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 Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor


“Its raining its poring
The neighbors ignoring
They laft at our boat
Till we started to float
An they were all dead in the morning”

Eight-year old Finn lives with his Pa, his older sister Alice and his younger sister Daisy on a small island entirely surrounded by water. He knows know other life.

Pa’s stories and songs tell of a great flood that drowned everyone else in the world. The family survives thanks to the ark that Pa built, where they now live.

Thirteen-year old Alice has memories of her dead mother and life before the flood. She is beginning to question Pa and sees holes in his stories.

In the opening half of the book, Pa and Finn share the narration. Pa is a tyrant, set on preserving the paradise in which he is raising his children. Finn trusts his father completely and submits to the authority almost entirely. His innocence is emphasised by the phonetic spelling of his chapters.

Then a young man, Will, is washed up in the shore. Have others survived? Just how much truth is there is Pa’s stories?

Finn’s voice is replaced by Alice who is determined to find answers. But Pa is still determined to make sure that their world does not change.

The plot is cleverly constructed and we gradually learn the truth about the family’s past and why Pa feels so threatened by Will’s arrival.

This is a strange and compelling story, told by three clear and distinct voices. It starts slowly but becomes more and more gripping.

The prose is lovely and paints wonderful pictures of the family’s island paradise.

It isn’t flawless – Finn’s phonetics were irksome and, for me at least, the emotions didn’t quite engage – but it never fails to hold the interest.

Sam Taylor has aimed high and he has largely succeeded.

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?