Monthly Archives: March 2014

World Book Night

Art deco fox fur1 ACAD fashion plate

Join us for a fabulous evening on World Book Night when the History Wardrobe will be presenting ‘Agatha Christie and Art Deco’ and bringing the Agatha Christie era to life through dramatic readings and dazzling Deco fashions. If you love Downton and Poirot for the frocks as well as the stories, come and join us on Wednesday 23rd April, 8 – 9.15pm at Wakefield Library and Museum, Wakefield One, Burton Street WF1 1DD. The evening is free but booking is essential as places are limited. Please contact Wakefield Library on 01924 305376 or to book a place.


Let Books Be Books

Boys Girls

As the Carnegie Medal list is announced, author Anne Fine (shortlisted for her book Blood Family) has spoken out about gender marketing in books and the ”pinkification” of girls.

” Good books are not pink and blue; they’re just not.

“It’s not popular with parents or women. It’s a serious matter because it does narrow children’s sense of what they’re allowed to do or like in a horrible, horrible way.”

I do remember that in books I read as a child, female characters were often shown as the ones who helped Mum or looked after the food and there were books of adventure stories for boys but there wasn’t this mass of pink sparkly stuff aimed at girls and women which seems to have taken over in recent years. I have no problem with girls enjoying books about princesses but why can’t boys feel comfortable borrowing them too? Girls enjoy books about space and football as well as cupcakes and kittens. If there are such things as men’s books and women’s books is a frequent book group discussion but if books are labelled FOR BOYS or FOR GIRLS they take away choice and push their readers into someone else’s choice of what is suitable for them to enjoy. As you can see from the counting books above, boys will count cowboys and dragons and girls will count mermaids and puppies. We don’t have these books in our library stock and library reading promotions and campaigns do try to avoid the concept of books for boys/girls.
A campaign, Time to Let Books Be Books, has been launched to persuade publishers and shops and book buyers to take action.
What do you think? I’m with Anne Fine on this one. Bring on the dragons!

Have some Baileys?

Maddaddam Dogs of L Almost english 4

The longlist for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced.It’s a wide ranging list with some big names including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Donna Tartt and Margaret Atwood. There are also six debut novelists including Hannah Kent for the much praised Burial Rites. On checking the list, Wakefield Libraries have just over half of the titles in stock, so perhaps this would be a good moment to promote our request service! You may know that you can request any book in our libraries to be sent to the library you use but did you know you can also request books we don’t have? Ask staff at your local library to place a request for the book and if it is in print we will consider buying it – and we do buy most of the titles suggested. It’s a free service so why not take advantage of it and read your way through the list.
It seems almost compulsory to have some sort of controversy when a literary award is announced and this time there is the fact that there are only four British writers on the list. A leading academic, David Brauner, associate professor of English at Reading University,has warned of a growing gulf between British writers and their more ambitious, adventurous US counterparts. He said that British novelists were overly cautious and parochial compared with Americans, who had more nerve, more ambition and relied more heavily “on imagination and the power of language to create worlds that are unfamiliar”.
Is this a fair comment? Can you think of any exciting British novelists you would like to recommend?

Diane Allen

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Join us on Friday 21 March at 2pm when we are welcoming author Diane Allen to Castleford Forum Library and Museum.
Diane was born in Leeds and grew up on a family farm in the Yorkshire Dales. A life-long lover of books and reading, she works as manager of a firm publishing large print books and is now the author of two novels. ‘For the sake of her family’ and ‘For a mother’s sins’can be ordered from any Wakefield Library and copies will be on sale on the day. Diane will be reading from her books and talking about her work. She says ”I hope that my writing reflects my love of the Yorkshire Dales, my family’s roots being there for centuries. I aim to include in my writing, my love of family life and the gritty realism that life in the Dales throws at you. I love the history of the Dales, the people and the wonderful countryside.”

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