2009: A Year in the Library … and a Year in the Pub


Let’s start in the library.

J. Kaye from J. Kaye’s Book Blog hosted the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge.

You could commit to reading 12, 25 or 50 library books in 2009. I went for the maximum, and I knew it wouldn’t be a problem.

Here are a few reasons why I love  libraries:

  • I am lucky to have a good public library service – I can order any book in the county or in a large reserve stock for just 50p.
  • I also belong to the wonderful Morrab Library. There are only 19 private subscription libraries in the UK and this one is just a few minutes walk from home.
  • I can still visualise where my favourite books were in the library when I was a child.
  • Without libraries I wouldn’t be able to read anything like as widely as I do.
  • I pass the library as I walk home from work. A little look around the shelves after a difficult day is wonderfully theraputic!
  • I like to think I can influence what the library stocks by ordering and borrowing books. I have been known to borrow under-borrowed books that I own to help their statistics.
  • Don’t book lovers have a duty to support libraries? If we don’t we can’t assume they will still be there and then how will people who can’t afford to buy books read and how will other people discover books?
  • I first met my fiancé in the library!

I’ve  read 106 library books this year.

Some wonderful new authors and a few books that I hadn’t heard of until I saw them on the shelves.

I’ve added some to my shelves since, there are more I’d like to.

And I’ve uncovered a few put of print gems.

The full  list is here.


And so to the pub

The 2009 Pub Challenge was hosted by Michelle at 1morechapter.com.

Read at least nine books published for the first time in your country in 2009. I’ve done 3 rounds – 27 books.

Here they are:




(There are a few more I’ve read but not written about yet and, I suspect, a couple I’ve missed.)

Some great books – the ones I’ve starred are la creme de la creme!

The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw

“Unusual things are happening on the remote archipelago of St Hauda’s Land. Strange winged creatures flit around icy bogland; albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed wood; jellyfish glow in the ocean’s depths. And Ida MacLaird is slowly turning into glass…”

The Girl With Glass Feet is at first a journey into another world. It is a world that it is completely real – cold, open and surrounded by the sea. Yet at the same time it is magical and not like our world at all. And it has such beauty – the kind of beauty that comes from truth and nature.

And then there are the people who inhabit that world. Two in particular.

Midas is a native of St Hadua’s Land. He has lost his father, he is estranged from his mother and his life has lost any momentum. His emotions are buried deep and he drifts through his days, occupying time photographing the world and people around him.

Ida is a visitor who has come back to St Hauda’s Land. Drawn back because she believes that it is where she will find a cure to a strange affliction. Her feet are turning to ice.

Of course Midas and Ida meet, and each is drawn to the other. Yes, it is love, but will they ever realise that?

Both are so real that you can’t help wanting to step into the pages of their story to help them on their way.

The story of their relationship is wrapped around the story of the quest for a something that will stop the spread of glass through Ida’s body.

It would be unfair to say more than that.

Ali Shaw writes such lovely prose that paints strange and vivid pictures. And imparts great wisdom about the importance of living and loving.

I really couldn’t help being drawn into the extraordinary world, the wonderful mixture of beauty, magic and emotion that he has created.

Yes, this is a quite lovely debut novel.