Library Lounge Collection: Library Staff Top Picks 3

The third and final part of our series of Library staff recommendations from the Forum Library Lounge.

The Cosmic Verses: A Rhyming History of the Universe by James Muirden

Chosen by Janet Sandy, Information Assistant

Its dust cover says “This is the story of five millennia of  ‘head-scratching’ – of how humans have tried to make sense of the cosmos.  …. James Muirden’s wonderful new poem cleverly and humorously examines the quest for understanding of our universe. … The Cosmic Verses encapsulates and illuminates five thousand years of the greatest thoughts and thinkers…in brilliantly constructed couplets, cheerfully and copiously illustrated with David Eccles’s delightful line drawings.  … Wonderfully funny and extremely clever, The Cosmic Verses: A Rhyming History of the Universe instructs and clarifies even as it amuses.”

This book is great fun and extremely informative, being written in an historical time line from before 700 BC to after 1900.  I have giggled out loud while reading it, am enjoying it tremendously and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys poetry and enjoys learning.

Find it in the Library Lounge at 821.089 MUI


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Chosen by Viki Jones, Shelving Assistant

A young boy called Daniel is taken to a secret library called the ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ by his father and is allowed to take one book which he must protect. Daniel picks a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. He enjoys the book so much he looks for further books by the same author only to discover that a strange man calling himself Laín Coubert (after a character in The Shadow of the Wind who happens to be the devil) has been seeking out Carax’s books for years, buying them all and burning them. Intrigued, Daniel must find out why….

Full of mystery, intrigue and with a doomed love story this is a great book by a Spanish writer (translated into English by Lucia Graves). The plot has a story within a story and I was drawn not only into Daniel’s life but Julián Carax’s. I also love the idea of a secret location hiding and safe guarding forgotten books. Do we have one hidden in the basement of the Forum Library?

Find it in the Library Lounge at  868.6/RUI-10 


Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Chosen by Kerry Pankhurst, Collections Manager

This is a gripping debut novel about obsession, domestic abuse and the psychological impact of both. It is not a comfortable read and I found it really quite chilling, but unputdownable. The narrative jumps between two timelines which is incredibly effective at building the tension. It definitely made me double check if my front door was locked at night!

Find it in the Library Lounge at 823.92 HAY



Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl

Chosen by Imogen Ward-Smith, Information Assistant

These stories are macabre, dark, twisted and wonderful; Roald Dahl’s unique imagination in an adult outlet. The book contains eleven varied tales with a common thread of the sly and slightly sinister side of human nature. Think horror, revenge, lies, cheating, murder, and theft. If any of the above appeal to you, then give this book a go! Not necessarily recommended for bedtime reading, at least I couldn’t (I don’t like scary movies or roller coasters and these tales definitely count as nightmare-fodder) but they gave me a delightful satisfying shiver that wasn’t at all unpleasant.

The bit that most stuck with me….


…. There is a brain kept alive in a bowl!!

Find it in the Library Lounge at 828.9/DAH-4 


State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Chosen by Roxanne Crabb, Forum Library Supervisor

This is a challenging book both in terms of its pacing (after a slow start it gets more and more gripping as it goes on) and the mighty ethical questions with which it grapples, but it’s well worth a read. Dr Annick Swenson is a field researcher working in the Brazilian rainforest, studying a tribe whose women continue to bear  children long into old age. She is being funded by a pharmaceutical company to produce a miracle fertility drug, but progress is slow and Dr Swenson is becoming increasingly elusive. When her colleague, Anders – sent to the jungle to report on the project’s progress – is reported dead in rather ambiguous circumstances, the scene is set for Patchett’s heroine, Dr Marina Singh, to make the trip herself.

This is a great pick for the armchair explorer: Patchett evokes the beauty, danger, and above all the strangeness of the Amazon in a way that is truly mesmerising. Twists abound too, some of which I had anticipated and a few of which left me breathless. State of Wonder is a walk on the wild side, both in the way it takes you into the steamy heart of the rainforest and in the way that it is not afraid to needle, albeit gently, at some of the big moral problems in Western society.

Find it in the Library Lounge at 813.6 PAT


If you missed the earlier posts in this series check out Part 1 and Part 2.

As you’ll see, the Library Lounge offers a wide variety of recreational reading material. We hope something from our selections will appeal to you. If you’ve read any of the books Library staff have chosen this week why not let us know if you agreed or disagreed with our verdicts? You can Tweet us or leave us a comment on Facebook.


Leave a Reply