The Millennium Library, housed inside The Forum in Norwich, has a fantastic children’s area, which we visit almost every week.
Not only are there books galore but also dressing up areas, puppets to play with, baby toys and comfy seats to sit and read together (plus various events). As it’s in its own enclosed area, children can be noisy without upsetting other library users.
However, recently I’ve also noticed something exciting for me – a “Time For You” table filled with curated “eye-catching books for busy parents”.
I think this is a fantastic idea, especially for people with younger children who probably wouldn’t want to quietly wander the main library while the adult in their lives searches the shelves for a good book or two.
Apparently several Norfolk libraries are taking part and there is a list of the selected books here.
During recent visits I’ve let Freya go in search of her own books and perused the table (while keeping an eye on her, of course).
I’ve borrowed three so far:
1. Life Honestly: Strong Opinions From Smart Women.
I used to love the online women’s magazine, The Pool, and it was a very sad day when it shut down early this year (I’m sure more so for the freelancers who were owed money).
Coming across a book of some of the articles last month actually gave me a little thrill. I have been feeling undereducated on various issues recently and I was looking forward to reading some forthright views on all sorts of topics, including from Gaby Hinscliff, Stephanie Merritt, Lauren Laverne and Juno Dawson.
Topics include gender and politics, friendship, work and parenting and they are perfectly sized articles to pick up and read when you have a few minutes.
2. Things I Wish I’d Known (Women Tell The Truth About Motherhood).
This is another collection of essays by some outstanding women writers. My only negative about this book is that I didn’t find it sooner.
I can only imagine how helpful and comforting I would have found reading it during the early months of motherhood when it felt like I was the only person awake in the dark hours of the early morning.
As I had to hold Freya upright for 30 minutes or more after every feed (thanks to her reflux) I would have had plenty of time to pick up this book – and I think it would have made me feel a whole lot better about motherhood.
Written by the likes of Adele Parks, Jenny Colgan and Shobna Gulati to name just a few, topics include sleep, feeding and pregnancy after loss.
It’s funny in places, poignant in others but put together it feels like having a group of cool mums around for a cup of tea where they tell it like it is rather than the perfect parenting version we are often sold.
3. The Sun And Her Flowers.
I’m very late to the party when it comes to poet and performer Rupi Kaur. I’ve heard her name mentioned and even seen some of her work quoted on Instagram but poetry isn’t really my thing so I’ve never picked up her books – until now.
The Sun And Her Flowers is her second book (sales of her first, Milk and Honey, surpassed 2.5million) and was released in 2017 (see, I’m so behind).
I know some critics have been quite vocal about dismissing rising young poets such as Kaur as “populist”, “simple” and of “dumbing down the craft” but my goodness, it actually felt like she’s been inside my head and managed to convey my thoughts using the perfect words.
Even as someone much older I felt connected to her work and what’s more, I really enjoyed it – to the point I’d like my own copy to dip in and out of. If I’m lucky enough to be given any money for Christmas, I’m going to buy it for myself.
Thank you to Norfolk Library Service for this great initiative, I will be making the most of it.
Have you read any of these? Are you hoping to get any books for Christmas?