Love Your Library, April 2022

“Here on 42nd Street it was less elegant but no less strange. He loved this street, not for the people or the shops but for the stone lions that guarded the great main building of the Public Library, a building filled with books and unimaginably vast, and which he never dared to enter. He might, he knew, for he was a member of the branch in Harlem and was entitled to take books from any library in the city. But he had never gone in because the building was so big that it must be full of corridors and marble steps, in the maze of which he would be lost and never find the book he wanted. And then everyone, all the white people inside, would know that he was not used to great buildings, or to many books, and they would look at him with pity.”

(from Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin)

Hard to believe, but it’s already half a year since I relaunched my monthly library meme in this current form. I’m really grateful for all of you who have contributed posts and/or tagged me on social media. I love seeing what you’re reading from the library! The above quote clawed at my heart: no one should ever feel that libraries are not for them.

Annabel reviewed a new book about libraries and talked about her own experience growing up with South London’s libraries here. Eleanor and Rosemary posted photos of the books they’ve borrowed from their local libraries recently.

Elle is reading lots of Russian literature this spring, but also went on to devour most of her ‘death books’ stack within a week, and posted about them here.

 


For my part, I’m going to resurrect a format I used to use for “Library Checkout” posts to capture my library use over the past month, with links to my reviews where available:

 

READ

 SKIMMED

  • Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  • Things I Have Withheld by Kei Miller
  • Brown Baby by Nikesh Shukla

CURRENTLY READING

  • Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (rereading for May’s book club meeting)
  • Bitch: The Female of the Species by Lucy Cooke
  • Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline
  • The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
  • Empire Antarctica by Gavin Francis
  • Devotion by Hannah Kent
  • Lean Fall Stand by Jon McGregor
  • The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson (review coming tomorrow)
  • The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke
  • French Braid by Anne Tyler

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ

(And I have a preposterous number of reservations pending.)

 

What have you been reading or reviewing from the library recently?

Share a link to your own post in the comments. Feel free to use the above image. The hashtag is #LoveYourLibrary. The project page gives an idea of what you might like to post about.

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20 responses

  1. As ever, I feel faint when looking at the number of books you have on the go. My only reading in common with your own recently is Devotion. You will not be surprised to know I was not devoted to it. I’m joining in again this month. Here you are: https://margaret21.com/2022/04/25/love-your-library-even-if-youre-only-one-and-a-bit/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your contribution! What a cutie she is. Wonderful to see her getting so much out of a library even at that age. Next to the board books in my library is a big abacus with wooden beads. Children adore it! I must say I always escape before rhyme time begins on a Tuesday morning, though…

      I’ve heard from every blogger who’s read it so far that there’s a bizarre twist in Devotion. I haven’t gotten that far yet! They’re not long into their sea voyage and I’ve gotten bogged down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re still in the part of the book I was quite enjoying. And about to embark on That Twist. I’ll be interested in your reaction to it. By the way, there’s an abacus in our children’s library too. Fascinating. Apparently.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 1922 is definitely a book to dip into! Hope you’re enjoying the McGregor, my favourite of your current reads I’ve read. And it looks like I need to get my hands on the Caldwell. So many bloggers have loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll attend the Society of Authors prize-giving or just watch the live stream. If I do go, I’ll hope to meet Nick and it would be good to have one of his books under my belt 😉

      These Days is lovely. I think you’ll enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for including me! I’ll remember to use the hashtags next time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries, I don’t keep an eye on the hashtag as much as I should (it’s a popular generic one on Twitter, which is why I co-opted it). Tagging me is the best way to get me to notice! But I understand some people aren’t so keen on memes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you too for the link to my post. Although I moved from Croydon many years ago, I hold those three libraries very close to my heart, still.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often remember my childhood library, and it’s sad to think I’ll have no reason to ever go back there now that my parents have both moved away from the area.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get to drive past Purley library when going between my dad’s and my brother’s houses, so the memory lives!

        Like

  5. Sadly I suspect Baldwin’s feeling of alienation is too commonplace. The availability of computers and study spaces may however have encouraged some people to walk through the doors who otherwise would never have even thought about going into a library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point, Karen. Libraries have always been about the books for me, but they can mean different things to different people.

      Like

      1. Same for me Rebecca – I was very critical of the ways libraries began morphing into learning resource centres and gave over valuable book space to dvds, computers, etc, But as time has moved on I’ve mellowed and can see the benefit now. So many public services now require you to interact with them online that if you don’t have your own computer/internet access, libraries are invaluable

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Right now I’m reading four books from the library: Ian Rankin’s A Question of Blood, Ada Limon’s poetry collection The Carrying, 52 Ways to Walk, and just started Chuck Klosterman’s The Nineties. Plus, my son and I are reading Holes by Louis Sachar together. As ever, my shelves are filled with library books! (More waiting in the wings!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a nice varied set!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’d like to know what you thought of Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire, and am looking forward to your reviews of the Mendelson and Tyler!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked Bless the Daughter well enough but there weren’t many individual poems that stood out for me. It was interesting that the next poetry collection I picked up also had strong Islamic imagery/language (one of my Book Serendipity moments!).

      I covered the Mendelson in my Women’s Prize longlist wrap-up yesterday (too many posts all at once, I know!): https://bookishbeck.wordpress.com/2022/04/26/womens-prize-longlist-reviews-erdrich-mendelson-ozeki-predictions/

      I’m about 60 pages into French Braid. I’ve twice been on holiday to Deep Creek Lake, where the family go! Recognizing particular places has always been part of the fun of reading Tyler for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve got Empire of Wild written up in my next “From the Library” post. What did you think of it?

    And I’m soon going to read The Sentence, also from the library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only got around 60 pages into Empire of Wild before I got distracted by other books! But I do intend to keep going with it. The voice is similar to in The Sentence.

      Liked by 1 person

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