Online library makes me very app-y!

I’m finally back on the blog after all this time – looking after two children and working four days a week has taken me away from most of my passions, especially while one of those children is a crazy 2 year-old – because I really felt the need to spread the word about a certain wonderful app for we bookworms.

I try and use my local library account as much as possible as I want the library service to be around forever, and we’re lucky enough to have a beautiful discovery centre in our city. It’s not hard to make the most of it as its catalogue is outstanding and packed with enticing new releases. And I have turned to it when economy has forced me to think about indulging my passion for books in a more cost effective way – in this case, a free of charge loan.

And so, thinking of a certain book I wanted, I checked online and discovered that our county’s Hampshire Library Service offers Borrow Box. All you need to do is download the BorrowBox app, log in to your library account and bingo, you’re off. There are full details on the library website. You’re allowed 5 ebooks and 5 audiobooks and if the one you want is there, a simple tap gives you instant access to the content. Even when the item you want is not available, you can reserve it with another tap and the service will send you an email to let you know when it’s there and ready for you.

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I have already been able to cross a few books I’ve really wanted to read off my list and it all felt so very easy to make the most of every unforgiving minute, to borrow from Kipling, and get some reading done because the app was right there on my phone.

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As a Luddite, I love my proper physical books – and I won’t ever stop buying and keeping as many as my husband will let me (he tolerates TBR piles like the one below all over our house) – but I feel that this is another way for me to indulge one of my greatest passions. In those moments where I might have a little window of opportunity for me time, but I am without a physical book, I can swiftly open the app and get a few chapters under my belt, thus turning a moment when I would quite possibly have mindlessly browsed or checked social media into a quality little encounter with my latest borrow.

If you haven’t already joined your local library, I would urge you to do so (the importance of libraries is for another post) and get going with this app. This tech is pretty life-enhancing and wants absolutely nothing from you in return. How often can you say that.

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Food’s off the menu… so comfort’s coming from other sources

For reasons I won’t bore you with at present, I cannot eat properly at the moment.

I cannot cook, either, which is proving very strange. Food is such a key part of our working week and of our weekends together that to be unable to enjoy it is rather tough. It has also caused me to daydream constantly about certain meals I wish I could enjoy, regardless of whether or not that would be possible.

For starters, I have been picturing both my favourite takeaway meal – a chicken burger with coleslaw, chips and chicken gravy from Country Fried Chicken in my NI hometown – and my favourite meal out, The Harbour’s fantastic fillet steak with tobacco onions and bearnaise sauce, a feast I enjoyed recently whilst on holiday at the north coast.

And I have been dreaming of meals of times gone by, my grandmother’s mince pie and my auntie Jean’s melt-in-the-mouth Sunday roast.

Now that the comfort of cooking and eating has, temporarily, been taken away, I have turned instead to books and music to console myself, and sustain me through the unpleasantness.

As far as the latter is concerned, I seek solace in my collection of the film soundtracks of the composer Thomas Newman, particularly The Shawshank Redemption, Little Women, Wall-E, How to Make An American Quilt and American Beauty. How on earth has that man never won an Oscar for his work?

The books I cling to in times of strife are the old favourites, the tomes I re-borrowed and re-borrowed from our local library as a young girl. The LM Montgomery Anne books are sacred to me, particularly Anne of the Island (in which she and Gilbert finally sort out their relationship), as are Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books. My favourite of those is again the one in which her romantic future is secured – These Happy Golden Years details her burgeoning relationship with Almanzo Wilder and is also a corker of a tale of her first job as a schoolteacher.

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I have already looked them out and positioned them at my side, joined by Robin McKinley’s lovely retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, simply named Beauty, and Lynne Reid Banks’ My Darling Villain (out of print because of a view its politics had dated).

Days are long at the moment, but I’m armed for the challenges.