Library Checkout: August 2016

I still have dozens of priority books to read from my own shelves , and I’ve been building up a stock of Booker-longlisted titles on my Kindle through NetGalley to try to get through before the shortlist announcement … BUT now that I live in a district where library reservations are free, I haven’t been able to resist placing holds on a bunch of books I’ve been wanting to read.



  • Raining Cats and Donkeys by Doreen Tovey: Thanks to Liz at Adventures in reading for the recommendation of Tovey’s cat books. I’ll save up a mini-review of this one for a future follow-up post on books about cats.


  • How Snow Falls: Poems by Craig Raine
  • The Last Act of Love: The Story of My Brother and His Sister by Cathy Rentzenbrink [in advance of a September 20th event at Foyles, London I’ll be attending on grief in literature, featuring her and Michel Faber]



  • The Malarkey (poems) by Helen Dunmore
  • The Reason I Jump: One Boy’s Voice from the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida
  • Kid Gloves: A Voyage round My Father by Adam Mars-Jones


  • Late Fragments: Everything I Want to Tell You (about This Magnificent Life) by Kate Gross


  • The Crime Writer by Jill Dawson
  • Let Me Tell You about a Man I Knew by Susan Fletcher
  • Hot Milk by Deborah Levy [Booker longlist]
  • Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann
  • Winter by Christopher Nicholson
  • The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester
  • Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman [graphic novel]
  • Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien [Booker longlist]
  • The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace


Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, edited by Thomas Travisano: I paused at page 140. I was enjoying this very much but am setting it aside because it’s an enormous book that I’ve had out from the university library for months and months, and I was making very little visible progress. Like Airmail, the collection of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer’s letters that I read last year, it’s a delightful mixture of the two poets’ reading, writing, travels, and relationships, including their own burgeoning friendship. I need to get hold of a secondhand copy so I can read it at my leisure, a few letters at a time.

(Thanks, as always, go to Shannon of River City Reading for the great blog idea and template!)

21 responses

  1. Wow, great TBR and great library!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also wow. In awe of your enthusiasm and unquenchable appetite for words, words and more words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tease — Cats and Donkeys sounds intriguing.

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. She reminds me of Gerald Durrell with her humorous animal stories. I bet you’d like her writing. Probably pretty hard to get hold of these books in the States, though?


  4. Ah, I always forget some places charge for holds! How exciting that you can do it for free now. I’d probably go on a big spree if I had that change, too 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Who in the world charges you for library reservations!? :-O I’d be completely screwed… tentatively discovering my local library nowadays since I finished work to start mat leave! They seem to have a good selection (that don’t get snatched up right away unlike in the centre of town) so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
    Although I have so many unread bought books at home I feel I owe it to contribute so always take what I don’t have out of the library if poss…..excited to see what you think about the Eric Newby! My other half adores the Picador editions.


    1. Congrats, lady! I wondered if that was on the cards 😉

      Both of my previous library systems charged — only 40p or 50p each, but still, if you’re interested in getting hold of all the interesting new books it really adds up! I had to limit myself to just the few books I was most keen on, and tried to get the rest as e-books through NetGalley, etc.

      It’ll be my first Newby; I’m trying to get more into classic travel books (currently reading the first Patrick Leigh Fermor, for instance).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is making me ache for my library even more than I was already aching (still closed). I love seeing that long list of holds – I can’t wait to fill mine back up again! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have you made your way through that huge stack you borrowed at the start of the closure?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mostly! There are still a few left unread – the ones that don’t feel as urgent anymore. But I did get through most of them.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you enjoyed the Tovey, and the Newby is a real treat, too, I love, love, love his writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My library has a few more of the Tovey books (though most in large print!), so I’ll sprinkle those in to my autumn and winter reading for the occasional treat.


      1. It’s the same in the Toronto system. They’re all single copies and large print editions. When I was a girl, shopping for dresses, I remember my mom always used to say that I chose styles that were too old for me. Not because (as I think is more often true of my step-daughter!) they were too revealing or mature, but because they were too old-fashioned and verging on prim-and-proper rather than fun and youthful. Now perhaps the same could be said of my reading taste. (Hopefully my fashion sense has improved a little along the way, however. At least I am mostly reading in a solitary fashion!)

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Maus is really good! Yay for your new library!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard it’s a true classic of the graphic novel genre, so of course I must read it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s the first graphic novel I ever read–in a history course in college.


    2. Did you know Art Spiegelman’s daughter has just released a memoir? Her name is Nadja and the book is called I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve heard of the book but I had no idea they were related.


  9. Great post! I love this meme (I did it as well), because the library is just such a special thing and I simply think everyone should get a chance to experience it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! One thing that’s said about public libraries is “use them or lose them.” I’ve lived in many counties/systems where unfortunately that was true, with budget cuts and closures.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that’s true. I always think we should use them! I’m trying to temporarily take a break from the library, just so I can diminish my pile at home. 🙂


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