Librarian’s Choice: Sci Fi

This blog comes from Liam, an assistant community librarian based in the east of Leeds.

Sci-fi has been unfairly maligned within the literary community for many decades, mainly by folk who believe literature equals being beaten around the head with a 19th Century thesaurus. Those of us who actually read it know that it is in fact an endless source of creativity and imagination, a way of reflecting today’s society through futuristic funhouse mirrors, and an important and compelling method of examining what’s ahead. It isn’t just aliens and spaceships and planets with names like Zygolythkah-7. Not only that, anyway. So I have compiled a list of sci-fi novels, some more well-known than others, but all of which I believe would stand up against any classic 20th Century novels. I could have talked about so many more, but hopefully this will whet your appetite!

Liam Left HandThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

No list of classic sci-fi would be complete without Ursula K. Le Guin, a true heavyweight of the genre. The Left Hand of Darkness won the Hugo and the Nebula Award, and remains as popular today as it was in 1969, when it was published.
Genly Ai, an envoy for Ekumen – a coalition of humanoid species – is sent to Gethen to encourage its leaders to join the union. He spends two years trying to persuade Karhide and Orgoreyn, the two dominant nations, to join, but encounters scepticism from both. Though capable of a type of telepathic communication, he struggles to understand the Gethen concept of ‘shifgrethor’, a system of social rules and status, and the effeminate mannerisms of many of the ‘male’ folk he meets. His task becomes all the more difficult as both nations distrust one another, and he gets caught in the middle.

The Left Hand of Darkness is an early example of feminist sci-fi, and explores themes of androgyny, sexuality and gender and their effects on society, particularly when you take gender away. Genly, for example, is unable to understand how his sexuality affects his way of thinking, and thus finds it incredibly difficult to communicate with the ambisexual Gethenians, who in turn find his motivations hard to understand. Another fascinating aspect of the story is the idea of ‘shifgrethor’, a complex system used by Gethenians extensively with regards to their society. So much of this story is as relevant today as it was when it was written. A particular passage about the dangers of patriotism rings true, especially with what’s happening in the world at the moment: “No, I don’t mean love, when I say patriotism. I mean fear. The fear of the other. And its expressions are political, not poetical: hate, rivalry, aggression.” Another longer part about nations and borders should be mandatory reading. In fact, the entire book should be!

Liam CandidateA Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic. Oryx and Crake, The Road, Earth Abides, Station Eleven, I Am Legend, Greybeard, The Gone-Away World… the list goes on. Show me society collapsing and I’m all over it. I chose ‘A Canticle for Leibowitz’ for this blog as it is widely regarded as one of the finest examples, and hasn’t been out of print since it was first published in 1960. It’s the only novel Walter M. Miller ever wrote, which I guess proves the old adage of quitting while you’re ahead.

At the beginning we follow a religious sect that seems to live in the Middle Ages, but as we progress, we learn that this desolate landscape is actually 600 years after a terrible nuclear war. One of the few survivors, Isaac Edward Leibowitz, collected and stored any books he could find. Centuries later, they have become the basis for a new religion called the ‘Albertian Order of Leibowitz’. The story follows humanity as it tries to rebuild civilisation and is split into three parts, with a six-century time-jump in between. Much of the novel focuses on the aspects of religion versus state, and cyclical history – how we’re doomed to repeat it if we fail to learn from our mistakes. A true masterpiece which is well worth a read.

Lilith’s Brood (The Xenogenesis Trilogy) by Octavia E. Butler

Though less so today, sci-fi in the past was often a reserve for straight white male authors. Octavia E. Butler, an African-American lesbian, broke that mould and helped pave the way for a more diverse representation of voices in this genre. Her Xenogenesis trilogy – Dawn, Adulthood Rights, and Iago, recently released as an omnibus titled Lilith’s Brood – was written between 1987-89. Nuclear war has left the earth uninhabitable and humanity on the brink of extinction. The Oankili, an alien race, takes the handful of survivors left and holds them in suspended animation while they make the earth safe for life once more. Lilith Iyapo, our hero, is one of the first to be awoken aboard her new home, and is trained to help the other survivors come to terms with this new earth. The Oankili, however, know what the humans cannot accept – that humanity holds an innate self-destructive gene manifested in a need for hierarchical systems that will once again lead to their downfall – and wish to interbreed, removing this gene and thus allowing humanity the chance to flourish. But some of the survivors believe these hybrid offspring won’t truly be human, and will only cause the extinction of humankind. Some rebel…

Lilith’s Brood is a fantastic story about human nature, biological determinism, gender, sexuality and race. It could be seen as an allegory of immigration and integration that we see in society today. Though it could be argued that Butler doesn’t hold humanity in much regard, her characters are nevertheless brilliantly written and believable, the prose is tight and efficient, and the ideas are out of this world. Lilith herself is a true feminine hero, an archetype we need to see more of in sci-fi, and all genres.

Liam SiriusSirius by Olaf Stapledon

One of our librarians, Chris, recommended Sirius to me. Though the plot – a scientist breeds a super-intelligent dog with the ability to speak – sounds like it could’ve been lifted from a straight-to-DVD flop voiced by Rob Schneider, the result is actually a poignant study on consciousness, innate nature, the relationships between human and animal, and the fear of the ‘other’.

In rural Wales, a scientist begins using steroids to increase the cognisance of farm dogs. Though most fail, one little pup, Sirius, grows and develops until he holds the intelligence of a human. Born at the same time as the scientist’s daughter Plaxy, the pair forms a tight bond despite their sibling rivalry. While the family tries to keep Sirius’ intelligence a secret, locals soon begin to wonder about the dog’s smart behaviour, and react with fear and hatred. Sirius, neither man nor beast, struggles with his own identity and battles his innate wild nature against his carefully nurtured character.

‘Sirius’ is a remarkable novel by a true sci-fi legend, Olaf Stapledon, who influenced a whole generation of authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Stanislaw Lem, Brian Aldiss, C.S. Lewis and many more. First published in 1944, its main themes are still just as relevant, and have been explored in other novels such as Flowers for Algernon.

Liam AndroidsDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

With the recent release of ‘Blade Runner 2049’, and the current TV anthology series ‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams’, now would be the perfect time to revisit Philip K. Dick’s seminal novel. Set in a future San Francisco, a devastating nuclear war has seen the majority of the surviving population leave Earth to live in off-world colonies. A group of androids, used as labourers throughout the solar system, go rogue, murder their owners, and flee Mars for Earth. It’s down to Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter, to track them down and ‘retire’ them, while the androids hide out with John Isidore, a simpleton who lives in an abandoned apartment building. These androids, though superficially identical to humans, are incapable of empathy. Though they’re trying to learn…

The novel explores what it means to be human; whether it’s our emotions, experiences, souls, or simply biology. It’s darkly funny in places too. Early on, Deckard and his wife use a ‘Penfield Mood Organ’ which feeds them the emotions that their lifeless world has taken away. Deckard’s wife Iran uses this organ for a “six-hour self-accusatory depression.” With the nuclear war devastating animal life most people can only afford mechanical replicas, such as the title’s electric sheep. Yes, the film’s popularity has overshadowed its source, but this remains a noteworthy book and is a must-read for anyone with an inclination to enjoy one of cyberpunk’s original sources.

Liam More thanMore Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

I put up a Gollancz sci-fi masterworks display at Headingley Library, with their gorgeously cheesy 30s pulp style paperback covers or the yellow with pink lettering hardbacks. This was one I found that I’d never heard of before, and quickly became one of my favourites. Theodore Sturgeon, a New Wave sci-fi author, and one of the few to escape a middle initial, was prolific in his writing – before his death in 1985 he had written over 200 stories. ‘More Than Human’ was one of his most famous and won 1954’s International Fantasy Award for best novel.

The story follows six individuals who, when apart, are societal misfits with weird powers – a 25 year old with a very low IQ who can control minds; two teleporting twin toddlers who can only say “he-he” and “ho-ho”; a severely disabled baby (described in the books as “mongoloid”… different times) who can think like a computer and answer any question; and an 8 year old telekinetic girl. But when these characters come together they form a symbiotic being capable of almost anything – they are“homo gestalt” humanity’s next evolutionary step.

I loved this book so much. From the first chapter where two girls, hidden away from society by their over-protective father, come face to face with the feeble-minded Lone, ending in tragedy, to the accidental creation of an anti-gravity machine while trying to build a tractor that works in both wet and dry conditions. It is truly a story that stays with you long after you’ve finished.

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Coffee Table Reads: Bang on Trend

This blog post comes from Rachel Benn, a Communities Librarian in the South of the City. A lover of coffee and books.

Forget not judging a book by its cover, with coffee table reads it’s all about that!
Coffee Table books provide perfect décor and in the era of Pinterest, Instagram and multiple magazines and blogs it’s time to jump on the trend. Coffee Tables have recently become built-in bookcases, choosing the right books can transform any surface and add a little extra chic to your home.
Here are my top ten Coffee Table reads that are bang on trend and good to read too! Monday – Saturday a decorating staple, Sunday morning perfect for reading over a cuppa. All are available on the Leeds Libraries catalogue to borrow for free.

Rachel How not toHow not to kill your Plants by Nik Southern

So I recently chose this book as a survival guide, another trend which I’ve joined the hype on is house plants! I can’t get enough of them, but my major concern was how do I look after them?! I chose them based on Instagramable quality not practicability! So this book was a necessity. Not only is it’s cover chic with its gold and navy simplistic tones, it has great tips, solutions and advice for taking care of those sassy plants. There’s even a guide for giving your plants a funeral – but I’m hoping I don’t get to that stage, I’m taking the tips seriously and monitoring the watering, humidity and room positioning carefully! The quirky illustrations are amazing and there’s plenty of photos to give you #PlantEnvy, the book is a work of art. “Don’t let the pricks get you down” – the Cactus chapter is a go to – treat them like a best friend and they will remain a feature in your room for a very long time.

Rachel hyggeThe Little book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

It’s that time of year again…we’re entering the cosy season, so this book not only looks great on your Coffee Table but makes you feel warm and fuzzy just by reading it. I joined the Hygge hype last winter and absolutely loved reading this book, packed with tips for creating Hygge in the home and yummy recipes. Hygge pronounced (Hoo-gah) is the Danish art of living well, enjoying life’s simple pleasures and embracing the warm and gentle things in life. This book is cute in design, small and compact but has perfect chapters for picking up and reading on a cold winter night by the fire with a hot chocolate, it’s such a feel good book! There are lots more Hygge books on the Library catalogue to choose from too.

Rachel TidyingThe Life Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo

I was recommended this read by a friend who is obsessed with tidying, and instantly questioned whether she was trying to tell me something! This choice is a Coffee Table read that also adds a bit of sass to the room – yes the room is tidy and yes I’ve got a book on it! I’d go as far as saying this book is life changing, it gives ideas and solutions for de-cluttering that you wouldn’t even think of. It’s changed me for the better! You begin to look forward to ironing your jumpers to get them back in their assigned place in the draw. One tip that has transformed my wardrobes and drawers is positioning your clothes so you can see every item. It’s elegant and simplistic. Also try Marie Kondo’s second book ‘Spark Joy’ which gives you even more life hacks.

Rachel Creative HomeThe Creative Home: Inspiring Ideas for Beautiful Living by Geraldine James

As a decorative staple, it seemed right to have a home interior book on the list. I chose this one as it went with my room colour scheme (which is absolutely fine to do!) but it’s also a fantastic book to read and use for inspiration and ideas for the home. Every page will give you #HomeEnvy as you read about creative dining, upcycling furniture, and my favourite section – creating your own home library! Packed with styling tips, decorative displays, creating artistic flair and making the right choices. With meticulous attention to detail it inspires you to come out of your comfort zone and dare to try a new style to reinvent your home to make it uniquely yours.

Rachel HappyHappy: Finding joy in every day and letting go of perfect by Fearne Cotton

As a style icon Fearne Cotton didn’t disappoint in the look of this great read, its bright quirky cover lights up the room. Fearne draws on her own experiences and shares ways to bring happiness back into your life, embracing the times when you’re happy and it gives practical ways to release your inner joy. The hand drawn illustrations give it a real personal feel, it’s an easy read and is brilliant to pick up at times when you need to relax, I found it a perfect weekend read to reboost your inner happiness ready to start the following week. You may find you don’t want it to ever leave your Coffee Table! I’ve just borrowed Fearne’s new cookbook ‘Cook, Eat, Love’ which has great recipes in it to try too.

Rachel LagomLagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne

So instantly when I saw this on the Library catalogue I thought ‘I need this now!’ After thoroughly enjoying The Little Book of Hygge I wanted to try this, I’d seen the word ‘Lagom’ appear on several blogs and in magazine articles over the last few months so naturally I wanted to be in on the hype! It looks great on the Coffee Table, it’s pretty detailed cover with images of coffee, house plants and biscuits naturally drew me in. So I firstly thought what is Lagom? Well Linnea Dunne describes the concept as “Not too little, not too much, but just enough”. The lovely photographs and short chapters provide a great introduction to Lagom and it’s perfect to read when you have the holiday blues, it gives you a health and wellbeing boost. As a fellow foodie I also tried some of the great recipes inside!

Rachel FaceFace: makeup, skin care, beauty by Pixiwoo (Sam and Nic Chapman)

After vaguely hearing of Pixiwoo (I’m showing my age now) I thought I’ll give this book a try, it’s a beautiful book and oozes style. I jumped to chapters of interest around skincare and top tips for creating the perfect brows. It’s perfect for beginners, aspiring make-up artists and anyone that wants to try something new. After reading some reviews I was keen to have a read, the book is full of needed information for any make up lover! You can also download the app and use it as you go along which brings interactive aspects out of the book and links to Pixiwoo’s online tutorials on You Tube.

Rachel HemsleyHemsley Hemsley – good + simple by Jasmine Hemsley & Melissa Hemsley

At least one cookbook has to make its way to the Coffee Table, and there are so many to choose that look both stylish and chic but also have fantastic recipes in too. I felt the need to go out and buy a spiralizer immediately after reading the first few recipes and I have never looked back! Great clean eating meals and some unusual ingredients to take you out of your comfort zones using the kitchen staples. I am guilty of cooking the same meals on a regular basis so trying a new cookery book is a must, this book will ensure your Instagram feed has enough content for a month of foodie posts, give your friends and families #FoodEnvy and try some!

Rachel MacAnna Mae’s mac n cheese: recipes from London’s legendary street food truck by Anna Clark

Anyone I know will tell you my favourite food is Mac n Cheese, if it’s on the menu I’m choosing it! I’ve tried it with different toppings, different cheeses and every time it doesn’t disappoint. So I came across this book and I was buzzing to read it, show it off on my Coffee Table and try some new ways of experimenting with the classic recipe. The writing is very witty, the photos make you very hungry and you’re going to want to recommend it to everyone you know. Not for the calorie counters but a favourite has to be the Mac n Cheese fries recipe. It’s cheesy good.

Rachel bloomBloom: Navigating Life and Style by Estee Lalonde

I came across Estee Lalonde’s Instagram account and realised I’d been following her lifestyle/travel blog for a few months, this is her first book and is full of life hacks, travel tips and lifestyle inspiration. Its cover is a gorgeous pale blue which is perfect for the Coffee Table, it’s stylish in look and content. Imagine having dinner with a really cool friend, that’s how you feel when reading the home interior tips, recipes and life hacks. An empowering woman read and a real feel good book.

So that’s my top 10 Coffee Table reads: You can use these for styling a room, adding chic to a Coffee Table but most importantly you can have fun reading them too! #CoffeeTableReads #BookEnvy

Summer Reading Challenge 2017

Well that’s it! Our summer reading challenge is over for another year. Over the summer holidays over 7000 children across Leeds joined the challenge to read books and win prizes. This years theme was Animal Agents and that gave us a great chance to celebrate the animal kingdom as well as our love for a great mystery.

During the summer children could not only indulge their love of reading by getting stuck into free library books but could take part in a whole range of events and activities. Who’d have thought that you could stroke an owl in the library?! 

Reading Challenge-16

Jason Beresford entertaining the crowd. 

We ended on a high note with a fun filled ceremony to award children chosen at their local library for their hard work doing the challenge. On the 26th October we held our Summer Reading Challenge Celebration Party, attended by over 100 children, young volunteers, parents and carers. Children’s author Jason Beresford entertained the crowd with tremendous tongue-twisters, side-splitting jokes and extracts from his book with eager volunteers keen to act out various characters. The winners from each library were presented with their certificate, medal and a book of their choice. A great afternoon was had by all.

Reading Challenge-3

Choices, choices – its a serious business picking a free book! 

Reading Challenge-46

Jason with some of our library winners. 

Here are some of our fantastic figures from this years challenge:-

• Over 7000 children joined
• Over 3700 children completed
• 400 more completions compared to 2016
• 920 children joined the library to take part in the Challenge
• 34 volunteers worked hard supporting and delivering events and promotions
• School winners All Saints C of E Primary, Alwoodley Primary and Lady Elizabeth Hastings C of E Primary had the most completions and won a visit from author Scott Allen who delivered fun filled interactive workshops enjoyed by pupils and teachers alike.

We will of course be back next year to do it all again!

Black History Month

October is Black History Month so Sapphia, an assistant community librarian based in the north of the city has compiled this list of titles that she recommends.

Sapphia HenriettaThe immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

In 1951 America an African-American woman goes to hospital and finds out she has cancer. This non fiction title looks at how colour and class affected hospital care In 1950’s America but also how ethics were dramatically different for all of us.
Using a sample taken from Henrietta Lacks without her permission on a hospital visit, the first first immortalised cell line was made. The cells known as ‘He-La’ have been mass produced and helped create vaccines for Polio, research Cancer, AIDS and the effects of radiation and much more. He-La cells have been reproduced to the weight of over 20 tonnes and has over 11,000 patents. Yet still her family were only informed of the importance of Henrietta’s cells in the 1970’s after the original He-La cells were contaminated and scientists tried to get samples from family members to investigate their genetics further.
By both informing you of who Henrietta was, and looking at the struggle and fight of Henrietta’s family to seek truth, ethical fairness, and recognition this is an incredible story, that should never be allowed to happen again. It’s hard to believe in this day and age, it could of happened in the first place.

Sapphia HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

Skeeter is the daughter of a white family who own a cotton farm in 1960’s America. After graduating from university, intent on becoming a writer against the ambitions of her mother she embarks on her first piece of writing. Constantine, Skeeter’s maid who cared for her as a child and brought her up has left the family home, quitting and going back to family in Jackson. This seems completely out of character for Constantine and Skeeter is determined to find out the truth. Talking to ‘help’ from other families Skeeter learns that she has truly lived another life compared to the often faceless men and woman that are employed as ‘help’ for the white families she represents. Skeeter will find out what happened to Constantine but she will also create a written account of the stories of the ‘help’ from her small town near Jackson. The stories will show them as individuals, with personality, loving and kind but also highlighting some of the deplorable conditions they faced everyday. This happened. This story may be fictional but is based on a history that was quite recent and the way that black people were treated as ‘help’, as a subordinate human is hard to conceive. But in some places, for some cultures it still happens. We need to learn from our history so that our future shows that we have changed.

Sapphia Hidden FiguresHidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterley

During World War 2, the civil rights movement and mass labour shortages, Hidden figures looks at the true story of four African American women whose great intellect got them jobs working as ‘human computers’ for NASA. They defied segregation, forged alliances and overcame the prejudice that was common place for that time, for being black, and for being women. Their guts and determination is exemplary and these women need to be acknowledged and revered for their amazing accomplishments. Without these women the first American astronaut wouldn’t have made it to space, taking on each and every hurdle, changing their lives but also changing their countries future.
The film version of this book has been used to educate young, impoverished black women in America to show them that they can aspire and that they can reach the stars. I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I hoped. It wasn’t the story. It was the way it was written. I’m just happy that these amazing black women have had their stories publicly acknowledged and inspired millions more.

Sapphia Born a CrimeBorn a Crime : Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

I don’t think I can even describe how much I loved this book. I loved Trevor Noah before but now I am in awe. His biography tells you his childhood stories, starting with his first; that he was born a crime. Born to a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father in apartheid South Africa, Trevor was hidden indoors and always an outsider no matter what community he was in. Whether in poverty or becoming a business man in the ‘hood’. He is a mischievous yet endearing boy mentored by a determined, unconventional and loving mother who you can feel with every story Trevor’s love and admiration for. The memories are beautiful and vast, wether humorous or heartbreaking and seen through the eyes of a child living in a dangerous time, armed only with the aspirations his mother ingrained in him and hope.

Sapphia MockingbirdTo kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Written through the eyes of a child, To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in 1930’s Alabama. Scout and Jem’s father Atticus has been given the hardest case of his life, to defend a black man accused of raping a white girl. For a town steeped in prejudice, ignorance and violence the irrationality of Maycomb’s adult population leave Tom Robinson’s life in the balance. This is a heart rendering story, I almost cried on a bus. It’s sometimes hard to read with language that was the norm at the time, with the treatment of black people as second class citizens and getting lost into a story that you think couldn’t be real but most certainly was rife at the time. Atticus tries his hardest to get Tom Robinson justice and acquitted of the crime he clearly hasn’t committed, however the verdict is predictable and unfortunate. As a teen Jem is ashamed and betrayed by the adults around him for their lack of rationality and goodness. ‘Baby steps’ as Atticus says, is just not good enough, where is there humanity? I don’t want to tell you too much of the story in case I ruin it for anyone but I will say that it’s heartwarming to be captivated into a book because you see life from the perspective of an innocent. Reading this story as an adult you feel ashamed for being an adult and for the stereotyping that you do in your everyday actions, and although not to the extremes of the 1930’s we are all a little guilty if it. Even simply judging a book for its cover. But it’s lovely to reflect and force yourself to challenge these prejudices and to take every day as it comes.

Sapphia PoemsThe complete Collected Poems by Maya Angelou

Simply put Maya Angelou rocks. She is full of a wisdom that enlightens the soul. She was a civil rights activist and personally selected by Dr. Martin Luther King jr to be a co-ordinator for the Southern Christian Leader Conference. Just read her poetry. Think about what’s she’s saying to you. She knows what she’s talking about. Simply beautiful.

Other titles to consider:-

The Secret Life of bees by Sue Monk
Scottsboro by Ellen Fieldman
George the Poet (collection)
The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae
Their eyes were watching god by Zora Neale Hurston
Kindred by Octavia Butler

Fun Palaces in our libraries

Fun Palace logoLast weekend we hosted several fun palaces in libraries across the city. Many people took part and enjoyed activities from book folding, to making Christmas puddings. Here are some photos of the great time that everyone had.

 

Book Folding (HO)

Book Folding at Horsforth

Stuart Andrew MP visited the Fun Palace at Horsforth and had a go at book folding. He was also impressed with the range of activities on offer. He could have also done some crochet, had advice about laptops and getting on line, viewed and listened to a presentation of Leeds photography or watched a Hoola Hoop skills demonstration.

 

Child feedback (CO)

Great feedback from a young Lego builder

We also received some great feedback from both participants at the Fun Palaces and those that shared their skills. The photography artist that took part said, “it was a well organised event and I enjoyed taking part and thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that.” The Hoola Hoop demonstrator said, “I only moved to Leeds two weeks ago from Canada. This is a fantastic way to bring the community together, I hope it becomes regular.”

 

At the Reginald Centre there were a number of things the community could try. There was opportunities to create artworks with Leeds College of Art Student Ambassadors, practice BMX bike skills with The Works, taste Healthy Turkish food, play table tennis or have a game of chess.

BMX (CP)At Dewsbury Road all of the activities and skills shared were by members of the local community, there was the local allotment in Beeston sharing tips for growing your own vegetables, a local writer Yvonne brought a collection of stories and poems she had written over the years, sharing emotional times in her life and how she overcame them through writing.

Gillian Adams a local lady brought her love of beading to the Fun Palace and showed people of all ages how to create items of jewellery. Hank, a local gentlemen shared monologues he had written in the last year, ‘Poor Person’s Blues’ and ‘Unrequited Love’, he even got on the microphone and performed these for everyone in the Hub.
Fabienne a young aspiring singer provided a lovely performance for everyone while the activities were taking place, she inspired a group of 4-7 year old girls who took inspiration from her and came up and sung Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Wind the Bobbin up on the Mic!

Fun (DE)

All the fun at Dewsbury Road

 

National Libraries Week

LibWeekRGB

NLW prog_Page_1We are extremely pleased to be taking part in National Libraries Week. The week will be an annual showcase of all the creative, innovative and diverse activities that UK libraries have to offer.

During the week from the 9th to the 14th October there will be a chance to discover the range of things you can do at your library, from play and learning for children, to managing your health, to accessing wifi and games, to finding a job, a hobby or starting a business.

It’s not just public libraries – libraries of all kinds in schools, workplaces and universities have amazing services that will be on show during Libraries Week.

Have a look at all these events you can discover in our libraries over the week. And of course it isn’t just Libraries Week when you can find lots going on in your library, there are things going on all the time. Check out the What’s On page to find events year round.

Monday 9

Business Start-up Workshop
Pudsey Library
10.30-1.30
Find out about the support available in Leeds – from marketing your business to taxation & book-keeping, protecting your name and website and much more.
Free. Booking Required https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/business-amp-ip-centre-leeds-2985198129

Garforth Social
Garforth Library
1.30 – 2.10
If you like to take part in games and shared activities, enjoy a chat and a cuppa, meet new people or have hobbies or interests you’d like to share, why not join us at the Garforth Social in a relaxed environment for all. Free drop in

Club Drama
Dewsbury Road Community Hub
3.30-5.00
Through drama games and exercises, learn and share acting skills and techniques. Meet new people and have fun!
For 11-14 year olds. Free drop in

Chris Nickson: From 1944 to 1736 – A Leeds Journey
7.00 – 8.00
Oakwood Library
Chris Nickson will talk about his new book, The Year of the Gun, which sees Lottie Armstrong (Modern Crimes) return as a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps in World War II. Chris will also be offering a special sneak preview of Free From All Danger, due out October 29. It marks the return of Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds, more than four years after his last outing.
Free event. No booking required

Tuesday 10

Knit Together
Rothwell Library
10.30-12.00
Are you a keen knitter? Come along to our monthly group. You can pick up tips from others, or sit and chat while you get on with your own current project. Free. Drop in.

Code, Craft, Create
Middleton Library
3.30-4.30
Have a go at Coding, or Connect and Create using our Lego and Duplo and your imagination. Everyone is welcome.

Readers Group
Pudsey Library
1.30-2.30
Headingley Library
7.00-8.00
Readers’ groups are great places to meet other people who love to read, talk about books and discover new authors that you may not have thought of trying. Our groups across libraries in Leeds are friendly and informal. New members are always welcome.

The Man Who Would Be King: Harald Hardrada, Jerusalem and 1066
Moor Allerton Library
5.45- 6.45
In an informative and lively talk, Sunday Times and Washington Post Book of the Year Author, Justin Hill, will recount the life of King Harald Hardrada, The Last Viking.
Free event. No booking required

The Enterprise Club
Is Starting a Business right for you
BIPC, Leeds Central Library
6.00-7.30
The Enterprise Club is perfect for anyone considering becoming self-employed, starting a business or have already taken those first steps. The Club provides an opportunity to network and access information, support and advice on starting and running a business from set-up onwards.
Free. Booking Required. To book, click here.

Wednesday 11

Code / Create / Minecraft
Chapel Allerton Library
3.30-5.00
On this session you will use Raspberry Pi computers and Python to make awesome things happen in Minecraft.
Build a castle you can decorate! Magically create a TNT wall to detonate! Take the Teleport Challenge! Limited spaces. Ages 7 – 11
To book your free ticket click here.

Lego Club
Whinmoor
4.00-5.00
Master builders’ Lego club
Come and show off your master builder skills at our monthly after school club, there will be themed challenges and games as well as the chance to get creative.
This is a free event, no booking required. Aimed at ages 5+

Local History Book and Discussion Group
5.00-7.00
2nd floor meeting room, Leeds Central Library
Reading group based on local history texts, followed by a discussion.
Booking required. (0113) 378 6982

Thursday 12

JRR Tolkein and Leeds
Room 700, Leeds Central Library
1.00-2.00
Join Dr Alaric Hall as he discusses what Leeds University Library’s Special Collections tell us about how the scholarship and friendships that Tolkien formed while at Leeds University informed his creative writing. This is a story that involves intercontinental migration, class prejudices, and the struggles of women to be accepted as scholars.
Free Event. Booking required 0113 3787192 arts@leeds.gov.uk

Code Club
Halton Library
Use Scratch to create games and animations.
4.00-5.00 Beginners
5.00-6.00 Advanced
Free event. Booking is required.
0113 378 1865

The Unquiet Dead – Ghost Stories and Ballads
Local and Family History, Leeds Central Library
6.30-8.00
Local storyteller Matthew Bellwood brings to life a selection of macabre tales from the golden age of the ghost story. Laced together with a thread of black humour and framed by a set of traditional English ghost ballads, these are tales to chill the blood and freeze the marrow. The Unquiet Dead is a promenade performance that will visit a number of the library’s spookiest spots – offering a glimpse into the hidden corners of one of the city’s most beautiful Victorian buildings.
Places are limited so please book a ticket here.
‘Pay as you feel’ on the night

Friday 13

Sandstone in My Blood – the Bower Family at Ashwood
Room 700, Leeds Central Library
1.00-2.00
Join us for the next in our Lunchtime Talk series. This month, we welcome Jane Bower, art teacher, writer and actress, who spent her first seven years in Ashwood, the home of the Poet Laureate Alfred Austin, and one of the first villas in Headingley. Jane’s illustrated talk also touches on the history of the Ashwood area and her family’s Leeds background, which features in her most recent play, Daddy’s Diaries.
Free event, no booking required.

Saturday 14

Lego Club
Rothwell Library 10.30-11.30
Morley Library 1.30-2.30
Join us at our Lego clubs. Accept our monthly challenge or use your imagination to see what you can create. Have a go with our “LittleBits” sets to build different circuit combinations. Build and create in a supportive and fun group
Free event, no booking required.

Laughing Yoga with Sponge Tree
Dewsbury Road Community Hub
10.00
Suitable for grown-ups and little people.
Taking place in the Children’s Library
Interactive storytelling that combines playful laughter, yoga exercises and deep breathing. Children can also create a craft from the story to take home.
Free event for under 5’s.

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Top 20 – Graphic Novels

Did you know we stock graphic novels for grown ups in some of our libraries? Here is a list of our top 20 most borrowed titles last month. If you think graphic novels are all superheroes and zombies this list proves that wrong. If you fancy one of them, you can reserve them for free, even if they are not at your local library. The book will then be delivered to the library that is most convenient for you.

Graphic SagaSaga by Brian Vaughan

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. ‘Saga’ is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds.

The advantage of this book is that if you enjoy it there are Saga 2, 3 and 4 to follow, all of which we have in stock.

Graphic call to armsCall to Arms (The Walking Dead) by Robert Kirkman

After being betrayed by members of his own community, Rick Grimes charts a new course and marshals his forces against the Whisperers.

This is volume 26 in the hugely popular Walking Dead series.

graphic black holeBlack Hole by Charles Burns

Suburban Seattle, the mid-1970s. We learn from the out-set that a strange plague has descended upon the area’s teenagers, transmitted by sexual contact. The disease is manifested in any number of ways — from the hideously grotesque to the subtle (and concealable) — but once you’ve got it, that’s it. There’s no turning back.

graphic fun homeFun home: a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

In this graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father. Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

graphic TWDThe Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

Life in the prison starts to get interesting for Rick Grimes and the rest of our survivors, as relationships heat up, fizzle out and change almost overnight. By the end of this tale, relations between key characters are radically changed, setting the stage for future events in ‘The Walking Dead’.

Unsurprisingly this is the second Walking Dead novel to be featured in the list. This entry is Book 1, where it all starts.

graphic lovelaceThe thrilling adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: the (mostly) true story of the first computer by Sydney Padua

When Ada translated her friend Babbage’s plans for the ‘Difference Engine,’ her lengthy footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory – 100 years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a few years after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines. But now Sydney Padua gives us an alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the ‘Difference Engine’, and then use it to do battle with the American banking system, the publishing industry, their own fears that their project will lose funding, and a villainous street musician who will force the two friends to re-evaluate their priorities – ‘for the sake of both London and science.’

graphic marieFor the love of God, Marie! by Jade Sarson

Marie is a girl with the gift of understanding, who is often misunderstood. At home and in her Catholic sixth form, she confounds family, friends and teachers with her innocent attempts to make everyone feel loved. As we follow Marie from the 1960s to the 1990s, we find out what it means to be a spirited young woman from a religious household who believes that maybe, just maybe, God doesn’t care what you do with your body as long as it makes you happy. Because really, what harm can come from loving people?

graphic paper girlsPaper Girls by Brian Vaughan

n the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

graphic worlds endWorld’s end by Neil Gaiman and Bryan Talbot

The story begins in the first person narration of Brant Tucker, wherein he and co-worker Charlene Mooney are involved in a car crash on their way to Chicago. Charlene is hurt, and Brant is directed by a hedgehog to a strange inn named “Worlds’ End, a free house”: identified later as one of four inns where travelers between realms shelter during reality storms, which occur after momentous events. In conclusion, the revelers at the inn watch a funeral procession cross the sky, which ends with Death looking sadly into the inn, as the crescent moon behind her slowly turns red. Thereafter Brant returns alone to his own world, where he narrates his story to a waitress, while Charlene remains at the ‘Worlds’ End’ as assistant to its landlady.

graphic faustThe Faust act by Kieron Gillen (author); Jamie Mckelvie (artist); Matthew Wilson (artist); Clayton Cowles (artist)

Every 90 years, 12 gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. Welcome to ‘The Wicked + The Divine,’ where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever.

grpahic night witchNight witch by Ben Aaronovitch (author); Lee Sullivan (artist); Andrew Cartmel (author)

Press-ganged into helping a Russian oligarch hunt his missing daughter, PC Peter Grant and his boss, Thomas Nightingale, London’s only wizarding cops, find themselves caught up in a battle between Russian gunmen, a monstrous forest creature – and their nemesis – the Faceless Man. But as Grant and Nightingale close in on the missing girl, they discover that nothing about this case is what it seems.

graphic giant daysGiant days by Whitney Coga ; John Allison; Lissa Treiman

Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of hand-wringing bays, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery-mold, nu-chauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive.

graphic brass sunBrass sun by Ian Edginton (author); Ian Culbard (illustrator)

Wren’s father has revealed to her the secret of their world, that it is only one of many in a clockwork solar system; but it is dying and to save her home, she must first escape it.

The Orrery is a fully functional, life-size clockwork solar system, a clutch of planets orbiting a vast Brass Sun via immense metal spars.

But the once-unified collection of worlds has regressed into eccentric fiefdoms, and ice is encroaching on the outer planets as the sun is dying. Wren and Eptimus must find the key to restart the sun, but first must escape the world known as The Keep….

graphic preacherPreacher by Garth Ennis (author); Steve Dillon (illustrator)

At first glance, the Reverend Jesse Custer doesn’t look like anyone special-just another small-town minister slowly losing his flock and his faith. But he’s about to come face-to-face with proof that God does indeed exist. Merging with a bizarre spiritual force called Genesis, Jesse now possesses the power of “the Word,” an ability to make people do whatever he utters. He begins a violent and riotous journey across the country in search of answers from the elusive deity.

graphic girlsHow to talk to girls at parties by Neil Gaiman (author); Fábio Moon (artist); Gabriel Bá (artist)

ENN is a fifteen-year-old boy who just doesn’t understand girls, while his friend Vic seems to have them all figured out. Both teenagers are in for the shock of their young lives, however, when they crash a local party only to discover that the girls there are far, far more than they appear!

graphin blueBlue is the warmest color by Julie Maroh

Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.

graphic sin citySin City by Frank Miller 

Collected in this sixth volume of his crime-comic megahit are all of Miller’s Sin City shorts and one-shots, newly redesigned with a brand-new cover by Miller, some of his first comics art in years! Collecting classics like “Just Another Saturday Night” and “Silent Night,” both starring the iconic big lug with a condition, Marv; “The Customer Is Always Right,” featured in the Sin City film; and “The Babe Wore Red,” starring Sin City’s most enduring hero, Dwight, Booze, Broads, and Bullets spans every kind of dark business you might encounter on a cold night in Basin City.

graphic returnReturn to Earth by Pat Mills (author); Clint Langley (artist)

Mars, the far future. War droids created for a conflict that ended centuries ago, the ABC Warriors were recruited to bring peace to the civil war-ravaged colonies on the Red Planet. The Meknificent Seven have recently lost two of their number to the evil Volkhan’s army. Recounting a mission from the past that led him back to Earth, team leader Hammerstein reveals how he betrayed robotkind, met Ro-Jaws and joined Ro-Busters.

graphic invisiblesThe Invisibles by Grant Morrison (author); Steve Yeowell (illustrator)

Throughout history, a secret society called the Invisibles, who count among their number Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, work against the forces of order that seek to repress humanity’s growth. In this first collection, the Invisibles’ latest recruit, a teenage lout from the streets of London, must survive a bizarre, mind-altering training course before being projected into the past to help enlist the Marquis de Sade.

graphic over easyOver easy by Mimi Pond

After being denied financial aid to cover her last year of art school, Margaret finds salvation from the straightlaced world of college and the earnestness of both hippies and punks in the wisecracking, fast-talking, drug-taking group she encounters at the Imperial Café, where she makes the transformation from Margaret to Madge. At first she mimics these new and exotic grown-up friends, trying on the guise of adulthood with some awkward but funny stumbles. Gradually she realizes that the adults she looks up to are a mess of contradictions, misplaced artistic ambitions, sexual confusion, dependencies, and addictions.