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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 Linda from Silly Little Mischief 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.

At the Strangers’ Gate by Adam Gopnik – another one off my list of 2017 new releases I didn’t get to last year.  New York during the 1980s isn’t usually something I’d have much interest in but I am interested in Gopnik.

A Beggar in Purple by Rupert Hart-Davis – having just finished the first volume of Hart-Davis’ letters with George Lyttelton, I turn now to this selection of entries from his commonplace book.

Judgement Day by Penelope Lively – I have been so looking forward to reading more Lively for a Century of Books!  Thomas at Hogglestock read this last year and thought it was one of the best novels he read all year so it seemed like a perfect place to start.

Thank You, Nelson by Nancy Spain – I’ve had this on my TBR list since 2012 when I read Ann Thwaite’s excellent biography of A.A. Milne.  In 1945 he reviewed this book, an account of Spain’s time in the WRNS, very favourably for the Sunday Times.  Since I’d like to believe A.A.M. knew a good thing when he saw it, I thought I’d finally follow his advice and give it a try.

Lagom by Niki Brantmark – I can’t help it.  I love to flip through these craze books on how X country has figured out the secret to a happy life and congratulate all the people who are making money on them.  Well done publishers.  You will never get any of my money but you do have my admiration.

Any good week at the library involves pulling a lot of random books off the shelves and bringing them home with no really firm commitment to read them this time around.  Sometimes it’s just nice to have them close to hand in case a very, very specific reading mood hits.  I brought three such books home this week:

Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence – as we know, I cannot resist a book about books.  Here, a librarian writes letters to the books in her life.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan – I was combing through old NPR book reviews and immediately after reading a loving review for this I found it on my library’s display shelf.  Kismet.

Living the Dream by Lauren Berry – I’ve had this on my radar since Sarra Manning recommended it last summer 

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 Linda from Silly Little Mischief 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 is a clear theme to my loot this week: correspondence.  I am delighted to live in the age of book blogs, where I can instantly communicate with so many people around the world about what we are all reading, but I do think our blogs (like all things good and bad about the internet) came about at the expense of detailed, intelligent letter writing and the relationships built around such correspondence.  I can just about manage to put aside my disappointment at the lost art of literary letter writing as long as I have plenty of other people’s letters to read – even if they aren’t written to me.

Sylvia and David: The Townsend Warner/Garnett Letters edited by Richard Garnett – Remember how I spent my whole review of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Diaries saying how much better her letters were?  Time for even more letters now, this time between STW and David Garnett (author of Lady Into Fox).

The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh edited by Charlotte Mosley – so glorious!  I am halfway through these gossipy, snobby letters and am enjoying every second.  But wasn’t Waugh awful?

The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters, Vol 1 – In 1955, when retired Eton master Lyttelton complained that no one wrote to him anymore his former pupil, publisher and editor Rupert Hart-Davis, “accepted his challenge.”  They kept up a vigorous correspondence until Lyttelton’s death in 1962 which eventually filled 6 volumes.  As someone who adores reading letters – particularly between such educated correspondents – this has been recommended to me time and again.

How I Came to Know Fish by Ota Pavel – a collection of poignant stories inspired by the author’s childhood in Czechoslovakia between the wars.

Resistance is Futile by Jenny T. Colgan – Math jokes and aliens and rom com moments (plus lots of Doctor Who references) made this a very fun read (I sped through it as soon as I brought it home).

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather by Linda Åkeson McGurk – It is now the Scandinavians, not the French, who know everything about how children should be raised.  I find books like these deeply entertaining to read as I have no children to worry about messing up either way.

Journey’s End by R.C. Sherriff – This glimpse into an officers’ dugout in March 1918 remains a highly-regarded piece of war writing and one of the most enduring plays of the 1920s.

The Flowering Thorn by Margery Sharp – Jane has put together a birthday book of underappreciated lady authors, highlighting authors whose works she wants to read more of and whom she thinks deserve a little more attention.  This month – on January 25th – she’ll be celebrating the birthday of Margery Sharp and I thought I’d join in.  I’ve had mixed feelings about Sharp in the past but think I’ve picked an excellent on this time (on the recommendation of my favourite Sharp aficionado).

Heidi’s Alp by Christina Hardyment – I’ve had this memoir about children’s literature-inspired travels in Europe on my to-be-read list since early 2013 (when Danielle read it).  Looks like an interesting twist on the regular travel memoir!

Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd – I finally got my hands on this!  You may recall it from my list of 2017 releases I hoped to get to in 2018 so I’m understandably excited to start reading.

The Blue Zones of Happiness by Dan Buettner – I find happiness research endlessly fascinating.

Swans on an Autumn River by Sylvia Townsend Warner – I’m clearly in a STW mood this month and am excited to read this collection of short stories.  Simon read this late in 2017 and enjoyed it so much it made his Best Books of 2017 list – definitely a promising sign!

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 Linda from Silly Little Mischief 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.

Welcome to 2018!  I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and is having a good start to the new year.  For me, 2018 arrived accompanied by a deluge of library holds.  As you may have seen, I’m doing A Century of Books (ACOB) again this year so I’ve been placing holds and inter-library holds left, right and center as I prepared for that.  Very exciting to finally have them coming in!  And, if reading 100 books from the 20th Century wasn’t enough to fill my spare time, I’ve also grabbed a few more recent titles that look very interesting.

I begin 2018 as I mean to go on – surrounded by books and excited to read them!

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot – I was flipping through this in a bookstore around Christmas and contemplating getting it for my brother (who is in the final months of his vet program).  Then I remembered that he doesn’t read so put it down.  It did remind me of how much I love these books (this volume contains the first two in the series) so I’m looking forward to a reread.

The Magic Apple Tree by Susan Hill – I’ve been entertained by Hill’s recent books about books but have zero interest in her novels, which leads me to this: a dispatches-from-country-life collection published in the 1980s.

The Farm in the Green Mountains by Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer –  I love the random delights the people at NYRB Classics unearth.  In this case, it’s an account of a German family’s life on a farm in Vermont in the 1940s.  Danielle reviewed it last summer and it sounds like just the sort of thing I’ll love.

Yeoman’s Hospital by Helen Ashton – I’ve really enjoyed my two encounters with Ashton so far (Bricks and Mortar and The Half-Crown House) and am hoping to read more of her this year for ACOB.  Rereading Ali’s 2015 review has made me eager to get started on this.

The School at the Chalet by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer –  Awful.  Just so, so awful.

We’ll Always Have Paris by Emma Beddington – I’ve been waiting for the library to get a copy of this for ages and now it’s finally here!  I do love expat memoirs (though I wish people would write them about somewhere other than France or Italy).  Coincidentally, Danielle just read this and loved it so much it made her Favourite Reads of 2017 list.

Alone Together and Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle – Very intrigued by these books about how technology has changed/is changing the ways we interact with one another.  I first heard of them when the fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay mentioned he was a big fan and since then have heard only marvellous things.

My Life with Bob by Pamela Paul – Simon’s recent review prompted me to pick this up when I saw it on the shelves.  I started it as an e-book last year but that is a ridiculous format when reading a book about books so I put it aside until I could read it properly.

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 Linda from Silly Little Mischief 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.

Linda has the Mr Linky this week

Happy unproductive-week-between-Christmas-and-New-Years everyone!  We have a snowfall warning here today so I’m feeling particularly happy that I’ve stocked up on library books.  I want to cry when I look outside (snow has that effect on me, which is why I live in the least wintery place possible in Canada) so it’s much better that I keep my nose in a book today.

Where Poppies Blow by John Lewis-Stempel – this generated enthusiasm from some very trustworthy sources (Lynne at dovegreyreader and Rachel at Book Snob) and looks like a wonderful and deeply fascinating book to end the year with.

Dead Now of Course by Phyllida Law – a brief little book full of anecdotes from Law’s long acting career (she is also the mother of Emma Thompson).

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – I mentioned this last week on my list of 2017 new releases I wanted to get to in 2018.  Happily, my library hold came through faster than expected!  This Russian-set fantasy should be the perfect book for a snow day.

What did you pick up this week?  Or did you find so many books under the Christmas tree that you don’t need to supplement with library books?

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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief 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 reading time!  For some, this means books with Christmas or winter themes, for others it’s the time to pull out big door-stopper Victorian sagas.  For me, it means continuing with a rather varied selection.  But regardless of what we pick, it mostly means lots of time to read!

Enthusiasms by Mark Girouard – one of those books about books that has been on my radar for so long that I’ve forgotten how it got there in the first place (possibly Simon’s 2012 review?).  I’ve already started this and am quite enjoying it – though an essay on the Sackville-Wests made me completely livid.

Roam Alone: Inspiring Tales by Reluctant Solo Travellers edited by Jennifer Barclay and Hilary Bradt – as I mentioned yesterday, 2017 has been not just a year of travel for me but a year of travel reading (no shock to anyone who has been monitoring my Library Loot posts!).  Though my travels are done, my love of travel books lives on.

The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber – I love a foodie memoir and was instantly intrigued by this one after I read about it in Ruby Tandoh’s Guardian column.

Notes on a Foreign Country by Suzy Hansen – I’ve been seeing this on lots of “Best of 2017” lists and am intrigued.  Hansen, a journalist, spent years living in Turkey and travelling in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean.  In this book, she recounts her experiences and how encountering anti-American sentiment forced her to reexamine her view of America.

An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn – Another book making it’s way onto lost of “Best of 2017” lists about the relationship between Mendelsohn and his father and how it changes when Mendelsohn Sr. enrolls in Daniel’s Odyssey seminar at Bard College.

The Riviera Set  by Mary S. Lovell – the subtitle surely captures the appeal: “1920-1960, the golden years of glamour and excess.”  Scandal and sunshine make for the perfect Christmas book!

Rhapsody in Green by Charlotte Mendelsohn – in the depths of winter (we have snow here!  why!?!) I often turn to gardening books.  I find them soothing to read when I know there is absolutely nothing I can do in the garden, no matter how inspired they may make me.

A Tour of Mont Blanc by David Le Vay – I checked this travel memoir out a while back but didn’t have a chance to read it.  There are so few walking memoirs of anywhere other than Spain (dear everyone who is ever going to walk the Camino: please don’t write about it) that I am excited to hear about Le Vay’s experiences in the alps.

When the Children Came Home by Julie Summers – I hated Summers’ book about the British WI during the Second World War (Jambusters) but am hopeful I’ll enjoy this more.  And if not, well, that’s why I go to the library rather than buy books!

What did you pick up this week to read over the holidays?

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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief 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.

Bleaker House by Nell Stevens – not about Charles Dickens!  A much-praised memoir about Stevens’ time living (and writing) on a remote island in the South Atlantic.

Happy as a Dane by Malene Rydahl – a slightly smug list of the 10 things that make Danes the happiest people in the world.  Particularly interesting to read in light of a recent conversation with one of my Denmark-dwelling cousins, who loves his adopted home but finds certain elements of the society frustrating.

Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley – a retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – hilarious comedy about the Apocalypse.  Always worth reading (and rereading and rereading…)

Negroland by Margo Jefferson – this memoir of growing up in a privileged Black family was highly praised when it came out a few years ago and looks to be very interesting.

The Art of Flight by Fredrik Sjöberg – I know nothing about this but was intrigued by the blurb: Fredrik Sjöberg – collector, romantic, explorer – spends his life tracing the smallest details of the natural world. In these two beautifully wrought tales he meditates on the joy of little things, childhood memories, long-forgotten Swedish entomologists, earthworms, wine-making, the National Parks of the United States, the richness of life and the strange paths it leads us on.

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 Linda from Silly Little Mischief 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 been ages since I last posted about my loot but there is much to share!  Three months away from my library has made me even keener than usual to use it and I’m reading at a spectacular pace right now.  Here’s some of the things I’ve got out, both read and unread:

Diary of a Wartime Affair by Doreen Bates – Sarra Manning recommended this back in January and I am always up for wartime diaries.

Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson – billed as a “groundbreaking account of how Britain became the base of operations for the exiled leaders of Europe in their desperate struggle to reclaim their continent from Hitler” there was never any chance I wasn’t going to read this.  Also, just about every review I’ve come across has mentioned that it includes the story of John Hackett’s time being sheltered by the Dutch resistance.  His memoir of this, I Was a Stranger, was my favourite book last year so that was definitely a draw here, too.

Rogue Heroes by Ben Macintyre – a very readable history of the founding of the SAS.  Doubt I’ll review this in full but the founding story can be summed up as “Absolute Crackpots with Guns: A Desert Adventure.”

Fire and Fury by Randall Hansen – FANTASTIC look at the Allied bombing of Germany.  The best overall summary I’ve found, particularly in how it distinguishes between the missions of Bomber Command and their American counterparts.

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck – a moderately good novel about the post-war lives of a group of women whose husbands were killed for plotting to kill Hitler.

The German War by Nicholas Stargardt – those with good memories may remember having seen this social history of Germany during WWII here several times before.  It falls into the category of “books I am too excited about to actually get around to reading in a reasonable timeline.”

Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly – I will give anything Austen-related a shot.

The Comfort Food Diaries by Emily Nunn – ditto anything food-related.

The Purple Swamp Hen and Other Stories by Penelope Lively – Excellent collection of short stories by one of my favourite writers.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler – I’ve just discovered Tyler and am really enjoying her writing.  Here, she looks at the stories of several generations of a Baltimore family.

Schadenfreude: A Love Story by Rebecca Schuman – a memoir about Germany!  Do you know how few of those there are?  It’s ridiculous.  Very fun and yet still quite annoying, so much so that I will probably have to write a review about it at some point.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak – breezily written story with an excellent gimmick: a family forced to be together for seven days at Christmas when the eldest daughter is quarantined on her return from Africa after working with victims of an epidemic.  A fun and entirely unbelievable (every melodramatic plot twist you can imagine is used) read.

The Sages of Icelanders – a mention in Michael Dirda’s Browsings reminded me how interesting these sagas are.  Always fun to dip in and out of.

Walking Away by Simon Armitage – as my walking adventures are done for the year, it’s time to read about the journeys of others.

The Bletchley Girls by Tessa Dunlop – I recently read a rather disappointing book about women’s roles at Bletchley (by Michael Smith) so am interested to see how this compares.

What did you pick up this week?

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