Back from holiday with a bump.

Back from holiday – had a great time and really enjoyed the rest and not having to do much of anything.

This morning, I was only about half an hour into my normal working day when I felt like I needed another holiday.  I really need to finish my novel and hope it’s a best-seller 🙂  Either that, or I could win the Euromillions lottery.

Ironically, looking forward to the break so I could get some more writing done, the biggest complaint I had was that I didn’t do as much writing as I thought I would; the lure of the sun and cider made me feel like George R R Martin in front of an NFL game. I’d even bought a great new notebook in Paperchase in the airport.

Still, I did pickup a great book to read in the ship’s library (which by the way, P&O Cruises have a very good stock of books) – Half a King by Joe Abercrombie. It was a hardback that had never been read (not a slight on the book, I think it had only just been purchased) and I felt almost guilty for reading it around suntan lotion and glasses of water.

Okay, so I must admit in my panic at seeing so many books in one place on a ship, I fell into alphabetic mode and picked up the first fantasy book I hadn’t read. Even though I’ve never read a Joe Abercrombie book, I’ve always felt close to him as an author as he’s around my age and grew up in Lancaster which is just twenty minutes drive from where I live. Part of me is always happy in the idea that if I told an author where I lived, they’d say, “Oh yes, I know where that is.”

Moving back to the novel though. What a book! I don’t usually spend too much time reading the blurb on the covers, but when I did I wholeheartedly agreed with the fact that it was a can’t-put-down book. I devoured the adventures of the unfortunate Prince Yarvi and followed him through his bitter struggle for redemption. I do have to admit that there were some rather large comparisons with a certain other young prince in Game of Thrones, but it didn’t really detract from the story. If you haven’t read this book, I would definitely recommend it.

In fact the ONLY negative I had was that I read it that quickly, I didn’t have time to choose another book and finish it before the ship docked for home. Joe can be happy that I returned it back to the library in almost pristine condition for the next lucky reader to pick up.

NB: Note to self (again), tablets are no good for reading books in the sun..

Anyway, got some great images on the camera that gave me some good ideas for a few flash fiction posts so they should be available throughout this week.

Most Borrowed

Whilst trawling through a magazine, I stumbled upon a set of statistics about the British Library that I thought quite fascinating – I know, statistics and libraries, how can it get any better?

How did the author discover these wonderful facts? Well, they were on the Public Lending Right website.

In an effort not to plagiarise the snippet that I read, I’m going to select some of the other statistics available and just allow readers to go visit the website and snoop around for themselves.

What do these statistics tell us? Well, in 2011/2012 we loved reading James Patterson whilst cooking a 30-minute meal alongside studying for the DSA Theory Test. We had a rampant stamp collection, relished in our pride for Britain (and Downtown Abbey) whilst dreaming of visiting Italy where we could grow our own veg and potentially end up with a bad back. We would then turn to the secret of the mind, body and spirit for a way to set everything right again.

UK Library Chart Toppers 2011/12

Most Borrowed Author: James Patterson
Most Borrowed Children’s Author: Daisy Meadows
Most Borrowed Titles:

1. 10th Anniversary (James Patterson and Maxine Paetro)
2. Worth Dying For (Lee Child)
3. Miracle Cure (Harlen Coben)
4. Private London (James Patterson)
5. The Help (Kathryn Stockett)

Most Borrowed Non-Fiction Titles (Adult):

1. At Home: An Informal History of Private Life (Bill Bryson)
2. Madeleine (Kate McCann)
3. Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals (Jamie Oliver)
4. The Official DSA Theory Test for Car Drivers (Driving Standards Agency)
5. Stanley Gibbons Stamps of the World 2011 (Simplified Catalogue)

Most Borrowed Children’s Titles:

1. The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson)
2. Aliens Love Underpants (Claire Freedman / Ben Cort)
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw (Jeff Kinney)
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (Jeff Kinney)
5. The Snail and the Whale (Julia Donaldson)

Most Borrowed Classic Authors:

1. Roald Dahl
2. Enid Blyton
3. Agatha Christie
4. Georgette Heyer
5. Charles Dickens
6. PG Wodehouse
7. Beatrix Potter

Most Borrowed History Book: At Home: An Informal History of Private Life (Bill Bryson)
Most Borrowed Biography: Madeleine (Kate McCann)
Most Borrowed Travel & Holiday Book: The Days That Made Britain (Stuart Maconie)
Most Borrowed Cookery Book: Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals (Jamie Oliver)
Most Borrowed Television Book: The World of Downtown Abbey (Jessica Fellowes)
Most Borrowed Holiday Guide: Italy (Damien Simonis)
Most Borrowed Gardening Book: Grow Your Own Veg (Carol Klein)
Most Borrowed Complementary Medicine Book: Beat Back Pain Alexander Technique (Richard Craze)
Most Borrowed Mind, Body & Spirit Book: The Secret (Rhonda Byrne)

As per a request on the PLR website, I hereby acknowledge PLR’s role in compiling these statistics and wish they had a much larger back-catalogue. (I would love to see what these stats were for the year I was born, and also which book cost the most money in fines – surely that’s the accolade to aim for, a book that no-one wants to take back!).