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All the Colours Story Time

Saturday, January 31st 2015 at 11:00 AM

coloursDo you know which colour you get when you mix blue and red? Or when you mix yellow and red? Today we will read stories about colours and what makes them so much like magic that if we only have three colours to start with, we can end up with so many at the end!

Do you know all the colours of the rainbow in the right order?


Launch of Girl on the Edge by Ruth Carneson

Tuesday, January 27th 2015 at 5:30 PM

girl on the edge launch


A B C Story Time

Saturday, January 24th 2015 at 11:00 AM

dog embraceOne of the best things we get to learn when we go to school, is we get to learn the alphabet! Today we will read some stories about the alphabet and we will spell out our own names with letters for our rooms.
If A is for apricot, and B is for biscuit, what would C be?


2015 Preview

Tuesday, January 20th 2015 at 11:25 AM


Paula Hawkins’ first crime novel The Girl On The Train (Doubleday) is tipped for big things. Despite being unemployed, alcoholic Rachel catches the same commuter train every day. When she notices sinister behaviour in a house on her route she gets involved with disastrous consequences.

Lurid & Cute by Adam Thirlwell (Jonathan Cape). An ordinary man wakes up and finds himself plunged into a Technicolor world of crime, revenge and lust in a characteristically playful novel from the author of Politics and The Escape.

One Thousand Things Worth Knowing by Paul Muldoon (Faber). The sense of a generation moving up infuses Muldoon’s 12th collection of poetry, which opens with a long poem dedicated to the memory of Seamus Heaney.

Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari (Bloomsbury). The controversial Hari, repentant plagiarist, enters the drugs debate with a look at the past 100 years of prohibition.

Quite a Good Time to be Born: A Memoir: 1935-1975 by David Lodge (Harvill Secker). The author of Changing Places and Nice Work charts the momentous social developments that unfolded during the first half of his life.



 The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan (Faber). The story of an officer in the Royal Western Fusiliers, returning to Scotland from a tour of Afghanistan, is interwoven with his grandmother’s early life as a pioneer of British documentary photography.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (Chatto). The celebrated author of The Accidental Tourist and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant is back with a Baltimore-set novel about generations of the Whitshank family.

The First Bad Man by Miranda July (Canongate). “Never has a novel spoken so deeply to my sexuality, my spirituality, my secret self,” says Lena Dunham. The first novel by July, the cult writer, film-maker and artist, tackles motherhood, ageing and the need to be loved.

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman (Headline). “Short fictions and disturbances” from the all-conquering fantasy writer, in which the old gods clash with the new in modern America.

Deborah Levy, author of the popular Swimming Home, brings us a new novel. The Unloved tells the story of what a group of holidaymakers get up to in a château. As always with Levy, expect beautiful prose.

Second Life by SJ Watson (Doubleday). Follow-up to memory-loss smash Before I Go to Sleep is a psychological thriller featuring a woman leading a double life.

We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler (Bloomsbury). A “pirate story for grownups”, about a teenage girl causing mayhem in San Francisco bay, from the author more commonly known as Lemony Snicket.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (Picador). When his online identity was stolen, Ronson rapidly rooted out the culprits. But it prompted this meditation on the exponential growth in the power of contemporary public shaming, not least in social media.

Leaving Before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller (Penguin). A sequel to Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Fuller’s memoir of her childhood in Rhodesia, this time revisiting her tempestuous 20-year marriage.

Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon (Faber). Much excitement surrounds this memoir from the bassist, singer and co-founder of Sonic Youth.

Young Eliot: From St Louis to The Waste Land by Robert Crawford (Cape). The early life of the 20th century’s most important poet, published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of his death.



The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro(Faber). His first novel since Never Let Me Go a decade ago is a striking departure, set in a mythical post-Roman England where memories of Arthur are fading and Britons and Saxons live in uneasy peace.

A Place Called Winter is the new novel from Patrick Gale (Tinder Press), in which the place called Winter is in the newly colonised Canadian prairies – it has a dramatic opening and does not disappoint.

Satin Island from Tom McCarthy, author of Man Booker-shortlisted C.(Cape). A narrator known only as U who works as a “corporate anthropologist”, a dizzying proliferation of information and a spiral of narratives usher us in to this avant-garde world.

Dancing in the Dark: My Struggle Book 4 by Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker). After last year’s Boyhood Island, Knausgaard’s autobiography-fiction hybrid arrives at the threshold of adult life, as the 18-year-old narrator finds himself teaching in a remote fishing village and beginning to write short stories.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson (Crown).From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in White City and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania, published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the disaster.

I Am Radar by Reif Larsen (Vintage). Larsen follows his picaresque debut The Selected Works of TS Spivet, which was shortlisted for the Guardian first book award, with a globetrotting epic about a boy with mysterious origins.

A.D. Miller, author of the Booker shortlisted Snowdrops returns with something completely different – The Faithful Couple (Little Brown) – the story of a friendship built on a shared guilt and a secret betrayal.

A Decent Ride by Irvine Welsh (Cape). It’s another outing for “Juice Terry”, the lusty taxi driver whom we first encountered in Glue – and who now finds himself with an ailing libido. Can a burgeoning love of golf help? Probably not.

One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway by Åsne Seierstad (Virago). The author of The Bookseller of Kabul explores the events surrounding the massacre of 2011, and their effect on Norwegian society.

Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton). Journeys through Britain, with an emphasis on how language has captured the natural world, from the author of the wonderful The Old Ways.

Visitants by Dave Eggers (Hamish Hamilton). Twenty years of travel writing, from Cuba to Croatia and Syria to South Sudan, from the increasingly prolific Eggers.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig (Canongate). A rumination on depression, Matt Haig’s book takes the novelist into personal territory while keeping an eye on the bigger picture: “In the Western world suicide is the leading cause of death among men under the age of 35.” Joanna Lumley calls it a “small masterpiece”.



God Help the Child by Toni Morrison (Chatto & Windus). A new novel from the Nobel laureate exploring the way childhood trauma reverberates into adulthood.

Pleasantville by Attica Locke (Serpent’s Tail). Revisiting the territory of Locke’s Orange prize-shortlisted Black Water RisingPleasantville focuses on the case of a missing girl during a contentious mayoral campaign.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (Atlantic). The latest from SF’s brainiest author is set 30,000 years in the future, after a meteorite storm has rendered the earth’s surface uninhabitable.

Hour of Darkness by Michéle Rowe – a follow-up to the absolutely brilliant What Hidden Lies, and part two of the Persy Jonas trilogy. We’re excited!

The Discreet Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa (Faber). The Nobel prize-winner weaves a tale of two men, each heroic in his own way – one the victim of blackmail, the other determined to avenge himself on his useless sons. Previous Vargas Llosa characters also make an appearance.

Jo Nesbo, creator of the Harry Hole novels, returns with Blood on Snow (Harvill Secker). Olav is a hitman who has met his dream woman but she’s the boss’s wife. And he’s been told to kill her.  As you do.

Jane SmileyEarly Warning. A sweeping American saga that follows the Langdon family from the 1950s to the 1980s, through marriages, heartaches and breakdowns.

Jonathan Littell may be best known to some readers as the author of the best-selling 2009 Second World War novel The Kindly Ones, but he is also a journalist who has reported from wars in Chechnya, Bosnia and the Congo. His Syrian Notebooks: Inside the Homs Uprising (Verso) is published in April.

Alfred Hitchcock by Peter Ackroyd (Chatto & Windus). A new life of the eccentric director, from his isolated childhood to his meteoric career.

The Story of Alice by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (Harvill Secker). As Alice in Wonderland celebrates its 150th birthday, a fresh look at Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell and the Alice books.

Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky (Hamish Hamilton). The activist intellectual on American hegemony.

Words Without Music by Philip Glass (Faber). Memoir of one of the most influential forces in contemporary classical music across opera, symphony and film scores.


 A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday). This companion volume to Atkinson’s 2013 novel Life After Life, about the many lives of Ursula Todd, focuses on the fortunes of her younger brother Teddy, RAF pilot and would-be poet.

Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh (John Murray). The long-awaited final novel in his historical Ibis trilogy covers colonial government in India. The first two titles – Sea of Poppies and River of Smoke – were huge critical successes.

Quicksand by Steve Toltz (Sceptre). Fate, faith and friendship are the subjects of this follow-up to Toltz’s turbo-charged 2008 success, A Fraction of the Whole.

The lovely Sarah Lotz delivers Day Four, the follow up to the creepy bestseller The Three, about a cruise ship stranded in the ocean. Is there something sinister on board…? Probably.

The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle. A dark novel about a group who live outside of society, as well as a meditation on US gun laws and the morals of parenting.

The Green Road by Anne Enright (Cape). The author of The Gathering explores family life once again, this time centring on the Madigans, a County Clare clan that scatters to the four corners of the globe before coming back together again.

Another enticing debut for 2015 is called War of the Encyclopaedists (Hamish Hamilton), about two friends who try to keep in touch after one of them is deployed to Iraq, and it comes with high praise from its publisher, who describes it as “the big American novel brought to the heart of the 21st Century”. One thing that makes it unusual is that it’s written by two authors: Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite.

Naked at the Albert Hall by Tracey Thorn (Virago). The Everything But the Girl star and author of Bedsit Disco Queen on the art and practice of singing.

Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art by Julian Barnes (Cape). The writer’s explorations of artists from Géricault and Delacroix to Howard Hodgkin and Lucian Freud.

Ardennes 1944: Hitler’s Last Gamble by Antony Beevor (Viking). The story of Hitler’s ill-fated final stand, the battle that finally broke the Wehrmacht.

A Day in the Life of the Brain by Susan Greenfield (Pelican). The renowned scientist contributes to this series of accessible introductions.


 In Finders Keepers, Stephen King revisits Misery territory with a tale of an eccentric writer, an obsessed fan, and a family who has something he wants, and will go to great lengths to get.

Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville (Macmillan). New stories from the master of the New Weird.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume (Picador). In her first adult novel for 16 years, based on her own childhood, the revered writer for children and young adults tells the story of a community reeling in the wake of a series of freak plane accidents.

Love + Hate by Hanif Kureishi (Faber). Short fiction and essays including a long piece of reportage about the conman who stole Kureishi’s life savings.

London Overground by Iain Sinclair (Hamish Hamilton). The heroic pedestrian walks around the “Ginger Line”, London’s new orbital overground. From the author of the seminal Lights Out for the Territory.



 The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernières (Harvill Secker). Set around the First World War, this is a return to the epic romance of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

Zero Zero Zero by Roberto Saviano (Allen Lane). A meticulous examination, in the form of a “non-fiction novel”, of the international cocaine trade and its consequences, by the author of the bestselling Gomorrah.

A new book from Daniel J. Levitin, author of the highly acclaimed This is Your Brain on Music is always of interest. The Organised Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload (Penguin) does exactly what it says on the tin and examines the clutter that fills our minds, and what to do about it.

Pour Me by A.A. Gill (Weidenfeld& Nicholson). The highly acclaimed journalist’s account of the year between the end of his marriage and the end of his drinking, spent in a treatment centre in London.



 Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie (Cape). Add it up and you’ll realise that it comes to 1,001 nights: this new short novel is inspired by ancient traditions of storytelling.

The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah (Faber). Zimbabwean-born Gappah’s short-story collection An Elegy for Easterly won the Guardian first book award in 2009; her debut novel focuses on a woman convicted of murder telling her story from a Harare prison cell.

Noonday by Pat Barker (Hamish Hamilton). The last part of trilogy about a group of characters in the London Blitz that began with 2007’s Life Class, and its follow-up Toby’s Room.

The Battle of the Atlantic by Jonathan Dimbleby (Viking). The most destructive naval campaign in all history – and the one that ultimately determined the outcome of the second world war.

A Farewell to Ice by Christopher Wadhams (Allen Lane). A professor of oceanography on the importance of ice to our planet, in a year in which the north pole is likely to be ice-free for the first time in history.

Electric Shock: How Popular Music Made the Modern World by Peter Doggett (Bodley Head). Ambitious and groundbreaking, Electric Shock tells the story of popular music, from the birth of recording in the 1890s to the digital age, from the first pop superstars of the twentieth century to the omnipresence of music in our lives, in hit singles, ringtones and on Spotify.


Purity by Jonathan Franzen (Fourth Estate). A young woman called Pip tries to untangle the mystery of her family, suggesting a Dickensian twist to the latest of Franzen’s dissections of contemporary America.

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury). Atwood follows her MaddAddamtrilogy with this near-future tale of haves and have-nots, in which a poor young couple sign up for a social experiment – with tempestuous consequences.

Merciless Gods by Christos Tsiolkas (Atlantic). Love, sex, death, family, betrayal and more in a new collection of short stories from the author of The Slap.

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions). The fourth and final instalment of Ferrante’s spellbinding Neapolitan series, in which a female friendship is painstakingly charted over time.

 Sweet Caress by William Boyd (Bloomsbury). With his Bond duties performed, Boyd returns to the panoramic novel, this time animating the 20th century through the eyes of ambitious female photographer Amory Clay.

New Bond novel by Anthony Horowitz (Orion). But 007 just won’t die: this new hommage from Horowitz, who also writes Sherlock Holmes novels, will be based on Murder on Wheels, a previously unpublished story by Ian Fleming.

Arcadia by Iain Pears (Faber). The future starts here: Pears’s tale of the imagined worlds of spy turned academic and writer Henry Lytten will be published as both a traditional book and an interactive app, the better to showcase its time-slipping narrative. From the author of the brilliant Instance of the Fingerpost.

Hear the Wind Sing/Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murakami (Harvill Secker). New translations of the Japanese author’s first and second novels.

Tennison by Lynda La Plante (Simon & Schuster). This prequel to the Prime Suspect TV series goes back to the early 70s, when Jane Tennison is starting her police career in Hackney.

The Blue Touch Paper by David Hare (Faber). The acclaimed playwright and director’s memoir, taking us from his childhood to the moment that Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979.

From the best-selling author of The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund de Waal charts the history of porcelain in The White Road.

Black Earth by Timothy Snyder (Bodley Head). Snyder’s groundbreaking Bloodlands told the “what” of the Holocaust; now he moves to the “why”.

The Face of Britain: A History of the Nation Through its Portraits by Simon Schama (Viking). From the Tudors to the present through portraits. Accompanies a major BBC TV series.

Universal by Brian Cox (Allen Lane). How to think like a physicist by the man who has made physics sexy for a whole new generation.

Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist by Niall Ferguson (Allen Lane). First part of a major new biography that examines the controversial statesman and the era he dominated.

Memoir by Elvis Costello (Viking). The story of the 40-year career of the pop icon and Attractions frontman, which began with the single “Less Than Zero” in 1977.

Deep South by Paul Theroux (Hamish Hamilton). After a lifetime of journeying, Theroux sets out for the southern states of the US that he has never before explored and discovers a new country as strange and as satisfying as any he has visited.



 A Strangeness in my Mind by Orhan Pamuk (Faber). The ninth novel from the Nobel laureate conjures the changes in Turkish society over the last few decades from the point of view of an Istanbul street vendor.

Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks (Hutchinson). With a title taken from Tennyson’s In Memoriam, Faulks’s latest novel explores memory, desire and the madness of the 20th century.

Dictator by Robert Harris (Hutchinson). The final book in his trilogy about power-politics in ancient Rome.

The coming year sees the launch of a major international project in which Shakespeare’s plays will be retold by acclaimed novelists. Jeanette Winterson’s re-imagining of The Winter’s Tale launches the series in October.

The Collected Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith, edited by Will May (Faber). The illustrations and poems from Smith’s original volumes brought together for the first time.

The Cabaret of Plants by Richard Mabey (Profile). The celebrated nature writer explores how plants work on our imagination.

1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear by James Shapiro (Faber). From the author of the award-winning 1599 comes an account of the year in which Shakespeare wrote both King Lear and Macbeth.



Sontag on Film by Susan Sontag (Hamish Hamilton). The first collection of Sontag’s film writing drawn from her life as an avid movie-goer and occasional movie-maker.


 Lacking dates thus far, there is rumoured to be a new Patrick de Witt novel coming this year, and Hilary Mantel has postulated that she will finish (and publish) the 3rd part in the Cromwell trilogy this year (here’s hoping!).

On the non-fiction front, there are anniversaries aplenty, with several titles commemorating two battles, Waterloo and Gallipoli. Magna Carta, signed 800 years ago, is the subject of a new book from the historian David Starkey.

There are biographies of Lewis Caroll, marking the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland, and TS Eliot, 50 years after his death.

The writers John le Carré and Charlotte Bronte are the subject of new books, as is The Kinks frontman Ray Davies. Eric Clapton is also the subject of a biography, released to coincide with his 70th birthday.

It is also worth mentioning that Nigella Lawson will be back in the spotlight in the Autumn (Spring in SA) with a new cookbook. Simply Nigella promises recipes that can be incorporated into our daily lives with the minimum of fuss.


Please note: publication dates are from the UK, and very much subject to change!


Going to School Story Time

Saturday, January 17th 2015 at 11:00 AM

ottoline goes t schoolIt’s our first story time of the year and we hope you all got a chance to swim and sleep late and play outside over the holidays. For some of you it’s the first time you might be going to school.
How exciting! For some of you it’s the first time you are going to big school, even more exciting! Today we will read stories about going to school and all the crazy that goes along with that.
Good luck parents!