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A sentimental purchase

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I’ve written before about the pivotal effect on me of visiting the local library at a young age; it was a place that opened the door to books we could never afford at home, and I still have memories of my father taking me there to borrow another treasure. One early book that became a favourite was Dr. Seuss’s “I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew”, and that came from the library when it was in its old location in our town – down near the river in an old, dark building.

When I started earning I bought my own copy….

The library later moved to a new shiny building in the 1960s style modern precinct built in the middle of town. Inside was all bright and new, and I still made use of it all the time (and kept doing so until I finally moved away from home for good). And it was with books borrowed from this library that I was able to really expand the breadth of my reading and move onto more adult titles in my early teens.

The original Hobbit from 1971 – battered and bruised and just about holding together!

One set of books I read and loved was Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Some friends of the family had seen me reading the Narnia books and suggested I would like “The Hobbit”. They then sent us a copy and both my dad and I devoured it (he was quite a reader and a fan of sci-fi and fantasy). The natural progression was to “The Lord of the Rings” and so we borrowed this from the library – lovely hardback editions in blue-grey (laminated on) dust jackets with gorgeous big fold out maps in the back. We were both transfixed by the books, and I’ve returned to them many, many times over the years, owning my own paperback copies.

However, it’s a while since I read the trilogy, and I developed a hankering recently to revisit it. And I decided I’d like to re-read the books in the format I originally did – hardbacks with a fold out map. A little research online revealed that these were the second edition books from the 1960s and getting hold of a set in decent condition would be very, very pricey, so I put the idea on the back burner – until I recently stumbled upon these…

Yes, they’re very, very battered, and yes there are bits of the dust jackets missing – but this is a sound enough set of the second edition books in readable condition and so I’ll be able to read the books again as I did first time with my dad. And joy of joys, there are lovely intact maps in the back in super condition!

The set was ridiculously cheap and despite the rather bedraggled state of them, I’m happy to have them in the house ready for a summer revisit. OH has kindly covered the books with a mylar-type plastic to keep what’s left of the jackets together and make it easier for me to read. So summer will see a sentimental trip into my past – I’m looking forward to it! 🙂

Scratching the book itch

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I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the worst things you can do as a bibliophile is read book blogs – especially if you’re a reader who’s as fickle and impressionable as I am! Unfortunately, book blogs are one of my favourite things, and I *love* a good recommendation or discovering a book/author I haven’t come across before. It’s not good for the TBR or the bank balance (or indeed the space in the house!) and it’s something I’ve been trying to address lately.

The trouble is, I think, the ready availability of (often cheaply priced) books. The minute I read a review that enthuses me, it’s tempting to just order a copy to have ready for when I want to read it. This way, I’ve ended up with shelves of wonderful (unread) books and I’m constantly being distracted from them by the next shiny recommendation. So I’ve hit upon a couple of ways to try to counteract the mad urge to buy.

First, there is the library. If a book is there, I’ll reserve it – chances are it will be available just as quickly as one I’d order online, and more often than not I’ll decide I don’t need to read it at the moment, add it to the wish list and then take it back.

basketIf it’s not in the library I go to phase 2. I add it to the shopping basket of a selected online retailer and then leave it there – usually all day, while I’m working or doing something else. Most often, when I go back to it, I’ve decided I can wait so I add it to the aforementioned wish list and don’t buy it.

Both approaches are working fairly well (!) and help to deal with that book itch I get when I read about an intriguing volume.

However, I don’t know if this book urge is exclusive to me, as when I was packing my shopping bag to take a library book back the other day, OH asked me if I’d read it. I replied that I hadn’t, but I’d got it out to see if I’d like – I thought I would but I didn’t have an urgent need to read it right now. He queried if I got “urgent needs” to read a book as if it was unusual. Well I do – and I hope I’m not alone in that!

But in the meantime, I’ll use the above methods to scratch the book itch and hopefully keep the TBR down! 🙂

Reasons to Love your Local Library #1

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I have to confess that I don’t need much persuading to love libraries – after all, since I was very young I’ve been spending happy hours within their walls discovering all manner of wonderful books!

My local one, in the nearest Big Town, is a very well stocked one – in fact, county-wide there are plenty of Persephones and the like that I’m happy to borrow and enjoy, and the Reserve Stock always has little surprises.

However, the reason I’m currently singing their praises is these lovelies:

I’ve been very keen to read more of the British Library Crime Classics series, but a little reluctant to start buying lots of copies as I’m in the middle of a book cull. And I’m trying to be strict with myself and not obtaining books I suspect I’ll only read once. Alas, the local library had none of the titles available BUT I discovered that you can suggest books that you might like them to stock. So I hopefully sent off a little list of suggested BL titles and waited…

Lo and behold, a couple of weeks later the titles started appearing in the catalogue – and I instantly reserved them – and picked up the first three books they have in at the weekend! Talk about wonderful service – I am now reading brand new books which I really wanted to read courtesy of my amazing local library, with more to follow. How good is that?

So really, it can rain all it wants today – I’m having a happy Bank Holiday wallowing in classic crime! 🙂

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