Thursday, 28 July 2011

2011 Man Booker longlist announced

The 138 books under consideration for the 2011 Man Booker prize have now been whittled down to just 13 titles. They are:-

Julian Barnes The sense of an ending (Jonathan Cape - Random House)
Sebastian Barry On Canaan's side (Faber)
Carol Birch Jamrach's menagerie (Canongate Books)
Patrick deWitt The Sisters brothers (Granta)
Esi Edugyan Half blood blues (Serpent's Tail - Profile)
Yvvette Edwards A cupboard full of coats (Oneworld)
Alan Hollinghurst The stranger's child (Picador - Pan Macmillan)
Stephen Kelman Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)
Patrick McGuiness The last hundred days (Seren Books)
A. D. Miller Snowdrops (Atlantic)
Alison Pick Far to go (Headline Review)
Jane Rogers The testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press)
D. J. Taylor Derby Day (Chatto & Windus - Random House)

In September, the judges will announce a shortlist of six books from this selection, with a winner chosen in October. We'll keep you updated every step of the way, but if you'd like to find out more, take a look at the Man Booker website:

We have a number of previous winners and shortlisted titles available in Townhill Library. Find titles on the Man Booker website, or just come in and browse our English fiction section at shelf mark 823 on the ground floor. Don't forget, books borrowed over the summer won't be due back until the 6th October 2011.

Has anyone out there read any of the books on the longlist? Or have you got any favourites from previous years? I know Emma Donoghue's Room from last year's shortlist was very popular with library staff. Let us know what you think!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Horrid Henry

Have you come across Horrid Henry yet? He's the loveable scamp from Francesca Simon's popular series of children's books. Think Generation Y's answer to Just William or Dennis the Menace! Henry has been a fixture on the small screen for some time with a cartoon series on CITV, but he is now to make his live action, 3D debut on the big screen too. Horrid Henry: The Movie premiered in London on Sunday and will be released nationwide on Friday.

Henry, though, is ultimately a literary character. You can read all about his adventures with Perfect Peter and Moody Margaret in Francesca Simon's books, some of which are available in the Teaching Practice section of Townhill Library. We've even got some translations of Henry's stories, so you can brush up on your Welsh as you read about Henri Helynt!

If you just can't get enough of Horrid Henry, why not take a look at the official website? You can find out all about the books, get the latest news and read about Henry's friends and enemies. You can even find out your Horrid Henry name! ("Lippy Library", since you asked.) Hours of fun!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Cool library quote!

Whilst flicking through one of the latest library-type magazines that made its way to my desk, I came across the following quote:

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library," Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian short-story writer, poet and critic. You can find out more about Jorge Luis Borges from our Oxford Reference Online database, via the library web pages.

Do you have a favourite library-related quote you would like to share with us?

Monday, 18 July 2011

What we are reading

Submarine, by Joe Dunthorne

Submarine, set in our very own Swansea, is a coming of age novel infused with honesty and humour. It deals with some dark issues - depression, adultery, death, alcohol abuse - but manages to keep the laughs coming without dismissing those issues. Oliver, our unreliable narrator, emerges as a very likeable character, but depictions of the earthier aspects of teenage existence can be quite graphic, so approach with caution if you are easily offended! Critics' comparisons to Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) and Adrian Mole are fair, but Oliver and his experiences are firmly rooted in Swansea. Born and brought up here, Dunthorne's book is peppered with recognisable characters and locations which all add to the pleasure if you know the area.

I enjoyed this book enormously and would recommend it to anyone who is not of too sensitive a disposition. The insight it offers into the mind of a teenage boy is touching, amusing, and somewhat educational! The novel is available for loan from the Teaching Practice collection in Townhill Library.

Friday, 15 July 2011

A National Museum of Art for Wales

Wales now has its own National Museum of Art, housed in the existing National Museum, Cardiff!

It has been open for a week, and comprises a single series of integrated galleries containing a mixture of fine and applied art, both historical and contemporary. The opening display includes work by artists Josef Herman, David Hockney and Rachel Whiteread, amongst others.

For further information about the collection, or if you are thinking of taking a visit for an excellent day out, please see the National Museum's website

You can even vote online for your favourite work of art in the galleries!!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Happy Graduation!

Congratulations to all those SMU students who are graduating this week! Wishing you all a happy and prosperous future...

For those of you who will continue to live/work/study in Swansea or the locality and want to be able to borrow from our SMU Libraries as an 'external borrower', please come and speak to one of our librarians for more information.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Rekindle your love of reading - Part 2!

It's the return of our guest blogger, Nigel Morgan from Cardiff University library! After a few weeks of getting to know his new Kindle e-reader he's back to share his musings with us...

A great response to my blog entry on Amazon Kindle last month! So, I thought I'd let you know how the Kindle and I (great title for a musical!) have been getting along.

I've now read 4 complete books and it's been a generally positive experience. Once the eye gets accustomed to a smaller amount of text per page, it is easy to adapt. I can understand why Kindle is so popular with many of those who commented in the blog.

And what fun it is linking to the Kindle store for browsing and buying. I get tempted like a child in a sweet shop. The problem is, it's so easy to just click away and make multiple purchases, magically delivered to your device in an instant. I've gone a bit mad buying a series of CJ Sansom books which I really didn't need. I've also found that it's easy to accidentally purchase a book, though thankfully it's very easy to 'unpurchase'.

I'm disappointed that many of the titles I want to buy are unavailable in Kindle format. I was unable to buy one of my favourite classics Ulysses. Also, Paul Scott's popular Raj Quartet. I've also found that certain books don't fit well into Kindle format: I 'returned' a complete works of Shakespeare in which the alignment of the text was dreadful.

The disadvantages are obvious. I agree with Sue Owens that in dim lighting conditions a standard printed book is better. Though of course you can enlarge the text - I'm wondering whether to get one for my 83 year old mum who will only read large print these days.

Sadly, Kindle isn't great for displaying images. The maps in those Sansom books are illegible - as far as I can tell, You can't zoom into them. And everything is in monochrome. It's not difficult to see the areas in which Amazon will need to make improvements. Another disadvantage: I'm a nosey parker and love seeing what other people are reading on the train or station platform. Kindle doesn't facilitate this. Though, I guess if one is reading something really trashy it is a definite boon!

A welcome surprise is that you can actually 'lend' books to other Kindle owners. Ideal for book groups. And as with all ebooks, searchability is a key advantage. If like me you are a bit of a dope and need to recap on earlier passages, the ability to tap in a keyword and home in on relevant passages is brilliant. I guess this is useful if you are reading something racy and want to home in on the naughty bits!

Well, I certainly intend to carry on using my Kindle though I will not completely forsake printed books - I'm currently wading through a print copy of Name of the Rose, another popular title unavailable for Kindle.

I'll be back to give my final blog entry soon to share some thoughts about the wider implications of Kindle for reading and book production in the future. Happy reading!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Show you care - give your National Library a cwtch!

Your National Library needs you! On Friday 15th July the National Library of Wales is celebrating 100 years since the laying of its foundation stone by King George V. To mark this historic event they are calling upon their many visitors and supporters to form a human chain around the building in Aberystwyth. They have estimated that they will need approximately 450 people to encompass the entire building, so they will need all the help they can get! If you can spare the time and would like to show your support you will need to be there by 2.15pm and wear something red...the lovely people at NLW will reward you with drinks and cake afterwards!

Happy centenary from all your colleagues at Swansea Metropolitan University libraries!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

CIPD Case Studies Extra!

CIPD have released an expanded and updated version of the Case Studies Club - CIPD Case Studies Extra.

This is a more up-to-date interactive service which has information and resources tailored to CIPD qualifications. The resource is relevant for use as a part of the CIPD Level 3, 5 and 7 qualifications. It is primarily a teaching resource which will help you to access the best resources for your teaching and it still contains all the original case studies.

The new package includes:

- module specific and easy access, saving you time and effort when planning your lectures

- new video content featuring interviews with leading practitioners centred around real-life situations giving a range of perspectives from the real world

- clips from training DVDs presenting real-life situations encouraging discussion and promoting critical thinking

- practical, downloadable quizzes helping students to think about their subject in more detail

- regular updates and new case studies keeping things current, helping students stay engaged

- all areas of subjects covered including international HR

To access this resource go to the Library website and click on the Online Resources A-Z link, then Databases and select CIPD Case Studies Extra. From here you will see a link to the resource, and the username and password you will require for access.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Hot on the heels of Canada Day on Friday, today is American Independence Day. Fourth of July celebrations will be taking place today in the United States and all over the world. Once again you can get yourself in the mood for the festivities with the help of your SMU Library. We have an extensive collection of American literature in Townhill Library: Herman Melville, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sylvia Plath, Jack Kerouac, Alice Walker... We've got them all! Dynevor Library has a superb collection of DVDs, so you can enjoy Hollywood classics like 42nd Street or more modern thrillers such as The Bourne Identity. (Remember, during the summer vacation, even the two-day loans will be issued out to 6th October 2011!) As ever, Owen Library is the place to go for tourism resources, so head to Mount Pleasant for travel guides and information on the USA and its cities and states. Go on, tuck into some of mom's apple pie and immerse yourself in some American culture. (Please don't get any pie on our resources, though!)

Friday, 1 July 2011

O Canada

1st July is Canada Day. It's the day when the people of Canada rejoice in all things Canadian (and their independence from Great Britain), so why not celebrate by rocking out to Summer of 69 and then settling down to watch Back to the Future? (Bryan Adams and Michael J. Fox are both Canadian, you see. ) The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate and Wills, are joining in with events on the second day of their Canadian tour, but you can still mark the day if the furthest you're going is your SMU library. Introduce a Canadian theme to your borrowing - Townhill Library has a selection of books by Canadian author Margaret Atwood (I can heartedly recommend The Blind Assassin), find out more about the country with a travel guide from Owen Library at Mount Pleasant, or find out more about Canadian art and artists at Dynevor Library. Happy Canada Day everyone!