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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.

Last week didn’t go quite as planned for me.  I’d been looking forward to taking Thursday and Friday off work (following the Wednesday holiday for Remembrance Day) and escaping to Vancouver Island for a little break.  I’ve only left Vancouver twice in the last year and was eager to be anywhere that wasn’t my house for just a couple of days, even a place that I’d usually visit as a day trip.  But alas, the COVID numbers are rising dramatically here so they’ve sensibly asked us to avoid non-essential travel from the plague-ridden metropolis.

Instead, I spent my time off doing lots of walking, gardening, and, to a surprisingly small extent, reading.  I’m deep into The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili, which is a wonderfully absorbing Georgian family saga, though I’m picking up a few shorter books to give myself little breaks from it (it’s over 900 pages).  I couldn’t resist starting in on one of my most recent library books as soon as I picked it up…

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson – yes, I’ve finally gone and read this beloved Pulitzer-prize-winning novel!  And very suitably it’s also the subject of Simon and Rachel’s most recent podcast episode.

Frederick the Great by Nancy Mitford – Obviously better known as a novelist, I’m intrigued by the non-fiction books Mitford wrote.  This will be the first one I’ve actually read but where better to start than with one of the most fascinating of enlightened despots?

Fabulous Monsters by Alberto Manguel – I’m in the mood for books about books and it’s hard to be in safer hands than Manguel’s.  Here he takes “an original look at how literary characters can transcend their books to guide our lives.”

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – This sounds wonderful and like just the right thing to read in these dark days.  I know I’m in safe hands with Haig.

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.

November seems to be off to a bumpy start, which seems the perfect excuse (as though an excuse were ever needed) to stockpile a ridiculous number of books.

Too Marvellous for Words! by Julie Welch – the inter-library loan system is running again!  Sort of.  To the extent that other libraries around the province/country are open and sufficiently staffed to participate.  It may be back in only a small way but it meant I was able to finally get my hands on this memoir of 1960s boarding school life that I’ve been trying to track down since first hearing about it in early 2017.

An Accomplished Woman by Jude Morgan – I never, ever get tired of reading this Heyer-esque tale.

A Rage for Rock Gardening by Nicola Shulman – I’ve not been able to escape the plant collector Reginald Farrer this year, mainly because I keep reading Ursula Buchan and she keeps mentioning him.  There was a piece about him in a collection of her garden writings, then he appeared in her biography of her grandfather John Buchan, and finally there was an essay about him in the Summer 2020 edition of the Slightly Foxed quarterly.  Clearly, Buchan finds him interesting and I’m intrigued to learn more about him in this slim biography.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman – I had my first encounter with Backman last month when I read his newest novel, Anxious People, which I loved.  I’m intrigued to start on this soon.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett – I’ve had this on hold for ages but have been leaving it paused (a wonderful feature!  Bless all libraries that allow this), waiting for the right mood to hit.  As the days grow darker and shorter, now seems like the right time to pick up this latest offering from the always dependable Patchett.

The Lost Love Song by Minnie Darke – I was surprised in the spring by how much I enjoyed Darke’s first novel, Star-Crossed, a romantic comedy centered around astrology.  Happily, I didn’t have a long wait before this, her second book, came out and I sped through it right away and with great satisfaction.

Two Trees Make a Forest by Jessica J. Lee – In Lee’s first book, Turning, she combined memoir and nature writing beautifully as she wrote about her experiences swimming in the lakes around Berlin.  Here she explores Taiwan to discover the land her family came from.

Ask Me Anything by P.Z. Reizin – I’m fairly skeptical of “smart” technology but what if it were plotting to help you?  I’m looking forward to Reizin’s take on that in this “romantic comedy for the technology age“.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher – I read September by Pilcher when I was on holiday at the end of the summer and while I had my quibbles with it I can’t deny that it was absorbing.  I know this is many people’s favourite of her works so thought I’d give it a try.

Something of His Art by Horatio Clare – It’s here!   I have been waiting years for the library to get hold of this (truly, it appeared in the catalogue so long ago that my first hold expired – which means I’d had it on hold for more than a year and a half).  It’s a slim book to carry the pressure of so much anticipation but it was worth the wait for just the beautiful cover design alone – Little Toller have done a stunning job.

Finally, the remaining two titles from Handheld Press that I’d asked the library to buy have come in: Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner and The Runagates Club by John Buchan.

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.

When I have two behemoths waiting for me (Stalingrad at 961 pages and The Eighth Life at 934 pages), is it responsible (or realistic) to keep checking things out?  Let’s not answer that.  Wish me speedy reading instead as I am excited about all of these new arrivals.

Blitz Writing by Inez Holden – early this year I asked my library to purchase a number of titles from Handheld Press and, to my delight, they did!  This volume consists of both a novella and a memoir and I’m still kicking myself for not attending the launch party when I was in London last year.  In this year of no social commitments I regret all the things I passed on in the Before Times.

Out of Istanbul by Bernard Ollivier – I picked up Walking to Samarkand a couple of weeks ago only to realise it was the continuation of a journey which started with this book.  Luckily, it was easy to grab this so I’ll be able to read them in order.

Leonard and Hungry Paul by Rónán Hession – I’ve so been looking forward to this.  The Guardian described it as “a charming, warm-hearted celebration of all that is treasurable about everyday life.”  Who wouldn’t want to read that, especially these days?

Off the Deep End by W. Hodding Carter – Is it truly never too late to follow your dreams?  Hodding Carter, a competitive swimmer during his university years, sets out in his early 40s to see if he can make it to the Olympics.

The Habsburgs by Martyn Rady – I am always here for a book about the Habsburgs and have been looking forward to this for ages.

To the Lake by Kapka Kassabova – This sounds wonderful.

What did you pick up this week?

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Library 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.

Just one book to share this week: Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas, the just-released fifth book in her “Lady Sherlock” series.  Thomas is good at writing any genre she turns her hand to (romance, mystery, YA, fantasy) so it’s exciting any time she has a new release.

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.

Love in the Blitz by Eileen Alexander – Sarra Manning flagged this collection of letters from the Second World War back in March in her list of 2020 non-fiction releases, describing it as “It’s like somebody put all my favourite things into a magical book-making machine and this is what came out.”  Sold!

Love from Boy edited by Donald Sturrock – I am so in the mood for letters or diaries but haven’t found anything to suit me yet.  I have high hopes for the Eileen Alexander book (above) but am also excited about this collection of letters from Roald Dahl to his mother.

Walking to Samarkand by Bernard Ollivier – I love books about walking and books about the Silk Road (have you read Lands of Lost Borders yet?) so this seems ideal for me.  I have only just realised that it is actually the second volume, the first being Out of Istanbul so now I’m off to find that too.

Women and Their Gardens by Catherine Horwood – I read Horwood’s excellent biography of Beth Chatto earlier this year and was delighted to see the library had this earlier book, a survey of female British gardeners from the Elizabethan period onwards.  It seems to have originally been published as Gardening Women if you’re looking for it in the UK.

The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischvili – I love a family saga and I’m always interested in books from Eastern Europe so this doorstopper (well-reviewed in the Guardian last year) seemed ideal.  But is it ever huge – thank goodness the library has extended its loan periods and eliminated late fines during the pandemic.

Angels by Marian Keyes – After reading a few of Keyes’ books over the summer (Grown Ups and Rachel’s Holiday) I’m not ready to let go so it’s back to the Walsh family series.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – People are so enthusiastic about Backman’s books but I’ve never read any of them.  But I’ve broken that curse and am now halfway through this touching story about a bank robbery turn apartment-viewing-hostage-situation and loving it.

One Game at a Time by Harnarayan Singh – Bit of a niche interest this.  For my non-Canadian readers, Singh is a sports announcer for the Punjabi broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada (because yes, that is something we have).  In his newly released memoir, he tells his story of growing up on the prairies and pursuing his dream of working in a sport where no one else looked like him.

Can’t Even by Anne Helen Petersen – There has been press about this everywhere (did you see it in the Guardian?  Or NPR?) and as a millennial I feel I should at least give it a try to understand what the rest of my generation is apparently feeling.

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 finally happened: after more than six month, my local library branch is now open for browsing.  They opened yesterday and, no surprise, I made a point of going there on my lunch break just to embrace the joy of being back in familiar surroundings.  I am so thankful the library has made it possible to pick up holds over the last few months and to browse at other branches but there is so much comfort in having this branch reopened.

And of course it makes it even easier for me to comfort myself with many, many books.  Here are some of the new ones I’ve picked 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.

I’m on vacation this week and computer time has now been replaced entirely by books.  It is glorious.  I sleep, I hike, I swim, and I read.  Repeat.  Here are some of the titles (both new to me and rereads) I have checked out to help keep me entertained:

Indiscretion by Jude Morgan (Book Depository)

The German Heiress by Anika Scott (Book Depository)

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore (Book Depository)

The Summer of Kim Novak by Hakan Nesser (Book Depository)

Dear Life by Rachel Clarke (Book Depository)

Cleopatra’s Sister by Penelope Lively (Book Depository)

September by Rosamunde Pilcher (Book Depository)

Come from Away by Genevieve Graham (Book Depository)

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes (Book Depository)

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.

The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler…autumn is definitely on its way.  Which, as all readers know, can only be a good thing as it means opportunities for curling up under blankets, reading by cosy lamplight, and generally embracing our default bookish behaviours.  I can’t wait!

The Switch by Beth O’Leary – Like everyone who enjoyed O’Leary debut (The Flatshare), I’ve been looking forward to her second book all about a grandmother and granddaughter who switch homes for a couple of months.  It was just released in North America last week and I was delighted to get my hands on it so quickly.  No surprise, I read it immediately. (Book Depository)

Writers & Lovers by Lily King – It is good for a book to be described as “a kind of gorgeous agony“?  I’ll find out.  (Book Depository)

My Year of Saying No by Maxine Morrey – 2020 has not been a year for keeping resolutions – keeping sane has taken priority.  But how fun to read about a normal world where that is possible.  (Book Depository)

Hamnet and Judith by Maggie O’Farrell – This needs no introduction, surely?  Intriguing, it’s published here as Hamnet and Judith but just Hamnet elsewhere.  (Book Depository)

Stalingrad by Vasily Grossman – Autumn calls for epics and what could be more epic than 1,000 pages about the Great Patriotic War? (Book Depository)

A New Kind of Country by Dorothy Gilman – Gilman, the author of the “Mrs Pollifax” series, bought a home in a small Nova Scotian fishing village after her sons left for university and “began her life again“.  The Mrs Pollifax books have never been quite my thing but this sounds just right for me.

Once Upon an Eid – So excited for this collection of stories for children from 15 different Muslim authors, including favourites S.K. Ali and G. Willow Wilson. (Book Depository)

Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave – A family story about three-generations of women trying to figure out what they really want out of life. (Book Depository)

Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu – This looks like a fun light read about families, drama, and, of course, romance at a lavish Indian wedding. (Book Depository)

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel – I borrowed this as an e-book a few months ago but just couldn’t get into it.  I’m happy to have my hands on the hardcover edition now for a “proper” reading experience. (Book Depository)

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan – It’s extraordinarily unusual for me to read a crime novel but this was on so many “Best of” lists back when it was originally published that I’ve been keeping an eye out for it ever since.  (Book Depository)

Down to Earth by Monty Don – Calming gardening advice to dip in and out of (Book Depository)

What are you reading 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 choice this week!  On top of these books, I am steadily working my way through the Amelia Peabody mysteries (after rereading Crocodile on the Sandbank a few weeks ago) so just assume there are always three or four of those being checked out alongside whatever else you see.  I’m on to the 10th book in the series now, which is when things really start to get good, so remembering to alternate the mysteries with other books (as I have been doing) may test my resolve over the next week or two.

Where the Hornbeam Grows by Beth Lynch – I’ve been looking forward to this since hearing about it on the Slightly Foxed podcast last year.  (Book Depository)

The Well-Gardened Mind by Sue Stuart-Smith – a thoughtful look at the powerful ways in which nature and gardening can improve our lives. (Book Depository)

The Garden on Holly Street by Megan Attley – Light, garden-themed fluff. (Book Depository)

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls – I loved the Guardian‘s review for this: Sweet Sorrow is a book that does what Nicholls does best, sinking the reader deep into a nostalgic memory-scape, pinning the narrative to a love story that manages to be moving without ever tipping over into sentimentality, all of it composed with deftness, intelligence and, most importantly, humour. (Book Depository)

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria – Billed as perfect for fans of Jane the Virgin, this romcom about telenovella stars looks irresistible.  (Book Depository)

Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras – NPR included this in their April romance novel round up and it sounded fun. (Book Depository)

To War with the Walkers by Annabel Venning – I love family histories and this one, about six siblings and their experiences of World War Two, looks wonderful and was featured on a number of “Best of 2019” lists. (Book Depository)

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks – Sharlene had this in her loot back in January and I thought it looked cute.  I had no idea there would be actual pumpkins in the fields by the time I actually got my hands on it but that’s the way this year has gone!  (Book Depository)

What are you reading 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.

I have real books!  Real, honest-to-goodness, physical books are now in my possession after two very different library trips.

The first trip was to my beloved local branch, which is now open for outdoor pick-ups.  I was able to pick-up three long-standing holds from them and I was practically giddy through the entire (very brief) experience.  Two of the three were books the library purchased at my request, so I was especially excited to get them.

My second visit was a bit more involved.  The hold system is not back to functioning normally yet; if you want books from one of the handful of libraries that are open for browsing you are encouraged to pick them up there.  So, book list in hand, I went to our central library downtown.  A limited section of the library is open so if you want something from upper floors you need to make a request and a staff member acts as a runner to pick up the books and bring them back downstairs.  It all worked very smoothly and I had plenty of time to browse the available fiction shelves while I waited.  All told, I was out within 20 minutes with plenty of books.

Now I am surrounded by beautiful stacks of new books and feel overwhelmed by choice once again, which is the proper result of any library visit.

Here are the three I was able to pick up from my local branch:

Eve in Egypt by Stella Tennyson Jesse – I am 100% the target market for people who publish travelogues thinly disguised as novels, which is what this 1920s tale promises to be.  (Book Depository)

The Lost Europeans by Emanuel Litvinoff – It has been four years (!) since Simon added this to his list of 50 Books You Must Read But May Not Have Heard About (full review here) but I’ve finally got my hands on it.  (Book Depository)

Scent Magic by Isabel Bannerman – The Times named this as the 2019 gardening book of the year, which is high praise indeed given some of the competition it had (most notably Catherine Horwood’s excellent biography of Beth Chatto). (Book Depository)

Fair Stood the Wind for France by H.E. Bates – this has been on my TBR list for ages.  Will this finally be the summer I read it?  (Book Depository)

The Duff Cooper Diaries edited by John Julius Norwich – Ditto.  (Book Depository)

Plot 29 by Allan Jenkins – As should be clear by now, I will read any sort of garden-focused memoir. (Book Depository)

Chanel’s Riviera by Anne de Courcy – I’m in just the right mood for one of de Courcy’s light social histories and the added escapism of the French Riviera is ideal for this travel-starved summer. (Book Depository)

Memories by Teffi – The library has finally recovered (or replaced) its copy of this.  (Book Depository)

The Horseman by Tim Pears – I loved listening to Pears when he was the focus of a recent-ish episode of the Slightly Foxed podcast.  I was immediately determined to start reading him and this, the first in his West Country trilogy, seemed like the perfect place to start.  (Book Depository)

The Semi-Attached Couple and The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden – One of – or rather two of – the VMC titles that I remember hearing a lot about when I first started blogging.  Hayley wrote an excellent review of this volume back in 2011 and compared the experience to “reading an early [Georgette] Heyer”.  Sold! (Book Depository)

V. Sackville-West’s Garden Book – A selection of Sackville-West’s gardening columns in a singularly unattractive edition.  It’s even worse in person than pictured here.

The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick – I loved reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine when I was growing up so am looking forward to this book, the first in a trilogy, about her. (Book Depository)

What are you reading this week?

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