Every month, we shine the light on a book from our collection – one which is new to the library, which has been particularly enjoyed by a borrower, recommended by a volunteer, or which seems salient to the month’s events or happenings. To see the archive of past books of the month (formerly book of the week), click here.

The current book of the month is…

April: 100 Words of Solitude ed. Simon & Philippa Holloway


With the one-year anniversary of lockdown just passed, our book of the month this April is 100 Words of Solitude. It’s a collection of a hundred 100-word pieces of writing, in which people from around the world wrote about their experience of Spring 2020. Predominantly in poetry, it brings together rich and varied voices, united by a dimly flickering theme of ‘solitude’ in its various forms. The short wordcount means that each piece is tightly focussed, and together they bring to life the many small moments of observation, reflection and joyfulness experienced by the authors, as well as forays into surrealism and experiments with describing the stretchings of imagination and perception that many of us experienced at that time.

Submission to the collection was open to anyone, and the final selection brings together a mixture of professional writers, enthusiastic amateurs, and those for whom this was a first real attempt at creative poetry. Almost as interesting as the poems themselves are the short biographies of the authors included at the end of the book, a section which reads almost as a poem itself. As a whole, this book provides a reminder of deep shared humanity, even (or perhaps especially) in times of solitude.

100 Words of Solitude is a strange time-capsule of a collection, for a time that has not quite passed into history. Well worth reading.