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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.

A last minute chance to escape to the sunny south has thrown my library habits into disarray!  Books I picked up last week expecting to have lots of time to finish have been returned unread and exchanged where possible for their e-book equivalent.  I will, of course, be taking along a few physical books but with no checked luggage you have to prioritize!  Thankfully, my library has a great e-book collection: only three of my books this week are hardcopies.

Chips: The Diaries of Sir Henry Channon – you can only keep me away from gossipy 20th century diaries for so long and here I’m reverting to my favourite sort of diarist: the socialite politician (see my love of Harold Nicholson diaries).  Chips has already appeared in my reading twice this year (he’s mentioned in The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh as well as Travellers in the Third Reich) so I’m looking forward to getting to know him better.

The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman – my reading diet has been lacking good historical fiction lately so, while I wait for my hold on The Game of Kings to come through (or fold and buy a copy), I turn to this tale of Richard III.

If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler – Tyler is a bit of a new discovery for me.  I’ve read Vinegar Girl (her updating of The Taming of the Shrew) and A Spool of Blue Thread but she has so many more books for me to discover.  This one sounds really good – I love when female authors write male main characters.

Something Wholesale by Eric Newby – before he was a famous travel writer and following his harrowing experiences during WWII, Eric Newby worked in the family business: the rag trade.  I’m excited about this one, especially since it’s quality seems preconfirmed: it was just released by Slightly Foxed and they have flawless taste.

Love and War in the Apennines by Eric Newby – Speaking of those harrowing days, this is Newby’s famous memoir of his wartime imprisonment in Italy and eventual escape, after which he was sheltered for months by anti-fascists (including his future wife, Wanda).

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya von Bremzen – a food memoir and an immigrant memoir all in one convenient package!  I started this back when it was first released and was loving it but had to return it before I finished.  This time I’m determined to read it all the way through.

Flâneuse by Lauren Elkin – as a woman who walks (extensively, exclusively, enthusiastically), I’ve been intrigued by this history/memoir of women as walkers since it was released to much praise a few years ago.

Morgan’s Passing by Anne Tyler – continuing my exploration of Anne Tyler’s backlist.  This one sounds…odd.  But intriguing.

 George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl – Nancy Pearl, the hero to librarians and library-lovers everywhere, has written a novel!

Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair – This showed up on a diversity-focused reading list I saw somewhere and as it was one of the few books on there I hadn’t read – and I’d loved the ones I had read (like Laughing All the Way to the Mosque, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, and Alif the Unseen) – I thought it was worth trying.  The rather detailed publisher blurb certainly has me intrigued.

Dream Hoarders by Richard V. Reeves – In my ridiculously overpriced city, it’s impossible to go out these days without talking to someone about growing inequality and stagnating social mobility so this seems like a very timely read.

A Secret Garden by Katie Fforde – Fforde’s last four or five books have been awful but I retain hope that she’ll return to form, maybe with this gardening-themed tale.

What did you pick up this week?

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository, an online book retailer with free international shipping.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).  

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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.

The Extra Woman by Joanna Scutts – I am so excited this is finally here!  Scutts’ analysis of the life and influence Marjorie Hillis, author of the 1930s bestseller Live Alone and Like It, is easily one of my most anticipated books of the year.  I love Hillis’ practical, humorous books (also including Bubbly On Your Budget – originally published as Orchids on Your Budget) and adore her blunt delivery.  I can’t wait to learn more about her.

Bears in the Streets by Lisa Dickey – Lisa Dickey travelled across Russia three times over twenty years and this book chronicles her experiences and the changes she saw in the country over that time.  I was fascinated when I heard her speak about the book last year and the glowing review at What’s Nonfiction? cinched it for me.

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders – as I mentioned on the weekend, I picked this up on Saturday from the library and immediately sped through it.  Flanders is a Canadian writer who focuses on personal finance and has for years chronicled her own financial experiences on her blog.  A few years ago she decided to try and curb her spending habits by going on a year-long shopping ban and the book is an account of what that year was like, and how she got to that place in her life.

What did you pick up this week?

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository, an online book retailer with free international shipping.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

Read Full Post »

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.

Four Gardens by Margery Sharp – after my success with The Flowering Thorn last month, I am looking forward to reading more by Sharp.  I am assured this is one of her best.

Mackerel Sky by Helen Ashton – my experience with Ashton last month was less successful than with Sharp (I did not love Yeoman’s Hospital), but a blog reader recommended I try this hard-to-find story of a troubled marriage instead.  I read it quickly and am split on whether or not to review it – on the one hand, I found it mediocre and not worth spending too much time on.  On the other, there is practically no information about it anywhere on the internet.

Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser – Flashman!  I am loving this book so, so, so much.  Nothing quite like a humorous adventure story with a cowardly and caddish anti-hero.  And it’s the start of a lengthy series!

Russian PoetsKaren’s post about poetry books last week spurred me to check this one out.

Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris – I am incredibly excited about this travel memoir recounting a bicycle journey along the silk road.  I first heard about it from CBC’s Spring 2018 Canadian Non-Fiction preview, which includes a lot of other great-sounding books.

Things That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chaira Barzini – I read a lot of great things about this novel when it came out last year and was hooked by the idea of both the heroine – an Italian teenager (written by an Italian, thank god) – and the setting – early 1990s LA leading up to the big 1994 earthquake.

Three Mercer Plays by David French – There are two David French plays on in Vancouver right now and, having seen one of them, I became interested in his other works.  These three plays about the Mercer family are probably his most famous.

The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy – I always have fun with de Courcy’s books and am excited about this social history of American heiresses and their quest for titled husbands.

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin – yet another set of personality profiles to add to the world (I enjoy learning about them all).

Cookbooks galore!  Roast Figs, Sugar Snow by Diana Henry (winter comfort food at its best), The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan (delicious-looking Persian food), and In a Polish Country House Kitchen by Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden (self-explanatory, no?)

What did you pick up this week?

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository, an online book retailer with free international shipping.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).  

Read Full Post »

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!

The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich – a much-anticipated read for me this week!  First published in Russian in 1985 but only translated into English last year, this oral history of Soviet women’s military experiences during the Second World War is just extraordinary.

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 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.

Border by Kapka Kassabova – You know my love of travel writing and my interest in obscure bits of Europe so it’s no surprise this exploration of the region around Bulgarian/Turkish/Greek border made it onto my to-read list.  Also, it was just selected as the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year (the entire shortlist for which is on my to-read list).

Labor of Love by Moira Weigel – Happy Valentine’s Day!  I am celebrating with this history of modern dating and how it has and has not changed over the last hundred years.

Full Marks for Trying by Brigid Keenan – Hurrah!  I am so excited to read this memoir of Keenan’s early life and journalism career having loved her memoirs about her life as the trailing spouse of an on-the-move diplomat (Diplomatic Baggage and Packing Up).

The Fear and the Freedom by Keith Lowe – another one off my list of 2017 new releases I wanted to read.

Hunger by Roxane Gay – I thought I should try this much-talked-about memoir for myself.

In Movement There is Peace by Elaine Orbana Foster and Joseph Wilbred Foster III – an American couple’s account of their journey along the Camino de Santiago.  I love reading about the Camino even though it seems too boring and crowded for me to actually want to walk myself.  I’ve already finished this and it was nothing special – it certainly doesn’t come close to matching my favourite book about the Camino, I’m Off Then.

What did you pick up this week?

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository, an online book retailer with free international shipping.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).  

Read Full Post »

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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