MSB Book Club

Welcome to the first MSB Book Club Newsletter!

The past 22 months have been hard on everyone, and as we work back towards normality it is important to try remember the good habits we picked up with the initial lockdown, such as daily exercise, work/life balance, mindfulness and finding time to unwind whether that was with a film, tv programme or a good book. In 2020 physical book sales reached over 200 million in the UK, the first time it has been over 200 million since 20121 

With this in mind, we launched our own book club for staff in November. The idea was to encourage time away from our computers and phones. 

Every month a member of staff will be randomly selected to choose a book for the club to read. The book can be any genre of fiction or non-fiction. The only rules are that the book must be paperback, available in e-book form, and available to borrow at local libraries. There will also be a newsletter every month with people’s thoughts on the chosen book, as well as a sneak peek at the book for the following month. ‘Borrow libraries’ have also been set up across our offices for staff to bring in the books they are happy to share.  

November book 

November’s book was chosen by Rachael Payne. She chose The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. 

“Between life and death there is a library.  

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. 

The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?” 

Matt Haig has gained popularity with several his books due to their dark and quirky themes. The Midnight Library was shortlisted for the 2021 British Book Awards “Fiction book of the year”. Matt Haig himself is a mental health advocate and been honest about his own struggles2 

Rachael said: “I chose this book for November because I really enjoyed the themes explored and the intimate look at mental health. It is very easy for us to complain about our lives, it’s human nature, but this book offers a very interesting glimpse into ‘what if’ and to be careful what we wish for. The grass is not always greener on the other side, we all have our own struggles, and it is important that we find joy in our lives as much as possible.”  

Staff Reviews

 “I have enjoyed this book. I have not read anything else by Matt Haig but I will in the future. I would say that it is thought provoking and if you like to think deeply about life then I recommend it.” Emma Parry, Legal Assistant   *****

“I found it a hard one to get in to. I thought the first few chapters were quite dark, so it took me a while to get going and I almost gave up, but I have persevered and have been quite surprised at some of the deep messages coming through from the alternate lives and wow, it does make you consider your own ‘what ifs?’ in a different light. Not something I would usually read however I have enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone and look forward to the next book.” Angela Badrock, Costs Assistant  ***

“I enjoyed the book but thought it could have been shorter, I got a little bit bored with the various ‘lives’ she lived, they were predictable. I also felt like she was never going to be happy, and she was a little ungrateful at times.” Louise Murphy, Head of Social Housing and Regeneration ***

“I enjoyed the book and have given it four stars because I do not think there are currently many books out there exploring mental health in this way. I would recommend for people to read.” Helen Maher, Legal Assistant  ****

“I enjoyed the idea that every decision you make in your life even the most minor could send your life a different direction.” Amy Tagoe, Associate Solicitor  ****

December Book

December’s book was picked by Dominique Owens and she has chosen Mitch Albom – The First Phone Call From Heaven.  

“One last chance.  

What would you say? 

When the residents of a small town on Lake Michigan start receiving phone calls from the afterlife, it becomes the subject of widespread attention. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? 

Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, returns to Coldwater from a stint in prison to discover his hometown gripped by ‘miracle fever.’ Even his young son carries a toy phone, hoping to hear from his mother in heaven. 

As the calls increase Sully begins to dig into the phenomenon. Determined to discover who or what is behind the mystery, he gradually begins to piece together the pieces of his broken heart.” 

Dominique said: “This is the one book I could read over and over again. I cried in public reading this on the train, and I think it’s the right amount of wonderful for this time of year! Also, it would pair well with comfy PJ’s and a Baileys in hand whilst reading!” 

Feel free to read along with the MSB team and tell us what you think of this month’s read! 

Recent Events

Rachael Payne recently attended an event at Oh Me Oh My! In Liverpool for a Q&A with best-selling authors Lindsey Kelk and Louise Pentland. She joined other fans in listening to Lindsey and Louise talk about their recent publications, upcoming novels and answering reader questions before getting a book signing. 

After over a year of online events, it was nice to see physical events with authors making a comeback.  

MSB Book Club - November & December

December Events

Below are some December book events happening in the Northwest.

A Christmas Carol at St Georges Hall, Liverpool, 17th-18th December

A Christmas Carol with Gerald Dickens is a unique performance which features a direct descendant of Charles Dickens taking the lead role.

This talented actor and gifted storyteller brings to life the wonderful characters in this timeless classic. It’s made especially atmospheric knowing his great, great grandfather stood on the very same stage to give his famous “penny readings”.

The stunning Concert Room is the setting for this fabulous show, with its ornate gold columns and glistening chandelier you feel like you are back in time with Mr. Dickens.

We are delighted to have him back in our city following sell-out shows worldwide and a standing ovation at every performance, you must not miss this brief visit. This is a truly unique event and will be the highlight of your Christmas.

The St Helen Book Shop Presents The Polar Express – 18th December

Join us for a story time with a festive twist.

Come aboard for a festive treat. Get cuddled up and enjoy the ultimate feel good Christmas story, The Polar Express. Children can enjoy a free small hot chocolate during the story, and we’ll be testing who truly believes with our magic jingle bell from Santa’s sleigh.

Tickets are extremely limited, and each child will need their own ticket. Parents/Guardians will need to remain in store throughout, although they are welcome to have a cup of coffee or browse whilst the story takes place.

Contact us, we are here to help

We’re here to help, so please pick up the phone or drop us an email and one of our dedicated team will help with your enquiry.