Read Regional 2018

Read Regional is back for 2018,bringing 12 northern writers and their wonderful new books to libraries across the North of England. The free booklet will be available form libraries shortly with information about the books and interviews with the writers. You can also find out about this year’s writers here . 

Four writers are visiting libraries in the Wakefield district. We start on 13 March 11am with crime writer D.M Mark, talking about his first historical crime novel The Zealot’s Bones. It is set in Hull in 1849 during a terrible cholera outbreak and the author describes it as ‘ a story of redemption and revenge: bloody, grimy and raw’. Expect lots of bodies and giant rats!

A second crime event takes place on 26 April, 2pm  at Hemsworth Library. A.A. Dhand’s first novel Streets of Darkness was described as “A tense slice of neo-noir that has won Dhand comparisons to both BBC drama Luther and HBO’s The Wire ” (Observer) so we are thrilled he is coming to Hemsworth to talk about Girl Zero, a second outing for his Bradford based detective D.I. Harry Virdee.

May sees a change of mood with A Sweet, Wild Note by Richard Smyth. Richard will be visiting Horbury Library on 18 May, 10.30am. The book is a cultural history of bird song, its place in our literature, science and music, what it means to us and what it would mean not to hear it. Horbury is Richard’s home town and we are delighted to welcome him back.

The final event takes place at Castleford Library on 14 June, 2pm. Sarah Dunnakey will be talking about The Companion, a compelling mystery of buried secrets and unsolved murder set on the Yorkshire Moors and partly inspired by Gibson Mill near Hebden Bridge, a former cotton mill which became an entertainment centre in the early 1900s. Sarah lives in Hebden Bridge and as well as writing  works as a question researcher for TV shows like Mastermind, University Challenge and Pointless.


Rhubarb ramblings from the Nom Nom Nom cookery book reader group

Wakefield Libraries’ Nom Nom Nom Cookery book reader group has been meeting on the first Saturday of each month at 2pm since April 2014. Our meetings are a  bubbly combination of chat, reading and cookery skills sharing. At our most recent meeting on the 3rd February 2018 we turned our thoughts to the forthcoming Wakefield Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb, which will be taking place 23-25 February 2018.

As huge fans and advocates of rhubarb-based cookery we felt we had to share our favourite recipes with each other and Wakefield Libraries blog readers. Rhubarb, now in season, is so much more versatile and delicious than it is often given credit for. Our top 10 rhubarb recipes include:

  1. Rhubarb Ginger Crunch from Mary Prior, Rhubarbaria, (Prospect Books, 2008)

A no-bake cheesecake with a crunchy ginger biscuit base and creamy filling.


Rhubarb Ginger Crunch

2. Custard yo-yos with Rhubarb Icing from  Yotam Ottolenghi, Sweet, (Ebury Press, 2017)

Delightful sandwich biscuits with a rhubarb-vanilla custard cream filling. Sometimes known as ‘melting moments’ or ‘custard kisses’.


Custard yoyos with roasted rhubarb icing

3.  Roasted Rhubarb with Ginger from Claire Bailey, The 8 week blood sugar diet recipe book ( Short Books, 2016)

A compote featuring rhubarb, coconut oil and ginger, could be eaten on its own, or as a topping with porridge, thick yogurt or ice cream

4. Rhubarb Curd from Sean Wilson, The Great Northern Cookbook ( Hodder, 2012)

Another versatile recipe, Nom Nom cooks particularly recommended this is used in place of lemon curd to make a light gluten-free dessert in Mary Berry’s Meringue roulade recipe

5. Joan’s Rhubarb and Oat Muffins Apple (or rhubarb) and Oat Muffins

Moist and with a pleasant tang of rhubarb, these muffins were a real treat. Joan modified an existing recipe she likes to use, substituting rhubarb instead of  apple


Rhubarb Crumble Muffins

6. Spiced Rhubarb sauce for Mackerel from Mary Prior, Rhubarbaria, (Prospect Books, 2008)

Proof, should it still be required, that rhubarb can also contribute to savoury dishes, this sauce with a hint of winter spice would go well with a range of oily fish and roast meat dishes.


Spiced Rhubarb Sauce for Mackerel

7. Rhubarb Lattice Pie with Cardamom and Orange  from Epicurious

A beautiful-looking traditional rhubarb plate-pie hiding a fragrant twist of cardamom and orange. Works well also with ginger and orange.


Rhubarb Lattice Pie with Cardamom and Orange


8. Rhubarb and Almond Cake by Nadiya Hussain for The Times

We wholeheartedly agree with Nadiya’s own description “A cake of sharp contrasts, thanks to a shot of rhubarb”

9.  Rhubarb Mule Cocktail  A favourite recipe from Jennifer Klinec

Jennifer came to speak to our group a couple of years ago after her return from Iran, where she had fallen in love with the food and a certain Iranian gentleman. Her recipe for a  Rhubarb Mule Cocktail  is bursting with the same joie de vivre as her book.

rhubarb mule

Rhubarb Mule cocktail

10. Virginia’s Rhubarb and ginger cheese cake 

made as dainty cupcake-size samples, this no-bake cheesecake was another simple way to incorporate the sharp tang of rhubarb into a delicious creamy treat.



Finally…Tusky – Yorkshire forced rhubarb pieces dipped raw into a bowl of sugar and eaten as a sweet treat

A traditional treat for children, candy-pink ‘tusky’ with a bowl of sugar to dip and eat raw is a sweet-sour taste explosion guaranteed to blow off your hat (and some tooth enamel).  Its a  love-it-or-hate-it experience to sort the true rhubarb connoisseur from the  mere aficionado! Dare you try?


What’s On

Death in the garden  Hidden People  Crow Garden


There are lots of good events coming up in the next few weeks at Wakefield Library: all events are free but where booking is requested, please contact the library on 01924 305376.

Medieval Magic, Alchemy and Astrology: Monday 29 January, 2-3pm.

Historian Gillian Waters reveals how medieval people saw their world. Please contact the library to book a place.

Pack Up Poetry: Tuesday 30 January and Thursday 1 February 12.30 – 1.30

Lunchtime writing workshops led by local poets Sarah Leah Cobham and Simon Widdop. Booking not required, just drop in. This event will also be taking place at Pontefract Library on 29th January and 2nd February.

Beasts among the Bookshelves: Thursday 1 February 5-6pm

A Harry Potter Night event with plenty of family fun and the chance to win some beastly prizes! Please contact the library to book a place. Suitable for families, aimed at about age 7-12.

Meet the author: Alison Littlewood. Saturday 10 February 2-3pm

Alison is the author of Richard and Judy hit A Cold Season and Path of Needles, set in the Sandal area. Her latest tiles are Crow Garden and Hidden People. Please contact the library to reserve a place.

Death in the Garden: Saturday 17 February, 2 – 3pm

The Historic Gardener Michael Brown talks about poisonous plants, myths, magic, passion and murder. His book Death in the Garden is due out at the end of March and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Please contact the library to book a place.

Roll Up for Circus Time! Saturday 24th February.

Two events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the modern circus.

11am Family Circus Skills Workshop with the Rapide Brothers. Please contact the library to book a place.

2.30pm History of the Circus: talk by local historian Steve Ward. Drop in, no need to book.






Secrets of a Reader Group!

Crofton Reader Group provide a peep inside a typical meeting..

The October meeting of the Reader Group, in Crofton Working Men’s Club, was attended by 15 women; I don’t know why men don’t come along – but we manage perfectly well without them.

Once we had settled down with our drinks we were ready to start, though it was a while before the book we had been reading got a mention. Our first topic was the plight of three black and white kittens, only a few weeks old that had been found dumped in a cardboard box and were now on Facebook, looking for new homes. Then attention turned to fashion, old-fashion – new-fashion, when Ann commented that the buttons down the back of her new jumper made it necessary for her to sit up straight! Several of us remembered the early 60s when we wore our cardigans back-to-front to be ‘different’.

Somehow we moved on to LGBTQAI+ and what it all means, as well as using the pronoun ‘they’ as singular, for someone who prefers not to have a gender label.

Eventually we talked about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice which had been enjoyed by the majority. Some members admitted that they hadn’t actually re-read it but remembered having enjoyed it first time around, even though that might have been many years ago.  A couple of ladies found it tedious and boring; everything took so long, waiting for official invitations and introductions, waiting for a suitable husband. But we agreed that life for the idle-fairly-rich would have been like that, the book was of its time.  And although fiction, the story provided a serious look at and comment on the life of the moneyed-class, with little or no thought for what happened below stairs. In that respect we were reading more ‘real’ history than anything from the modern-day imagining of what it might have been like, particularly for fairly well-off young ladies around the turn of the 19th century.

Not surprisingly, reference was made to the BBC’s dramatisation of the story back in 1995; we also touched on the more recent ITV historical drama series, Victoria.

Throughout the evening as we talked we inevitably found things to laugh about, so much so that my cheeks ached, and Trish admitted that she hadn’t laughed so much in ages. We laughed even more when Lynne showed us her bag bearing the words “I was delighted to discover that ‘book’ club is a euphemism for ‘wine’ club”!

I am already looking forward to future meetings and you are most welcome to join us.

Managing Dyslexia

Dyslexia Managing Dyslexia: guest blog by  Vanessa Goddard 


Looking around the group again this morning I am reminded what a good idea this was – to set up a community group for adults with dyslexia and associated mental health difficulties.

This morning we have looked at proofreading and spellings, just two of the many difficulties faced by those with dyslexia.

‘Needs to concentrate more in class’, ‘he’ll never amount to much with that attitude’, ‘too careless’, ‘doesn’t listen to what he’s being asked to do’, ‘refuses to read aloud in class.’

These are just a few of the things they were constantly being told at school and, in the true words of a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ they all truly believed that they were unable to learn and education wasn’t for them.

We have proved them all wrong… It’s true their concentration isn’t brilliant – so we have short bursts of focusing and then take a break.  It’s true they don’t remember spellings or facts from one week to the next – so we go over and over and over, as many times as we need to.  It’s true that their self-confidence was at rock bottom when I met them but now they are being asked for their opinion, they are being taught the way they learn best and they are no longer ashamed of their disability or too frightened to speak up.

We started the group on 6th September 2016 with the help of library services, who lend us a space in Sandal library free of charge.  They also lend us the dyslexia friendly reading books we need so that they can develop reading skills and confidence in their own ability.  To make text ‘dyslexia friendly’ all that is needed is a cursive font (like this one – comic sans), preferably a little bigger than the standard 12, evenly spaced with not too much crowding of words or pictures, making it ‘too busy’ for their eyes to focus.  Black ink on a white background isn’t good for anyone with dyslexia, and for some it is impossible to manage, so if everything was printed on cream, or even just ‘off-white’ then the difference would be amazing!

There is the misconception that those with dyslexia can’t read and can’t spell….. NOT true!! The written words just needs to be presented in a dyslexia friendly way and the learning of anything needs to be repetitive to accommodate their very poor short term memories.

Developing English skills is certainly not all we do….. There is a lot of focus on coping strategies. Dyslexia is not an easy thing for anyone to manage and it impacts on everyday life.  This is a place where they all feel safe – they can talk openly about the difficulties faced – they can help each other – and they can have a good laugh.

I would find it difficult to call this ‘work!’ I’m sure the staff at Sandal library will agree – we are a jovial bunch (though I can assure you this wasn’t the case when I first started working with them)… they are all a joy to teach and I have learnt so much from them…

The funding I have just secured from the Big Lottery will enable me to start another group early in the New Year. I want it to follow straight on from the Tuesday morning group so that there is an opportunity for them all to meet up for a coffee and a chat between classes.  There is a real community feel to Sandal library and to the Managing Dyslexia groups….. and this is a big part of what makes it work!

Long may it continue and develop and hopefully our presence in the library will break down barriers and help more people with dyslexia make use of their local library and access the dyslexia friendly books waiting for them inside!

I’ll sign off for now but will hopefully update you of our progress and successes in the near future.   Vanessa Goddard




































































A Nom Nom Nom Christmas!

Members of the Nom Nom Nom Cookery book Reader group, who meet at Wakefield Library on the first Saturday of the month at 2pm recently held their festive meeting. The meeting was filled with tasty treats and good cheer as we all look forward to cooking for ourselves and our families over the festive season.

First on the agenda was a discussion of our November book club 51XFwia+ZOL__SS160_title, which was Linda Collister’s Great British Bakeoff: Everyday, one of the first books in the long running franchise from 2013, which took us back to the very beginning of the Bake off phenomenon. It includes recipes from Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, bake-off contestants and was compiled by Linda Collister, who has collaborated with Mary Berry on a number of titles.

Members agreed that there were a great deal of excellent recipes in this book, particularly highlighted were some of the savoury recipes, which balance out the sweet treats and breads, making this book a great all-round title for the avid baker, and equally great for beginners too.

Book group members then shared their favourite festive recipes which they will be making for their loved ones this Christmas, including Lemon Buns, Marzipan filled Chelsea Buns, cheese and mustard savoury biscuits, homemade cream crackers with cumin seeds and parmesan and sesame lollipops. Members then chose a mystery festive cookery title to take away and try this coming month.

Particularly admired was book group member Pam’s square Tunis Cake, an alternative to fruit cakes at Christmas, the recipe for which Pam has written up to share with Wakefield Libraries Blog readers download here. Pam has adapted a Mary Berry recipe and added a rich chocolate icing to make this family friendly treat for the festive table.

The group meets again on the 6th January, 2pm at Wakefield Library, all are welcome.

Libraries Week


Drop in to your library during Libraries Week 9 – 14 October and find out what’s on offer. Enjoy fascinating author events and fun storytimes,  research your family history or find out health information, enjoy a talk or take part in an activity, have a look at our great online offer: discover something new in your library!


Monday 9 October

10am Wakefield Library. Are you strong lass? : A teacher’s life in the 1970s. Author event with Kath Padgett Booking required, phone 01924305376

2 – 3pm Normanton Library  Adult Christmas Craft Drop In. Booking not required.

2.30 – 3.15 Ossett Library. Researching Your Coal Mining Ancestors  Booking not required.

2pm South Elmsall Library Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Find out about their work.  Booking not required.

Tuesday 10 October

2.30 – 3.15 Horbury Library. Researching Your Coal Mining Ancestors Booking not required.

2 – 3pm. Normanton Library. World Mental Health Day ‘Tea & Talk’ and quiz 2-3pm. Booking not required

2pm. South Elmsall Library.  World Mental Health Day ‘Tea & Talk’

2.30pm Ossett Library. Dementia awareness: learn more about living with Dementia. Booking not required.

Thursday 12 October

2.30pm Horbury Library. Dementia awareness: learn more about living with Dementia. Booking not required.

10.15am. Normanton Library Little Tiger story time and activity for the under fives. Booking not required.

Friday 13 October

10.15am. Normanton Library Little Tiger story time and activity for the under fives. Booking not required.

10.30-11am Ossett Library. Bookstart Story and Rhyme time. Meet the Bookstart Bear! Booking not required.

Saturday 14 October

9.30 – 1. Normanton Library. Family Board Games drop in. Booking not required

10.30 – 3 South Elmsall Library.  Wildlife Photography workshop: Morning session South Elmsall Library, afternoon in Frickley Country Park. £5 per person. Booking essential, please phone 01977 514741. Bring your own camera, suitable clothing and a packed lunch.

2pm. Wakefield Library.  Red Ribbon: Dress historian Lucy Adlington invites you into the wonderful world of fashion, fabrics, hats and home-sewing in the 1940s, to celebrate the publication of her new novel The Red Ribbon – an amazing story inspired by the dressmakers of Auschwitz Booking required, phone 01924305376

















The Zoella Book Club

The popular teen Youtube sensation Zoe Sugg has launched her 2017 Book Club in association with W H Smith. It’s a well chosen collection with a range of styles and some excellent writing. It’s perfect if you are looking for a book to tempt a young reader and they are vanishing fast from our library shelves. If you want to dip a toe in to see the quality of books being written for young people, try Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

“Schmidt provokes tears, despite his underplayed prose, with a tone and directness reminiscent of John Steinbeck.” (Nicolette Jones Sunday Times, Children’s Book of the Week)

Reading Well

Reading Agency-87-LowRes

A new Reading Well booklist is available in Wakefield Libraries. The Reading Well for long term conditions booklist covers general advice and information about living with a long term condition, common symptoms and titles focused on specific conditions such as arthritis, bowel conditions, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Leaflets and books are available in all Wakefield Council libraries and if you can’t find the book you want on the shelf, it can be ordered in the library or online.

Reading Well for long term conditions joins our existing booklists on Adult mental health, Dementia and Shelf Help (mental health for teenagers)  in providing books chosen and recommended by health professionals  help you manage your health.


August Reads

It’s August and time to relax in the sun with the latest big name best seller. Or perhaps time to distract yourself from the rain showers with a good story! Either way, August’s crop of new novels are on the way to our libraries and you can reserve them in any branch or online.

Aug 9 James Patterson. The Store

Imagine a future of unparalleled convenience. A powerful retailer, The Store, can deliver anything to your door, anticipating the needs and desires you didn’t even know you had. Most people are fine with that, but not Jacob and Megan Brandeis. New York writers whose livelihood is on the brink of extinction, Jacob and Megan are going undercover to dig up The Store‘s secrets in a book that could change the entire American way of life – or put an end to Jacob’s

Aug 8 Val McDermid. Insidious Intent

When charred human remains are discovered in the driver’s seat of a burning car, DCI Carol Jordan and psychological profiler Tony Hill are brought in to investigate. They soon discover that what appeared to be a terrible accident is, in fact, murder. Delving deeper into the case, they begin the dangerous hunt for a most sinister killer with the power to inflict untold fear and pain on their victims.

Aug 7 Susan Lewis. Hiding in Plain Sight

Andee Lawrence is in heaven. Well, the South of France to be exact. Ex-detective Andee has swapped freelance investigation and a broken marriage for two months in Provence, renovating a beautiful villa with the new man in her life. But her world is about to be shattered. Remember me? Two words spoken by a woman from the back of a car that say so much yet reveal so little. As the car drives away Andee is left reeling, overwhelmed by shock, confusion, self-doubt and mounting trepidation. Almost 30 years ago, 14-year-old Penny had disappeared from her family’s life, never to be heard from again. It is the missing child case that has haunted Andee her whole life; And now Penny – Andee’s sister – is back. The question is: why?

Aug 6 Lynda La Plante. Good Friday

During 1974 and 1975 the IRA subjected London to a terrifying bombing campaign. In one day alone, they planted seven bombs at locations across central London. Some were defused – some were not. Jane Tennison is now a fully-fledged detective. On the way to court one morning, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead, and many horribly injured. Jane is a key witness, but is adamant that she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.

Aug 5 Sophie Hannah. Did you see Melody?

Pushed to breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl. A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder. Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?

Aug 2 Tess Gerritsen. I know a secret

In a house decorated with horror movie posters, a young woman’s body is found. She lies on her bed, two bloodied objects clutched in her palm. Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are called to the murder scene, but even faced with this gruesome sight they are unable to identify the immediate cause of death. Their investigation leads them to a high-profile murder case that was seemingly solved years before. But when another body is found in horrific circumstances, the link between the two victims is clear. Was the wrong person sent to prison? Is the real killer out there right now, picking off new targets? One woman knows the killer is coming for her next. She’s the only one who can help Rizzoli and Isles catch him. But she has a secret that she has to keep

Aug 4 Phillippa Gregory. The Last Tudor

The queen of historical fiction returns to the Tudor court to tell the story of Lady Jane Grey. But this isn’t Jane’s story alone- she had two younger sisters Katherine and Mary who each take up the story in turn. Dominating their lives- and the novel- is the capricious, mercurial Elizabeth I.



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