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 Thanks to everyone who dropped me a comment after my blog post looking at my bookcase – due to the positive feedback, I’ve decided to make it a regular thing. Next up, is my lovely Mum, Lesley. She has fingers in every pie, if you cut her in half she’d have ‘creative’ written through her, and cannot be said to have a ‘book case’, because the majority of her books are ‘stacked’ in a bizarre ‘shortlist’ on her bedside table which actually equates to more books than her three bookcases. Here she is!

My Book Shelf Stack

Am I the only person who, when seeing someone in the seat opposite on the train, for example, have to crane my neck to see what book they’re reading, and usually spend the rest of the journey building up a picture of what sort of person they are, based on that one book? Maybe it’s the social worker in me which does require a certain nosiness, I feel, but other people’s reading habits and bookcases really do make compulsive browsing don’t they?

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One of seven ‘shortlisted’ stacks

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Where my own bookshelves are concerned, the fact that I am a hoarder as well as having an eclectic taste in books is definitely bad news when it comes to tidy shelves! My intentions are good, but time is short so when it comes to a choice between tidying those shelves and actually dipping into a beckoning saga, the book wins every time as you can see here. (Please don’t judge me)

I regard many of my books as old friends, there to comfort and reassure in times of stress and sadness, but also there to enjoy and rejoice in. How tingling is the anticipation of pleasure in the promise a newly released book by a favourite author. For me, there is no greater excitement than that of a pile of unread novels. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a new book to immerse myself in when the festivities lose their appeal.

Each of my books satisfies a different need in me, and I’m a sucker for arts and crafts books, that I hungrily devour, maybe kidding myself that in so doing my expertise is at the level of the author. I have spent many a happy hour making projects from these, a passion that I share with Zoe, my daughter. My latest obsession is bag making, and I’m looking forward to completing some from Lisa Lam’s ‘A Bag for all reasons’, particularly the panniers for my lovely new bike, a Christmas present from Peter, my generous husband.

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I adore cookery books and will often take one to bed to enjoy and salivate over, especially any on jam making and preserves. Am I the only person to get excited about the thought of making an unusual chutney or curd? I have even been known to make myself so hungry that I’ve had to get out of bed and get a snack (Please don’t judge me again)

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Do you find, like me,  that just like a piece of music, which immediately transports you to a certain period in your life, books have the power to remind you of holidays enjoyed, when reading that particular book, and student days when I discovered a particular author? I remember in my student teacher days reading both ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran, with its lessons on friendship and life and ‘Jonathan Living Seagull’ by Richard Bach showing the importance of following your passion. At the time, both bowled me over and as I’m writing this, I now feel the need to re-read each of these books.

One of my favourite books in my bookcase is ‘The Family of Women’ by Carolyn Jones, which celebrates, in black and white pictures, the friendships between women and the importance of enduring family relationships, both close to my heart. I have had this book for years but I still dip into it from time to time to enrich my soul.

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This bookcase shows a terramundi, which was given to me many years ago and which has saved pennies over the years, for small treats in our busy lives. Yes, I know it should be smashed once it’s full, but I’ve never had the heart to do this and have carefully taken the treasure out year in, year out, with the help of a kitchen knife!

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Any book that showcases artists’ work is a hit with me and my favourites are ‘With Love from Bunty’ by Jean Goodman, which tells the life of self taught artist Bunty Miller and shows off her wonderful paintings. Danny Gregory is an absolute favourite and ‘An Illustrated Life’ shows his quirky drawings and amazing talent. ‘Living Out Loud’ by Keri Smith was introduced to me by Zoe and sshhh it is still sitting on my bedside table!! Another talented lady with a great zest for life. (Editor’s note by Zoe, introduced is far too polite and makes it sound like my lovely mother actually purchased her own copy. Hm…)

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And finally, I discovered this one by chance, when reading a newspaper review. ‘Painting as a Pastime’ by Winston Churchill, which shows that despite all the responsibility he had in his working life, he discovered, at forty, a passion for painting which he managed to find time to pursue as a release from his public life.

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I really could go on for ever and include all my lovely novels and gardening books but I’m worried that that might have been snoring in the background…

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