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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.

We’ve made it to May!  Inside there are books and outside there are flowers and that’s reason enough to celebrate this month.

Library Loot

Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell – somehow this Canadian classic about depression-era boyhood on the Prairies never made it onto my school’s reading list but it’s just the right thing for my current mood.

Waterlogged by Roger Deakin – the classic “swimmer’s journey through Britain”.

City Dreamers – I don’t often share the DVDs I pick up but I really intrigued by this portrait of four female architects and their impact on urban planning.

Homebrew and Patches by Harry J. Boyle – On the weekend I was browsing the list of books that have won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour (as you do) and this winner from 1964 caught my eye.  It is an autobiographical novel about growing up in southern Ontario between the wars.

The Potting Shed Papers by Charles Elliott – a collection of essays on gardening (there can never be enough!).

Courting Samira by Amal Awad – Very excited to have tracked this down through the inter-library loan system!  There have been a flurry of recent romcom novels with Muslim protagonists but this Australian book – almost ten years old now – used to be one of the only ones around and impossible to find.

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 holiday time for me!  Which means…not a lot under our current circumstances, other than a very welcome mental break from work.  I am having a lovely vacation from my computer (hence the brevity of this post), taking lots of long walks in the beautiful summer-like weather, and, as always, reading.  There are worse ways to spend a week!

Library Loot

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 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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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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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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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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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.

Brrr.  February is off to a chilly start but the skies are blue and, with sunshine now available, you can actually tell the days are getting longer!  It is so encouraging and with all of the snopdrops, crocuses, and camellias in blossom, spring feels very close now.  Except for the snow in the forecast but I’m doing my best to ignore that (may it chose to ignore us in return).  Still no changes to our restrictions here (we have had rules restricting socialising outside of your household group since early November) so still lots of time to read and lots of new books from the library:

Rest and Be Thankful by Helen MacInnes – a few years ago, Elisabeth made a list of her favourite “hidden gems“.  It contains several books I already love so I immediately added the others to my to-read this, with this title being the one I was most intrigued by.  Published in the late forties, it is the story of two friends who, after almost twenty years in Europe, decide to host aspiring writers at a ranch in Wyoming.

A Sound Mind by Paul Morley – When I wrote about Year of Wonder in January, Karen mentioned she had been reading this title, also about classical music, so I immediately tracked it down.

That Can Be Arranged by Huda Fahmy – I don’t follow Fahmy on social media but her wonderful comics about life as an American Muslim woman are reposted so often by friends that it can feel like I do.  In this graphic memoir, she shares how she met and married her husband.

Ghosting by Jennie Erdal – A memoir about life as a ghostwriter (which I’m only aware of thanks to its reissue by Slightly Foxed).

A Bookshop in Berlin by Françoise Frenkel – A memoir of a Jewish bookstore owner’s experiences during the Second World War.

Ex Libris by Michiko Kakutani – One hundred personal essays about books – who could resist?

She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima B. Robert – I have a long list of titles to track down through inter-library loan and am slowly working my way through it.  There are a lot of new YA titles from Muslim authors these days but back in 2014 that seemed to be much rarer, which is how this caught my attention.  More than six years later, here we finally are.

La Seduction by Elaine Sciolino – I have been watching almost entirely French programing the last five or six weeks so, clearly, need that to now expand over into my reading.

Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson – I was so excited about this new release from Robson, a historical novel featuring the always reliable plot device of a marriage of convenience to save someone from the Nazis.  Who can resist this?  And set in Italy no less!  I read it as soon as I picked it up from the library but was deeply disappointed.  It’s not awful but it was sadly flat.

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.

There was a superb episode of the podcast “You’re Booked” over the holidays with Ella Risbridger, in which they talked about the Out of the Hitler Time trilogy by Judith Kerr, consisting of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Bombs on Aunt Dainty, and A Small Person Far Away.  I read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit as a child but had no idea that Anna’s story continued in other books so have set out to read the series in sequence.

A strong showing for the interlibrary loan system this week with three intriguing titles:

Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge – I’ve been looking forward to reading this for years thanks to Rachel’s enthusiasm for it.  After such a long time without travel (and so much longer still ahead), books about people on vacation are the next best thing – especially as the setting here is the Dalmatian Coast, one of my favourite places.

Dashbury Park by Susan Tweedsmuir – Scott recently wrote about Susan Tweedsmuir’s Victorian novels and while I was familiar with Cousin Harriet (an excellent book), somehow the other two had passed me by.

The Youngest Lady-in-Waiting by Mara Kay – the sequel to Masha, which I read earlier this month.  I only became aware of these children’s books recently after reading Elaine’s very fond review at Shiny New Books.

Hafiz of Shiraz translated by Peter Avery and John Heath-Stubbs – Simon was talking about his desire and determination to be a person who likes poetry last week.  I’ve never had huge success with poetry but, like Simon, I keep trying to read it and find what I like.  I’ve read and watched a few things set in Iran this month so Hafiz was top of my mind when it came to poets and I picked up this slim volume of only 30 poems.

Love Thy Neighbor by Ayaz Virji – This caught my eye back in 2019 thanks to this NPR interview and my library has now acquired a copy.

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain – Hugely praised and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award last year, I’m about a third of the way through this novel about a British Muslim family and have mixed feelings.  The writing is good and the characters well-drawn but it feels unnecessarily long.  I’m going to persevere a while longer but this may be one I abandon.

In February (which is next week!), Karen and Lizzy are hosting Reading Independent Publishers Month.  I have plenty of things off my own shelves that I’m looking forward to reading but couldn’t resist picking up two titles I’ve long had on my TBR list from Eland Books: Two Middle-Aged Ladies in Andalusia by Penelope Chetwode and Journey into the Mind’s Eye by Lesley Blanch

A Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan – The final book in the Khattak/Getty mystery series which began with The Unquiet Dead.  It’s rare that I read mysteries and rarer still that I race through them as quickly as I have with this excellent series.

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.

My library has decided to kick off the New Year with a return to normality.  The extra long loan periods we’ve been enjoying and moratorium on late fees are now a thing of the past.  Ah well, they were good while they lasted (though I never got to test the late fee exception – I’m too well trained to break rules even with approval to do so).  Our usual loan period here is 3 weeks, with the option to renew books up to 2 times if there isn’t a hold queue, so there’s still plenty of time available to read everything.

I don’t read mysteries but made an exception after hearing so much praise for The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan.  It is superb and, after quickly passing it on to my mother to read, I immediately placed holds on the next three books in the series: The Language of Secrets, Among the Ruins, and A Dangerous Crossing (published as No Place of Refuge in the UK).  I am now rationing them out so I don’t speed through the series too fast.

For something completely different, I also picked up:

Just Enough Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – a collection of the best Jeeves novels: Right Ho, Jeeves, Joy in the Morning, and Very Good, Jeeves.

Off the Road by Jack Hitt – I was running errands on the weekend and dropped by a library branch I don’t usually visit.  I found this during my brief browsing and was delighted.  You know by now that I can never resist a travel memoir about a walk (though I wouldn’t complain if people wrote about journeys other than the Camino de Santiago).

Map of Another Town by M.F.K. Fisher – Food-writer Fisher’s memoir of her move to Aix-en-Provence after the Second World War.

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.

We have almost made it to the end of 2020!  That came up fast – so fast in fact that I didn’t realise how many library holds I had paused until the end of December until they suddenly arrived this week in an avalanche.  But it’s the best and least lethal form of avalanche and I have every hope of being able to dig my way out while enjoying the process.

We Germans by Alexander Starritt – I’m very intrigued by this slim novel, which takes the form of a letter written by a German veteran of the Second World War to his British grandson.

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman – I read the epic Stalingrad a few months ago and this companion is praised as even more engaging and the best of Grossman’s works.

How to be an Epicurean by Catherine Wilson – the stoics have had their recent revival and here philosopher Wilson does her part to reestablish the Epicureans’ recipe for happiness: “a philosophy that promoted reason, respect for the natural world, and reverence for our fellow humans”.

Sarah’s Cottage by D.E. Stevenson – the sequel to Sarah Morris Remembers, which I recently reread.  I remember this being weak and unimpressive and yet I wasn’t ready to be done with Sarah after finishing the first book.

The Nymph and the Lamp by Thomas H. Raddall – During the 1956 Club back in October, Naomi at Consumed by Ink reviewed another book by Raddall, which intrigued me.  She also mentioned that this was her favourite title by him so I made it the first one I tracked down.

From Here to There by Michael Bond – I find the navigating instinct fascinating and so it’s no surprise that this volume, subtitled “the art and science of finding and losing our way“, appeals.

Rain by Melissa Harrison – There are many joys to be had from walking in the rain, which is good is it’s the only possible type of walking available here for much of the year.  Here Harrison takes the reader along on four walks taken in the rain throughout the year around England

A Promise of Ankles by Alexander McCall Smith – The most recent instalment in the 44 Scotland Street series.

All About Us by Tom Ellen – a light and fluffy filler.

Islamic Empires by Justin Marozzi – portraits of 15 different Islamic cities across history, focusing on each at the height of its powers.  I love the premise of this, though it did get a brutal review in the Guardian.

Masha by Mary Kay – I recently saw a review of The Youngest Lady in Waiting over at Shiny New Books and immediately placed a hold on this earlier book.

Noble Savages by Sarah Watling – Finally!  This was in every bookstore when I visited London last year but limited luggage space kept me from buying this biography of four fascinating sisters.  I’m delighted that my patience has finally been rewarded.

What did you pick up this week?

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