Top 10 – Adult Fiction

Last week we started with children books but this week’s Top 10 features fiction for adults. These are the Top 10 books borrowed from Leeds Libraries in Oct 2015.

  1. Personal by Lee Child

Personal Jack Reacher walks alone. Once a go-to hard man in the US military police, now he’s a drifter of no fixed abode. But the army tracks him down, because someone has taken a long-range shot at the French president. Only one man could have done it, and Reacher is the one man who can find him.

2. 14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson

14th Deadly SinDetective Lindsay Boxer and her three best friends are back and recovering from the events that pushed them all to the edge. After her near-death experience, Yuki is seeing her life from a new perspective and is considering a change in her law career. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Cindy has healed from her gunshot wound and has published a book on the infamous serial killers she helped to bring down. Lindsay is just happy that the gang are all still in one piece. But a new terror is sweeping the streets of San Francisco. A gang dressed as cops are ransacking the city, and leaving a string of dead bodies in their wake. Lindsay is on the case to track them down and needs to discover whether these killers could actually be police officers. Maybe even cops she already knows.

3. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving TimeJenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared in tragic and mysterious circumstances, but she remembers nothing. Over ten years have passed, and still Jenna reads and rereads her mother’s journals, hoping to find some clue hidden there, in the meticulous recording of her scientific research with elephants. Desperate for answers, Jenna uses all her savings to recruit the aid of a private detective – and a psychic. Jenna knows her mother loved her. She knows she would not leave her. And she will not rest until she finds out what happened that night.

4. Gray Mountain by John Grisham

Gray mountainOne week ago, Samantha Kofer was a third-year associate at New York City’s largest law firm. Now she is an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small-town Appalachia. When Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security, her future. As she confronts real clients with real problems, she finds herself a world away from her past life of corporate fat cats and fatter bonuses. This is coal country. Meth country. The law is different here. And standing up for the truth means putting your life on the line.


5. Thin Air by Ann Cleeves

Thin AirA group of old university friends leave the bright lights of London and travel to Unst, Shetland’s most northerly island, to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends to a Shetlander. But late on the night of the wedding party, one of them, Eleanor, disappears – apparently into thin air. It’s mid-summer, a time of light nights and unexpected mists. The following day, Eleanor’s friend Polly receives an email. It appears to be a suicide note, saying she’ll never be found alive. And then Eleanor’s body is discovered, lying in a small loch close to the cliff edge. Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are dispatched to Unst to investigate.

6. The Dandelion Years by Erica James

The dandelion yearsAshcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling pink cottage on the edge of the Suffolk village of Melbury Green, its enchanting garden provided a fairy-tale playground of seclusion, a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood. Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to the broken, battered books that find their way to her, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a notebook carefully concealed in an old Bible – and realising someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own – Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love.

7. Abattoir Blues by Peter Robinson

Abattoir BluesWhen two boys vanish under mysterious circumstances, the local community is filled with unease. And when a caravan belonging to one of the youths is burned to the ground, and a bloodstain is discovered in a disused World War Two hangar nearby, things quickly become much more sinister. Assigned to the case, DCI Banks and his team are baffled by the mystery laid out before them. But when a motor accident throws up a gruesome discovery, the investigation spins into a higher gear – and in another direction.

8. The Missing and the Dead by Stuart Macbride

The missing and the deadWhen you catch a twisted killer there should be a reward, right? What Acting Detective Inspector Logan McRae gets instead is a ‘development opportunity’ out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire. Welcome to divisional policing – catching drug dealers, shop lifters, vandals and the odd escaped farm animal. Then a little girl’s body washes up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive manhunt. The Major Investigation Team is up from Aberdeen, wanting answers, and they don’t care who they trample over to get them. Logan’s got enough on his plate keeping B Division together, but DCI Steel wants him back on her team. As his old colleagues stomp around the countryside, burning bridges, Logan gets dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation.

9. Mightier than the sword by Jeffrey Archer

Mightier than the swordEmma Clifton, now the chairman of Barrington Shipping, is facing the repercussions of the IRA attack on the Buckingham. Some board members feel she should resign, but Sebastian Clifton, newly elected to the board, is determined that she’ll stay. Sir Giles Barrington is now a minister of the Crown, and looks set for even higher office, until an official trip to Berlin does not end as a diplomatic success. Once again, his political career is thrown off balance by none other than his old adversary, Major Alex Fisher, who, for the second time, is selected to stand against him at the general election.

10. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The girl on the trainRachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar. Now they’ll see: she’s much more than just the girl on the train.

Top 10 – Children’s Fiction

Our new series of blog posts will feature Top 10s from Leeds Library Service. This week, as it is half term I thought I would start with our Top 10 Children’s fiction books borrowed this month. Mr Walliams and Ms Wilson have definitely got it sewn up between them!  Have you read them all?

  1. Opal Plumstead by Jacqueline Wilson

Opal Plumstead Opal Plumstead might be plain, but she has always been fiercely intelligent. Yet her scholarship and dreams of university are snatched away when her father is sent to prison, and 14-year-old Opal must start work at the Fairy Glen sweet factory to support her family. Opal struggles to get along with the other workers, who think her snobby and stuck-up. But she idolises Mrs Roberts, the factory’s beautiful, dignified owner, who introduces her to the legendary Mrs Pankhurst and her fellow Suffragettes. And when Opal meets Morgan – Mrs Roberts’ handsome son, and the heir to Fairy Glen – she believes she has found her soulmate. But the First World War is about to begin, and will change Opal’s life for ever.

2. Adventure Time by Ryan North

Adventure timeThe Lich, a super-lame, super-scary skeleton dude, has returned to the Land of Ooo, and he’s bent on total destruction! Luckily, Finn and Jake are on the case!

3. The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFGGiants are known for eating children. So when Sophie is snatched from her bed by the BFG, she fears for her life. But luckily he is far more jumbly than his disgusting neighbours. They become good friends and cook up a plan to rid the world of bad giants.

4. Mr Stink by David Walliams

Mr StinkChloe sees Mr Stink every day, but she’s never spoken to him. Which isn’t surprising, because he’s a tramp, and he stinks. But there’s more to Mr Stink than meets the eye (or nose) and before she knows it, Chloe has an unusual new friend hiding in her garden shed.

5. Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Gangsta GrannyBen is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma’s house. All she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma: she was once an international jewel thief and she has been plotting to steal the crown jewels. Now she needs Ben’s help.

6. The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

Boy in the DressDennis lives in a boring house in a boring street in a boring town. But he’s about to find out that when you open your mind, life becomes anything but boring.

7. Billionaire Boy by David Walliams

Billionaire BoyJoe has a lot of reasons to be happy – about a billion of them, in fact. You see, Joe’s rich – really, really rich. Joe’s got his own bowling alley, his own cinema, even his own butler who is also an orangutan. He’s the wealthiest 12-year-old in the land. But Joe isn’t happy. Why not? Because he’s got a billion pounds, and not a single friend.

8. Paws and Whiskers by Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, Enid Blyon and  more

Paws and whiskersThis special anthology features the very best stories about cats and dogs from the world of children’s literature, chosen by author and Battersea Cats and Dogs Home patron Jacqueline Wilson. The book includes a new story by Jacqueline herself, ‘Leonie’s Pet Cat’, as well as extracts from treasured classics such as ‘The Hundred and One Dalmations’ by Dodie Smith and ‘Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat’ by Ursula Moray Williams, and from modern favourite writers such as Anne Fine and Patrick Ness.

9. Demon Dentist by David Walliams

Demon DentistDarkness has come to the town. Strange things are happening in the dead of night. Children put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they wake up to find. a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow. Evil is at work. But who or what was behind it? Read this book and find out!

10. Diamond by Jacqueline Wilson

DiamondDiamond wasn’t always a star. Born to penniless parents who longed for a strong, healthy son, she was a dainty, delicate daughter – and a bitter disappointment. Discovering an extraordinary gift for acrobatics, Diamond uses her talent to earn a few pennies, but brings shame on her family. When a mysterious, cruel-eyed stranger spots her performing, Diamond is sold – and is taken to become an acrobat at Tanglefield’s Travelling Circus. The crowds adore Diamond, but life behind the velvet curtains is far from glamorous. Her wicked master forces Diamond to attempt ever more daring tricks, until she is terrified to step into the ring.



Featured Library – Oakwood

Another in my random series about the libraries that we have all around the city. This time I am concentrating on Oakwood library as the Roundhay & Oakwood Festival starts soon and we are delighted that Oakwood Library is hosting a number of events for the festival, which runs from the 23rd October until the 1st November 2015.

Oakwood%20Library%20Exterior%201_jpgFirst off though, a bit about the library. Oakwood is one of our more unusual buildings as it is housed in a  converted end terrace house on Oakwood Lane. This makes it a little bit challenging with the book shelves, but on the bright side we have a fantastic big bay window to display books in as well as a lovely garden to hold summer events. Some of you may have been to our reading challenge event held outside in the summer holidays.  The library has a regular monthly readers group and a weekly storytime on Monday afternoons from 2.00 – 2.30pm.

For the festival the first ever Oakwood Library Street Food Festival will be on Saturday 24th October, along with a book signing with Lynn Hill, founder of Clandestine Cake Club; following the success of their first recipe collection the Clandestine Cake Club is back with a second delicious helping of 100 gorgeous recipes to whet your appetite in ‘A Year of Cake’.

skin like silverOn Monday 26th October local author Chris Nickson offers a special, exclusive preview of ‘Skin Like Silver’, the third in his Detective Inspector Tom Harper series set in the Leeds of the 1890s.

death in the dalesThen on Wednesday 28th October we will be joined by another local author Frances Brody, who will speak about ‘A Death in the Dales’ the seventh book in her Kate Shackleton Mysteries series, which is set in 1920s Yorkshire.

On the morning of Friday 30th October we will be joined by Stir Krazy Kids who will be showing us how to make delicious Wonka treats from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’!



And, if all that wasn’t enough already we will also be celebrating the 65th anniversary of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ on the afternoon of the 30th October with an afternoon of crafty fun – we will be making Narnia snow globes and more!

For further details about these events, and many more please go to the festival website.

Poem of the week – Pessimism for Beginners by Sophie Hannah

sophie hannahThis weeks poem is from Sophie Hannah. Sophie has published five bestselling collections and this poem is taken from the collection; Selected Poems, published 2006. I think we all have a pessimist in our lives and this made me giggle. This one’s for you Mum!

Pessimism for Beginners

When you're waiting for someone to email,
When you're waiting for someone to call - 
Young or old, gay or straight, male or female - 
Don't assume that they're busy, that's all. 

Don't conclude that their letter went missing
Or they must be away for a while;
Think instead that they're cursing and hissing - 
They've decided you're venal and vile,

That your eyes should be pecked out by an eagle.
Oh to bash in your head with a stone!
But since this is fairly illegal
They've no choice but to leave you alone. 

Be they friend, parent, sibling or lover
Or your most stalwart colleague at work,
Don't pursue them. You'll only discover
That your once-irresistible quirk

Is no longer appealing. Far from it. 
Everything you are and you do
Makes them spatter their basin with vomit.
They loathe Hitler and herpes and you. 

Once you take this on board, life gets better. 
You give no one your hopes to destroy. 
The most cursory phone call or letter
Makes you pickle your heart in pure joy. 

It's so different from what you expected!
They do not want to gouge out your eyes!
You feel neither abused nor rejected - 
What a stunning and perfect surprise. 

This approach I'm endorsing will net you
A small portion of boundless delight. 
Keep believing the world's out to get you.
Now and then you might not be proved right.

Guest Blog: The Book-Powered Moped

We live in a disposable age, in which the machines we most depend on cannot be repaired, only replaced. Without sounding too nostalgic, there was time when we bought an item with working parts and it was built in such a rudimentary way that its user could mend it himself if a problem should arise.

Picture the 1950s man wearing a home-knitted tank-top, wiping his oily hands on a hanky while tinkering with his VW Beetle. Then despair at the thought of a 2015 man drinking an expensive coffee in a cardboard tumbler, fastening the top button of his plaid shirt while tossing his broken iPad in the bin because it cannot be repaired.

So I was proud to buy a Honda C90 (or ‘Cub’) moped earlier this year, a vehicle described by its riders as “bulletproof” and as “the greatest machine ever” by The Daily Telegraph. You will have seen photographs of entire families clinging onto them in various parts of Asia, travelling at a decent speed for a moped that has an engine less powerful than a ride-on lawnmower.

Honda Haynes ManualUsually, I try to shirk any DIY duties at home and shy away from all things mechanical, however my Honda C90 is the best mode of transport for my commute from Otley to Armley. So when my back tyre was punctured on the way home, I had no option but to borrow the Library Service’s Haynes manual and change the tyre myself. I should add that I did contact a local motorcycle garage to ask them to carry out the work, but the mechanic laughed down the phone and insisted that I should make the repair.

Despite my shortcomings as a practical man, I did it! All thanks to the Haynes manual – when Stewart Lee was recently asked his thoughts on parenting by a Guardian reader, he recommended the Haynes baby manual, and I can see why. For me, this addresses the broader of issue of why books are so important, whether you read them for advice or for pleasure. I didn’t need a YouTube video or post a plea for help on Facebook, I was empowered by 172 pages that are available to everyone on a non-discriminatory basis. Not a nostalgic idea, but one to carry with us into the future.

Many thanks to Matthew, one of our Assistant Community Librarians for this great post.


Poem of the week – Eating Her Children by Ellen Phethean

BreathThis week’s poem is a day early as it is National Poetry Day today. If you don’t normally read poems you could start today and I think this lovely poem from Ellen Phethean is a good place to start. Ellen was a featured poet with the Read Regional campaign last year which is where I came across her. Her poems feature childhood and family life as well as the cultural landscape of Newcastle upon Tyne and this poem should really resonate with any parents.

Eating her Children

Her babies were milky puddings,
delicate as junket, not quite set,
messy possets that she coddled, rolled
on her tongue, licking and sucking,
wanting it to last. 

Toddlers were finger food, currant-dotted
hot cross buns, eaten on the hoof, at a run,
walloped down. Only after
did she regret
the indigestion. 

She ate her ten year old for breakfast
one sunny morning, a golden croissant,
smelling warm, buttery crisp,
his own perfect curl,
she bit greedily. 

Her eldest went off: sharp as anchovies,
tough as liquorice stick, a bitter unripe olive.
She had to spit him out, go hungry,
knowing some other mouth
would find him. 

Poem of the week – This Lunar Beauty by W.H. Auden

Auden Selected PoemsThis weeks’ poem is taken from Selected Poems by W.H. Auden.

This lunar beauty
Has no history
Is complete and early;
If beauty later
Bear any feature
It had a lover
And is another.

This like a dream
Keeps another time
And daytime is
The loss of this;
For time is inches
And the heart's changes
Where ghost has haunted
Lost and wanted.

But this was never
A ghost's endeavour
Nor finished this,
Was ghost at ease;
And till it pass
Love shall not near
The sweetness here
Nor sorrow take
His endless look.