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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

It feels properly like spring here: the cherry trees are in glorious full bloom, the daffodils are hanging on, and the early tulips are bursting into riotous colour everywhere you turn.  It’s beautiful and cheering and a helpful counterpoint to everything else – much like books.

Library Loot

The 1936 Club (hosted by Simon and Karen) is taking place next week so I’ve checked out a few books to give me even more options than what I’ve found on my own shelves: Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie, Live Alone and Like It by Marjorie Hillis, and War with the Newts by Karel Čapek.  My biggest problem with 1936 is that I’ve read most of the books that interest me- two of these three are rereads! 

The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater – the first of Drinkwater’s books about her olive farm in southern France.  I am always game for books about finding the good life in a warm, sunny place.

Thinking on My Feet by Kate Humble – Audrey recommended this back in January and, thanks to the inter-library loan system, I’ve now got my hands on it.  

The Gown of Glory by Agnes Sligh Turnbull – I flagged a review of this by Bree over at Another Look Book (which no longer seems to be accessible?) four years ago.  It sounds like a lovely, gentle story about a minister and his family in their small community.

Ravenna by Judith Herrin – a fascinating-sounding history of the city.  I visited Ravenna on a quiet, rainy day back in 2017 and have amazing memories of its extraordinary mosaics but only the haziest understanding (thanks mostly to the fantasy novels of Guy Gavriel Kay) of how the city became important enough to warrant such buildings and art.  I am looking forward to learning more. 

House of Glass by Hadley Freeman – Off the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography shortlist.

Eat the Buddha by Barbara Demick – Demick’s portrait of life in North Korea (in Nothing to Envy) was wonderful and here she turns her reporting skills to a small Tibetan community.

English Gardens: From the Archives of Country Life Magazine – the ultimate coffee table book in that it weighs as much as a table.  Not a fun walk home from the library with this in my bag but it looks gorgeous!

Rhapsody in Green by Charlotte Mendelson – this wonderful gardening memoir is being reissued as a paperback (out now in the UK and coming this summer in North America), which is wonderful news for those of us who love it and have been unable to track down copies.  I’ll doubtlessly buy my own copy but it’s always nice to reread at this time of year, to aid in the garden planning and dreaming.

What did you pick up this week?

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Library Lust

credit: Kim Ronemus Interiors

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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

I have been reading like a fiend lately thanks to a recent run of great books (also, obviously, lots of time.  Lots and lots and lots of time – I can only work and walk so many hours each day).  I’ve already read through half of these and look forward to starting soon on the others:

Library Loot

The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting – I spotted a review of this last spring and have been patiently looking forward to this historical novel set in 1880 in a small Norwegian village.  I read it as soon as I picked it up on the weekend and it was absolutely worth the wait – I loved it and am delighted to know it’s the first book in a trilogy.

Cuttings by Christopher Lloyd – a collection of Lloyd’s gardening columns for the Guardian.  I enjoyed Dear Friend and Gardener, a volume of letters (always intended for publication) between him and Beth Chatto, and am looking forward to reading more by him.

Walking Away by Simon Armitage – I thoroughly enjoyed Walking Home, poet laureate Armitage’s account of walking the Pennine Way, and am looking forward to his subsequent experiences walking the South West Coast Path.  

War: How Conflict Shaped Us by Margaret MacMillan – the newest book from the acclaimed historian.  

Prisoners of History by Keith Lowe – speaking of new books from acclaimed historians…Subtitled “What Monuments to the Second World War Tell Us About Our History and Ourselves” this is incredibly timely given the debates going on.

Beyond Belfast by Will Ferguson – I have had this travel memoir about walking the Ulster Way and uncovering family history on my to-read-list for ages.

Dancing in the Mosque by Homeira Qaderi – An Afghan activist’s memoir of her life growing up in Afghanistan, written as a way to explain to her son why she left her country – and him – behind.  

Harlequin House by Margery Sharp – seeing so much talk of Sharp recently (following the Dean Street Press recent reissues) had me searching the inter-library loan catalogue for titles I haven’t yet read.

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson – a surprisingly gentle tale about three very different characters – a dying old woman, a newly divorced young(ish) man, and an anxious seven-year old girl – and how their lives intersect. 

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls – A spirited YA novel about three young women struggling for suffrage, this has been on my to-read list since Sarra Manning praised it back in 2017.  It took a few years to track down but inter-library loan came to the rescue!

And two cute rom-coms to round it all off: Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron and Love at First by Kate Clayborn

What did you pick up this week?

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Library Lust

via @michaeldevine on Instagram

Just the right library for spring!

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Library Lust

via Elle Decoration UK

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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

How are you doing?  For most of us, this week marks a year since Covid restrictions first entered our lives and everything got very quiet very quickly.  I remember dashing around stocking up on library items in the days before the lockdown started, sensing that it would be coming and being very thankful in the months that followed that I had!  Of all the things I had to worry about, running out of reading material was not one of them.

A year later, hope is in sight – especially for those of you in the US and the UK where the vaccine rollout has been so miraculously fast.  What a thing to already have already given the first dose to a quarter and a third of your eligible populations!  We are administering whatever vaccine supply arrives (we cannot produce it domestically) but it will be a much longer wait – in my province the hope is for everyone to have their first dose by the end of July.  Until then, at least there are books!

No Picnic on Mount Kenya by Felice Benuzzi – I’ve had this tale of Italian POWs’ escape on my list for a few years but it was reading Eric Newby’s memoir Love and War in the Apennines last month that made me seek it out.  After reading about Brits escaping Italian captors, what better foil than Italians slipping past their British guards?

The Man Who Was Greenmantle by Margaret FitzHerbert – I feel rather guilty about this one.  Herbert has been on my periphery for a while but it was reading A Rage for Rock Gardening, an elegantly slim biography of his friend Reginald Farrer, that proved the tipping point for seeking this out.  Farrer, a plant hunter and gardener, had considerable achievements of his own but made extraordinary friends at Oxford whose achievements and exploits would outclass his.  I took away many things from the Farrer biography but chief among them was the determination to read about his friends, Herbert especially.

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes – The Trojan War as seen through women’s eyes.  Jane was enthusiastic when she read it last year and included it in her Box of Books for 2020.


Lost Children by Edith Pargeter – It’s hard too find too much about this but it appears that mystery-writer Pargeter (who wrote primarily as Ellis Peters) wrote “a love story set in post war Britain about the relationship that grows between an upper-class girl living in a grand house and a young national serviceman stationed nearby” (thank you Google Books).  I’m intrigued.

The Jewel Garden by Monty and Sarah Don – The Jewel Garden is the story of the garden that bloomed from the muddy fields around the Dons’ Tudor farmhouse, a perfect metaphor for the Monty and Sarah’s own rise from the ashes of a spectacular commercial failure in the late ’80s . At the same time The Jewel Garden is the story of a creative partnership that has weathered the greatest storm, and a testament to the healing powers of the soil. 

Kiftsgate Court Gardens by Vanessa Berridge – Gorgeous book about the family-run Cotswolds garden and the three generations of women who have created and cared for it.

A completely unintentional trio of WWI-themed books:

No Man’s Land by Wendy Moore – the story of pioneering female doctors and the life-saving military hospital they ran.  Published as Endell Street in the UK.

Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig – I read this as soon as I picked it up on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed Willig’s newest release, a novel about a group of Smith College alumnae who leave America in 1917 to provide aid to devastated French villages near the front lines.

Into the Blizzard by Michael Winter – I was looking for books about walking and came across this history-cum-travel-memoir in which Winter travels through the battlefields of the First World War while telling the devastating story of the Newfoundland Regiment and the battle of Beaumont-Hamel.

What did you pick up this week?

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Library Lust

via Wealden Times

Every reading nook needs an Eames chair.

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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Lots of excitement in our family since my last library post: last Friday (on my birthday) my newest nephew was born!  That brings it to three kids in under 39 months for my brother and sister-in-law – a busy household for years to come!  It’s hard – especially for the grandparents – not knowing when we’ll be able to go and visit them, even for a socially distanced sighting of the new arrival, but we’re hopeful travel will become an option as we move into spring.  Until then, plenty of books remain to keep me occupied.

A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood – I’ve been hearing good things about Laura Wood for a few years but it was Jane’s inclusion of Wood’s most recent novel in her box of books for 2020 that finally spurred me to action.  (Jane’s review of this, Wood’s first YA novel, is also worth checking out.)

Love and War in the WRNS by Vicky Unwin – I’ve had this on my to-read list for a few years but can’t remember now where I originally came across it.  It’s a collection of one woman’s letters from her time in the WRNS during the war, so no surprise that it appealed to me.

Twilight of Democracy by Anne Applebaum – Applebaum, a writer for The Atlantic, looks at why authoritarianism thrives.  This article from 2018, which describes the rifts Applebaum and her husband have experienced with one-time friends in his Polish homeland as the country has become increasing divided, was the inspiration for the book.

The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon – I’ve just starting reading this delightful rom-com about two public radio colleagues who become cohosts of a new show about relationships based around the lie that they once dated.

The Piper on the Mountain by Ellis Peters – Elisabeth mentioned this 1960s mystery at the end of 2019 as one of the best books she had read that year and I was immediately intrigued by it’s Slovakian setting.  It just took me a while to do anything about it.

All the Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks with Kevin Carr O’Leary – A moving memoir of an Arkansan woman who became a caregiver and passionate AIDS education advocate starting in the mid-1980s.

What did you pick up this week?

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Happy birthday to me!  The celebrations are predictably non-existent for my 35th but there is one tradition that Covid cannot interfere with: the sharing of my five favourite libraries from the last year of “Library Lust” posts.  Enjoy!

via Wealden Times

photo credit: Michael Sinclair

photo credit: Jen Harrison Bunning

photo credit: Andrew Beasley (via House and Garden UK)

For more stunning libraries, check out past birthday editions from 2020, 20192018201720162015201420132012, and 2011.

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Library Lust

photo credit: Rachael Smith (via The Guardian)

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