I’ve been desperately trying to get through the final handful of 2019 releases on my docket, whether they’re review copies or available from the library. So I recently made a last-minute flurry of requests on the 2019 titles I still intend to read, and will do my darndest to get through them all – though I’m definitely being brutal at this point and DNFing anything that doesn’t grab me within the first chapter.
I give links to reviews of any books I haven’t already featured, as well as ratings for all. 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.
- Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley
- The Dig by Cynan Jones
- Mudlarking: Lost and Found on the River Thames by Lara Maiklem
- “Birthday Girl” by Haruki Murakami
- 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
- Baker Cat by Posy Simmonds
- Rain Falling by the River: New and Selected Poems of the Spirit, Christopher Southgate [from my church’s theological library]
- Critical: Science and Stories from the Brink of Human Life by Dr Matt Morgan
- Ring the Hill by Tom Cox
- The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea
- The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
- The Heavens by Sandra Newman
- My Name Is Why: A Memoir by Lemn Sissay
- Afloat: A Memoir by Danie Couchman
- The School of Life: An Emotional Education by Alain de Botton
- Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life by Paul Dolan
- Diary of a Lone Twin by David Loftus
CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ
- The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico
ON HOLD, TO BE PICKED UP
- Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann (I only plan to skim it!)
IN THE RESERVATION QUEUE
- The Body Lies by Jo Baker
- Five Ingredient Vegan: 100 Simple, Fast, Modern Recipes by Katy Beskow
- The Easternmost House: A Year of Life on the Edge of England by Juliet Blaxland
- Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
- Early Riser by Jasper Fforde
- Under the Camelthorn Tree: Raising a Family among Lions by Kate Nicholls
- The Botanist’s Daughter by Kayte Nunn
- The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold
- Mr Dickens and his Carol by Samantha Silva
- The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater
- Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith
- Live a Little by Howard Jacobson – It’s been a while since I tried a Jacobson novel; the idea of a comic romance between 90-somethings appealed to me. The first chapter, about Beryl and her morbid cross-stitch sayings, was entertaining enough, but the second chapter quickly lost me.
- After the End by Clare Mackintosh – I thought this might be a bit like a Jodi Picoult book: a gripping, heartwarming issues book with a medical theme. That might indeed be the case, but the first 10 pages were awfully dull.
- Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith – I read the first and last (title) stories, and started on the second. Two out of three were so bad that if they didn’t have the famous name attached I’m not sure they could have gotten published. In “The Dialectic” Smith attempts to cross Elena Ferrante with Jonathan Safran Foer for a thin tale of a mother and daughter arguing about the treatment of animals on a beach. Main problem: no one speaks like the daughter speaks here, no matter her age or upbringing (“I dislike this place”). The title story, about mothers and daughters in a diverse area of London, is fine, but nothing special. And then the first five pages of “Sentimental Education” were sexually explicit just for the sake of it and too reminiscent of On Beauty. I skimmed through the rest to see if any other story jumped out at me, but decided to move on to something else instead.
- Nightingales in November: A Year in the Lives of Twelve British Birds by Mike Dilger – The writing is very dry: a set of list-like, month-by-month observations.