World Mental Health Day 10th October 2017.

The following review is in regard to a book which recalls the experience of one young person’s first hand experience of mental health issues.

Mad Girl

by Bryony Gordon

The first time I heard of Bryony Gordon was in April 2017.  The Telegraph columnist interviewed Prince Harry for her first ‘Mad World’ podcast, an exclusive and honest portrayal of people’s experiences with mental health.  This interview with the prince made national news and brought mental health back into the forefront of people’s minds.

Bryony has had OCD since she was 12 years old and her book ‘Mad Girl’ frankly details her experiences with mental health.  With chapter titles including “I think I might be dying” and “I think my hair might be falling out” this book definitely isn’t a laugh-a-minute, however it explores Bryony’s relationship with her illness and those heavier moments with wit and honesty.

Knowing this book is based on real life events, I really warmed to Bryony and I finished reading it rooting for her to have a happy life.  Whilst I can’t say I enjoyed reading a book about someone in the midst of their mental health illness, I feel I have learnt from the experience so I am pleased I have read it.  I will remember reading ‘Mad Girl ‘for a very long time.

I would recommend this book to anyone suffering from mental health or anyone who would simply like a better understanding of it.


Review by Helen S

Derby College, is supporting the Young Minds #Helloyellow campaign with activities at each site and encouraging wearing yellow on the day.

You can find out more by on this subject by visiting –




Derby Book Festival Friday 9th June to Saturday 17th June

To coincide with Derby’s third book festival, we’d like to draw attention to the vast variety of fiction books we have in stock here at Derby college library and to promote a particular one by Sarah Perry, one of the excellent authors who participated in this event.

The Essex Serpent was recently voted winner of Fiction book of the year in the British book of the Year awards 2017.  We hope you enjoy the following book review


The Essex Serpent
By Sarah Perry
Book review by Hayley

A delightful novel set in Victorian London 1893, that weaves a tale of mystery surrounding the ‘myth’ of the Essex serpent. Our story centres on several characters littered throughout the pages of the novel, but of these characters Cora Seaborne is centred and linked to the lives of the others, and there the story develops.

Cora is a widow and decides to take up residence with her son and loyal maid Martha in Colchester. As an avid amateur naturalist she becomes curious of the rumours surrounding the Essex serpent that keep circulating.

Cora has no particular inclination to believe rumours, isn’t particularly suppositious and doesn’t consider herself religious.  However, things start to become muddled when she meets Reverend William Ransome.  They strike up an intense relationship despite their differences but are drawn to each other unexpectedly.

The Essex serpent is a constant ‘gripe’ between the characters, especially with Stella Ransome, the wife of the Reverend, their daughter Johanna and (curious, often peculiar), Francis Seaborne, Cora’s son.

A story where love, friendship, sadness and hope is woven intimately.


Lying in wait By Liz Nugent Review by Hayley

This novel revolves around the murder of a young woman in 1980’s Dublin.  The reason behind the murder is revealed through the narrative of three people, the wife of the suspect (Lydia), their son (Laurence), and the murder victim’s sister (Karen).

As the story unfolds we learn secrets to Lydia’s past and her reasoning behind hiding the murder of Annie Doyle.  The way Lydia handles the latter is quite disturbing.  Laurence begins to suspect his parents have something to do with the disappearance of Annie Doyle as it is reported in the media, and he slowly becomes entangled and obsessed with the case.  Annie Doyle’s sister Karen longs to find out what happened to her sister and tries desperately to find her.

The pace of the novel is ‘straight to the point’, and often many things are revealed over a few short pages which keeps the story flowing, and as these revelations are shown the story leads to a lively ending.


A boy made of blocks by Keith Stuart. Review by Helen

Boy BlocksThis novel is about thirty-something Alex, his wife Jody and eight-year-old son Sam.  Sam has been diagnosed with autism, and the pressures of making sure he is ok has become too much for Alex so he decides to move out.  The story looks at Alex dealing with his issues and rebuilding his relationships with Jody and Sam.

 I really enjoyed how real and honest this book was.  You could easily imagine this happening in real life, and although initially I wasn’t particularly keen on Alex’s character, reading about him work so hard to get to know Sam and rebuild Jody’s trust was really heart-warming.  Despite the struggles the family face, Keith Stuart manages to create humour in those darker moments so this novel never felt difficult to read.

 Sam is obsessed with the game Minecraft and as a way to get to know him, Alex attempts to learn about all things Minecraft.  Due to this, there are chunks of text which are purely Minecraft related.  if you are not a Minecraft fan it could be seen as boring however these sections are relevant as it shows the development of Alex and Sam’s relationship.

 To summarise, ‘A boy made of blocks’ is a funny, honest and heart-warming novel which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.  I would definitely recommend this novel if you like to read titles that are based on real life scenarios.

New Academic Term

The first weeks of this new academic term have got off to an energetic start.

The first week centred on World Book Night (WBN) activities.  Both the book swap and free lucky dip were received well by students and staff.

Lucky Dip

Holly Howorth takes a turn at the lucky dip

RH Book Swap

Book swap at the Roundhouse Library







Students have also been busy with assignments and revision associated with this part of the academic year.  With this in mind the Library promotions team have created fantastic displays with lots of useful information and advice on study skills.  These will be available at each site library throughout May.

BH Study Skills

Study skills display at Broomfield Hall site library.

ILK Study Skills

Study skills display at Ilkeston site library.








Lastly we have also just released the latest Derby College Library bulletin which gives further information our study skills resources and the different formats of resources on offer as well.

We are continuing to enjoy reading through our latest (as well as some not so new) selection of leisure reads.  I have been tempted to read novels that may not have usually caught my interest as a result of reading the book reviews by members of the library team.  This distraction has delayed posting these reviews which I plan to do shortly (Well next week to be precise).

World Book Night

The display team have been busy preparing promotional material for the upcoming World Book Night 2017 (WBN) celebrations.  As this annual event held on the 23rd April falls on a Sunday this year we will be celebrating with activities in all site libraries during the week that follows the event.  The April edition of the newsletter out today gives further details on what is happening as follows:

From Monday 24th April to Friday 29th April you are invited to join us in the following activities to celebrate WBN:

  • Book swaps available all week
  • Free lucky dip available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 10:00 and 12:00

Prizes include books, mini puzzles, bags, pens and Haribo sweets!

WBN Banner

In addition to this we have been browsing through, reading and writing reviews on some of our most recent additions to our library leisure reads.  We hope these entice you to read the books or browse the library catalogue/visit the library to discover the choice of books we have on offer.  I can recommend the quick read collection which are just the right length to fit in during breaks from study.

This nicely leads into the first book review written by Hayley.

The Muse By Jessie Burton

This novel is composed of two stories.  The first is set in London in the year 1967.  Odelle Bastien is a budding writer from Trinidad who takes on a new job as a typist at Skelton gallery, where she encounters a rather unusual painting.  The second of the stories is set in southern Spain in 1936 where Olive Scholes and her family have come to reside.  This is where the secrets of the unusual painting that Odelle encounters in 1967 are revealed.

In 1967 Odelle tries to unravel the mystery that surrounds the painting, and the owner of the piece (named Lawrie), is a man that holds a few secrets to his past.  In her quest she looks for answers to questions regarding the painting:

  • Just where did Lawrie get it?
  • Why does Odelle’s employer and new found friend Marjorie Quick seem very disturbed by it and why does it bother her so much?
  • Why does the gallery owner Edmund Reede seems to want the world to know about it?

Back in 1936, Olive has dreams and ambitions of her own to paint and wants so desperately to fulfill these desires, but doubts the reaction of her art dealer father Harold Schloss.  Her mother, Sarah, is a recluse and when two seemingly helpful strangers enter the Schloss family home Olive is captivated and her life goes spinning out of control.

The painting brings the two stories together with devastating consequences on the lives that it touches.  A lovely pacey page turner of a read.


We have also set ourselves the challenge of writing some book reviews on our Twitter page.   The current one to get us started is on ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn.

Easter Opening Hours

We have posted the all-important opening hours for the Easter holidays on posters in each site libraries, on our Twitter page and on the Library Moodle page but if you have not yet had the opportunity to see them, here is a summary.

Ilkeston and Broomfield hall libraries – Closed

The Roundhouse Library – open – W/C 10th April 08:30 – 4:30 Monday to Thursday only. JWC library – open – W/C 10th April 08:30 – 4:30 Monday to Thursday only
W/C 17th April 08:30 – 4:30 Wednesday to Friday

Please note that all libraries are closed from Friday 14th to Tuesday 18th April.

Money Matters – studying at university

All of our site libraries currently have displays on the theme of ‘Money Matters’.  These will be particularly helpful for students planning to go to university and looking for information on money and finances whilst there.  The displays incorporate:

  • signposting to library resources offering information and advice
  • money saving tips
  • some pause for thought on what students/young people spent money on.

Money Matters BroomfieldMoney Matters IlkestonMoney Matters RoundhouseMoney Matters JWC

All library resources included in the displays are available to loan as well.