Saturday, 6 January 2018


I have decided I should comment on things I have read in this new blog.  I am practically housebound so I read a lot more than I used to.  However, I have certain limitations.  I cannot physically get to the library although I stopped going to the library in Penzance several years ago before I was in this position.  The stock of books had been cut and cut because library spending is not a statutary requirement.  As far as I could tell ) it only catered for children and the elderly.  Also I am a slow reader so, even in the days when I could get there, I often did not finish things within the allowed time.  A great contrast to my childhood.  The library in Karori was at the bottom of the street we lived in so we spent a lot of time there.  In the holidays I would sometimes get books out in the morning, read them and attempt to take them back in the evening!  This was frowned upon and I remember being told off by the librarian.  Although I did not join the library until I was nine, by the age of twelve I had read my way through the stock of the children's section, at least those books which appealed to me, and started on one floor to ceiling bookcase that was the 'Young Readers' section aimed at twelve to fifteen year olds.  As I remember you had to be fifteen before they would issue you with an adult card.  I remember the librarian being very concerned when I went to get out 'The Diary of Anne Frank' as she obviously thought it was too old for me.  But I was stubborn about these things.  There was no television in New Zealand in those days so reading was the main occupation in the evenings and in winter.  And because the library was no near, on Friday evenings our whole family would walk down there to change our books.  Even the cat used to accompany us, coming almost to the bottom of the street and then waiting in the gutter or a vacant section for some time.  He never attempted to go round the corner into the main road which in those days you had to go in order to enter the building.  I have to say that we always had a house full of books.  One of the first things my parents built when we moved into the first house was bookcases.  We were not encouraged to lend books, though.  My father had experience of lending books and never getting them back.  And I realise now that books in New Zealand were very expensive in my childhood as very few of them were published in New Zealand.  Growing up our main cultural influences were British and American and most of what we read had been published in those two countries.

Another thing I have discovered about the library here is that Cornwall  does not have any on-line library services.  Both my sister, who lives in Devon, and school friends in New Zealand talk about being able to download books but that is not possible here.  So I am very dependent on buying things from Amazon.  I am also one of those people who has more or less abandoned Kindle for 'real books'.  I find that if I read something on Kindle it goes in one eye and out the other and I do not remember what I have read.  Perhaps this is related to the fact that I read a lot of non-fiction and like to think I can follow things up as I go.  I do not like book groups so have never belonged to one but I do follow a blog which I consider to be my book group:  dovegreyreaderscribbles  The author lives on the banks of the river Tamar on the boundary between Devon and Cornwall and we share other interests, notably quilting,  Well worth looking at for ideas on what to read and it also has good photographs.

I do have to say, though, that Penzance library has a wonderful art library because there used to be a school of art based in the same building.  It also has a good local history collection.  There is also an independent library The Morrab Library although, inevitably it has access issues (steps) so I do not go there.

What I plan to do here is offer very short 'reviews' of some of the books I read and you can follow them up if you want to.  I used to find charity shops a good source of reading material and I am aware of on-line second-hand book suppliers.  What a difference the internet makes for some of us!

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