Book Buzz – April.

‘A Wanted Man’, by Lee Child (A Jack Reacher Novel) – discussed by Bideford Library Readers’ Group.

This is one of the twenty or so novels by Lee Child featuring Jack Reacher, ex US military cop, drifter of no fixed abode, and free-spirit detective. A Wanted Man begins with Jack Reacher hitchhiking on an American highway. He is picked up by two men and a woman who, as the book unfolds, and we and Jack discover, have fled the scene of a murder taking the woman as hostage. Jack is offered a lift to avoid the car being stopped by police roadblocks looking for two men. The story involves the FBI, CIA and various US and foreign agencies and although quite a complex plot, the group didn’t think it had the twists and turns common to many detective novels. The hero is an interesting character with an analytical mind, able to recall facts such as the populations of various American cities and decipher a code conveyed by the hostage with secret blinks of her eyes. He has no home and travels with no luggage, always on the move, righting wrongs without the authority of any police department.

The opinion of the group was quite divided and was described as ‘brilliant’, and ‘boring and tedious’. But generally it was thought to be an enjoyable and engrossing read, often implausible and brutal with a high body count, but then, that’s only to be expected of this genre. Personally, it was not a book I would have chosen to borrow, but I enjoyed it more than I expected to. None of the group had read the other novels in the series and most agreed we wouldn’t want to read any more ! A film has been made of a Jack Reacher story with Tom Cruise as the hero, and it was noted that in the novels, Reacher is a giant of a man with a broken nose, not all like Mr Cruise.

Lesley Palmer.

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The Tricky Period.

Staff at Northam Library have been inspired to take on an initiative developed by Norfolk Libraries to tackle period poverty in our communities.

The issue of period poverty has been highlighted in various articles recently and shockingly there are many women and girls who are unable to afford sanitary protection. Women and girls who then have to find their own, often insufficient alternatives, like toilet paper or stuffing socks.

Unsurprisingly girls can feel unable to attend school for the worry of bleeding onto their clothes and find it almost impossible to talk to anyone for the shame surrounding both periods and lack of money. There are women who simply cannot afford sanitary products for themselves because they are trying to survive or feed a family.

To tackle this difficult situation The Tricky Period project will run initially in Northam, Appledore, Bideford and Torrington Libraries who will be taking donations of any spare sanitary products from the public.

Once there is a sufficient amount packs can be organised to be given freely with no questions asked to anyone in need.The aim is to improve the health of low income/homeless women and girls and work with local organisations and schools to maximise the benefits. By highlighting this issue we can help to dispel some of the shame by recognising period poverty in our area and make these necessary products accessible.

As an integral part of the community that supports well-being and education the public library is particularly well placed and we hope you will support us.

Please contact Northam Library (01237 475111) if you have any queries.

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‘Pull up the blinds’ – a new novel by Ann Allen.

Do you find crumpled pieces of paper in your pockets? Ann Allen, local author of Rockbridge and Lundy Lichens, did as she cleared out for a removal to find 70 years of poetry, the feelings and imagery expressed by a 20… 30… 40… 50… 60… 70… and an 80 year-old. All is revealed in her new book, ‘Pull up the blinds’ , £8.99, published by Mirador, available from Walter Henry’s Bookshop, and all good book shops, and available to order from your local library as well.

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