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Around the World in 80 Books

On Stage: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

Last December, a former pub on Gillygate in York (dubbed the Fleeting Arms) was transformed into a smoky speakeasy in 1920s America to tell the story of the great Gatsby. Surely you’ve heard of him? He has lots of money and a big house which is always full of people, but the man himself is an enigma and people even say he once killed a man… Continue reading “On Stage: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald”

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On Stage: In Fog and Falling Snow (George Stephenson)

What do you do when your theatre is closed for nearly a year for a major refurb? Build another (temporary) one of course: the show must go on…! At least, that was the York Theatre Royal’s approach, constructing the Signal Box Theatre in a huge insulated marquee with a railway track down the middle at the back of the National Railway Museum. Continue reading “On Stage: In Fog and Falling Snow (George Stephenson)”

Places to Read: Love Your Library

The most obvious place to read is where the books are: your local library. For most of us, this was where we started on our book loving journey, because it’s fair to say that libraries are the UK’s most accessible ways into culture. There’s no entrance fee (so long as you remember to return your books on time), there’s one in every medium to large size community (and alternative provision in rural areas,though not very useful if you’re at work all day), and alongside the books, films and music, there’s always something on. Continue reading “Places to Read: Love Your Library”

Murder Mystery: The Sting of Justice by Cora Harrison

Imagine a wind-swept stony place on the edge of the sea, where ancient Irish law holds sway in the face of English empire-building. Cora Harrison’s series of Burren mysteries is set in a law school during the sixteenth century on the limestone plateau called the Burren on the west coast of Ireland. I’ve never been there, but I imagine something like Malham Cove but by the sea. On the basis of Cora’s beautiful descriptions, this is definitely somewhere I’d like to go on holiday… Continue reading “Murder Mystery: The Sting of Justice by Cora Harrison”

Short Stories: The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies

This month marks the start of Read Regional (March to June 2016), a chance to become acquainted with ten Northern authors, from poet Kim Moore to crime author Helen Cadbury. The ten selected books are available in libraries across the region, with author events providing a chance to ask questions and be inspired. Continue reading “Short Stories: The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies”

Inspiring People: Elaine Storkey

Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women by Elaine Storkey

This week I went to the launch of Elaine Storkey’s new book Scars Across Humanity, a study of the global drivers  and impacts of violence against women.

Elaine Storkey is one of my all-time heroes, who has spoken up for justice time and time again, through her 16 years as President of the international development charity Tearfund and through her research and writing as an academic. I have heard her speak at big conferences, including Greenbelt and the SPEAK Network (a campaigns network for students and young people which is another of the charities she supports and encourages). So it was a pleasant surprise to discover she was coming to my local library on a Saturday afternoon as part of York International Women’s Festival! Continue reading “Inspiring People: Elaine Storkey”

Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #2

Desert Dawn by Waris Dirie and Jeanne D’Haem

After her rise to fame described in Desert Flower, what happened next?
Waris Dirie’s second book is an honest account of a life split between two cultures: her husband in America and her family in Somalia. After so many years in the West, she returns home for an extended visit to her village and describes the culture shock in both directions: her family’s expectations and her own.

Continue reading “Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #2”

Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #1

Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Story of A Desert Nomad

by Waris Dirie and Cathleen Miller

This book tells the story of Waris Dirie, from Somalia to England, from servant to international model, from a victim of violence to healing and eventually becoming a UN ambassador challenging the practice of FGM, in a world where 3 million women and girls are cut every year.

Continue reading “Inspiring People: Waris Dirie #1”

Inspiring People: I Am Malala

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Malala Yousafzai has become a familiar face in recent years, and her story is an adventure of principled youth against oppression. Having become a campaigner for girls like herself to be educated like the boys in Pakistan, aged 15 she was shot on her way to school by the Taliban. Continue reading “Inspiring People: I Am Malala”

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