• Tamil Reading Group and special guest visit St Albans

    The 7 years old TAMIL readers Forum, which meets regularly every last Saturday of the calendar month indoors in the library, also meets outdoors once in a year in an excursion.

    This year we visited St Albans, an age old Roman Relic. We the 23 members and a special guest Mr Gnani Sankaran, a renowned writer from India, met and set off on Sunday the 8th September 2013 to Hertfordshire. The one hours travel was full of fun and music.

    We started off with our regular meeting on arrival to St Albans at the campus itself. There came the rain warning us about the English weather. Father Augustine from the Cathedral was very gracious and provided us a comfortable shelter in the Cathedral itself and protected us from the rains. A sumptuous and delicious lunch and snacks were served. Then we proceeded with the guided tour in the Cathedral. The guide Mr Steve’s illustrious talk explained all about the 2000 years history of St Albans. The building's amazing mixture of architectural styles bears witness to the many centuries of its life, first as a monastic Abbey and now as a Cathedral. Down all those centuries countless pilgrims have come to honour the saint's sacrifice and offer their prayers at his shrine.

    We found the whole city to be an archaeological treasure house full of amazing discoveries and inspiring history. We also found the excursion to be the most memorable one.

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  • 75 Of The Coolest Librarians To Follow On Twitter

    Librarians have gotten a bad rap in the past, represented as bookwormish and ‘uncool’. But the fact is that today, librarians are really beginning to build up a name for themselves with their deep knowledge base and their access to huge stores of information. And social media has made it easier than ever to connect with librarians that are far beyond the norm.

    Twitter, for example, has offered librarians the chance to connect with millions of other people and today there are many librarians who have large followings on Twitter thanks to their informative and entertaining posts, their willingness to share knowledge, and their ability to interact with others.

    If you’re looking for some librarians or library related Twitter feeds to add to your connections list, here are 75 of the coolest accounts on Twitter that you need to consider linking up to.

    Click here for the coolest librarians around

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  • New York, New York

    New York features in countless books, films and TV shows. Its iconic images have become so familiar to us through the pages in a book that even if we’ve never been there, we feel as though we have. It is the city that has inspired classic fiction, new writers and pulitzer proze winners. Here are some of our favourites:

    The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

    Now the subject of a major new film from director Baz Luhrmann (Romeo+Juliet, Moulin Rouge!), starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald's brilliant fable of the hedonistic excess and tragic reality of 1920s America. Young, handsome and fabulously rich, Jay Gatsby is the bright star of the Jazz Age, but as writer Nick Carraway is drawn into the decadent orbit of his Long Island mansion, where the party never seems to end, he finds himself faced by the mystery of Gatsby's origins and desires. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life, Gatsby is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled.

    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

    Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor. When his father is killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, his inward journey towards some kind of peace takes him on an odyssey through the five boroughs of New York, as he attempts to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet.

    Breakfast at Tiffan'ys by Truman Capote

    Immortalised in the film starring Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote's classic Breakfast at Tiffany's is full of sharp wit. Its exuberant cast of characters vividly captures the restless, slightly madcap era of early 1940s New York.

    City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

    16-year-old Clary Fray is an ordinary teenager, who likes hanging out in Brooklyn with her friends. But everything changes the night she witnesses a murder, committed by a group of teens armed with medieval weaponry.

    Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

    New Yorkers Rachel & Darcy have been best friends since childhood. They've shared birthdays & even boyfriends, but while Darcy breezes through life getting what she wants, Rachel has always played by the rules. On the eve of her 30th birthday, Rachel finds herself questioning the status quo.

    American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis

    Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and works on Wall Street, he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to a head-on collision with America s greatest dream and its worst nightmare American Psycho is a bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognize but do not wish to confront.

    Borrow these page turners from us.

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  • The British Sports Book Awards 2013

    The British Sports Book Awards highlight the very best sports books published in 2012. Our libraries have all the shortlisted books ready for you to borrow.

    Shortlists for Autobiography/Biography of the Year

    This is me by Ian Thorpe

    Ian Thorpe is one of the world's most prolific sportsmen, but it is the way he has managed his success and his commitment to helping others that has earned him respect and admiration internationally. Thorpe's autobiography follows him all the way from his childhood in Sydney right back up to the pinnacle of London 2012.

    The Footballer who Could Fly by Duncan Hamilton

    Inspired by his father's lifelong devotion to Newcastle United, Duncan Hamilton charts the progress of postwar British football to the present day. But at the heart of the book is his exploration of the bond between father and son through the Beautiful Game and how football became the only connection between two people who were totally different from one another.

    Seven Deadly Sins by David Walsh

    David Walsh's 13-year battle to reveal the true nature of cyclist Lance Armstrong's incredible achievements that led to the American's downfall.

    My Time by Bradley Wiggins

    Bradley Wiggins recounts his journey through his success as the first ever British winner of the Tour de France, and on to his victory at the 2012 London Olympics.

    Merckx: Half Man Half Bike by William Fotheringham

    Eddy Merckx is to cycing what Muhammad Ali is to boxing or Pele to football: quite simply, the best there has ever been. Throughout his professional career Merckx amassed an astonishing 445 victories. Lance Armstrong, by comparison, managed fewer than 100. This book tells Merckx's story.

    Be Careful What you Wish for by Simon Jordan

    After making millions in mobile phones, Simon Jordan decided to buy his boyhood club, Crystal Palace. At 31, he became the youngest chairman ever. In this text, Jordan lifts the lid on what really goes on behind the scenes in football.

    Running My Life by Seb Coe

    Running My Life' is in turns exhilirating, inspiring, hilarious, and extremely moving. It tells the full story of one of the most remarkable men in sport, Sebastian Coe.

    An Open Book by Darren Clarke

    Darren Clarke's 2006 Ryder Cup successes following shortly after his wife Heather's tragic death from cancer cemented his place in the nation's hearts. In this autobiography he talks about his fellow golfers, the competition on the field and the friendships off it, his own future in golf, and learning to live without Heather

    For the cricket book of the year, football book of the year and rugby book of the year shortlists go to www.britishsportsbookawards.co.uk/2013-shortlists/

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  • The Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist returns

    Formerly known as the Orange Prize, the Women’s Prize for Fiction returns this year with a longlist of familiar names and rising talent.

    There are some new voices ito be discovered including local girl Zadie Smith

    Last year’s prize went to Madeline Miller for The Song of Achilles. This year’s panel of judges, chaired by actress Miranda Richardson includes Jojo Moyes and broadcaster Razia Iqbal.

    The shortlist of six will be announced on Tuesday 16th April at the London Bookfair, and the final winner on Wednesday 5th June. Borrow them from us!

    The longlist in full…

    A Trick I Learned From Dead Men, Kitty Aldridge

    After the disappearance of their father and the sudden death of their mother, Lee Hart and his deaf brother, Ned, imagine all is lost until Lee lands a traineeship at their local funeral home and discovers there is life after death.

    Life After Life, Kate Atkinson

    What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right? During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale. What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to? 'Life After Life' follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, she finds warmth even in life's bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past.

    The Marlowe Papers, Ros Barber

    In 1593, a celebrated young playwright was killed in a tavern brawl in London. That, at least, was the official version. Now let Christopher Marlowe tell you the truth: that his 'death' was an elaborate ruse to avoid his being hanged for heresy, and that he continued to write plays and poetry, hiding as one William Shakespeare.

    The People of Forever are Not Afraid, Shani Boianjiu

    Lea, Avishag and Yael are school friends in a nondescript town in Israel. During dull lessons they play their invented game Exquisite Corpse and daydream about the boys they fancy. When they hit 18 they are conscripted into the army. Here, they wait in the dust for something to happen, caught in that single, intense second just before danger erupts.

    Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

    Nick Dunne's wife Amy suddenly disappears on the morning of their 5th anniversary. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him. He swears it isn't true.

    How Should A Person Be? Sheila Heti

    Reeling from a failed marriage, Sheila, a playwright, finds herself unsure of how to live and create. When Margaux, a talented painter and free spirit, and Israel, a sexy and depraved artist, enter her life, Sheila hopes that through observation of her new friend, her new lover and herself, she might regain her footing.

    May We Be Forgiven, A.M Homes

    Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper. They have been uneasy rivals since childhood. Then one day George loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life.

    Flight Behaviour, Barbara Kingsolver

    On the Appalachian Mountains above her home, a young mother discovers a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature. As the world around her is suddenly transformed by a seeming miracle, can the old certainties they have lived by for centuries remain unchallenged?

    The Red Book, Deborah Copaken Kogan (Virago)

    Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel

    The sequel to 'Wolf Hall', 'Bring up the Bodies' explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn.

    Lamb, Bonnie Nadzam (Hutchinson)

    The Forrests, Emily Perkins

    Dorothy Forrest is immersed in the sensory world around her; she lives in the flickering moment. From the age of seven, when her odd, disenfranchised family moves from New York City to the wide skies of Auckland, to the very end of her life, this is her great gift - and possible misfortune.

    Ignorance, Michèle Roberts

    Ignorance' is a mesmerising exploration of guilt, faith, desire and judgment, bringing to life a people at war in a way that is at once lyrical and shocking.

    The Innocents, Francesca Segal

    Adam and Rachel, childhood sweethearts, are getting married at last. Rachel is everything Adam has ever imagined in a wife and her parents adore him. A life of easy contentment waits, at the heart of the community. But then Rachel's reckless American cousin returns to the family fold.

    Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, Maria Semple

    Where'd You Go, Bernadette' is a compulsively readable, irresistibly written, deeply touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's place in the world.

    Honour, Elif Shafak

    Esma is a young Kurdish woman in London trying to come to terms with the terrible murder her brother has committed. She tells the story of her family stretching back three generations. Everything will end in tragedy on a street in East London in 1978.

    NW, Zadie Smith

    Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke and Russell. Five identical blocks make up the Caldwell housing estate in North West London. Caldwell kids Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan have all moved on. They occupy separate worlds in an atomized city. Then one afternoon a stranger comes to Leah's door, forcing her out of her isolation.

    The Light Between Oceans, M.L. Stedman

    Would you accept a chance for happiness even if it wasn't yours to have? This is a story about a lighthouse keeper and his wife, who live on a lonely island with just seagulls, stars and buffeting winds for company. It's a story about right and wrong, and how sometimes they look the same.

    Mateship with Birds, Carrie Tiffany

    Mateship with Birds' is a tender, witty novel of young lust and mature love. A glorious tale of innocence lost, it celebrates life on one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, and a collection of misfits who question what a family might be.

    Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson

    He calls himself Alif - few people know his real name - a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocratic Intisar, he believes he has found love.

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“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

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