Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Year in Books: July

I can't believe how fast this year is going by; it's only when I type 'July' into a post that it really hits me. We're halfway through 2014 already.

Still, marking a year with the books I've read each month is a good thing. 

I've always got a few books on the go, but June's big one was The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard. It was the first in the Cazalet series and I was hooked. Howard is such a sensitive writer - her characters are so real and beautifully observed. And the historical detail is excellent too; I was surprised to see the book was published in 1990 as it's so authentic I'd just assumed it had actually been written during the 1930s.

If you're a fan of family dramas and social history you'll enjoy it hugely. In fact I was sorely tempted to order the next book, Marking Time, and continue straight on but decided on a change (that way I can prolong the reading pleasure too). 

Having recently moved back to the Ramsbottom area I made joining the library a priority. We're lucky to have a really lovely one here. However, trying to choose a book with a toddler in tow isn't quite as enjoyable as when you're alone. I picked up a few but nothing particularly inspiring. In fact, I was contemplating looking at my own reading pile and grabbing whatever was on the top when I made a chance discovery this morning. 

We'd driven down to the big park in Ramsbottom  - well, Jay drove actually - and that's how I must have noticed the little wooden library in the picture above. When you're a passenger you get to have a good nose around and notice things you wouldn't (or shouldn't) when doing the driving yourself. Eyes on the road and all that.

It was next to a garden gate and the sign read, 'Borrow a book or leave a book. ENJOY!'

So I had a look and, despite the somewhat small selection, there were plenty that appealed. I managed to limit myself to two: What to Eat by Joanna Blythman and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Both non-fiction (bye bye, comfort zone) and both of interest. I read Shopped by Blythman some years ago and I do like her no-nonsense approach to food writing. And, having recently watched 'The Best Diet in the World', I've been on a bit of a healthy eating mission. In theory if not quite in practice. Yet.

The Happiness Project has been on my 'would like to read' list for a while, but it's one of those books I doubt I'd actually buy. 

So: a happy discovery! Of course, I'll return the books once I've read them and maybe donate a few of my own too. And if you're interested you can visit the Little Free Library. I'd never heard of it before but I love the idea.

Joining in with Laura's The Year in Books over at Circle of Pine Trees.

Happy July reading!


  1. Have you read Joanna Blythman's The Food Our Children Eat? I read it when George was a baby and it became my bible for feeding my family. Thinking about it now it's fair to say it was the single most influential book i have ever read. Recommended for all parents of small children.

    1. That is very good to know. I've been having a bit of a panic about making sure I give Joe the best I can, food-wise. I'll look that one up - thanks!

  2. A garden gate library - what a lovely idea!

  3. I love the idea of a garden gate library. The Cazelet books are ones I'd like to read and I enjoyed the Happiness Project

  4. I love the little free library idea, and it sounds like you found a couple of really good books. I'll be looking out for one too. CJ xx

  5. Cool library! I like Gretchen Rubin's books. Some of the ideas seem mad, but do work. Let us know how you get on!

  6. The library is such a nice idea. I would love to start one here but I think people would just vandalize it. I wish that weren't true, but I can picture it. I like Gretchen Rubin, but haven't read that one yet, I'll look for it. Happy reading!

  7. This little library reminds me of holidays. There always seems to be a few shelves of left behind books on all the campsites we visit. When I was travelling in Australia, swapping books like that was my only opportunity to read (I was very short of money). I have still not gone to the library to have a look at the Cazalet series. Must do so this week. I am glad you are enjoying your new community. x

  8. We have several of these book shelves (glass fronted) on street corners in the west end of Vancouver, sponsored by the city library service, but anyone can add a book or more.They also have a 'library in a tent" service, on the street in different places, to which people can donate books. I think it's a wonderful idea. It's fun , when out for a walk ,to just stop and see what's on the shelves. Lisa

  9. I love the idea of these little libraries all over the place! Lots of different books are available I imagine than you might normally read or head to in a more formal library. Glad that you are enjoying your books! xx

  10. The garden library idea is enchanting. It's such a lovely way of sharing books. I will be interested to read what you thought of The Happiness Project.
    Leanne xx

  11. That garden library sounds brilliant. I've seen book crossing books in various places. I'm loving the year in books but also cannot believe it is July already!! Happy reading x

  12. the garden library sounds fabulous, what a fantastic find!

  13. What a great find! I would love a little library to visit too! Seems much more special! I am looking forward to seeing how you get on with The Happiness Project. I was lucky enough to win a copy in a blog giveaway a little while back but each time I start to read it I can't seem to get in the right frame of mind. Bee xx


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