Audiobook Review: Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith

Public Library and Other Stories
by Ali Smith

Publication date: October 4th 2016
Publisher: Random House Audio (first published November 5th 2015)


A richly inventive new collection of stories from Ali Smith, author of How to be both, winner of the Baileys Women’s Prize and the Costa Novel Award and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Why are books so very powerful?

What do the books we’ve read over our lives – our own personal libraries – make of us?

What does the unravelling of our tradition of public libraries, so hard-won but now in jeopardy, say about us?

The stories in Ali Smith’s new collection are about what we do with books and what they do with us: how they travel with us; how they shock us, change us, challenge us, banish time while making us older, wiser and ageless all at once; how they remind us to pay attention to the world we make.

Public libraries are places of joy, freedom, community and discovery – and right now they are under threat from funding cuts and widespread closures across the UK and further afield. With this brilliantly inventive collection, Ali Smith joins the campaign to save our public libraries and celebrate their true place in our culture and history.

Source: Goodreads


It only seemed right to read a library copy of ‘Public Library and Other Stories’ and I chose to do so in audiobook format. I’ve not read anything from Ali Smith before but I’ve heard good things about her other work and thought I’d give this a try given how fond I am of my local libary.

This book is a little collection of short stories about literature, books, authors and a few other things too. It’s not specifically about libraries, but there a prefaces on the theme. One of my favourite stories was about a woman in a wheelchair, trapped on a train.

Ali Smith’s writing style is whimsical, somewhat poetic, and this collection is quite eclectic. The stories were an enjoyable reminder of the importance of stories and public libraries making them accessible to all. As is natural in a collection, I didn’t love them all, but I did find plenty to enjoy in this short read.

“Words were stories in themselves.”

Overall rating:  An eclectic collection of stories with some connection to libraries. I quite liked Ali Smith’s ‘Public Library and Other Stories’, an enjoyable 3 stars from me!

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