Library Checkout: November 2017

This month I’ve mostly been reading Sunday Times Young Writer Award nominees and novellas from my own shelves, but I sneaked in a handful of library reads via some novellas and poetry collections, plus the Iris Murdoch readalong. I’ve added in star ratings and links to reviews of those books I haven’t already featured on the blog in some way.

Most of the books I got out from the university library last month are still hanging around and will continue to provide me with some varied reading through Christmas. I’m especially keen to try Janet Frame and Oliver Sacks for the first time, and This Cold Heaven can’t fail to be an appropriate read for the winter months! Believe it or not, but I have never read The Catcher in the Rye, so I just have to decide the right time to finally experience it.

[I haven’t yet figured out a (free) dedicated link-up system, so if you do take part in Library Checkout please just leave a link to your blog in the comments.]


  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Special Exits: A Graphic Memoir by Joyce Farmer [university library] 
  • Fathom [poetry] by Jenny Lewis 
  • Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
  • First Love by Gwendoline Riley
  • Halfway to Silence: Poems by May Sarton [university library] 
  • Endpoint and Other Poems by John Updike 


  • The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook by Yuwanda Black



 Public library:

  • The Cat Who Stayed for Christmas by Cleveland Amory
  • Fresh Complaint: Stories by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

University library:

  • Herzog by Saul Bellow
  • This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland by Gretel Ehrlich
  • To the Is-land: An Autobiography by Janet Frame
  • Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
  • Vita Nova [poetry] by Louise Glück
  • The Cabaret of Plants: Botany and the Imagination by Richard Mabey
  • There Is an Anger that Moves [poetry] by Kei Miller
  • And When Did You Last See Your Father? by Blake Morrison
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton
  • Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells by Helen Scales

A selection of the university library books on my pile.


  • So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell [university library]
  • Jaguars and Electric Eels by Alexander von Humboldt [university library]

What have you been reading from your local libraries? Does anything appeal from my stacks?

20 responses

  1. Oh dear – I love William Maxwell’s writing! We’ll have to do that old agreeing to disagree thing again.


    1. Sigh, I know. It’s such a shame! I got 20-some pages in and it just felt like nothing was happening…


      1. Not much does, but it’s the writing for me. Never mind. We agreed on something a little while back…

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, I really enjoy William Maxwell too.


    1. Is there another of his books you’d recommend?


  3. These 3 appeal: The Cat Who Stayed for Christmas The Catcher in the Rye The Magnificent Spinster

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you and Dad own the Amory cat/Christmas books, or at least you used to. I remember the omnibus version being on the shelf in my childhood. I wonder what you’d make of May Sarton’s work. I’d probably direct you to her journals rather than her fiction.


  4. Updike’s poetry I would like to read, yes, me too on The Catcher in the Rye. I like the cover and title of Our Endless Numbered Days. I know nothing about it. Is it fiction? I have a lot out from the public library, I’m especially hoping to get to Mountains of the Mind by Macfarlane over the next few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Our Endless Numbered Days was Claire Fuller’s debut novel from a couple years ago. It was very well received. I’ve read her second novel, Swimming Lessons, and it’s among my top books of this year.

      We have a couple unread Macfarlanes on the shelf that I’d like to read soon, including that one. My husband also just got The Lost Words (more of a coffee table/art book) for his birthday.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m REALLY out of the loop on NEW stuff, so thanks. I tend to have my head stuck in dusty, old children’s classics most of the time! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve yet to read anything by Fuller but have a feeling I am missing something good

    Liked by 1 person

  6. inthemistandrain | Reply

    Yes, They Came Like Swallows. Another beautifully written book.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sacks! You will love him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for recommending him some time back! He certainly seemed like an unconscionable gap in my frequent medical-themed reading. I started the book last night.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I just love your library posts because your selections are as weird and all-over-the-place as mine. I’m sure some borrowers have very neat and reasonable records, with recognisable interests and areas of devotion, were a librarian ever to dip into the backhistory, but ours are not among them! I was just reading one of my current loans this morning with waffles, Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, a classic I’ve managed to avoid until now, and for which I’m particularly grateful for as a library loan, as I don’t think I particularly want to have a copy, but I am finding it a very interesting reading experience. Overall I am trying to tidy the stack as I head for year-end and begin anew, but a week without a library visit … well, I just don’t know what that’s like!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Yes, I read from a pretty wide range of genres, though I suppose literary fiction, poetry and memoirs crop up most often. I used to be in the habit of going to the library every week or two, but recently I’ve just relied on one stock-up to keep me going for months. (Public library books can be renewed four times, three weeks per time, so that’s a total of 15 weeks.)


  9. I haven’t read The Catcher in the Rye either – I keep hearing that it’s better to read when you’re young, so I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it!
    I also love your library posts… they’re so varied and interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, could be I missed my moment. The one Salinger book I read (Franny and Zooey) I really didn’t like. I’ll at least read a little bit to get a taste of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I wonder, when you skim a book, do you have a system for doing so, or do you just sort of randomly dip in and out of it? And how do you make the determination to skim – do you start it and then think, I’m not really into this and end up skimming the rest? Just curious!


    1. It’ll usually be a book I’m mining for information, such as a self-help book I don’t expect to be an enjoyable read in and of itself. I might go just to the chapters in the table of contents that interest me, or cast my eye over each page looking for useful nuggets. The particular book above convinced me (which I already knew) that I’m a terrible freelancer! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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