Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Mood Boosting for January

We know that University life can sometimes be challenging. That is why we have put together a collection of books on a wide range of topics around personal health and well-being.

Whether you’re interested in managing stress and learning some new relaxation techniques, or having more difficult mental health issues, there are books here that can help.  Why not look at our books on cookery, nutrition and exercise.

There is useful material available on Health and Well-being from Student Support, visit:

Health & Wellbeing 
Campus Centre, Luton campus  Tuesday 23 January, 10am-3pm.

Luton Library

Luton Library

Luton Library

 What can I do if I don’t have a lot of time?​

University can be a busy time, which can make it harder for you to take the time to look after your mental wellbeing. When you’re busy, stresses can mount up and really take their toll - so it’s important to take the time to prioritise your own mental wellbeing. ​If you have:

5 minutes

Make a cup of tea and enjoy it undistracted
Cuddle a pet or soft toy
Write a to-do list
Text a friend

10 minutes

Do a guided meditation
Take a walk
Do a quick tidy and clean of your room/workspace
Listen to your favourite songs

30 minutes

Take exercise - yoga, a run, a brisk walk
Call a friend or family member for a catch-up
Have a nap

1 hour

Watch an episode of your favourite TV show
Go for coffee with a friend
Cook or bake something tasty

Bedford Library

Bedford Library

Bedford Library
Aylesbury LRC

Aylesbury LRC

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Books Unlocked Christmas 2017


"This year we wanted to focus on how people celebrate Christmas in other countries and get some interesting insights about Christmas traditions and celebrations. More than two billion people celebrate Christmas every year with traditions going further than decorating a Christmas tree or leaving treats out for Santa.

In many European places the festivities begin on the 6th of December with St Nicholas day. In Italy, they exchange presents  on January 6th which is the day of Epiphany. For Christians who live in India, fir trees are not common, they decorate mango trees instead. In Australia due to the weather, Father Christmas swaps his reindeer for ‘six white boomers’ or kangaroos. 

A Christmas tree has been made up on the 1st floor of Bedford Campus Library where you are encouraged to come along and share with us on a note, your own traditions." 

Christmas Tree to add your own tradition
Bedford Library

Teaching Practice Items for Christmas

Luton Library

Aylesbury LRC

Aylesbury Christmas Tree

Friday, 1 December 2017

2017: Waterstones Books of the Year

The full Waterstones Book of the Year shortlist:

  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo
  • A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
  • The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
  • La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
  • Mr Lear: A Life of Art and Nonsense by Jenny Uglow
  • Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalismby Yanis Varoufakis

How many have you read?

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Books Unlocked November 2017 - Gothic Novels

Gothic Fiction
The Gothic genre has been around since the 18th Century although it has been resurrected in the 21st Century with books such as Twilight.  Gothic Fiction delves into the depths of humanity, where the presence of the horrible and the macabre represent ‘the dark side’ of human nature which is portrayed with novels such as Frankenstein and Dracula.  The supernatural monsters are often what people think of when they consider gothic texts.

Please enjoy our Gothic displays in the Libraries this month and feel free to take out anything that interests you.

Bedford Library
Bedford Library

Bedford Library

Bedford Library - Not quite Gothic!
Aylesbury Library

Aylesbury Library

Aylesbury Library
Luton Library

Luton Library

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Books Unlocked October 2017 - Black History Month

Who is Zadie Smith?

Novelist Zadie Smith was born in North London in 1975 to an English father and a Jamaican mother.  She studied English at Cambridge, graduating in 1997.  Her celebrated first novel, White Teeth (2000), published when Smith was only 24, examines amongst many other topics, cultural identity, history, faith, and future.  Her novel won several awards and prizes, has been translated into over twenty languages and adapted for television broadcast.  The same for my personal favourite, Smith’s novel NW (2012) which was also adapted for broadcast in 2016. The setting for Smith’s novels are the suburbs of North-West London: Harlesden, Neasden, Kilburn, Wembley and in particular, Willesden.  Her books resonate with me not only because this is where I grew up, but because she reflects both sides of “my” London in her literature. A pulsing, effervescent city, full of life and opportunity against the tension between the have and have nots.
Among a plethora of accolades, Smith was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002 and was listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013.
An essayist, and short story writer, Zadie Smith’s novels are definitely worth reading! A sample of her work include White Teeth (2000), The Autograph Man (2002), On Beauty (2005), NW (2012) and Swing Time (2016).  We eagerly await The Fraud set to be published in 2019!

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Books Unlocked October 2017 - Black History Month Mary Prince

Who was 

Mary Prince – the first Black woman to write an autobiography, entitled “The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave”.  Prince also became the first woman to present an Anti-Slavery petition to parliament!

Her book, published during the Abolition movement in February 1831, brought to the attention of otherwise unknowing British readers, the horrors and misery of slave life on a plantation.  Her story echoed that of hundreds of thousands of slaves who had been subject to incomprehensible abuse and hardship at the hands of cruel slave masters.  At the time, readers found Prince’s account of the relentless violence too extreme to be believable.
Her harrowing description contributed to the emancipation of British slaves after the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.
Prince chillingly recalls one of the many beatings she received from a brutal and sadistic Mr Wood - this time for marrying without permission: “She [Mrs Woods] could not forgive me for getting married, but stirred up Mr. Wood to flog me dreadfully with the horsewhip.  I thought it very hard to be whipped at my time of life for getting a husband…
Prince explains how she suffered with rheumatism, and when unable to work, was subject to the most unimaginable torture, locked in a cage and left to die.  On several occasions, Prince begged for another to buy her freedom, but Wood would not grant her this wish, as he knew, when healthy, Prince worked tirelessly.    
Around 1828, Prince was taken to London but continued to suffer ill-health - unfortunately, the belief that British air would appease her aching limbs proved only to be a myth!  However, London would eventually enable liberty as the British legal system ceased to support slavery.  Prince was able to escape ownership and persistent persecution!
She absconded to a church in Hatton Garden, finally taking refuge at the Anti-Slave Society, based in East London.
Prince ensured her freedom and used it to campaign against slavery.
Her narrative is truly distressing but a must-read to encourage appreciation of the struggle faced by Black people during the slave trade.

In October 2007 a commemorative plaque was mounted near Bloomsbury in London.

Books Unlocked October 2017 - Black History Month

Black History Month at Bedford Library