Adventures from my Garden

Over the last week I have overloaded my brain with many books from my summer reading pile. Now, not only am I back on track with my good reads reading target, but I have also covered many of our past reading group themes. In a week I have chartered the waters of #NPTPast, #NPTLol, #NPTLove, #NPTNewU, #NPTCosy and #NPTGuilty. Phew!

I would love to say it was really hard work (mainly because I’ve been using the excuse ‘I have to read them for reading group’ all week) but realistically it’s been an adventure filled with murder mysteries, corsets and laugh out loud moments, withour leaving my back garden. My holiday reading list is filled with books I put on stand-by for when I ‘need’ a book. The ones that catch your interest but you never get round to reading because you head back to the old faithful. This months twitter chat will be filled twittering about the books we’ve enjoyed during our hollibobs. Do you have a book you always read on holiday? Do you read a book and leave it on a sun lounger for someone else to enjoy? Have you been converted to e-books and e-readers (meaning you can now take clothes on holiday rather than just books, you know who you are!) or do you take a break from reading altogether?

Join us on Twitter on 26th August at 8pm to chat about your months reading.

PR_180_MNSee you there

Happy Reading 

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Forbidden Fruit

Do you seek out the forbidden? Are you secretly thrilled to be reading something disapproved of? Did you know that many of the books now considered world favourites, were banned in many countries? Nope this isn’t another blog post about 50 Shades, but about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh and even Where’s Wally? Yep, books, children’s books no less that were banned and some in parts of the UK.

Most adults can remember being read Winnie the Pooh as a child, however, I never realised it was once banned because the animals spoke! ‘That’s bonkers!’ I hear you cry. To us in an age and country where we have a wide variety and freedom of choice as to what we read it seems so. But, in many parts of the world and the most vocal probably being America this isn’t an unusual reason used for protecting young minds.

Want to hear some more? Here we go…..

Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak was banned in the 1960’s for promoting the supernatural.

The Lorax – Dr Seuss was banned for what some believed to be an anti-logging message.

Where’s Waldo?  – Martin Handford was banned from many schools when people started to spot sunbathers in the nip.

Before you all rush off to find old copies of Where’s Wally? and begin the search for sunbathers, my absolute favourite reason for banning a children’s book is the following:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  – Roald Dahl

Reason: Poor philosophy of life.

I kid you not this was the belief of a Colorado Library.

When you join us on twitter tonight, keep in mind your childhood favourites. Were they considered acceptable by all? Do you love them all the more for being considered a bit risky by some? Are you appalled by the thought that your most loved childhood book was banned at all?

Pop onto twitter tonight at 8pm to tell what you think using #NPTFree

Happy Reading


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“Books were despised by the Viking Tribes, as they were seen as a horrible civilizing influence and a threat to the barbarian culture.”
― Cressida CowellA Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons

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Reading books – a controversial pastime?

For those of us who love reading, we know that books mean different things to different people. They can be comforting, fun, relaxing or thought-provoking and challenging. A good book can open our minds to new possibilities, but can they ever be dangerous? One very famous Doctor would say yes, for that very reason (see below), but can a book ever be so dangerous that we should stop people reading it?

Doctor Who quote

As a librarian, I would have to say no, but there are many people would disagree with me. The problem is that books can challenge our beliefs and throughout the world, there are many different beliefs held by very many people. What could be perceived as innocent to me could be offensive to others. Some of my favourite books ever have been banned in other countries for this very reason e.g. the Harry Potter series, which has been banned from some schools and libraries in the US for promoting witchcraft and the occult. Leaders of world religion have also protested against some books, for example, the Catholic Church expressed it’s disapproval of Dan Brown’s books, The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons by banning the filming of the movie of Angels and Demons in any of it’s churches.

Books have been banned throughout the world for challenging beliefs, but also for challenging political ideas and policies. George Orwell’s 1984 was banned in some places in the US for being pro-communist, but then, ironically, also banned in the USSR for criticising the Soviet regime. Jung Chang’s Wild Swans remains banned in China, 22 years after it’s first publication, for it’s depiction of life as a woman in China.

One reason for censorship that we can’t forget is content… if 50 Shades of Grey had been published 60 years ago, we would not have reading it so openly. D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned in the UK until 1960, for it’s sexually explicit content, which would probably now seem mild when compared to recent erotic publications.

Some people would argue that the banning of books only makes them more desirable to read, so as my last thought – as teenagers, how many of us read Forever by Judy Blume (hands up, please!)? Did we read it because it was good story (it is) or that we knew that it was slightly controversial and possibly deemed a bit naughty?

My challenge (that word again) for you this month… find and read a banned book. I don’t think that you find it too hard a challenge. If you need some inspiration, take a look at some of my choices, half of which I didn’t even realise had been banned in some part of the world.

Twitter reading group will be on Tuesday 30th July, 8 pm, and we will be using #NPTfree to bring our tweets together.


Bethan's banned reads

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Stuck on Sport

I’ve been a bit quiet recently when it comes to this month’s reading theme. Why? Well because it’s all about sport. Just typing that word gives me shivers down my spine. As you may have guessed my knowledge of all things sporty is limited. So, in my determination to be a sports eejit no more, I did what every self respecting researcher does and googled ‘sports in books’.

My system for sorting google results is simple; if I don’t find what I’m looking for in the first 5 results I try again. (I know, I know, a genius approach). Luckily result number 5 was titled ‘Popular sports books’ on Yes! Scrolling through the list there were many books I’ve never heard of, a few I had and a couple I’ve even read. For example:  Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby considered a classic by some, I read this in my youth. Whilst it wasn’t a life changing book for me, there are plenty of borderline obsessive fans of something that can identify with Nicks football story. In the name of ‘research’, I have also read Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally. Great teen book based around american football and falling in love for the first time. However, this list didn’t just stop there. If you are a lover of Mills and Boons there’s a few entries for you and I even discovered that fans of the 50 Shades trilogy can find similar books here, categorised as sport. (Blush!)

As regular readers of this blog will know, I don’t read biographies. Real life doesn’t spark my interest, so the many ‘how I learnt to kick a ball’ books by a variety of footballers will never be read by me. So what did I read?


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Country File magazine. Ok, possibly a bit of a cheat, but in my defence it does have a section on different walks in different parts of Britain. After skimming past the section on the top 10 seaside pubs in the UK, I discovered not only a lovely walk in South Wales but also about some funky equipment that would stop me from getting lost and a fantastic new range of waterproof coats (I do live in Wales after all!) as someone who enjoys a bit of trundle I felt this ticked the #NPTPlay box.

Why did I not go for something more challenging? Well does it matter what we’re reading, as long as we are reading, right?

Join us on Twitter on Tuesday 25th June (tonight!) to tell why you love or hate sports relating books. Don’t forget the hash tag #NPTPlay

Happy Reading


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#NPTPast Round-up

Despite the competition of Britain’s Got Talent, our faithful tweeters were still ready for this months twitter chat. So what historically flavoured gems were you all reading this month?


In the Green Tree by Alun Lewis

Enlightenment by Roy Porter

Enigma by Robert Harris

Projekt Saucer series by WA Harbinson

The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger


Other Authors


Stephanie Laurens

Julia Quinn

Lisa Kleypas

Elizabeth Hoyt

In Cold Blood


Non – Fiction

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale

Historical biographies on Emma Hamilton and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Horrible Histories series

Blackadder: The Whole Damn Dynasty by Richard Curtis

This month’s chat didn’t produce a ‘Marmite book’ (what an agreeable bunch we are!) however, we did discover that whilst people did enjoy a variety of books, anything set in WW1 or 2 caused the most excitement in discussions.

Next months theme is all about sporty books #NPTPlay

Before we sign off, here’s a brief history lesson….

Horrible Histories RAF Song

See on the last Tuesday in June for our next twitter chat

Happy Reading












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Boom, boom, boom, boom!

Having enjoyed a trundle through Gail Carrigers steampunk adventures, I found myself with time on my hands and in hunt of another book ready for our fast approaching twitter chat.  Where to go next? Do I head back into the world of the regency romance, or dig out my copy of Kate Mosse Labyrinth? My cunning plan: to raid my groaning book shelves.

The result: I spotted a gem I’ve not picked up in many years – a book of Blackadder scripts.

On re-discovering this book I let out a squeal that would make a six year old proud, put the kettle on and got ready to make my ribs hurt from laughing at the Blackadder family history.

Does it tick the necessary boxes to fit with this months reading theme?

Well it’s historical (and accurate enough to make you wonder why Andrew Marr’s History programmes are so long), whilst based on historical fact, it is essentially a fictional story and it’s great! Which gives me enough reasons for me to read it and talk about it at great length whether people to hear it or not!

Did I enjoy reading it again? (You probably can guess the answer to that!)

Keep an eye out for our favourite quotes from historical books we’ve read throughout today on twitter and get ready to join our chatting from 8pm. don’t forget the hash tag – #NPTPast.

On that note I’ll leave you with one of my favourite pieces of poetry.

“Boom, boom, boom, boom.

 Boom, boom, boom, boom.

 Boom, boom, boom, boom.

 Boom, boom, boom.”

                                By S Baldrick.

Happy Reading


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Giving the Past Scope


When it comes to Historical Fiction, I’ve read a lot! Starting at a young age with good old Catherine Cookson, I enjoy a gentle trip into past be it with working class heroes or husband hunting with the Ton. There are many different styles of fictional history around, from the depressions ooop north with Josephine Cox to more action packed and comedic titles by Julia Quinn (I know I’m not the only one glad to never be invited to a Smythe-Smith musical evening!) The choices in the genre of book seem to be endless and luckily not aimed at the romantics.

Being a general fan of all things historical, it is important that the books setting to be somewhat credible. However, if the author stretches facts to enhance fiction, I don’t mind. Take steam punk for example; set during the Victorian era or American Wild West, it stays loyal to many of the ways Victorians/ Frontiers men thought and behaved. Yet, with a spot of ‘giving the truth scope’, our lovely ancestors are having the time of their life with gadgets galore and adventures you could only dream of.

As a style of book I’ve not really delved into, I thought this would be a good time to step away from the gentler saga books I’ve enjoyed over the years and delve head first into the more riotous escapades of Gail Carrigers Steam Punk characters. My book for this month is ‘Etiquette and Espionage’ – the tale of Sophronia a tree climbing, clock dismantling young lady, who is enrolled at a finishing school with no ordinary curriculum. Sounds interesting!

But what are you reading? Do you have a strict criterion? Are you inspired by Sky’s Games of Thrones to read the books?

Join us on May 28th at 8pm to twitter chat about all this historical #NPTPast

Happy Reading


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