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

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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

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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.

 

 

Top 20 Non Fiction

These are the Top 20 Non fiction books that Leeds Libraries issued in the last month. Some of them may take you by surprise! Even if you think that non-fiction is not for you I challenge you not to be tempted by one of these.

Creation: an oratorio for soprano, tenor & bass soli, SATB & orchestra by Joseph Haydn

Did you know that you can borrow whole orchestra sets from us? We have issued this 180 times in the last month, so some orchestra somewhere is having fun practicing this at the moment. To find out more about our music lending service click here.

Top NF HappyHappy by Derren Brown

Everyone says they want to be happy. But that’s much more easily said than done. What does being happy actually mean? And how do you even know when you feel it? Across the millenia, philosophers have thought long and hard about happiness, and come up with all sorts of different definitions and ideas for how we might live a happier life. Here, Derren Brown explores the history of happiness from classical times until today, when the self-help industry has attempted to claim happiness as its own. His aim is to reclaim happiness for us all, and enable us to appreciate the really good things in life for what they are.

Top NF AdmissionsAdmissions: a life in brain surgery by Henry Marsh

Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical frontline. There have been exhilarating highs and devastating lows, but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered. Prompted by his retirement from his full-time job in the NHS, and through his continuing work in Nepal and Ukraine, Henry has been forced to reflect more deeply about what 40 years spent handling the human brain has taught him. Moving between encounters with patients in his London hospital, to those he treats in the more extreme circumstances of his work abroad, Henry faces up to the overwhelming burden of responsibility that can come with trying to reduce human suffering.

Top NF SapiensSapiens: a brief history of humankind by Yuval N. Harari

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, ‘Sapiens’ challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power … and our future.

Top NF ring of bright waterRing of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell

An oldie but a goldie; Gavin Maxwell’s account of his life at Camusfearna, a remote cottage in the western Highlands, and in particular the two otters, Mijbil and Edal, who became his constant and much-loved companions.

Top NF IELTSEssential Words for the IELTS by Lin Lougheed

Join the library and enjoy free materials to help you learn and study. This book offers IELTS students extensive practice in vocabulary building and correct English usage, with emphasis on 600 English words that relate to specific categories that appear frequently on IELTS exams. These categories include nature and the environment, leisure activities and hobbies, the arts and culture, transportation, health, tourism, business, technology, social issues, and education.

top NF Life UKLife in the UK test

We also have books for loan to help with working towards your UK citizenship. Ask about them in your local library. This handbook presents all the latest official materials you need to study in a simple and easy-to-learn format.

Top NF Little DribblingThe road to Little Dribbling: more notes from a small island by Bill Bryson

In 1995, Bill Bryson went on a trip around Britain to celebrate the green and kindly island that had become his home. The hilarious book he wrote about that journey, Notes from a Small Island, became one of the most loved books of recent decades, and was voted in a BBC poll as the book that best represents Britain. Now, in this hotly anticipated new travel book, his first in fifteen years and sure to be greeted as the funniest book of the decade, Bryson sets out on a brand-new journey, on a route he dubs the Bryson Line, from Bognor Regis on the south coast to Cape Wrath on the northernmost tip of Scotland. Once again, he will guide us through all that’s best and worst about Britain today while doing that incredibly rare thing of making us laugh out loud in public.

Top NF Yorkshire ShepherdessThe Yorkshire Shepherdess: how I left a city life behind to raise a family by Amanda Owen

Amanda Owen has been seen by millions on ITV’s ‘The Dales’, living a life that has almost gone in today’s modern world, a life ruled by the seasons and her animals. She is a farmer’s wife and shepherdess, living alongside her husband Clive and seven children at Ravenseat, a 2000 acre sheep hill farm at the head of Swaledale in North Yorkshire. In ‘The Yorkshire Shepherdess’ she describes how the rebellious girl from Huddersfield, who always wanted to be a shepherdess, achieved her dreams.

Amanda will be appearing this year at the Morley Arts Festival. Book a ticket here.

Top NF ItalyItaly by Christian Bonetto

Why pay out for a guidebook you might only use once? We have travel guides in all our libraries and they can be reserved for free. This guide to Italy is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Take in a gondolier’s sweet song while gliding past Venetian palaces, sample olives and wines as you traverse Tuscany’s storybook hills, or be humbled amid thousands of years of Roman history and art; all with your trusted travel companion.

Top NF ReasonsReasons to stay alive by Matt Haig

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

Top NF Les parisiennesLes Parisiennes: how the women of Paris lived, loved and died in the 1940s by Anne Sebba

We were lucky enough to have Anne do an event with us earlier this year when she talked about this book. By looking at a wide range of individuals from collaborators to resisters, actresses and prostitutes to teachers and writers, Anne shows that women made life-and-death decisions every day, and often did whatever they needed to survive. She explores the aftershock of the Second World War and the choices demanded. How did the women who survived to see the Liberation of Paris come to terms with their actions and those of others? Although politics lies at its heart, ‘Les Parisiennes’ is a fascinating account of the lives of people of the city and, specifically, in this most feminine of cities, its women and young girls.

Top NF BerlinBerlin by Andrea Schulte-Peevers

This city guide to Berlin includes various types of accommodation options, from lakeside camping to historic hotels and entertainment, from classical to cabaret.

Top NF JungleJungle: a harrowing true story of adventure, danger and survival by Yossi Ghinsberg

Four travellers meet in Bolivia and set off into the Amazon rainforest on an expedition to explore places tourists only dream of seeing. But what begins as the adventure of a lifetime quickly becomes a struggle for survival when they get lost in the wilds of the jungle.

Top NF Homo DeusHomo Deus: a brief history of tomorrow by Yuval N. Harari

This is the second book in the Top 20 for this author.

During the 20th century, humankind has managed to do the impossible: we have brought famine, plague and war under control. Today, more people die from obesity than from starvation; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed in war. We are the only species in earth’s long history that has single-handedly changed the entire planet, and we no longer expect any higher being to shape our destinies for us. As the self-made gods of planet earth, which projects should we undertake, and how will we protect this fragile planet and humankind itself from our own destructive powers? Yuval Noah Harari examines the implications of our newly acquired divine capabilities, from our desperate pursuit of happiness to our dogged quest for immortality.

Top NF Bletchley GirlsThe Bletchley Girls: war, secrecy, love and loss by Tessa Dunlop

Historian and broadcaster Tessa Dunlop tells the story of the women of Bletchley Park, through exclusive and unprecedented access to the women themselves.

Top NF CatchingCatching a serial killer: my hunt for serial killer Christopher Halliwell by Stephen Fulcher

On the evening of Saturday, of 19th of March 2011, D.S. Stephen Fulcher receives a life-changing call that thrusts him into a race against time to save missing 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan, who was last seen at a nightclub in Swindon. Steve knows from experience that he has a small window of time to find Sian alive, but his hopes are quickly dashed when his investigation leads him to Christopher Halliwell. Following the investigation as it develops hour-by-hour, Steve’s gripping inside story of the cat-and-mouse situation that ensues shows how he hunted down Halliwell – his number-one suspect – which led him to the discovery of Sian’s body and another victim, Becky Godden-Edwards, who had been missing since 2002.

Top NF Chimp ParadoxThe Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters

A personal development book by Dr Steve Peters, the British cycling team’s psychiatrist, in which he shares his phenomenal mind management programme.

Top NF Deliciously EllaDeliciously Ella every day: simple recipes and fantastic food for a healthy way of life by Ella Woodward

The ‘Deliciously Ella’ way of eating isn’t about following a diet, it’s about enjoying delicious, natural food to help you look and feel your best. Luckily, Ella understands that nourishing your body with wholesome ingredients needs to fit in with your existing lifestyle and not feel like something difficult, which is why she has written this book – to help you make the right choice every time and start to glow from the inside out. With ‘Deliciously Ella Every Day’, her easy-to-make food will become a natural part of your life.

Top NF Walking HomeWalking Home by Simon Armitage

‘Walking Home’ describes Simon Armitage’s extraordinary, yet ordinary, journey. It’s a story about Britain’s remote and overlooked interior – the wildness of its landscape and the generosity of the locals who sustained him on his journey. It’s about facing emotional and physical challenges, and sometimes overcoming them.

 

 

Librarian’s Choice: Fiction for foodies

This blog post comes from Maddie, a Community Librarian based in the east of Leeds.

I enjoy baking and love books which have food at the heart of them. I particularly like the idea of books which recipes in them.

Maddie Cupcake CafeMeet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan

When Issy Randall loses her boss/boyfriend and her job she decides to make a new start and open a cafe. With recipes handed down to her by her Grandpa Joe she turns her life around. This is an easy reading chick-lit romance and in true chick lit style Issy eventually manages to find Mr. Right. If you’re a fan of Sophie Kinsella then this is one you might like to try.

Maddie Shape of waterThe Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

My next choice is completely different, as this is a crime book. This is the first in a series of books about the Sicilian inspector Montalbano. The books are set in Vigata, a quiet little town where not very much happens apart from bizarre murders and lots of them. Inspector Montalbano is passionate about food and always eats his meals in silence appreciating what he is eating. There are lots of descriptions in the book about food that he is ordering in restaurants and has inspired me to look up recipes of the food described.

Maddie chocolatChocolat by Joanne Harris

This seems an obvious choice to include in this selection. I read this book many years ago before the film was made of it. The book is about a young single mum – Vianne Rocher who arrives in a quiet French village with her young daughter and opens up a chocolate shop much to the discontent to the parish priest and divides the whole community. It is probably the only book where the description of the cooking has been so vivid that you can almost smell the chocolate being made.

Maddie Like water for chocolateLike Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

The protagonist of this story is 15 year old Tita who falls in love with her neighbor Pedro. They want to marry, but her mother forbids it because of a family tradition where the youngest daughter is not allowed to marry as she is expected to look after her parents as they age. The book is set out in monthly chapters and at the beginning of each one there is a Mexican recipe.

 

Maddie Baking Cakes in the KigaliBaking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin

Meet Angel Tangaranza a professional cake maker, matchmaker and a shoulder to cry on. This book reminded me very much of Alexander McCall Smith’s book The Lady’s no. 1 Detective Agency. The book is set in Rwanda. The people who order cakes from Angel for special occasions relate their problems to her and she does her best to help. I liked the way that the food is the connecting factor. I’m not in Angel’s league when it comes to baking cakes, but I am tempted to try one although it might have to be a simplified version.

Man Booker Award 2017 – Shortlist announced

The Man Booker Prize is the most well known literary award in the English speaking world, and has brought recognition and reward to outstanding fiction for over four decades. Each year, the prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of the judges, the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK. It is a prize that can transform the winner’s career.

The prize winner receives £50,000 as well as the £2,500 awarded to each of the six shortlisted authors. Both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus a dramatic increase in book sales.

The shortlisted books, and their lucky authors who each receive that £2,500 have been announced today. The overall winner will be announced on the 17th October 2017.

Which one will be your winner and will you agree with the judges?

Booker 43214 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths.

Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plots of the four Fergusons’ stories rush on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid-20th century America. A boy grows up – again and again and again.

Booker History of WolvesHistory of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Linda, age 14, lives on a dying commune on the edge of a lake in the Midwest of America. She and her parents are the last remaining inhabitants, the others having long since left amid bitter acrimony. She has grown up isolated both by geography and her understanding of the world, and is an outsider at school, regarded as a freak.

One day she notices the arrival of a young family in a cabin on the opposite side of the lake. She starts to befriend them, first their four-year-old son Paul, and then his young mother Patra, who is also lonely and isolated. For the first time she feels a sense of belonging that has been missing from her life.

Leo, the father, is a university professor and an enigmatic figure, perpetually absent. When he returns home, Linda is shunned by the family unit. Desperate to be accepted again, she struggles to resume her place in their home and fails to see the terrible warning signals, which have such devastating consequences.

Booker Exit WestExit West by Mohsin Hamid

In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, Saeed and Nadia lock eyes across their classroom. After a while, they talk, he makes her smile and they start to fall in love. They try not to notice the sound of bombs getting closer every night, the radio announcing new laws, the curfews and the public executions.

Eventually the problem is too big to ignore: it’s not safe for Nadia to live alone and she must move in with Saeed, even though they are not married, and that too is a problem. Meanwhile, rumours are spreading of strange black doors in secret places across the city, doors that lead to London or San Francisco, Greece or Dubai. One day soon the time will come for Nadia and Saeed to seek out one such door, joining the great outpouring of those fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world.

Booker ElmetElmet by Fiona Mozley

Daniel is heading north. He is looking for someone. The simplicity of his early life with Daddy and Cathy has turned sour and fearful. They lived apart in the house that Daddy built for them with his bare hands. They foraged and hunted. When they were younger, Daniel and Cathy had gone to school. But they were not like the other children then, and they were even less like them now. Sometimes Daddy disappeared, and would return with a rage in his eyes. But when he was at home he was at peace. He told them that the little copse in Elmet was theirs alone. But that wasn’t true. Local men, greedy and watchful, began to circle like vultures. All the while, the terrible violence in Daddy grew.

Elmet is a lyrical commentary on contemporary English society and one family’s precarious place in it, as well as an exploration of how deep the bond between father and child can go.

Booker LincolnLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

On 22 February 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln is laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, his father Abraham arrives at the cemetery, alone, under cover of darkness.

Over the course of that evening, Abraham Lincoln paces the graveyard unsettled by the death of his beloved boy, and by the grim shadow of a war that feels as though it is without end. Meanwhile Willie is trapped in a state of limbo between the dead and the living – drawn to his father with whom he can no longer communicate, existing in a ghostly world populated by the recently passed and the long dead.

Unfolding in the graveyard over a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief and the deeper meaning and possibilities of life.

Booker AutumnAutumn by Ali Smith

How about Autumn 2016? Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer.

Autumn is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. This first in a seasonal quartet casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearian jeu d’esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s Pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history-making.

From the imagination of Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories, and a story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves.