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Lewisham Live Reading List

If you need something to fill your days we've come up with a list of books related to music and dance. All the books in this list can be borrowed for FREE from Lewisham libraries as either an e-book or an audio book. This list is suited for a young adult/adult audience - we hope to soon post some reading lists or creative activities suited to younger audiences! Take care and big love!!

1. Swing Time by Zadie Smith

"Residents of neighbouring housing estates in London, the pair meet at a community dance class, one (the unnamed narrator) clever and self-doubting, the other (Tracey) confident and self-destructive. The talented friend is the tortured one – prematurely sexual, rebellious at school, ungoverned at home – while the less gifted is an able student, determined to make it out of the neighbourhood. It gives little away to say that she does, becoming an assistant to a pop star called Aimee. It is by Aimee’s side that she travels the world, jetting from winters to summers."

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Set in Jazz Age New York, the novel tells the tragic story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, and his pursuit of Daisy Buchanan, a wealthy young woman whom he loved in his youth."

You've probably seen the film, now you've got time to read the book!

3. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

"Transfixed by the hijack of the Japanese embassy in Lima five years ago, Ann Patchett decided that it lacked one thing - an opera singer. In this ensuing rendition of life under siege, she corrects the deficit, but although her version of real-life events is frequently fantastical and defiantly romantic, the playfulness of artistic licence doesn't lead to a novel as light-hearted as its setup suggests."

4. Station Eleven by ‎Emily St. John Mandel


"An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilisation's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be saviour, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity."

5. Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand

"Wylding Hall is an oral history of a folk band that never was. It is also the history of a haunting. The band itself, Windhollow Faire, is haunted by a tragedy in its recent past as events open. A young woman, who sang in the band, is dead."

6. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

"Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is the owner of a failing record store in Chicago, where he sells music the old-fashioned way - on vinyl. Although they have an encyclopedic knowledge of pop music and are consumed by the music scene, it's of no help to Rob, whose needle skips the love groove when his long-time girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle), walks out on him. As he examines his failed attempts at romance and happiness, the process finds him being dragged, kicking and screaming, into adulthood."

7. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

"Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn't always free."

Also worth checking out another book by Angie Thomas - The Hate U Give.

8. The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

"Frank’s nuanced musical knowledge and shop full of vinyl records connect customers to exactly the music they need—until a frail young woman challenges Frank to teach her how to listen. The novel dives deep into a number of artists, including Vivaldi—a great excuse to listen to “The Four Seasons: Summer” as performed by La Serinissima."

9. Hard Times Require Furious Dancing by Alice Walker

Poetry book

"Alice Walker is beloved for her ability to speak her own truth in ways that speak for and about countless others. Here she confronts personal and collective challenges in words that dance, sing, and heal. Readers of these remarkable poems will find comfort and camaraderie and get a joy-filled dancing lesson."

10. Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital by Lloyd Bradley


"Sounds Like London tells the story of the music and the larger-than-life characters making it, journeying from Soho jazz clubs to Brixton blues parties to King's Cross warehouse raves to the streets of Notting Hill - and onto sound systems everywhere."


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