Listening to read

This blog post is from Louise, a library assistant at Morley library.

As Leeds Libraries moved across to Borrowbox for Ebooks and Audiobooks, I downloaded the app onto my iPhone to get a feel for it, to have a good look about it so that I could better understand how it works. The app took moments to appear on my home screen and after a short search for my library card, I was in. Have you used it yet? I’ve been really impressed with the service so far, it’s clear to look at, easy to use and it’s sparked a new direction for my reading.

Perhaps like me you’ve never listened to Audiobooks before? Been told they were just for old people or children? You might be surprised at how varied the genres are, from romance, to comedy, thriller, drama, plenty of non-fiction too, biography and languages. I planned to listen to at least one to see how it worked and was very pleased to find it was even better than I had expected.

Some audiobooks I’ve listened to recently:

Breakfast at TiffanysBreakfast At Tiffany’s- Truman Capote, read by Michael C Hall

I’ve see the film, and had the paperback on my shelf for as long as I can remember but for some reason I’ve never got around to reading it. At 2hrs 49 in duration it won’t take over your life but will certainly make an impact on your heart. Michael C Hall, you may know, is the actor who plays Dexter in the TV thriller of the same name. It turns out (and something that borrowers often tell us) that the reader is pretty crucial to whether you will click with an audiobook or not. For this reason the preview option listed next to every audiobook is fantastic, giving you a small sample so that should the reader do something annoying with his intonation, rolling his rrrrrrrrrr’s or similar, you can try another. No fear of not enjoying Michael’s rendering of this classic, I found out later that this edition was especially recorded by Audible for release on Valentine’s Day in 2014.
I had thought that listening would be less of an experience than reading, more of a passive than an active pursuit. But a good writer engages so fully with your senses that the language itself finds its way to you. You might see it as an extra layering or texture in the story. I am so glad to have read this, I hope you’ll try it too.

Alias GraceAlias Grace- Margaret Atwood , read by Sarah Gadon

Not long after reeling from the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale I am on a bit of a Margaret Atwood kick, and really enjoying discovering more of her writing. Alias Grace is a a slow burning work of historical fiction, based on, true events of the 1843 murders of Canadians Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery. Grace Marks a young, well-mannered serving maid was convicted of their murders along with James McDermott the Stable hand. In the fashionable society of the time Grace Marks became a thing of fascination, infamous for her title of Murderess.
“Murderess is a strong word to have attached to you. It has a smell to it, that word – musky and oppressive, like dead flowers in a vase. Sometimes at night I whisper it over to myself: Murderess, Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt across the floor.”
Although incarcerated, Grace is hired out as a domestic servant for the governor of the penitentiary and becomes a regular feature of the Governor’s wife’s circle, an object to be lamented and discussed. A committee of Methodist ladies and gentlemen, believing her innocent are working steadily to have her released. They hire a young Psychiatrist, Doctor Simon Jordan to interview Grace, to study her story and to try to find out what happened that fateful day. You know with Atwood that you are getting a feisty heroine who is more than she seems. Can’t recommend this enough to fans of Handmaids tale.

Harry Potter PhilosophersHarry Potter and the Philosophers Stone- JK Rowling, read by Stephen Fry

So I’m in that age group that neither grew up with these books, nor was caught up in the Potter hysteria when they were released. But I do have children who have read and loved these books time and time again. I thought it was high time I gave it a go. I had to wait a little while to listen to this as its perennially popular, but it was as easy as clicking reserve and waiting for an email to arrive. I can hand on heart say I would never have picked up a copy of this book, it’s enormous, and there are too many other great things always to be read but I SO enjoyed listening to it that I intend to listen to the whole series in time. Stephen Fry is just perfect as reader and it’s such a treat to curl up in a chair and listen to him. This would be fantastic to listen together with friends or family, a great story to share.

Carnegies MaidCarnegie’s Maid- Marie Benedict, read by Alana Kerr Collins

Another Historical fiction, that plots the life of a serving maid Clara Kelley to the Pittsburgh family home of industry tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. I was drawn to this as the library I work in was one of those opened as a beneficiary of funds from Carnegie. Clara Kelley is sent to America from her poverty stricken home in Ireland as her farming families’ last hope. After a dreadful voyage in the belly of a ship, during which many of her fellow passengers are wiped out with illness or weakness from starvation, in a moment of luck she is offered a position shortly after stepping onto the dock. I found the description of this time period fascinating, in the 1860’s industry was booming, Clara having left green land finds the new world is dark and soot laden. Besides proving a detailed account of the life of a servant at that time, the customs and rituals there is a great insight into the friction between the new money of the industrialists and America’s oldest families. Andrew Carnegie is a fascinating character, an immigrant himself, determined, self-taught, and hard working, a man who drew a line and began to give and make better where he could. This is a fictionalised account of what may have softened his character later in life and extremely enjoyable.

Little WomenLittle Women- Louisa May Alcott, BBC Radio 4, full cast dramatisation

I chose this a pick me up during some very rainy afternoons travelling between branches. As a dramatisation you get a cast rather than the one reader, and a variety of sound effects and music in places. This is a wonderful, warm listen, and will have you crying on the bus. Just over two hours long it’s easy to finish in one sitting if you choose, and the story is so full of energy and feeling from start to finish. Re reading an old favourite is so comforting, I quite fancy looking up the film again.

Some things I’ve learned from listening along:
1. Don’t let anyone tell you that listening is ‘not as good as’ reading or doesn’t count.
2. The reader is everything, listen to a sample and check you can listen with ease.
3. Try something that you would find challenging or wouldn’t usually read, you’ll be surprised how listening can make the concepts clearer.
4. Listening is perfect for all those times when you’d like to be reading but can’t, in the car, on a noisy bus, washing up, walking to and from work or school, doing the housework, late at night when your eyes are too tired to read. See it as fitting in more reading time in addition to your books.
5. With BorrowBox and a Leeds library card all this is free. I researched a well known providers audio service and found that for a fee I could have one audio book, (ONE!) a month. Enjoy the variety and try something new.

TattooistSome Audiobooks I’m waiting to read next are : The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Anna Karenina.

If you’re having any difficulty using this service from your device or need your pin number please contact your local library, we’d love to help you get started on all this great content.

Zine Library Highlights

This blog is written by Claire and Sapphia, the founders of our Zine library here at Central Library in Leeds.

Our small but mighty Zine Library can be found on the first floor corridor of Leeds Central Library. We have recently acquired some new zines and wanted to share some of our favourites.

All art should have a purpose

All art should have a purpose

All art should have a purpose

A beautiful zine full of photo collage, retro images and inspirational quotes. The images transport you back in time to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s with romantic images, nostalgic depictions and clever composition of all the various layers. Printed and pasted onto gorgeous paper with beautiful flowers, it’s one to get your hands on for a perusal.

Cats in Action by Emily Gilbert

It’s in the title. This is one is for cat lovers. A collation of cats including Lulu, Walter and Sebastian painted in a glorious array of locations, showing themselves off. Including pouncing, prowling and generally showing off and getting in the way. Just like your general cat.

Error 404

Error 404

Error 404 by Scott W Mason

Illustration portraiture, photography and illustration exploring identity and mark making. With interactive elements to play with and super graphic design this is a great zine to explore.

Bees for beginners – Sophie Ellis

A Bee-ginners guide to the wonderful world of the most amazing insects. Bees of course. A great zine to discover all the different bee species, why they might sting and how they protect themselves with cute little illustrations. Also ‘thirst aid’ for bees and an itinerary of all the flowers that you should plant to keep those bumbles happy and healthy.

Perks of a new body

Perks of a New body

Perks of a New Body; A Zine about turning 30 by Frannerd

I have just turned 30, this was clearly a zine I had to read. A super cute zine full of illustrations and quirky anecdotes. ‘When you’re 30, you stop caring about stupid stuff….and start caring about the important stuff. It’s lovely to think about the changes you have in your mind set becoming a full-fledged adult. (I won’t lie to you. I’m not sure I’ve even made it yet.) But I definitely feel myself sitting on the ‘adult’ fence for most scenarios including comparing yourself to others and spending time with the people that are important to you.
You can also find a Body Positive bullet journal our librarians have created as part of the Engaging Libraries; Body Image and Mind project. Find it in the zine library and add your thoughts, drawings and share.

Existing autistic

Existing Autistic

Existing Autistic by Aven Wildsmith

A zine about living in the world as an autistic person, beautifully illustrated with bits of information and affirmations that will make you feel empowered and inspired. Great to read if you want to know more about autism or if you are autistic and want to feel fierce.

Women in stem

Women in Stem

A mini celebration of Women in Stem by Vicky Likes Drawing

This zine looks at women working in STEM( Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) It acts as a perfect pocket guide to women who have conquered male dominated industries and serves to empower the next generation of women inventors, thinkers and scientists. It includes information on Ada Lovelace who was regarded as the first computer programmer, creating the first algorithm carried out by a machine and Mae Jemison who became the first Black American women to travel to space in 1992. I keep a copy on my desk as inspiration.

105 Women Press

105 Women is a collective based in Leeds run by artists from all countries and across generations. This is their first publication and includes work from Cherry Styles. The zine includes poems about slavery, anger, home, loss and war but also depicts the strength the women gain from one another in telling their stories, creating, laughing together, and listening.

Gone; A Zine about Grief by Flo Toch

This zine is a heartfelt exploration into grief by the author. The author uses the zine as a way to talk about her grief after the loss of her dad. It also includes empathic poems and writings from others effected. The sharing and pure honesty of the writing looks to help others who are going through the same process. We find this zine is particularly useful at our Death Cafes in helping people to open up about death and their fears. It also has a list of resources on the back page.

Our collection of zines is growing but we are always looking for submissions. Get in touch zine.library@leeds.gov.uk or send them into Zine Library, Leeds Central Library, LS1 3AB. All zines need to adhere to our stock and collections policy.

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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