Reading Features

Features on all things reading-related

Indulge your book loving sensibilities with our range of fascinating features on all things reading-related. From articles and interviews, to recommendations and author videos, you'll find something of interest whatever your literary taste. We'll be updating this page regularly, so do check back for more.

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Features    21/06/2022

Reading Makes Life Better...

There are many reasons we reach for a book. For solace, for hope, for knowledge. To lift us up, to provide escape, to take us on adventures.  The simple truth is, reading makes life better. And the science proves it. From combatting loneliness to increasing our empathy, books have a power far beyond what we might imagine. Inspire’s Michelle Dunstan takes a look at the life enhancing magic of books . . .

Read the full article here.

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Features    21/06/2022

LGBTQ+ Books for Pride Month

As it's Pride Month, we've updated our recommendations to showcase the best LGBTQ+ books that are available to borrow now, in addition to some spectacular new releases that will be coming soon to a library near you!

View our recommendations here.

Three people reading around a table in Retford Library's garden

Features    28/04/2022

The Glory of the Garden

Are gardening books merely horticultural handbooks or do they contain a more poignant message? In this article, Clare Brown from the Reading and Culture team explores gardening books that are more than they seem.

Click here to read the Glory of the Garden article


Features    28/04/2022

Books with Botanical Covers

Spring has sprung and we're in the mood to stare at (and read) some books with covers filled with trees, plants and flowers! Check out Ann Penn's book recommendations that have covers adorned with leaves, flowers and trees.

Click here to discover our botanical book recommendations

Photo of the front of Five Leaves bookshop

Features    13/04/2021

Five Leaves Bookshop’s online event programme funded by Arts Council England

Five Leaves, Nottingham’s independent city centre bookshop, was delighted earlier this year to receive National Lottery funding from Arts Council England for our programme of five online event series in 2021. Find out what's on at Five Leaves. . . 

Click here to read the article about Five Leaves online events

Snapshot of a Pinterest board with several different book titles

Features    13/04/2021

Short and Sweet

Could short stories be the perfect read for these times? Inspire’s Ann Penn takes a look at the form and shares a range of bite-sized recommendations to consume in one sitting. . .

Click here to read the article

Handwritten sign set against greenery reading: "This way to Happily Ever After"

Features    09/02/2021

Happily Ever After

Happy marriages most certainly exist. But do they make good stories? In this article, Clare Brown from the Reading and Culture team explores how literature treats couples once the knot is tied.

Click here to read the Happily Ever After article

Snapshot of our Pinterest Board LGBTQ+ Books. Titles available in our catalogue.

Features    09/02/2021

Love in all its forms: LGBTQ+ Books

We explore some LGBTQ+ classics and more recent titles available in our libraries. . .

Click here to find out more about our LGBTQ+ articles

Panoramic view of a snowed mountain top extending to the horizon.

Features    12/2020

Books in Cold Climates

Isn’t there something about books set in a cold climate that gives them a special quality? And especially so when they’re read in the warmth by the fire while it’s cold outside in the real world.

We take a look at how cold climes can make for great books, and offer some fireside winter reading inspiration . . .

Click here to read our Winter Reading Inspiration article

Blue coloured Book Covers from our Pinterest board "Cold Climate Books".

Recommendations   12/2020

Cold Climate Recommendations

Find the joy of snuggling up with the right book and make the most of the winter months. Borrow a book from our Cold Climate Pinterest board specially curated by our librarians.

Read our recommendations here


Features   12/2020

Book Talk with Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier talks with us about her latest novel A Single Thread. Find out what she has to say about the writer’s craft, her love of cathedrals and more.

Watch the interview here


Features     12/2020

Book Talk with T.M. Logan

We catch up with the bestselling author behind thrillers including The Catch . 

Watch the interview 

Photograph of Tracy Chevalier, smiling

Features     12/2020

Q&A with Tracy Chevalier

Novelist Tracy Chevalier shares the books which have inspired, amused and surprised her.

Read the Q&A

Photos of different staff members holding their favourite book of 2020. Text reads: Our Top 2020 reads.

Features     12/2020

Our Top Reads of 2020

From children's books and bestselling thrillers to poetry collections, romantic stories and Sci-Fi gems. Find out all about the best-loved titles read by our staff during 2020. 

Read about our Top Reads


Features     10/2020

Autumn Reading

Ah, Autumn. Season of mists and . . . wonderful books! As the nights draw in, we take a look at why the autumn months are the perfect time for some serious book indulgence . . .  

Click here for our Autumn Reading article


Features    10/2020

Dia de Muertos

Inspire's Michelle Osorio shares her insight into Mexican culture's very different attitude to death and how it permeates into literature...

Read the Die de Muertos article


Interviews    10/2020

Inspire <VIRTUAL> Poetry Festival Book Talk Special 

Hear Nottingham's own Manjit Sahota talk about his poetry and activism. Plus, founder of the Emma Press, Emma Wright, tells us how she set up her successful Birmingham-based independent press.

Watch the Poetry Festival interviews


New Work     10/2020

AGM - Poem: Let us Dream

A poetical celebration of our libraries by Panya Banjoko.

Watch Panya Banjoko's video


Recommendations     10/2020

Your Next Good Read: Autumn

Our Librarians select some of the season's best literary offerings.

Browse our Autumn reading recommendations


Book Club    08/2020

Inspire Online Book Club: Update!

Download the latest Book Club choice and watch our latest Zoom chats.

Go to the Book Club page


Recommendations    10/2020

Gothic Reads

Our selection of atmospheric reads - perfect for the darker season . . .

Browse our Gothic Reads recommendations


Features    08/2020

Armchair Travel

Travel to exotic and fascinating lands - without leaving your armchair - with our round up of great travel reads on eAudiobook.

Read the Armchair Travel article

Photograph of Leanne Moden, smiling

Features  08/2020

Book Talk with Leanne Moden

Poet and performer Leanne Moden talks to us about creativity in lockdown, word hugs and launching her new collection. 

Watch Leanne's Book Talk interview



Features    08/2020

Booker Prize 2020

Explore the wonderfully eclectic longlist for this year's Booker Prize.

Read the Booker Prize 2020 article


Features    22/06/2020

Reading Groups in Lockdown

How have reading groups been adapting to isolation? We take a look at the options open to us, and invite our reading groups to tell us about their own lockdown experiences.  

Click here for the Reading Groups in Lockdown article

Photograph of Mike Gayle, smiling

Books Q&A  22/06/2020

Mike Gayle

We pose our bookish Q&A to bestselling author Mike Gayle. Mike's  novels includeThe Man I Think I Know and Half a World Away. Find out which books have surprised him, made him cry and more . . . 

Read Mike Gayle's Q&A


Features  25/06/2020

The Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist

Find out about the shortlisted titles for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction.

Find out more about the Women's Prize for Fiction Shortlist


Photograph of poet Pete Ramskill

Books Q&A  22/06/2020

Pete Ramskill

Poet Pete Ramskill tells us about the books that have inspired him, sent his mind racing, and the poets who make him cry.

Read Pete's Q&A


Recommendations  25/06/2020

Black Voices

Explore our Pinterest board of  eBook and eAudiobook titles, covering race, racism and Black lives. 

Explore the Black Voices books



Recommendations  25/06/2020

Refugee Stories

National Refugee Week took place 15 - 21 June this year. Explore a range of free to borrow digital titles on the them. Featuring stories of courage, heartbreak, injustice and the importance of sanctuary, from around the world.  

Explore tour Refugee Stories recommendations



Features  20/05/2020

Book Talk - Crime Fiction Special

Three major crime writers talk to Librarian Chris Jones via video.

Watch the Book Talk - Crime Fiction Special interviews


Books Q&A  20/05/2020 

Books Q&A: Crime Reading Special

In  celebration of crime fiction, we pose our Bookish Q&A to four brilliant crime writers.

Read the Crime Reading Q&A's


Recommendations  20/05/2020

Crime Reading Picks

Our selection of the best crime digital eAudiobooks ready to be enjoyed now.

See our Crime Reading recommendations


Features  04/05/2020

The Books That Shaped Our World

TM Logan and Henderson Mullin each tell us about a significant book and the way it has shaped their lives. Part of our ongoing tie-in with the BBC Arts celebration of the English language novel's 300th anniversary,.

Watch the Books That Shaped Our World videos

Photograph of Milly Johnson, smiling

Books Q&A  04/05/2020

Milly Johnson

Bestselling and award-winning author Milly Johnson answers our bookish Q&A.

Read Milly's Q&A


Features  01/05/2020

eAudiobooks - picks of the month

With thousands of digital audiobooks available to listen for free via Inspire,  it can be hard to choose. We've highlighted some of the best treats available for multiple users now (so no queues!).

Explore our E-audiobooks

Black and white photograph of Cathy Bramley, smiling

Books Q&A  06/05/2020

Cathy Bramley

Bestselling author of romantic fiction Cathy Bramley answers our bookish Q&A.

Read Cathy's Q&A

Film still from Kes

Features  04/05/2020

Kids, Kestrels and the Kitchen Sink 

Writer Andrew Graves looks at two examples of working class literature that became cinematic gold.

Read the article by Andrew Graves

Photograph of the exterior of Five Leaves bookshop

Features   04/05/2020

Life in Lockdown: Five Leaves Bookshop 

A look at how Nottingham’s much-loved independent bookshop is adapting. 

Read the Five Leaves article

Photograph of Henderson Mullin, smiling

Books Q&A  04/05/2020

Henderson Mullin

We pose our bookish questions to the Chief Executive of Writing East Midlands.

Read Henderson Mullin's Q&A