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?