Wednesday, 2 March 2011

World Book Day 2011

Image: nuttakit /

Thursday March 3rd 2011 is World Book Day, intended to bring together publishers, booksellers, libraries and readers alike in a worldwide celebration of books and reading. To mark this occasion the SMU library staff thought they would share some of their current/favourite reads with you, our library users!

Alison (Assistant librarian) - I am currently reading Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkein - both for myself and for my LOR obsessed son! Having watched the films, we're now delving deeper into the history of Middle Earth and the story of the Ring of Power. Exciting chases, myth, lore, romance, great deeds, goodies, baddies, big battles, beasts and magic! I've also got to get together a hobbit outfit for my son to wear to school on World Book Day - now, the big question, do hobbits have pointy ears or not??!

Amanda (Library Assistant) - One of my favourite books is Bliss by Peter Carey. He is my favourite author and this is the first book of his that I read. I like it because it is funny and sweet and meticulously crafted. I have lovely memories of reading it in a harbour in Australia, when the themes were fresh and current...and I had dolphins swimming around my feet - so that helps too!

Alison (Deputy Head of Library & Learning Resources) - I'm currently half way through reading The Long Song by Andrea Levy. Shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, the narrator tells us her story of slavery in early nineteenth century Jamaica. I'm enjoying reading it as it's engaging, beautifully descriptive and transports me to a different time and place!

Caroline (Clerical Assistant) - I'm reading two books at the moment. The Rough Guide to California (researching my latest holiday!) and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson... a bit weird, not quite sure why I'm reading it, probably because it had Vegas in the title, but I've started so I'll finish!

Linda (Library Assistant) - One of my favourite books is Notes On a Scandal by Zoe Heller. A compelling read...don't watch the film, the book is far better.

Maggie (Library Assistant) - An all time favourite read of mine is Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach. An inspirational short story that leaves a lasting impression.

Natalie (Library Assistant) - I've just finished reading Think Dog by John Fisher. A friend lent me this after we had our puppy and I enjoyed reading it because it gives an insight into why dogs behave the way they do, with lots of advice on how to deal with common dog problems!

Philippa (Assistant Librarian) - My favourite book is The Princess Bride by William Goldman. What's not to like about this book? It's got action, adventure, true love, satire, pirates, a giant... to quote the tag line of the 1987 film (also a favourite of mine), it's "not just your basic, average, everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill, ho-hum fairytale" and I love it!

Sue (Library Assistant) - I am currently reading Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia by Chris Stewart. It has been described as "the best good life abroad book in years" by the Sunday Telegraph. It's a bit slow to start with but gets better as you read on.

Wendy (Library Assistant) - I'm reading Room by Emma Donoghue at the moment (shortlisted for the Man Booker prize 2010). Hard to put down - unlike any book I've read before. Makes you look at the world in a completely different way.

As for myself...I love reading biographies (because I'm nosey!) and I'm currently reading Always Looking Up by Michael J Fox. It's the follow-on from his first autobiography Lucky Man. Despite dealing with some difficult issues, namely his well publicised struggle with early-onset Parkinson's disease, both books are light hearted and very funny, choosing to highlight his personal triumph over adversity.

So there you have it, a pretty varied selection of reading material! Hopefully we've inspired you to try something new this World Book Day. Why not drop us a line and let us know what you're reading? Leave your comments below...we look forward to hearing from you!


  1. I'm a big fan of Michael J. Fox's autobiographies too. And of Michael J. Fox, actually! His attitude to life is really inspirational and he manages to give an insight into his struggles without ever becoming self-pitying.

  2. Favorite book is a tie between She's Come Undone and I know this much is true, both by my favorite author, Wally Lamb. Truly inspiring writing.

    Still one of my all-time faves is 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee. Studied it for my A-Levels, many years ago, but it made a huge impression. Really thought-provoking book, which I think, conjures up some incredible mental images. Actually, writing this has made me decide to go and read it again!
    I'm currently reading 'Wicked' - the prequel to 'The Wizard of Oz'. Kinda strange, but very addictive. Also a bit sad, because you already know what the outcome is. Initially started reading this with my son, who was about 7 at the time. I found myself having to 'edit' the text for his little ears, and eventually gave up, and confessed to him that it 'really isn't a book for little boys - maybe when you're older'!!!
    We moved on to the 'Chronicles of Narnia' instead - ended up reading the whole lot (all 7 books) - and they're brilliant!

  4. I love Caroline's book; Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas, stick with it- it'll get stranger still. When you've finished the library also has the Terry Gilliam film adaptation with Johnny Depp!

  5. For anyone inspired by Sioned's choices, To Kill a Mockingbird and the Narnia books are available to borrow from the Teaching Practice collection in Townhill Library. Lots of other good books there too!

  6. You can't be a bit of Terry Pratchett! I am currently reading (yet again) 'Night Watch'
    Vimes has fallen through the roof of the University whilst chasing a criminal. Lightening strikes as they fall and end up decades in the past, where life isn't so great in the city of Ankh Morpork.
    Also, back in present time, Vimes' wife Sybil is in labour with their first child! I wont say anymore, I don't want to spoil it but Pratchett is a definite must for any avid reader.

  7. We've got some Terry Pratchett books in Teaching Practice too!

  8. Where to start?? When I was 16, my new English teacher (who wore a yellow suede jacket - unheard of in Maesteg as a whole, let alone the School!) brought in a pile of books way off the curriculum. He gave me John Braine's 'Room at the Top'. And encouraged us to read aloud and act out the parts. Fantastic experience!
    Robert Pirsig's 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance' kept me going - I used to read snippets to my life drawing class- amazing how literary theory has so much in common with the visual arts. So Terry Eagleton's 'Introduction to Literary Theory' was absolutely the bible for ages. But the best? No contest. James Joyce's 'Ulysses'. He does everything that every other author has tried, but better, he exposes structures of plot, narrative, language itself becomes a playbox, and if you persevere, this one book can educate you in a million different ways.

  9. Mike Swanson: Computer Support Officer.
    Currently reading "and another thing" by Eoin COlfer, the 6th part of Douglas Adam's "Hitchiker" trilogy and also "Round the world in 80 days" by Jules Verne.
    I always have 2 or 3 books in hand and my favourites are "The Lord of the Rings": J.Tolkien (No, Hobbits don't have pointed ears), "Small Gods": T. Pratchett, "A short History of Nearly Everything": B. Bryson which is as academic as my reading choices ever get and Frank Herberts "DUNE". I can also recommend anything by Cory Doctorow, Peter Watts, Neal Asher (among others) if you like science fiction and Niel Gaiman or Allan Moore for the wierd and odd, Jasper Fforde or Malcolm Pryce for strange humour.

  10. Mike Swanosn: Addenda to previous.
    According to Wikkipedia Hobbits have "slightly" pointed ears, but as this is a quote from a letter and not in the books it isn't cannon and can't be relied upon. Geeky enough responce?

  11. Thanks Mike, for the clarification on the crucial pointy ear issue. However, in the end, and for the purposes of his outfit, the facts of the case didn't seem to matter too much - he WANTED pointy ears ... and so he had them!

  12. I agree with Mike...Bill Bryson is fab! I haven't read "A Short History of Nearly Everything" yet though, so I might give that a go (We have 2 copies in Townhill library!). My personal favourite is "Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe" it made me laugh out public! I love all travel writing and we have a great selection here in the Owen Library, including quite a few by Bryson.

  13. I had a Kindle for Christmas and although I was sceptical about reading on a little screen instead of a book, I was pleasantly surprised. It is actually like reading paper, it isn’t like a screen at all. And as I can’t actually see how much I have read, there are no page numbers, I seem to get lost in my books for much longer than I should! I have just read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, quite a compelling thriller collection. I did love the Michael J Fox auto-biographies too they are very amusing and truly inspiring, as were the Jane Tomlinson books. Jane was the lady who raised millions of pounds for cancer research by running, cycling and completing in triathlons all over the world, as she fought a brave battle against terminal cancer herself. I don’t think I could actually choose a favourite book though I love so many.

  14. Like Wendy, I have also just finished reading Emma Donoghue's book 'Room'. It's written from the first person as a 5 year old boy, and I agree it is quite unique. I had the pleasure to meet to author some years ago at a mutual friend's gathering, and have followed her work ever since, although this is quite a departure from her usual books. It's a harrowing read in some ways, but full of hope also.

  15. I re-read Jane Eyre recently and found it more compelling than ever. It is so beautifully crafted, although in this age of text and mail, the language can seem a little dense. If you are tempted to pay Bronte another call, may I suggest you consider the role of opposites in this novel (especially the symbolism of 'red' and 'white'). Once you start to look, a whole layer of meaning is revealed!