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Mini Book Haul!

Knowing that with the impending lockdown of the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic that I would be very much inside for the foreseeable future, and having recently started a dream job at Waterstones (Gah! So happy.) I took advantage of being at work and acquired some reading material during my dinner break.

 

LETTERS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD – SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE

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So, this was the first book I grabbed. I spotted this book when it first came out a few months ago, I had been curious about it since then. It is an anthology of letters that had been written from various notable figures from Michelangelo to Charles Darwin. I find it all so interesting. Pieces of history brought to life through their own hands. The words that they had written to friends and family among other people. It’s just the perfect way to be nosy, without being nosy. The letter are handily sectioned in the contents into categories, such as love, war, friendship and family. I can’t wait to dig in and have a little history lesson every now and then.

 

THE LIBRARY OF THE UNWRITTEN – A.J HACKWITH

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The next book was actually close by, I was having a look as the previous book was on a deal, so I needed another book to get it half price. Can’t beat a deal.  That is when I spotted this book. It had library written in the title, I wasn’t not going to buy it obviously. Even being one that I randomly picked, it sounded super interesting, and I honestly can’t wait to get my teeth into it.
In hell, there is a library full of unfinished books, that are watched over by Claire (a deathly name if I ever heard one) who stands guard and makes sure none of the characters escape (Excellent job!) When one does escape it will be catastrophic if Claire and a small team does not find them.
How cool does that sound. First of all, well done Claire for snagging that job. Secondly, imagine if that was read, that one of your characters could just pop up at you and start screaming at you to finish their story. I can’t wait.

 

AMERICAN DIRT – JEANINE CUMMINS 

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The last book that found it’s way into my bag (I paid for them everyone, don’t worry the books didn’t just jump into my bag when no one was watching.)
This book has literally blown up on my bookstagram feed. I feel like I see it everywhere and I am not one to follow the crowd when it comes to books, but I just had to on this occasion, as it just sounds so good.
The blurb is what really attracted me to it. It starts off so lovely. Culminating of only a few lines, the last three had me gripped and ready to read, without even looking at the first page. Quite frankly, I have to know more.

 

 

So, only three books this time. I still have so many books to read that are having a nice relaxing time in Casa de bookcase. I think I should start reading some of the ones I already have and put myself on another book ban for quite some time. Woe is me.

Have you read any of these or bought any books recently?


Related: Book Club

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The Coffee Book Tag

I had a look on Pinterest to give me some ideas on what to write as a blog post, I found so many of these book tags so I thought I would give it a bash… 

Black-  Name a series that’s tough to get into but has a hardcore following.
For me I think it would be the Game of Thrones series. I still haven’t read the first book, think I got to the third chapter. I am determined to get through them all as I want to see how different they are from the TV series. Apparently, there’s a lot more to know. So, I am excited to give them another go… soon.

Peppermint Mocha – Name a book that gets more popular during the Winter of a festive time of year. 
I could say so many books for this one, The Nutcracker, The Grinch who stole Christmas, but for me, the book that I constantly think about in the Autumn and Winter months is Little Women. Don’t ask me why! I just love the cosy feeling I get when I hold the book. It just reminds me of jumpers and sitting by the fire all nice a curled up in a blanket.

Hot Chocolate – What is you favourite children’s book?
There are so many! This is hard… I think it would have to be The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Oh how I loved that book! I still do, it was my go to library book when I was in primary school. It should definitely be on every recommended book list for all children.

Double shot of Espresso – Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
Definitely has to be Empire of Storms. The fourth book in the Throne of Glass series. My god! I was screaming by the end. I almost didn’t want to read Tower of Dawn because I just wanted to know what happened. (I did read Tower of Dawn, and I am glad I did)

Starbucks – Name a book that you see everywhere.
This is hard… As I now work in a bookshop (HOORAY!!) I would say the Harry Potter series, and rightly so, everyone should read them to just experience the world that we have longed for in the UK. It is everywhere, in book shop windows to having an entire bookcase in shops full of the different editions and merchandise.

That Hipster Coffee Shop – Give a book by an indie author a shout out.
I would like to shout out to one of my friends Stefan Mohammed who has several books out there. He is a gifted writer and performer. It’s always nice to see how he gets on and that he is still writing. We have to make time for all sorts of writers and all sorts of genres. It will be how we stay smart. 

Oops! I accidentally got Decaf – Name a book you were expecting more from.
I couldn’t say… I have yet to come across a book that I expected anything more from. 

The Perfect Blend – Name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying.
I cannot say enough good things about the Throne of Glass series. I really cannot stop reading… I am three quarters of the way through the last book and I don’t know what I am going to do with myself. It’s stressful when I want to know the ending and yet I never want it to end. However, all good things come to an end… sadly. 

Ohhh I loved doing this book tag! Let me know what you would pick 😀

TTFN
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Book Club!

***** May be some spoilers *****

I have always thought it would be nice for me to join a book club. I don’t have many people I speak frequently too, to be able to talk about books with. I usually just bore people as I go on and on and on. My partner is a good egg and he tries to listen and fair play to him he does very well in paying attention and he asks the right questions, but I thought I would be nice and give him an itty bitty break.
One of my friends who works at my local town library messaged me one afternoon and asked if I would be interested in joining a new book club she was organising (as she knew I was obviously fond of books.) Eager to be more sociable and meet new people I said of course! Then waited patiently for the first meeting. We all nervously sat around the large table and waited for Beth (the organiser) to start us off. We went around the table and introduced ourselves, you know the usual I am this person I work here and I like reading so and so. It felt very good to get out of the flat and be sociable, as at times I find that I do find reasons to stay inside. NOT ANYMORE!

After our third meeting I was surprised to see how different everyone’s opinion of the books were. Our first book was Stoner by John Williams. I have to admit that I did really like this book. Not for the events or the drama (because there wasn’t really any drama) but how real the characters were written. How relatable they were to me. It made me feel as if I wasn’t alone in some of the actions and decisions I have made in the past. However, half of the reading group thought otherwise. They couldn’t manage to get into the story (we have all been there.) They thought that the character of Stoner was weak and basically a fool. So, we argued, well debated, about the character of the protagonist and in the last few minutes I came to the conclusion that the novel was indeed a love story. They say you never forget your first love, Stoners first love was books, and books were the only constant thing in his life. It was a love story about a man and his books.

Our second book was The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. Now this was a completely different story (well in so many words.) I noticed that the people who enjoyed Stoner could not actually get through this latest novel, and the people who did not like Stoner had loved reading TSS. How strange! I thought to myself. The very minute part of me that always wanted to be a scientist immediately wanted to hook us all up to machines and see what our brains were thinking. The overall story wasn’t that much different yet we all had different views. Bar the 2% of the group who loved both books.
Safe to say I am enjoying Book Club a lot. It is broadening my literary horizons immensely. And even though I couldn’t finish TSS I am determined to finish it at a later date.

The next book is The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave which our founder Beth, actually won for us on a website that runs competitions to give out a certain number of books to book clubs around the country. I love that we are able to silently do something to help the library gain more books.
I am excited to read this one, but we shall find out within the next month whether it lives up to our expectations.

Are you a part of a book club? If so, what are you reading this month? Are you enjoying it? Let me know!

Happy reading everyone!

TTFN

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Sapphire and Steel – Review!

As a reader, I love many genres one in particular is historical fantasy. I love the stories where good triumphs over evil, especially ones with a little twist to add suspense.
Sapphire and Steel written by Violet Froste was not a disappointment.

Following the young Aster, Captain of the Princess-guard, as she does all that she can to protect her best friend, the Princess Adrienna from any possible threats. Whilst delivering Adrienna to her future husband they are ambushed in the middle of the night. Passing herself off as the Princess, Aster is taken by the Jarl Svagner of the Vikingr the enemy to her King and home country.

Told from both Aster and Svagner’s perspective we follow their journey as both realise that they are not all they seem. Full of surprises that leaves you wanting more. It was very hard for me to say one more chapter when I was supposed to be asleep. Froste has taken the saying ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ and formed relatable characters and a plot that can be taken in many different directions.
I would have honestly liked to have seen more of both main characters history and how they became the people they turned into, as well as knowing more about the other relationships that are mentioned throughout the book. However, the novel in itself is quintessentially a love story first and foremost, a love of country, love that one as for their friends and for each other.

Readers are informed that this book is not for the faint hearted, with graphic depictions of sexual relations, strong language and violence.
If you are at all interested in having a read you can find it available on amazon here.

I would recommend this novel 100% to all of my friends who are wanting to try out up and coming writers. I am eager to read the next book in Violet Froste’s collection.
One more thing… How badass is that cover… I am in love.

TTFN

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*All words and thoughts are my own. This is a collaboration with the author and Voracious Readers.

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Childhood Libraries

The summers of my childhood were usually spent in wild abandonment, spending every other night at a friends, or roaming the town looking for an adventure.
I never found a more adventurous place than the local library.
The best part of my day, would be the long winded pleading with my mum to take me, just to get a new book so that I wasn’t bored in the evening (even though I had an entire bookcase full of books to be read.)
The main reason would be the competition that the library would run every summer… The Reading Relay.

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It was simple enough, you go to the library and choose a book, with that book you get a foldout card where the librarian would write the title of the book you have chosen, and the date. You then take the book and read it (obviously.) When you were finished, you would take the book back with a little description of whether you enjoyed it or not. The librarian would stamp the relevant page and off you go… to get the next one. Six books over six weeks and at the end there would be a small ceremony where everyone who had reached the goal would receive a certificate and a medal (my favourite bit.) It felt like my greatest achievement at that age. I would spend the rest of the year trying to persuade my friends to do the same and join the challenge, always using the fact of winning a medal as a little sweetener.

I recently, went to visit my hometown local library, not in it’s usual place at the top of town, but now relocated into the swanky, newly decorated community centre at the bottom of town. My friend Holly and I went to check it out before the summer just to be nosy, we were sad at the fact that it had moved and it wasn’t the library of our childhood.
I went back alone and spoke to the current librarian there, who was lovely enough to tell me everything that had been going on, that they get a good amount of volunteers from the schools in the surrounding area. Hearing this made me incredibly jealous, as this would have been something that I would have jumped at the chance. Hearing all of this made me realise that this is now the library of a younger generation, and that they still enjoy all of things I had when I was younger.

I spoke to two of the volunteers, age only just fourteen, who said that they were passionate about reading and helping at the library as they felt it was important to keep things like this going for younger children, to build a safe environment for book lovers. I asked them if they thought there was a way to get more children their age to read more, they were unsure of how to do this, but would keep thinking as they continued to volunteer. In all honesty, I was surprised to hear how many teenagers were asking to volunteer, I had thought that reading had gone out of style for a lot of children that age.

It was lovely to see so many people young and old enjoying the facilities, such as the computer room. It is handy to have a place that people who don’t have access or the knowledge to use the technology let alone the maze that is the internet. They can enjoy a short walk to the hub of the town and learn without fear of ridicule.
Along with having the use of numerous amounts of books in all different sections such as Travel, Science, Fiction, Non-fiction, Audio books and a wonderfully colourful Children’s section and the computer room. As you go through the main doors you are met with two noticeboards, full of posters of events going on not just in the town, but in the surrounding area. For young and older people. Some of them include, a wildlife group for nursery children and their parents, a fitness class at the leisure centre, the popular Karate classes, Yoga classes and the popular pop up cinema.

The best part of visiting again, was learning that all these years later, (and it is MANY years) they still have the reading challenges for young children. It was a cherry on the top to see the new library still carrying out the competition that I had such fun joining when I was a child. I was even happier to hear that last year they had a record breaking amount of participants totalling to eighty children, wanting to read over their summer.

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Seeing all of this was just fantastic, however much I love buying new books, I couldn’t help but want to borrow several books. Then I remembered that I might not be in the town for a long time, the late fines would definitely rack up. I would not be prepared for that at all.
It just reminds us that we have to do our best to help keep the libraries open. Not only do they impart knowledge in the form of books, they bring together a community that is miles from the nearest city or ‘bigger’ town. We must do everything in our power to make sure that the next generation grows up knowing that they have places like this to escape to if they need it. A place where they don’t have to speak to anyone if they don’t want to, a place where they can find a passion, essentially shaping their future.

Do you still visit your childhood library? Tell me about them in the comments, I would love to hear about them.

TTFN

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All words are my own. 
Thank you to the Branch Librarian Hannah Isaacson for talking to me, and the two volunteers who will not be named, as they are underage.