Don’t Just Relax With a Book – Relax ON a Book!

photo (23)The National Literacy Trust have just begun a leisure reading scheme that gives the expression ‘settling down with a good book’ a whole new meaning, as they have installed a range of benches across London designed after popular literary classics such as Peter Pan, Bridget Jones and James Bond.

In association with Wild at Art the Trust’s Books About Town scheme features a trail of benches shaped as open books, decorated by professional illustrators and local artists, allowing visitors an opportunity to explore and celebrate the capital’s literary connections and the whole idea of reading for pleasure, whilst enjoying the artwork of some of the country’s top artists – in a very novel way!

We do our bit to promote leisure reading here at the Library too, though our furniture is a little more ordinary, alas! We have a wide (and ever expanding!) range of popular fiction, autobiographies and graphic novels upstairs on Level 4 (pictured above is only a small sample of our collection!). So if you’re stuck for something to read over the long, drowsy summer days (and nights), why not pop upstairs and have a browse?

Visit Inner Worlds at the Loughborough Town Hall…

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Art lovers and fans of the science fiction dystopias of writers J.G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick are in for a treat at a new exhibition that has just opened at the Sock Gallery in Loughborough Town Hall.

For Inner Worlds: Tech Noir and The Gothic Leicester-based artist and photographer Wayne Mitchelson transforms the gallery into a strange and interesting world inspired by the novels of Philip K. Dick, J.G. Ballard and Edgar Allen Poe using digital photographic prints and hand drawn murals. Wayne will be drawing between the spaces of some of his photographs to create his own visual story and you the viewer are invited to watch him at work, as each photograph connects and the “Inner Worlds” emerge.

The exhibition runs for a month from today until 3rd August. For further details visit the Loughborough Town Hall site here.

Enduring War at the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoA new exhibition has just opened at the British Library as part of their contribution to the First World War Centenary. Enduring War examines how people coped with life during the war: from moments of patriotic fervour to periods of anxious inactivity, shock and despair. 

Through posters, poetry, books and pamphlets from the period, the exhibition considers attempts to boost morale at home and in the field, as well as presenting individual responses to the conflict, such as letters from Indian soldiers on the Western Front, schoolboys’ descriptions of Zeppelin raids over London and examples of the black humour expressed in trench journals.

The exhibition also showcases the Library’s work for Europeana 1914-1918, a major pan-European project to digitise more than 400,000 items from World War One through an audiovisual art installation, as well as a new World War One website, in which the user can explore over 500 newly-digitised historical sources from across Europe, with new insights by experts.

Enduring War is now open until October in the Library’s Folio Gallery and is free to visit. For further details visit the British Library website here.

Face to Little Face with Club 790

littlefacereallybig_indexClub 790, our own student book club, meets up for the last time time this academic year next Wednesday (11th June) in the Library at 5.30pm, when the book under discussion will be Sophie Hannah’s unsettling crime thriller, Little Face.

Club 790 meets up every six weeks during term time in the Library. It costs nothing to join and all books will be provided free-of-charge (although we do ask that you return the books to us after the meeting). All you have to do is read the book and turn up!

For more information email Sharon Reid: S.D.Reid@lboro.ac.uk, or why not join our Facebook page?

Maya Angelou 1928-2014

maya angelou by york collegeAmerican author, poet and civil rights beacon Maya Angelou died today aged 86.

Best known for her best-selling autobiographical account of her childhood and early youth in 1930′s America, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, first published in 1969, Maya Angelou became a role model for the burgeoning Civil Rights movement in the US, in a career that also spanned writing, acting and music. She was a friend of both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and later wrote poetry for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration and in commemoration of the death of Nelson Mandela last year.

We have a variety of Maya Angelou’s works in our literature collection on Level 2, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and you can found out more about her extraordinary life and works by browsing our extensive collection of newspaper archives available on Library Catalogue Plus.

Maya Angelou portrait by York College, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.

Discovering Literature with the British Library

British_20Library_20LogoThe British Library has this week posted over 1000 of its greatest literary treasures online in a new website, Discovering Literature, including the manuscripts of Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Austen, Dickens and Wilde, and other unique artefacts which shed new light on the life and works of these and many other legendary authors.

Discovering Literature features over 8000 pages of collection items and explores more than 20 authors through 165 newly-commissioned articles, 25 short documentary films, and 30 lesson plans, including William Blake’s notebook, childhood writings of the Brontë sisters, the manuscript of the Preface to Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, and an early draft of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. More than 60 experts have contributed interpretation, enriching the website with contemporary research. Designed to enhance the study and enjoyment of English literature, it should prove both an invaluable resource to students and a treasure trove to those interested in this classic period of English literature.

These works from the Romantic and Victorian periods form the first phase of a wider project to digitise other literary eras, including the 20th century.

Loughborough Literary Salon – Writing for Young Adults

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Loughborough University’s Department of English and Drama are delighted to announce that their next Literary Salon will be held on Tuesday, 13th May 2014.

The Literary Salons offer literary conversation, debate, and performance, and the focus of discussion for this particular evening will be Writing for Young Adults in the 21st Century. Aimed at writers, authors, publishers, creative industry professionals, university staff and students, and literary enthusiasts in general, the idea of the Salon is for everyone to network, share, and learn in an informal atmosphere.

Guest participants will include authors of fiction for young adults, Savita Kalhan and Maxine Linnell, literary agents Diamond Khan and Woods, and independent publisher Walker Books. There will also be an opportunity to buy their books.

The Literary Salon will be held in the Leonard Dixon Studio and courtyard of the English and Drama Department (Martin Hall) and will start at 7.00 pm until 9.00 pm. Tickets cost £10 or £5 for concessions and refreshments will be provided.

Tickets must be booked in advance and are available through Helen Relf (h.l.relf@lboro.ac.uk). You can also follow the Loughborough Literary Salon on Twitter for updates: www.twitter.com/LboroSalon2014

Adam Matthew Databases on Trial this May

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We have a variety of Adam Matthew archive databases on trial throughout May that may be of great interest to social scientists, geographers, historians and English literature students.

Mass Observation Online (www.massobservation.amdigital.co.uk)

Mass Observation Online provides integrated access to almost 400,000 digital images of material from the Mass Observation Archive (MOA). In addition, it functions as a finding aid for all material held on Adam Matthew Publications microfilm, and in the Mass Observation Archive. The Archive holds all the material generated by Mass Observation (MO) between 1937 and 1949, with a few later additions from the 1950s and 1960s.

Archives Direct (www.archivesdirect.amdigital.co.uk)

Archives Direct is a suite of collections sourced from The National Archives, Kew – the UK government’s official archive. With our new digital facility based at Kew, Adam Matthew Digital will be releasing major new content from this world famous archive of information over the coming years.

Archives Direct titles are self-contained collections, clustered in a portal for ease of cross-searching and browsing. Your search results will include both documents your institution has purchased, and documents available elsewhere within the Archives Direct portal, giving you access to a huge range of documents from the UK government’s archives.

Perdita Manuscripts (www.perditamanuscripts.amdigital.co.uk)

This resource is produced in association with the Perdita Project based at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University. “Perdita” means “lost woman” and the quest of the Perdita Project has been to find early modern women authors who were “lost” because their writing exists only in manuscript form. Thanks to the endeavours of the Perdita Project the valuable work of these “lost” women is being rediscovered

Travel Writing, Spectacle and World History (www.travelwriting.amdigital.co.uk)

This resource brings together hundreds of accounts by women of their travels across the globe from the early 19th century to the late 20th century. Students and researchers will find sources covering a variety of topics including; architecture; art; the British Empire; climate; customs; exploration; family life; housing; industry; language; monuments; mountains; natural history; politics and diplomacy; race; religion; science; shopping; war.  A wide variety of forms of travel writing are included, ranging from unique manuscripts, diaries and correspondence to drawings, guidebooks and photographs. The resource includes a slideshow with hundreds of items of visual material, including postcards, sketches and photographs

London Low Life (www.londonlowlife.amdigital.co.uk)

London Low Life is a full-text searchable resource, containing colour digital images of rare books, ephemera, maps and other materials relating to 18th, 19th and early 20th century London. It is designed for both teaching and study, from undergraduate to research students and beyond.

In addition to the digital documents, London Low Life contains a wealth of secondary resources, including a chronology, interactive maps, essays, online galleries and links to other useful websites.

All these databases are available until 27th May, accessible via the following username & password:

Username: Lu228yt

Password: SC929aMP

Please note that download options are not available during trials.

We welcome feedback – good or bad – on these trials. Please contact Steve Corn s.c.corn@lboro.ac.uk with your comments.

Join Us for a World Book Night Celebration on Thursday

world book nightTo mark the start of term we’re celebrating World Book Night (a little later than advertised, granted!) with a FREE book (and cake!) giveaway in the Library foyer this Thursday lunchtime between 12.30 – 2.30pm (or whenever we run out of books and cake!)

We’ll be giving away copies of five books & novels (we’ll leave their identities as a surprise until the day!) along with a selection of home-made cakes and snacks. Judging from the popularity of the displays we’ve run previously the books and cakes may go like… well, hot cakes (!), so you may want to pop along early to avoid missing out on a real treat. See you there!

Where There’s A Will…

shakespeare by tonynetoneFittingly for World Book Night, today marks the 450th birthday of the world’s most famous writer, William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

His work, which includes 38 plays and 154 sonnets, has been translated into virtually every conceivable language, is studied comprehensively in schools, colleges and universities and is performed daily in theatres around the globe. He’s often considered to be Britain’s greatest cultural export, and his influence on modern drama and literature is beyond description – so I won’t attempt it!

Within our own “quick forge and working-house of thought” we have a wealth of Shakespeare related books and resources, including copies of all his works, along with famous adaptations of work on DVD. We also have access to the British Universities Film & Video Council‘s exemplary online Shakespeare resource, an authoritative  database of Shakespeare-related content in film, television, radio and video recordings which currently holds nearly 8,000 records dating from the 1890s to the present day. To read or to view, that is the question…!

Shakespeare portrait by tonynetone, reproduced under CC License from Flickr.