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What is The Reader Bookshelf?

The Reader Bookshelf is an annual programme of carefully curated literature to support all of our reading-based work and the wider Reading Revolution. It’s a way of forging connections between our supporters, volunteers, staff and readers using a shared constellation of literature. The bookshelf includes a diverse range of fiction, plays, non-fictional prose, anthologies, poems, and short stories, for readers young and old, all linked by theme, an idea that changes annually. This year’s theme is Light and Darkness.

Light and Darkness

As we emerge from a global pandemic and a turbulent time of change, this year’s Bookshelf offers some ways in to thinking about the complications of emerging into light and life again as well as the nourishment or realisations felt during darkness and night. Among the books included on the Bookshelf there might be old favourites, unknown quantities, or books you’d never imagined reading before – but all are worth reading and re-reading, as a string of lights guiding us through the wonders and complexities of our life and times.

Throughout the year, The Reader will be offering events and resources to guide you through an enriching reading experience with our new Bookshelf. You can buy some of the books from this year’s Bookshelf in our online store or in our Calderstones Bookshop.


Programmes & Events

The Reader Bookshelf will come to life in a special programme of events, including outdoor music and theatre performances, heritage and wellbeing events, and of course, Shared Reading groups. 

Don't Fear Shakespeare: Julius Caesar

Sunday 15 May, 10.30am, Mansion House, Calderstones Park

Think Shakespeare is long, boring and complicated? Think again! This workshop will help you sort your soliloquys from your silly sayings in no time. Our friendly team will tell you everything you need to know ahead of Globe on Tour’s performance of Julius Caesar this June, leaving you to sit back and enjoy the show happy in the knowledge that you won’t miss a single pun or plot twist. No experience of Shakespeare necessary. 

We will also be hosting an online version of this event on 25th May from 6pm – 8pm. Find out more.

Find out more

Globe on Tour: Julius Caesar

Friday 3 June, 7.30pm and Saturday 4 June 2.30pm & 7.30pm, Calderstones Park

This Summer, Shakespeare’s Globe brings a startlingly relevant new production of epic tragedy Julius Caesar to The Reader at Calderstones as part of their nationwide Globe on Tour series, directed by Diane Page.

Conspiracy to kill, cunning rhetoric, a divisive fight for Greatness: Ancient Rome has never felt closer to home. When Cassius and Brutus decide Rome’s leader Caesar poses a political threat to their beloved country, there’s only one solution…

Find out more