A quieter month of trying to finish up some books that I’ve had on the go for quite a while. I give links to reviews of any books I haven’t already featured, and ratings for ones I’ve read or skimmed. What have you been reading from your local libraries? Library Checkout runs on the last Monday of every month. I don’t have an official link-up system, but feel free to use this image in your post and to leave a link to your blog in the comments if you’ve taken part.
- Once More We Saw Stars: A Memoir by Jayson Greene
- The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel
- Because: A Lyric Memoir by Joshua Mensch [poetry]
- Old Toffer’s Book of Dogs by Christopher Reid [poetry; university library]
- The Lost Art of Scripture by Karen Armstrong
- The Cabaret of Plants by Richard Mabey [university library]
- The Hidden Ways: Scotland’s Forgotten Roads by Alistair Moffat
- Time Song: Searching for Doggerland by Julia Blackburn
- A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
- The Envoy from Mirror City by Janet Frame [university library]
- The Electricity of Every Living Thing: One Woman’s Walk with Asperger’s by Katherine May
- The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
- Life Lessons from a Brain Surgeon: The New Science and Stories of the Brain by Rahul Jandial
CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ (all for R.I.P.!)
- The Hoarder by Jess Kidd
- The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
- Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
- The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
+ Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame [university library], The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing
IN THE RESERVATION QUEUE
- The Easternmost House: A Year of Life on the Edge of England by Juliet Blaxland
- The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
- The Confession by Jessie Burton
- The School of Life: An Emotional Education by Alain de Botton
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
- Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley
- A Half-Baked Idea: How Grief, Love and Cake Took Me from the Courtroom to Le Cordon Bleu by Olivia Potts
- Chances Are by Richard Russo
- The Poetry Pharmacy Returns: More Prescriptions for Courage, Healing and Hope by William Sieghart
- My Name Is Why: A Memoir by Lemn Sissay
- Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith
- Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith
- On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
- The Porpoise by Mark Haddon – I read “The Flight,” the excellent 10-page prologue, which is almost like a stand-alone short story and features a terrifying plane crash and its aftermath. But after that I found I had zero interest in continuing with a Pericles update.
- The Well-Beloved by Thomas Hardy [university library]
- Dark Glasses by Blake Morrison [university library] – I read all but the final and longest poem, “The Inquisitor,” so about 50 out of 79 pages. I have trouble remembering now what the book is about, beyond, well, everything: life, family, seasons, choices, regrets.
- I Never Said I Loved You by Rhik Samadder – I read the introduction and part of the first chapter (about 12 pages). I’m not sure how I heard about it or why I thought I wanted to read it. I guess it sounded like it would be an amusing family memoir that employed humor as well as pathos when dealing with serious subjects like depression. I’d never heard of the author, though (a broadcaster and Guardian columnist), so I had no specific interest in his life story and the writing had nothing to recommend it.
- Some Hope by Edward St. Aubyn – I read the first chapter, skipped forward to read the first few pages of Chapter 10 (when Patrick tries to be more mature and nuanced in his thinking as he searches for peace of mind; it’s too simple to just loathe his father), and skimmed to the end. This is more like Never Mind than Bad News in that it returns to that shallow, glittering world of the rich partying set. I found I had trouble keeping all the secondary characters straight, and didn’t care about them; I only wanted to hear about Patrick.
- If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman – I tried the first few pages and didn’t enjoy the style. It felt awfully portentous for what is essentially women’s fiction.