November; The noons are more laconic and the sundowns sterner - Emily Dickinson

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east sussex library and information service

November 2019

One Booker Two Winners!

Girl, Woman, Other Bernardine Evaristo Testaments Margaret Atwood

Congratulations to Bernardine Evaristo and Margaret Atwood who, in a controversial decision, both won the Booker Prize 2019.  The judges deliberated for days, and even moments before the announcement they could not make a decision.  One judge said of the winners: You can’t compare them. But you can recognise them both.

Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Testaments by Atwood is set in the world of Handmaid’s Tale, fifteen years after the original story with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

Both books and the authors' back catalogue are available from East Sussex Libraries.

Men's health November

Robert Webb How Not to be a Boy

The month of November has a focus on men’s health. To mark this ‘Movember,’ Phie from our Communication Team reviews How Not to be a Boy by Robert Webb.

"This insightful autobiography explores the foggy world of gender stereotyping and its impact on mental health. Whilst still at primary school Webb realised he didn’t fit the mould of ‘a boy’ and growing up in 1970s working class Lincolnshire, felt he had to hide this.    

He hated football and fighting, he loved poetry, he cried and he fancied boys…a perfect example of ‘how not to be a boy’. In contrast, his father was ‘a real man’ – a big drinker who worked hard, spoke his mind, slept around and lost his temper.

Through desperation to keep his ‘differences’ hidden, and struggle through hard times on his own, he dipped in and out of dark, alcohol-dependent and suicidal places. Webb points out his gender’s flaw (a stereotype in itself?) that culminates in considerably more men taking their own lives than women.  He seems to know all along that repressing emotions is harming him, and his inner thoughts fight against it, yet he can’t change. By the time he’s married with children, the disappointing realisation kicks in that he’s not the happy, feminist, equal partner he’d hoped to be (despite the repression and conforming) – the Patriarchy had won.

This touching, hilarious book ends with Webb reflecting how lucky he was to have always been loved - that’s all that really matters. At his father’s funeral he shares:

‘We can hold this sadness close. Grief is love’s echo. The earthquake was love’.

He urges men, boys, women, girls and people who don’t associate with any of those words, to avoid the pre-built mould, and encourages his daughters to strive for whatever makes them happy.  Today it’s a game of football, which he admits he’s starting to quite like.

Reading can give us the language to describe how we feel; we've curated a special Men's Health collection of novels and narrative non-fiction featuring Real Men who Feel.

National Stress Awareness Day

National Stress Awareness Day 2019

The first Wednesday in November each year is National Stress Awareness Day. Being under pressure is a normal part of life, however being overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems.

Reading is a brilliant way of reducing stress; it lowers your heart rate and lights up your sensory cortex.  But most importantly you can always find a book featuring characters who have similar experiences; how they deal with situations – successfully or not – can influence you. Reading narratives about different experiences, cultures and people is related to better understanding.  Ann Patchett says reading fiction or narrative non-fiction:

"gives us the skills to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we've never met, living lives we couldn't possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside the character's skin."

We have two Bibliotherapy collections for you to enjoy, including a Mood Boost collection for those who just need a fun read to brighten their day and a collection entitled Existential Crisis exploring different perspectives on life.

Diary of events

Code Clubs are free coding sessions for children aged 8–13 during term time. Learn how to code simple animations, games and websites using Scratch or HTML.

If you know the basics of using computers but can get stumped by quite simple problems a Computer Buddy can help.

Rhymetimes and Storytimes are great for your child’s speech and language. Research shows they have a positive effect on the mood and mental wellbeing of dads, mums, grannies and grandads.

Library Facebook

East Sussex Library Service

Follow us on our Library Facebook page to get up-the-minute Library News, Views and Trivia.  

DVDs out this month

Exorcist - film poster

Venture into our DVD Cave of Wonders for romantic comedies, exorcisms and amazing grace. 

Christmas Events

Photo by Rodolfo Marques on Unsplash

Seaford Christmas Magic brings the sounds and smells of Christmas with a full range of entertainment and attractions including Storytimes at the Library. 

Hastings Library has a Christmasaurus Event, discover why dinosaurs are the most awesome creatures.

Rye Christmas Festival the amazing Kevin Graal will be telling stories.