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Archive for the ‘Library Loot’ Category

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.

The Reluctant Bride by Lucy Mangan – a reread (after many years).

The Gold of Noon by Essie Summers – I continue to track down as many Essie Summers books as I can – there promises to be a flurry of them next week as the ILL system is rolling again after a lull during the holidays.

This Land I Love by Susan Graham – in preparation for my trip to New Zealand, I have scoured the library catalogue and come up with some very random but appropriately themed picks.  Graham was a Auckland-based newspaper columnist and this book from the early 1960s brings together entertaining vignettes from her travels around the country.

What did you pick up this week?

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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.

Sharlene has the link this week.

Sorry for Your Trouble by Ann Marie Hourihane – a look a how death is handled in modern Ireland.  I started reading this on the bus home from the library and couldn’t put it down.

Cousin Cinderella by Sara Jeannette Duncan – after enjoying Duncan’s An American Girl in London from 1891 (which I hope to manage a review of soon), I’m intrigued to see how this later book from 1908 about a Canadian girl and her brother in London differs.

The Day My Grandfather Was a Hero by Paulus Hochgatterer – a novella set in Austria at the end of WWII, I’ve been wanting to read this for a while but had trouble finding a copy.  University library to the rescue!

Confessions by A.N. Wilson – a memoir focusing on the biographer’s early years.

Homelands by Chitra Ramaswamy – an intriguing look at “how a place becomes a home, what makes a family put down roots, and how hatred can tear them out” (from the Guardian review) and the friendship between Ramaswamy and a nonagenarian who came to Britain through the Kindertransport.

The Monk Downstairs by Tim Farrington – My library has lost its copy of this so I was happy to be able to track it down from the university library.  Recommended by Nancy Pearl: “A graphic designer who has given up on men and a monk who has lost his faith in God meet and fall – most tentatively – in love.”

What did you pick up this week?

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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.

Last Call at the Hotel Imperial by Deborah Cohen – a wonderful-looking group biography of wartime journalists.  I was enticed by excellent reviews from Kirkus and the Financial Times.

Trespasses by Louise Kennedy – I’m very excited about this much-praised novel set in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.

Endurance by Rick Broadbent – I am not the natural audience for sports biographies but every so often one finds its way into my library bag (though none since For the Glory, so it’s been a while).  There were a flurry of books about Zátopek, the Czech runner who won multiple gold medals at the 1952 Olympics, a few years ago and then a biopic more recently so I’m finally catching up.

What did you pick up this week?

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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.

Greetings from the holiday doldrums!  Is it Friday?  Is it Monday?  Who knows!  Time tends to lose meaning when I take time off work while staying in town and that is fine by me.  The snow and ice have disappeared (thanks to truly monumental amounts of rain) so I’m able to stride forth easily on my daily walks and return to read (and dry off) next to the fire.  Repeat ad infinitum – or at least until next week.

Assignment in Brittany and Ride a Pale Horse by Helen MacInnes – I continue my discovery of MacInnes’ spy novels.  Assignment in Brittany is one of her more famous ones (as it was adapted into a film) and Ride a Pale Horse has me intrigued as it deals with Czechoslovakia.

The Grand Spas of Central Europe by David Clay Large – Speaking of Czechoslovakia (and when am I not?), I’m excited about this history of some of Central Europe’s largest spas, which includes the famous Western Bohemian spa triangle.  I’m planning to stop in Mariánské Lázně (Marienbad) next spring so it will be fun to read more about its history before that trip.

Tempestuous Petticoat by Clare Leighton – What a title!  This is artist Leighton’s memoir of her mother, an “invincible Edwardian” (as per the subtitle).

Strange Journey by Maud Cairnes – Simon intrigued me with his initial review of this body-swapping novel back in late 2020 so I was delighted to see him get it reissued and readily available through the British Library Women’s Writers series.

The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters: Volume Three, 1958 – after great success with volume two, I’m continuing my reading of this bookish correspodence.

What did you pick up this week?

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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.

Sharlene has the Mr Linky this week.

Happy almost Christmas!  We have been walloped with snow here and I am deeply unimpressed.  Long-time readers may remember that back when I started the blog I was living in Calgary, horrified by how long and cold the winters were (having not learned my lesson about the evils of winter after four years at university in snowy Ontario).  I moved home to escape winter so whenever our lovely rainy winters turn to snowy ones I feel personally betrayed.

But all is not lost!  There is glorious rain in the forecast to melt all of this and, until then, I have the pleasure of working from home, going for snowy walks in the forest, and coming home to excellent books.  I’m stocking up for the holidays (I’m off between Christmas and New Years) and have lots of delightful titles to choose from:

Fifty Forgotten Books by R.B. Russell – Simon recently wrote about this and I have high hopes given how much he loved it.

Shirley Hazzard: A Writing Life by Brigitta Olubas – I’ve only just started reading Hazzard in the last two years (The Great Fire was my favourite book of 2021) but am so impressed by her work. This newly published biography has been getting excellent reviews and I’m excited to learn more about Hazzard’s life.

Girl Friends (aka When We Were Friends) by Holly Bourne – Bourne’s two earlier adult books have both stayed with me so I’m excited about this most recent release about a long friendship that fell apart.

Lucy Carmichael by Margaret Kennedy – I loved this when I first read it in 2014 and declared “I could easily see it becoming one of my favourite comfort reads in years to come”.  Of course I haven’t picked it up in eight years (it’s not easy to track down and I had to pop out to the university to get it) but I stand by that statement and am excited to curl up with it over the holidays.

An American Girl in London by Sara Jeannette Duncan – while I was out at the library grabbing Lucy Carmichael, I also picked this up, remembering Barb’s long-ago review of it.

The Citadel by A.J. Cronin – another university find, I figured it was time to finally read the novel after having seen the film so many times.

The Winter Guest by W.C. Ryan – I saw Jane Casey (whose books I discovered and devoured early this year) name this as one of the best crime novels of the year.  It sounds excellent:

January 1921. Though the Great War is over, in Ireland a new civil war is raging. The once-grand Kilcolgan House, a crumbling bastion shrouded in sea mist, lies half empty and filled with ghosts, both real and imagined, while it shelters the surviving members of the Prendeville family. Then, when an IRA ambush goes terribly wrong, Maud Prendeville, Lord Kilcolgan’s eldest daughter, is killed, leaving the family reeling. Yet the IRA column behind the attack insists they left her alive, that someone else must be responsible for her terrible fate. Captain Tom Harkin, an IRA intelligence officer and Maud’s former fiancé, is sent to investigate. He becomes an unwelcome guest in this strange, gloomy household.

Working undercover, Harkin must delve into the house’s secrets—and discover where, in this fractured, embattled town, allegiances truly lie. But Harkin too is haunted by the ghosts of the past and by his terrible experiences on the battlefields. Can he find the truth about Maud’s death before the past—and his strange, unnerving surroundings—overwhelm him?

The Glass Wall by Max Egremont – Egremont looks at the often forgotten (though less this year, thanks to the war in Ukraine and increased consciousness of the vulnerability of the nations that border Russia) and often disputed Baltic region.

The Last Enemy by Richard Hillary – Slightly Foxed reissued this wartime memoir by a very young pilot several years ago and it’s been on my to-read list ever since.

What did you pick up this week?

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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’s possible that all of the end of year book lists in the newspapers have turned me a little mad.  As if they were not adding enough new books to my to-be-read list, they’ve inspired me to gather several books about books from the library.  By the end of the year my TBR should be truly gargantuan but how fun it is to make it so!

The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters: Volume Two, 1956-1957 – I managed to both enjoy and be underwhelmed by the first volume of these literary letters, which I read back in 2018.  But in my current bookish mood, I thought I would give them another try and I am so glad I did!  Hart-Davis was stricter in editing and the tedious cricket chat has been excised, along with a few other elements that made the first volume a bit stodgy.  They have also settled into a stronger friendship and begin to share more about their personal lives amidst the trading of quotations and book recommendations.  Very enjoyable so far.

Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda – I loved Browsings and got so many wonderful recommendations from it, as well as thoroughly enjoying Dirda’s writing.  Here he appears to stick more to canon with fewer obscure choices but I’m looking forward to his thoughts on them.

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby – I read a collection of Hornby’s columns about his reading habits in 2013 and, despite getting some excellent recommendations from him, retained my general disinterest in Hornby himself so never rushed out to read more.  Nine years later, I’m ready to dive back in.

Second Reading by Jonathan Yardley – Yardley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic (like Dirda), is entirely new to me so I’m intrigued to see what I think of this.

The Snare of the Hunter by Helen MacInnes – my exploration of MacInnes’ spy novels continues.  I’m especially intrigued by this one as the main character is a Czech who has defected and whose ex-husband, a member of the secret police, plans to use her to trap her famous father.

Family Business by Victoria Glendinning – Glendinning is such a talented biographer and I’ve been looking forward to this biography of the John Lewis family and business since it was released last year.

What did you pick up this week?

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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 recent releases for me this week and inadvertently in a very consistent colour theme.  I’ve had some trouble settling down with books recently but this batch has helped me break through that – I’ve already read four of them and enjoyed every single one.

Chums by Simon Kuper – Kuper was at Oxford with many of the men who have led Britain in recent years and looks at how the school’s culture helped shape them and their worldview.

Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie – I miss new books from Crusie but am always happy to return to her backlist.

Hither, Page by Cat Sebastian – I’ve seen Sebastian’s name mentioned regularly as the author of queer historical romances but they didn’t seem like my thing.  However, this cosy mystery set in a small village shortly after WWII and focused on the local doctor and the spy who comes to investigate a recent murder was just delightfully warm and satisfying.  I’m delighted to know there’s a sequel.

Blackwater Falls by Ausma Zehanat Khan – I have been so looking forward to this first book in a new crime series from Khan after discovering her work last year (The Unquiet Dead made my list of favourite books for 2021) and am happy to report it’s her best book yet.  And it was even reviewed in the NYT recently!

Ship Wrecked by Olivia Dade – Dade’s “Spolier Alert” romance series about the stars of a Game-of-Thrones-esque show has been surprisingly delightful, with the first two books heavily focused on fandom antics.  This deviates from that formula by focusing a romance between costars and I loved it.  This was the light but still emotionally relatable book I needed to break my reading drought.

The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel – Meena Dave is a photojournalist who, after losing her adoptive parents as a teen, has never had a true home.  When she is left an apartment in Boston by a women she didn’t know, she discovers a co-op that runs like a family and begins to uncover her own history and culture, as well as learn how to connect again with others.  I read this over the weekend and really enjoyed it.  The characters felt realistically complicated, as did the loneliness Meena struggled with.

What did you pick up this week?

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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.

A Village in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd – several years ago, Boyd wrote Travellers in the Third Reich, an interesting look at the rise of Nazis through the eyes of visitors to Germany.  I had my quibbles with it but overall found it fascinating so am excited to read this follow-up, where she focuses on the villagers of Oberstdorf (which has coincidentally been on my list of travel destinations for several years – as are most places in the Alps).

The Ghost and Mrs Muir by R.A. Dick – a long-awaited ILL hold!  Kate’s write up caught my eye last February and, nine months later, here we finally are.  I’ve seen the movie numerous times but have never read this.

One Day I Shall Astonish the World by Nina Stibbe – I’ve been a latecomer to Stibbe but have loved everything I’ve read by her so far.

Home is the Hunter by Helen MacInnes – I’ve read a couple of MacInnes’ spy novels recently and was sad to find how few of her works the library has in stock.  Intriguingly, one thing it has held on to is this comic play about Odysseus’ return home.

Not Far From Brideshead by Daisy Dunn – a strangely slim look at Oxford between the wars.

The Movement by Ayisha Malik – Malik’s Sofia Khan is Not Obliged delighted me back in 2015 (it was one of my favourite books that year) and I’ve happily scooped up everything she’s written (or ghost-written) since then.

What did you pick up this week?

Read Full Post »

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.

A big week for Essie Summers novels via inter-library loans here – all the way from Newfoundland!  That’s a lengthy journey, about 5,000km by plane, and I am endlessly amazed and appreciative that they all come at no cost to me.

What did you pick up this week?

Read Full Post »

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.

Sharlene has the Mr Linky this week.

After putting library holds on pause while I was on vacation, they came rushing at me last weekend.  Between two different library systems I picked up more than 20 items on Saturday, including these recent releases:

The Belle of Belgrave Square by Mimi Matthews – Matthews has been a relatively recent discovery for me but I’m loving her gentle historical romances.  This is the second in her “Belles of London” series, which started earlier this year with The Siren of Sussex.

The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik – the end to Novik’s Scholomance trilogy.

The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn – I’m hearing only good things about this.

The Reindeer Hunters by Lars Mytting – Mytting’s The Bell in the Lake was one of my favourite books I read last year so I’ve been waiting impatiently for this second book to appear in translation.

Super-Infinite by Katherine Rundell – Rundell, best known for her childrens’ books, has been getting heaps of praise for this biography of John Dunne.

Lore Olympus, Volume Two by Rachel Smythe – an enjoyable continuation of the webtoon about Hades and Persephone.

Iron Curtain by Vesna Goldsworthy – I’ve been looking forward to this since reading the FT review last February.

Gifts by Laura Barnett – are you ready for Christmas reading yet?  I’m not sure I am but let’s find out.

Ducks by Kate Beaton – There are 320 people in the library line behind me waiting for this graphic memoir about Beaton’s time working the oil sands, which gives you some idea of how much buzz there is around this.  I read it instantly and it’s superb.

What did you pick up this week?

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