Category Archives: Library Loot

Library Loot: December 21, 2011

Library Loot is a meme hosted by Claire of Captive Reader and Marg of The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.

As I’m taking the week after Christmas off to be with my family who are staying with me, starting this Friday, I figured I’d stop off at the library and pick up a few reads. We’re a reading family, so I imagine there will be a little time for that. And also after they leave, there will be the New Year weekend where I might also sneak in some reading. So here is what I picked up:

County Chronicle by Angela Thirkell – I actually have no idea what this is about, but Claire of The Captive Reader keeps checking out Thirkell books and I’m curious.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim – I think Claire has mentioned this author and this book before. I do know a smidgen of what this is about – four women going to stay in the same house on the Mediterranean, I think.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark – After reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt and watching the movie Cracks, I have seen this book referenced several times. It’s short and will also be the first time I’ve read Muriel Spark.

Farthing by Jo Walton – first in an alternate history trilogy, where England made a peace agreement with Hitler. This one has been on my list for a while. Since then I’ve added many of Walton’s books to my to-read list, but this is still the first one I will read by her.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George – I read another book by this author, Princess of the Midnight Ball that was a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and it was okay, but I read in several reviews that this book by hers is really good. It’s a retelling of the Nordic tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

Mouse Guard Fall 1152 and Mouse Guard Winter 1152 by David Petersen – I read the Fall 1152 graphic novel last year but want to read it again before reading the next one in the series. The mice are very fierce and have important things to do, but they are also darn adorable while they’re about their business.


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Library Loot: July 27

  Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Claire of The Captive Reader and Marg of The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.  Readers share what library books they have picked up recently.  Marg is hosting this week.

This library loot post is actually the accumulation of several library trips, adding up to quite a lot.

We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch

– I’ve heard high praise for Gourevitch’s book about the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It has a heck of a title.

Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

– This was one of the ‘it’ books for a little while, five stories about children, set in various countries within Africa. Its cover has always drawn my eye. I’ve read the first two stories so far.

On Agate Hill by Lee Smith

This story covers about fifty years in the life of  Molly Petree, a young woman from North Carolina whose parents are killed in the Civil War.  This will be the third book I have read by Lee Smith – I love Smith’s storytelling style, and her knack for telling stories that take place over many years.

Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk

– I really love the sounds of this one. From the jacket: “Blending reminiscence with history; family photographs with portraits of poets and pashas; art criticism, metaphysical musing, and now and again, a fanciful tale, Orhan Pamuk invents an ingenious form to evoke his lifelong home, the city that forged his imagination.”

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

– This was one of my favorite summer reads a few years ago and I decided to treat myself to it again.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

– One of those books that is a well-known entity, but I haven’t got around to reading it myself. Soon I will.

On the Prowl by Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance and Sunny

This is a collection of four urban fantasy stories. I’m checking it out mainly for Briggs’ story “Alpha and Omega” which is the story that started off her Alpha and Omega werewolf series, a sort of spinoff series for Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series.

Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves by Adam Hochschild

– This non-fiction book chronicles the anti-slavery movement as it occurred in Great Britain. I will probably rewatch the film Amazing Grace after reading this.

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben

– I’ve read two of McKibben’s books, but I haven’t read this recent book of his.

Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt

– This is a short memoir about the author’s experience helping to raise his grandchildren after his daughter – their mother – dies unexpectedly.

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris

– A comic novel about the workplace.


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Library Loot: June 29, 2011

Ooh, it’s been a little while since I’ve done a Library Loot post. I recently placed a bunch of holds and they’ve started coming in, so I’ll share what I picked up today.

Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Claire of The Captive Reader and Marg of Reading Adventures.  Readers share what library books they have picked up recently.  Marg is hosting this week.

Here is my loot:

One Day by David Nicholls

– I was just flipping through the title pages to see the copyright for this book (it’s 2009) and noticed Nicholls is also the author of Starter for Ten. I haven’t read Starter for Ten but I saw the adaptation. Interesting story, okay movie, but James McAvoy was brilliant in it. Anyway, One Day has an irresistible premise – the arc of a relationship is shown by capturing one day a year in two people’s lives, over the course of twenty years. The day is July 15th, so I feel that I ought to somehow align my reading so that I’m reading it on that day.

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Summer is usually the best season for me to read thrillers. This is a medical suspense novel and the author has a background in the medical field, so I expect well-informed and probably grisly-detailed crime scenes.

The Complete Claudine by Colette

This was recommended by Eva of A Striped Armchair. I don’t read too many translated novels, so this will be a cool foray. This compendium contains Claudine at School, Claudine in Paris, Claudine Married and Claudine and Annie. I suppose if I don’t like Claudine at School, I might not continue with the rest, but I think that I will enjoy them, because I like books with vividly drawn characters at the center.

This Life Is In Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone by Melissa Coleman

This recommendation came via Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness. It’s a memoir of Coleman’s childhood: her parents idealistically set out to homestead in rural Maine, but the difficulties of living off the land strain the family, and tragedy strikes when Melissa’s little sister Heidi drowns at age three. I’m picturing the parents as being somewhat like Jeannette Walls’ parents in her memoir, The Glass Castle. I loved The Glass Castle and the resilience of Jeannette and her siblings. So for that surface similarity and because I grew up in Maine, I picked up this book.

A Circle of Quiet (The Crosswicks Journal – Book 1) by Madeleine L’Engle

I haven’t read L’Engle’s novels since I was in junior high (and strangely the novel that sticks in my head the most is her lesser-known Arm of the Starfish.) I encountered her again in college when an essay and several choice quotes from her non-fiction works ended up in an anthology called The Christian Imagination, edited by Leland Ryken. Her writing seems wise and gracious and I’ve heard good things about the Crosswick Journal books.


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Library Loot: 2-2-2011

Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Claire of The Captive Reader and Marg of Reading Adventures.  Readers share what library books they have picked up recently.  Claire is hosting this week.

My last library loot contained a lot of fiction, and so when I was returning a book to the library, I decided to pick up some non-fiction reads as well.  It’s good to have options lying around.

I picked up only three books this time, as I’m still in the middle of reading the haul from my last library visit.

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston – This might be more like reading a horror novel than an account of a deadly virus.  Ebola virus and its related viruses freak me out – but obviously not enough to keep me from wanting to read about them.

And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts – Jenny of Jenny’s Books said, “If you are ever going to read a book about a national tragedy, it should be And the Band Played On.”  High praise from one of my favorite bloggers.  Also, apparently I’m drawn to reading about viruses at the moment.

Safe Area Goradze: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995 by Joe Sacco – It’s a non-fiction graphic novel written by a journalist about a conflict I feel like I should know more about.


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Library Loot – January 17th

It’s my first Library Loot of the new year!  I feel like my reading in this beginning of the year has been only so-so.  I haven’t had any books yet that have truly enveloped me.

I’m hoping this new batch of books will invigorate my reading.  And I have picked up one of them – Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog – and was really loving it and laughing at its wit, when I remembered that the book was an homage to Three Men in a Boat, which I haven’t read.  Yesterday, I downloaded the audio book from my library (my branch didn’t have a physical copy – I checked), but I don’t have an iPod, so I can only listen to it on my c0mputer, which is not my usual setting for audio books.  (Audio books are for when I’m driving.)  So I’m feeling kind of stymied.  I want to continue reading To Say Nothing of the Dog, but I feel like I’d be missing a whole layer of reading experience if I don’t read Three Men in a Boat first.  Gah!

Maybe I’ll shelve the Willis book for now, request a physical copy of Three Men in a Boat from my library system, and start on one of these other intriguing books first.

In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin – I mentioned that I planned to read more travel writing this year, and Vishy recommended Chatwin and this book, which was published in 1977.

The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye: Five Fairy Stories by A.S. Byatt – Eva of A Striped Armchair recommended this book as a good introduction to Byatt.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie – Similar to Byatt, I’ve heard good things about this author (and this book), but haven’t read anything by him yet.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King – Yet another author whose work I have never read!  Jenny and Teresa from Shelf Love did an excellent post recently to convince non-horror readers to try Stephen King.  I picked the one about an 11-year-old girl lost on the Appalachian Trail.  It was short which was a big factor for being picked in this library loot, because the next book is much chunkier . . .

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – She of A Book Blog. Period, recently did a nice review of this book that worked as an effective pitch for me to pick it up.  In an apparent theme of my library loot, this will also be my first Atwood book, not counting an aborted attempt to read The Handmaid’s Tale in college, when I just truly didn’t have time for free reading.

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis –  Which I mentioned before, and which is also my first book of Willis’.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.


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Library Loot! December 15th

It’s been a long time since I have done a Library Loot post, though I have certainly been using the library often.  Library Loot is a meme hosted by Marg of The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader and Claire of The Captive Reader.  I had a few holds come in this past Saturday and then picked up a couple of interlibrary loans and one book from the shelf today.

Here is what I have:

Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon – I really liked Ayelet Waldman’s book Bad Mother that I read earlier this year.  It made me curious to read her husband’s book about parenthood.  This will also be my first book by Chabon.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman – After seeing some buzz about The Imperfectionists, I added myself to the hold list months ago and now I have it – yay.  This novel is about a small English-language newspaper and the people who work for it.  I am intrigued by books that focus on people-at-work and that aren’t mysteries or thrillers, where that focus is commonplace.

The Christmas Letters by Lee Smith – I love Smith’s book Fair and Tender Ladies, and I also enjoyed Black Mountain Breakdown.  When I heard about this book from Letters from a Hill Farm, I leapt at the chance to read something seasonal by an author I trust.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson – I really enjoy the film adaptation of this book, and am looking forward to reading the original source material!  Ideally, I was going to have Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand checked out at the same time (for a challenge), but alas, the hold list for that book is very long.

Once in a Blue Moon by Leanna Ellis – I used to read Christian fiction a lot when I was younger and, to put it simply, I burnt myself out on them.  However, now and then, I will make forays into the genre again.  In Ellis’ book, a reporter meets an old conspiracy theorist while doing a feature on the moon landing anniversary.  Turns out the old man also knew her mother, who died mysteriously when the reporter was born.

The Best Travel Writing 2008: True Stories from Around the World – I decided to pick up a book of travel essays while at the library.  I have read two books from the Best American Travel Writing series, but haven’t read from this series yet.  Bonus: introduction by Sara Wheeler, who is a travel writer I admire.


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Library Loot: September 29

It has been a long time since I’ve participated in Library Loot!  Though I am a frequent library user, I typically wait to participate until I have a nice big haul.

Library Loot is co-hosted by Marg and Claire.  Claire has it this week.

Last Wednesday night, I picked up three interlibrary loan books that had come in.

As you may be able to tell by the creepy covers, Sophie Hannah’s Little Face and Sarah Rayne’s A Dark Dividing are for the RIP Challenge.  I’m halfway through Little Face right now and am in complete suspense.  I’ll likely be diving right back into it as soon as I finish this post.

Rene Gutteridge’s Boo is Halloween-appropriate in that it involves a reclusive writer of horror novels who gives up writing in the genre to the immense chagrin of his hometown, Skary, Ill. which has made a cottage industry out of his residence.  It sounds like it might be charming and I think the cover is cute.

The rest of these books I picked up this week.

The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin – it’s a mystery set in the Ottoman Empire, in 1836.  I love mysteries set in exotic settings and after reading a book about the Middle East last year, I searched out books set in the Ottoman Empire and this was one of them.

Veil of Gold by Kim Wilkins – A quest story with a setting steeped in Russian fairytales.

River Secrets by Shannon Hale – Book #3 of the enjoyable Books of Bayern series.

Kim by Rudyard Kipling – I’ve heard and read references to this book, but I really have little concept of the story itself.

Also, I picked up two audio books today: Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding and A Curious Incident of the Dog of the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.  I had earlier checked out Annie Dillard’s The Maytrees on audio book but found it to be very irritating.


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Library Loot: April 7th

This Library Loot is actually from a couple of trips.  It’s mostly young adult novels and one short novel because I still have longer books hanging around from earlier loots.  Also, I have Sir Walter Scott’s The Talisman out from the university library and it keeps getting passed over in favor of the books with imminent public library due dates.

So here is my loot!

Tepper Isn’t Going Out by Calvin Trillin – I heard about this book via Gaskella.  It sounds like a light, fun read about a guy who likes to read the paper in his parked car and because it is New York City and his parking spots happen to be desirable, this simple action causes consternation and admiration from fellow NYC denizens.

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean – The teenage protagonist has obsessed with the Antarctic as is her uncle, but when he takes her on a journey to that continent, it is a tale about survival.  This was also a recommendation from a book blog – The Bluestocking Society.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson – I have seen rave reviews for this one everywhere.  A seventeen-year-old girl wakes from a yearlong coma and slowly has to piece together her memories and happened after the accident that put her in the coma.

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale – This is the sequel to Hale’s Goose Girl which I enjoyed.  This follows the path of a supporting character from the first novel.

Library Loot is hosted by Eva and Marg.


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Library Loot: March 17th

There were two unfinished books returned to the library: Michael Flynn’s The Wreck of the River of Stars and Richelle Mead’s Storm Born.  I loved Flynn’s book Eifelheim, but wasn’t getting into The Wreck of the River of Stars.  I think that it was mainly a mood and timing thing, and I may try it again some other time.  Storm Born started off promising enough with the protagonist casting out a spirit that is inhabiting a guy’s sneaker which was amusing.  But then it quickly went into romance-novel territory, which is not what I was looking for.  I’m not always good at separating urban fantasy from paranormal romance when I’m looking for the former.  I’m not even sure there’s a clear line of demarcation between them.  In any case, Storm Born was like – let’s jump into a hot sex scene! – and I decided that it wasn’t for me.  I like romantic plotlines but I prefer them to be more understated.

Anyway, here are the new books that came home with me after returning the above and the others I had finished:

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat – I liked Krik? Krak! and want to read a full novel from Danticat.  In this novel, 12-year-old Sophie is sent from Haiti to live with her mother in New York, who she barely knows.

La’s Orchestra Saves the World by Alexander McCall Smith – Hard to believe, but I have not read anything by the prolific McCall Smith.  In this novel set during WWII, a woman leaves London to live in a small town.  She organizes an orchestra to boost morale.  The story sounds charming.

Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich – I’ve seen this author’s titles around but never read her.  Erdrich is Chippewa and this was her debut novel.  I don’t know really what it’s about except that it spans fifty years and is set on a North Dakota reservation.

I haven’t read a thriller recently, so I checked out a couple:

Dead Run by P.J. Tracy – this is the third book of the Monkeewrench series that I really enjoyed last year.

The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos – I live in the D.C. area so I’ve been meaning to get around to this author’s books, which are set here.

*Library Loot is hosted by Eva and Marg.


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Library Loot: March 10th

Library Loot!  Hosted by Eva and Marg.

So this is a couple trips’ worth of library books.  I can see that a flurry of renewals and re-renewals are ahead of me, but I’m excited about the loot all the same.

Four of the books were through Maryland’s state-wide interlibrary loan system (yay Marina!).

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy – I can’t believe this book was written in the 1950’s.  The writing voice is so fresh.  It’s about a young American woman living it up in Paris, or at least trying to.  I’m about halfway through this book now.  The writing is brilliant and contains such sharp observations about people.

Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

This book is about people who lived in a “surveillance state.”  Funder talks both with people who resisted and to former Stasi men.  I don’t think I’ve read much about life behind the Iron Curtain – I know about it, but not many details.

I’m on the lookout for a new urban fantasy series to latch onto (though a new Mercy Thompson book is coming out this month – yay!).  Here are two books that are the first in their series:

Storm Born by Richelle Mead – From the back cover: “Eugenie Markham is a powerful shaman who does a brisk trade banishing spirits and fey who cross into the mortal world. . . Hired to find a teenager who has been taken to the Otherworld, Eugenie comes face to face with a startling prophecy–one that uncovers dark secrets about her past and claims that Eugenie’s first-born will threaten the future of the world as she knows it.”

Skinwalker by Faith Hunter – The protagonist of this one sounds similar to Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson character: shapeshifter, last of her kind, of Native American descent.  Mercy can only shift into a coyote while this character – Jane Yellowrock – can change into any creature she wants.  So we’ll see how she measures up.

Terra Incognita: Travels in Antarctica by Sara Wheeler – I love me some travelogues and I’ve heard good things about this one.

The next two books were strangely picked up as a result of finishing Robin McKinley’s Sunshine that morning.  The main character envisions her new powers like a growing tree inside of her and somehow that really stuck with me.  I wanted to read about trees and nature. So:

Swampwalker’s Journal: A Wetlands Year by David M. Carroll

A Year in the Maine Woods by Bernd Heinrich

I’m originally from Maine so the fact that the first book is written by a New Hampshire resident and the second is (obviously) about my home state makes me excited.


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