the reasons for continuing to smoke one by one. It offers a variety of solutions to suit you, and also focuses on such key issues as physical and mental addiction and the questions and issues that surround giving up, and prevent people from doing so.

The illustrated easy way for women to stop smoking: a liberating guide to a smoke-free future
by Allen Carr

This guide examines the differences and difficulties experienced by women trying to stop smoking and engages the reader in a personal consultation, offering specific targeted advice on how to resolve the issues behind smoking.

National Inclusion Week

28 September – 4 October

National Inclusion Week highlights the huge importance of inclusion in not only the workplace, but in society as well. Many employers use it as a time to get connected and engage with their colleagues and talk more about inclusion. You can use the week to organise events and activities in your own workplace or community.

How are libraries inclusive?

Libraries are a place for the community. For all people, from all walks of life to come together to learn, read and have access to resources. Libraries are a safe space where someone can visit without question and borrow books and so much more!

Libraries also hold stock that is inclusive to all. We have audiobooks in CD, playaway and electronic format, and our eAudiobooks can be slowed down or sped up to make sure everyone can enjoy them.

We have large print books, which are books with larger than average font, and Quick Reads; books condensed into a few chapters with slightly larger font, making it perfect for those who struggle finding the time to read, struggle remembering long stories or just want a condensed version of a book.

We have some amazing adult picture books aimed at those with dementia. What makes these different from your average picture books, is that there are no words, no text and instead large photographs of everyday things, places and situations, perfect to share!
And let’s not forget our extra large print picture books with braille! Perfect for both adults and children to read together, and a perfect way to introduce young children to braille.

We’ve already mentioned our eAudiobooks, but did you know you can adjust the font size and background colour of our eBooks to suit you? If you’re unsure how, check out this helpful video:

We also have some amazing dyslexia friendly books aimed at children, teens and young adults. These are published by Barrington Stoke, and printed on yellow paper with clear, easy to read font, and the paragraphs are also divided up to make it easier to read.
If your child is struggling with reading, we can recommend trying these books, and also visit Barrington Stoke’s website.

Facts and figures

  • We are part of Hampshire County Council’s Culture, Communities and Business Services department.
  • Hampshire Libraries hold over 2 million items of stock and receive over 6 million visits a year – normally.
  • Every library has both public computers and WiFi, providing free access to the internet. Due to the current situation, we do ask anyone who would like to use our computers to book their slot in advance by calling 01962 454747
  • Between May and August 2020, our Home Library Service volunteers made 763 visits to vulnerable persons to deliver books and have a friendly chat.
  • During lockdown, our Home Library Service have received 36 new customers, and have been able to organise delivery of books to customers that are shielding.
  • Our Home Library Service team have been working with service from Partners and external organisations including Hampshire County Council Sensory team,  Surgery Signposters, Right at Home care agency, NHS dementia nurse and Southern Health NHS.
  • Through our Ready Reads scheme, we have had 5492 requests for regular book collections.

Standards and values

  • We will engage with customers, putting them at the centre of relevant and high quality services.
  • Contribute to the health and wellbeing of our communities by providing a safe environment and inspiring people to read, learn and access information.
  • Provide equal access for everyone and embrace digital technologies to enhance our diverse range of services.

How to talk about inclusion with children?

Reading stories together is a great way to start conversations about inclusion, diversity and how each one of us are different. We have put together a collection of books to help you get these conversations started, and to help show young children that we are all different and it is that which makes us all special and unique. And most important – that being different is okay.

Ready Reads

2020 has been a year of changes, and it’s been a tough year for everyone, but our Ready Read scheme has meant our readers have been able to keep enjoying books. After signing up to this scheme, our wonderful library staff will handpick books according to your preferences and contact you when the books are ready to collect from the library. When signing up, you can choose to collect your books fortnightly or monthly – as well as how many books you want.

You can sign up for Ready Reads by using our simple Ready Reads request form. Or phone 01962 454747 (local rate charges apply). Our teams are experts at choosing good books and they are looking forward to using their experience and knowledge to help you get the most from your local library. We hope signing up for Ready Reads will give you a chance to try something new. Who knows – you may just discover your next favourite author!

We would like to say a big thank you to our sponsor, BorrowBox, for these lovely Ready Reads bags.

Learning in Libraries

Our courses and workshops are now virtual; you can now enjoy wine tasting, gin tasting, yoga, everyday English, and much more online. Visit our Facebook page to browse all courses and workshops we are currently running – as well as any virtual events!

These online classes mean even those shielding are able to take part, socialise and learn new skills. It’s a perfect opportunity to not only learn a new skill, but staying active – both mentally and physically.
What courses or workshops would you love to see? Tell us in the comments below!

Among the Shelves

One of our key roles, as a library, is to enable access to information. We stock a wide range of materials, do not censor published content, promote understanding and provide good quality information that helps people educate and inform themselves. To challenge prejudice and discrimination, we have been celebrating black authors and cultural role models with selections of good books – all of which can be found on our library shelves.

So far we’ve had four different selections, each with their own blog. We started off with having a look at some Adult non-fiction titles; all of which are incredible reads for all. These are books giving real insight into the lives of black and minority groups, as well as real life stories. These are all titles we can recommend to all.

We then followed on with our Children’s titles, a selection of both fiction and non-fiction titles – perfect to inspire young readers and start conversations about history, present and individuality.

Next we had a selection of wonderful Adult fiction titles. Fiction is a great way to walk in someone else’s shoes, and these books are sure to make you see the world in a different light and get a deeper understanding of other people’s lives.

And finally, we are turning our attention to the incredible poetry books we have. These are all collections of powerful, beautiful and inspiring poems, both contemporary and more classic ones. This blog will come out on Thursday 1 October – so don’t forget to subscribe to be notified when our new blogs goes up!

All books in these blogs are available through the BorrowBox App, or if you prefer physical books you can browse our shelves or use our Ready Reads book collection service which gives you access to a selection of books if you are unable to browse the shelves in person – all books are chosen for you by our team..

Libraries are a place for the community; a place for everyone, and our libraries offer equal access for all. We are also embracing digital technologies to enhance our diverse range of services – now more then ever. To us, inclusion is at the heart of everything we do, and we always strive to reach those who need us the most, those who don’t need us right now and anyone in between.

The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance.

Libba Bray

Unconscious Bias – a booklist

Queer intentions: a (personal) journey through LGBTQ+ culture
by Amelia Abraham

In 2016 Amelia Abraham decided to quit everything and move to another country for love, but came home with her tail between her legs when the relationship ended after just ten days. Thinking about her crushed hopes – marriage, kids; things that she never saw as possible for queer people when she was growing up – the breakup becomes a moment to reflect on the idea that for LGBTQ+ people living in the West today, the options are greater than ever before. Yet, before we can take up these rights, she argues that we must ask ourselves a few questions. What were LGBTQ+ people before us fighting for – our right to be the same, or to be different? At what cost does our assimilation come? And which parts of the LGBTQ+ community are getting left behind? Embarking on a journey across the West – where the tensions that come with so called ‘equality’ are most acute – Amelia searches for the answer to these problems.

Sway : unravelling unconscious bias
by Pragya Agarwal

Have you ever been told to smile more, been teased about your accent, or had your name pronounced incorrectly? If so, you’ve probably already faced bias in your everyday life. We like to believe that we are all fair-minded and egalitarian but we all carry biases that we might not even be aware of. We might believe that we live in a post-racial society, but racial tension and inequality is pernicious and pervasive. We might believe that gender inequality is a thing of the past, but it is still ubiquitous. Unconscious bias has become a frequently-used term in our vocabulary, but there are still so many myths around it. For the first time, behavioural scientist, activist and writer Dr Pragya Agarwal unravels the way our implicit or ‘unintentional’ biases affect the way we communicate and perceive the world, and how they affect our decision-making, even in life and death situations.

A change is gonna come
by Mary Bello

Featuring top Young Adult authors and introducing a host of exciting new voices, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene.

compiled by Juno Dawson

Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN. A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Biased: uncovering the hidden prejudices that shape our lives
by Jennifer L. Eberhardt, PhD

We might think that we treat all people equally, but we don’t. Every day, unconscious biases affect our visual perception, attention, memory, and behaviour in ways that are subtle and very difficult to recognise without in-depth scientific studies. Unconscious biases can be small and insignificant, but they affect every sector of society, leading to enormous disparities, from the classroom to the courtroom to the boardroom. But unconscious bias is not a sin to be cured, but a universal human condition, and one that can be overcome. Pioneering social psychologist Professor Jennifer Eberhardt explains how.

Families, families, families!
by Suzanne Lang and Max Lang

Do you have two dads? Or one step mum? Or what about the world’s biggest grandpa? Discover a whole host of silly animal families in this hilarious celebration of the love found in families big and small.

Lubna and Pebble
by Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egnéus

Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Lubna tells Pebble everything. About home. About the war. Pebble always listens to her stories and smiles when she feels afraid. But one day, when a little boy arrives, alone in a world of tents, Lubna poignantly understands that he needs Pebble even more than she does.

by R.J. Palacio

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’ Auggie wants to be an ordinary 10-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school. All he wants is to be accepted. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

We’re all wonders
by R.J. Palacio

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’ Auggie wants to be an ordinary 10-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school. All he wants is to be accepted. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Invisible women: exposing data bias in a world designed for men
by Caroline Criado Perez

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. She exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives. Caroline brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are excluded from the very building blocks of the world we live in, and the impact this has on their health and wellbeing.

by June Sarpong

An Award-Winning Guide to Why Inclusion is Better for Everyone. Putting the spotlight on groups who are often marginalised in our society, including women, ethnic minorities, those living with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community, Diversify uncovers the hidden cost of exclusion and shows how a new approach to how we learn, live and do business can solve some of the most stubborn challenges we face. Offering six stories, and six simple steps, Diversify explores the value we place on social packaging – how it shapes the way we see ourselves, determines who we become, and limits the opportunities available to us.Most importantly, offers practical tools, empowering us to challenge those limitations, and diversify.Combining sharp observations, fascinating case studies, and interviews with key political, cultural and business leaders, Diversify is a fierce, accessible, credible and proactive guide to how we can beat social division – and reach our potential as a society.Written by June Sarpong MBE, with accompanying research from Dr Anthony Heath and Oxford University.

The good immigrant
edited by Nikesh Shukla

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport? Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’? Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Far from the tree: parents, children and the search for identity
by Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon’s proposition in Far from the Tree is that being exceptional is at the core of the human condition—that difference is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down’s syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, or multiple severe disabilities; with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, and Solomon documents triumphs of love over prejudice in every chapter.

Be kind to one another, remember to stop and think what you can do to make everyone feel included and how we can make the world a better place.

National Coding Week 2020

14 – 20 September 2020

National Coding Week is a volunteer-led organisation founded in 2014. It aims to help build people’s confidence and skills by encouraging volunteers to run fun and engaging digital events.

Code Club was founded in 2012 to assist children with learning coding skills with free after school clubs. In these clubs children learn to create games, animations, and web pages using Scratch, Python, or HTML/CSS.

Many of our libraries (normally) host a range of code clubs – some even host multiple ones! As we continue to follow government guidelines, we have yet been able to start them up again in our libraries, but we have been running code club over on our Facebook page sense April! Why not check it out?
We started with Scratch, and are now working on Micro:bits – did you know you can borrow Micro:bits from your local library?

We may not be able to do taster sessions in our libraries this National Coding Week, but don’t despair! We will instead be bringing the taster sessions to you; right here on our blog!
So enjoy these videos, have a go at coding and, most importantly; have fun!

What are the different coding programs?

A closer look at Scratch

A closer look at Micro:bits

Taster session – a special Coding week project

If you want books about coding, there are plenty available in our libraries. You can reserve them, for a small charge, ask for them with your Ready Reads or pick some up next time you are visiting the library! They are a great read for any young coder to get ideas, tips and inspiration for their future projects. Or for parents or carers who would like to be able to help their children on their coding journey.

Start your coding journey today!

Pat Barker

Pat Barker was born in Yorkshire in 1953.  She was brought up by her grandparents and despite having a tough home life she secured a place at grammar school aged 11 and never looked back. 

Her blunt and direct style of writing, along with her unflinching way of dealing with themes of memory, trauma, survival and recovery have found her a place amongst the most loved and popular authors of our time. 

She is well-known for her Regeneration trilogy set in World War 1 and her books have won many awards. She has an unflinching eye and does not turn her gaze from uncomfortable truths. In her latest novel, The Silence of the Girls, she reveals the misogyny of ancient Greece and its resonance for modern times. Pat Barker is also a featured author in the September theme of Conflict and Crime for the BBC Novels That Shaped Our World. The film Stanley and Iris starring Robert de Niro was loosely based on her first novel, Union Street 

“She was educated at the London School of Economics, where she read International History, and at Durham University. She taught History and Politics until 1982. She began to write in her mid-twenties and was encouraged to pursue her career as a writer by the novelist Angela Carter. Her early novels dealt with the harsh lives of working-class women living in the north of England. Her first book, Union Street (1982) won the Fawcett Society Book Prize.  Her second, Blow Your House Down (1984), was adapted for the stage by Sarah Daniels in 1994. The Century’s Daughter (re-published as Liza’s England in 1996) was published in 1986, followed by The Man Who Wasn’t There in 1989. 

In 1983 she was named as one of the 20 ‘Best Young British Novelists’ in a promotion run by the Book Marketing Council and Granta magazine. Her trilogy of novels about the First World War, which began with Regeneration in 1991, was partly inspired by her grandfather’s experiences fighting in the trenches in France. Regeneration was made into a film in 1997 starring Jonathan Pryce and James Wilby. The Eye in the Door (1993), the second novel in the trilogy, won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and The Ghost Road (1995), the final novel in the series, won the Booker Prize for Fiction. Another World (1998), although set in contemporary Newcastle, is overshadowed by the memories of an old man who fought in the First World War. 

Her novel Border Crossing (2001) describes the relationship between a child psychologist and a young man convicted of murder 13 years earlier. Double Vision (2003) concerns the atrocity of war and two men who are caught up in its shadow. 

Pat Barker was awarded a CBE in 2000. Her latest novels are Life Class (2007), Toby’s Room (2012), returning to the First World War, Noonday (2015) and The Silence of the Girls (2018).” (From 

Another person’s life, observed from the outside, always has a shape and definition that one’s own life lacks.

Pat Barker

The Man Who Wasn’t There

Available as a physical book

Twelve-year-old Colin knows little about his father except that he must have fought in the war. His mother, totally absorbed by the nightclub where she works, says nothing about him, and Colin turns to films for images of what his father might have been. Weaving in and out of Colin’s real life, his imagined film explores issues of loyalty and betrayal and searches for the answer to the question ‘What is a man?’


Available as a physical book

Craiglockhart War Hospital, Scotland, 1917, and army psychiatrist William Rivers is treating shell-shocked soldiers. Under his care are the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, as well as mute Billy Prior, who is only able to communicate by means of pencil and paper. Rivers’s job is to make the men in his charge healthy enough to fight. Yet the closer he gets to mending his patients’ minds the harder becomes every decision to send them back to the horrors of the front. Pat Barker’s Regeneration is the classic exploration of how the traumas of war brutalised a generation of young men.

The Eye in the Door

Available as a physical book

It is 1918, and Prior is in London working as an intelligence officer. His concern is the enemy within – though a clear definition of who exactly the enemy is proves harder to come by than he might have imagined.

Ghost Road

Available as a physical book

This book challenges our assumptions about relationships between the classes, doctors and patients, men and women, and men and men. It completes the author’s exploration of the First World War, and is a timeless depiction of humanity in extremis.

Border Crossing

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

When Tom Seymour, a child psychologist, plunges into a river to save a young man from drowning, he unwittingly reopens a chapter from his past he’d hoped to forget. For Tom already knows Danny Miller. When Danny was ten Tom helped imprison him for the killing of an old woman. Now out of prison with a new identity, Danny has some questions – questions he thinks only Tom can answer. Reluctantly, Tom is drawn back into Danny’s world – a place where the border between good and evil, innocence and guilt is blurred and confused. But when Danny’s demands on Tim become extreme, Tom wonders whether he has crossed a line of his own – and in crossing it, can he ever go back?

Double Vision

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical books coming soon!

Insomnia, exhaustion, recurring nightmares. Stephen Sharkey is suffering the after effects of his career as a war reporter, most recently in Afghanistan, where Ben Frobisher, war photographer and friend, has been shot dead on assignment. Hanging up his flak jacket and turning his back on the everyday reality of war, Stephen moves into a quiet and peaceful cottage in the north of England. It seems the perfect environment in which to write his book on the representations of war, one that will be based largely on Ben Frobisher’s work. But Stephen’s supposed isolation offers no protection from other people’s suffering or the shattering effects of human brutality.

Life Class

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical books

When war breaks out in 1914, Paul Tarrant, a student at the Slade School of Art, leaves behind his attempted life as an artist and his beautiful fellow-student Elinor to tend to casualties on the front line.

Toby’s Room

Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Toby and Elinor, brother and sister, friends and confidants, are sharers of a dark secret, carried from the summer of 1912 into the battlefields of France and wartime London in 1917.


Available as an eBook, eAudiobook and physical book

Paul Tarrant, Elinor Brooke and Kit Neville first met in 1914 at the Slade School of Art, before their generation lost hope, faith and much else besides on the battlefields of Ypres and the Somme. Now it is 1940, they are middle-aged, and another war has begun. London is a haunted city. Some have even turned to séances in an attempt to contact lost loved ones. As the bombs fall and Elinor and the others struggle to survive, old temptations and obsessions return, and all of them are forced to make choices about what they really want.

The Silence of the Girls

Available as a physical book

When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis’s old life is shattered. She is transformed from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the god-like warrior Achilles as a prize of war. And she’s not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long and bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters. The Trojan War is known as a man’s story: a quarrel between men over a woman, stolen from her home and spirited across the sea. But what of the other women in this story, silenced by history? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?

Half the world’s work is done by hopeless neurotics

Pat Barker, The Eye in the Door