With libraries becoming more and more equipped, it’s time to accept that they are moving with us into the new age. Numerous computers are installed, millions of research pages are only a click away and of course, the original USP remains the books. Personally, one of my favourite things about the library is the silence. While that sounds relatively sinister, it can be really hard to study in peace at home or even at a university library. There are a large amount of people that come purely to have a sheltered chat with their friends, which I have been guilty of myself but now library’s have introduced ‘Quiet’ or ‘Silent’ floors, you are guaranteed a place to work to your heart’s content. Also, there are now numerous cafes built inside libraries so you do not even have to leave the building in order to get a caffeine fix!
Another great aspect is the installation of computers, printers and photocopiers. I will never forget the fateful few days of no electricity in my house where I felt like a cavewoman searching for a meaning to life beyond having wifi. The library was my beacon of hope for studying and gave me the opportunity to work efficiently and in warmth. I also don’t own a working printer, so the 5p sheets of paper are what get my essays in on time.
I’ve heard arguments that libraries are now obsolete. This argument back and forth has been happening for some time and while I understand that we are taking a massive leap into a world with smart watches, robots and holographs, libraries still have a valid place in society. They have tried their best to remain modern and accessible to the masses which is what libraries have always tried to do. They offer a place of shelter, not just for printerless people like me but for people who are looking for jobs, for homeless people to sit in warmth and for people to meet and plan events in the local communities. Libraries are staples in our society. They encourage us to read and to educate ourselves further. They open their doors to anyone and everyone. Places like this in society need to be treasured and appreciated not replaced in order to make room for another Starbucks or fancy Apple Store.
I’ve not always been loyal to my library (the fines were a low point, okay!) but from being eight years old and feeling ecstatic that I could borrow books to spending hours upon hours studying for exams in my late teens, the importance of the library has always been evident to me. We should all try and support our local libraries a bit more.
In all honestly, I knew after re-reading this book for a second time that the subsequent book post would soon follow and here we are.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller tells the story of Achilles and Patroclus during their childhood and the Trojan war, focusing on the breathtakingly beautiful romance they share. The characters, though set in ancient Greece, are personable and relatable with genuinely inspiring views on love, life and death. There is somewhat of a historical debate over the nature of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. However, Miller’s retelling of the story offers a tale that will undoubtedly make you fall in love with Achilles and Patroclus’ bond.
It reads like poetry, flowing effortlessly with numerous poignant lines which will force you to reach for your highlighter in the hopes to internalize them. The Song of Achilles is truly one of a kind: it’s the kind of book that stays with you days after reading and you wonder if you’ll ever find something that matches it’s greatness. (Can you tell I liked the book?)
Also, it’s just recently been announced by Madeline Miller that “Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd., producer of the acclaimed BBC series Peaky Blinders, has optioned the rights to The Song of Achilles for a possible television mini-series.” If it’s anything like the book, it’s surely going to be a hit! So if you want to get ahead of the crowd, I’d recommend picking up the book and immersing yourself in Miller’s world. You can purchase it from Waterstones, WHSmiths or Amazon.
Ultimately I debated how many stars to give TSOA, I was hesitant to go for broke but to be honest, I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t give it five stars.
Young Adult books are home to some of the most complex and fascinating characters ranging from super heroes to protagonists with everyday problems. However there seems to still be one area that is taboo to many: LGBTA protagonists. Many have battled this by claiming, “I wouldn’t know how to write such a character” while releasing their newest book about a world full of vampires and werewolves or have begun casting a lgbta sidekick as merely a prop used for nothing more than their sexuality. There is a world out there for you to explore and make. I would love to read a book about a boy that falls in love with another boy on board the Titanic or above the stars. A boy who is happy and healthy. His sexuality not being the main plot line but not pushed to the side as irrelevant. How many more Hollywood love triangles do we need? That age-old ‘Romeo and Juliet” love that seems to litter the majority of Young Adult pages? Representation is a must for a growing society, as media plays such a large part in our everyday lives; we have to be able to see more than stereotypes. We need to make sure young lgbta people can read about a badass hero just like them who’s sexuality is not the most interesting thing about them. This can be tackled by writing and publishing more books with lgbta protagonists in all genres but also by supporting the ones already published. So if you are curious about some books centred around lgbta people in the young adult genre, this is a good list to look at – https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/ya-lgbt I hope one day the shelfs in Waterstones will be lined with all different types of young protagonists.