Thursday, 27 February 2014

Saint David's Day

St David's Day display at SBS Library
Yes it’s our patron saint’s day on Saturday, so let’s eat Welsh cakes, sing the national anthem and wear our leeks and daffodils with pride! As you’d imagine, there are celebratory events going on all over Wales (The Telegraph has a helpful list of some of the main ones), though Bala seems to be the best place to go as cooks there are attempting to make the biggest Welsh cake in the world! There’s plenty going on round Swansea too, though no world record attempts, as far as we know!

Your UWTSD libraries are getting into the spirit of things too, with Welsh-themed displays at Swansea Business School and Townhill Libraries. You’ll find Welsh travel guides and books about our country’s history at SBS and folk tales and fiction at Townhill Library. You’ll also find a selection of the Library of Wales series on the shelves at Townhill, so have a look for those if you fancy some fiction set in Wales. We have language resources at both SBS and Townhill Libraries, so if you’ve ever fancied learning Welsh, why not pick up some books and CDs to help?

Whatever you decide to do on St David’s Day, we hope you have a lovely weekend!

The display at Townhill Library

Monday, 24 February 2014

Desert Island Books

Image courtesy of: Exsodus / Free Digital Photos

Our 'Desert Island Books' series continues this week with contributions from Assistant Librarian Philippa Price who is based at our Townhill Library and looks after the information needs of students and staff within the Education department. If you'd like to contribute your desert island favourites it's not too late - email them to me

If you were stranded on a desert island which 4 books would you like to have with you and why?

The Princess Bride – An easy choice! I always find it difficult to name one favourite book, but if I had to, it would be this one! I could never get bored of reading this book, so it would be a good one to bring along.

Complete Works of Jane Austen – Ok, so this is a bit of a cheat, but if I’m going to be stuck on this desert island for a while I’m going to need more than four books! And Austen’s novels are available in one volume, so there! This choice probably speaks for itself – witty, timeless classics with charming heroines and some rather lovely heroes, as well as a few bounders to liven things up!  

Lord of the Rings – Another tactical choice here, as this is actually three books in one, though more commonly available in one volume these days. This will be the perfect complement to all that Jane Austen – once I’ve had my fill of turns around the drawing room and all those dances, I can turn to Tolkien for some adventure and strife!

Emotionally Weird – I love all of Kate Atkinson’s books, but this is probably my favourite. Definitely one to read again and again!

If you could bring one of the characters to life, for company, who would you choose and why?

Hmmm, a tricky one this. Not sure any of the Austen lot would cope in the wild, so I’ll discount them. Nora or Effie from Emotionally Weird might be good for some stories, but maybe not for too long! I’m tempted by the wonderful Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride – brave, loyal and true – but I fear he’d be a little intense for a desert island. I think I’ll go with Aragorn (especially if he looks like Viggo Mortensen in the films!), who would be more than capable of sorting out a fire, shelter and food, but is a little more taciturn than Inigo and probably easier company in a confined space!

You can have one luxury item on the island with you…what would it be?

One of those blankets with sleeves to keep me warm at night. Since it’s a luxury item, I’d have to make sure to bring one with a foot pocket for extra toastiness!

You are rescued and can only take one book back with you…which one would you pick?

The Princess Bride – I could never leave that book behind!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Dylan Thomas and his ugly, lovely town

With the centenary of his birth this year, Elijah Wood on location in the city filming Set Fire to the Stars - the latest movie to centre on the life of Dylan Thomas – and the replica shed heading out on tour, what better time to rediscover the life and work of Swansea’s famous son? As you’d expect, we have a good selection of books written by and about Dylan Thomas in our collection!

He’s best known as a poet (if we ignore his fame as a drinker!), so there’s a lot to choose from if you’re looking for a collection of poetry to dip into. You’ll find a good selection of short stories too, if that’s more your thing, as well as his classic A child’s Christmas in Wales, though you may want to hang on a few months before dipping into that one! If you’re more interested in the man than his work, or want to find out more about one to better appreciate the other, give one of the many biographies a try. Finally, if you’d like to take a leaf out of Elijah’s book and follow in Dylan’s footsteps round South West Wales, you’ll want to take a look at Dylan Thomas’s Swansea, Gower and Laugharne, which offers an excellent introduction to Dylan’s life and background in relation to the areas he loved and the writing they inspired. And we live in a beautiful part of the world, so frankly, these places are worth a visit whether or not you have an interest in Dylan Thomas!

Worm's Head, as seen from the beach at Rhossili. Dylan Thomas was once stranded on the headland, cut off by the tide!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Desert Island Books!

                                          Image Courtesy of Simon Howden/ Free Digital Photos

You've heard of the popular radio show 'Desert Island Discs'...well, we thought it would be fun to find out what BOOKS we would choose to be stranded with! So, we'll be running a brand new series of blogs over the coming weeks and months inviting staff, students and other blog followers to answer 4 simple questions on this very topic. It'll be an interesting opportunity to share our literary favourites and to find out more about each other! If you'd like to contribute - send your answers to the 4 questions below to me and we'll post them over the coming keep visiting the blog to see if yours is here!
I'm going to get the ball rolling by sharing my desert island reads with you...please don't judge me too harshly!! :-)
If you were stranded on a desert island which 4 books would you like to have with you and why?

Frankenstein – My favourite book of all time, so I’ll never get tired of reading it.
Robinson Crusoe – I might pick up some valuable survival tips!

Twilight – I love Stephanie Meyer’s series of vampire books and the first is the best.

Wild Food – A cook book by bush craft expert Ray Mears…I could be stuck on this island for a long time - it’s a no brainer!

If you could bring one of the characters to life, for company, who would you choose and why?

Edward Cullen from Twilight. Let’s face it, he’s easy on the eye (!), he’s also very intelligent so would make great conversation…and he has vampire super powers which could help me escape the island! Although with him for company I’m not sure I’d want to…!

You can have one luxury item on the island with you…what would it be?

My iPhone, I can’t leave home without it!! Then I could call for help…assuming I could get a signal?!!

You are rescued and can only take one book back with you…which one would you pick?

Twilight – what can I say, I’m obsessed with all things vampire!