This week is National Libraries Week in the UK. The theme this year is to promote wellbeing and is being promoted with the tagline “My Time. My Space. My Library”
Being a discerning and intelligent bunch reading this I hope I don’t have to tell you the key thing about libraries is use them or lose them. With local councils continuing to make cutbacks library services continue to be vulnerable. If you haven’t visited your local library for a while this week would be an excellent time to put that right.
Before you go check out your local council’s websites as there may very well be special events going on to celebrate the week. Libraries are no longer just about books and you may discover a whole range of activities which will get you socialising and lift spirits. Here on the Isle of Wight, where, as I’ve mentioned many times before I am employed as a relief library assistant in a number of the libraries , this week we are offering activities such as talks about the history of libraries, art courses, Scrabble Club, initiatives to make poppies to commemorate the fallen of World War I in visual displays, reading , dancing, colouring, music and knitting groups as well as special rhyme times, story times, art activities, Lego and Minecraft challenges for children. We will be running sessions to get people to use library resources online. Many areas now offer an on-line book, magazine and audio books facilities free to use for library card holders (here we have recently moved over to Borrowbox and Press Reader which are proving very popular).
On Saturday at Sandown Library I will be doing something which proved to be very successful last year. I am holding a Readers Advisory Day. Hopefully, people will be coming in for advice as what to read next and I’m planning to introduce them to their next favourite author. I will let you know how I get on. Those near enough to the Isle Of Wight can find information about the events I have just mentioned by following this link.
The rest of you will just have to look up your local council website to find out up-to-date information on events throughout the week. Even if your area is not celebrating National Libraries Week why not visit your nearest library sometime during the week for your own celebration. You might just find what you are looking for.
We have been provided with some fact around the use of libraries from the good people at http://www.librariesweek.org/facts.
Be good to yourself. Visit a library this week. Let me know how you get on………………..
I have been asked by the lovely folk at Legend Press if I would take part in my very first blog tour. This is to celebrate the publication of the new book by Rosie Millard. I read Rosie’s debut “The Square” and this is the follow-up. I will be posting my review tomorrow but just to whet your appetite here are the blog tour dates for Rosie’s latest, in case you’d like to trawl the blogosphere to see what we thought of the book.
I’ll be back tomorrow…………………………
Although every time a long or shortlist for a book prize is announced I make the resolution to read every title I rarely ever get round to reading even one of them. The announcement this weekend of the Gordon Burn Book Prize has changed that as I have already read and reviewed the winner. Congratulations to “In Plain Sight – The Life And Lies Of Jimmy Savile” by Dan Davies which was a chilling read and a thorough examination of the Savile case. Although this (unsurprisingly for me) was the only book on the shortlist I have read it would seem to be a highly deserving winner. To celebrate this victory you can read my original review of the book here.
Maxine Peake was on the judging panel and she said of this book;
“Dan Davies’ book is forensically detailed, compelling and admirable objective in the extreme. This is so much more than a book about the monster that is Savile. It’s about grotesque social attitudes towards the famous and money. It also pinpoints the collective culpability we all share in allowing these people to offend and operate.”
The other books on the shortlist were –
Midland by Honor Gavin .
Noontide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera
Original Rockers by Richard King .
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev .
The Gordon Burn Prize was set up in 2012 to award fresh, undaunted writing. Newcastle born writer Burn penned a novel “Alma Cogan” which is an extraordinary tale supposing that singer Alma had not died in 1966. I’ve read it a couple of times and it is currently staring down at me from my shelves begging for a re-read, so I think I will need to oblige. Burn himself died in 2009 and the book prize has been set up in his memory.
The shortlist for one of the weirdest UK book prizes has just been announced . The Diagram Prize (established 1978) awards the book considered to have the oddest title. The final contenders for consideration this year are:
- Divorcing A Real Witch: For Pagans And For People Who Used To Love Them – Diana Rajchel
- The Madwoman In The Volvo: My Year Of Raging Hormones – Sandra Tsing Loh
- The Ugly Wife Is A Treasure At Home – Melissa Margaret Schneider
- Nature’s Nether Regions – Menno Schilthuizen
- Strangers Have The Best Candy – Margaret Meps Shulte
- Where Do Camels Belong? – Ken Thompson
- Advanced Pavement Research: Selected, Peer Reviewed Papers from the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Pavements Design, Construction, and Rehabilitation- (Ed) Bo Tien
It doesn’t seem to be such an outstanding list this year. Perhaps authors are getting wise to the prize, which like, the Bad Sex in Fiction award could be considered a double-edged sword. There’s nothing of the quality of “Goblin-Proofing Your Chicken Coop” and “The Big Book Of Lesbian Horse Stories”- two previous worthy winners. This is an award decided on by the public. Voting takes place until 27th March. To vote visit http://www.welovethisbook.com. What do you reckon? My moneys on Diana Rajchel for the top honours……..
The date for World Book night is approaching. The date to note in your diary is Thursday 23rd April. As on previous years hundreds of thousands of free books will be handed out at venues around the country. The titles have been announced and the application date to be sent books to hand out has gone by (Jan 30- How did I miss out on that?) As always the selected books are an interesting cross section. No real classics this time (on previous lists we’ve had Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Robert Louis Stevenson) and a couple of titles are classed as “Quick read” editions, but if the aim is to get reluctant readers reading then maybe this is not a bad idea. I’m very surprised to say I haven’t actually read any of the chosen titles this year, so probably I wouldn’t be the best person to volunteer to give out a chosen title. In previous years I would have liked to have copies to give out of great favourites of mine such as “Tales Of The City”, “The Book Thief”, “The Time Traveller’s Wife”, “Toast”, “Fingersmith” and “Tale Of Two Cities”. Has anyone applied/been selected for distribution duties for World Book Night? What title did you choose to champion? The books selected are:
- After the Fall by Charity Norman
- Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton
- Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
- Chickenfeed by Minette Walters
- Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson
- Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle
- Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden
- Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy, Neil Astley (ed.)
- Honour by Elif Shafak
- My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
- Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante
- Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
- Skellig by David Almond
- Spring Tide by Cilla and Rolf Börjlind
- Street Cat Bob by James Bowen
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- The Moaning of Life by Karl Pilkington
- The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman
More details on the books and events can be found on the official website at www.worldbooknight.org.
I know it’s called World Book Night but is this just a British thing?