life · stacking the shelves

New Bookstore

I am feeling very very VERY proud of myself today. Completely exhausted and worn out, body and soul, but also on top of the world.

The Book-ends, a new indie bookstore opened in Wellington today. I’ve been waiting for a few weeks, since the window blind and sign went up, and I’ve been cheering them along on social media. They announced a full day worth of events – including a talk by a children’s book illustrator – and sold a limited number of tickets which got you £10 off a book, an exclusive stamp in the book, plus coffee and cake. I bought myself a ticket because I figured it would mean I couldn’t talk myself out of going.

I got into town a couple of minutes before the ‘official opening’, with the cutting of the ribbons… and the heavens opened. It was pissing it down. So they did an ‘inside out’ opening, with everyone who had a ticket in the store. I had a moment of ARGH because I forgot to open the Eventbrite app on my phone and I never get a signal in town, but Richard (one of the owners, along with his wife Marcy) greets me by name which can I just say was absolutely fucking cool!

They had a DJ playing some cool jazzy music – a touch too loud, but I’d got my headphones so I was good. Everyone was talking to everyone, and I managed to not only talk to people I didn’t know, but I also joined their bookclub and am still interacting with them on Facebook! I picked up two books, The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods and Tales of Troy and Greece by Andrew Lang (what was I supposed to do, leave it on the shelf?!)

The shop is being bookstore and performing arts space, and both Richard & Marcy are creative types. Marcy, who has ‘ sung on stages around the world combining jazz, soul, gospel and hip-hop influences’ did a small acoustic set which turned into a super fun sing-along.

I then went for lunch (!!) with Gill, one of the women I’d met that morning. We went to the Gratitude Cafe next door to the Book-Ends, which is somewhere I’ve been wanting to try for probably years at this point but… well… anxiety, you know? I did make Gill aware of my agoraphobia (she was stunned that I was doing this opening, I mean so was I!) and we managed to find a table, in a corner, so my back was against the wall but I had a clear line of sight to the door. I had a fantastic stack of pancakes with bacon, sausage and a fried egg.

In the afternoon, the award-winning children’s book illustrator Dapo Adeola read one of his books and gave a talk. I picked up one of the books he co-created & illustrated, Look Up! which he signed for me.

I then stumbled home, completely exhausted but seriously on Cloud 9. I couldn’t believe I not only went to a space I didn’t know, but talked to people I didn’t know and stayed out all day.

stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves #4

I am feeling so fucking proud of myself right now y’all. I did a whole bunch of HUGE things in the week. Admittedly, I’m still exhausted and hurting but like beaming with pride.

Wednesday, we drove back down to the retail park just outside of Exeter and went into Currys. Li had been stealing my Switch and she’d moved onto my island in Animal Crossing, but she really wanted her own Switch. Because I’m an amazing Llama, I said that as long as she can afford/transfer me the monthly payments, we’d get her one on my Curry’s credit account. We sensibly waited for the Boxing Day sale, and there was an amazing bundle with 3 games and a memory card but the check-out process was just Not Working. We spoke to various customer service people but couldn’t get it to work. So we toddled to an Actual Store. Fucking annoyingly, that bundle wasn’t on sale anymore, and it was back up to well over £400 which we couldn’t quite afford. But she did get a Switch, a memory card and Animal Crossing.

Thursday was the biggest day. So I’d pre-booked us a table at Yo! Sushi in Exeter for 2pm, and we’d decided we were going in on the train a few days ago because of the noise Eliot had been making. And we’d decided I was going to have a treat in Waterstones because I legit cannot remember the last time I went to an actual bookstore. Way before the pandemic. To say I had a bit of a shopping spree would be an understatement. I spent close to £200 on books. I bought SIXTEEN books – though one of them is a guided journal and one of them was a drawing book for Li. And without trying, I managed 7 fiction and 7 non-fiction!

My poor credit card is curled up in the corner crying. And I earned enough Waterstones points that I had £20 credit so I maaaaaay have just also ordered

I’d grabbed a Yo! Sushi gift card in their sale – it was 20% off and I’d already said to Li that there was no budget for sushi, we could eat as much as we want to. We both love the place, neither of us has been to one in like 5 or so years. I got a £100 gift card and… well let’s just say that we earned enough bonus points in that one trip that dessert was free! LMFAO We ate about £60 worth of sushi and I tried a whole bunch of new dishes – and only one of them I didn’t eat because it was a weird texture. We will definitely be going back again, and I want to go to the Exeter museum as well so I think we’re planning on pencilling that in before I head back home at the end of January.

And then, because that apparently wasn’t enough books or something, I’ve also been to the library and checked out:

Although, to be fair, these were all reserved before Christmas.

I’ve had a bloody brilliant week, even though I’m still hopped up on co-codamol and naproxen a couple of days later. But I have all the books to read, my reading journal for 2023 is set up, and I’m super excited!

sunday post

The Sunday Post: No spoons or fucks to be found

It has been a week y’all and I am completely done. I’m not planning on doing anything more strenuous today than walking between the kitchen and living room to get food/drinks etc.


Monday at work I was dealing with the fallout of people not processing my Key Engineering Supplier invoices while I was doing Big Project Work. And it was one of those days where I processed… a LOT of invoices. One of the reasons I work slow and steady 90% of the time is that when the shit hits the fan like this, I have the oomph to post like 60 invoices in a day.

I also had a therapy appointment, we’re almost at the end of our sessions and we’re starting to work now on my Staying Well Plan. It’s not as scary as I thought it would to be coming to the end and not having Jeanett’s support which obviously is the entire POINT of therapy.

Tuesday I had a day off work because of a dentist appointment. I knew I had to have a filling and I knew I’d be no use to anyone after it was done. Except… it wasn’t just a filling. It was two fillings AND taking the first mould. I was not expecting that. I was very very glad the diazepam had kicked in before she took the mould because that was overwhelming and horrible. And my dentist was doing a new thing which REALLY helped. She’d be like ‘I need to do [XYZ] and it’s going to take me to the count of 10’, and then she would count out loud to 10. So there was this fixed end point to the current torture and then I could take a break. AND she lets me get up out of the chair and stim which is amazing!

Wednesday I continued plowing through invoices, but also had my introductory phonecall with my new tutor. She seems nice enough, specialises in Roman literature and we had a good chat about how she can support me with my ‘additional needs’, how best for her to communicate with me etc so that was really good.

And then yesterday I had my seasonal COVID booster jab. I was very very anxious about that. It’s at the local football ground and last year was… not good. The parking was very confusing, there was way too many people and I had a complete panic attack/meltdown which neither they or I knew how to handle.

This year I decided to walk – it was just over a mile – because that would ease the parking panic. Plus I sometimes find that walking, the repetitive motion of it, as long as my knees are behaving, is quite calming. So, headphones on and down the road I went. And there was no-one there. One person in front of me, two old people who were glaring at me behind me, and I was in and out in like 10 minutes.
I was actually really glad I walked in the end, I had so much adrenalin built up, and then it was almost anticlimatic so walking home again was a good use for that. Then I crashed, napped, and ordered myself a naughty KFC.

I get to do it all over again next week with my flu jab, so that’s going to be fun

Woke up this morning to the news that I won £89 on the Lottery last night. Treated myself to The Novel Companion which restocked in the week but I didn’t have the budget for. Very excited
I’d initially wanted next years Always Fully Booked planner but when I looked closer at the weekly planning pages, the layout wouldn’t work for the style of planning that’s currently working for me and it wasn’t worth getting just for the reading journal bits. So yes, I’m thrilled!

School also technically started again yesterday, but pretty much my only contribution to that was to tidy up my desk. It looks pretty awesome mind:

This week’s unit is mostly introductory work – information about the module, how the module is studied, links to the pronunciation guide and the study website. I’ve been chatting in the forums already and will probably spend a couple of hours on the intro stuff this afternoon.

Other than that, as long as I catch up on the dishes and read a chapter or so of A Brief History of Ancient Greece, then I’ll be happy.

Here’s to a better next week!

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Had To Get A Copy For My Personal Library

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

This week’s topic is ‘Books I Loved So Much I Had to Get a Copy for My Personal Library (Maybe you received an ARC or borrowed from a friend/the library and loved it so much you wanted your own! Or maybe you read it in one format and wanted another format, like you read it in ebook and wanted a physical copy to display on your shelves or you read it the paperback and would love to re-read it on audio.) and this will be a mixture of library books I bough, books borrowed from other people I bought and books I want to get in another format

Ben Aaronovitch – Rivers Of London
I started getting the books out of the library, probably read the first three or four. But then the library didn’t have the next one, didn’t know if they were going to get it and so what was I supposed to do? I had to buy it. And then, of course, I had to buy copies of the ones I had already read so that I had the full series.

Sarah J Maas – A Court Of Mist and Fury
I started reading it on Libby through the library, but I was part-way through it when it was due back, but then I couldn’t check it back out again because there was a queue. Except I was part-way through and really enjoying it, and didn’t want to wait. So I bought it on Kindle… and then bought the next couple as well, because they were all on offer.

Tess Gerritsen – The Surgeon
I initially borrowed the book from my mum, she loved it and raved about it, so I read it and also fell in love with it. I read faster than her so it ended up there was one of the books I was too impatient to wait for mum to finish reading so I just… bought it myself. And, as ever, had to complete the set

Jean M Auel – The Clan Of The Cave Bear
I inherited most of mum’s books when she died, and she had all of the Earth’s Childrens books. They were all second-hand, but mostly a matching paperback set. Except for this one which was a falling apart hardback and had to be replaced. So that one went to a charity shop and I picked myself up a paperback copy

Dan Jones – The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England
We’ve covered my love for Dan Jones, yes?
OK good, just checking. LOL
I got a few of Dan Jones’ books out of the library, promptly fell in love, bought my own copy of The Plantagenets and really need to get around to buying the rest of his books
On a semi-related note, his first fiction book Essex Dogs is coming out next week – set in the Hundred Years – which I’m quite excited about!

Stephen King – The Tommyknockers
I first got a Stephen King book out of the library when I was… young enough that the librarian rang my mum to ask if I was allowed to take it out. Most of his books I’ve picked up second-hand and the copy of Tommyknockers I ended up with was a bigass hardback. As previously mentioned, I am not a fan of huge hardback books so I eventually replaced it with a much easier to read paperback

Mira Grant – Symbiont
The library had Parasite. The library had Chimera. The library did not have Symbiont, which frankly was fucking rude. I’m a member of not one but TWO different libraries in different counties, I get physical books and e-books, and not a single one of those four sources had Symbiont. So I had to buy it. And now I need to get Parasite and Chimera too.

Natalie J Case – Forever
So Natalie is one of my best friends, and she always gifts me a signed copy of her books in paperback. But because I’m super awesome, I also buy them on the Kindle. I’m also really impatient because she’s in California and pre-apocalypse, we only saw each other once a year and I now haven’t seen her since 2018. I don’t know when I’m seeing her again – neither of us feel safe enough for transcontinental travel. There’s no way I’m waiting that long to read a book!

And these last two are ones I want to replace my existing copies of but haven’t got around to doing so for various reasons, mostly involving being broke LOL

Kelley Armstrong – Bitten
I have the edition of this book that came from the Sci-Fi & Fantasy bookclub that my mum was a member of. The ones that would send you a catalogue and you had to buy X number of books a year – remember those?
But all the rest of the Women Of The Otherworld series that I own are published by Orbit in the 2000s and all have matching covers and are the same size. I am currently keeping an eye out in charity shops for the matching copy of Bitten.

Anne Rice – The Vampire Chronicles
With the exception of the first three which I bought together (and the Mayfair Witches), ever single one of Rice’s books I’ve got as a different imprint. Some are hardback, some are mass market paperback. I really really want a full matching set (and I think the Mayfair Witches are included in that as well, since they now tie-in properly with the Vampire Chronicles)

book blogger hop

Book Blogger Hop: Finding New Books

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the meme on February 15, 2013. Check out the hop here!

Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

The Question of the week is: Is it difficult to find new books in local bookstores?

The small town I live in doesn’t have a bookstore.
The Tesco Express on the retail park has a book section but I’ve only just started being able to go there again, and it’s literally in and out to get my groceries as quickly as possible – not quite up to just browsing yet.
There’s a Waterstones, a WH Smith, and a The Works in the mall in the next town over but to be honest, I avoided malls like the plague even before… well… the plague.

I tend to buy a lot of books secondhand. There are a LOT of charity shops in town, and they’ve all got book sections in. There used to be an incredible second-hand bookshop in the market – it was filled to the brim with bookshelves chock-a-block, and piles and piles and piles of books EVERYWHERE. You could ask him if he had a certain book, and if he had it, he would know exactly where to find it

So yes, I buy a lot of books second-hand. I use my library and the libby app a lot. And for any actually new books I want, I order them from Amazon because it’s really my only source for them. I do miss a good mooch around a bookstore though.