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Once upon a time…

Once upon a time…

Written By Shelley Kelly 

…summer turned to autumn, autumn to winter. And I, a self-confessed bookworm, couldn’t have been happier. This season gives me permission to hunker down with a good book and lose myself in another world, without having to explain my reclusion. I love writing, but there’s something magical about being charmed by someone else’s creativity.  

For many, the convenience of electronic books has been a revelation.  Not me.  I still yearn to feel a book’s weight in my hands. To see the words printed on white paper. The whispering of a turning page as the story unfolds. And then there are the bookmarks! They can be as creative as the books – a wedding invitation, a postcard, a love letter. Unconsciously collected over the years – touchstones telling their own story. 

My bookshelves are mainly stacked with fiction, with a sprinkling of philosophic musings. I crave a good plot that holds me in suspense, in wonderment, in joy. I want the words on a page to stop me in my tracks; the story to be one I’ve never heard before. I want to care about the characters; to finish a book and immediately want to recommend it to others!  

Thankfully I was encouraged to read from a young age. I remember my early visits to our village library. Those tiny stools to sit on and flick through the children’s section. The joy of being told I could progress from the children to the junior section! Making what felt like the biggest decision of my life and taking my chosen books to the counter. Those little pockets with the tickets in them. The clunk-click of the date stamp as they were checked out, the only sound to be heard in the calm space. 

Fast forward 40 years and libraries are enchanting me once again. Those once severe, silent spaces are transformed. What a brilliant library service we have here in Devon!  

I have been ordering online, collecting from my local branch and saving myself a small fortune in the process! I feel ridiculously excited when I get the email telling me my books are ready for collection. It’s not like it’s a surprise; I ordered them – that’s how it works! But whether it’s buying or borrowing, a new book in my life gives me a literary lift every single time.  

Bring out the blankets, light the scented candles, pop on the kettle – could I live without books? Sure. But it would be an impoverished existence. 

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