Monday, 2nd November 2020
Welcome all to the second half of this autumn term, As an LRC, we have settled into our new normal – service levels have been adapted to meet college safety guidelines, rotas have been tweaked, and more e-resources have been added to our Google Classroom. Our levels of service are still restricted but we are continually developing and improving them as this new normal seems to be here to stay for a little while longer.
November brings with it a few notable annual events. In addition to the lockdown beards of the summer, there’ll be a multitude of new moustaches appearing as the month once again becomes Movember, there’ll be some very popular and social bonfire and firework displays – as long as tiers and rules of 6 are adhered to – and we have Remembrance Sunday, Diwali and International Men’s Day to look forward to later in the month.
Book box subscriptions
Back in March, bookshops up and down the country had to close their doors to the book buying public. (And in some parts of the UK, they’ve now had to close them again). As soon as they were able, staff began to return to their still closed stores as they began to promote their online ordering services. But what other avenues are available to bookstores for generating an income?
One way would be to offer a subscription service. Subscription services have been around for a while. They’re usually offered by small independent companies. They select a book – sometimes books – each month from a certain genre, and then send a copy to the subscriber. Most subscription services offer something other than just the book – the book may be a limited special edition, there may be a box of goodies that complement the chosen book, or perhaps a letter from the author about the work of their book. More bookstores have started to offer subscription services and there’s even one crime writing festival which, once the 2020 event was cancelled, offered a monthly book club as an alternative to its disappointed attendees.
Books as therapy during this pandemic has been mentioned in previous blogs but there is also something quite special about receiving a surprise through the post. It’s something to look forward to with anticipation.
They also make great gifts during lockdown. One LRC staff member has brought forward what was going to be a Christmas gift for her mother, who was facing an imminent tier 2 lockdown and was feeling decidedly miserable. The surprise welcome box she received to kick off her newly gifted monthly subscription cheered her up considerably. And another staff member knows a young Long Covid sufferer who has just received a 3 month subscription to a young adult book club.
Spotlight on…Bernardine Evaristo
The winner of the Booker Prize would have been announced over half term, but like many things this year the announcement has been postponed. That does mean there’s more time to read the shortlist before the winner is announced on 19th November. Some great books have been nominated this year! Why not check out this year’s nominees?
Last year, Bernardine Evaristo made history by being the first black woman to win the Booker Prize, with her excellent book Girl, Woman, Other. History was also made because there were two winners last year, with Bernardine Evaristo sharing the victory with Margaret Atwood. Margaret Atwood won for The Testaments, the sequel to the hugely popular The Handmaid’s Tale. Including 2019, the Booker Prize has only been awarded to joint winners three times since the award began in 1969.
Bernardine Evaristo co-founded the writer development agency Spread the Word, and Theatre of Black Women, which was the first British black women’s theatre company. She currently teaches Creative Writing at Brunel University.
Bernardine Evaristo’s writing spans across forms: novels, poetry, essays, scripts and more. She has a distinctive writing style, often writing verse fiction – as seen in Girl, Woman, Other, The Emperor’s Babe and more
Girl, Woman, Other, the book that won her the Booker, follows twelve characters – mainly black women based in London – across decades. They’re all different ages, in various situations, jobs and locations. They each have their own sections in the book, but the characters are interconnected in various ways. All of them could be considered ‘other’ in some way, whether it’s their gender identity, sexuality, background, or position in life. This is an excellent and enjoyable read, dubbed by the Booker Prize judges as ‘a must-read about modern Britain and womanhood’. Winning the Booker Prize brings widespread attention and recognition to writers, and Girl, Woman, Other’s sales doubled in the week following Bernardine Evaristo’s victory.
If you’re interested in reading anything by Bernardine Evaristo (and are a member of Brooklands College), we have a copy of her Quick Reads book Hello Mum at the LRC. If you want to read Girl, Woman, Other, or any of her other books, they are available to borrow from Surrey Libraries, as eBooks, audiobooks and physical books. The LRC also has plenty of books by last year’s joint Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood, including The Handmaid’s Tale.
Top FE Ebooks September 2020
Unsurprisingly, many of our course ebooks proved to be well used when we went into lockdown. This is a list from JISC of the top 5 e-books downloaded by FE and 6th form students during September.
It’s November again. The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and there are fireworks galore around the 5th of the month. It’s also the season for men’s facial hair to go wild – but all for a very good cause. The aim of the charity behind the Movember movement is to raise awareness and funds for a variety of concerns regarding men’s physical and mental health. Sarah has done a presentation on the cause.
Stress Awareness Week
Sarah has also put together a presentation for Stress Awareness Week. She has looked at some techniques and helpful resources to help to relieve stress generally but she also asked LR staff to offer suggestions for how they try to alleviate their own stress.
Stress Awareness Day is on Wednesday 4th November
This is Engineering Day 4th November
Brooklands College has a great history when it comes to engineering and Alison has put together a presentation to celebrate This is Engineering Day.
Bonfire Night 5th November
Remember, remember the fifth of November. Well, Sian certainly has with this charming display.
Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham
*In the 24 hours since wondering what to use for our next book review, this was announced as the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award winner for 2020. And it must be considered a well deserved win in the eyes of this week’s reviewer.
A few weeks ago, I came across a tweet of the CWA’s shortlist for their Gold Dagger award – retweeted by a favourite author of mine whose book had been selected. Another name on the list caught my eye as the previous evening I’d finished watching an enjoyable series on BBC iplayer that had been written by this same man. I read the blurb about the book, thought that it looked interesting and put an order for the paperback copy that had been published that very day. Kismet.
The premise of the book is that when a 15 year old ice skater Jodie Sheehan is found raped and murdered, local police request the help of forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven.
Cyrus has also been asked by local child services to assess Evie, a young girl of indeterminable age who wishes to be free of local care and whose history is both mysterious but undeniably traumatic. Since being found hiding in the house where a man was tortured to death and whose body went unnoticed for two months, she has refused to give her name or date of birth.
Evie is unique but troubled and Cyrus finds himself drawn to help her. As their lives become entwined, Cyrus finds himself in a precarious situation with both the case and with Evie.
These two main characters are wonderfully drawn. Cyrus is good hearted and insightful but, even with her talent for spotting when people are lying, Evie finds it difficult to trust him. I found them both immensely likeable and look forward to reading more of them in the future. This book was a sheer pleasure to read.
And yes, kismet. I now seem to have found myself an author with a wonderful back catalogue of work to keep me busy.
Well before anyone had heard of Covid-19, pandemics and lockdowns, this virtual literary platform was introduced. For years, book festivals have been seen as, perhaps, a little elitist and the people behind MYVLF wanted the beauty of book festivals to be accessible for everyone. This article from The Bookseller explains the ideas behind the festival and what its organisers hope to achieve in a little more details.
And if this has piqued your interest, then have a look at the festival itself here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 email@example.com if you need support with e-books, e-resources or anything else.