Books. And more books.

Oh hello poor neglected blog. Let’s see if I can’t look after you a little better…
After being really quite restrained so far this year, I had a lovely little book splurge on Saturday. I’m on holiday (well, off work) this week, and all the best holidays include trips to bookshops. I hopped on the train to go to Waterstones Berkhamstead – it’s small but perfectly formed and, coincidentally, my Small Sister Person works there.
My browsing quickly resulted in an armful of books: a mixture of old and new plus a couple of picture books.

Don’t they look beautiful and tempting? I do think I probably ought to now bite the bullet and join in with #TBR20. This is the brainchild of Eva Stalker and the essence of it is about reconnecting with reading rather than the lure of owning more and more books. I am never going to want to stop buying books (and as a bookseller I don’t want anyone else to either) but the weight of unread books can become oppressive. I think I am thinking along the lines of buy as many books as I like but then read them – don’t let them sit forlorn and forgotten. I’m going to mull this over just a little more, then gather a pile of books to read before I buy anymore.
Saturday was also National Libraries Day. I don’t know what I would have done without my local library when I was little. There was no way at all that mum and dad could have kept me (and my sisters) in books then. Weekly trips to the library were an essential and loved part of my childhood. So many people on my Twitter timeline echoed my feelings; cutting library services is horribly short-sighted. We need to value libraries and librarians; they are a necessary part of the community.
I raided the Children’s and Teenage sections of Watford Library for Branford Boase Award longlist and YA Prize shortlist titles. They had a pretty good showing available on the shelves, and the rest can be got on inter-library loan.

There’s one missing from this picture – I’ve already read Broken Strings by Maria Farrer from the Branford Boase list. Even though I know it’s complete madness to attempt this with a full-time job, I am going to read the whole Branford Boase longlist again this year. Before the shortlist is announced on 4 May. Better get on that then…

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