I am so lucky that my Mum joined me to the library before I could even sit up, and I have always had books in my life, even when I was tiny and Mum was on her own with me and my sister, and not a lot of money. Some of my happy memories of summer holidays as a child include the annual Summer Reading Challenge, collecting stickers and getting a certificate for reading over the holidays.
A particular pleasure now that I work in libraries is browsing in a library that I don't work in, as it is very hard to be a customer in a library that you work in. You either end up just tidying the shelf, refilling the display, or answering an enquiry! I have been lucky enough to do that once this week, and I have a few library visits in the offing over the next month which I am looking forward to.
In the meantime, most of my library borrowing comes from ordering books from other branches. Although we rotate the stock amongst branches, and I do fairly often find a book from my own library that I want, it is really convenient to think of a book, order it and have it arrive for me! Kind of like amazon, but without having to pay, or find a home for the book once it has ben read!
I read a wide range of fiction, and quite a lot of non-fiction, but the genre I read from most often tends to be crime. Although I love the twists and turns of Harlan Coben, and the sharp detail of (early) Patricia Cornwell, the particular facet of crime fiction that holds a place in my heart is the cosy murder mystery. The kind of book that I have described before as being like an Enid Blyton for adults. Recently I have discovered a sub-category even of this, and discovered the almost Agatha Christie kind of historical crime novel. An example of this are the great Daisy Dalrymple novels by Carola Dunn. I have read two of these back to back, and these make the first entries on my Library Project 2012 list:
I am not reading these in the order they were written, which would explain why Daisy is suddenly pregnant! In this adventure, she goes to visit an old school friend, to write about their centuries-old Guy Fawke's Night celebrations, but whilst she is there, there is an apparent murder-suicide, but all is not what it seems! I love the period detail in these novels, and this one did not fail to please. They somehow manage to be light, without feeling like they are 'popcorn' novels. I didn't guess who the murderer was which is always nice!
Full price £6.99/Amazon price £4.86
Anthem For Doomed Youth
Parts of this murder mystery played out in Epping and Saffron Walden, with one of the policeman coming from Chelmsford, which made this even more fun to read. As well as a good murder mystery, with three bodies being found in the woods, and lots of clues to think about, Carola Dunn also makes some quietly observed and well placed points about the first world war. So something to think about, as well as enjoy!
Full price £6.99/Amazon price £4.86
Although I am really enjoying reading the Daisy Dalrymple series, I am not sure that I would want to buy them, as once you have read them, you know who the murderer is, so I am not sure how well they will bare rereading. They are cosy to read though, so if I see them in a charity shop or booksale at the library, I will pick one or two up for my bookshelf, as it is always good to have something soothing to read on restless evenings.
So, those are the books I have borrowed so far this year, but here is a quick run down on what is on my library ticket, left over from last year. Some I am still using, some will go back over the next few days, but I think I should count them in my Library Project 2012, so here goes:
Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt is one of my favourite Christmas songs, and this album has this on it, and also songs by Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Perry Como, Bing Crosby and more...velvet smooth voices to listen to with a hot chocolate in hand!
Full price £5.37/Amazon price £5.37
Delia's Winter Collection
I borrowed this after a customer returned it to me. I have seen it on the shelf often, but never actually flicked through it before. It now has some sticky post-its in it, marking recipes to try in the coming weeks.
Full price £12.99/Amazon price £6.99
I have been steering our meals to include more vegetables for some time now, as I think it is good for us, automatically means you are eating with the seasons, and hopefully is a little more economical. I borrowed this book to give me some ideas for how to serve them.
Full price none available/Amazon price £0.01
The New You
What can I say, it is January, the book is called the New You, and it was pink! Sadly not as good inside as the cover, so this is off back to the library tomorrow.
Full price:£7.99/Amazon price £7.19
One thing I have resolved to do is to read this series in order. I have read a few out of sequence, but am going back to the beginning. A lovely gentle series, that keeps me going between the Turnham Malpas books from Rebecca Shaw!
Full price:£6.99/Amazon price £5.59
A Spoonful of Sugar
I like books about the olden days and grandmothers wisdom etc and this is ok...but not the best of its kind that I have read.
Full price £6.99/Amazon price £0.01
This has been on my to-read list for ages...and has been on my library ticket for a while too...I will get round to it soon, and am rather looking forward to it as it has been recommended to me by several friends.
Full price £8.99/Amazon price £5.66
When my hair was going white and falling out and I found my first wrinkle last year, I thought I was just ageing, and decided to do something about it, with this book! However, my hair has stopped going white and falling out, and I have realised that I was probably really, really stressed about being made redundant. Still, a good book with lots of lovely recipes in it.
Full price £12.99/Amazon price £11.69
Easy Slow Cooker
This book was recommended by Lucy over at Attic 24. I have tried a few of the recipes that she has blogged about, and been really pleased with them all, so when she said she uses this book, I borrowed it. Tonight I made the French Onion Soup from it, and was really pleased with it (although my eyes were quite red at the end of it!)
Full price £8.99/Amazon price £6.61
GI High Energy Cookbook
Rachael Anne Hill
I don't want to follow 'a diet' but eating low GI does make sense to me, and the recipes in this book looked really enticing, so I borrowed this book. I have several book marks in it with recipes to try so far!
Full price £12.99/Amazon price £8.25
Christmas At Cold Comfort Farm
I didn't have many days off over Christmas, but I did bring home several novels to read over the festive period, this being one of them. I loved Cold Comfort Farm and Nightingale Wood, and can't understand how so few of Gibbons' novels are widely known.
Full price £7.99/Amazon Price £5.76
With Christmas over, I suddenly have no knitting projects or crochet projects in progress! I thought this book sounded lovely and was not disappointed. I am toying with the idea of making two animals a month, so I have a Noah's Ark set to give to my godchildren this coming Christmas.
Full price £9.99/Amazon Price £7.17
Baking Made Easy
It seems that I am rather late to the Lorraine Pascale party...somehow she managed to pass me by! This was a book returned by a customer that I had a quick flick through and saw several recipes that I would like to try. Imagine how surprised I was, although pleasantly surprised it is true, to discover that there is a tv series as well as another book!
Full price £19.99/Amazon price £8.39
By my calculations, just one week into 2012, and I have saved £136.25 by borrowing from the library, instead of buying at full price, and even £88.41 if I bought from amazon! Clearly, working for them, I am going to be pro-libraries, even after my experiences of last year, but I do think that we are so lucky to live in a country with a really good public library system, and I don't think people realise just what we are in danger of losing. Anybody can walk into a library, without any kind of reference or, in our county, proof of address or identity, and walk out with hundreds of pounds worth of books, dvds, or cds, to enjoy at their leisure and return, to borrow more. That's pretty amazing, really. I know I have said it before, but I would not be able to afford my reading habit were it not for the library system. I love that I can order from other branches within my county, but also have books come in from other counties, or even countries. Even more amazing that although a very small part of our taxes pay for it, the library service is basically free. And the best way to ensure it continues? Use it!
I didn't mean to get on my library soapbox...I will climb down now, and take myself off to bed with a cup of tea and a good book!
Wherever you are, sleep well!