The Information store can be a confusing place, but our staff are always on hand to assist you. We can show you how to search for books, teach you how to reference your essays and help you find a quiet place to study. In this series of blog posts, our lovely staff members answer some bookish questions and prove that there is more to us than “SHHHH”!
I’m Helen and I’m a Library Services Officer. I enjoy quite a broad range of fiction and also really enjoy non-fiction books, mainly history. I also enjoy historical fiction, even though the stories are fictional the historical settings and often many of the characters are real and they can help make history more accessible as they often look at events from a different point of view.
Who’s your favourite fictional character?
It’s a difficult choice, I love classic detective novels and one of my favourite characters is Agatha Raisin. Agatha is an amateur detective in a long running series of crime books by author MC Beaton. She’s curious and chaotic and almost gets herself killed in the process of solving crimes.
I also love Agatha Christie’s Poirot, another detective but with a very different style. Poirot is precise and methodical and always uses his ‘little grey cells’ to solve the crime
Read the first instalment of this long running series, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton (BOOK ZONE 823.914 BEA)
Or try a collection of short stories featuring Poirot, The Double Clue and Other Hercule Poirot Stories by Agatha Christie (QUICK READS 823.91 CHR)
For many years Belgian detective Poirot was played by British actor David Suchet. Ashley Jensen, who starred alongside Ricky Gervais in Extras, plays Agatha Raisin in the Sky1 drama adapted from The Quiche of Death.
Which period in history would you like to live in?
I’d love to have been born in the Enlightenment (18th Century). It was time of scientific discovery and political upheaval. People were encouraged to question the world around them and not settle for the status quo. I think I would want to have been born male though, and also quite wealthy as if I was poor and female I don’t think I would have had quite the same experience.
To learn more about this important period in history, try reading The Enlightenment and Modernity by Norman Geras and Robert Wokler (BOOK ZONE 940.25 GER)
This 18th Century painting depicts Liberty as a woman, using lightning-charged sceptre to defeat her enemies, Ignorance and Fanaticism.
Has a book ever made you cry?
Books don’t often make me cry but they can affect my mood. I think the last book I read that made me feel sad was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. I don’t want to give too much of the story away but it involved an animal being mistreated and that always upsets me. We don’t currently stock this book at College but you can borrow it from Norfolk Libraries.
Paper or ebooks?
I think it’s more about the content and quality of what you’re reading rather than what you read it on. So to me they are both same and I read both formats. For reading on the move I really like the fact I can have multiple books on my ereader.
What’s your favourite book adaptation?
I am currently really enjoying The Last Kingdom on the BBC. It’s based on the Saxon Series of books by Bernard Cornwall (also famous for the Sharpe series) which I’m reading alongside the TV series. The series follows a fictional character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg but places him in real battles and with many real people that did live through those events. I like how closely the series follows the books, I also like the violence, the battles and the Danes. Again if I was alive then I’d probably rather be male and rich, history did not treat the poor or women well.
For a humorous take on the Viking world and mythology read Viking: The Norse Warrior’s (Unofficial) Manual by John Haywood (BOOK ZONE 948.02 HAY)
When is your favourite time to read?
Anytime, I always have a book open at breakfast, I read on the way to work (when I’m not driving), I read in my lunch break and I always read before I go to bed.
Keep reading Between the Lines to get to know the rest of your library staff- Eleanor and Victoria’s profiles are here.
There’s still time to take part in the 2017 Reading Ahead Challenge! Learn more about the challenge by following Eleanor’s progress here.
Chapuy, J (1795) La Liberté armée du sceptre de la Raison foudroie l’ignorance et le Fanatisme Available at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALa_Libert%C3%A9_arm%C3%A9e_du_sceptre_de_la_Raison_foudroie_l%E2%80%99ignorance_et_le_Fanatisme.jpg (Accessed: 6 June 2017)
Creech, A (2013) two Belgians [H24/365] Available at: https://flic.kr/p/dPsAQ5 (Accessed: 6 June 2017)
Gibson, M (2015) Nightstand Buddhist Available at: https://flic.kr/p/qBK4Zj (Accessed: 7 June 2017)
Mrgarethm (2015) Agatha Raisin Set Available at: https://flic.kr/p/xDjwYt (Accessed: 6 June 2017)
Sancho, D (2011) ebook Available at: https://flic.kr/p/9DV2zS (Accessed: 7 June 2017)