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.



The Man Booker Prize 2017 Longlist

BookStackThis year’s ‘Man Booker Dozen’, the 13 novels on the longlist for the Man Booker Prize has been announced.

It’s an exciting list. Previous winner Arundhati Roy is there with her long awaited second novel. There are well known names -Ali Smith, Zadie Smithand Sebastian Barry. Three are debut novels:  Elmet by Fiona Mozley, History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund, and Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.  

The judges said ”‘Only when we’d finally selected our 13 novels did we fully realise the huge energy, imagination and variety in them as a group.  The longlist showcases a diverse spectrum — not only of voices and literary styles but of protagonists too, in their culture, age and gender.  Nevertheless we found there was a spirit common to all these novels: though their subject matter might be turbulent, their power and range were life-affirming – a tonic for our times.”

We have seven of the thirteen in stock in our libraries and of course we will buy any title we don’t have if you place a request for it. We have also just added Sebastian Barry’s book Days without end to our Reader Group sets. The shortlist will be announced on  13 September.

The full list:

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Ireland) (Faber & Faber)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Ireland) (Canongate)
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (UK) (4th Estate)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)
The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (India) (Hamish Hamilton)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury)
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (UK-Pakistan) (Bloomsbury)
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
Swing Time by Zadie Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (US) (Fleet)

Books for June

Here are some June publications all ready to pile up by the deckchair in the garden.

Jun Barton Fiona Barton The Child

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for 3 strangers, it’s impossible to ignore. For one, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her. For another, it’s the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be uncovered, And for a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth. Kate Waters, from Barton’s thriller debut The Widow, returns for another investigation.

June Craig  Amanda Craig The Lie of the Land

What happens when the metropolitan dream goes sour? Quentin and Lottie Bredin are about to find out when, unable to afford to divorce and having lost their jobs in the recession, they must downsize and move to a house in a remote part of Devon.   Mud, mice and quarrels are one thing – but why is their rent so low? What is the mystery surrounding their unappealing new home? The beauty of the landscape is ravishing, yet it conceals a dark side.

June Billingham  Mark Billingham Love like Blood

As DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings, her partner is brutally murdered. Taken off the case, Tanner enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers and the broker handing out the deadly contracts. As the killers target their latest victim, Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career and is drawn into a horrifying and disturbing world. Thorne and Tanner were introduced in To Die of Shame.

June Barnett  Laura Barnett Greatest Hits

Cass Wheeler – a British singer-songwriter, hugely successful since the early 70s, whose sudden disappearance from the music world three decades later has been the subject of intense speculation among her fans – is in the studio that adjoins her home, taking a journey back into her past. Her task is to choose 16 from among the hundreds she has written since her early teens, for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits record, describing the arc of her life through song. It has been over a decade since Cass last put out an album; ten years since a tragedy catapulted her into a breakdown. In the course of this one day – both ordinary and extraordinary – each song Cass plays sets off a chain of memories, leading us deep into her past, and into the creative impulse that has underpinned her work. Barnett’s debut book The Versions of Us was a huge hit.

June Green  Jane Green The Sunshine Sisters

It was never easy, being one of Ronni Sunshine’s daughters. Publicly, she is the glamorous, successful, dramatic Hollywood actress. Privately, she is self-absorbed, angry, and a disinterested, narcissistic mother. Now in her 70’s, Ronni has had strange symptoms for a while, but has refused to believe her diagnosis: she has ALS, a degenerative motor neuron disease. There is no cure. Ronni’s three adult daughters – Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy – are largely estranged, both from her, and from each other. All are going through crises of their own. But Ronni is adamant that they must come home, and help her take her own life.

June Roy  Arundhati Roy The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety- in search of meaning, and of love. Twenty years after her Booker-prize winning The God of Small Things, here is Arundhati Roy’s second novel.

June Raisin  Rebecca Raisin The Little Antique Shop under the Eiffel Tower

Anouk LaRue used to be a romantic, but since she had her heart well and truly broken her love life has dissolved into nothing more than daydreams of the perfect man. Retreating to her extraordinary Little Antique Shop has always been a way to escape, because who could feel alone in a shop bursting with memories and beautiful objects. Another visit to Paris from the author of The Little Bookshop on the Seine.

June Courcy  Anne De Courcy Husband Hunters

Towards the end of the 19th century and for the first few years of the 20th, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The incomers were a group of young women who, 50 years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world – the New World, to be precise. From 1874, the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known ‘Dollar Princess’, married Randolph Churchill, to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour and sophistication of the Gilded Age. Sparkling social history from the author of The Fishing Fleet.

June Gobi  Dion Leonard Finding Gobi

In 2016, Dion Leonard unexpectedly stumbled across a little stray dog while competing in a gruelling 150 mile race across the Gobi Desert. The loveable pup proved that what she lacked in size, she more than made up for in heart, managing to keep pace with him for over 100km. This was the start of a journey neither of them would ever forget that changed their lives forever.  A heart-warming tale that will have you reaching for the tissues!




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