Library Checkout: December 2017

Posting early this month so that I’m not a nuisance on Christmas Day…

Most of the usual suspects from last month are still hanging around waiting to be read, though I also got (small!) fresh stacks out from both the public library and the university library.



  • Herzog by Saul Bellow
  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
  • Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells by Helen Scales


Public library

University library

Still out from the university library:

  • This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland by Gretel Ehrlich
  • To the Is-land: An Autobiography by Janet Frame
  • 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 Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton


  • The Cat Who Stayed for Christmas by Cleveland Amory
  • Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg


  • Fresh Complaint: Stories by Jeffrey Eugenides – I’ve read all of his novels, so felt that I should at least try his short stories, but a glance at the table of contents made my heart sink. All of the stories are at least 20 pages long, and one is titled “The Oracular Vulva” (?!). I still have this on my Kindle, so perhaps I’ll try it another time.

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

Merry Christmas to all!

20 responses

  1. My local library service decided to switch over to a new system last week and it has all gone horribly wrong. Consequently, the new books have not been catalogued and all the volumes I was expecting to get for Christmas have failed to materialised. I am not a happy bunny! I’m glad, however, that you have had better luck.


    1. Oh dear! That’s a shame. I hope you have a good stock of books at home to make up for the shortfall? Happy Christmas, and happy reading!


  2. I’ve been reading Dune by Frank Herbert. Surprisingly, I rather like it. But it’s a slow go, and I doubt I’ll finish it in time for the Book Club discussion.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sure you know there’s a cat in Harmless Like You…


    1. No, I didn’t! Even more reason to look forward to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a cat with a difference. I’ll leave it at that!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘Our endless numbered days’ left me a bit underwhelmed, though it was a satisfying enough read at the time.. Currently reading from the library, ‘Schindler’s Ark’ which is a wonderful, though emotionally difficult read, and another taxing story, Yeonmi Park’s ‘In order to live’, describing her life in, and escape from North Korea. Maybe I should try something more light-hearted for Christmas? Have a wonderful Christmas, and all good wishes for 2018.


    1. Those sound like books for the bleak midwinter for sure! I have a copy of Schindler’s I’ve never read, though of course I’ve seen the film. I wonder if you’d find When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow (by Dan Rhodes) a lighthearted read for Christmas. It’s a satire on Richard Dawkins, if that appeals at all!

      I’m sorry you haven’t gotten on with Claire Fuller’s books. I think she’s terrific and can’t wait for her new one.

      Happy holidays to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve just looked the Rhodes up on Goodreads and I’ll look it out in the library, as it doesn’t look like one I’d buy. I’m beginning to realise that you and Penny are great recommenders of non-fiction for me, but you’re both a bit Marmite when it comes to fiction – though that in itself is useful and I love considering your choices!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, you’ll see I wasn’t thoroughly convinced by the Rhodes myself, though it did make me laugh. It was recommended by Sarah Perry in an article for the Guardian.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m branching out 😉 and trying a modern book, so I checked out The Bear and the Nightingale. So far, I’m enjoying it! I’m gearing up for an online classics challenge starting in January, but I pulled most of those from my shelf.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have that on my Kindle and was thinking of reading it over Christmas. We’ll see!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Are you enjoying the Sachs? I am reading an easy Debbie Macomber after the rigours of reviewing non-fiction serious books and getting my Iris Murdoch post done. And I think I have the weekend off now, so much reading to be done!


    1. Yes, I’m enjoying it so far. I usually only read one little case study at a time. I’ve gotten through Part I so far and will probably put it on hold until the new year.

      I hope you’ll continue with some purely fun reading over the holidays. Are you giving yourself some time off?


      1. Yes! I worked hard all day and should have 4 full days off now!


  7. Well, in his defense, the subtitle was not “Short stories” but merely “Stories”!
    I really enjoyed that Janet Frame book, but I feel it’s one which takes some time (or, maybe that was just me).
    Of your stack, I would like to read the Chabon, which is a gap in my reading; I’ve seen a couple of fresh looking copies at the library lately and been tempted, so maybe your reading of it will make me want to go back for one of them.
    Enjoy your stacks!


    1. Good point. Maybe if there was *one* shorter one I could have skipped to to whet my interest, though…

      I’m excited to try the Chabon. I enjoyed my first of his, Moonglow, which I read last year.


  8. I really liked Oscar Wao, but it’s been a while since I’ve read it. Hope you enjoy it.

    Right now from my library I am reading the last one of the Anne of Green Gables series, Rilla of Ingleside. It’s considerably darker than the others since it deals with the onset of WWI and the community’s response as their boys go off to war. I’m really enjoying it.

    Liked by 1 person

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