Our first ever in person meeting today, in the activity room at the library. A couple of work-based absences, but most of us made it there in person, with a rather modern dial-in on Zoom by one member. It worked, after a fashion.
Remarkably, a majority of us had read the book this time, and most of us enjoyed it, some with reservations. We talked about the major themes in the book, as we saw them – loneliness, the ethics of “lifting”, artificial intelligence and its role in society, what it means to be human, and the ambiguity of much of Ishiguro’s writing.
As a diehard Ishiguro fan, I loved the book and found it very engaging. Others found it difficult to identify or empathise with the Klara as an AI, although we generally felt her to be more sympathetic a character than most of the humans! There was much to discuss, and I think I’m safe in saying that we would recommend the book to others.
For next time, we will be reading Paradise, by Abdulrazak Gurnah. Born in Zanzibar in 1948 , Abdulrazak Gurnah now lives in the UK and teaches at the University of Kent. Paradise was shortlisted for the 1994 Booker and Whitbread Prizes. Mr Gurnah won the Nobel Prize for literature this year, “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents”. We’ll meet at the library, all being well, on Sunday 21 November, 1030-1130. Please do read along and let us know what you think.
The book chosen for October’s meeting is Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Born in Nagasaki, Japan, in 1954, Kazuo Ishiguro moved to Britain at the age of five. He is a multi-award-winning author, including the Nobel and Booker Prizes. The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go were both made into successful feature films, bringing his work to an even wider audience. Despite his lofty position as a literary author, his works are accessible and very human. Klara and the Sun was described by The Sunday Times as “A masterpiece of great beauty, meticulous control and, as ever, clear, simple prose.”
We will be meeting at the library before this next meeting to view the space and decide collectively whether to hold the next meeting there or continue on Zoom. If you would like to join, please email email@example.com.
This lovely video was shared with me by Sofia Ali, who runs her Friday pilates class at the library (highly recommended). Sofia is a member of Queens Park Harriers, and every Tuesday, she runs a Walk to Run group for women in Gladstone Park. The women meet at 0800 for some warm up exercises and then a run around the park. It’s a friendly, social group, and has steadily grown over the years. If you’re a woman looking to get into running and not sure how to start, this is the perfect way in. Running with a partner is personally the only way I can keep getting out of the door in the morning, particularly during the dark, dismal winter months, so I can attest to its effectiveness as a training aid! Why not try it out?
And Sofia is actively encouraging new sign ups to her popular pilates class too, so head on over and check it out.
The video showcases many of the lovely green and sustainable projects ongoing around Brent. We live in a remarkable borough, full of remarkable, resilient and community-minded people. #LoveWhereYouLive
Unbelievably, it’s one week to go until the Blenheim Triathlon. Even more incredibly, we’re part of the biggest ever team at Blenheim – Kensal Tri – with an incredible 197 members. Between us, we’ve raise £55,744 for a range of good causes across Brent – including
Brent Centre for Young People, Gift Your Neighbour, 9Kitchens, The Lexi Cinema, Elders’ Voice, The Avenues Youth Project, Laurence’s Larder, and of course, Cricklewood Library. Collectively, the library fundraising team have reached nearly £4,500 – can you help us get to £5k? The link to sponsor some of these over-active people is here: https://bit.ly/2VgvyIL
We met up with Giles Deards, the Kensal Tri Team organiser, to collect our Tri Team T-Shirts and pose ridiculously for the cameras. Please support our efforts! We’re all doing things we’ve never done before to raise money for this library, and we could do with a cash boost!
The New Library is a Project with a long history which you can read about here : https://www.cricklewoodlibrary.org.uk/welcome/history/
The New Library is designed as a community hub with 2 activity rooms that can be hired out for any socially acceptable purpose. There are bookings already made for the activity rooms and the library space has mobile bookcases that can be rolled into a storage area so the main library hall is also available to be hired for other purposes.
The Active members of Friends of Cricklewood Library have been working for the last 10 years to get the new library open and their efforts have almost got the project finished. Sadly, due to a run of very bad luck and delays resulting from the Covid pandemic, they have now run out of money and needs help to cross the finishing line.
I have helped occasionally, in the past, at fund raising events for the new community library but a few months ago I volunteered to organise a team of other helpers to decorate the library and fit out the bookcases that had been donated by others.
All the rooms were bare plastered walls and ceilings without skirting boards and with broken plasterboard sills to doors and windows (don’t ask) .
Over 4 months of lockdown working socially isolated shifts a small group – mainly 3 pensioners – have decorated all the rooms, repaired the sills and fixed all the permanent bookcases in the library.
You can support the crowdfunder here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-kick-start-cricklewood-community-library-1
We just finished Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. Yaa is Ghanaian American, born in Ghana, brought up in the USA. This is her second book.
Most of the group enjoyed the read, and even those who were less enthusiastic still found something to admire in it. It is an easy read – and the short chapters were a definite plus!
It covers many themes, ranging from drug addiction, the challenges of assimilation in a different culture, racism, prejudice, mental health, religion, friendships, neuroscience and “fitting in”. Some thought there were too many strands to the novel and that it attempted too much. Others found lots to enjoy in the exploration of these themes and were encouraged to try the novelist’s first book, Homecoming. Overall, it was a positive, thumbs-up for Transcendent Kingdom.
Most of us got our copies from West End Lane Books, and we thank them for ordering it in for us.
Next month’s read could not be more different. We’re onto Bleak House, by Charles Dickens. It will be a re-read for some, but new to many.
Good news! In line with the latest government advice, we will be opening up the library for hire from Monday 17 May. While we finish work on cataloguing the book stock and fundraising to build the cafe/reception area, the activity room is now ready for use. We have three bookings already, so if you are interested in hiring, don’t delay – availability is limited, and we’re hiring on a first come, first served basis. Check out our online availability calendar, and if you’d like a quotation for hiring, please use this form.
Hirers should have their own liability insurance, and we will be requiring all hirers and attendees at events to check in for Test and Trace purposes. For an informal chat, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and have your questions answered.
Would you or a friend or family member like some help with using Zoom?
Zoom is a video conferencing platform which can be used for:
keeping in contact with friends and family
joining in with meetings
attending religious services
Our trained volunteers from Cricklewood Library can help you to install Zoom and will demonstrate how to set up and join meetings. They will talk you through step by step until you feel confident.
You will need Internet connection and a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Interested? Please contact Annie on email@example.com
We’re starting an exciting new project in March. We’ll be training up to 10 volunteers to teach local residents how to access Zoom. The training will cover
Overview of the Zoom interface (as a refresher and to make sure everyone is on the same page)
Consideration for facilitation, safeguarding guidelines
Some of the common issues for helping other access Zoom.
Once trained, the volunteers will contact local people who would like to start using Zoom, to keep in touch with friends and family, or to enjoy our up-coming online programme of events. If you know of someone who could benefit from this training, get in touch! The training will help beneficiaries to overcome concerns and potential barriers faced, develop online skills, build confidence, become more independent, and do useful things like access online applications and services.
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