Summer in the City

Summer, for many students, has now arrived, and for others, it is not far off.

Before you go, don’t forget to return your library books and settle any outstanding library fines. You can check your account on the CityLibrary website.

Working through the summer? We are open throughout the summer too.

Northampton Square Library will begin summer opening hours from Monday 2nd July:

Monday-Friday 09.00 – 22.00
Saturday and Sunday 10.00 – 22.00
Staff services will be available Monday-Friday 09.00 – 17.00

Detailed opening hours for all sites can be found on our website.

Books on sandy beach with sunglasses
Books on sandy beach with sunglasses Photo credit: Angela Waye/Shutterstock.com

 

Graduating? Congratulations!
Members of Alumni can access City libraries with an Alumni card. This includes use of books for reference in the library.  For a small annual fee you can borrow up to five items at a time. Alumni can access several online resources when they visit the library from walk-in access computers located in the library.
If you’re in London over the summer, don’t forget that we have more than just academic books. Have a look at our fiction collection or DVDs for some much deserved rest and relaxation time.

Whether you’re in the City this summer or enjoying it elsewhere, have a fantastic time.

CityLibrary Staff on their Dream Holidays

We all like to get away from work from time to time, maybe to another city, perhaps to the countryside or a sunny place by the sea.

We asked the CityLibrary staff about their favourite holiday destinations and looked at our holdings, too, to see where they can take you, not physically, but in your mind.

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UK

The poll of the CityLibrary people brought out a mix of destinations near and far with one librarian telling us how they have loved visits to Cornwall since they were a child when they visited their grandparents there in the school holidays.  Elsewhere in the UK, I think Scotland might just be the most beautiful place I have ever visited.

Europe

Europe, especially the Mediterranean was a popular destination, with Catie keen Antibes in Southern France and Cince Terre in Italy, Lynn enjoying Malta for “history, sea, sun, lovely food and lovely people,” while Jessica rates Barcelona.

Elsewhere in Europe, Simon recommends Berlin and Samantha is keen on skiing in the Alps: “I really, really like skiing [because] it’s sunny but not hot and you get great exercise and it’s kind of dangerous.  I actually hate hot weather – I only enjoy it in the Alps in March when the sun is strong but the mountains are cold!”

Elsewhere

Jonathan and Alex prefer to go further field with Jonathan enjoying great scuba diving in the Maldives and Alex the beautiful beaches and amazing history in Mexico.

Finally, Catherine was less specific about location, saying that she just loves somewhere hot with a beach or pool as “it recharges my batteries and [this] lets me know I’m alive.”

Travelling within the Library

The Cass Learning Resource Centre have a number of Eyewitness travel books (including for Berlin and Barcelona) that allow you to have a gander at possible places to see and what you might want to do whilst there.  But, if you don’t want to stray too far, there are various books across our libraries about London.

As hinted at in one of the above links, there are also various other books about travel as well as novels and plays set in all kind of locations.  In The Histories by Herodotus, for example, you can follow the Ancient Greek writer to Egypt and the Middle East, learning about their ancient cultures and how the Greeks came to fight the Persians.  The whole thing is so much of a web of fact and fiction that Herodotus has been called both the Father of History and the Father of Lies (though, where the latter is concerned, he was probably just a bit too trusting of his own travel guides – “fake news” is nothing new).

Our fiction collections can take you to all manner of places around the around the world, in the past, present and future, as well as off into space.  For example, Jane Austen or Charles Dickens can help you travel to Georgian and Victorian London.  Whereas Margaret Atwood, George Orwell and Yevgeny Zamyatin can take you on less nice trips to dystopian societies based a little too much on reality.  Ursula K. Le Guin can take you on a journey through space to a planet inhabited by people with no fixed gender (also available in Spanish and German) and Mervyn Peake to the fantasy world of Gormenghast with its rigid ancient ways and ceremonies.  Or you can travel around the world and its cultures via Chinua Achebe, Haruki Murakami, Amitav Ghosh, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Toni Morrison, Elena Ferrante and Jorge Luis Borges, among many others.

Alternatively, if time travel takes your fancy, then James Gleick has written a book on the history of time travel, which is a fascinating read about the history of science fiction presented alongside studies towards it in science non-fiction.

Wherever you wish to go, whether in reality or not, CityLibrary can help!

25 Summer films you really shouldn’t miss

You’ve seen what they read, you’ve seen what they watch on the small screen. Now we delve further into the library staff’s cultural beach bag.
Read more this summer #CityLibrarySummer.
In our latest CityLibrarySummer instalment we thought we’d share our favourite films and which films in particular mean summer to us. We’ve also highlighted where you can borrow films from our DVD collection or Box of Broadcasts [BoB].
  • Jonathan’s favourite film is Aliens (dir. James Cameron) [DVD] for its “excitement and great story line.”
  • Don’t you forget about… the Breakfast Club (dir. John Hughes) [BoB]. These kids did weekend detention in style while discovering a bit about each other (and themselves). This film reminds Jonathan of being a teenager.
  • Amelie (dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet) [DVD] whimsical and most charming is the choice of another member of Library staff – enchanté. And Grease is their summer lovin’ choice.
  • Catherine loves Wayne’s World (dir. Penelope Spheeris) [BoB]  because it always makes her laugh. Catherine, we’re not worthy.
  • She also loves Point Break (dir. Kathryn Bigelow) [BoB] for its depiction of the technical art of surfing, she forgot to mention the top acting. Vaya con Dios Catherine.
  • Lynn loves that 90s classic Parenthood (dir. Ron Howard). “Family clashes, crazy parents and kids, teenage tantrums and old rivalries shown with humour. It always makes me laugh and it all turns out right in the end.”
  • Lynn’s favourite summer themed film is Something Wicked This Way Comes (dir. Jack Clayton). “The oppression in the film is not only caused by the heatwave but a sinister set of characters rolling into town.  A lovely view of the eternal summers experienced as a child.”
  • Alex G’s pick is the perennially wonderful Some Like it Hot (dir. Billy Wilder) [DVD]. He says “You can watch it over and over and it’s still so funny. Characters, script and performances are such quality.”
  • His favourite summer film is Jaws (dir. Steven Spielberg) [DVD]“Even though I laugh at it, even though I know what happens in the end – I still get SCARED!”
  • The Wizard of Oz [DVD] is good all year round for one member of staff.
  • May the force be with our library staff member who loves Star Wars (dir George Lucas) [DVDs] and also Cocoon (dir. Ron Howard) [BoB], this film about some rejuvenated retired folk gives them a warm summertime feeling.
  • Samantha is keen on The Princess Bride (dir. Rob Reiner) because “Swashbuckling. And the bit where they roll down the hill and end up with the RoUS. OH and the bit when he’s dead but not completely dead.”
  • Nobody is putting Samantha in a corner this summer as she has the time of her life watching Dirty Dancing (dir. Emile Ardolino) [BoB] “The music and the dancing is awesome, but mostly because it looks like a sweet entertaining cult chick flick but it’s actually a treatise on why you should trust your children and the importance of women’s healthcare and reproductive rights.”
  • Annie Hall (dir. Woody Allen) [DVD] got the vote from another member of staff who sums up the vibe with a “La-di-da”.
  • This staff member’s favourite summer film is A Bigger Splash (dir. Luca Guadagnino) “Sunshine, singing and death all on the tiny Italian Island of Pantelleria.”.
  • Catie has recently been impressed with Baby Driver (dir. Edgar Wright) but she’s not thinking about films at the minute “When good weather blesses you with its presence as much as it has this summer, watching films is sacrilege.”
  • Nevertheless, her favourite summer films are Fast Times at Ridgemont High (dir. Cameron Crowe) or Wet Hot American Summer (dir. David Wain), “They are institutions. For real though they evoke the specific feeling of freedom and infinite possibility you get in the summer when you’re an adolescent that summer days could stretch on forever.”
  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (dir. Stephen Herek) [BoB] ranks high on another staff member’s list:
    “Got only 24 hours before a big presentation? This highly relatable story set in the world of San Dimas academia will show you how you can take your presentation from meh to wow, and if you start to lose your audience – end on a “City Uni football rules!”
  • Their summer favourite is Do the Right Thing (dir. Spike Lee)  which “takes place on the hottest day in summer. This is one of the greatest films of all time, it was inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress who deemed it “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant””.
  • A Librarian recommends: Canterbury Tales (dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini) and A Canterbury Tale (dir. Powell and Pressburger) [BoB] – which is a very different film. The Twin Peaks prequel Fire Walk with Me (dir. David Lynch), which has a great David Bowie cameo, and Dazed and Confused (dir. Richard Linklater) – have you seen this one? It’d be a lot cooler if you did.
There are 3 films on this list starring Keanu Reeves, this has been duly noted and the data will be updated.
What’s your favourite film? Is there a film which makes you feel particularly summery, let us know in the comments section.

Library staff’s favourite summer reads

Summer’s all about finding a good book, a nice patch of sun, and relaxing. Well that and a few other things, but either way the library loves curling up with a good book.

Here’s a list of the favourite books of members of library staff including some great beach reads and airport novels. Enjoy.

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Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  by Douglas Adams
“I loved a bit of this. Adam’s world is total escapism, very readable on grass, sand or airport lounge.”

 

Strange Heart Beating by Eli Goldstone
“A brilliant book that explores so much of what makes us what we are. A revelation.”

 

In Parenthesis by David Jones
“One of the greatest works to come out of the twentieth century. A densely wrought masterpiece that rewards several re-readings. :)”

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
“What’s not to like about Jane? She gets stuff done and she does not let herself be cowed: “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me. I am a free human being with an independent will.””

 

Life on air: Memoir’s of a broadcaster by David Attenborough
Catherine says, “I am engrossed in this. I’m listening to it as an audio book and just lurvve his voice, but his journey is so engaging and so much more than the animal documentaries we all know and love.”

 

On The Beach by Nevil Shute
Lynn is a big fan of this. She says “More of a nuclear summer? I read this at a young age. Characters carried on regardless in the sweltering heat as I realised, to my horror, they were all doomed.  Scarier than any Pan Book of Horror!”

 

Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey
“It’s set in Sydney in Australia in the late 70’s and is about a group of teenagers ‘coming of age’. It’s not really my favourite book, but it and the movie always give me a good laugh for being so cheesy and kitsch.”

 

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
“Entertaining but informs the reader of the culture of the times and the history of partition.”

 

The Bible
Catherine says this “is my handbook for life. It gives me wisdom, encouragement, inspiration and words of love that lift my spirit. It is always in my mind and heart and never far from my hand.”

 

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Alex loves this book. He says it’s “a great mystery with some wonderful characters. Engrossing.”

 

The Neapolitan by Elena Ferrante
Catie recommends reading these books this summer. She says “they don’t all take place in the summertime, but in Book 2, most of it takes place on a beach in Italy. It’s scandalous, salacious and influences all subsequent books.”

 

The portrait of the Artist as a young man by James Joyce
“Portrait was challenging conventional ways of writing and long held beliefs and traditions. As an aspiring artist in those days, that’s what I wanted to do as well.  “

 

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
“It’s about the love and friendship between a girl and her artist grandmother while they spend the summer together on the Swedish archipelago. It’s about freedom, nature and death and is beautifully written.”

 

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
This book sums up summer reading for Samantha. “A beautiful coming of age story about a literary young woman in privileged yet difficult circumstances falling in love, and choosing not to lose her head. It’s wonderfully written, the characters are captivating, and you get a lovely sense of endless English summer.

“I confess it also reminds me of my teenage summers in the countryside, especially as a friend had a very similar house. We had cars though, which did make the meeting of suitable and unsuitable boys much easier!  (Dodie Smith also wrote another much more famous work: 101 Dalmations.)”

 

The Waste Land  by TS Eliot
“It’s got so many literary illusions – you could DEDICATE your whole life to studying it.”

 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“The atmosphere of a sleepy Southern town; you just get so sucked in. Kids looking for an adventure over the summer. Compelling, moving and very easy to read.”

 

VALIS by Philip K Dick
“PKD at his best. It got everything: libraries, mind expansion and the grail myth. A real stonker of a book”.

 

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Fanfic before there was even an internet to be a fanperson on? This book “expands and presents a very different view of Jane Eyre, illuminating it with the dark side of the British Empire”.

 

Anything by MJ Arlidge
One member of staff said he got into these books after they were recommended to him by Director of Library Services.

 

Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan
Chosen twice.  One member of staff said he likes it because it reminds him of a year spent in Paris and the South of France which he described as “smashing”. Another member of staff said “I just remember a lot of it being on a beach and it was quite evocative”.

 

Eleanor of Aquitaine
“Eleanor of Aquitaine was the baddasserest queen to ever badass. She married two kings and birthed two more, and outlived all but one, always making sure to run her own Aquitinian estates perfectly whilst fighting off all sorts of ne’erdo wells and having five equally badass daughters. She shaped the 12th century, and with it, western Europe.”

 

 

What do you think of our recommendations? Have we missed anything? Tell us in the comments below.