Library Checkout: March 2017

A dangerous thing happened a few weeks ago. I lost track of the number of library books I had on my account and happened to accidentally borrow a 16th book via the self-service machine (I always thought that 15 was the maximum). So the next time I visited I tested this limit and successfully borrowed enough books to get me up to a total of 21! Whoopsie. Of course, I have so many review books and Kindle titles on hand that a suggested limit of 15 should be more than enough, so I will try not to abuse the privilege too often.

A lot of the books I have on loan are hangovers from last month, and they’re likely to stick around for a while yet given the reading I still have to do for the Wellcome Book Prize shadow panel. However, I managed to get through nine library reads in March so far, and will hopefully finish the Murakami as this month’s doorstopper as well. I’ve added in ratings and links to any reviews for books I haven’t already featured on the blog in some way.



  • Go Lean Vegan: The Revolutionary 30-Day Diet Plan to Lose Weight and Feel Great by Christine Bailey
  • The No Spend Year: How I Spent Less and Lived More by Michelle McGagh 
  • Reading Allowed: True Stories and Curious Incidents from a Provincial Library by Chris Paling 


  • The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
  • The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
  • Jackself by Jacob Polley [poetry]


  • Ashland & Vine by John Burnside
  • Outline by Rachel Cusk
  • The Rebecca Rioter: A Story of Killay Life by Amy Dillwyn
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • The Owl at the Window: A Memoir of Loss and Hope by Carl Gorham
  • A Smell of Burning: The Story of Epilepsy by Colin Grant
  • Finn Family Moomintroll & Sculptor’s Daughter by Tove Jansson
  • Human Acts by Han Kang
  • In the Bonesetter’s Waiting-Room: Travels through Indian Medicine by Aarathi Prasad
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders


  • Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


  • The Otters’ Tale by Simon Cooper
  • How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS by David France [for Wellcome prize shadow panel]
  • Where Poppies Blow: The British Soldier, Nature, the Great War by John Lewis-Stempel
  • Augustown by Kei Miller
  • The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee [for Wellcome prize shadow panel]


  • Pondlife: A Swimmer’s Journal by Al Alvarez – I read the first 57 pages but found the entries fairly repetitive.
  • The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion – Compared to the Rosie books, this felt like it had no spark.


  • The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (I’ll have a little break before reading another one of hers)
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind: Survival Techniques for Staying Sane by Emily Reynolds (did not seem at all relevant to me)

Hosted by Charleen of It’s a Portable Magic.

Have you been taking advantage of your local libraries? What appeals from my lists?


35 thoughts on “Library Checkout: March 2017

  1. I currently have six books checked out of my library. That’s a small number for me. My library allows you to have 20 books out at one time and I have been known to have a full card. But, this year I am trying to get through my own giant tbr pile. So, I am limiting the number of books that I take out of the library

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is quite the list! I love Still Alice, I felt like I was losing my mind right along with her. And I have a thing for otters so I may have to look into The Otters’ Tale. I believe my library allows 100 items out at once. I’m not sure I’ve ever topped 30, but I’m frequently in the 20s (thanks to the piles of picture books I’m always getting for my little one).


    1. I will be interested to see if it lives up to Otter Country by Miriam Darlington, which is just brilliant.

      Now 100 items, that’s my kind of library limit 😉 If CDs and DVDs and suchlike were free, I’d borrow them all the time. They tend to cost £2-3 per rental over here.


  3. Holy mackerel, you read so much! I have two books out right now and four holds just came in (eek!). I have no idea what the limit for physical book is in our system, but e-books it’s seven at a time, which feels like too few. Ah well. Happy reading!


      1. I have to say that I still vastly prefer paper books, but it’s handy to have a few books available to read at night or in the car (and I don’t have to go to the library to get them, which is a bit of a pain.). I’m not organized enough to request e-books in advance!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the good people and still alice..still have to read graeme simions new one on my shelf and waiting for breath becomes air on hold at the library…library is a trap it means i never get to my tbr pile let alone my kindle…lifes too short! 😣


    1. I know the feeling. It’s always a challenge trying to balance library books with Kindle books and books on my own shelf. But it’s important to support your local library, so you needn’t feel guilty about it 🙂


  5. What library do you belong to coz I wanted to sign up! I am so jealous that you managed to pick up so many contemporary literary fiction books. You can get the odd well-known literary author, but vast majority of books are crime thrillers and women’s fiction.


    1. West Berkshire. It actually has quite a limited selection compared to other library systems I’ve used, but at least it offers free reservations. Depending on where you are, you might be able to do interlibrary loans for free. Whenever I visit my parents in Maryland, USA I take advantage of that service.


  6. Come on! Han Kang has been in your queue for too long! I say this only because, as you know, I thought it was brilliant, but as ever I remain in awe at the sheer quantity of books you manage to read.


  7. So many four and five stars this month! I can’t ignore that five star rating for Days Without End. I’m glad you liked This One Summer. I haven’t read it, but my daughter has.
    I see Still Alice is still there. I loved that one. And it was quick (and medical)!


    1. This One Summer is charming and such a quick read (graphic novels usually are), but at the same time deals with some tough issues teens may face.

      Yep, she’s still Alice and she’s still on the pile 🙂 Maybe I’ll take it along on our short holiday next week. It strikes me as good reading for the car.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Am feeling very spoiled to realise how limited library loans are elsewhere, as I’ve been known to feel the pinch (around prizelists, mainly) at Toronto’s 50 loans and 75 holds (which includes requesting books that are not in the user’s home branch). And, yes, I do tend to push the limits although I have been trying to be more thoughful about them in recent years. From your list, I’m most intrigued by the Tessa Hadley (but I feel like I’ve said this before, perhaps when you mentioned gathering up the loan), as I’ve enjoyed another of hers. What would *you* do with 50 possibilitites?


    1. Oh, don’t tempt me 😉 That’s a truly generous allowance. If CDs and films were free to borrow, I’d get tons of those out as well. In truth, 10 or 15 books should always be more than enough for me given I’m unlikely to ever get through more than that in a month alongside my own books and advance review copies.

      Do try Hadley’s stories. I thought these were wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, that’s a lot of books you can take out! I am making shamefully little use of my library at the moment, as my TBR and set of review books is so huge. I must go up there with my donations soon and then take some books out. I just transcribed an interview with George Saunders but he doesn’t appeal hugely, I’m afraid, however, I’ll be interested to see what you make of him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you ever struggle with accents on your transcription tapes? I’ve not read anything by Saunders, and Lincoln in the Bardo sounds so unusual that it could go either way for me. I *want* to like it, as so many others have. We’ll see. I might start it later today.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not really – I’m an expert in non-native English so as long as the tape is clear, any English-speaking accent is fine once I’ve worked my way into it (Saunders had some vowels that confused me for about five minutes until I’d settled into him).


  10. That’s practically a library in itself! I love the variety and you have several there that I shall be watching carefully and hoping will generate positive reviews. (Otters – I love otters!) I’ve just finally got around to joining our local library and need to make my first visit so I’ll find out then what limit there is on borrowing. My problem is always that I’ll wander around and be seduced by so many titles. On the other hand, I’ve come across so many good books and writers that way…


    1. I’m one of those awful people who wander around a bookshop spotting interesting titles and jotting them down in a notebook so I can then go off and request them from the library! I pretty much never buy new books, only secondhand ones. And I do think there’s value in supporting your local public library system.

      For otters, you really must read Otter Country by Miriam Darlington (she has a short piece in one of the WT anthologies — Spring, I think). And I’ll let you know via this post next month whether the new otters book is worthwhile 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Supporting the local library seems more important than ever at the moment. I’m about to start Spring – I’ll look out for the otter piece 🙂 (I feel a run of otter reading may be in the offing 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.