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Colds & Christmas Crackers

I woke up in Wales on Monday morning, looked out the window, and went back to sleep. Here’s the thing about working in a school library: whenever a new super-strain of bacteria or virus emerges after circling happily through the kindergartners, it’s only a matter of time. Every teacher around you can be hacking and coughing and sneezing and sniffling, but you always think to yourself, “I’ll be okay. I wash my hands. I have a giant bottle of hand sanitizer that lives on my desk. If I see a child sneeze on a book, I wipe that book down with germ-killing alcohol. And then spray it with pure ozone. While wearing a biohazard suit. Besides, I have excellent immunity from constant exposure to these things. I eat about ten clementines a day.”

Well, readers, there comes a point when even the best precautions can no longer protect you from five to ten different versions of the common cold all vying, like tiny gladiators, to battle against your immune system in the grand stadium of your body. One of them is bound to get in.… Read More

Hay-on-Wye, book lover’s paradise

Imagine a town with bookshops on every corner. And in between every corner. And, well, everywhere. Guess what? That town exists, and it’s in Wales! Hay-on-Wye, often called “the town of books”, is the kind of place I want to go when I die. Everywhere you turn, books! New, used, antique, fiction, nonfiction, prints, maps… everything you could ever want! There are around 30 separate bookshops in Hay-on-Wye, so start planning your trip now.… Read More