Losing a Library… But Becoming a Book Magpie (Yarning Along 25)

Well, I made it to the end of another academic year – it has been… different.

Before we finished for the holidays we made an effort to prepare as best we could for September. We are quite lucky in our school because all the classrooms except one have access from outside and on the whole they are a decent size. Some of the other rooms are too small so there was a game of reorganisational dominoes which resulted in us losing the fiction part of our school library. Without warning or discussion. I am really upset about this.

One of my roles in school is “Reading Champion” so myself and the English Lead had secured funding from the PFA to improve the fiction library. We had planned new shelving, new books and displays. We were going to revamp it, making it look more like a bookshop to attract the children. Each classroom has a bookshelf and children will choose books from there, but it’s all very fragmented and we can’t create the impact, excitement and general buzz around reading and books that we originally aimed for. In the current situation we can’t use the library as a library should be used anyway, but my biggest fear is that we will not get our fiction library back in years to come.

I have never really seen the point of Twitter until now. It seemed to me that there was no point in “following” famous people who just wanted to sell you their next film, album, tour, tv series, etc. It seemed highly unlikely that they would reply if I tweeted at them. So I didn’t bother with it very much. However that has all changed recently. I have discovered #edutwitter and with it lots of education professionals who also champion reading for children. I feel that I need to concentrate more on my role as Reading Champion in order to find different ways to promote reading as a matter of urgency because we have lost our library. So now I am collecting, borrowing or stealing ideas, advice, and links to blogs from Twitter. I hope I can remember it all come September.

The “actual” book pile.

Having gone through this I visited our phone box library the other day. I had three books I wanted to pass on. I decided to play the bookshop game and wrote a review of one on a post it note and stuck it on the front of the book and left it on the shelf for someone to find. I had a quick browse while I was there… and came back with four books!!! One of them is a collection of short stories about women in wartime because we do a WW2 topic in September and there are a couple of children books in there too. I realised that I have become a book/reading magpie. I am collecting books and ideas wherever I can find them!

I have also spent much of my holiday so far actually reading. I have finished four books since July and started another. Goodreads has also informed my that I have completed my 2020 Reading Challenge… there was virtual, digital confetti to celebrate!! Anyway, here are the books…

Circe by Madeline Miller – This was good but dragged a little towards the end.

The Help by Kathryn Stockette – This book has been on my to read pile for some time and, while it was a perfectly well written story, I couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable about it. Despite being a bestseller it has received criticism for it’s stereotypical portrayal of black maids in 1960s Mississippi and for there being a “white saviour” character within it. I did find the insight into the DAR organisation and it’s members quite eye-opening, making me want to find out more about it.

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan – Jenny Colgan is known as a writer of “feelgood fiction” and the story in this book is no exception. However, I would not recommend this book to anyone because there has been a total lack of proof reading (I read the Kindle version). Very often sentences would not make sense and I would have to read them multiple times to try to work them out. Sometimes the wrong version of a word is used, sometimes sentences are very badly punctuated and in one place the name of a character (who isn’t even present in the geographical location) is used by mistake. And the book suggests, at a crucial point in the plot, that Loch Ness is tidal which is wrong. It almost reads as though it is a first draft and not edited or corrected in any way. I have considered using it with my Y6 class to teach editing skills. I do tolerate the occasional typo in a book but this is far worse than that. It is cruelly ironic that it is about a bookshop and people who love reading. Jenny Colgan waxes lyrical in a couple of places about why she loves reading and how it is good for the soul but the mistakes in this book are almost enough to put you off. I will certainly think twice about reading her books in future.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – This was excellent. I laughed out loud, I cringed, I found myself saying “No Eleanor. No.” I have not read anything like this before. Different, shocking but ultimately heartwarming.

I Found You by Lisa Jewell – This was intriguing but felt a little slow at times. It’s a book that jumps from one timeline to another and you have to wait to see how it comes together at the end, so if thats not your thing then you need to avoid it.The pace picked up about halfway through and it became far more gripping as the different plot lines converged. It was worth the wait.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley – I have literally just moved on to this one and can’t tell you anything about it yet – time will tell.

On to the other type of yarn – Crojo Retro is growing VERY slowly… even more slowly than before!!! Not sure why, just not feeling the love for it right now. I normally have a shawl on the go during the holidays so I have been looking for something like that. I decided I wanted to use my Peacock yarn from Burrow & Soar and looked for some shawl patterns. Thought about it for a while… and then decided to make another Close to You shawl… the same pattern as my Zen of Lockdown Shawl. The colours in this yarn are stunning – it very much reminds me of a dear friend who is no longer with us. I think this one is going to be for me to keep.

Are you a magpie?? What are you collecting (apart from yarn!)??

Joining in with Ginny’s Yarn Along.

8 thoughts on “Losing a Library… But Becoming a Book Magpie (Yarning Along 25)

  1. My magpie habit is collecting ….recipes

    ….I have many recipe books, I’m borrowing recipe ebooks from the library now I’ve got into using the electronic library services during lockdown, bookmarking online recipes, making an iPhone photo album of screenshotted recipes, recipes I’ve cut out of mags I’ve bought, supermarket mags which are free with your shop and so on and on!

    I really like that yarn. It’s so pretty like Play-Doh before all the colours get mixed up and it all looks like a big grey lump.

    • I have that magpie habit too – some times more than others and not so much right now. I’ll have to investigate the e-library services.

  2. Shame about the school library, hopefully it won’t be for long and that you’ll get your fiction shelves back

      • We’ve a similar problem, our staff room is long and narrow so social distancing may put it out of bounds if staff don’t behave.

  3. I’m a magpie with fabric. Not going to say any more on that topic! I used to magpie yarn, but I’ve managed to curb that.
    Good luck with your library, I’m sure you and the other teachers will find a way to make it happen like you had originally planned. At least your schools are open, things have been somewhat different over here. Our children will have lost an entire academic year by the time things get organised properly 😦

    • I still have an urge to sew clothes. I’ve seen lots of nice patterns but my fabric stash is sadly lacking when it comes to things that are suitable for clothes and I very unsure about buying fabric online. I need to work on this!! Schools are supposed to be re-opening fully in September here – it appears organised here but I’m not sure it is really! The figures are beginning to slowly creep up so things could change by then. Time will tell.

  4. There are consequences and changes of things I have never even thought of…such as school reading challenges and school libraries. But it looks as if you all are working it out the best way you can.
    The kaleidoscope of color in your shawl is so pretty and eye-pleasing.

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