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29 July 2009


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Our only independent book shop closed a few months ago. I miss the personal feel, and the quick ordering.
Our library has a limited stock of books on some subjects, which can be very frustrating, although as a venue for lots of other things it's great. Coffee bar, computers, wii, teenagers' club, themed evenings for young people (the vampire night was a great success.)
I have blogged, though, on their lack of interpersonal skills...I do wish more people who simply love books and reading were employed in bookshops and libraries.

I so agree about Oxfam's expensive books. Our local charity shop sells paperbacks for 50p, hardbacks £1. At that price most people buy, read and return so the profit is just as great and turnover excellent.

We are short of bookshops too. We have a Waterstones, but the second hand bookshops are closed now, which is a great pity. There are charity shops, of course, and I do buy books in there, but increasingly, I find I'm buying books online. It's easy, and it's nice not to have to carry them home.

But there's something about browsing the shelves in search of something hitherto undiscovered, which is just not there with an online ordering service.

I have pared my cookbooks down to a dozen or so, but remember my Moosewood one. I used to live with a vegetarian rock climber and still have my 2 Vegetarian Epicure cookbooks, so well used and filled with favorites of mine.

That looks an interesting recipe book, the likes of which I've never come across the odd time I've been in charity shops here. Like Jay, I do most of my book buying online these days but I do miss a good old rummage.

Please ensure you make good use of your local library. Sorry if I am on a soapbox but I do fear that at some point whatever government we might have will divert spending away from such a worthwhile amenity.

Look out for those secondhand stalls in your local market. The one in Great Yarmouth market is a belter!

Good point about making use of your local library. These days when local governments are hurting for funds, libraries could be vulnerable.

I think we're all in agreement about keeping local libraries going. Now that I can, I've used my library three times this week (not to mention the online visits). Feels just like old times.

As for recipe books, I can heartily recommend this particular Moosewood - and there are others. Worth tracking down. Now I want to find a copy of the Tassajara Bread Book, which belonged to the friend with whom I shared a flat decades ago. It took pride of place in our hippie-leaning kitchen. Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbook said of it: "This was the first cookbook I ever bought for myself, back when it was first published. To this day, I consider The Tassajara Bread Book to have been a major influence not just on my cooking and baking, but on my attitude and philosophy about food in general. Thank you, Ed Brown, for this lasting gift."

I too remember it with awe and affection; it was unlike any cookery book I'd ever read. And it was, of course, about so much more than cooking.

There was a great episode of Steptoe and Son where where the old man said he would like to throttle Arthur Negus. Much though I admire her as a force to be reckoned with, I'm starting to feel the same about Mary Portas, Queen of Charity Shops.

Libraries I adore.

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Thought for life

  • The House of Breath, William Goyen
    We are the carriers of lives and legends - who knows the unseen frescoes on the private walls of the skull?

Thinking about . . .

  • Daniel Klein, Travels with Epicurus
    I too listen to music more and more. Throughout my life, music has stirred me more than any other art form, and now, in old age, I find myself listening to it almost every evening, usually alone, for hours at a time.
  • Julia Blackburn, Thin Paths
    I began writing because I liked to write things down. I learnt foreign languages because they seemed to enter my head by a process of osmosis.
  • Joan Bakewell, Stop the Clocks
    I live contentedly alone. It's better that way and I am often thoughtful about what has been and what might have been. There are many like me.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Oh to be reborn within the pages of a book.
  • Patti Smith, M Train
    Why is it that we lose the things we love, and things cavalier cling to us and will be the measure of our worth after we’re gone?
  • Judith Kerr, Observer Magazine, 22 November 2015
    I don't believe in God. I find it much easier to believe in ancestors. I like to imagine they are pointing us in the right direction.

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