Wednesday, 23 December 2015

January 2016 - Mood Boosting books from Huffington Post

Sometimes, you need a pick-me-up. You're feeling blue, down in the dumps, maybe even dealing with a lump in your throat. Whichever idiom fits your situation, you're just not feeling like your best self. 
To abate the waves of sadness, or palpitations of dread, Huffington Post compiled a list of books that can help lift you up in these less-than-desirable times. From a graphic novel to a memoir to a fictional story of intrigue to a picture book adults can enjoy, here are 12 very different books you should read:
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January 2016: Mood Boosting Books 2016

The new list of titles for 2016 are as follows:
Self-help titles for a January re-vitalisation all in stock

Browse our shelves or if in stock at a different Campus use the reservations service

Monday, 21 December 2015

Books Unlocked - January: Mood Boosting Reads

The aims of this month's promotion is to emphasise the role reading has to play to inform and entertain and the benefits this will have on your health.

Books from the "Reading Well Books on Prescription" will  help you to understand and manage your health and well-being using self-help reading. The scheme is endorsed by health professionals and supported by public libraries.

The Reading Agency supports the "Reading Well Books on Prescription" by listing  uplifting titles, including novels, poetry and non-fiction. The books are recommended by readers and reading groups around the country.

The list of Reading Well Mood-boosting Books from 2015 titles included:
  • Bee Journal by Sean Borodale
  • Dart by Alice Oswald
  • The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
  • Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy edited by Neil Astley
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  • Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
  • A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr
  • A Sea Change by Veronica Henry
  • The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend
  • Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
  • A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen
  • The Thread by Victoria Hislop
  • Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd
  • Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
  • Turned out Nice Again by Richard Mabey
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka

Monday, 7 December 2015

Books Unlocked - Refugees

Please have a look at the display at Bedford Library on this month's Books Unlocked theme of Refugees.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Books Unlocked Refugees

This month Books Unlocked looks at Refugees novels and poetry written about refugees and by refugees. Please have a look at the display at Luton LRC and Bedford Library and let us know what you think.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Reading for Pleasure - November 2015 "Bad Feminist" by Roxanne Gay

In these articles the novelist and academic Roxanne Gay discusses a world of fractious contradictions in a style which is both effervescent and subtly persuasive. A number of the articles discuss the disadvantages she has experienced as an American black woman, but she is also quick to point out the advantages and privileges she has benefited from, such as a stable middle-class upbringing, and varied educational opportunities. 

Her writing allows her to balance uncertainties with strongly held values about race and gender. For example she willingly ponders whether her feminism is compatible with her liking for rap music, at the same time as discussing and dissecting the destructive consequences of violence and discrimination. These contradictions may possibly make her a 'bad feminist' in some ways but they also make her a good writer. She has the ability to use writing to examine different identities in an illuminating and thought provoking way and to create her own identity as she writes.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Reading for Pleasure - November 2015 "Stuffocation"

While on maternity and moaning to another mum regarding the fact that I have already to move 3 boxes to the loft with baby's stuff she suggested to me to read a book called " Stuffocation " by James Wallman.

In this book the author wants to make us realise that we are not happier just by having everything we want. At the end of the day, we live in a materialistic world, where we only do bad to our planet, with our obsession of having more! What really matters is memories and not stuff. What really matters is to move to "experientialism" focus more on experiences and less on possessions.

It's a fascinating book to read and inspiring you to change habits, even your way of living. Live more with less.
Dare to say that since I have read the book, I have opened an eBay account, sold a lot of secondhand stuff through different sites, donated  many clothes to different charities and made a huge clear out.

It's a funny and easy to read book, even for a baby brain mum.

It touches a subject that we are all aware but the author has a persuasive way to make you change. Does good to your "wallet" too.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Books Unlocked

Over the next academic year in addition to the wonderful resources available to support your studies, Learning Resources will be offering some leisure reading activities. This should help you develop a lifelong habit that benefits you academically, socially and personally. You are invited to take part in the suggested themes and Learning Resources asks you to suggest future themes or activities that you would like to see. Please send your suggestions to 

Books Unlocked is a Learning Resources web page which details the upcoming book promotion events planned for Bedford Library and Luton LRC.
The National Literacy Trust say that "helpful factors in developing a love of reading, include: freedom to choose reading materials; a print-rich environment; access to a variety of texts; time for reading; encouragement to readers; and quiet, comfortable places to read"

Libraries are a fairly obvious places to offer access to books with a variety of reading environments. Open 24/7 x 365 University of Bedfordshire's Learning Resources offers a wide range of learning materials to support all courses  but there are also some fictional gems that are worth highlighting. These novels, short stories, poems and plays offer access to a leisure activity that supports your academic progress while being fun too. Borrowing library books or maybe reading a short story or a few poems in the library can rest your brain from the assignment you are currently writing but also set you up to continue after a short break.

Why not take a look?

Reading for Pleasure - November 2015 "How to be a Woman"

How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

In this book Caitlin Moran gives a personal account of her intricate but happy and ongoing path from being a young girl, the oldest of eight children living in a council house in Wolverhampton, to being a young-middle-aged woman, working as a journalist in London, and raising two girls of her own. 

Her story is interspersed with thoughts and observations about how society has different expectations for women and men and how miserly and restrictive these expectations can be. What makes the book special is how she writes about the occasionally sticky process of liberating herself from unwanted expectations with such humour (mostly wicked!), courage, generosity and sheer glee. The book often reads like a brilliant and ingenious manual for living life to the full. I would very much agree with the blurb on the book “The book every woman should read”, and add that men are highly likely to enjoy reading it too.

Reviewed by Bill Mortimer, Academic Liaison Librarian.

Reading for Pleasure - November 2015 "Shamed"

Shamed by Sarbjit Kaur Athwal

This is both an easy and difficult book to read.  Easy because its a page turner and you just have to know what happens next. Difficult because of the subject matter - family, religion, faith and murder. Or honour killing...... And that is the origin of the title, shame or honour but who is to judge? Or maybe that should be.....who IS the judge?
From the foreword by the investigating officer DCI Clive Driscoll 2013 - in 1998 a young English girl left her home- and never returned...
That  girl was a married woman who went on 'holiday' with her mother-in-law or 'mum' and was never seen again, dead or alive.  The book is written by her sister-in-law who witnessed events but was powerless at the time to change them.  However after repeated attempts over a number of years she finally made her voice heard to the right person at the right time. And justice was done, people went to prison but a life is still lost and remains a loss to her family of origin and  her children
The bravery of Sarbjit for speaking out not only in court but within her community and facing the years to come when the murderers are released is beyond question. I don't know if l could do it..... Please read this book

Reading for Pleasure Collection Part 3

Mood-boosting books

The Reading for Pleasure collection now includes a range of mood-boosting books. This list has been put together by the Reading Agency . 

Most but not all of the recommendations are from people who have been coping with life-threatening illnesses and discovered the books to be mood-boosting. 

A list of the mood-boosting books in the library is below. There are already some reviews of the books on the Bedstime Reading blog. 

The other side of the Dale,  
Gervase Phinn

On love and barley, Haiku of Basho; translated from the Japanese with an introduction by Lucien Stryk

The shell seekers, 
Rosamunde Pilcher

A cat called Norton, 
Peter Gethers

The island, Victoria Hislop

The Rosie project, 
Graeme Simsion

The green road into the trees, 
Hugh Thomson

The Lady in the Van, 
Alan Bennett

A slice of Britain, Caroline Taggart

Us, David Nicholls

The humans, Matt Haig

Ode to Didcot Power Station, 
Kit Wright

Paris for one, Jojo Moyes

The stories, Jane Gardam

The hundred-year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared, 
Jonas Jonasson ; translator, Roy Bradbury

The love song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, 
Rachel Joyce

The miniaturist, Jessie Burton

You made me late again! Pam Ayres

A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman

Reading for Pleasure - November 2015 - short story

Clay by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

(Available in  Speak of the Mearns and Smeddum and other places)

This is a short story – a very short story – but so perfect and beautiful I have to tell people about it. I first read it a few years ago; read it again this week.

Gibbon (1901-35) was a Scot, but lived his last years in Welling Garden City. Almost unknown in England. This story is a good introduction to his style and subject matter. Read it and there’s a good chance you’ll want to read Sunset Song recently voted the greatest Scottish novel ever.

Reading for Pleasure - November 2015 "The Girl on the Train"

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

In 2015 this book became the fastest selling adult hard back book ever. It is a psychological thriller which begins with the musings of a commuter, Rachel, who travels into London every day by train and sees people playing out their lives as the train speeds past their houses. She becomes obsessed by a couple she sees most days, who she decides have a perfect relationship. Throughout the novel we learn more about Rachel and about the other characters in the book and people who at first seem ordinary are revealed to have secrets which threaten their emotional health and even their lives. The Girl on the Train has deservedly been one of the literary successes of 2015. Don’t miss out.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Reading for Pleasure - November 2015 "The Rosie Project"

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

On first glance, The Rosie Project looks like it is to be typical chic-lit about finding love.  However, it is refreshingly quirky and told from the male perspective, albeit a slightly awkward male, in the form of Don Tillman.

Don Tillman is a 39 year old geneticist, living on a rigid schedule who “never drinks coffee after 3.48pm” and is “very comfortable with repetition”.  Graeme Simsion hints at Don having Asperger’s syndrome, but this is left for the reader to decide.  It certainly makes for an endearing and amusing protagonist, who is often blind to things we see as the reader, but has his own warmth and charm.

The Rosie Project is an entertaining, funny read, which makes you want to get behind the underdog.  Don, reminiscent of Adrian Mole, is brilliantly brought to life and my only slight criticism is that the female characters are not quite as well developed.  However, it is certainly a book to lighten your mood and makes you want to keep reading and rooting for Don…

Reading for Pleasure - November 2015 "Next of Kin"

“Next of Kin” by John Boyne
How firm are your principles? Are they unshakeable in the face of extreme pressure or are some things worth more than principles? How far would you go to save your own skin, or those of the ones you love? In this novel John Boyne intertwines the stories of his characters with real historical events to create a web of deceit and power play in 1930’s Britain. The plot is ingenious and the characters believable, this is a book to be engrossed in now that the nights are drawing in. John Boyne has written a number of novels for adults and teens as well as short stories.

If you haven’t read any of his books yet, why not?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Reading for Pleasure - Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

“The Last days of Rabbit Hayes” by Anna McPartlin
Books can help people come to terms with many aspects of life which may be difficult to deal with. This book is about someone dying, but Anna McPartlin tells the story of Rabbit Hayes’ final days with empathy and humour. Anyone who has lost someone close to them will relate to the way Rabbit and her family deal with the inevitable.  The roller-coaster of emotions which the family and friends, and Rabbit herself, go through are ones which families are going through every day. This is a book about loss but it is also about love and how, even when (or especially when) times are difficult people can bring the best out in each other.

If you want some perspective in your life, read this book.

Monday, 2 November 2015

November 2015 - Reading for Pleasure

Learning Resources has designated November as “Reading for Pleasure” month. Learning Resources offers resources for all course studied at the University so it is easy to forget that reading can be a leisure activity. This month Learning Resources is suggesting another leisure option instead of switching on the television or going to the movies. Reading is a skill and like any skill it needs practice. In a way we’re all still learning to read as we come across new words new ways of expressing ourselves through the written word. Our technologically rich world would seem to diminish the need for reading for pleasure. Finding the motivation and right choice to read fiction rather than watch something is key to the aims of this month.
The National Literacy Trust has done some research into the benefits of reading for pleasure, they include:
·         Increased general knowledge;  better understanding of other cultures; a greater insight into human nature and decision making
·         reading can have a major impact on an individual’s future eg if you read well you write well, deepens comprehension and grammar, broader vocabulary and  greater self confidence
·          a lifelong habit where you are a participant in a community that views reading as a significant and enjoyable activity
·         helpful factors in developing a love of reading, include: freedom to choose reading materials; a print-rich environment; access to a variety of texts; time for reading; encouragement to readers; and quiet, comfortable places to read

November’s focus hopes to encourage that and offer a range of new fiction titles which may help you develop a reading habit.
What have you read recently?

Monday, 26 October 2015

Black History Month October 2015 - Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a leading abolitionist, civil rights activist and humanitarian. Born to enslaved parents in Maryland, Harriet is famed for leading other enslaved people to freedom using the Underground Railroad in the American South to the ‘free’ North.  She was nick-named “The Conductor” and "Black Moses" as Harriet returned to the South several times to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom.  

The year of Harriet’s birth is unknown but is recognised as being between 1820 and 1825.  Her birth name was Araminta or "Minty” but it is believed she preferred Harriet in honour of her mother Harriet “Rit” Green. She was one of 9 children and married twice in her lifetime.

Beatings and lashings were a lamentable inevitability of bondage and Harriet's experience was no different. She carried the scars of physical violence for the rest of her life, suffering with narcolepsy and seizures after a particularly gruesome beating where the overseer threw a weight at her head. 

In 1849 Harriet and her two brothers escaped slavery after the death of their owner. They planned to escape to Philadelphia but a bounty was placed on each of them for their return dead or alive, and Harriet's brothers defected. She accompanied them back to the plantation but in an effort to remain "free" continued to journey alone through Pennsylvania and on to Philadelphia. This was approximately 90 miles. Wishing to free her family and other slaves, Harriet returned several times to the South to coordinate escapes to Philadelphia. However in 1850 a Fugitive Slave Law was passed that required the "free" North to return escaped slaves to their owners in the South.  In response to this, Harriet redirected her escape routes to Canada where slavery was illegal.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Reading for Pleasure Part 2

He Said, She Said (cover)
More Reading for Pleasure books

The Reading for pleasure collection is rapidly expanding (see below). We now have books on relationships, sports, politics, hooligans and much more. Most of the books have been published in the last few years. Do please take out any book that catches your eye.

November will be reading for pleasure month. If you have read and enjoyed any of the books on the list do think about writing a review which we will post on the blog. All reviews and comments will be appreciated.

Reviews can be emailed to me at this address;

The sisterhood of the travelling pants, Ann Brashares

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Rachel Cohn

This lullaby: a novel, Sarah Dessen

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set- Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set - Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set - The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins  

The perks of being a wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Are You My Mother?, Alison Bechdel

He Said, She Said, Kwame Alexander

Eat prey love, Kerrelyn Sparks

How to be a woman, Caitlin Moran

May I have your attention, please?,  James Corden

Between the Lines: My Autobiography, Victoria Pendleton

Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay

Girl in a band, Kim Gordon

I Am Malala, Malala Yousafzai

Not that kind of girl, Lena Dunham

Hunting the hooligans, Michael Layton with Robert Endeacott

Revolution, Russell Brand

Monday, 19 October 2015

Black History Month October 2015 - Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges is a fantastic example of resilience, strength and tenacity. Her story is inspirational to Black people worldwide.

Born Ruby Nell Bridges on September 8th 1954 to parents Abon and Lucille Bridges, Ruby is famous for being the first Black child to attend an all-white elementary school.

Her early years were spent on a farm in Mississippi where her parents and grandparents sharecropped the land, however motivated by the desire for a better life for their children, the Bridges family moved to New Orleans.  Segregation was still heavily entrenched in southern America but in a radical step towards civil rights for Black people, a ruling by the United States Supreme Court in 1954 ordered the desegregation of public schools.  However, it is important to recognise there was no timeline specified for the implementation of these changes.

In 1960 Ruby's parents were approached by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) to sit a test that would determine her ability to attend and study at an all-white school. Out of numerous African-American children, Ruby was one of six to pass this test and it was decided she would become a student at William Frantz Elementary. Conscious of the public backlash, US marshals were assigned to escort Ruby to and from school. The ramifications were unimaginable! Mobs of angry, outraged parents and townspeople heckled, and spat at Ruby. They threatened to poison and kill her. Ostracised for her colour at just 6 years old!  Parents refused to send their children to school in protest and teachers refused to teach.  Only one new teacher, Mrs Barbara Henry from Boston supported Ruby, who was her only student for the entire year!  She was sensitive to Ruby's emotional and educational needs. In order to keep Ruby safe, she was not allowed to eat lunch with the other children nor enjoy playtime with them. The effects rippled beyond school. Ruby's father lost his job, the family were not allowed to visit shops local to their home and their neighbours were terrorised. Yet in the face of this adversity, Ruby and her family continued, with what was to become, one of the most notorious steps towards civil liberty for Black people.  The strength they displayed drawn from a tight family unit and firm Christian beliefs!
Ruby continued her education into her adult years and went on to study Travel and Tourism at the Kansas City Business School.  In 1999, Ruby established the 'Ruby Bridges Foundation' which seeks to disseminate prejudice through education. The motto for the foundation is "We believe racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it." Still a zealous and influential activist today, Ruby's work for equal rights remains both influential and inspirational!  Her book 'Through My Eyes' continues to engage readers of every background worldwide and is a staple in relating dark elements in Black history.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Black History Month October 2015: Audre Lorde


Self-described "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet" Audre Lorde challenged Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman,” thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives.Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman,” thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives.Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman,” thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives.Concerned with modern society’s tendency to categorize groups of people, Lorde fought the marginalization of such categories as “lesbian” and “black woman,” thereby empowering her readers to react to the prejudice in their own lives.the persecution of marginalised groups in her poetry and activist work.  Born in New York to West-Indian immigrant parents, Lorde encouraged the coalition of oppressed groups, and spoke fervently on the struggle for emancipation amongst persecuted people. She advocated the concept of “intersectionality,” challenging her readers to respond to their own experiences of prejudice. 
Lorde was noted for her work in the documentary film entitled “Audrey Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984-1992.”  At a time of political and social change in Germany, Lorde encouraged the voice of Afro-German women, inspiring them to share their history and experiences, challenge the German view on marginalised groups in society, and create a dialogue between black and white German women.
Lorde’s international recognition afforded her many prestigious honours and awards but alongside critical acclaim, she was chastised by those who thought her ideas radical and extreme.  Facing difficulty, Lorde remained resolute, refusing to be intimidated.  Tragically, Lorde was diagnosed with breast cancer and died in 1992 at age 58.  However, her ideals and influence very heavily remain today.

Her works include:

·         A Burst Of Light
·         The Black Unicorn
·         Between Ourselves
·         Cables To Rage
·         The Cancer Journals
·         The First Cities
·         From A Land Where Other People Live
·         I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities
·         Lesbian Party: An Anthology
·         Need: A Chorale For Black Women Voices
·         The New York Head Shop And Museum
·         Our Dead Behind Us: Poems
·         Sister Outsider: Essays And Speeches
·         The Marvelous Arithmetics Of Distance: Poems
·         Undersong: Chosen Poems Old And New
·         Uses Of The Erotic: The Erotic As Power
·         Woman Poet—The East
·         Zami: A New Spelling of My Name