The festive season is nearly upon us and you may have time for some recreational reading. For inspiration look no further than the Library’s Education in Literature Collection. The collection contains novels, plays, biographies and DVDs which explore the educational experience at all levels and from different viewpoints.
Recent additions to the collection include Once upon a Term by Michael C. Cox. The term in question is the summer one at Beaumont Abbey, a private, independent boarding school for boys in the north of England. The author has drawn on his own experiences, and those of colleagues, to make his characters and events come to life.
In Confidence by Rowland Manthorpe and Kirstin Smith Ellie and Ben are both in their final year at university. The story of their progress (or lack of it) is blended with an introduction to Nietzsche’s philosophy of confidence. A strange mixture that unexpectedly works very well.
One woman dares to risk everything for the chance of a better life in The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe. This novel is a compelling fictionalised account of the life of the fascinating African-American woman, Anita Hemmings. In the 1890s she had to pose as a white student in order to be able to attend Vassar, a prestigious women’s college.
The failure of the British government’s post-World War Two “Groundnut Scheme” left empty buildings at Kongwa in Central Tanganyika (now Tanzania). The buildings were utilised as a school at which, at aged nine, Tony Edwards became a pupil in 1952. His experiences are described in The Slope of Kongwa Hill: a boy’s tale of Africa by Anthony R. Edwards. Added to the usual tribulations of boarding school life were encounters with deadly snakes, locust invasions, shooting game for the school’s meat supply and other trials of living in a remote location surrounded by the African bush.
If you prefer a scary tale as an antidote to Seasonal Cheer then you could read The Perils and Dangers of this Night by Stephen Gregory. The setting is a boy’s prep school, Foxwood Manor, which lies deep in the Dorset woodlands. It is Christmas 1966 and twelve year old Alan Kerr has been deserted by his mother. Instead he has to spend Christmas with the Kemps. The Headmaster and his wife are not ideal company for a lonely boy. Things seem to change for the better with the unexpected arrival of an ex-pupil, Martin Pryce and his girlfriend. Gradually Alan realises that Martin is seeking revenge for some terrible past event. A heavy fall of snow isolates the school and it becomes a Christmas no-one will forget. The hauntingly chilly, strange events that follow build to a frightening and bloody finale.
Just a reminder that books may be borrowed for 4 weeks and the DVDs for 1 week. However because the Library is closed for Christmas from 5pm on Friday 23rd December 2016 until 8.30 am on Tuesday 3rd January 2017, DVDs which are borrowed from Friday 16th December onwards will be due on Wednesday 4th January.