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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.

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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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Sharlene has the Mr Linky this week.

I have only one book to highlight this week but it’s one deserving of a drum roll:

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes (Book Depository)

A new book from Keyes is always worth celebrating and I managed to snag this the day it arrived in my library’s e-book catalogue.  Keyes’ has always been a writer I find totally absorbing.  I remember reading Rachel’s Holiday during my first week at my first post-university job, laughing and sobbing over it in the sad business apartment I was renting until my lease started the next month.  And I’m still a little wrecked by her last book, The Break, which I read partly in Italy and partly in Poland (and partly on the plane between the two) during my long visit to Europe in 2017.  Simon and Rachel were discussing sympathy versus empathy on their most recent episode of Tea or Books.  Usually I’m more sympathetic than empathetic but Keyes turns me into someone different.  I will never forget the way my stomach dropped at a certain point in The Break.  I wasn’t sure if I could continue reading, it hurt so much.

Essentially, this is a long winded way of saying I really, really, really like Keyes’ books so no surprise I stayed up until midnight on Saturday to finish this one.

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.

After a slow spring, my reading has now hit warp speed and I am racing through everything.  My July has been full of light, undemanding reads and lots of them.  I don’t have any more holiday time booked until September and am hesitant to do too much face-to-face socializing outside of my bubble yet (for various family-member-related reasons) so my world is still quite small and uneventful.  Books, thankfully, make it feel much larger and help fill the long summer evenings.

But oh am I ever tired of my main non-work activities being going for a walk or reading a book (the garden is not large enough to withstand too much attention)!  Even combining them (walk to park/beach to read book?  Listen to audiobook while walking?  Daringly read while walking and hopefully avoiding traffic?) can’t add much excitement.

In search of excitement, I have returned to my old friend Amelia Peabody and her endlessly adventurous life.  The twenty books in this series should keep me well-occupied for a while and I am starting right from the beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank and The Curse of the Pharaohs.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – I have borrowed this before but never chimed with it so, after adoring A Gentleman in Moscow last year, I wanted to return and give Towles’ earlier work another try.  Turns out I was in just the right mood this time and thoroughly enjoyed it.   (Book Depository)

The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal – the third book in the “Lady Astronaut” series, just released this week. (Book Depository)

Home Work by Julie Andrews (with Emma Walton Hamilton) – Andrews’ memoir of her years in Hollywood. (Book Depository)

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert – I dropped everything to read this follow up to Get a Life, Chloe Brown and it did not disappoint.  (Book Depository)

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory – This, on the other hand, did disappoint.  Guillory has been churning out follow ups since she published The Wedding Date in 2018 and they are getting duller with each iteration.  And none of her characters have developed diabetes despite consisting on, as far as I can tell, diets consisting entirely of fast food augmented by baked goods.  In this book the hero sends something like five cakes to the heroine in as many days.  It’s a minor detail but one that has been driving me nuts throughout all of Guillory’s books. (Book Depository)

Beach Read by Emily Henry – Two writers – of romances and literary fiction – make a summer pact to help one another break through their writers block.  Sounds like the perfect…beach read.  (Book Depository)

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey – one of those holds I’ve had in place for so long that I’d entirely forgotten what it is about.  It promises Bright Young Things and Secrets Being Unraveled – irresistible.  (Book Depository)

The Map of Salt and Stars by Zeyn Joukhadar – This rich, moving, and lyrical debut novel, the story of two girls living eight hundred years apart—a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmaker—places today’s headlines in the sweep of history, where the pain of exile and the triumph of courage echo again and again. (Book Depository)

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton – Bit of a disappointment.  Set in Key West during the historic hurricane of 1935, Cleeton follows three young women whose lives change over the course of a few destructive days.  The parallel heroines were unfortunately a little too similar and there is a mafia storyline that, while interesting, feels unnecessary given everything else going on.  No where near as good as Cleeton’s earlier novel, Next Year in Havana.  (Book Depository)

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré – Debut novel from Nigerian author Abi Daré about a teenage girl fighting for an education and a chance to determine her own future.  It sounds worthy of all the praise it’s received and I’m looking forward to starting it soon.  (Book Depository)

So Lucky by Dawn O’Porter – I am steadily making my way through the longlist for the Comedy Women in Print prize. (Book Depository)

The Lonely Fajita by Abigail Mann – Also brought to my attention by the Comedy Women in Print prize, this was longlisted in the unpublished category last year.  That has now been remedied! (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.

My library is slowly starting to reopen.  They’re hoping to have most branches open with some level of service by September but until then are offering some creative options.

Phase One of reopening saw them piloting a take out service.  Here’s how it worked: patrons completed a short survey online (or by phone) to indicate the type of books they liked. This was very high level (do you like: fiction? fiction – fantasy?  fiction – mystery?  memoirs and biographies?  non-fiction?)  and had only a limited ability for patrons to provide more detailed information about their tastes.  You then indicated how many books you wanted (up to a maximum of 10) and the library would put together a selection of titles for you to pick up.  Only 5 branches (of the usual 21) were open and offering this service and they quickly filled their capacity, closing it after more than 800 people signed up almost immediately.  Luckily, I was one of the 800.

I was a bit skeptical about how this would work.   Given how much I read and how limited the survey was, how likely was it that the library staff would be able to select books that would interest me and which I hadn’t already read?  In the survey, I noted that I was interested in gardening books (narrative rather than how to), travel memoirs, nature writing, and history books focused on Europe and the Middle East.

Honestly, I’m pretty impressed with their selections, not a single one of which I’ve read so far.  But I’m still very excited for the library to move on to Phase Two of their reopening plan later this month, when they’ll open five more branches (including my local one) and start allowing people to pick up holds.  We’re still waiting for further details on this (will you be allowed to place new holds?  will they be processing ones already in the system?  or will you just be able to pick up the ones that have been waiting on the shelves since the beginning of March?) but it is progress!

Here’s what the library gave me:

Yardwork by Daniel Coleman (Book Depository)

Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall (Book Depository)

The Secret Wisdom of Nature by Peter Wohleben (Book Depository)

Bullets and Opium by Liao Yiwu – I’m a little disappointed that the only history book they gave me is focused on modern China rather than the regions I am most interested in but I am intrigued (Book Depository)

I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson (Book Depository)


Curiosities and Splendour (Book Depository)

A Journey to the Dark Heart of Nameless Unspeakable Evil (also published as The Worst Date Ever) by Jane Bussman (Book Depository)

Ten Years a Nomad by Matthew Kepnes – this has been on my radar for a while so I was very excited to see it in my bag! (Book Depository)

The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love by Per J. Andersson – another one I’ve had my eye on (Book Depository)

White Sands by Geoff Dyer (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.

Okay, the library e-holds have officially gotten out of hand.  I’m trying to impose order but in the last week I’ve had more than 20 of them become available.  Even I – and even off work, as I am this week – cannot keep up with that kind of volume.  Bless the Overdrive feature that allows you to delay holds!

Here are the ones I did check out:

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui (Book Depository)

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls (Book Depository)

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow (Book Depository)

Always the Last to Know by Kristin Higgins (Book Depository)

Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks (Book Depository)

In Praise of Paths by Torbjørn Ekelund (Book Depository)

We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders by Linda Sarsour (Book Depository)

A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison (Book Depository)

500 Miles From You by Jenny Colgan (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.

What a week for books!  I had so many exciting e-holds come in all at once, several of them brand new releases.  I’ve got some holiday time coming up which, given our current circumstances, won’t be spent spectacularly but it will give me lots more time for reading all of these.

The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah – Sharlene featured this in her Spring TBR post back in March and it immediately caught my eye.  (Book Depository)

Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner – This memoir from one of Princess Margaret’s ladies-in-waiting looks fun and light and altogether like the perfect distraction. (Book Depository)

I’d Give Anything by Marisa de los Santos – I only discovered Marisa de los Santos last year but, after falling in love immediately with Love Walked In, I quickly read all of her adult books and adored them.  I can’t wait to read this new release. (Book Depository)

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel – Like everyone in the world, I loved Station Eleven so have been looking forward to seeing what Mandel would do next.  This sounds far more mystery/thriller-like than my usual fare but that should make it perfect for vacation reading. (Book Depository)

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke – I will usually run in the opposite direction of anything featuring astrology (which is apparently now cool?  Am I oblivious to yet another key hipster millenial experience?) but this romcom sounds cute and the first chapter is definitely promising.  I’m counting on it to balance out The Glass Hotel (Book Depository)

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson – I saw this in NPR’s May round-up and thought it sounded cute (Book Depository)

This is Happiness by Niall Williams – The FT review of this last autumn was so enthusiastic that I immediately placed a hold.  And then I had to jump into an entirely new hold queue for the e-book but such is life right now. (Book Depository)

Humankind by Rutger Bregman –  This was just published on Tuesday so I’m delighted to have my hands on it already.  Bregman’s thesis is that people are essentially good, which is a hopeful message that I’m more than willing to accept – especially this week.  For bonus reading, the FT had an interesting lunch interview with him in the weekend edition.  (Book Depository)

Leave Only Footprints by Conor Knighton – With limited horizons, I’m even more on the lookout for travel memoirs than usual and this chronicle of Knighton’s visits to every American national park looks ideal for me.  (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.

I have discovered the only thing more frustrating that the library being closed: the library being closed when it is allowed to be open.  We are slowly figuring out what the “new normal” looks like here and as of this week a number of things are allow to reopen albeit in very new forms, including libraries.  My library system is (slowly, wisely, frustratingly) taking its time to figure out how to do this.  We know they’re planning to offer a takeout model at select branches but neither the timeline nor the branches have been announced yet so for now it’s status quo.  But there is the promise of new books at some point in the nearish future!  For now, I’m still checking out lots of ebook and working my way through the stack of physical books I borrowed at the beginning of March.

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler – I wasn’t going to miss Tyler’s new release!  (Book Depository)

Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe – In my whirlwind March stock up, I grabbed Reasons to Be Cheerful by Stibbe without realising it was the third in a series.  Very happy now to have gotten my hands on the first book. (Book Depository)

Thorn by Intisar Khannani – I spotted this on a list of Ramadan reading recommendations on Twitter and finding out it was a retelling of the Goose Girl fairy tale cinched it for me.  I cannot resist anything based on fairy tales.  (Book Depository)

I’ve been spending a LOT of time out walking (even more than my usual ridiculous amount) and while morning birdsong is lovely, mid-day crow sounds are not so I’ve been drowning them out with audiobooks.  Right now I’m listening to Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay, which you may recall I adored when I read it a few years ago.

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.

My library e-holds are coming in shockingly fast these days.  I feel like I check my hold position, discovered I’m tenth in line and the anticipated wait is 17 weeks, and the next morning I get a notification that the book is available.  It’s been delightful in many cases but a bit of a challenge to manage.  I am adoring the new feature that allows me to postpone a book when it becomes available without losing my position in the queue.  It’s a genius innovation by Overdrive and is making my borrowing life far less stressful.

Here’s what’s arrived this week:

Missed Translations by Sopan Deb (Book Depository)

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Book Depository)

Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler (Book Depository)

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener (Book Depository)

The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward (Book Depository)

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore (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.

I’ve been spending as much time as possible outside lately.  Whenever I’ve not been working, I’ve been walking in the woods by my house, strolling under the cherry trees in my neighbourhood, or working in the garden.  It’s been wonderful but hasn’t left much time for reading.

Unsurprisingly, when I do sit down to read I’m feeling drawn to books about nature to match the rest of my leisure activities.  There are three garden-focused books I’m keen to track down (Rootbound, The Five Minute Garden, and Where the Hornbeam Grows) and, with no library reopening in sight, have acted uncharacteristically and ordered a couple of them.  Needs must!

In my massive pre-lockdown library sweep, I did manage to pick up a couple of things that suit my current mood.  Here they are:

Hidden Nature by Alys Fowler (Book Depository)

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane (Book Depository)

My Natural History by Liz Primeau (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.

It is finally time to start sharing some of the things I stocked up on before the libraries closed.  Today, I present you with my foreign DVD collection, encompassing 7 different languages: Turkish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Czech, and Arabic.  Of the five French films, I’ve seen four of them before and Brunetti is an old friend (and the source of much German vocab never covered in my university courses) but the rest are new to me.

What did you check out online this week?  Or what old treats are you holding on to from before the libraries closed?

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