Hey everyone! So, Sunday 17th February was my birthday! I’ve reached the grand old age of 23 and had a lovely weekend celebrating (aka I ate A LOT of food!).
As you may or may not know, this year I put myself on a book buying ban with one exception: my birthday. The main focus of today’s blog is a little project I like to call my Charity Birthday Book Haul.
I am a massive supporter of charity shops; the rare occasion I go Marie Kondo on my belongings, the majority of them get sent to my local stores. They are an endless well of bargains (okay, if you sift through enough!) and a great place to find books without breaking your bank.
I took a little of my birthday money (and put the rest into savings like A Responsible Adult) and went on a spree to get as many books as I could, all from charity shops! As well as looking at what books I found, I’ve provided some details on the charities my money will go towards and links for you to donate yourself if you feel inclined.
Money spent: £0
Book Total: 0
First up, Oxfam GB! Oxfam is the leading UK charity in the fight against poverty around the world. They go to areas to aid in the aftermath of natural disasters by getting fresh water, food and shelter to victims. They provide sanitary products and hygiene kits as well as helping build toilets so people who have lost everything can keep their dignity in the face of emergency. On a more longterm level, they are supporters of the Fair Trade movement to ensure workers get paid better for their labour and help communities secure rights for women so they can live free of the fear of violence and unfair standards.
I got two books from Oxfam; the first was Affinity by Sarah Waters which cost £2.49.
Affinity follows a depressed Victorian lady who becomes a ‘Lady Visitor’ in a female prison. Her role is to inspire the inmates to have a better life, but she instead finds herself drawn to one prisoner in particular.
My second find was The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen for £1.99.
When teacher Ella is invited to join the most selective literature society in town, she has no idea she is being drawn into a world of mystery, secrets and abduction.
Donate to Oxfam HERE.
Money spent: £4.48
Book Total: 2
Next, Age UK – a charity that focuses on helping the elderly. It does this in a variety of amazing ways, from giving advice for everyday problems such as retirement and money, to having a helpline, to taking on volunteers to befriend lonely older people by visiting or scheduling regular phone calls. This just scratches the surface of the work they do in the UK, which also includes guiding people through retirement and moving into care homes. On top of this, they have specialist advice and support for certain groups, such as veterans and LGBT+ older adults, so everyone is entitled to their outreach.
I’ve been desperate to read Normal People by Sally Rooney and amazingly found a hardback, Waterstones special edition for £1.49!
Marianne and Connell are unlikely friends, tied together by their upbringing in rural Ireland. When they both to Dublin for university, they learn more than they could have imagined about each other and themselves.
I feel like I’m the only person in the world of YA who hasn’t read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell… Luckily I found it for 99p!
Eleanor is the new girl in school and she’s chosen to sit next to Park on the bus. This innocent move leads to a first love spanning a year of the 80s with a great soundtrack to boot.
Donate to Age UK HERE.
Money spent: £6.96
Book Total: 4
Crossing the road leads me to The Children’s Society. This charity works with vulnerable young people all over the UK. They focus on children from all backgrounds who are suffering, whether that be from poverty, abuse, bullying or neglect. Alongside advocating for young people’s mental health, they are fighting to prevent child trafficking and trying to help young refugees and immigrants get settled in their new homes. Their support extends to young carers and children who are missing or have run away from home. In addition, they continually lobby and respond to government proposals that affect young people to try get the best result for young people across the country.
The Last Romeo by Justin Myers is a book I recognised when I saw it on the shelf, so I figured I’ve probably heard about it from somewhere on book twitter and for 50p it seemed silly not to buy!
Recently single James decides to create an anonymous blog to chronicle his attempts to get back onto the dating scene. When he sleeps with a famous Olympian who is still in the closet, he goes viral and realises that maybe insta-fame isn’t all it seems.
The shop had a deal – 2 books for £1. Penelope by Rebecca Harrington jumped out at me, so I scooped it up making it another 50p bargain.
Penelope is a Harvard freshman, socially awkward and out of her depth. Trying to follow her mother’s advice on how to fit in and make it through college, she attempts to negotiate the insanity that is your first year at university.
Donate to The Children’s Society HERE.
Money spent: £7.96
Book Total: 6
Another children’s charity shop I visited was Barnado’s. Like The Children’s Society, they work with vulnerable young people all over the UK, with a special focus on those in the care system. They encourage and have inspired several people to foster children – over the last ten years, they have found 8200 families to take in young people and continue to support them throughout their lives.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux is one of my favourite books and I was amazed to find a musical tie in copy from the 1980s! Whats more – it was 25p!
Christine Daae has been promoted to lead soprano after secret lessons with her mysterious private tutor. Rekindling a childhood romance angers the Phantom, leading to a darkly comic adventure set around the spooky Paris Opera House.
This gorgeous hardcover of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman caught my eye and at 50p it was impossible not to get it!
Ove is the cranky neighbour nobody wants until the new couple on the block bump into him – or specifically, his mail box with their moving van. The boisterous young family turn Ove’s world on its head and not necessarily in a bad way.
Donate to Barnado’s HERE.
Money spent: £8.71
Book Total: 8
Finally, I headed to The British Heart Foundation. As you may guess, this charity focuses on preventing and supporting people living with heart conditions and illnesses. This includes funding research into cures, gaining more knowledge on issues that affect the heart and providing care for people suffering and recovering from strokes, heart attacks and all kinds of illnesses which damage the heart.
I have only ever read one Sarah Waters book, but I loved it so much I automatically buy any others I see – including this one, The Little Stranger for £2.
A gothic novel, The Little Stranger focuses on a crumbling mansion in the English countryside. A local doctor is called to tend the enigmatic family who live there and slowly finds himself becoming entwined in the mystery of the house.
Donate to The British Heart Foundation HERE.
Money spent: £10.71
Book Total: 9
So there we go! Nine books for just over a tenner – thats £1.19 each!
Hopefully you’re intrigued by some of these novels and feel like checking them out, and hopefully you’ve found out a little bit more about some of the fantastic charities doing amazing work here in the UK. If you feel inspired to check out your local charity shops, then yay! You get a bargain and your money goes to a great cause.
Here’s to a very bookish 23!