Edinburgh Napier University

Category: Books

Book Week Scotland 2023

Book Week Scotland 2023

Book Week Scotland

Book Week Scotland 2023 is here.

An annual celebration of books and reading, organised by the Scottish Book Trust to promote the joy of reading throughout Scotland. Between 13-19 November, a packed programme of in-person and online events and activities will take place in venues across the country. See the Scottish Book Trust website for more information about events taking place near you.

Every year, the Scottish Book Trust invite people from all over Scotland to write about their experiences and share their true stories as part of the Scotland’s Stories project. The theme for 2023 was Adventure. As part of Book Week Scotland, a collection of these stories has been published in a book which will be freely distributed in venues throughout Scotland. You can also read all the stories submitted on the Scottish Book Trust website.

Book Week Scotland at Edinburgh Napier

Edinburgh Napier University are pleased to be able to offer copies of Scotland’s Stories to students and staff. Pick up your copy in one of the campus libraries or student residences between 13-19 November before they’re all gone!

You can follow Book Week Scotland using all these social media platforms:

Facebook: facebook.com/BookWeekScotland

X

Instagram

Don’t forget, you can browse the thousands of books and journal articles. All available to students and staff at Edinburgh Napier University by using LibrarySearch

Or you can read about their past themes on our blog 

National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day 5th October 2023

Today is National Poetry Day, a celebration that has been marked on the first Thursday of October since its inception in 1994. William Sieghart is a publisher whose stated aim is to help people “drop their fear of the p-word” . To that end, Sieghart founded this celebration of excellence in poetry, and since that first day,  NPD has reached an audience of more than 500 million people.

The celebration is not yet 30 years old, but poetry itself is as old as humanity. It may, in fact, be our oldest form of artistic expression; it certainly predates literacy. The word poetry comes from the ancient Greek poieo meaning “I create”, and humans have been creating down the centuries, using poetry to articulate every emotion as well as to record oral histories, and important events, to entertain and to offer prayer.

There are dozens of different types of poetry, from haiku to limerick, ode to epic.  But maybe you prefer one of the more modern free-verse forms. Maybe you’ve even had a go a writing a few of them yourself.  If you’d like to test your poetry skills on a wider audience, why not check out the various competitions currently open for submission. Find out more here:

National Poetry Library Competitions

The theme of this year’s National Poetry Day is Refuge.  Read more about the theme here:

About National Poetry Day – National Poetry Day

Library Resources for National Poetry Day

Of course, we have a huge range of poetry resources that you can access via LibrarySearch.

LibrarySearch Library Catalogue 

We have books on how to read it, how to write it, how the greats do it, and why it matters. We also have access to the Poetry Archive which houses recordings of poets reading their own work out loud. It features the works of contemporary poets alongside historic records of Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot and many others.  Of course, we may be biased, but we believe that one of the best poems within the archive, is Library Ology, written and presented by Benjamin Zephaniah. You can listen to it here:

Library Ology – Poetry Archive

Or how about checking out Poets on Screen, a library of 879 video clips of poets reading their own and other poets’ work. We may be biased, but we love this tender and moving poem – The Keepsake – written and read here by Fleur Adcock (spoiler alert – it features witty librarian jargon).

The Keepsake Read by Fleur Adcock – Literature Online – ProQuest

Learn more about the power of reading in our post on International Literacy Day.

By Lesley McRobb

 

Image source: Unsplash Álvaro Serrano

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

All the clues are there in the first few pages: the narcotics, the torpor, the scratching on the violin, the trusty but plodding assistant. It’s not long before we’re given a treatise on “the science of deduction and analysis” and the use of the word “elementary”. This is our first introduction to the world’s most famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, who made his debut in the long story, A Study in Scarlet, published in 1887.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes caught the reading public’s attention with his cold, calculating logic, and he went on to solve many seemingly insoluble cases, always accompanied by his loyal companion, Dr Watson.

So popular is Sherlock Holmes that he has been reincarnated in film many times over, most notably by Basil Rathbone, and more recently by Robert Downey Jnr, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Doyle’s Life

But he is, of course, a fictional creation, spun from the imagination of Edinburgh doctor, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. After graduating from Edinburgh university and studying in Vienna, Conan Doyle set up his own medical practice in the south of England. It didn’t do well, and to supplement his income he turned his hand to creative writing. His Holmes adventure stories were immediately successful and ensured that Conan Doyle kept writing them until they ran into several volumes.

To Conan Doyle’s lifelong chagrin, the success of the Sherlock Holmes stories overshadowed his other literary work. Who has heard of his 14th century knight, Sir Nigel, or his Napoleonic war hero, Brigadier Gerard? History was Conan Doyle’s great passion, and he wrote many fictional and non-fiction accounts of great historical events, and published his own psychic research into spiritualism.

It’s Conan Doyle’s birthday today. A pub named after him still stands on the corner of Picardy Place, the street in which he was born. Why not pop in and raise a toast? Better still, log into LibrarySearch and discover his many stories, and the films, for yourself:

https://napier.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/discovery/search?vid=44NAP_INST:44NAP_ALMA_VU1

Photo source Sandip Roy

 

By Lesley McRobb

Have a love for reading about authors, you can read about Charles Dickens 

 

Aye Write

Aye Write!

It’s not often we give a shout-out to our west coast cousins, but this month we want to sing Glasgow’s praises high. Congratulations to the 2023 Aye Write festival for arranging a cracking programme of events.

https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/arts-music-and-cultural-venues/aye-write-glasgows-book-festival

What is Aye Write!

Founded in 2005, this literary festival has gone from strength to strength, and this year 175 international authors are participating in more than 120 events between 19th and 27th May, with a spinoff Wee Write festival on 3rd June for the little ones in our lives.

They’ll be speaking on topics as diverse as fiction, climate and the environment, music, politics, health issues, social activism and my own personal favourite subject – food.

There are also creative writing classes available if you fancy yourself as a budding novelist or poet. And there will be musical entertainment too, as well as an open mic poetry session.  With so many different events, there is bound to be something to appeal to anyone interested in reading, writing, and engaging with the cultural and social worlds around them.

Aye Write Festival

The festival has always been housed in the impressive Mitchell Library – a good enough reason in itself to visit Glasgow.  And this year the festival organisers have added the Royal Concert Hall as a bonus venue.

https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries/venues/the-mitchell-library

https://www.glasgowconcerthalls.com/glasgow-royal-concert-hall/Pages/default.aspx

 

We, of course, are unbiased in our support of the festival, so we don’t want to pick out particular events or authors. Oh, all right. We can’t resist highlighting one event from the Wee Write festival. It’s never too early to get wee ones into reading and books. Indiana Bones is a magical talking dog! He’s on a perilous adventure and sounds like a very clever boy.

https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/event/1/harry-heape-indiana-bones-and-the-invisible-city

By Lesley McRobb

You can read more about writing posts 

Photo source Aaron Burden

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)

Winter and Christmas in Edinburgh

Glossary: 

Dreich – tedious; damp and wet (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-50476008) 

Hogmanay – New Year’s Eve (in Scotland) 

 

If it’s your first Winter in Edinburgh: you’re in for a treat! Edinburgh tends to get crisp and cold between December and February (ok, sometimes wet, and dreich too…) but there’s plenty going on and our city is buzzing over Christmas and the New Year. 

Winter Walks 

If you’re willing to wrap up warm, why not take a walk around Arthur’s seat? Arthur’s seat is an extinct volcano in the centre of Edinburgh, near to coffee shops on the Royal Mile if you need a gingerbread latte to warm up afterwards. 

Another lovely place to go in the frost or snow is Dalkeith country park – there are festive events on too! There are many trails to walk in this beautiful park, set over 1,000 acres. The park has a rich history, having been in the Buccleuch family for over 300 years. The site dates back to the Roman times. 

Another option is to head up Calton hill for a panoramic view of the city lit up in full Christmas mode – it’s not a difficult walk up the steps. You can also see the National Monument and Nelson monument. This is a popular spot on Hogmanay to take in the fireworks too. 

 

Calton Hill in the snow

Calton Hill in the snow

Picture Credit: Pixabay 

 

 

 

A little further afield but worth a trip is the lovely Roslin Glen. You can see the ruin of what was once Scotland’s largest gunpowder mill. You can also see the impressive and partly ruined Roslin Castle. A short walk through the glen takes you to the famous Rosslyn Chapel, founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair. In the New Year, you might see the snowdrops starting to come out in the Glen. 

Finally, another bracing walk in the wintertime is a walk along the promenade at Cramond. If you so desire, you can walk from Silverknowes along to Cramond and if you’re feeling adventurous and have checked the tide times , you can walk over to Cramond island. According to the Cramond Association, Cramond is the oldest known site of human habitation in Scotland. 

Christmas Lights 

If you’re looking to soak up some festive illuminations, there are a number of options in Edinburgh! 

In the city centre, the Christmas Market lights up Princes Street Gardens with an Ice rink, big wheel and Christmas tree maze – https://showcatcher.com/edwinterfest/christmas 

At the west end of Princes Street garden, you’ll find Santaland, with a festive family funfair. 

George Street also boasts Christmas lights and an enormous Christmas tree which can be seen at the top of the mound – apparently this tree has a history, and is a gift from Norway each year. This tradition dates back to WW2. 

Looking for more lights? The Botanic Gardens hosts a light trail each year, which is pretty spectacular, and you couldn’t ask for a nicer backdrop. Have a look at Christmas at the Botanics for more information. 

Another light spectacular to take in this winter is Edinburgh Castle’s ‘Castle of Light’. This involves projecting light onto the castle’s walls and ramparts and a historical walking tour. 

 

Last but not least, Edinburgh is well known for its Hogmanay celebrations, and in 2022 Edinburgh will host its giant street party once again. For the uninitiated, Hogmanay is the Scottish word for New Year’s Eve. 

The celebrations also include live music and a huge fireworks display at midnight. Lots of kissing, hugging, and dancing ensues! 

Looking for something quieter? 

If you’re looking for a cosy corner to curl up in when it’s cold and snowy, come to one of our campus libraries. You can check our festive opening hours here. 

You can borrow Library items from Friday 9 December 2022, and you won’t need to return them before Monday 16 January 2023. Full details can be found here. 

Remember, we’re always here online too – you can continue to access ebooks, ejournals and databases usingLibrarySearch, even if physical libraries are closed. 

 

By Judy Wheeler

International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day was originally founded by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and raises awareness of illiteracy globally.

Reading and writing are essential for our everyday lives, such as navigating signs, news, menus, and even labels on food. There are challenges with illiteracy, as approximately 771 million people still lack basic reading and writing skills.

UNESCO is holding a hybrid event and awards ceremony to remind everyone of the importance of literacy: You can find more information here

 

But what can be done to support literacy?

 

· Governments, schools, and communities can participate in activities to focus on illiteracy.

· Books can be donated to libraries and offer tuition to support success and development.

· Discussions, group sessions and 1-to-1s.

 

This year the theme is ‘transforming literacy learning spaces’ and at Edinburgh Napier University, we want to show how important spaces can be to ensuring inclusive education for everyone. For example, our group study rooms on resourcebooker.napier.ac.uk in the library provide a comfortable space for collaborative and group discussions, as well as technical equipment that can support development with researching and writing for dissertations and assignments.

 

What is the result of literacy?

Increasing literacy also gives people skills for employment with opportunities to develop and break the cycle of poverty, through small steps. It also provides people with knowledge and communication to express feelings and emotions.

 

You can find articles and books via the library search:

https://napier.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/44NAP_INST/19n0mho/cdi_gale_infotrac_456490000

https://napier.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/44NAP_INST/n96pef/alma9920385460102111

Our academic skills advisers are also here to help you on your university journey!

 

Further resources:

https://www.unesco.org/en/days/literacy-day https://nationaltoday.com/international-literacy-day/

Japanese Manga Art

Japanese Manga Art

What is Manga?

Manga is Japanese comics, and graphics, in newspapers, magazines and books, that emerged in the 1920s. The word consists of ‘man’, ‘whimsical’ and ‘pictures. Manga demonstrates stories of characters through pictures and expressive lines. It is usually printed in black and white due to cost savings; however special editions are printed in colour.

 

 

Comic style strip of Manga

Manga comic at Merchiston Library

 

History:

Although Manga emerged during the 20th century, the earliest association was found on scrolls created by Japanese, Buddhist monks in the 12th century. They depicted chapters of animals mirroring human gestures. Printing techniques flourished in the 19th century and Manga focused on politics, although the government censored artists and even closed publishers.

Post-World War II, American occupation of Japan influenced the style, so it became more animated and entertaining for readers. These were called ‘Red Books’ and have influenced more contemporary pictures and stories today that suggest emotions and actions.

 

Manga Genres:

The Manga sub-genres consist of romance, fantasy, horror, and adventure. The most popular and modern classics are Naruto, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Fruit Basket, and Bleach. A lot of other Manga has been satirical and can focus on darker areas like corruption and injustices.

As Manga is mainly comic books, they have also become ‘anime’ meaning animations in Japanese. Anime uses movement to explain complex stories.

 

 

Image of Bleach character Manga

Bleach

 

 

So, if you are ready to read Manga, you may find that the print copies are not your usual way of reading as traditionally it is read back to front, from the top right to the left!

 

You can find Manga resources from how to master the art of drawing Manga to Bleach via the Library Search.

We even have clips available on the Library’s Box of Broadcasts.

Please let us know if you have any recommendations for the library!

 

Other resources:

https://www.carnegielibrary.org/an-introduction-to-manga/

https://blog.britishmuseum.org/an-introduction-to-manga/

What the Librarians are Reading: Books we recommend!

What the librarians are reading: Books we recommend! Part 2

Stumped for your next read? Curious what the book professionals are reading? Look no further!  Here’s a peek into what the staff here at Edinburgh Napier University Library (ENULibrary) have been reading over the last year.

Check out recommended books from all genres and Interests (we are a diverse lot!) Some are available right here at the Library. For the books we don’t have, why not try your local library? Edinburgh City Libraries have a huge selection of books and we love supporting them.

The Book Reviews


Marian

Book Cover A tale for the time beingA tale for the time beingby Ruth Ozeki

Intricately interwoven plots, fascinating settings in British Columbia and Japan, full of ideas, touching and thought-provoking, shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize. 

 

Book Cover Loud and Close

 

Extremely loud & incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer

“This deals with difficult themes but is full of humour and zaniness, and very well-written.

 

Book Cover Thursday Murder club

 

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

“A quick entertaining read certainly.

 

 

You can borrow A tale for the time being”  and “Extremely loud & incredibly close” from our Library today!

Lesley

Book Cover Vicious“Vicious by V.E. Schwab

“If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?  Invisibility? Immortality?  You might want to reconsider your options after reading Vicious, a smart, witty take on the superpower/superhero genre. This is a grown-up page-turner with plot twists and snappy dialogue throughout, and it’s all shot through with deliciously macabre humour. V.E. Schwab is an American author who lives in Edinburgh.  We’re lucky to have her.  

You can borrow this one from us! Check out LibrarySearch

Cathryn

Book cover fair BotanistsThe Fair Botanists”  By Sara Sheridan

Set in 1822 Enlightenment Edinburgh at the time of the impending visit by King George 1V to the city and the move of the Botanical Garden from Leith Walk to where it is now at Inverleith.  Sir Walter Scott who was responsible for organising the King’s visit features as does the rare flowering of the Agave Americana in one of the Botanics glasshouses.  The story follows the twists and turns of the lives of the 2 main female characters Elizabeth Rocheid who arrived in the city after the death of her husband and the enigmatic Belle Brodie.  I enjoyed this book as it was based in Edinburgh and I recognised all the places it mentioned, the historical and botanical  references were also really interesting .”

 

Book Cover Starlit Seas“On Starlit Seas” By Sara Sheridan

Historical novel set in Georgian times, based around the true character, recently widowed author Maria Graham.  She’s been used to travelling around South America with her husband but now she must make to the journey back to England to visit her publisher.  She books a place on a ship bound for Bristol captained by Captain James Henderson a roguish smuggler.  For those who love chocolate, the story is woven around the consumption of chocolate and the Fry family of Bristol are characters in the novel!   

 

Why not check out our previous installment ofWhat the Librarians are reading books we recommend.

 

Main photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

What the Librarians are reading: Books we recommend!

Image Source

What the librarians are reading: Books we recommend! Part 1

Stumped for your next read? Curious what the book professionals are reading? Look no further!  Here’s a peek into what the staff here at Edinburgh Napier University Library (ENULibrary) have been reading over the last year.

Check out recommended books from all genres and Interests (we are a diverse lot!) Some are available right here at the Library, but for the books we don’t have, why not try your local library? Edinburgh City Libraries have a huge selection of books and we love supporting them.

The Book Reviews


Malcolm

tiny habits book cover“Tiny Habits” by B.J. Fogg.

“Recommended at a financial health webinar, and I read it over Xmas.  A great way to self-change behaviour is by breaking down desired changes in multiple areas into very tiny habits, which are much more easily achieved than big changes.  Prompt such habits by linking them to existing parts of your life, and celebrate when you successfully do them…it all helps to rewire them effectively into your brain.  Easy to read and to get started with. Recommended!”

 

story of tea book cover

“The Story of Tea: a cultural history and drinking guide” by M.L. Heiss and R.J. Heiss.

“All you need to know about teas of the world…production, history, and how to brew them. Lots of pictures. Say goodbye to teabags. Perfect for the Tea-head in your life!”

 

 


Emi

Chernobyl book cover“Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy” by Serhii Plokhy

“A very interesting and detailed insight about the 1986 disaster and its aftermath. The events are recreated by Ukrainian Professor Serhii Plokhy with detail and accuracy. At the same time, it’s quite interesting to read because the author tells the stories of the firefighters, scientists, engineers, workers, soldiers, politicians, and policemen who found themselves caught there and shows a lot about the nature of the Soviet political system and the flaws of its nuclear industry. As some reviews say, you can read it ” like a good thriller” and I found its less upsetting and disturbing than the recent TV show.”

You can borrow this one from us! Check out LibrarySearch

 

Pandoras Jar book coverPandora’s JarWomen in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes.

“It’s a must for those who, like me, love Greek myths. An enlightening essay about how women have been hidden, belittled or directly condemned in those myths retold many times.  The women’s narrative and its complexity have been misinterpreted through History and also Art, so I

enjoyed a lot reading about characters like Pandora, Medusa, and Medea and how they were not as virtuous or monstrous as they have been pictured (normally by men!).”

 


Maria

Study with me book cover“Study with me: effective bullet journaling techniques, habits, and hacks to be successful, productive, and organized” Shao, Jasmin andJagan, Alyssa

“I enjoyed it because I have only recently started bullet journaling and this book gives a good overview of the practical/organisational aspects of how to do it, and also guidance on how to make your journal more creative and interesting.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of bullet journaling before it is a customisable diary/planner that be as simple or complex as you choose to make it!”

You can read this book here, through the Library.


We will have another instalment soon of “What the Librarians are reading” so check back to the blog regularly.

Want some more suggestions right now? Check out our earlier post of book recommendations here!

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