Library Checkout: December 2015

library checkout feature image

This month while staying with family in the States I’ve gotten to do one of my favorite things: raid Maryland’s public libraries for some American titles I’d been hankering to read. Through the local Prince George’s County Memorial Library System I’m able to request any book in Maryland for free on interlibrary loan.

We picked these books up from the library on the 11th, so I think I did pretty well to get through 12 in total, considering it was the holidays and we were busy going back and forth to Pennsylvania and visiting friends. It helped that several were poetry collections, two of the memoirs were very short, and two books I only skimmed.

Still, my reach was wider than my grasp: I had to return four books unread.

(Thanks to Shannon at River City Reading for the great blog idea and template! Check out her blog for other link-ups.)

December Checkout


The Open Door, Elizabeth Maguire (novel about Constance Fenimore Woolson)

Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats, Roger Rosenblatt

Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, Sarah Manguso*

My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, Christian Wiman

Do Not Go Gentle: My Search for Miracles in a Cynical Time, Ann Hood

Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor*

[Not books, but I did also borrow and finish Parks & Recreation Seasons 4 and 5.]

+ Poetry books:

Deep Lane, Mark Doty*

The Last Two Seconds, Mary Jo Bang*

Erratic Facts, Kay Ryan

Once in the West, Christian Wiman

* = interlibrary loan orders

Skimmed only:

The Shelf from LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading, Phyllis Rose

Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, ed. Meghan Daum



Tickets for a Prayer Wheel, Annie Dillard

The Vermeer Conspiracy, Eytan Halaban

Notes on the Assemblage, Juan Felipe Herrera

The Folded Clock: A Diary, Heidi Julavits



The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, Andrea Wulf


What were some of your best recent library reads?

10 responses

  1. I’m in Montgomery County, but I love the interlibrary loan system! In my county they even have a system where you can download any of their books on your kindle for a certain amount of time. That’s by far my favorite part!


    1. Hi Kelly! I’d forgotten you’re based in Maryland. I grew up in Silver Spring but we moved to Bowie when I was 9 and I went to college in Frederick. I’ve always been very pleased with the state’s public library services. It’s encouraging at a time when there are lots of funding cuts not just there but in the UK too.


  2. Oh, I’m looking forward to hearing about The Invention of Nature (and to hopefully read it myself)!


    1. It seems to have gotten a lot of attention for a fairly niche work of biography. Too late to read it on this trip, but I’ll be looking out for it in the near future.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, it must be so fun to have access to titles you aren’t able to get! I’m pretty impressed by your restraint – I imagine I’d have checked out twice as many (which is obviously many more than I could possibly read).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was conscious that I also had a lot of review books on the pile, plus I wanted to tackle The Goldfinch over Christmas (I’m about 100 pages in now). There are still a lot of authors whose work isn’t readily available in the UK that I could have targeted.


  4. Love Parks & Rec!!! It’s so great to be able to get more than books from the library.


    1. I’m so impressed that some libraries in the States are able to offer DVD rentals for free!


  5. I don’t believe I am familiar with even one of these titles! I must educate myself! I’m impressed that you were able to read while visiting! And that you can skim. I am incapable of skimming.


    1. Skimming has become an invaluable skill for me, first as a student and now as a reviewer. Despite my best efforts to always allow enough time to read every word of a book, I sometimes have to resort to skimming.


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