The Library Book


The Library Book is an enjoyable collection of essays, short stories and memoirs by all different writers.

I love libraries. I am lucky enough to have five in my area, with a fantastic range of books, ebooks, dvds, newspapers and magazines, all available to me for free because I am lucky enough to live in an area where my local council prioritises spending money on this service.

The Library Book celebrates libraries, books, librarians and readers. Some of the writers tell stories about learning to read, their first visit to the library and things that happened in the library. Others imagine a future with no libraries, while others discuss the future of libraries at a time when physical books are available alongside electronic versions.

My favourite chapters were Stephen Fry’s ‘Have You Heard of Oscar Wilde?’ where the library stars as the place where he discovered a bigger world than the one he lived in and ‘The Five Minute Rule’ by Julie Myerson, who wrote her first book at thirteen, which drew heavily on Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

There are some quite famous authors amongst this mix, including Lionel Shriver, Ann Cleeves, Zadie Smith and Val McDermid, with no dud stories at all amongst the chapters.

The best thing about these stories was being reminded of being read to by Mum as a small child. Over and over and over, Mum read the same treasured Little Golden Books to us. My favourite was, (and still is) The Happy Family. The pictures in The Happy Family are particularly gorgeous.

Once I started school I was able to borrow from the school library. I was a library monitor at lunch time, which was wonderful. I changed my books every day and spent the whole bus trip to and from school reading novels, (approximately two and a half hours each day).

We weren’t members of the nearest town library, (we lived slightly too far away), but the first time I visited with a school friend who lived in town, I had mixed feelings. There were LM Montgomery books on the shelves that I really wanted to read, but the library building was a dark and slightly scary place. Joining a library for the first time in a big city as an adult was an exciting day. Over twenty five years later I still over-fill my library bag, which is filled with books allowing me escape, possibilities and secrets to be learned.

The Library Book is an enjoyable and for me, a thought-provoking read. (By the way, I borrowed this book from my library).


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