Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘Short Stories

 

sweet-dreams-by-brillianthues-2013

Sweet dreams by Brillianthues (2013) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Happy New Year!

The theme of this blog post is short and sweet: getting the most out of reading and learning in bite-sized chunks.

Short stories

We’ve been building our collection of books from around the world in Hillcroft LRC because we want to give a taste of reading to suit everyone and to resonate with all kinds of readers. There’s a new literary prize set up to illuminate the works of black and minority ethnic (BAME) authors. It’s really exciting to hear about more diversity in publishing. There are so many more stories that we can hear.

Have a look at the short stories on The Asian Writer website for quick hits of new perspectives and universal feelings.

Apps

On a list of the best apps to keep you on track with new year’s resolutions are two notables. One is Pocket Cast to organise and find podcasts, a great way to learn on the go and when your eyes are tired. The second app that I am keen to try out is Lrn, which promises to teach the basics of code with fun quizzes and short lessons.

First News

In the LRC we’ve subscribed to a new newspaper called FirstNews. This is the news in short, with lots of engaging pictures and graphs. If you don’t have time to read a whole article take a moment and grab First News. You can learn something on a single page.

Chrome Web Store

The Chrome Web Store has lots of add-ons (extensions) to customise internet use. All of the browsers will have similar online stores. There are lots of free ways to make research more fun such as adding a kitten picture to every new tab. There’s a goal setting, note taking, procrastination busting homepage from Limitless. More health benefits also include extensions to remind you to take a break or drink water. Check out the web store and reinvent your internet experience.

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Last week we posted about novellas. We asked which of the prize-winning short books written by women would you like to read whilst at Hillcroft:

Being a college for women means that we try to make women feature prominently in our book collections where suitable. Not just female authors, but female characters too. Yet would we want to read books by women about women? According to the article ‘Books about women less likely to win prizes, study finds‘ – apparently not. Women seem to prefer books about male lead characters and supports the argument for “women’s perspectives being considered uninteresting or unworthy” (Flood 2015).

Uninteresting? Unworthy?….Really?

Do the above novellas feature women as main characters? After reading the short summaries below, do those with main female characters sound as interesting as the other stories?

Three Blind Mice is a murder mystery with a bunch of characters stuck in a house together knowing one of the group is a killer.

The Photograph centers around a female character, Kath… who is dead.

The Grandmothers is about two women who fall in love with each other’s sons.

The Awakening is about a woman who has an unhappy marriage (controversial when it was written in 1899!)

The Artist of Disappearance is about a man called Ravi who lives in solitude on a mountain in India.

The Pre-War House & other stories features families often in dark situations.

Black Water centres on a woman who is attracted to a very powerful, older man at a party.

Heartstones is a Gothic thriller about two sisters living with their widowed father. One of the sisters is obsessed with taking her mother’s place.

Brokeback Mountain is about love between two cowboys.

Mathilda is told by a woman on her deathbed about her sad life without a mother and a disastrous relationship with her father. Published 150 years after it was written because it was so controversial.

Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is centred around the sinister influence that a charismatic female teacher has on girls in school.

Black Sheep is an especially bleak tale about a family in a small mining village.

So there we have it, lots of family drama and controversial relationships. There are strong and strange female characters aplenty. Yet all the stories are based in Western cultures apart from The Artist of Disappearance – but addressing that issue would be another whole blog post.

Working in the LRC means that the team enjoys books and encourages wide reading in all formats and genres –  illustrated and plain text; digital and print; long and short. Yet even I must admit I put down the grand epic ‘War and Peace‘ because it was just too long. According to this literature infographic, it would take you somewhere upwards of 32 hours to read that novel.

If you are up for a challenging read but don’t have much time, many of the most famous authors also wrote novellas. Novellas are short fiction which are often realistic or satirical (See the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry). They are much like short stories and influenced that concise genre of writing. They would probably only take one or two hours to read. Quick wins! It’s not about how fast you read something or whether you finish a book. Novellas may also lead you onto authors whose style you enjoy and can read their longer works.

In libraries novellas and short stories are included with fiction and modern literature shelves. We have stickers on the spines to show you they are short stories. You could try reading Alice Munro’s work for instance. We have Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage in the LRC.

Novellas and short stories could have a shelf for themselves with appropriate signage. Like our Quick Reads shelf. The advantage would be speed. It would be much quicker to locate. Also you would be able to browse a whole shelf of novellas and short stories in a short time to find something you would like to read. What do you think? Do you have time to read a short story or novella?

Which of these prize-winning novellas would you like to read?

Britannica displayThis week our Access to Higher Education students are finishing off their course work on Human Biology. They’ve been looking at how viruses spread as wells as fungi and other parasites and how they develop.

As usual there is a wealth of material on our library catalogue to help them. This academic year we’ve been showing them how to use Britannica Academic Online which not only has regular encylopedia definitions of terms but also comes with embedded videos and scholarly academic articles too.

The Learning Resources team have been themselves somewhat under the microscope this week as Ofsted have been assessing our impact on learners and also our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). This has given us the chance to show how we respond to our learners’ requests for material in different formats (DVDs, audio CDs) as well as suggestions for science fiction  and confidence material, biographies, books on other countries as well as short stories. We have been reinforcing the skills we teach in inductions (using ebooks, referencing, copyright and plagiarism) through the use of Vokis, GoAnimate, Xerte learning objects and quizzes on the VLE. And in doing so boosting their functional skills in using Information Technology.

Stack of paperback booksThis month we’re busy promoting our magazine collection to our staff and students. You can read our story on the home page of our Virtual Learning Enviroment (VLE).

In addition to those listed on our promotion is the arts magazine Aesthetica. Every year Aesthetica runs a Creative Writing Competition and we’ve just received the 2013 Creative writing annual which contains short stories and poems from competition winners.

 


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