A few weeks ago Mabel and I officially joined our local library. I say local – it is the nearest “larger” library to us, a mere 2.5 miles away.
I am unsure why it has taken this long to be honest, life as always gets in the way. And there is definitely an element of the immediate availability of online media and the ease of a few clicks in the comfort of your own home for a same-day-delivery bargain book from Amazon, that makes a library membership seem archaic and potentially time consuming.
I love libraries. I love books. I still don’t own a kindle. Admittedly I do berate myself every holiday or weekend trip when a good proportion of my case is taken up by various new releases…yes, sometimes even hard backs (!) but it’s part of who I am and I’ve made my peace with it.
The library we have joined has all sorts of free events and facilities I would perhaps never have considered prior to signing up for membership. On a weekend they offer lego club and “magical story time” in the children’s area – both of which Mabel thoroughly enjoys. For younger children there are rhyme time/sensory classes and for older kids, coding and various craft activities.
There is a mezzanine area with desks and power points for study and work, I’m yet to take advantage of it but I’m looking forward to an alternative outlook to my weather beaten patio. When you work from home, leaving the house for even just a few hours, can have a monumental effect on your motivation and creativity.
For adults there are all sorts of workshops and small gatherings organised by local businesses – a great way to learn new skills and to meet new people, especially if you are new to the area.
But back to books. Because I don’t think there is anything quite like perusing the vast shelves of an established library, if you are a lover of words on paper. I had forgotten what it was like to stumble across titles that I had simply never heard of, to choose to invest my time in uncovering a beautiful story by thoroughly devouring a novel’s synopsis and hovering over a chapter or two, rather than clicking on the Amazon Bestseller list or reading a glowing (albeit brief) recommendation in a magazine or on a blog and hoping for a worthwhile purchase.
The irony of this last statement is not lost on me.
I’m certain I wouldn’t have stumbled across Benjamin Ludwig’s “Ginny Moon” had it not been precariously teetering on the edge of “so used it might be missing a page” (which let’s face it, must be part of the charm). It’s a tale about fostering, adoption and ultimately the journey to discovering where you might “belong”. It’s heart breaking and intelligent and I learnt a lot about the difficulties of placing children diagnosed on the spectrum, in a loving safe environment. I managed to hold it together until the acknowledgements (yes, I usually always read them) where one or two tears accumulated, along with many others I imagine, across the well thumbed pages.
Neither do I think Mabel and I would have read Snow White Sees The Light which we found both hilarious and well illustrated. I am also a huge fan of the Eyes Wide books for littles – I have bought “What do grown-ups do all day” repeatedly as a birthday gift.
Other recent fiction I would recommend: The Betrayals by Fiona Neill and The Forgotten Hours by Katrin Schumann. It feels so good to make the time to read again, I enjoy a Netflix series as much as the next person but there is nothing quite like losing yourself in some excellent writing.
Are you a member of your local library? Please do leave ALL of your recent favourite book recommendations in the comments section below!