Book Buzz; August.

Events at Bideford Library.

Tuesday 1 August 10 – 12; drop in activity. Become your own Secret Agent! Join us in making super sleuth disguises! Booking not necessary.

Friday 11th August 10-11 ‘Cops and Robbers.’   Fun session with Bideford Police Officers.

Friday 25th August 2.00 – 3.00; Children’s author of ‘Alex Sparrow and the really Big Stink,’ Jennifer Killick, will be running the following session: ‘Have you ever wondered what our animal friends get up to when we’re not looking? What if they were all secret agents?’ In this fun creative writing workshop, we will design our own animal agents and send them on dangerous missions. Warning: you may never look at your pet goldfish the same way again. Booking is essential for this session. In conjunction with the Burton Art Gallery.

Over the summer we will also have a special Animal Agent Treasure Hunt around the library which will run throughout the holiday and our Friends’ Group are organising a ‘Guess the name of the Library Otter. ‘ (stuffed not real!!) Look out for our Super Secret Agent Finishers’ event. More details at 01237 476075.

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Events at Appledore Library.

Thursday 3 Aug – Animal Themed Lego Club, 10.30 – 12pm.

Wednesday 16 Aug – Agent Eight Legs Craft, 2-3.30pm.

Thursday 24 Aug – Secret Agent Craft Activity 10:30 – 12pm.

The Summer Reading Challenge runs until 9th September. Collect your goody bag while stocks last and try the treasure hunt to be entered into a competition. More details at 01237 477442.

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Events at Northam Library.

Wednesday 2 August 10.30—Agent Eight Legs. FREE.

Monday 7 August 2pm—Really Wild Learning; £2.

Monday 14 August 3.30pm—The Fisher Knight’s Tale; £2.

Monday 21 August 2pm—Mini-medics first aid for 8-12 year olds. FREE.

Monday 4 September 2pm—Teen-aiders first aid for 13-16 year olds. FREE.

Booking is essential for most events. To book call: 01237 475111 or email northam.library@librariesunlimited.org.uk

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Bideford Library Readers’ Group.

The Luminaries”, by Eleanor Catton, discussed by Bideford Library Readers’ Group.

Eleanor Catton’s book won the Man Booker prize in 2013. It is a hefty book of 832 pages and this is maybe why apparently for every 10 people who buy the book only two actually read it. Our percentage was slightly higher. Yes there were only 2 of us who finished it, but there were only eight in the group. Those who abandoned it early on pointed not only to the length, but the fact that it is slow moving and has a very complicated plot.

The novel is set on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand during the gold rush of the 1860s. It reads like a genuine Victorian novel full of contemporary speech and detail unfolding leisurely with many twists and turns. We none of us really came to grips with the astrological influences which dominate the book – the title itself, the fact the book is in 12 parts, that the characters act in conjunction with the 12 signs of the Zodiac.

It opens with the arrival of Walter Moody, a young Scot, who has come to Hokitika, a town that has sprung up on the back of the Gold Rush in the hope of making his fortune. He lodges in the local hostelry where it happens a group of 12 men have gathered to discuss their predicament. They are all connected in various ways to the mysteries at the centre of the book – the disappearance of a young man, the death of a drunk, the whereabouts of a stash of gold, and the strange behaviour of a whore. Moody gains the trust of these men and listens to their stories. The reader is kept on tenterhooks as secrets are gradually revealed. Some critics have felt that although the book is brilliantly constructed, it lacks substance.

But it does seem to have in it much that is thought provoking and engaging. By the end of our discussion some of those who hadn’t finished it thought they might give it another try. Perhaps during the long dark nights of Winter.

Hilary Aikman.

Next meeting of the group is on Wednesday 2nd August 2pm at Bideford Library when we shall be discussing ‘How to be both’ by Ali Smith.

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