Librarian’s Choice: Books with a local connection

We asked the staff in our Local & Family History Library for their favourite books with a local connection. Here are their suggestions:- 

LFH Death avid readerDeath of An Avid Reader by Frances Brody, Set in the Leeds Library

Kate Shackleton’s sterling reputation for courageous sleuthing attracts the attention of the venerable Lady Coulton. Hidden in her past is a daughter, born out of wedlock and given up to a different family. Now, Lady Coulton is determined to find her and puts Kate on the case.
“I like this book because it is a very good detective yarn which keeps you guessing to the end. It is set in Leeds in the 1920s, The plot is centred around the Private Library on Commercial Street. I can relate to the staff in their roles as library assistants and can visualise the descriptions’ of the building from my visits there.” –Lynn, Library Officer

LFH Never trust a rabbitNever trust a rabbit by Jeremy Dyson, Leeds – Yorkshire

Unsettling premonitions, fortune-telling cashpoints and disappearing mazes all converge in Jeremy Dyson’s first book – a collection of short stories that established him as a formidable storyteller on original publication.
“Jeremy Dyson’s short stories are utterly terrifying in the smallest possible ways – tiny changes in routine lead to disturbing consequences, or a simple wrong turn leads somewhere scary and unexpected… Read ‘The Maze’ for an eerie story set in Leeds Central Library!” – Ross, Librarian Manager

LFH ChocolatChocolat by Joanne Harris, Barnsley – Yorkshire

When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud denounces her as a serious moral danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. As passions flare and the conflict escalates, the whole community takes sides. Can the solemnity of the Church compare with the sinful pleasure of a chocolate truffle?
“This is without a doubt my favourite book, if I need comfort there’s no better way than to follow the wind and completely immerse myself in Vianne and Anouk’s world along with the mysterious Pantoufle (who doesn’t love an imaginary Rabbit)
Vianne is a strong female character who lives by her own rules and doesn’t care what other people think. Chocolat is a feel good book with a twist, a fascinating mixture of Folk Tales and Witch Craft with a dash of romance. Darker than the film, but the descriptions are far more magical than a film can show. Perfect for curling up on a rainy day with a cup of hot chocolate.” – Klara, Library Officer

LFH Damned UnitedThe Damned United by David Peace, based upon Leeds United Football Club

In 1974 the brilliant and controversial Brian Clough made perhaps his most eccentric decision: he accepted the Leeds United manager’s job. As successor to Don Revie, his bitter adversary, he was to last only 44 days. In one of the most acclaimed novels of this or any other year, David Peace takes us into the mind and thoughts of Ol’Big’Ead himself, and brings vividly to life one of post-war Britain’s most complex and fascinating characters.
“David Peace’s searing vision of life inside the head of (probably) the most charismatic football manager this country has ever produced remains a vital and necessary read. It’s not even really “about” football; instead, the novel carries a deep and pervading sense of loss for a very particular vision of ‘England’, of a community much diminished in the brutal face of very different notions of what a nation can and should mean.” – Antony, Assistant Librarian Manager

LFH Behind the scenesBehind The Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson, York – Yorkshire

Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster telling a woman in an emerald dress and a D-cup that he wasn’t married. Bunty had never wanted to marry George, but here she was, stuck in a flat above the pet shop in an ancient street beneath York Minster, with sensible and sardonic Patricia aged five, greedy cross-patch Gillian who refused to be ignored, and Ruby…
“I enjoyed this first novel from York-born author Kate Atkinson, which won Whitbread Book of the Year in 1995. It follows the life of Ruby Lennox, interspersed with flashbacks which cover the lives of six generations of women from Ruby’s own family.” – Karen, Assistant Librarian Manager.

LFH The HobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, reader of English and Professor at Leeds University (a tenuous link but for a book as good as this we’re letting it in)

The Hobbit is a tale of high adventure, undertaken by a company of dwarves in search of dragon-guarded gold. A reluctant partner in this perilous quest is Bilbo Baggins, a comfort-loving unambitious hobbit, who surprises even himself by his resourcefulness and skill as a burglar. Encounters with trolls, goblins, dwarves, elves and giant spiders, conversations with the dragon, Smaug, and a rather unwilling presence at the Battle of Five Armies are just some of the adventures that befall Bilbo.
“Tolkien, with almost ease creates this complex world full of imaginative creatures, including simple hobbits, beautiful elves, mischievous dwarves, dastardly orcs, and the dreaded dragon, Smaug. I like this book because it represents all of the fun of the fantasy genre while creating perilous obstacles that the characters must overcome. I have read The Hobbit numerous times as a child, teenager and adult, each time ending the novel with a new insight and as an added bonus it has one of the most iconic opening lines, ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.’” – Josh, Library Officer

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Book of the week – Gods of Gold by @ChrisNickson2

gog finalxGods of Gold is the new novel by the ever popular local author Chris Nickson.

Any fans of the novels about Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds in the 1700s,  will be looking forward to meeting Chris’s new detective and finding themselves transported to 19th century Leeds, with ‘its atmosphere of grittiness and extremes of power and powerlessness’.

Detective Inspector Tom Harper makes his debut and takes on the mantle of championing the law and seeking justice with all the challenges inherent in Victorian Leeds.

June, 1890. Leeds is close to breaking point. The gas workers are on strike. The supplies are dangerously low. Factories and businesses are closing; the lights are flickering at going out. Soon the place will be at a standstill.Chris Nickson at the Leeds LibraryDetective Inspector Tom Harper has more urgent matters on his mind. The beat constable claims eight-year-old Martha Parkinson has disappeared. Her father insists she’s visiting an aunt in Halifax – but Harper doesn’t believe him. And when Col Parkinson is found dead the following morning, the case takes on an increasing desperation.

But then Harper’s search for Martha is interrupted by the murder of a replacement gas worker, stabbed to death outside the Town Hall while surrounded by a hostile mob. Pushed to find a quick solution, he discovers that there’s more to this killing than meets the eye – and that there may be a connection to Martha’s disappearance.

The book launch for Gods of Gold will be at The Leeds Library, Commercial St. Leeds. 6.30 pmSeptember 11th.  Contact The Leeds Library to reserve a place.

Chris will be at Ardsley and Tingley Library on September 24 at 2pm. Free, all welcome.

Strangely Familiar by Peter Mitchell

peteJust bought some copies of this lovely new book ‘Strangely Familiar’ by Peter Mitchell, wonderful local photographer and they’ll be in libraries soon. Here’s some background information/review of the book. Definitely 5 star and worth borrowing

‘In the 1970s, Pete Mitchell was working as a truck driver in Leeds, and he photographed the city during his rounds. This work depicts the factories and small shop owners of Leeds, all photographed in a very formal manner with the aid of a stepladder.

In 1979, the photographs were shown at Mitchell’s one-person exhibition at Impressions Gallery in York; this was the first landmark color photography exhibition in the UK. The work was later included in the seminal exhibition “How We Are: Photographing Britain” at Tate Britain in 2007. Despite being widely exhibited, collected and written since the 1970s, Peter Mitchell’s photographs of Leeds, where he continues to live and work, have never before been published as a monograph. This is an important body of work in book form.’

This Year’s Morley Literature Festival

MorleyMorley Literature Festival will be happening again this coming October and planning is now underway for 2013.  Get 5th-13th October in your diary so that you don’t miss the packed programme.  This year’s festival focus will be on fiction and poetry.

Watch out for further information of some cracking author events. The link to their site is http://www.morleyliteraturefestival.co.uk/ or follow them on Twitter @morleylitfest.

You can also sign up for ebulletins.

There’s also a great article from the Yorkshire Evening Post about book festivals in Leeds Book Festivals highlighting Leeds’ literary links