One benefit of a more attentive approach to time and media management is the sudden release of seemingly days of spare time. Using an app to block other apps has been helping to create a habit of putting down the phone and starting something else instead. Pens, paper, making music, and a return to reading.

Earlier this year I started making space on shelves, thinning a book collection. Most of the volumes were already in a stack of boxes in an attic space, with the remainder in piles two deep on the upper shelves. The lower reaches have been annexed, now a junkyard jumble of jigsaws, card games, noisemaking toys, pebble collections.

The aesthetic improvement of the remaining rows of double-stacked books took the form of boxing to donate – mostly to St Michael’s Hospice shop – and boxing to keep, until some ill-defined event horizon beyond which the Book Collection might be returned to the shelves in all its glory.

The process culminated in a kind of at least half-engineered Damascene instance, where I was sat looking round the room at the books now on shelves, knowing that it was all the ones I hadn’t read… Some of which have been with me round the block at least twice.

It prompted a reforming bibliophile’s reevaluation of the amount of rubbish one carries around (metaphorical interpretation also available, in fact I think I have the hardback version of that as well…)

I also commenced a reading programme. So far this year I’ve gone through:

I Will Never Write My Memoirs – Grace Jones

Nina Simone:The Biography – David Brun-Lambert

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (on ereader)

Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd

The Atrocity Archive – Charles Stross

Lord of Light – Roger Zelazny

The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin

Neuromancer – William Gibson

All Tomorrow’s Parties -William Gibson

The Rum Diary – Hunter S. Thompson

Make Room! Make Room! – Harry Harrison

Some of these have been well worth the wait. No doubt some will not. Still, y’know… the books all represent something that resonated, at least once, on some frequency or other. There’s a connection, I mean, although with what is perhaps another matter. It feels like a relationship I understand a bit better, anyway.

Now, better post this before the app block comes on…

Tomorrow: Current Affairs.

Imagine my delight at returning home to discover that my esteemed father-in-law had dropped round and left a book he no longer requires and thought I might like to have.

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This is the 1968 revised edition of A Pictorial History of Jazz, compiled by Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer Jr. It’s as comprehensive a tome as any jazz-and-bibliophile might ever wish to get their grateful mitts on.

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For today’s A to Z Challenge purposes, page 251 is of particular interest:

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Featuring Sarah Vaughan, and Charlie Ventura.

The vestiges of the evening shall be devoted to a voyage of discovery through this venerable volume of virtuoso visuals!

Glorious summer sun in York, about 10.30am, as I arrived for day two of the book sale at St Edward the Confessor Church in Dringhouses.

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Regular readers of The Mortal Bath will have an idea of the extent of my bibliophilia, but to those dipping their toe in the waters here for the first time, my book lustings are extensive and entirely incorrigible. Nothing sets my nostrils twitching like a second hand book sale, and if you throw in a bit of church architecture as well… you had me at ‘book sale in a church’.

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St Edward’s is a building I have passed often enough but never made time to pop into as I’ve toiled along Tadcaster Road on cycle or in car. Taddy Road, the A1036, is not really conducive to passing trade. Often absurdly busy at rush hour, it turns into the A64 (river of death) shortly after the Askham Bar park and ride, which abuts one of York’s growing number of superTescos…

Yet there is a fair bit of green belt/garden suburb here as well. A lot of leafy and pleasant (Valley Sunday) residential streets vein off the slightly furred arterial road. Those on the south side, by St Edward’s, back on to the Knavesmire, York’s racecourse. Away from the main thoroughfare it is a delovely locale for a walk or jog, and there are cycle routes around and about the place, leading to Fulford, Bishopthorpe, Selby. And, to counter my passing trade mumbles, there is a Co-Op, a petrol station (both massively undercut by Tesco, of course) and two pubs here that seem to do quite well, in particular The Fox and Roman, for ale and food. I cannot speak for the The Cross Keys as I’ve not been in, but it is currently being refurbished.

The pubs form a triangle with St Edward’s, framing the junction of the A1036 and St Helen’s Road. The Church was built in 1850, all in one go, unusually, and under the watchful gaze of Frances Barlow, local dignitary and recent widow to Edward, one of the church’s namesakes. She then got remarried in 1851, which seems to be a sensible approach to the grieving process.

The building has been extended in more recent times, with an extra aisle space screened with a movable partition, for meetings, societies, band practices and so on. Apart from the primary school a short step up the road, Helen the book sale organiser told me, it is pretty much the only community resource in Dringhouses – not vending ale or BOGOFs, of course.

Today’s book sale was not in aid of the worthy cause church fund, however, but the worthy cause Feed the minds, a charity aimed at promoting education and literacy. I did say you had me at ‘book sale in a church’.

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My intention had been to bike to the book sale across Hob Moor and along one of the aforementioned cycle paths, but I got me bike out to discover an aggravating slow puncture. With such a lack of compunction it pains me, I drove across town, radio tootling Classic FM to amp up the ponce factor, and parked outside the church, thereby adding to the furring and, book fever’d, giving not two shites about it.

Hey, the roads are quiet at that time. And look! Books! In a church!

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Entering the cool of the building, I spent a few minutes getting some snaps before settling down to the serious business of splurging my daughter’s inheritance on inessential tomes.

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Purty! Being the second day, there was a feeling that one might have missed a few bargainous volumes, although I imagine that Saturday will see some new leaves turn up. There was a good selection of paperbacks. I was strictly budgeting, however, and I forced myself to forgo some Will Selfs with scarcely a whimper.

The pricing system was colour coded stickers, as seen on the large sign at the door, reproduced in miniature on pretty much every table, handily, for every time I looked up trying to keep a running total of the teetering pile in hand.

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The books were mostly yellow stickers, or the ones I picked were, anyway.

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Complete works of Saki, and a selection of pre-Shakespeare English plays (‘Ralph Roister-Doister’ ‘Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay’ &c) are the two hardbacks in the middle. Third title down is heading for J.C. Greenway at ten minutes hate, to make up for a previous second hand literature event, from which she enjoyed a complete absence of any booky goodness.

Any road up, as no one says here: Feed the Minds benefited to a moderate extent, and I had an edifying chat with the volunteers staffing the cash tubs, about books, buildings, bikes and balmy weather. Then it was out in the sun to tootle home, via a brief stop to procure a puncture repair kit in Tesco. Very well, I am a critical mass of contradictions. Blame it on the book fever.

The ‘Feed the Minds’ book sale continues at St Edward’s on Saturday 8th, and throughout the summer in York.
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May the days be as glorious, sunny and packed with reading as today.