Edinburgh Napier University

Author: mayagreen

Charles Dickens’ Birthday

Charles Dickens’ Birthday

Happy birthday, Charles John Huffam Dickens – born this day 211 years ago and still going strong!

Not many authors get their names turned into adjectives, but our Charles did. If I were to describe circumstances as “Dickensian”, you’d know exactly what I mean. It’s thanks to this forensic analysis of the seedier aspects of London life that he’s generally considered to be the greatest Victorian novelist.

Childhood

He didn’t have the best start in life, young Charles. His father had a decent job but was so financially reckless that he ended up in debtors’ prison, and his 12-year-old son was withdrawn from school and sent to work in a factory. It was all grist to the mill, though, for Dickens. This harsh start provided a rich source of material for him to draw on when he wrote his sprawling, serialized novels and created his many memorable characters – so much larger than life that they live on in our cultural imaginations more than two centuries on.

Characters

Who has not known an Ebenezer Scrooge? (I’ve known a few). How many of us have skelped an artful dodger around the lugs? (I’m not admitting to that one.) Who has not cheered on Philip (Pip) Pirrip as he rises up to become a gentleman and then remonstrated with him when he treats brother-in-law Joe so abominably? Who has not cried with Bob Cratchit as he strives to keep his young son alive?

You’ll have your favourite characters. Some are sweet and innocent, some are cruel and heartless; still, others are preposterous buffoons. My favourite is Betsey Trotwood, David Copperfield’s eccentric aunt. She’s stern and stubborn, to begin with but comes good in the end. If you’re looking for character transformation, look no further than BT.

Charles Dickens on LibrarySearch

We’ve got all Dickens’ books. If you haven’t read any, why not start today.  Log into the library catalogue LibrarySearch to see which are available:

In order of publication:

Pickwick Papers (1836-37)

A Christmas Carol (1843)

Oliver Twist (1837-9)

Nicholas Nickelby (1838-9)

The Old Curiosity Shop (1940-1)

Barnaby Rudge (1841)

Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4)

Dombey and Son (1846-8)

David Copperfield (1849-50)

Bleak House (1852-3)

Hard Times (1854)

Little Dorritt (1855-7)

A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Great Expectations (1860-1)

Our Mutual Friend (1864-5)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood (incomplete when Dickens died in 1870)

By Lesley McRobb

Read more on another Literary Master, Jane Austin in our post on her here.

Sources

photo by Taha (Unsplash)

LGBTQ+ History Month

LGBTQ+ History Month

Today is the 1st of February and the 1st of February is the start of the celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK. Throughout the month, events are held nationwide to raise awareness and celebrate achievement and diversity while combating prejudice.

Events and celebrations are organised by the LGBTQ+  History Month organisation which was founded in 2004. The first LGBTQ+ History month was in February 2005 by was run by Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick. The organisation has three taglines ‘claiming our past, celebrating our present, creating our future’. The main aims are ‘increasing visibility, raising awareness and advancing education’. Whilst ‘working towards creating safe spaces and promoting welfare’. You can find all events that are taking place this month on the LGBTQ+ Plus History Month website here

Behind the Lens

The organisation runs a theme each year in order to raise more visibility of lived experiences. This year is ‘Behind the Lens’, celebrating LGBTQ+ peoples’ contributions to cinema and film. Looking at directors to animators, from special effects to lighting directors and beyond. As ‘at, a time when LGBTQ+ lives are in the media we also encourage you to look ‘Behind the Lens’ and listen to LGBT+ peoples’ lived experiences.’ Check out the LGBTQ+ History web pages here.

Here at The Library

Each campus library will have a display with information and books to celebrate the theme ‘Behind the Lens’, please feel free to have a look and you can borrow any book that takes your interest. Follow our social media for upcoming posts celebrating and happy LGBTQ+ History Month. You can also check out our LGBT+ bookshelves on the blog.

We have many, many more books and articles for you to read here at the Library so why not check out what’s available in our library catalogue: Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk

Sources: LGBTQ+ History web pages

Read more on this on the blog: Check out last year’s post LGBTQ+ History Month 2022

Australia Day

Australia Day takes place on 26th January and is the country’s national day which celebrates national unity and acknowledges its citizens and their contribution to the country. It marks the date in 1788 of the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove. Around 750 mostly petty criminals were transported from the UK along with around 300 medical and military personnel to establish a colony which has since become a desirable place to live and a vibrant tourist destination.  Between 1945 and the early 1980s many UK nationals emigrated to Australia through the £10 ticket programme which sought to bring in migrants to fill labour shortages. The programme saw more than a million UK nationals leave for Down Under. Nowadays it’s one of the world’s top destinations for backpackers hoping to experience some of the enviable Australian lifestyle.

Australia

Australia has come a long way since 1788 when that first penal colony was established. There are iconic and innovative buildings and architecture such as Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Australia now celebrates its indigenous heritage in the form of Aboriginal art and culture. There are also stunning natural wonders: vast outback, Uluru, Great Barrier Reef (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the vast outback and spectacular coastlines. The Australian wildlife is pretty unique, there are those cute koalas and bouncing kangaroos. Sydney also hosts the Mardi Gras one of the world’s largest Pride festivals. Australia boasts top-flight cricket and rugby teams, tennis players and let’s not forget surfing which must be the country’s national sport. Then there’s the barbecue-the country’s best-known foodie export. Simple cooking on coals outdoors works well in Australia; perhaps we should have left it to them. We’ve all been to a barbecue in this country where the sausages have been burnt or which has been cut short because of the weather.

Long before remote teaching was introduced for students during the covid pandemic, Australia had been remotely educating students living far from the nearest school in the outback. School of the Air launched in 1951 using radio to deliver classes to these children. Now wireless technology is used enabling better communication and faster marking!

Neighbours

We couldn’t think about Australia without giving a mention to what must be Australia’s most famous export – the soap opera Neighbours. Launched in 1985 it quickly became a daytime tv favourite of students. Set in the fictional Ramsay Street in the suburb of Erinsborough, Melbourne it’s the show that launched a thousand pop careers (Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and  Stefan Dennis to name a few). With far-fetched storylines, impossibly good-looking residents and seemingly endless sunshine it’s no wonder that for 30 minutes each day from Monday to Friday we were quite happy to be whisked away to the other side of the world. In 2022 it was announced that Neighbours would end, and the final episode aired on terrestrial tv on 28th July 2022. Only a few months later Amazon Freevee announced the return of Neighbours on their platform in 2023 so loyal fans will still be able to follow their favourite soap once again.

Finally, Happy Australia Day to all our Australian staff and students!

You can use Library Search to find books and articles on Australia, soap operas, and Australian tourism.

Image source by Joeyy Lee

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 

22nd January 2023, Year of the Rabbit

Happy New Year, 新年快乐, xīn nián kuài lè

January 22nd marks Chinese New Year, a holiday that is celebrated by 20% of the global population. Also known as the Spring Festival, it marks the end of the cooler months, taking place between 21st January and 20th February, lasting for 16 days.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year involves a lot of traditions involving decorations, food, and customs which symbolise blessings and good fortunes. Traditionally, it is a time spent with family (usually visiting elders of the husband’s side first), and large feasts are prepared particularly on New Year’s Eve which is considered a time for family reunion. Feasts are seen as offering to the gods and blessings for the New Year where ingredients’ names and appearances can symbolise good fortune.

Fireworks are set off at night and in the morning. According to the myth, night fireworks scare off monsters and bad luck, particularly the monster Nian (年) who was a monster that lived at the bottom of the sea. Once a year, he would scare people into mountains out of fear of eating them and their livestock. However, people soon realised that loud noises and the colour red scared off the monster and so began to fill their homes with red decorations and set off fireworks. And speaking of red, elders will give children red envelopes that contain money. It can be given to friends as well and now digitally. It is known as New Year money, carrying the hope of good fortune.

Year of the Rabbit

2023 marks the year of the Rabbit and unfortunately, if this is your zodiac, it means a year of bad luck. Rabbits are seen to have pure characteristics and are extremely kind. They are the fourth animal out of the zodiac. The legend is that Jade Emperor told the animals that the order of the zodiacs will be determined by which of the animals would arrive at his party. The Rabbit was confident of his speed so he decided to have a nap. By the time he woke up and went to the party, three other animals had already arrived before him. For any Rabbits out there, there is more information on how your 2023 will be at ChineseNewYear.net 

 

Read more about New Year traditions in our post on Scottish New Year traditions

Find more resources at Library Search 

Image source by Jason Leung 

January and Wellbeing

January and Wellbeing

It’s that time of year when the festive celebrations are over, and the promise of spring still seems quite far away. January is often the time when many of us start to feel the winter blues which is why it is increasingly important to be kind to yourself and look after your mental health. 

While the short winter days and cold weather can sometimes make it less appealing to adventure outdoors, there are benefits to wrapping up warm and heading outdoors to experience the smells and sounds of the winter. Small things such as the feeling of crunch of snow underfoot, spotting a robin on a tree branch, or stopping to admire beautiful patterns created by frost can all bring a little joy and help to boost spirits.

Self-care

Thriving with Nature – a guide for everyone was published by the Mental Health Foundation to help readers find ways of connecting with nature throughout the year. The guide contains creative and straightforward suggestions for activities to help engage with nature and encourage you to get outdoors regardless of whether you live in the centre of a city or out in the countryside.

The Library has several books on nature and the benefits it can have on our health within the Shelf Help collection:

Braving the wilderness: the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brené Brown.

The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell

Into the forest: how trees can help you find health and happiness by Qing Li

Don’t forget, ENGAGE Fitness at Edinburgh Napier University provides a performance gym, fitness suite and sports hall at the Sighthill campus for those days when you don’t want to exercise outdoors.  A student trimester pass is available for only £55!

Search the Library more nature or fitness-related printed or online resources on LibrarySearch.

Read more on wellbeing in our section Wellness Collection, full of useful and interesting books or take some time out in our Online Relaxation Zone

© 2023 The Library Blog

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: