Fun Palaces

Next weekend sees the arrival of the annual Fun Palaces weekend and will be transforming some of our branches throughout Saturday 7th October. The perfect time to warm up for Libraries Week!

Fun Palaces is a movement campaigning for culture by, for and with all – with a firm belief that community belongs at the core of all culture – and an annual weekend of events, where arts, crafts, science, tech and digital are a catalyst for community engagement and full participation for everyone, from the grassroots up.

Fun Palaces are made by local people for their own communities, bringing together arts and sciences, crafts, tech and digital, free and fun, linked by the the Fun Palace network – Everyone an Artist, Everyone a Scientist. We welcome many more, from everywhere and anywhere, to join us in 2017 and beyond.

This year we are delighted to be turning 4 of our libraries into Fun Palaces.

We want you to help us create a Fun Palace that is unique and relevant to the community that you live in. Have you got a skill that you can share with others? We would love you to give some time to share that skill at one of our Fun Palaces over the weekend of the 7th and 8th October. Follow the links below to find out more about the venue and contact details.

Library Fun Palaces in Hampshire are in the following places:

Lymington Library

See in branch for details.

Stubbington Library

See in branch for details.

Tadley Library

Featuring: Coding, Silchester Players, TADS, Refreshments, Dog, Rock Choir, Flower Arranging, Tiny Talk, DOTS digital lending, Bells, Fire Engine and Quilters.

Yateley Library


–          Junior Jhoom! Taster Sessions (children’s Bollywood dance/fitness workshops – one for ages 4-7, one for ages 7+)
–          Family 3D colouring workshop using Quiver 3D app
–          Construction Club
–          Scrabble with East Berks Scrabble Club
–          Village Green Quilters (will be displaying their work and inviting people to try out various quilting techniques)
– Yateley Country Market will be selling cakes

A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

About the book

Wilde’s only novel, first published in 1890, is a brilliantly designed puzzle, intended to tease conventional minds with its exploration of the myriad interrelationships between art, life, and consequence. From its provocative Preface, challenging the reader to believe in ‘art for art’s sake’, to its sensational conclusion, the story self-consciously experiments with the notion of sin as an element of design.

Yet Wilde himself underestimated the consequences of his experiment, and its capacity to outrage the Victorian establishment. Its words returned to haunt him in his court appearances in 1895, and he later recalled the ‘note of doom’ which runs like ‘a purple thread’ through its carefully crafted prose.


Reviewed by Godshill WI

A well-known although not very well read book. Interesting, but too many aphorisms. The word we used was pretentious! “

star rating **


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The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers

About the book

There is no cure for being alive.’ Thus speaks Dr David McBride, a psychiatrist for whom death exerts an unusual draw. As a young child he witnessed the death of his six-year-old brother and it is this traumatic event which has shaped his own personality and choice of profession. One day a failed suicide, Elizabeth Cruikshank, is admitted to his hospital. She is unusually reticent and it is not until he recalls a painting by Caravaggio that she finally yields up her story.

We learn of Elizabeth Cruikshank’s dereliction of trust, and the man she has lost, through David’s narration. As her story unfolds, David finds his own life being touched by a sense that the ‘other side’ of his elusive patient has a strange resonance for him, too.

Set partly in Rome, ‘The Other Side of You’ explores the theme of redemption through love and art, which has become a hallmark of Salley Vickers’s acclaimed work, which includes ‘Mr Golightly’s Holiday’ and ‘Miss Garnet’s Angel’.

Reviewed by The Pageturners

“Beautifully written, this novel tells the story of a psychiatrist and a female patient, a failed suicide.The author has worked as a psychoanalyst and uses this story to explore several themes – e.g. life, love and reality so plenty of scope for some philosophical discussions! Paintings bt Caravaggio and the city of Rome are featured and add interest to the narrative. Our group of five were divided in our judgement; it would seem that this book needs careful, thoughtful reading or re-reading to appreciate it fully. The reader who suggested it has read it a few times already!”

star rating ***


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The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell

About the book

When the sophisticated Innes Kent turns up on her doorstep, Lexie Sinclair realises she cannot wait any longer for her life to begin, and leaves for London. There, at the heart of the 1950s Soho art scene, she carves out a new life. In the present day, Elina and Ted are reeling from the difficult birth of their first child. Elina struggles to reconcile the demands of motherhood with sense of herself as an artist, and Ted is disturbed by memories of his own childhood that don’t tally with his parents’ version of events. As Ted begins to search for answers, an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed, separated by fifty years, but connected in ways that neither could ever have expected.

Reviewed by Andover Library Reading Group:

Despite a slow start we were drawn into the story. Several twists held our interest. Needing to know the connections between families and individuals kept us reading. Good story.

Star rating: ***

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The Painter by Will Davenport

book cover

About the book

In January, 1662, the artist Rembrandt, bankrupted in the great tulip crash, accidentally stows away on a boat for Hull. To pay for his passage, he must paint the Captain’s portrait. For himself, he paints a portrait of the Captain’s beautiful wife. Rembrandt has seduced many a sitter before, and sets about doing so again. But he has a rival – none other than the MP for Hull after the Civil War, the poet Andrew Marvell! And the Captain’s wife is far from being a passive player in this triangular game of love, deceit and manipulation. All this is discovered in the present day by another painter, Amy, who has returned to her old family home as a restorer. As she paints a portrait of the man she is becoming involved with, so she uncovers the secrets of the past. This fine novel will appeal to fans of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Tulip Fever.

Reviewed by Romsey Abbey Reading Group:

A good light read but a weak ending. Enjoyed by most of the reading group.

Star rating: **

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