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 Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry


Charles Unwin is riding his bicycle to work. It is raining and he is happy that he has succeded in wedging his umbrella into the frame of his biycle in such a way that he is staying dry. You can’t help caring about what happens to him.

Where is he? In an unnamed city – a little bit London, a little bit New York, maybe in the past maybe in the future.

Where is he going? To work at a large, corporate detective agency. He is a clerk, processing and filing reports for the noted detective Travis Sivart.

But this is not going to be a normal day at work – anything but. With absolutely no warning he finds himself issued with the manual of detection and promoted to the role of detective. Sivart is missing and Unwin is to replace him.

Unwin knows nothing about being a detective though, and he has no wish to learn. All he wants is to go back to his quiet life as a clerk. And so he approaches the man who was Sivert’s and in now his watcher. Trouble is, he has been shot. Unwin has no choice but to turn detective and track down Sivart so that things can go back to the way they were.

He meets people and visits places that he never knew existed, he learns that many of the facts of Sivart’s cases may not be as he recorded in his files and it seems that there are more questions than answers. Ultimately, he will have to progress to the most dangerous and difficult part of detective work and enter the dreams of a sleeping city if he wants his life back.

All of this happens in a world which is both real and fantastical, but utterly believable.

The story unravels perfectly, told in clear and exact prose.

The Manual of Detection is an accomplished debut novel – both clever and engaging.

Library Loot


Library Loot is a weekly event hosted by Eva and Alessandra to share the library books we find each week.

I have 4 new books on my library pile and they all look wonderful. So much for my resolution to read more of my own books!


The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

“In this tightly plotted yet mind-expanding debut novel, an unlikely detective, armed only with an umbrella and a singular handbook, must untangle crimes committed in and through people’s dreams.”


American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield

On one of the most important days of her husband’s presidency, Alice Blackwell considers the strange and unlikely path that lead them to the White House. Thrust into a position she did not seek Alice must face contradictions years in the making: how can she at once love and fundamentally disagree with her husband? How complicit has she been in the trajectory of her own life?”


Henry: Virtuous Prince by David Starkey

Before the legend there was another king. A dazzling sportsman and scholarly prince, a chivalarous husband, a proud father. Henry VIII: The rise of England’s most powerful monarch.”


The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor

“Through the eyes of eight-year-old Finn we find ourselves on a small island , surrounded by nothing but sea. Finn lives here with his Pa, his older sister Alice and his younger sister Daisy and he has no memory of any other world but this one. All he knows of the past comes from the songs and stories of his father, which tell of the great flood that drowned all of the other inhabitants of the earth, a deluge their family survived thanks to the ark in which they now live.”

What do I read first?

And what did you find in the library this week?