Library Checkout: January 2018

Here’s what’s changed since last month:



  • The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
  • Ali: A Life by Jonathan Eig
Two absolutely knock-out doorstoppers!


  • Herzog by Saul Bellow
  • This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland by Gretel Ehrlich
  • Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
  • On Balance by Sinéad Morrissey [poetry – shortlisted for Costa Prize]
  • 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

Then you’ll recognize a lot of the same titles hanging over from last month. The lack of a firm due date for the university library books (they can be renewed pretty much indefinitely) makes me put them off in favor of other, seemingly more timely, reads.



Public library:

  • Harmless like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
  • Inside the Wave by Helen Dunmore [poetry – winner of Costa Prize]
  • Useful Verses by Richard Osmond [poetry – shortlisted for Costa Prize]

University library:

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • To the Is-land: An Autobiography by Janet Frame
  • Vita Nova by Louise Glück [poetry]
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • The Cabaret of Plants: Botany and the Imagination by Richard Mabey
  • There Is an Anger that Moves by Kei Miller [poetry]
  • And When Did You Last See Your Father? by Blake Morrison
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton


  • Ghosts of Christmas Past, a story collection edited by Tim Martin – The only one I read was Neil Gaiman’s dark 100-word tale, “Nicholas Was.” When it came down to it, I realized I wasn’t actually that interested in holiday ghost stories.
  • The High Places by Fiona McFarlane – Once again I borrow a short story collection with the best of intentions but return it unread. Sigh!
  • NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman – Alas, this was requested back from the uni library by another user. I’ll have to get it out again another time.
  • Bellwether by Connie Willis – My husband read it and enjoyed it well enough, but from his description it sounds silly to me. I’ll try to find another of her books to be the right follow-up to last year’s read of To Say Nothing of the Dog.

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

21 thoughts on “Library Checkout: January 2018

  1. Appealing: And When Did You Last Hear from Your Father? Because we find ourselves in the same sad situation, and I have actually asked that very question.

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. I think I already mentioned that I, too, had snapped up a renewable-copy of the Junot Diaz novel and even though I’ve been trying to read my borrowings in a single loan period (for a change) that one has lingered because some of the others couldn’t be renewed, so I’m planning to start reading it next weekend. (That’s a safe distance away to make reading plans, isn’t it?! :P) Those Janet Frame books are interesting reading; I read the trio in short order, though, because they were a little more difficult than I expected. Have you seen, or are you planning to watch, the film as well? It was a Jane Campion, wasn’t it? It’s available through one of library’s video streaming services and I’ve been toying with the idea, but wondered if maybe I should reread first…


  3. Nice! Currently I am reading Rescue by Nicolas sparks. I would be really interested in reading your reviews about autobiography of Janet Frame and when did you last hear from your father.


  4. Now the Boyne is out in pbk, I couldn’t resist – but need to make time to actually read it! I hope you enjoy Spirals in Time – I loved its mixture of science, ecology and culture – I want to read her first book on Seahorses too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been enjoying Spirals in Time, though I’m currently a bit bogged down in the nautilus chapter. I’ve found some elements more interesting than others, but as you say, a great blend of science and history, and sea life is just so delightfully strange!


  5. I think I would like Spirals in Time, but I also think it would be better if I owned it so that I don’t have to worry about due dates. I’ll be watching for your verdict on that one!


    1. I think you’d like it too. But I have definitely been moving through it slowly. Within each chapter there are subheadings, and usually I don’t even read a chapter, just a smaller section, in a sitting. Some topics have been more interesting than others.

      Liked by 1 person

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