Library Loot, and a moratorium

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.

I have a pretty big stack of unread library books right now. I just picked up three more that I’d had on hold, and I hereby declare that I will not go to the library or put anything on hold until the books I have now are read and/or returned.

Today’s haul:

Jennifer Egan: A Visit from the Goon Squad. My book club is reading this. I have read mixed reviews. The woman in my club who picked it is head over heels in love with it. She is an English prof who has been teaching the book at the community college. Hope I like it; hope I can think of something interesting to say about it when the time comes.

Michael Crummy: Galore. My best friend has been raving about this book for weeks. I have a feeling I’m in for quite a ride. Magical realism, set in Newfoundland!?!?

Brigid Pasulka: A Long Long Time Ago & Essentially True. This is a nice surprise. I don’t really remember placing a hold on this, but it looks great. One of the blurbs calls it a “great literary love story.” Great cover, too. All righty then!

Library Loot: a small haul

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.

I still have two and a half books left over from last week’s haul so I didn’t do any browsing this time. Just picked up the two books I already had on hold:

Oh *giggle* I am excited for this one. I had completely forgotten that I ordered it. It was an interlibrary loan, which meant that the email notice didn’t list the title, just that the ILL had come in. When the librarian handed it to me I took one look, burst out laughing, and had to tell her all about it. :-) This series is classic sci-fi at its finest and most fun. I read one of these many years ago and always remembered it. Here’s the blurb: “Sector General: A massive deep-space hospital station on the Galactic Rim, where human and alien medicine meet. Its 384 levels and thousands of staff members are supposedly able to meet the needs of any conceivable alien patient–though that capacity is always being strained as more (and stranger) alien races turn up to join the galactic community. Sentient viruses, interspecies romances, undreamed-of institutional catering problems–it all lands on Sector General’s doorstep. And the only thing weirder than a hitherto unknown alien species is having a member of that species turn up in your Emergency Room.” Hoo boy!!!

I learned about this book from Alex at The Sleepless Reader. Southern fiction, which should be a nice change after The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay, which is extremely… northern. Here’s the blurb: “Marvelously funny, bittersweet, and beautifully evocative, the original publication of A Short History of a Small Place announced the arrival of one of our great Southern voices. Although T. R. Pearson’s Neely, North Carolina, doesn’t appear on any map of the state, it has already earned a secure place on the literary landscape of the South. In this introduction to Neely, the young narrator, Louis Benfield, recounts the tragic last days of Miss Myra Angelique Pettigrew, a local spinster and former town belle who, after years of total seclusion, returns flamboyantly to public view-with her pet monkey, Mr. Britches. Here is a teeming human comedy inhabited by some of the most eccentric and endearing characters ever encountered in literature.”

Teeming human comedy… eccentric and endearing characters… I’ll take it!

Library Loot, and the pleasures of browsing

Library Loot… what a nice idea for a meme! This 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.

I snuck off to the library all by myself yesterday. What a treat! It seems like I almost always have a kid or two in tow, which is great in some ways, but it does make it hard to browse.

I reeeeeeeeallly love to browse. No question that reading book reviews and getting recommendations from friends is a great way to find good books, but browsing is the very best. For one thing, the design and, well, heft of the book are very important to me. Too-tiny margins or covers that won’t open flat (say) are a huge deterrent even if the book is otherwise awesome. Picking up a book and holding it in my hand is an important part of deciding whether to read it. For another thing, there is something very special and satisfying about stumbling across a book you’ve never heard of and discovering that it’s your own private treasure. Standing there in the library, thumbing through an intriguing-looking volume, perhaps reading page 69, wondering whether this one might be the next treasure — what could be nicer?

That said… when I went to the library yesterday I had a specific book in mind <grin>, The Uses of Enchantment by Heidi Julevits, which had been recommended to me by a friend <grin>. It wasn’t on the shelf however, so browse I did! As you can see, I didn’t get very far from my starting point: everything here is by authors whose names fall between I–K.

The Sisters from Hardscrabble Bay, by Beverly Jensen. Sisters in the title is what caught my eye. I myself am the older of two girls; my sissy and I are very tight and sister is a big part of my self-identity. Anyway, this a historical novel about these two sisters growing up in New Brunswick and Maine and it looks right up my alley. I’m afraid it’s going to be a sad read though. The author died young, of pancreatic cancer, and this was published posthumously. It will be hard to forget that fact while reading.

Another intriguing title: Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Isegawa. Don’t you just love the word chronicles? This was described on the back as being Uganda’s answer to Midnight’s Children. Well, Midnight’s Children is one of my all-time favorite novels. If this is half as good, it’s sure to be awesome. Plus I know nothing at all about Uganda. Yet…

Lucy, by Jamaica Kincaid. This is one of those books I’ve been meaning to read for years and just never got around to. And speaking of look and feel, this is one beautifully-designed little book. Really looking forward to reading it.

The Bridegroom, a collection of short stories by my newly-discovered favorite author, Ha Jin. When I googled him after reading Waiting I learned that many of his stories take place in the same fictional city, Muji. That is one of my favorite literary devices. I love love love it when authors write about different characters in the same fictional setting. Wendell Berry’s Port Williams stories are a prime example. Ray Bradbury’s Green Town stories are another. (This is quite distinct from series, by the way. I am talking about groups of stories that feature different characters, different perspectives, possibly even different times, but in the same town. Best of all is when the protagonist from one story makes a cameo appearance in another. It’s like making eye contact with the author.)

A nice haul this weekend!