Library Checkout: September 2018

I figured out how to set up an alert for 2018 and 2019 releases in my library system’s catalogue so that I get e-mail digests listing all the new books on order. This means I can instantly place holds on loads of buzzy new books. I started with a bunch of the Booker longlistees, even the ones I wasn’t entirely sure about. The only downside is that all the brand-new books tend to start arriving at once. Gah! To make things more manageable for myself, I went ahead and canceled the holds on most of the books that didn’t advance to the Booker shortlist.

(As usual, I’ve added in star ratings and links to Goodreads reviews where I haven’t already featured the books on the blog in some way.)




  • The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers by Adam Nicolson
  • Rosie: Scenes from a Vanished Life by Rose Tremain

CURRENTLY READING-ish (set aside temporarily)

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


  • All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison
  • The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan [I’ve already read this one, some years ago, but it’s my book club’s October selection, so I will at least look back over it before the meeting.]
  • Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller
  • Wilding by Isabella Tree


  • The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett
  • Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family by Garrard Conley
  • French Exit by Patrick deWitt
  • Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  • Sabrina by Nick Drnaso [graphic novel]
  • Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
  • Tilly and the Bookwanderers (Pages & Co., #1) by Anna James
  • Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
  • A Man in Love: My Struggle, Volume 2 by Karl Ove Knausgaard
  • The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
  • Johannesburg by Fiona Melrose
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  • Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
  • Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers


  • Happiness by Aminatta Forna – I loved the premise of this one (it was on my most anticipated list) but didn’t enjoy the style of the first 10 or 15 pages.
  • The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson – It’s requested after me and I know I just don’t have time for it, especially if I want to prioritize the Booker-shortlisted books as they arrive.

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


I don’t have an official link-up system, so please just post a link to your blog in the comments if you’ve taken part in Library Checkout this month. (Feel free to use the image at the top.)

17 responses

  1. Loved the Harrison, Melrose, Miller and Moss – all treats in store – and I’m looking forward to the Johnson and Murakami.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Please, teach me your magic. What a fantastic list! I’m also reassured to see someone else who has given up reading Forna’s ‘Happiness’. I have loved a couple of her previous novels, but found the prose in her newest quite jarring, and gave up on it after a few chapters.


    1. That’s interesting to hear — if Happiness is quite different to her other work, maybe I’d still like some of her earlier novels. As to the magic (if you mean finding lots of brand-new books to request), it’s a matter of fiddling around with the advanced search settings on your library’s catalogue and setting up an e-mail alert if that’s an option.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brilliant, thanks for the tips!


  3. I have _Ohio_ by Steven Markley (which you suggested to me) in my library’s queue. I went to buy it but it’s huge (with a price to match). Just did a lot of driving to and from a lit. festival, so I listened to Jesmyn Ward’s _Sing, Unburied, Sing_ in the car–good, if devastatingly depressing. Thank goodness for books on cd from my local library! I’ll be interested to get your take on the Booker shortlist books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you’ll like Ohio — at nearly 500 pages it’s definitely an undertaking. I was impressed with Sing, Unburied last year and would certainly read more by Ward. (I’ve never listened to an audio book and can’t really imagine what the experience would be like, but I know it fits well into other people’s lives well and I’m glad that’s an option for when paper books aren’t practical.)


  4. All The Books! When I worked in libraries, I PROCESSED the new books coming in (at the university library, I ordered lots of them). That was very bad for my reading lists and reservation queues. That and the free interlibrary loans when I was at the town library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Working in a library was definitely bad for my TBR. I didn’t e-read in those days, but I’m sure my library habit meant I hardly read any of the books I actually owned. Free interlibrary loans from any library in the whole state of Maryland was my favourite thing about living in the States.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It never occurred to me to question whether there should be a charge for interlibrary loans. There isn’t here (from the whole province of Nova Scotia, although that’s not really saying a lot), but the overdue fees are 10x what they are for a book from my library – and there are no renewals. Still – it’s FREE!

    And I’m just returning Washington Black to my library. For the first 100 or so pages, I thought I had found my ‘WOW’ book for this month-even year. But it went downhill from there and I ended up rating an average 3.5 stars out of 5. But perhaps you will enjoy it more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ILLs tend to cost £3 or more over here — at which rate you’re probably better off sourcing a book secondhand, unless it’s rare.

      I was unconvinced by the premise of Washington Black and initially didn’t think I’d read it at all, but then it made the Booker shortlist and there have been enthusiastic reviews from other blogger friends, so I feel I should give it a try.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I just read, and loved, Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss so I’m looking forward to Madame Zero. Glad you enjoyed the John Boyne!


    1. Madame Zero is the latest short story collection from Sarah Hall, an equally wonderful author. I need to read more by her. After Ghost Wall I think I will have read all of Sarah Moss’s non-academic books.


  7. Harrison, Tree, and Miller are all absolutely great. Happiness I only read in proof form, and I was so frustrated by the shoddy proofreading that I just placed my hope in the weird punctuation being dealt with before publication. Not sure that that happened, in the end…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started the Harrison last night, and hope to get to all three before the due date (they’re all requested after me, of course). Forna’s style was strange and choppy; definitely off-putting.


      1. Yes, I felt that with Forna too – but I felt that much of the problem could have been solved by judiciously re-punctuating! It’s astonishing how much can be fixed by putting a semicolon or a full stop in the place of some awkward comma.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. My library use waned for a time while I was finishing some reading projects over the summer, but now, with new book season settling in, my loans have doubled and this week, looking at what’s in the queue, I’m guessing tripling isn’t far off. Reader the Giller longlist is definitely the biggest culprit but, also, we have a way of storing a wishlist in our library account and mine had started to get a bit out of hand (go figure – who is ADDING all those books to my account?!) so I am starting to chip away at that list as well. I haven’t read that Forna book but I have heard her in interview and definitely want to read more of her work; I’m hoping to read The Memory of Love this month for a reading challenge, but I’m not entirely sure it’ll fit with all the rest of the books for October! Is that one of hers you’re interested in as well?


    1. That’s the one of Forna’s I’ve heard the most about, so if I decided to try her again it would be the one.

      The Booker longlist has certainly increased my number of holds. I’m doubtful about my ability to get to many of the books before the end of the year, though. I think my library saved list is now at over 200 titles!

      I was pleased to see that Sheila Heti advanced to the Giller shortlist, and I plan to read de Witt’s and Edugyan’s books. It seems rare that three titles would be readily available outside Canada.


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