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“Constant Kindness Can Accomplish Much”

Monday 18th January 2021

Title Quote by Albert Schweitzer

Anyone else feel there’s a certain apathy in the country right now? This is the third lockdown, necessitated because of rising case numbers and hospitalisations of people unlucky enough to suffer complications having caught Covid-19. During the initial lockdown, a vast percentage of the population complied with not going to work, maintained social distancing, and generally only had close contact with people in their own household. The weather was glorious (generally) and as a nation we were keen to keep ourselves and others healthy. 

The disastrous effects of the pandemic and lockdowns on the economy has meant that this time round – similar to lockdown 2 – there have been more businesses permitted to be open and consequently more people travelling to work. TfL have said that while numbers are still low for the new year, the transport network is much busier for this lockdown than it was for the first. Schools on average have around 30% of children back on site needing support – a much bigger number than previously. And added to this are a number of people who find working in an office suits them better and the plea to work from home if possible has fallen on deaf ears. The rolling out of the vaccine is one shining light but that will take some time and doesn’t negate the need to keep our distance from others.

And what of the people working hard to keep our services running? Back in March, we had a weekly Clap for the NHS, and there was a suggestion for this lockdown of a Clap for Heroes – heroes encompassing everyone from shopworkers to delivery drivers to doctors who are working in order to keep the rest of us safe. There doesn’t seem to be too much support for that. We’ve now got an NHS so overloaded that it’s doubtful its staff could pause to take notice! Is there anything else we can do to show some appreciation for the essential workers? 

Pay it forward
Hunting around social media, there is at least one bookshop with an idea, having tweeted recently “No better time to spread some love and happiness in the form of one of our mystery books.” On further investigation, it appears that this bookshop in Wales has devised a scheme where you can simply donate a book to a worthy recipient. You can message the shop with the name of the person you think is worthy of the surprise gift of a book through the post. Alternatively, you could donate the cost of said book to be posted – either with a message attached from yourself or completely anonymously.

The website for Book-ish says ““We’ll send a paperback book to either a person nominated directly by you or (on your request) somebody nominated via our social media list. This could be anybody within the UK, you may think they need cheering up with a good book, a token of thanks or gratitude for hard work, being there or just because. You may wish us to donate to a local school library or playgroup on your behalf.”

What a great idea – and it’s no wonder that the shop was awarded Independent Bookseller of the Year at last year’s British Book Awards.

On further investigation, there are other bookshops offering similar gift schemes but not many that offer to match an anonymous donor with a worthy recipient.


Costa Awards
“Celebrating great books since 1971”

As it says, this prestigious collection of prizes has been celebrating books for almost 50 years. The 2020 category winners have just been announced with the overall Costa Book of the Year winner being revealed on Tuesday 26th January.

So, what do we know so far? The category winners are as follows (with book descriptions provided by Good Reads).

The Costa Novel Award goes to The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monica Roffey.
“April 1976: St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch, at the start of the rainy season. A fisherman sings to himself in his pirogue, waiting for a catch—but attracts a sea-dweller he doesn’t expect. Aycayia, a beautiful young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid, has been swimming the Caribbean Sea for centuries. And she is entranced by this man David.” 

Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud is the winner of The Costa First Novel Award. 
“After Betty Ramdin’s husband dies, she invites a colleague, Mr. Chetan, to move in with her and her son, Solo. Over time, the three become a family, loving each other deeply and depending upon one another. Then, one fateful night, Solo overhears Betty confiding in Mr. Chetan and learns a secret that plunges him into torment. Solo flees Trinidad for New York to carve out a lonely existence as an undocumented immigrant, and Mr. Chetan remains the singular thread holding mother and son together. But soon, Mr. Chetan’s own burdensome secret is revealed, with heartbreaking consequences.”

The winner of The Costa Biography Award 2020 is The Louder I Will Sing by Lee Lawrence.  
“On 28th September 1985, Lee Lawrence’s mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her Brixton home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, 11-year-old Lee watched in horror as the News falsely pronounced his mother dead. In Brixton, already a powder keg because of the deep racism that the community was experiencing, it was the spark needed to trigger two days of rioting that saw buildings brought down by petrol bombs, cars torched and shops looted.

But for Lee, it was a spark that lit a flame that would burn for the next 30 years as he fought to get the police to recognise their wrongdoing. His life had changed forever: he was now his mother’s carer, he had seen first-hand the prejudice that existed in his country, and he was at the mercy of a society that was working against him. And yet that flame – for justice, for peace, for change – kept him going.”

The Historians by Eavan Boland won the Costa Poetry Award 2020 Winner
“Throughout her nearly sixty-year career, acclaimed poet Eavan Boland came to be known for her exquisite ability to weave myth, history, and the life of an ordinary woman into mesmerizing poetry. She was an essential voice in both feminist and Irish literature, praised for her “edgy precision, an uncanny sympathy and warmth, an unsettling sense of history” (J. D. McClatchy). Her final volume, The Historians, is the culmination of her signature themes, exploring the ways in which the hidden, sometimes all-but-erased stories of women’s lives can powerfully revise our sense of the past.”

And last but by no means least, the winner of The Costa Children’s Book Award 2020 is The Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant
“In the aftermath of World War One, everyone is trying to rebuild their lives. If Ben is to avoid being sent back to the orphanage, he needs to find his brother Sam, wounded in action and is now missing. Lotti’s horrible aunt and uncle want to send her away to boarding-school (when she has just so successfully managed to get expelled from her last one!) And Clara, their young teacher, is waiting for news of her missing fiance.Just as they think they’ve found their feet in the new order, disaster strikes, and Lotti and Ben must get away. And so they hatch a plan – to cross the Channel on Ben’s narrowboat and find Sam. And there’s something in France that Lotti is looking for, too…”


#LibrariesFromHome Going Strong for 2021
Over on Facebook, Surrey Libraries are offering a series of online activities Monday to Saturday, mainly aimed at children with the occasional one for adults. There are challenges – reading, creative, etc – for the children to participate in whilst they are being homeschooled. 

More details of the events and how to access then can be found here.

Blue Monday
‘Blue Monday’ – the Monday post-Christmas, post-New Year where the skies are grey, the weather is cold and bleak, and there seems little to look forward to on the horizon. Back in 2005, it was a marketing slogan for a travel company but is now the name given to the third Monday of the year which has been designated as the most depressing day (however, given we’re in the midst of a pandemic, the other 30 days of January have seemingly accepted the challenge with a cry of “Hold my beer!”)

Book Review 
The Island by CL Taylor
Rating: 4/5

Six teenagers meet as they do every year when their respective families gather for a holiday. This year’s vacation takes them all to Thailand where, after a few days all together, the teens of the families sail off with a guide to spend a week on a deserted island, surviving on their wits and living off the land.

They get rather more than they bargained for when tragedy strikes and surviving on their wits becomes more of a matter of life and death. Once over the initial trauma, there’s a great deal of camaraderie between the group but this is very slowly worn away as the days drag on, tempers fray, discourse sets in, and doubts surface as to who can be trusted.

There are exciting moments in the book as well as a good deal of introspectiveness. The story is told through the eyes of two of the teenagers which makes for a great balance to the narrative. And there are many relevant issues covered – from grief to loneliness to depression and mental health. 

All in all, a well told story and a great read. One to recommend. 

– Alison 

We love…

One of our Library Assistant, Glenn came across this interesting reading tool. It’s something which features on a lot of e-readers but if you wondering, when you pick up a hardback or paperback book how long it could take you to read it, you could do worse than visiting 

Readinglength.com. There’s a short test to take to gauge roughly your reading speed. Once that’s done, all you need to do is enter a book title and a reading time for you is calculated. 


Students

Book Loans
Worried about fines as we enter another lockdown? No problem. All loans have been renewed and fines waived while the LRC was closed. Books can now be returned to the College. Please contact the LRC to find out about current procedures.

Access our virtual library online
You can search for e-books on the library catalogue or directly through our e-book providers.. Click on the Shibboleth login if requested and select Brooklands College. If you have any problems please do not hesitate to contact us at library@brooklands.ac.uk.

Heritage Online | Proquest | VleBooks

Contact us with an area you are interested in or your assignment title and we can suggest some resources for you.

LRC website 
The LRC website contains links to our resources, our online catalogue and is full of information about LRC use, plus there are book reviews, links to our displays and other items of interest. It is only available to College members (sorry) and can be found through links on the LRC Google Classroom, and on the staff and student intranets.

LRC Google Classroom page
Tutors have been invited to join the Classroom and will be passing the joining code on to their students. It’s full of links to resources, and helpful advice and tips.


Please contact us at library@brooklands.ac.uk if you need support with e-books, e-resources or anything else.

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