Thursday, 11 July 2013

Blog Silence

Thank you for visiting my blog! 

I have been busy researching for a novel recently, so my blog has dropped out of the priority list. 

If you'd like to catch up with what I've been doing, please have a look at my first newsletter.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

World Book Night Recommendations

For World Book Night, an impromptu post. 

I would like to recommend the following:

something old: 

The Old Order: Stories of the South
by Katherine Anne Porter

something new:

Building Stories
by Chris Ware

Something Blue:

The Fault in our Stars
by John Green


Something about sewing: 

Sew It Up
by Ruth Singer

If you're interested in what I've been sewing (I've been writing too), follow me on twitter @debjfielding

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Libraries I have known: Eight, Nine and Ten (and Two again)

Eight : The Taylor Institution Library, Oxford

I worked as a library assistant at the Taylorian and Modern Language Library for about the length of a pregnancy. I loved it, but nine months was enough really. I wasn't made to be a librarian - too fidgety and too noisy probably - not that that really bothered the other librarians. Highlights for me were climbing ladders to fetch books, sniggering at the academics and students sleeping in the library, covering books (I love craft) and decorating the gorgeous library for Christmas. 

The Taylor is a beautiful building, and Oxford is a very eccentric place. We had to be quiet (that was amusing, like being in assembly *all the time*). And the colleagues provided a lot of entertainment. One special moment included a member of staff asking in a stage whisper (there was a LOT of stage-whispering), 'Have you seen the Liquor?' My fellow library assistant and I looked at each other and then back to the colleague. 'What?' we whispered, incredulous. 'The Liquor!' she whispered. Then she mimed licking with her tongue. 'The Licker,' she insisted. She gave up on us, shoved us out of the way and retrieved a horrible little tray filled with dirty water and a roller of plastic. It was to moisten bookplates for the books. I tried not to touch it. I would have rather licked the bookplates. 

The heating broke in winter and we sat behind the desk in gloves and hats. We waded through floods to work and dried our socks on the ancient radiators. We sang show tunes in the staff room, only to realise the door was open...


Nine : The Open University Library

The OU is my new hang out. It's a nice quiet (ha) library and has a great collection - not too big, not too small. It's close to home and only £40 per year for civilians. Weird thing about the OU is that there are hardly any students. That's why I like the coffee shop at Cranfield University for a bit more of a social experience.

I go back to Library Two in Newport Pagnell pretty often - recently I've been on a 'Teen Fiction' bender. If I have time I'll post about the books I've been loving.

And finally...

Ten : Gladstone's Library

I went to Gladstone's Library (or St. Deiniol's) for the first time in the autumn. I wasn't too well while I was there, but the smell of the stacks was so pleasing that I couldn't help but enjoy myself. I had forgotten (how could I?) the joy of wandering amongst books, choosing from the shelf, taking a stack to a desk and flicking. It's a gorgeous spot and the porridge is great. 

Someone slept in there, others clicked on laptops, I had the noisiest shoes (I always have) and I managed to write something. 

That's all my libraries. For now. 

If you're at a loose end, go down your local library and snoop around. Get yourself some teen fiction!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Libraries I have known: Six and Seven

My blog has been quiet of late - I have been sitting in libraries rather than writing about them. I'm researching a novel. Today I sat in a university coffee shop surrounded by books and took some good long gulps of words (you know, from the books).

The Cafe Bookshop
Six : The UEA Library

Here I spent lots of time in the computer lab with floppy discs and memory sticks. I didn't have the internets in my house, so I would save things onto sticks and then go to campus to print and copy. Several times floppy discs were corrupted and much steam came from my ears. I would also sit the floor in the stacks for hours a a time before taking piles of books back to my house. Here, I also rang my friend to ask her if the synopsis was included in the dissertation word count. She suggested I take into consideration how long it was already. She was over the limit so didn't count her synopsis, but I was way under, so I did.

The campus library and the public library on Colman Rd were where I kept in touch with the world outside Norwich. 

Seven : Earlham Library 

Earlham Library was just around the corner from my house in 'The Golden Triangle.' I went there primarily to check my email and secondarily to borrow DVDs. I also visited the Forum Library in central Norwich, but not very often, so it doesn't warrant 'Number Eight' on the list. 

I did read books in Norwich, but I also watched a heck of a lot of DVDs.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Libraries I have known: Five

Five: Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University

I studied abroad at Emory University in Atlanta for the second year of my degree. I spent a lot of time in the library there. In the basement, apart from lots of PCs, was an area of comfy arm chairs. You could move these chairs together to make a kind of bed and have a lovely sleep. I had a few - sometimes on purpose and sometimes with a book in my hands. I broke up with someone in the library basement, and I took part in races. Once race was to finish a paper before a fellow student (these papers were a couple of hundred words long and took only minutes to do - we'd call them comprehensions, I think). The other races were in the twirly chairs - a friend and I would push off from the desk with our hands and see who went furthest - quite simple. 

I don't remember taking many books out from the library, but I know I spent a lot of time on the computers (I didn't have my own), and frequently sipped from the myriad water fountains. Everyone was in the library, and we all stayed up late to finish things. I watched Gone with the Wind for the first time and Raging Bull, in a booth, on a small TV with big headphones.

Finally, I learned a very important lesson from a fellow student called Michael. We were taking a class about Utopian Fiction and at the end of the semester we had the choice to write an essay or a story. I bumped into Michael in the library and I told him I couldn't decide whether to write the story or the essay. He said, 'Who does the essay?'

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Libraries I have known: Four

While I was at secondary school I don't remember frequenting any libraries apart from the school one, which seemed only to contain Career Advice.

Four: Lancaster University Library

Lancaster was the next library I knew. This was the first library where I felt the excitement of reading and learning new things. I learned to skim-read at Lancaster and pick out juicy bits from a big stack of books. I had Ideas at Lancaster University Library. I would often be forced to sit with friends who, looking back, I didn't really want to sit with. I liked sitting on my own in the library with my Ideas and my Thoughts. 

It was while I was at Lancaster that I discovered how much I loved writing. I remember realising one day that I could, in fact, do whatever I wanted. 

Being a student meant time - time to sit on a kick stool in the stacks and flick through peoples' brains.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Libraries I have known: Two and Three

Two: Newport Pagnell Public Library*

There were two small public libraries near my house, but for some reason, we only visited the one in Newport Pagnell (we went to Olney for the market on Thursdays and to Bedford to get our hair cut).

We would go to Newport Library on Saturdays mostly - the only books I remember getting out were Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas and Willy the Wimp by Anthony Browne. Newport Library had a very colourful children's section and I was proud of my very own library card. My only other memory of the library was that I always wanted to get out books that were far too young for me. I had my own copy of The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark, and read it over and over.


Three: Austin Public Library, Old Quarry Branch

We spent some time in Texas when I was nine, with my dad's work. While there we would head to the Austin Public Library every Monday evening, before going for ice cream at the local mall. I have no recollection of what we read or borrowed, but for some reason the library is the one I imagine when I read Roald Dhal's Matilda. Perhaps I read that there, or perhaps I felt as small as Matilda in that giant building. While we lived in Austin I read The Wombles and Ramona The Brave. At school, I had to do a book review of The Lemonade Trick. I didn't manage to finish the book, being a very slow reader, but I managed to do a drawing for the front of the review. 


*More recently I have borrowed CDs, DVDs and audio books from Newport Pagnell Library and given a reading there.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Libraries I have known - One

MK mobile library - bouncy floor, looking up at the counter

I recently visited Gladstone's Library (formerly St. Deiniols) in Hawarden - while I was there I was reminded of many other libraries that I have utilised. There are more than I thought:

One - The Milton Keynes Mobile Library

The library would stop outside my school and we would all go out to choose a book. The floor was bouncy and there was a small window at one end that we went to to take out books. I don't remember any specific books that I borrowed, just that I was into FuzzBuzz at the time.*

My impression of this library at the time was that it was great. Probably more for the novelty than for the books. I liked springing on the floor and I liked that it was a bus with books in it - so convenient.

*SHOCKER: I've just found out via Wikipedia that FuzzBuzz books were 'for school age children who may be experiencing problems with reading.' I suppose it's fair enough that they didn't tell me at the time that I was in the 'remedial' group - I thought everyone read FuzzBuzz.