It’s both a blessing and a curse to have my birthday fall so soon after Christmas – hooray, piles of books, but also oh, no, where to fit in all these books? This year, I’ve decided to embrace it fully: usually I save up my book tokens to spend in the summer but I’ve already spent some of my old and new Christmas book tokens and as well as receiving this lovely pile I have some more book and Heath Bookshop tokens to spend, and will do soon! But in the meantime, look at this lovely pile!

From the top, my best friend Emma went off-list (again) to pick out Robin Ince’s “Bibliophile” for me, which is about a tour around indie bookshops. She also kindly gave me two Susan Scarlett (Noel Streatfeild) novels, “Babbacombe’s” and “Ten Way Street”, the latter having the distinction of having been published in 1940, so it seamlessly allows me to take part in Kaggsy and Simon’s 1940 Week later in the spring. As do Margery Sharp’s “The Stone of Chastity” and D. E. Stevenson’s “The English Air”, which Ali forebearingly bought for me with no choice, given they’re the other Dean Street Press books published in 1940 that I wanted (don’t worry, DSP fans, I have plenty left for Dean Street December still!).

Then Sian kindly chose “Found in Translation: How Language Shapes our Lives and Transforms the World” by Nataly Kelly and Jost Zetzsche as well as giving me a book token, and Meg picked “The Story of Art Without Men” by Katy Hessel (with its v. clever spine and cover!) both from my extensive wish list.

I’m so lucky to have such bookish friends, and very grateful for the tokens from Gill, Laura, Jen and my parkrun core team friends (as well as the coffee!) which I will make good use of very soon!