Monthly Archives: March 2013

Dead Good

If you like your fiction from the dark side, have a look at Dead Good, the site for everyone who finds crime novels irresistible. It’s supported by publisher Random House and has news, articles, interviews and competitions to enjoy.

Book Reviews

long songharlequinHere are two reviews from members of the Crofton Reader Group. Have you read these books? What did you think of them?

Review from Eileen – Crofton Reader Group
Andrea Levy – Long Song
The story takes place in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and is told by Miss July who was born into slavery on a sugar plantation. She is taken from her mother by Caroline Mortimer to train as a ladies maid.

Caroline and July are the main women in the story and although on the surface, one has all the power and the other has none, in reality it is a constant game of one-upmanship between them, in which July generally has the upper hand. Despite their differing status they are, in fact, both trapped by their circumstances.

Caroline finds herself in charge of the plantation and overseas its deterioration throughout the Negro uprisings and the eventual freeing of the slaves.

During her life Miss July experiences fear, violence, tragedy, success and love and bears two children. One of her children Thomas, who becomes a successful publisher, asks his mother to write down the story of her life and the book moves from the past to the present as we hear of July and how she now lives with Thomas, his wife and children.

The story of Jamaica told through the experiences of Miss July gives us a glimpse of the way of life of the planters and slaves and their differing outlook on life with humour and compassion and is an excellent read.

Review From Jane – Crofton Reader Group
Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell

The book follows Thomas of Hookton, an archer fighting for the English in France, at the beginning of the Hundred Years War

Seeking revenge and a stolen relic the reader witnesses, through Thomas, the brutal battles the English wage against the French. The English lay waste to the French lands taking crops and livestock to feed the army, ransacking homes for treasure to send back to England and brutally killing the men and taking the women, if they were lucky, for their own pleasure. They leave nothing behind.

Bernard Cornwell obviously researches his books well, going into great detail about the preparation for attack, the tactics of the attack and the armour and weapons used by the men and horses. The battle scenes were very descriptive and not for the faint hearted.

I felt I learnt much about the archers and their bows, arrows and their incredible skill.

The book ended with a unfinished business and I have borrowed the next two books in the trilogy, Vagabond and Heretic to find out if Thomas succeeded in his quest and what happened to the other characters of the book.

Women’s Prize for Fiction

WF2WP1WP3WP4WP5WP6The longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (which used to be the Orange Prize) has been released. It’s a good mix of well known names and new authors and I can see several I’d like to try. Oh, and of course Hilary Mantel is listed again! Do you think there should still be a prize for fiction written by women? Which books would you like to read?

World Book Day – a librarian’s diary

WBD2WBD1What a busy World Book Day! I started the day at Normanton Library with 30 little pirates from All Saints Nursery. A couple of scarves turned me into a pirate too and I listened to the stories, joined in with the ‘Arrrs’ and the actions. Mums, dads and grandparents had come along and helped with a treasure hunt. Then the children met Bookstart Bear and were presented with their Bookstart Treasure packs
After Bookstart Bear had rested his paws, a visit to Storytime where the pre-school children were enjoying their own World Book Day celebration.
Next I was off to join in one of the many Readers Groups supported by Wakefield Libraries and took part in a lively book discussion. Just time left to drop in to Wakefield One where library staff were promoting library services to Council colleagues and inviting them to take part in a reading challenge.
I’d been looking forward to the last event of the day as it was a chance to meet authors Annabel Pitcher and Michael Stewart (pictured above) and hear them read from two books I’ve loved ‘My Sister lives on the Mantelpiece’ and ‘King Crow.’ They told us about what inspired their books and how they wrote, answered questions and made us laugh. There was a wide age range there and it was good to see students from Freeston Academy and hear their questions about being writers. Then home to put my feet up- with a good book of course!
How did you celebrate World Book Day?

Book Review

PilgrimageFrom the Reviews page
”There are some books that become known because of a huge publicity campaign, others become known through word of mouth. I tend to avoid the former, but will often hunt out the latter to see what all the fuss is about. One of the books that falls into the second category is “The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce. At first I thought it was going to be a travelogue along the lines of “Today I walked 8 miles and visited Bath. Weather sunny”. I couldn’t have been more wrong as it deals with a marriage that has been slowly falling apart and the troubles that can occur in a life. I’d certainly recommend this to anyone who wants a thoughtful read and it does have a happy ending!”

I read this book very quickly because I couldn’t put it down -I had to see what would happen next. It’s moving, funny and thought-provoking with some unexpected twists. Perhaps a good book for Readers Groups- what do you think?

World Book Day 7th March

wbd-logo-2013Celebrate World Book day with Wakefield Libraries. Meet award-winning authors Annabel Pitcher and Michael Stewart on Thursday 7th at 4.30pm in the Learning Zone at Wakefield Library. They will be reading extracts from their books, ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’ and ‘King Crow’, talking about their writing careers and signing books. (Free event. Suitable for young people and adults. Please book on 01924 302700 or email:

Bookstart Bear will be visiting library storytimes to celebrate with young story lovers and you can meet him on Monday 4th March at Airedale Library 10 – 11am,Wednesday 6th March at Ossett Library 10:30 – 11am, Friday 8th March at Horbury Library 2:15 – 3pm, Tuesday 12th March South Elmsall Library Tues 10:15 – 11am and Wakefield One Library 1:30 – 2:30pm, Friday 15th March Hemsworth Library 10:30 – 11am

Come and meet him and collect a free £1 token which can be exchanged for a World Book Day book. You can find out about the books and participating retailers here Ther’s a free app for teenagers too as well as lots of games, competitons and fun.

There will also be storytimes at Featherstone Library Monday 4th 11-11.30, Stanley Library Monday 4th 11.30-12, Knottingley Library Tuesday 5th 10-11 am and Normanton Library Thursday 7th 10.30 -11.30.

Featherstone LIbrary will be holding a coffee morning on Thursday 7th 10-12, so pop in for a coffee and chat about your favourite books.

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