Inspire Online Book Club


Each month we bring you a recommendation of a title we have in our large collection of eResources, both as an eBook and an eAudiobook that we can all read together. This will be followed up by a discussion with a group of reviewers at the end of the month. Keep updated on Facebook and Twitter @NottsLibraries, and follow #InspireOnlineBookClub. 

We're looking for readers to take part in future Book Club Zoom chats. If you're interested in getting involved,  then get in touch and let us know by email at  

June 2021 - The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

June 2021 - Read with us The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste.

Ethiopia 1935. With the threat of Mussolini's army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid. Her new employer, Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie's army, rushes to mobilise his strongest men before the Italians invade. Hirut and the other women long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead.

The Shadow King casts light on the women soldiers written out of African and European history. It is a captivating exploration of female power, and what it means to be a woman at war.  

"The Shadow King is a beautiful and devastating work; of women holding together a world ripping itself apart. They will slip into your dreams and overtake your memories." - Marlon James

Borrow The Shadow King digitally in audio of ebook here. Available from June 1, 2021.

May 2021 - The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

May 2021 - We read The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal.

Set in Victorian London against the vibrant backdrop of pre-Raphaelite art and the stifling social limitations on women’s lives, aspiring artist Iris agrees to model in return for painting lessons. As creativity and love blossom, she is unaware that a fleeting encounter with sinister collector Silas has sparked a dark obsession which threatens to destroy her world.

'…a remarkably strong debut; clever and readable with flashes of wonderful, descriptive prose.' - The Times

We took our book discussion to Zoom. Watch the discussion here:

April 2021 - Children of Blood and Bone

April 2021 - We read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

Already snapped up for development into a major new film by the producers of The Fault in Our StarsChildren of Blood and Bone is a fierce and unflinching saga of divided love, belief and legacy. The first in an epic new fantasy series, interweaving the influences of West African myth with unforgettable characters and expert world-building, it ripples with rage and magic. A novel that will haunt the reader long after the final page. 

'This highly anticipated fantasy novel earned its 23-year-old Nigerian-American author a seven-figure deal. The first instalment of a three-part young adult trilogy, it draws on African myth and folklore and was reportedly inspired by the Black Lives Matters movement. The film rights were snapped up before the book was even published.' - The Irish Independent

'A meaty, multi-voiced epic with a west African-inspired setting.' - The Guardian

We took our book discussion to Zoom. Watch the discussion here:

March 2021 - The Moment of Lift

March 2021 - We celebrated International Women's Day by reading The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates.

Sunday Times bestselling debut from Melinda Gates, a timely and necessary call to action for women's empowerment.

Melinda's unforgettable narrative is backed by startling data as she presents the issues that most need our attention - from child marriage to lack of access to contraceptives to gender inequity in the workplace. And, for the first time, she writes about her personal life and the road to equality in her own marriage. Throughout, she shows how there has never been more opportunity to change the world - and ourselves.

"Melinda Gates has spent many years working with women around the world. This book charts her own evolution as a feminist and celebrates the stories of others who inspired her on her journey. It is an urgent manifesto for an equal society where women are valued and recognized in all spheres of life. Most of all, it is a call for unity, inclusion and connection. We need this message more than ever." - Malala Yousafzai

We took our book discussion to Zoom. Watch the discussion here:

February 2021 - The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst

February 2021 - Club friends, this month we celebrated LGBT+ History Month 2021 by reading The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst.   

The Sparsholt Affair is the long-awaited sixth novel from the supreme stylist of British fiction and previous winner of the Man Booker Prize. From Oxford during the dark days of the Second world war to contemporary London, this is a masterly novel about sexuality, art and family secrets.

Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel evokes the intimate relationships of a group of friends bound together by art, literature and love across three generations. It explores the social and sexual revolutions of the past century, whose life-changing consequences are still being played out to this day. Richly observed, disarmingly witty and emotionally charged, The Sparsholt Affair is an unmissable achievement from one of our finest writers in UK.

"Perhaps Hollinghurst's most beautiful novel yet--a book full of glorious sentences by the greatest prose stylist writing in English today. 'The Sparsholt Affair' is about gay life, about art, about family, but most of all it's about the remorseless passage of time. An unashamedly readable novel, undoubtedly the work of a master." -Alex Preston, The Observer

We took our book discussion to Zoom. Watch the discussion here:

January 2020 - Traces by Patricia Wiltshire

We started 20201 by reading 'Traces' by Patricia Wiltshire. 

Everybody leaves a mark. In Traces, Professor Patricia Wiltshire will take you on a journey through the fascinating edgeland where nature and crime are intertwined. She'll take you searching for bodies of loved ones - through woodlands and plantations, along hedgerows and field-edges, from ditches to living rooms. She will show you how pollen from a jacket led to a confession and how two pairs of trainers, a car and a garden fork led to the location of a murdered girl. She will give you glimpses of her own history: her loves, her losses, and the narrow little valley in Wales where she first woke up to the wonders of the natural world.

'Traces is proof that real-life can be more startling than fiction. The insights into the natural world are every bit as absorbing as the behind-the-scenes details of forensic investigation, while Patricia Wiltshire's own story is as remarkable as any of the cases she's worked on. Poignant, frank and utterly fascinating.' - Simon Beckett

We took our book discussion to Zoom. Watch the video below:

November 2020 - The Catch by T. M. Logan

In November we read The Catch by Nottingham based author T.M. Logan whose suspenseful thrillers have picked up millions of readers worldwide and received high praise from critics and fellow crime-writers alike.

Sunday Times bestseller The Catch is about a father who becomes convinced his daughter is about to marry a man with terrible secrets. Terrified that his cherished only child may be in danger, Ed sets out to uncover the truth - before it’s too late…

“T.M. Logan's best yet. Unsettling and so, so entertaining. The perfect thriller.” Caz Frear 

"Action-packed and full of tension . . . Logan keeps the twists going up to the dramatic ending.” Independent

We took our book discussion to Zoom. Watch the video below:

We also had an exclusive interview with T.M. Logan as part of our Book Talks. Watch the interview here.

October 2020 - Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

Longlisted for the Booker Prize - Irish Times number one bestseller - shortlisted for novel of the year at the Irish Book Awards, the Dalkey Literary Awards and the Kerry Group Awards - a book of the year in the New York Times, New Statesman, Times Literary supplement, Big Issue, i, the Atlantic and Literary Hub.

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 tragicomic masterwork from a multi-award-winning writer, Night Boat to Tangier is both mordant and hilarious, lyrical yet laden with menace.

‘Barry is a clairvoyant narrator of the male psyche and a consistent lyrical visionary. But what distinguishes this book beyond its humour, terror and beauty of description is its moral perception.’ - The Guardian

We took our book discussion to Zoom. Watch the video below:

September 2020 - A Thousand Ships By Natalie Haynes.

Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020

An all-female retelling of the Trojan War by comedian and classicist author Natalie Haynes. A Thousand Ships shows why Homeric classics are such rich source material for 21st-century authors. With piercing wit and crystalline prose Haynes draws compelling parallels between the inner lives of women caught in the conflict and modern attitudes to sex and gender.

'The forgotten women are vividly brought to life in this moving, intelligent and witty book. Natalie Haynes' knowledge of Greek mythology shines through her skillful story telling. Epic is the word' - Martha Kearney, BBC Radio 4

We took our book discussion to Zoom. Watch the video below :

August 2020 - My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay.

This is Lemn's story; a story of neglect and determination, misfortune and hope, cruelty and triumph. Sissay reflects on a childhood in care, self-expression and Britishness, and in doing so explores the institutional care system, race, family and the meaning of home.

'Sissay has given us a blistering condemnation of the 'care' system- and his powerful voice asking 'why?' on behalf of all children who have been it's victims.' - The Mail

We took our book discussion to Zoom. Watch the video below :

July 2020 - The Unexpected Return of Josephine Fox by Claire Gradidge

Everyone has secrets - some are just more deadly than others . . .

The perfect read for fans of Sunday night drama. Agatha Christie meets The Mitford Murders in this deliciously dark golden age mystery of wartime family secrets and lies in small town England.

Winner of The Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller competition.

Watch our Book Cub Zoom Chat below:

June 2020 - The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Our chosen book for June was The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. 

Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling. 

Watch our Zoom Chat about the book below!


May 2020 - The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason

The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason was our chosen Book Club read for May 2020. 

Find out what our panel of reviewers thought of the book in the video below: