Please share your recommendations

Posted 12 Jun 2015 by Jane Mathieson in Latest Libraries News

This Reading Business- needs your ideas

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Back in March I wrote a piece flagging up the next reading promotion that we were going to be working with (Opinion March 26th) This Reading Business is now launched and libraries across the region will be promoting books that have a link with work and business. You can see lists we have already collected together here.

We now really want some real examples from people already in the world of work, of books that have been inspirational to them. These might be books by or about inspirational people or they might be fictional works that have inspired some creativity. They could be clearly written, useful management books or they could be descriptions of other people’s jobs which offer valuable lessons.

As someone who has been at work for a long time I have been reflecting on what I would recommend myself.

As an avid reader of fiction, I come back to the book I always cite as one of my favourites, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. This book in part describes the work that the central character Quoyle is able to find on the local newspaper. In a bleak, unfamiliar and hostile environment, both literally in its Newfoundland setting, as well as within the workplace, Quoyle gradually establishes his presence, makes connections with local people and comes to an acceptance of himself and his situation. It’s a fabulous character study with an optimistic message that even the harshest challenges can be overcome with determination.

Just to check that I had remembered the name of the central character correctly I visited the website of a well-known on-line retailer (!). Their “product description” of a recent new edition of this title, focusses on the relevance of The Shipping News to the world of work

a useful addition to the growing literature on supervision, which is seen as a positive and desirable provision throughout the book... it is a clear, well-written and enjoyable book, containing helpful information for both supervisees and supervisors

So clearly I’m not alone in finding “lessons” in this book, which is much more absorbing than I’ve probably made it sound. It deserves new readers.

Needing to recommend a “non-fiction” book as well I’ll go with Anne Dickson’s A Woman in Your Own Right: Assertiveness and You. Grey (silver) plain cover with maroon text

This is a title that helped me personally at the start of my career back in the early 1980s and I’m delighted to see that it remains in print and has been updated to incorporate social media and ICT. It is described as

the core assertiveness training handbook, recommended in confidence building and personal development courses, coaching and mentoring programmes as well as counselling and therapeutic contexts.

First published in 1982, I was introduced to it when I attended a course which I hoped would enable me to get my voice better heard at work. As well as having a fabulous shiny silver cover, I remember it as being practical, very readable and full of useful techniques and guidance, some of which I still practice from time to time.

Even though most young women today seem infinitely more confident than I felt I was back in the early 80s, there will be some I’m sure who can find a use for this book and there are some readers’ comments which demonstrate the usefulness this book still has, e.g.

I first read this book some 20 years ago. It quite literally changed my life. I learned how to say what I needed to say at the right time and in the right way

Now tell me your choices please.

Send them to me at and I'll make sure they get seen here

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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