Our author of the month for March is Colleen Hoover!
Colleen Hoover self-published her first book online because her mum got a kindle for Christmas, and she wanted her to be able to read it! Hoover’s first novel ‘Slammed’ was inspired by a line from American folk-rock band The Avett Brothers: ‘Decide what to be and go be it’.
Big fan? Then you’ll already know it’s CoHo for short.
The New Adult genre has rapidly gained popularity in recent years and is aimed at the 18-29 age bracket. It’s basically YA all grown up!
“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.” ― Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us
Content warning for mental health and eating disorders
February is the time to celebrate love, but we want to encourage you to love yourself! The way we feel about ourselves can be complicated for a whole range of reasons, from our mental wellbeing to what we see in the media. So we’ve rounded up some top titles centred around accepting, loving and celebrating who you are.
Much of New York Times bestselling author Matt Haig’s writing draws inspiration from his struggles with mental health, and The Comfort Book is no exception. This collection of stories and notes serves as a reminder that life’s dark moments are not so powerful as they may seem.
Samantha Renke’s You Are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread is a series of lessons in embracing every part of yourself. The message of the book is simple: if you’re thinking it, someone else is thinking the same. From disability to body positivity, and even the big question: ’am I normal?’, everyone will find comfort, joy and acceptance in You Are The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread.
This title is available as an audiobook on BorrowBox.
In a world where men are often under pressure to present a tough, masculine exterior, podcaster Alex Holmes wants to change things. Time to Talk: How Men Think About Love, Belonging and Connection celebrates men as they are, and seeks to challenge the societal demands placed upon them.
With reviewers hailing itas the ’most inspiring’ and ’most important’ book they’ve ever read, You Are Not A Before Picture tackles diet culture head on. This book is a masterclass in challenging everything you’ve been taught about how you should perceive your body.
Jamie Windust’s In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life dares readers to not only accept, but to celebrate themselves. Navigating life as a non-binary person in an overwhelmingly binary world, Windust shares anecdotes of their own experiences, providing reassurance and comfort to those embarking on their own exploration of gender and identity.
Pop in your headphones and tune into the perfect podcast for you in 2023. If you’ve ever explored the world of podcasts, you’ll know that there’s a wealth of book-related content to choose from. With so much choice, trying to pick a new podcast can feel a little overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our favourites for you to listen to in 2023 so you can get the lowdown on your favourite authors, learn about the publishing industry or discover your next great read.
Best for the library-goer
First things first, if you’re not already following our Love Your Library podcast then you’re missing out. Love Your Library is a book lover’s podcast, brought to you by Hampshire Libraries. We interview authors and companies from across the world about books and reading and have fun discussing what we’re reading. From Phillipa Gregory to Rory Cellan-Jones, no matter what you love to read we’ve got something for you.
If you’re looking for podcast that covers book discussions and interviews as well as publishing news, then Books & Boba is the perfect show for you. Hosts Marvin Yueh and Reera Yoo pick a book by an Asian or Asian American author to read and discuss on the podcast every month as well as reporting on book deals, new releases and other bookish news.
If you’ve ever googled the most beautiful bookshops in the world, then you’ve probably come across Shakespeare and Company. Nestled in the heart of Paris, the shop isn’t just a picturesque place to browse, but since its opening in 1951 has been home to over 30,000 writers, artists, and intellectuals (known as tumbleweeds). These tumbleweeds include prolific authors and poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Anaïs Nin, Ray Bradbury, and Jeanette Winterson.
So, settle down with a cup of tea and a macaron and connect with a piece of bookish heritage. The weekly Shakespeare and Company: Writers, Books and Paris podcast is hosted by the Literary Director Adam Biles and features conversations with internationally acclaimed authors, recorded live from the bookshop.
Bookriot produce a wide range of excellent book related podcasts but if you’re a mystery or thriller fan then Read or Dead is the one for you. The bi-weekly mystery fiction podcast is dedicated to unearthing and discussing mystery and thriller literature. From true crime to fictional mysteries involving games, the show has a wide range of topics for you to uncover.
Novels aren’t for everyone – and that’s okay. If you’re more interested in reading comics, then The Stack from the team at Comic Book Club is a wonderful podcast pick. The hosts review new releases and the latest news in their weekly episodes. Whether you’re a Marvel, DC, or more of an indie fan, The Stack has you covered.
For a more classically based podcast, then check out On the Road with Penguin Classics. Each episode, author Henry Eliot travels across Europe to interview novelists and readers alike. From Soho to Lisbon, the podcast focusses on literary locations and classic literature in an entertaining but educational way.
If you’re looking for new way to experience your old favourites, then the Anne of Green Gables podcast is the place to start. The unabridged book is read by a full cast of talented actors, bringing read L.M. Montgomery’s childhood classic to life.
Starting something new doesn’t have to be expensive or require a lot of effort; your local library is full of free resources and services to help you throughout the year. We’ve compiled a handy guide to how libraries can support you in your New Year’s resolutions. No matter how big or small your milestones are, we’ve got you covered.
Read more, spend less
Do you want to read more often, but find yourself spending too much money on books that you never get round to reading? Borrow a book from your local library instead. There’s a huge selection of books to browse in the library catalogue, or if you’re into ebooks or audiobooks, download the BorrowBox app. Just log in with your Hampshire Libraries membership details and see the wide variety of books available. Read on your travels and when you’re out and about – the perfect way to start reading more often. And it’s super sustainable too!
Learn something new
We’ve all resolved to learn a new skill at some point. But this can be expensive if you’re buying new equipment or signing up to a course to support your new venture. Many of our Learning in Libraries courses are free and offer a wide range of skills and activities to get stuck into. From seated dance, to learning to sew or computing for beginners, whatever you’re into there’s something for everyone. Or if you fancy learning more independently, read our blog on books for beginners to learn a new skill.
Join a new group
It can be tricky to make new friends and find clubs or societies in your area. The library is a great place to discover a new group and find people who share your passions. Give back to the local community by volunteering for one of the charity groups or come along to Friendly Fridays at Yateley Library and enjoy some games. Or if you fancy a creative activity, there are knit or craft and natter groups. You can even meet new people from the comfort of your own home with the digital readers book club. Simply head to the events section on our website to find out what’s going on near you.
Cut down on screen time
We’re all guilty of being consumed by our phones, tablets and TV screens. Seek some inspiration from the library catalogue to spend less time looking at screens and more time exploring the outdoors. Why not try out a new form of exercise or connect with nature at your local park and discover the hidden secrets right on your doorstep? Or entertain yourself on your lunchtime walk and listen along to the Love Your Library podcast.
Share more stories
Sharing stories is a great way to connect with friends and family, through bonding over your favourite twists and turns in tales. Encourage your little ones to read more often by joining the Winter Mini Challenge. Once they’ve finished a book, they can give you their full review so you can find out which stories they enjoy. Or come along to a storytime event and hear your favourite books being read aloud.
Don’t forget that no matter how big or small your goals are this year, Hampshire Libraries is here to support you. Starting something new in the smallest way is the biggest step to reaching your targets. These aims don’t have to be daunting, stay motivated and focused with a little help from your local library.
We wanted to look back on everything we’ve done together this year, so we’ve created a roundup of our best of 2022 as we look ahead to the New Year.
Summer Reading Challenge
Over the summer, we once again held our annual Summer Reading Challenge. This year the theme was Gadgeteers, a collection of friends who love science and wanted to help your children discover the innovation behind the world around them. It was brilliant hearing about all the books Hampshire’s newest Gadgeteers read this summer, and we’re so pleased that so many children had fun!
If you enjoyed the Summer Reading Challenge this year, why not join in with the winter mini challenge from The Reading Agency? The Gadgeteers are back to spark your children’s love of reading once again. It finishes on 20February so sign up now and get stuck in.
For Pride month this year, we invited Ren, a volunteer at Chandler’s Ford Library, to talk to us about the delightful list of queer books we have available at our libraries and share some personal recommendations. Our selection covers a range of books published in the last 40 years, so if you’re looking to diversify your reading then there’s sure to be something for you either as a physical copy or an eBook or audiobook on Borrowbox.
Love Your Library podcast
It’s been an amazing year for the Love Your Library podcast, from superb interviews with award-winning authors, to expert recommendations from our library teams. 2022 has brought us plot twists, belly laughs, bestsellers and so much more. Take a look at all the episodes from 2022 have a listen!
Death Positive Libraries
Libraries are uniquely placed to be a centre for bereavement support as well as a trusted space where conversations about death and dying can take place with caring staff on hand to help. So, in March we launched Death Positive Libraries.
We specially selected a collection of books for adults offering practical information and guidance and created one for children to help initiate conversations about death. These resources and much more are still available in each of our five hubs, so please make use of them and keep the conversation going.
Cost of living resources
As times have become tougher, libraries have supported communities across Hampshire. We put together some helpful resources on the different ways libraries can support you during the cost of living crisis. From learning a new skill to practical resources on budgeting, there’s something for everyone.
That’s a wrap!
What was your highlight of 2022 and what’re you most looking forward to reading in 2023? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter so you can stay up on all your local library’s news in the New Year.
Have a lovely festive season, and we’ll see you in 2023.
As the weather gets colder, it’s the perfect time to cosy up in the library or at home and share a story with your little ones. Escape to faraway lands and engage their imagination with stories about adventure, friendship, and mystery.
We’ve prepared a list of our favourite festive stories to borrow from your local library, so you can keep your children entertained over the winter months. Based in chilly settings, these beautifully illustrated picture books have twists, turns and heaps of snow to get you excited for the magic of the holidays.
The Snowman™ and The Snowdog is the sequel to much-loved classic The Snowman™. Billy isn’t full of festive cheer as his beloved old dog has passed away. When snow starts to fall, Billy builds a snowman, and with his leftover snow builds a snowdog too. Later that night, something magical happens; Billy embarks on a wonderful snowy adventure as The Snowman™ and The Snowdog come to life.
And you can join The Snowman™ and The Snowdog in real life on a festive winter wander around some of Hampshire’s most spectacular country parks. A Winter Wander with The Snowman™ and The Snowdog is taking place at Royal Victoria Country Park, Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Lepe Country Park. Head to the event website to book now.
The Storm Whale in Winter is a follow up to Benji Davies’s bestselling book The Storm Whale. Last summer, Noi rescued a little whale when it washed ashore in a great storm. Now he longs to see his friend again. Winter sets in and Noi worries about his whale and if it can survive the harsh conditions.
One night Noi thinks he sees the whale out at sea and rushes outside for a glimpse of it. Soon the whale may be lost in the blanket of ice and snow – who will rescue him? Follow Noi and his old friend on an emotional story about long-lasting friendship. This beautifully illustrated tale is full of busy scenes and captivating characters, to keep children engaged while reading along.
Winter is approaching and it’s time for Bear to have a nice long sleep. But the more he tries to get to sleep, the more awake he feels. So, he decides to copy his forest friends who seem to doze off without any trouble: he sings in the trees like Blackbird, burrows underground like Badger, and even hangs upside down from his cave roof like a bat. But nothing works – until wise Frog shows him how to relax, and soon the forest is reverberating with his snores! This is the perfect story to send your little ones off to sleep on a chilly winter’s night.
When the first snow of winter falls, Phoebe wishes for it to bring with it some much-needed magic. In Griselda Bone’s Home for Strays, magic, daydreaming, and doodling are banned. Just as Phoebe is about to give up hope, a Snow Dragon appears and whisks her away on an adventure. An enchanting tale, full of fantastical creatures and winter magic. The Snow Dragon is also available to borrow as an audiobook to listen along as the little ones drift off to sleep.
In the frozen Antarctic, one curious little penguin decides to explore the ice, snow and sea. On his travels he sees two blue whales, a family of sea lions and a whole school of orcas, but soon Penguin starts to miss his own family. Sometimes coming home is the best adventure of all. Told in rhyming couplets, this feel-good book explores themes of bravery and courage. Cosy up on Christmas morning and follow this little penguin’s journey.
If your kids would like to try out some other books this winter, head over to the Reading Agency’s website to find out more about the mini winter reading challenge. This challenge is full of fantastic books to discover this winter. Hurry and complete the reading challenge before the holidays end.
As times become tougher, we look to libraries to inspire the local community.
Hampshire Libraries are versatile spaces. From cosying up and enjoying a good book to popping along to one of our rhyme time sessions with younger children – there’s something for everyone. We’ve put together some helpful guidance on the different ways you can use your local library during the cost-of-living crisis. Our libraries are welcoming spaces for the whole community to enjoy, so make the most out of our free resources.
Find information and advice
Libraries are a great source for information and advice. This advice is provided in many accessible formats, from podcasts to eBooks and magazines, so however you like to research there’s a format for you.
Why not look at some of our books on budgeting and personal finance? These handy tips can help us through the winter period, especially as energy prices rise and the festive shopping period starts. You can even find books on cooking on a budget. There are many resources on how to budget while providing for your family.
Upskill with a Learning in Libraries course
Our Learning in Libraries courses provide a great start to finding the right job for you. From courses on computing for all, to English for speakers of other languages, there’s a wide variety of new things to learn. Add some useful skills to your CV to give you that little boost. Or why not learn something that you’ve always wanted to give a go, such as capturing the perfect photo or the art of watercolour?
Enjoy free entertainment
Cancel your streaming subscriptions to save some pennies? Stay warm and cosy in the library this winter to enjoy free entertainment and a range of exciting new books. All Hampshire library card holders can use the BorrowBox app, which gives you free online access to a huge selection of eAudiobooks and eBooks.
And if you enjoy listening, give our Love You Libraries podcast a go. Episodes feature interviews with some of the nation’s best-loved authors, as well as book news, library updates and in-depth discussions with the people behind the bookshelves at our branches.
There are also plenty of free activities available to keep children entertained over the holidays. There are free worksheets and activities on the Kids’ Zone and audiobooks to listen to while you’re on the school run. Entertaining the whole family doesn’t have to be expensive with a little help from your local library.
It can feel very isolating when we’re trying to avoid spending money on socialising. Stay connected at the library and join one of our friendly clubs. Based in warm, comfortable spaces, community clubs are welcome for anyone to join. There are a variety of activities for you to enjoy, from knit and natter groups to a Spanish communication club. Or practice wellbeing and join a mindful moments class to focus on your mental health in what can be a challenging time for many.
Public computers are free to use for all library card holders, or you can bring your own device along and connect to the free Wi-Fi. Our library staff can help you to log on and find the right software to use. Libraries also provide cost-effective printing, either from a public computer, your own device or even from home.
Support your local community
Hampshire Libraries are supporting the most vulnerable within the local community. There are now 19 community pantries across the county providing access to discounted food, some of which are in Hampshire Libraries. Community pantries provide groceries at a lower cost than supermarkets or shops, offering a range of fresh, frozen, and general foods which change on a weekly basis. Anyone can access their local community pantry as long as they’ve signed up to become a member.
Do you know someone who can’t visit their local library themselves? We can arrange to have library books delivered to their home on a regular basis. We offer books in standard and large print and have a wide range of audio books in different formats. If you would like to borrow a particular title from Hampshire’s stock, we can get it for you!
Looking for more ways your library can support you and your household during the cost-of-living crisis? Visit our cost-of-living resources page for more information.