Library Checkout: May 2019

A more modest library reading month for me as we were off to America midway through – I’ve taken the Chabon with me to finish off by the 31st for my Doorstopper of the Month post, but my 15 holds are suspended until we come back. I give links to reviews of any books that I haven’t already featured on the blog in some way, and ratings for all.

What have you been reading from your local library? I don’t have an official link-up system, so please just pop a link to your blog in the comments if you’ve taken part in Library Checkout this month. Feel free to use this image in your post.




  • Horizon by Barry Lopez


  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon


(Set aside temporarily)

  • An Angel at My Table by Janet Frame
  • A Pocket Mirror by Janet Frame
  • The Crossway by Guy Stagg


  • The Seasons, a Faber & Faber / BBC Radio 4 poetry anthology


  • Stroke: A 5% Chance of Survival by Ricky Monahan Brown
  • Our Place: Can We Save Britain’s Wildlife before It Is Too Late? by Mark Cocker
  • How to Catch a Mole and Find Yourself in Nature by Marc Hamer
  • The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce
  • Because: A Lyric Memoir by Joshua Mensch
  • Under the Camelthorn Tree: Raising a Family among Lions by Kate Nicholls
  • The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann
  • The Lost Properties of Love: An Exhibition of Myself by Sophie Ratcliffe


  • On the Marsh: A Year Surrounded by Wildness and Wet by Simon Barnes
  • How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
  • How to Treat People: A Nurse’s Notes by Molly Case
  • How to Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned from Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day
  • The Years by Annie Ernaux
  • City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene
  • Lowborn: Growing Up, Getting Away and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns by Kerry Hudson
  • The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
  • The Electricity of Every Living Thing: One Woman’s Walk with Asperger’s by Katherine May
  • The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us: A Diary by Emma Mitchell
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
  • Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith
  • Frankisstein: A Love Story by Jeanette Winterson


  • Joinedupwriting by Roger McGough (lost interest)
  • First Time Ever by Peggy Seeger (requested after me; I’ll try again sometime)

Does anything appeal from my stacks?

15 responses

  1. Hope you’re enjoying the Chabon, and your holiday, of course.


  2. I’ve been trying to check out more from my local library recently, but it’s tricky as it’s volunteer-run so you can’t reserve anything. I scored a victory recently by checking out Machines Like Me as soon as it was shelved, so I’ll be reading that one soon. I saw that they had Queenie ready to be put on the system, so I’ll have to try and nab that when it’s available! I’m also enjoying the first in Eva Dolan’s crime series, Long Way Home, from that library.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting to see that you’re reading some work from Barry Lopez. He was the commencement speaker at our university the other day. He did not get a very happy reception for our crowds. A nature lover in the midst of West Texas Republican ag and oil supporters. Though I like his writing, it was one of the most depressing the-natural-world-is-doomed speeches for a few thousand new grads. Good message. Wrong time and place, I’m afraid.


    1. It sounds like he was absolutely the wrong choice for your university! This was a very dense collection of long essays drawn from decades of travels. It was not a good place for me to start with his work. I’ll try an earlier book some other time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m pretty sure it was related to cost for the speaker. Lopez is on residency here on campus, so I’m betting the choice was based on convenience and locality more than anything. 🤔


    2. Ah, that makes sense. I didn’t realize where he was based.


  4. McNamara’s search for the killer caught my attention. I do like a little true crime now and again

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Highly recommended, that one. And I hardly ever read true crime.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. buriedinprint | Reply

    I think our ideas of a “modest” library stack would shock most library patrons. *giggles*
    I’m intrigued by the McEwan, the last I read was The Children’s Act.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bledwina Blighty Pudfish | Reply

      I love your library check out posts so much, as I adore my local library! I enjoyed the McNamara. I like the sound of the one about saving Britain’s wildlife, also the Monaha Brown – I am currently reading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Am dithering about the Holly Bourne – it’s currently on 99p on Kindle Amazon. I am in reservation queue too at my library for Lowborn. I have Hillbilly Elegy to read and wanted a UK take on the issues. Hope you are having a lovely time in the US.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. File it under “interesting,” but not entirely successful in examining what he was trying to examine, I think.

      Hey, free books, why NOT go hog wild?!


  6. I finally made it to my local library this weekend! I still haven’t quite registered how much they’ll let me check out at a time, so only got out five: The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald; The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon; Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon; Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin; and Jack Glass by Adam Roberts. I read The Blue Flower all in one go on Sunday—it’s my first Fitzgerald—and was terribly impressed with the cool control of the prose, although the novel’s overall purpose seemed a bit, I don’t know, vague.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you! I have read three by Fitzgerald now and my reaction to all was sort of ‘meh’ — her books are SO subtle that they’re over before you know it. I don’t know why The Blue Flower, in particular, is touted as a revelatory work of historical fiction. Anita Brookner and Beryl Bainbridge are of that same ilk — short, quiet novels from the last few decades of the 20th century — but of them, Bainbridge is my favourite.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The Crossway, Queenie and The Wild Remedy are the ones here that appeal to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll let you know how they go. I had to set The Crossway aside for the trip to America — a bit too heavy of a hardback to take in the suitcase — but it’s very nicely written. He’s channeling Fermor for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

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