Library Checkout, September 2021

My library has been closed for a few weeks while a new lighting system is being installed, so I’ve had fewer opportunities to pick out books at random while shelving. Still, I have quite a stockpile at home – a lot of the books are being saved for Novellas in November – so I can’t complain. Meanwhile, I’m awaiting my holds on some of the biggest releases of the year.

This will most likely be our last September in our current rental place as we’ve started house-hunting in the neighbourhood, so I’m trying to appreciate the view from my study window while I can. I’m taking one photo per day to compare. The first hints of autumn leaves are coming through. (Look carefully to the right of the table and you’ll see our cat!)

As always, I give links to reviews of books not already featured, as well as ratings. I would be delighted to have other bloggers – not just book bloggers – join in with this meme. Feel free to use the image below and leave a link to your blog in the comments if you’ve taken part in Library Checkout (on the last Monday of each month), or tag me on Twitter and Instagram: @bookishbeck / #TheLibraryCheckout & #LoveYourLibraries.

 

READ

  • Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories by A.S. Byatt
  • Tales from Moominvalley by Tove Jansson
  • Everyone Is Still Alive by Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • September 11: A Testimony (Reuters)
  • Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell [graphic novel]
  • Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich [graphic novel]

 

SKIMMED

  • The Easternmost Sky: Adapting to Change in the 21st Century by Juliet Blaxland
  • Gardening for Bumblebees: A Practical Guide to Creating a Paradise for Pollinators by Dave Goulson
  • An Eye on the Hebrides: An Illustrated Journey by Mairi Hedderwick
  • A Walk from the Wild Edge by Jake Tyler

 

CURRENTLY READING

  • Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler
  • Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin
  • Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
  • Anarchipelago by Jay Griffiths
  • The Cure for Good Intentions: A Doctor’s Story by Sophie Harrison
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
  • Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven
  • Cut Out by Michèle Roberts
  • Yearbook by Seth Rogen
  • A Shadow Above: The Fall and Rise of the Raven by Joe Shute
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

 

CURRENTLY SKIMMING

  • The Sea Is Not Made of Water: Life between the Tides by Adam Nicolson

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ

  • October, October by Katya Balen
  • Winter Story by Jill Barklem
  • Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
  • The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx by Tara Bergin
  • Barn Owl by Jim Crumley
  • Kingfisher by Jim Crumley
  • Otter by Jim Crumley
  • Victory: Two Novellas by James Lasdun
  • Jilted City by Patrick McGuinness
  • His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
  • Conundrum by Jan Morris [to reread]
  • The State of the Prisons by Sinéad Morrissey
  • Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven
  • Before Everything by Victoria Redel
  • The Performance by Claire Thomas
  • Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim

 

Plus a modest new pile from the university library:

  • The Ballad of the Sad Café by Carson McCullers
  • The Takeover by Muriel Spark (for 1976 Club)
  • The Pigeon by Patrick Süskind

ON HOLD, TO BE PICKED UP

  • The Echo Chamber by John Boyne
  • The Blind Light by Stuart Evers
  • Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan

 

IN THE RESERVATION QUEUE

  • Four Thousand Weeks: Time and How to Use It by Oliver Burkeman
  • Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
  • Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo
  • Spike: The Virus vs. the People – The Inside Story by Jeremy Farrar
  • Mrs March by Virginia Feito
  • Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
  • Matrix by Lauren Groff
  • Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
  • The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
  • The Book Smugglers (Pages & Co., #4) by Anna James
  • The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard
  • The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis
  • Metamorphosis: Selected Stories by Penelope Lively
  • Listen: How to Find the Words for Tender Conversations by Kathryn Mannix
  • Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
  • Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
  • Oh William! By Elizabeth Strout
  • Liv’s Alone by Liv Thorne
  • Sheets by Brenna Thummler
  • The Magician by Colm Tóibín
  • Still Life by Sarah Winman (to try again)

 

RETURNED UNFINISHED

  • Something out of Place: Women & Disgust by Eimear McBride – I hadn’t gotten on with her fiction so thought I’d try this short nonfiction work, especially as it was released by the Wellcome Collection and based on research she did at the Wellcome Library. However, it was very dull and just seemed like a string of quotes from other people.
  • 12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next by Jeanette Winterson – I looked at the first essay to consider reviewing this one, but Winterson’s musings on technology and Mary Shelly feel very familiar – from her previous work as well as others’.

 

RETURNED UNREAD

  • I Give It to You by Valerie Martin – I’ll get this suspenseful Tuscany-set novel out again next summer instead.
  • Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff – I ran out of time to read this before the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, but I wouldn’t rule out reading it in the future.

 

What appeals from my stacks?

49 responses

  1. Well, quite a bit actually – but I didn’t realise that the Library Checkout was a meme, rather than just Your Thing. Maybe I should join in? Though the competitive bit of me would feel an abject failure looking at the length of your lists. Good luck with home-hunting. Always a wretched business.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would be great to have you. Length of lists makes no matter! This was hosted by two bloggers before me. I’ve been running it for nearly four years now, and only a few people take part now and again. In general I’ve been pretty dispirited at the low participation when other regular features get dozens of people joining in. I’m sure there are many bloggers like me who are heavy library users. No doubt the meme could do with a title and image refresh, but that’s not my forte.

      We’ve made an offer on a house, but I’m pretty sure we will be outbid. So little in our price range is coming up in our area that we may be waiting a while now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tough times. Good luck. Well, I’ll have a go at the library checkout – probably not today, but this week sometime. I genuinely hadn’t realised it was a meme, so maybe I’m not alone.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Any time is fine; I post on the last Monday of a month, but you don’t have to coincide with me. Occasionally I’ve try to drum up interest on social media, but it’s never quite succeeded. I always include in my posts the feature image and the paragraph about how it works, but I guess that’s not enough to make it clear. I also have this page on my site (it comes up under “Library Checkout” on the bar at the top): https://bookishbeck.wordpress.com/library-checkout/

        Like

  2. I loved The Performance. You have quite a few favourites in your On Hold and Reservation Queue, too. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I too didn’t realise it was a more general meme – but I am almost ashamed of taking any books out from the library, when I have so many at home just clamouring to be read. Although, after regularly reading your library checkout posts, I have decided that it helps with the author’s PLR statement, even if I later return the book unread. (I always intend to read it, but sometimes I just don’t get round to it, even after multiple renewals).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Next month is the four-year anniversary of my hosting it, so I’ll make a point of re-introducing the meme then. I inherited the title, format, and image. Are they too American?

      Yes, it’s true, it helps the authors out a little bit, and boosts the library’s statistics, so it’s a win-win even if you don’t get around to reading the books. I return books unfinished or unread all the time. Still, libraries help me access loads of recent books I wouldn’t otherwise be able to since I don’t generally buy new.

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    2. It’s worth borrowing books even if you never even glance at them at home. Everything that keeps the library’s borrowing figures up demonstrates the importance of this community asset, and makes it harder to justify any cuts.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Exactly! And I keep ordering books out of the reserve stock as well, as I heard that they pulp them if no one has ordered any of them after a year or 18 months.

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      2. Ah, I accidentally replied to this on Rebecca’s thread. Honestly, I doubt if they pulp them. They need every penny they can get.

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      3. They do try to sell them in annual book sales, but if they don’t sell, I was told they do go off to landfill or something.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The horror! I’ve not heard of that being done in my library system, but I imagine there is a cutoff for things to be culled. I so often spy interesting books in the back room stacks while I’m shelving there.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Our withdrawn stock is offered first of all to library readers for minimal cost, then to book dealers. Pulping? Never!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It’s been a few years since the last library sale, but I do remember they sell things for 20-50p to try to get them to shift. I should hope pulping is the absolute last resort.

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  4. I happened to have written a post about the books I borrowed from the library, then saw your meme, so I’ve linked to it and will try to do so regularly. Hopefully not an empty promise. Checkout does sound American, but as you are American, that’s hardly surprising! I’m not sure there’s a similarly succinct British phrase other than ‘library books’. ‘Borrowed books’? ‘Books a-borrowed’? How about ‘Library TBR’? https://marketgardenreader.wordpress.com/2021/09/27/the-lure-of-the-library-adding-to-the-tbr

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really appreciate you participating, Sarah! I inherited the meme wholesale from a couple of American bloggers who gave up blogging. What about “Love Your Libraries”? That’s a popular Twitter tag.

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      1. Sounds good to me. Although ‘Love Your Library’ (singular) is more like it for most of us.

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      2. Hmm, singular or plural? Even if one only uses one library system, most library systems have multiple branches. The Love Your Library hashtag seems pretty widely used. Does that mean it’s a good one to co-opt, or would I feel like it was cheating to take it?

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      3. Well that clinches it: #LoveYourLibrary has 80,000+ posts on Instagram!

        Like

  5. I have just discovered the Twitter hashtag #LibraryHaul, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve bought the Adam Nicolson because years ago we had an email correspondence when I reviewed one of his others and I thought he could do with the hardback sales. It’s at the very end of my TBR (your parcel from last year has made it to the front shelf so no more Forgettings now!) but it’s one of the books I’ve waved at my best friend for our next Read Together so we’ll see …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fun! I’m impressed that you were in touch with him. I think this will be too detailed for me to read the whole thing, but I’ll skim through and find the parts that spark my interest.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Digging it out, it looks like I sent him a fan message via his website and then he replied, then I shared my reviews of others of his books with him. I love the look of the detail in this one.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting to see the comments about the lack of awareness of the meme and the lack of participation by others. The latter must be frustrating. I don’t see anything wrong with the graphic you’ve used though and the term library checkout seems pretty clear to me.

    I do get books from the library but nowhere in the numbers that you do which is why I’ve never really done a post like this on my own blog – I’d feel a fraud just talking about one or two books a month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I mean, it’s fine it being a monthly diary of my library borrowing, but it started as a communal thing and that’s what I always intended to continue. I just don’t seem to have any skill as a challenge host. There’s no minimum length of list required, or minimum frequency of participation. You can dip in and out whenever you have books you want to highlight. Maybe I’ll try to make the meme seem more open in that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Two small suggestions for you. 1. make your “call to action” more inclusive. By that I mean you ask “what appeals from my stacks” but if you changed it to ask people about their library checkouts instead of yours’ perhaps you’d get more interaction? 2. I don’t see a hashtag for this meme. Most of the popular meme’s have them….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, Karen, those are great ideas. I tried #TheLibraryCheckout but that never really took off, so I’m thinking I’ll co-opt an already popular hashtag, #LoveYourLibrary.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I understand how dispiriting this must be, but I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong. The idea of sharing in a popular hashtag is a good one, though. And maybe the meme might have a different kind of response on another platform, like Instagram, or maybe you already cross-post there? (My once/month IG visit doesn’t make me any kind of expert. LOL) I’m not talented with graphic design, and have fledgling skillz, but if nobody else has more to offer on that score, I would be happy to try to help, if you find another image you prefer. LMK As for my current loans, I have been above the maximum (something only possible post-pandemic) for months and just when I think it’s easing up another lot arrives. So much for TV and movies and house-cleaning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I must be doing something wrong if no one regularly joins! Just a few kind bloggers here and there, in all of four years. Compare that to those who regularly get dozens taking part in their monthly or annual features. I’ll work on a refresh for next month with some kind of graphic, but I’ll make the challenge more open so that people can take various directions with it. (I’m aware these are first world problems and I’m being unnecessarily morose about something minor, but it’s also just been a bad week with huge stress and disappointment over house-hunting.)

      Like

      1. Maybe there’s just too much of a focus on the change that you can measure in terms of numbers/people taking part. How do you know whether you have encouraged people to either resume their use of the library or to make use of their hold system or to look for a second library in their town/city? I’m certain that just seeing your regular devotion to the institution would have influenced some people. Even if that’s never said. Or if they don’t join.

        There were also far more events and memes online overall when the original hosts would’ve been managing it; some people had their entire week planned out with them! (Myself, I’m the opposite, having been gradually reducing rather than broadening my post content. So I’m afraid I’m no help at all.) But it’s true, that two or three years ago, I might have been inclined to participate if it had occurred to me that I could just choose one title to share or some stat’s or an anecdote, or I dunno what, but not a list, because even then that list would have taken me the entire month to write!)

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  9. […] have always enjoyed Bookish Beck’s monthly Library Checkout, but it had never occurred to me to join in. Partly, I’ve been outfaced by the sheer number […]

    Like

  10. I kept my word. Here’s my offering, published today, a couple of days late: https://margaret21.com/2021/09/29/library-checkout/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate you having a go! It’s a fun and easy post to put together, isn’t it? And gives you a chance to reflect on what you’ve been reading recently.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it’s fun. I had no idea it was a ‘thing’ for anybody and everybody to join.

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  11. Ah it’s a shame so few other people are taking part in this. I haven’t made much use of libraries for some time now – I moved away from my very good, volunteer-run local library, and Newcastle central library is just a bit rubbish. Even when I try and order books from the wider library system in Tyne and Wear/North Tyneside, they never seem to have the books I want. HOWEVER, I did actually borrow two books from my old local library last week – Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens and The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed. I’ve already decided not to read the former but was pleased to get hold of the latter for my Booker shortlist reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not many of my blogger friends are heavy library users like me, probably through some combination of review copies, own purchases, and reading e-books. It’s a shame you’ve not had the best experience with the libraries in your area. They are indeed a great way to stock up on prize list reading! I’ll be interested to see what you make of The Fortune Men.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah the main library system is terrible at buying books on prize lists. Ex-local volunteer library is a lot better, but it isn’t part of the council system any more so I can’t order books from it.

        Like

  12. What’s all the fuss about foxes ( fox) these days? You have several books. There are women’s blouses and sweaters with foxes on sale now.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    1. Ha ha, funny that you should pick up on that! These things come and go as decoration and clothing fads — for a while it was owls, then pineapples, then hedgehogs. Foxes and badgers are perennially popular here in the UK, and I’ve read at least one full book on each. This one is a memoir by a professor in the American West who had a fox as a regular visitor and almost pet at her remote home. ________________________________

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  13. Ooo… I loved The Pigeon. Also, my daughter really liked Pumpkin Heads.

    The view from your window is lovely. I hope you find a place equally inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Big drainpipe aside, I have always loved the view from my study window. It’s a good place to watch the seasons come and go. I can see a lot of birds from it, too. Unfortunately, this year the view was significantly affected by the neighbours cutting down a big tree. Now we see more of the neighbours’ outbuildings and pool, and an apartment block nearby.

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      1. We had that happen this year, too. The neighbours to the side cut down the tree that gave our deck a lot of shade. ;(

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    2. I get really upset when trees are cut down, because most of the time it’s not necessary and in a warming world we need all the shade and oxygen we can get.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Me too!
        At the time they were taking the tree down, they asked if I’d like them to take a couple others down while they were at it because they thought there was a risk of them falling on our house in a storm, but I told them no. Imagine taking down all the trees that were at risk of falling on something – that would be a lot of trees!

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      2. We’ve had two different neighbours go around and systematically saw off every branch that extended over their lawn, presumably so they won’t have to rake any leaves or deal with fallen twigs. The one asked us if we wanted him to take down the plum tree branch that was overhanging our patio at the same time. We said no, but he did it anyway. Why would someone mangle a beautiful tree, especially one that gives you free fruit?! Anyway, I could go on about this for ages but I won’t talk your ear off 😉

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  14. I’ll try to join back in for October’s Library Checkout! It’s been a while since I did it. I always enjoy reading your posts, though! My problem is that I don’t keep good records of what I check out when, and what I return unread, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve appreciated the times you’ve participated. I definitely don’t want to seem ungrateful! You’re one of my blog friends who reads the most from the library — it helps that you work there, of course 😉 I keep tabs on my borrowing through my online account and by taking photos of my hauls. I might not do the straight list format in future months, but it is still an option for people who want to take part.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve got my notes going – on my desk at the library where I am most likely to need them! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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