Cityread 2018 Returns across Reading in May


READING LIBRARY SERVICE is inviting residents to take part in a month-long celebration of reading, running throughout May.

London Cityread has run every year since 2012. Each spring, Cityread invites  citizens, workers and visitors to pick up a book – the same book – and read it together. Cityread launched in Reading for the first time in 2017.

The Muse
The Muse

Cityread returns to Reading this May and the chosen novel this year is ‘The Muse’, by Jessie Burton. The novel is split across two timelines, in two different countries, Spain in 1936-37, at the start of the Spanish Civil War and London in the early 1960s, both connected by one intriguing painting.

The library will have multiple copies of the book for people to borrow and join in. To view the library collection visit:

Reading Library Service will be organising a number of displays, events and activities linking to the theme of this year’s book, including:

·         5th May at Central Library: Author and historian Paul Crooks will talk about his knowledge of family history. Paul traced his family back six generations to slaves captured in West Africa and then to the sugar plantations in Jamaica. Paul published his book Ancestors in 2002. £4 Library members/£5 non-members – tickets available to buy at all Reading Libraries. For more information about Paul Crooks visit

·         12th May at Central Library: Talk by local author and Council Chaplain, Una Chandler. Una came to Reading in early 1960s aged 17 from Barbados with £2 in her pocket.  She has written a book ‘A Long Way from Home’ and will share her memories of a happy but very hard life in Barbados and then her relocation to 1960s Reading. Free event – booking not necessary.

·         23rd May at Battle Library, 7-8.30pm: Authors Mike Cooper and Ray Parkes will talk on the Spanish Civil War, exploring poster art of the time and how volunteers from Reading were involved in the war. £4 Library members/£5 non-members – Tickets available to buy at all Reading Libraries.

·         Throughout May at Reading Central Library: Velazquez The Vanishing man. In 1845, a Reading bookseller named John Snare came across the dirt-blackened portrait of a prince at a country house auction. Suspecting that it might be a long-lost Velázquez, he bought the picture and set out to discover its strange history. A fascinating local tale of obsession and mystery.

Simon Smith, Reading Library Manager, said: “City Read is a regular event in the London calendar, and I’m delighted it has returned to Reading for a second year running. It is an exciting initiative which promotes the ethos of reading for pleasure.

“As well as joining in with reading ‘The Muse’ I’d also encourage people to come along to the interesting local talks on offer.”

For more information on Library events visit

Email: or call 0118 901 5950



About Cityread London:

Cityread London is a registered charity that promotes the key ideas of reading for pleasure, engaging new library users, enhancing the experience of existing readers, and encouraging people to explore and celebrate London’s culture, landscape and history.

Cityread London represents culture for all, with all London library services developing a programme of reading, activities and events using a variety of formats including ebooks, audiobooks, large print, and in translation where possible, aimed at encouraging readers at all levels.

Founded in 2012 it has featured: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (Penguin), 2012; A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks (Vintage), 2013; My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young (Borough Press), 2014; Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz) 2015; Ten Days by Gillian Slovo (Canongate) 2016 and Prophecy by S J Parris (HarperCollins) 2017.

Find out more at

Victoria Nickless

For media enquiries about this release email or call 0118 937 3957