Monday, 24 October 2011

World Book Night 2012

The 25 books that have been picked at the 2012 World Book Night titles were announced today and I am trying to decide if I will attempt to read all 25 by the time 23rd April rolls round.

The list this year reads:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Player of Games by Iain M Banks
Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Take by Martina Cole
Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell
Someone Like You by Roald Dahl
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Room by Emma Donoghue
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Misery by Stephen King
The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Let the Right One In by John Ajvde Lindqvist
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
The Damned Utd by David Peace
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak
Reading them all by April would be easier - there is a lot more time for the challenge this year, and I've already read 10 of the titles...


the list doesn't excite me at all this year. Perhaps making myself read them would be good but if I read these will I miss better, newer books?

I think I'll sleep on it for a while, after all there 6 months until WBN 2012...

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Incredibly Cross

I think that regular readers to this blog know that I work in a library.

In fact I work in (currently) the busiest library in the country - in the last year that we have figures for 1,502 449 people came through our doors.
Every morning there are people waiting outside the doors to come in.

These are people from all walks of life, some come in for advice, others for books, some to use the computers and others for the regular training or story sessions that we run. The one thing I know is that we are busy from the moment we open at 9am until the minute we shut the doors at 8pm.

I'm lucky, I work for a council that sees the value of libraries - unlike many areas around the country.

Just this week the author Nicholas Rankin gave a talk here in Norwich, he started it by saying that he'd spent nights this week camping outside his local library to stop it being shut. There is currently a legal challenge in progress trying to save his library - Kensal Rise - which was ironically closed 111 years to the day since it was opened by Mark Twain.
It isn't just authors and celebrities that are trying to save local libraries whole families are standing vigil trying to save these precious resources.

Just today figures were released showing just how many children joined the Summer Reading Challenge in 2011. This is an annual game that is run through libraries during the summer holidays. Children are encouraged to read six books during the holiday and are rewarded throughout and then on completing the challenge come to special ceremonies where they receive a certificate and medal. This challenge has been proven to help participants with their school work in many ways.

Libraries are important for so many reasons - personal and national - which is why articles like this one in the Telegraph make me so angry. Happily it seems that most people agree with me and not the author and the Twitter and Blogosphere are full of examples showing just how wrong this article is.

However our libraries are under threat so please if you are reading this and you don't usually visit a library please find your local branch and borrow a book or two. They might be there at the moment but once they are closed I can't see that they will be reopened and we need libraries.

For more information about campaigns to save libraries please have a look at Voices for the Library or The Bookseller's Campaign. For up-to-date information on library closures Public Library News is place to look.

Currently 428 libraries are under threat of closure in the UK - sign the petition to save libraries.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Reality Reading

Ranger Confidential by Andrea Lankford

While we were in America we actually only went into a couple of bookshops, and they were second-hand specialists not 'new' bookshops. However many of the National Parks we visited had dedicated bookshops within the gift shops and I saw a great many books that I wanted to read.

Luggage allowances didn't let me buy too many at all, but free wifi in hotels and a Kindle did mean that I could download this one on the road.

I've admitted to liking biographies and exposes in the past and this is another in that style.

Lankford was a Park Ranger in several of America's parks and in this book she talks about the ups and downs of the job. Like in all jobs there seem to be a lot more 'downs' than you'd originally think.

The park rangers that we met were unfailingly smart, informative and polite but after reading this book I am not at all sure how they manage it. In our time in the 5 parks we visited we saw no trouble at all, and only one idiot blatantly ignoring the signs saying to keep behind the railings however it would seem that we were lucky and that usually there are plenty of rule breakers in the National Parks, and that is before Mother Nature decides to intervene.

I realise that Lankford is going to pick the 'good' stories to tell but my hat goes off to all the park rangers out there. Like other emergency service workers you do a great job and do not deserve some of the things that happen to you.

This wasn't a comfortable read, and I am glad that I read it after we'd visited the Parks but it was informative and moving.


Grand Canyon from Mather Point - taken Sept 2011.

Monday, 10 October 2011

All a bit quiet

No reviews of either plays or books at the moment as I've just spent the last few weeks in the USA on an epic road trip with my parents and Mr Norfolkbookworm.

I managed to read 2 books in just over 2 weeks - both good and worthy of a review, but didn't convince anyone to come to the theatre in Las Vegas!

The trip was amazing and all of the books about photography that I read before going seem to have been beneficial as on first glance I seem to have taken some pretty nice pictures. However I took over 2000 thus all of my free time for the foreseeable future will be spent editing them!

I'll be posting them to Flickr as they become ready and the first batch are up here already.