Over the weekend my Dad recounted a little story from my childhood to Pete; the first readers I brought home from school when I was little were twice handed to Dad with a very sincere request for him to read to me. He didn’t think anything of it until he found, by talking to my teacher, that I was supposed to be reading to him as part of my homework! Needless to say, I didn’t get away with that trick any longer, and my Dad was certain to get me to read to him every night, and would from then on only read with me – two pages from me for every one he read out.

That, and his own interest in the written and spoken word bred a love of reading into me that took me through awkward primary school years, where a teacher reiterated a request for reading to be left for English and not Maths, and high school classes where I took every English course I could. I still wish I could have done ESL as well as the other two streams.

All of those years, and for any time I spend on public transport, I’ve kept a book in my bag to keep myself occupied. Lately it’s been a Kindle, my old faithful replaced last year by a Paperwhite when it stopped displaying anything but the charging screen.

All of these years, buying books from eBay, Book Depository, the lival secondhand book shop, downloading from Amazon – one might imagine my library membership would have been well excercised!

Nope. Apparently I completely forgot about the principle of the public library system.

Pete and I were walking with Olivia down the main street on Saturday, having just visited the grocer where he organises a fruit delivery for his work. I’d mentioned joining the library again when I was taking Olivia to our mums and babies group but was distracted on the day I’d planned to and never quite got back around to it. We wandered up to the counter and checked to see if I was still a member. I signed up when I was a kid but dropped off of the system when they upgraded, so I arranged a new membership. The rules have changed so much! You can have up to 100 items out, and rather than a local network of five libraries, the whole state shares resources and books can be dropped off and transferred to and from any location!

Honestly, you’d think I’d just discovered a new planet the way I’m going on but it was pretty exciting to peruse the cooking section and realise I can try all of the books and then buy any that I find particularly indispensable, instead of thinking that something looks good only to find I never use it (sorry Jamie’s Comfort Food, you’re gorgeous but Whole Food Slow Cooked speaks to me).

Anyway, Pete had to take our fruit and vegetables back to the car so we could carry Olivia and all of the books I borrowed. I’ve got them for a month so I started with the smallest, a little handbook called Fermentation for Beginners; it explains the roots and basic science of fermentation, then covers basic recipes from sourdough and pickles to kvass. It’s inspired me to try starting sourdough (again, I’ve never quite been able to get into the swing of it and keep up) and I’ve already decided I’d like my own copy in paperback because it seems like a really handy little book to keep around.

Hopefully we can go back again soon when we have a bit more time and I can check out the gardening section since we didn’t see much beyond the baby section (I grabbed a book on baby sign language) and the cooking section (as much as I could carry down the street without hurting myself). I can’t believe I haven’t been taking advantage of the library for so long – free books!

Does anyone have any book recommendations? I’d love some suggestions of things to look out for!

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