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“There’s something about a Christmas sweater that will always make me laugh”

– Kristen Wiig

Monday, 7th December 2020

It’s that time of year again, that single day of the year when we quite freely and without recourse are allowed to wear what some would consider to be the most atrocious knitwear, all in the name of charity. This year Christmas Jumper Day falls on Friday December 11th. As a college, we positively support this annual endeavour and encourage as many staff and students as possible to wear their seasonal woolies and make a donation via the College fundraising page to Save the Children. Our activities this year will be spread over the week beforehand as we won’t have a full complement of students on campus on the day itself. The College is therefore having its very own Christmas Jumper Week

First Editions
Last week’s blog saw a brief mention of a “treasure hunt” to be found on Twitter and Instagram regarding a recently published book by Will Maclean called The Apparition Phase. Maclean had informed the 1000 purchasers of a special numbered first edition of his book that in each one he’d written a single word, and if you put all the words together in numerical order they would form a 1000 word short story. Maclean has said that it wasn’t meant to be any sort of  marketing tool and stated such in a tweet. “Not a gimmick, I promise. I just really, really love books and wanted to make those numbered editions as special as possible

The hunt was in its infancy then but it gained traction over the course of the following days. The booksellers of this special edition and the author himself added their weight to the search. Currently 172 words have been found. There’s still a long way to go to find the rest but the words are still coming in slowly.

Although this wasn’t a marketing strategy, it has had an effect on the book’s value. Already on Ebay, copies of this edition are being offered at quadruple their original value. Of course, these inflated prices may only be a passing whim. Only time will tell whether this niche product will retain its current notoriety. 

This edition of The Apparition Phase was originally available through a bookshop that specialises in first editions. Goldsboro Books has amongst its stock a number of first editions of old books – for example, it currently has a copy of a rare signed first edition of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou – items which some book collectors would love to acquire and will pay a premium. They have a membership where the monthly subscription includes a signed limited edition of a book that they think has a very good chance of increasing its value. It’s one thing to spend a lot of money on a rare OLD first edition but another to buy one at the current price of any new publication and whose value can grow significantly in the first few years, especially if it becomes an award winning book or is made into a film or TV series. Goldsboro Books considers its monthly book very carefully and has a proven track record with anticipating the success of some of its selections. One such selection was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel, Half of the Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction and saw its value rise by 1100%. The Apparition Phase was one of these books – it was the November 2020 choice.

Although not a monthly subscription title, one book proved how buying the right book can be a tremendous investment. In 2013, Robert Galbraith published his debut novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, and Goldsboro had 250 signed editions ready to sell. News was then leaked that Robert Galbraith was actually a pseudonym for JK Rowling. Those £17.00 signed editions of an unknown author shot up in value. Not for Goldsboro Books though. Not only had they already sold a large number of copies for £17.00 and had orders to fulfill but they also made a decision to sell their remaining copies at the original £17 price. Their customers, however, did very well.

(And this librarian is feeling rather bemused to have been caught up in this. I just love books and won’t be heading to Ebay with my copy of The Apparition Phase for a good while yet).


Days of Christmas Quiz

8 Maids a Milking to 5 Gold Rings
The LRC team’s questionable countdown continues. There’s a taster below for week 2 but the full questions are being placed daily on our Twitter account (@BCLibraryWA) from the start of December until we close for the Christmas holiday, Each weekday will feature three rounds of questions based (loosely) on the lyrics of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Eight Maids a Milking
Q: Authors of the following books who have 8 letters in their surname

  1. Cloud Atlas
  2. Gilead
  3. My Brilliant Friend
  4. Never Let Me Go
  5. The Road

Seven Swans a Swimming
Q: Authors of the following books who have 7 letters in their surname

  1. Citizen : an American Lyric
  2. Fun Home
  3. Persepolis
  4. The Green Road
  5. The Siege

Six Geese a Laying
Q: Books/films/plays/songs that refer to the number 6 in the title

  1. Name the 2014 book by Elizabeth Kolbert
  2. The quote “I see dead people” came from which 1999 film
  3. According to the signature song in the 1957 musical play “The Music Man”, how many trombones led the big parade
  4. Name the 2015 book by Leigh Bardugo

Five Gold-en Rings
Q: Authors of the following books who have 5 letters

  1. Days Without End
  2. Gone Girl
  3. Harvest
  4. Moneyball
  5. True History of the Kelly Gang

Click here for the answers to last week’s questions. And click here for last week’s blog with the questions!


Displays

Body Image
One of the College tutorial topics this half term centres on Body Image and Glenn has done a splendid presentation on the subject. 

Spotlight on… memoirs 
If you’re fascinated by other people’s life stories then memoirs are the books for you. We have plenty of memoirs written by people from all walks of life for college members to borrow from the LRC.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones’ memoir is called Life, and he has certainly lived a colourful one. Life starts with Richards’ childhood in Kent and the beginning of his interest in music. After meeting up with Mick Jagger as a teenager, they discovered that they both liked blues music. They founded the Rolling Stones in 1962, along with fellow bandmates Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Ian Stewart and Bill Wyman. Life charts the rise of the Rolling Stones from playing in London jazz clubs to making rock and roll history. There has been plenty of drama along the way, with drugs, arrests and convictions. The book also covers his relationships and his writing partnership with Mick Jagger.  Richards is an avid reader, with a personal library of thousands of books. He described his childhood public library as ‘a place where you got a hint that maybe there was a thing called civilisation. It was the only place around where I would willingly obey the rules.’ Now, he has a copy of his own book in his library – and ours!

Football fans will be interested in How to Be a Footballer, by Peter Crouch. As the title suggests, this provides behind-the-scenes access to life as a footballer. What it’s like in the dressing room, post-match interviews, sports cars, questionable decisions and celebrity circles – they’re all in here. This book is a new arrival to the LRC, and you could be the first to borrow it!

Unbelievable charts Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill’s career as a track and field athlete. She overcame a career-threatening injury in 2008 to reach victory at London 2012. She was ‘the face of the games’, and lived up to the acclaim by winning a gold medal in the women’s heptathlon. Unbelievable documents her achievements and the difficulties she has overcome.

Not only is Barack Obama the former president of America, he’s also an author. His latest book, A Promised Land, came out last month to much fanfare. The LRC has copies of his first two memoirs, including Dreams from My Father. As the son of a black African father and a white American mother, Barack Obama explores his life as a black American and what that means to him. In New York, Obama learned that his father died in a car accident in Kenya. He didn’t know his father well, and he was more of a mythical figure than a man. His father’s death inspired Obama to explore his identity, starting in Kansas, travelling to where his maternal family migrated in Hawaii, and finally visiting Kenya. In Kenya, Obama met the African side of his family, and was confronted by the truths behind the tales he has been told about his father. This is a fascinating insight into the background of the first black president of the United States.

If you’re interested in food, then Nigel Slater’s memoir Toast is the book for you. Nigel Slater remembers his childhood through food, including Arctic roll, his father’s Boxing Day stew, and his mother’s burnt toast. His likes, dislikes and sweet tooth set the scene for his memories of childhood and adolescence. He is now a television chef, journalist and the writer of numerous cookbooks. Toast was turned into a film in 2010, starring Freddie Highmore as a teenage Nigel Slater, and Helena Bonham Carter as his stepmother.

Looking for a fast read? The LRC has the Quickreads edition of Adam Kay’s bestselling memoir of life as a junior doctor, This is Going to Hurt. Working 97 hours a week and frequently ending up covered in blood, Adam Kay made life and death decisions every shift. This book gives you all the gory details of life on hospital wards as a junior doctor.

College members can request to borrow any of our memoirs and other items from the LRC.

Book Review 
Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course by Delia Smith
Rating: 5/5

Each year at this time of the year, I get out my ‘go to’ recipe book to start making a Christmas cake. And this is the book that I always use. No one other than Delia can help me better in this task. The wonderfully faded pages of my 1970s hardback copy fills me with nostalgic comfort and the slightly musty old woody smell of it’s pages brings me great joy! I have pages where I have scribbled notes to myself, sticky labels marking favourite recipes and even drips of ingredients from some messy creations from the past, making it a kind of memory lane for me.

The book was lovingly given to me by my grandmother who hoped, as a daughter of a fine chef and a passionate cook herself, that I would inherit her passion one day. It was only when I started to cook meals for other people that the book really started to come into its own.

My grandmother always said that if you could read a recipe, you will be able to cook, but I hadn’t always found that to be the case. I guess I’m just not one of those natural cooks. What is so lovely about the way Delia Smith writes is how clear the instructions are. Her recipes are always long, perhaps because she feels it important to explain why some things are done, or to elaborate on the possibility that things can go wrong. Along with much needed remedies for how to correct those mistakes! I appreciated the education that came from these details. 

She writes as if she’s chatting to you and I always feel like I’m not on my own in the kitchen when this book is open – which may sound a little strange! The somewhat retro photographs in my copy are of course dated but the beautifully drawn illustrations throughout are used to decorate and instruct the pages. Delia covers just about everything you need to know about cooking in this book: from conversion tables and equipment – to what you can make with left-overs.  I want to thank this book for my culinary education. I do of course use many other cookery books these days, but this is the recipe book that gives me the most joy using and the one that I compare all others to..                   

– Sarah

We love…

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig has proven to be a popular and well-respected book over the last few months and is to be read on Radio 4 this month. Starting Monday December 7th at 12pm and continuing for 10 days. It will also be available online.

“Between life and death there is a library – The Midnight Library. Nora finds herself there and discovers that each book tells the story of a different life she could be leading.”

Libraries, eh? We get everywhere.


Students

Book Loans
Books can be loaned from the LRC. Just pop us an email or fill in the Click & Collect form and we will sort out the book for you.

Worried about fines? 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

The LRC is still available for book borrowing. Although our shelves are currently not available for browsing we can help find materials for you. 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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