Tag Archives: Library Checkout

Love Your Library, September 2022

How embarrassing to find out from a fellow blogger’s post that two North American readers host a weekly meme for library borrowing. It’s called Library Loot (title envy!), and you should feel free to participate in that in addition to or instead of my monthly event.

Pretty soon it will be time to stock up on horror and short books for R.I.P. and Novellas in November. For now, I’m still working on some short story collections, and plan to skim a bunch of nonfiction I’m interested-ish in (but not enough to read every word) to make space on my card. I did have reserves on three Booker-shortlisted titles, but admitted to myself that I don’t actually want to read them and cancelled my holds. The one that I do still plan to read is Treacle Walker by Alan Garner, a perfect read for #NovNov22, if not before.

 

Since last month:

READ

  • Brief Lives by Anita Brookner (for book club)
  • Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet
  • The Dinner Party by Joshua Ferris
  • The Boat by Nam Le
  • Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
  • This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
  • Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
  • Summer by Edith Wharton
  • The Young Accomplice by Benjamin Wood

 CURRENTLY READING

  • The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (a reread)
  • Leap Year by Helen Russell
  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Plus various new releases on loan or on hold.

 

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.

Love Your Library, August 2022

Edited: Belatedly adding in links to this month’s posts by Eleanor and Marcie, with a huge thank you for participating!

And here’s my haul from today. A few short story collections there because in September I always try to focus a bit more on stories.


Naomi has also been reading a lot from her local libraries, and Laura stocked up before heading out on holiday:

Normally my library system would be busily buying up the Booker Prize longlist, the Wainwright Prize shortlists, and big-name upcoming releases by the likes of John Irving and Ian McEwan. I have a file on my desktop with a list of 29 author names I periodically check for, as any on-order titles from them will show up at the top of the results. But there’s been a huge slowdown on acquisitions, and I know exactly why: the librarian who orders and processes new books experienced a family tragedy this summer and has been on compassionate leave for a while already. Were I not a library volunteer who also vaguely knows her socially, I’d have no idea and might be simmering with impatience right now. Instead, I’ll be patient, read what I already have out, and address my review book backlog.

 

Since last month…

READ

  • Where the Wildflowers Grow by Leif Bersweden
  • Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding (for book club)
  • My Life in Houses by Margaret Forster
  • Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden
  • Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
  • From the Hedgerows by Lew Lewis
  • The Last Wild Horses by Maja Lunde
  • Golden Boys by Phil Stamper
  • The False Rose by Jakob Wegelius

 Also a children’s book I spotted while shelving – who knew it existed?!

  • River Rose and the Magical Lullaby by Kelly Clarkson; illus. Laura Hughes

 

CURRENTLY READING

  • Brief Lives by Anita Brookner (for book club)
  • Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet
  • Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (a reread)
  • Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
  • The Young Accomplice by Benjamin Wood

A few of these are from the Booker Prize longlist, in advance of the shortlist announcement on 6 September.

And from the university library:

  • Summer by Edith Wharton

 

Still lots around that I’ve borrowed and not gotten into yet:

And various new releases on hold or awaiting me on the reservation shelf.

 

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.

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.

Love Your Library, March 2022

Naomi has been reading a variety of books from the library, including middle grade fiction and Indigenous poetry. Rosemary and Laura posted photos of the books they’ve borrowed from their local libraries recently.

Like Laura, I’ve been sourcing prize nominees from various places. In April I hope to read two nonfiction books from the Jhalak Prize longlist (Things I Have Withheld by Kei Miller and Brown Baby by Nikesh Shukla) and two more novels from the Women’s Prize longlist (The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller and The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak), and I’ve just started Colm Tóibín’s Folio Prize-winning The Magician.

All from the library: a great way to read new and critically acclaimed books without having to buy them!


I’ve joined Kay, Lynn and Naomi for the Literary Wives online book club and our first read, coming up in June, will be The Sentence by Louise Erdrich, which will be doing double duty as part of the Women’s Prize longlist. I’m in the library holds queue and my copy should come in soon. My only other Erdrich so far, Love Medicine, was a 5-star read, so I have high hopes even though the premise for this one sounds a little iffy. (A bookshop ghost – magic realism being a common denominator on this year’s list – and a Covid lockdown setting.)

For those of you who like to plan ahead, here’s our schedule thereafter. I’ll be rereading two of them (Hornby and O’Farrell) and getting four out from the library (Feito, Hurston, Medie, O’Farrell). One I’ll request as a review copy (Lee), one was 99p on Kindle (Brown), and two more remain to be found secondhand (Gaige and Hunter). Maybe there’s one or more you’d like to join in with?

 

September 2022      Red Island House by Andrea Lee

December 2022       State of the Union by Nick Hornby

 

March 2023             His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

June 2023                The Harpy by Megan Hunter

September 2023     Sea Wife by Amity Gaige

December 2023      Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

 

March 2024              Mrs. March by Virginia Feito

June 2024                 Recipe for a Perfect Marriage by Karma Brown

September 2024      Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

 

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

Do share a link to your own post in the comments, and feel free to use the above image. I’ve co-opted a hashtag that is already popular on Twitter and Instagram: #LoveYourLibrary.

Here’s a reminder of my ideas of what you might choose to post (this list will stay up on the project page):

  • Photos or a list of your latest library book haul
  • An account of a visit to a new-to-you library
  • Full-length or mini reviews of some recent library reads
  • A description of a particular feature of your local library
  • A screenshot of the state of play of your online account
  • An opinion piece about library policies (e.g. Covid procedures or fines amnesties)
  • A write-up of a library event you attended, such as an author reading or book club.

If it’s related to libraries, I want to hear about it!

Love Your Library, February 2022

We’re now onto the fifth month of the Love Your Library feature. A big thank you to…

  • “The Fab Four of Cley,” who run a Little Free Library in their area. They found last month’s post and gave me a link to a bilingual piece they wrote about a book sale they ran at their local church, with the thousands of books they’d amassed. Heavenly!

 

  • Margaret of From Pyrenees to Pennines for her lovely account (with photos!) of a visit to the Central Public Library of Valencia.

 

  • Mary R. of Bibliographic Manifestations for her post on interlibrary loans.

Blogger Laila of Big Reading Life also mentioned ILLs recently. I know some states and provinces are able to offer this service for free. When I lived in Maryland, statewide ILLs were free and I took full advantage of it. It’s how I binged on books by Marcus Borg, Frederick Buechner, Jan Morris, and many others during the year between my Master’s degree and moving back to England permanently. For my thesis research I’d had the University of Leeds’ ILL team get me an obscure Victorian novel on microfiche all the way from Australia. I also cheekily put through a few university ILLs for myself while I worked for King’s College London’s library system. Where I live now in the UK, a public library ILL costs £3 per book, so isn’t worth doing; you might as well find a secondhand copy at that price. I do miss the freedom of knowing that I could borrow (almost) anything I want.

 

Two funny moments from my recent library volunteering: I found Mrs Dalloway shelved under D, and an M. C. Beaton “Agatha Raisin” mystery shelved under R!

 

Read from the library recently:

The Jasper & Scruff series by Nicola Colton: Having insisted I don’t like sequels or series … I do sometimes make exceptions, like I did for these early reader books (meant for, I don’t know, maybe ages 7 to 9?). I was drawn by the grey and white cat with a bowtie – that’s Jasper, a dapper fellow who likes the fine things in life and desperately wants to be admitted to the Sophisticats’ club, until he realizes they’re snooty and just plain mean. Whereas Scruff the puppy, though he makes life messy, is loving and fun. I liked the sequels more than the original because they build on each other, bringing back characters from the earlier books for a pirate-themed scavenger hunt, a reality TV-style talent show, and bookshop and diner ventures. There are good lessons about being honest and fair, even if others are cheating to outcompete you, and being yourself instead of putting on airs. I also like the menagerie of mammals: not just dogs and cats, but African megafauna, too.

 

The Decameron Project: 29 New Stories from the Pandemic (originally published in The New York Times): Creative responses to Covid-19, ranging from the prosaic to the fantastical. I appreciated the mix of authors, some in translation and some closer to genre fiction than lit fic. Standouts were by Victor LaValle (NYC apartment neighbours; magic realism), Colm Tóibín (lockdown prompts a man to consider his compatibility with his boyfriend), Karen Russell (time stops during a bus journey), Rivers Solomon (an abused girl and her imprisoned mother get revenge), Matthew Baker (a feuding grandmother and granddaughter find something to agree on), and John Wray (a relationship starts up during quarantine in Barcelona). The best story of all, though, was by Margaret Atwood.

 

Allegorizings by Jan Morris: Disparate, somewhat frivolous essays written mostly pre-2009, or in 2013, and kept in trust by her publisher for publication as a posthumous collection, so strangely frozen in time. She was old but not super-old; thinking vaguely about death, but not at death’s door. The organizing principle, that everything can be understood on more than one level and so we must think beyond the literal, is interesting but not particularly applicable to the contents. There are mini travel pieces and pen portraits, but I got more out of the explorations of concepts (maturity, nationalism) and universal experiences (being caught picking one’s nose, sneezing).

 

The Priory by Dorothy Whipple (read for book club): A cosy between-the-wars story, pleasant to read even though some awful things happen, or nearly happen. Like in Downton Abbey and the Cazalet Chronicles, there’s an upstairs/downstairs setup that’s appealing. It was interesting to watch how my sympathies shifted. The Persephone afterword provides useful information about the Welsh house (where Whipple stayed for a month in 1934) and family that inspired the novel. Whipple is a new author for me and I’m sure the rest of her books would be just as enjoyable, but I would only attempt another if it was significantly shorter than this one.

 

Borrowed since last month:

My latest university library book haul. Paradise by Toni Morrison is to read with my women’s classics book club subgroup in mid-April. Findings is to reread just because Kathleen Jamie is amazing. The other three are in preparation for the 1954 Club coming up in April.

Do share a link to your own post in the comments, and feel free to use the above image. I’ve co-opted a hashtag that is already popular on Twitter and Instagram: #LoveYourLibrary.

Here’s a reminder of my ideas of what you might choose to post (this list will stay up on the project page):

  • Photos or a list of your latest library book haul
  • An account of a visit to a new-to-you library
  • Full-length or mini reviews of some recent library reads
  • A description of a particular feature of your local library
  • A screenshot of the state of play of your online account
  • An opinion piece about library policies (e.g. Covid procedures or fines amnesties)
  • A write-up of a library event you attended, such as an author reading or book club.

If it’s related to libraries, I want to hear about it!

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?

Library Checkout, August 2021

I’ve read a little of everything this month, including a Booker Prize nominee and one from the Wainwright Prize longlist. A few reads were good enough to make it onto my growing “Best of 2021” list. (Full reviews of the Green and Thirkell coming soon.) In September one of my usual foci is short story collections, so I plan to get through the Butler and Byatt next month. Cathy and I have also been plotting about Novellas in November, so I’ve checked out a number of short works in advance.

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 above 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

  • Autumn Story by Jill Barklem (a children’s book – these don’t count towards my year total)
  • Second Place by Rachel Cusk
  • What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition by Emma Dabiri
  • Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse by Dave Goulson (for Shelf Awareness review)
  • The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a human-centered planet by John Green
  • The Rome Plague Diaries: Lockdown Life in the Eternal City by Matthew Kneale
  • Nothing but Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
  • When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
  • Heartstoppers, Volume 3 by Alice Oseman
  • Heartstoppers, Volume 4 by Alice Oseman
  • Earthed: A Memoir by Rebecca Schiller
  • Forecast: A Diary of the Lost Seasons by Joe Shute
  • August Folly by Angela Thirkell
  • The Lost Soul by Olga Tokarczuk (a mostly wordless graphic novel, so I didn’t count it towards my year total)
  • Ice Rivers by Jemma Wadham

SKIMMED

  • I Belong Here: A Journey along the Backbone of Britain by Anita Sethi
  • Plague: A Very Short Introduction by Paul Slack

 

CURRENTLY READING

  • Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories by A.S. Byatt
  • Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
  • Anarchipelago by Jay Griffiths
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
  • Everyone Is Still Alive by Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • Cut Out by Michèle Roberts
  • Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

 

CURRENTLY SKIMMING

  • 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
  • September 11: A Testimony (Reuters)
  • Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ

  • Winter Story by Jill Barklem
  • The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx by Tara Bergin
  • Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler
  • Barn Owl by Jim Crumley
  • Kingfisher by Jim Crumley
  • Otter by Jim Crumley
  • Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin
  • The Cure for Good Intentions: A Doctor’s Story by Sophie Harrison
  • 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
  • The Sea Is Not Made of Water: Life between the Tides by Adam Nicolson
  • Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven
  • Before Everything by Victoria Redel
  • Yearbook by Seth Rogen
  • A Shadow Above: The Fall and Rise of the Raven by Joe Shute
  • The Performance by Claire Thomas
  • A Walk from the Wild Edge by Jake Tyler
  • Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim
  • A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds by Scott Weidensaul

 

ON HOLD, TO BE PICKED UP

  • Notes from a Summer Cottage: The Intimate Life of the Outside World by Nina Burton
  • Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell

IN THE RESERVATION QUEUE

  • The Echo Chamber by John Boyne
  • Four Thousand Weeks: Time and How to Use It by Oliver Burkeman
  • Spike: The Virus vs. the People – The Inside Story by Jeremy Farrar
  • Mrs March by Virginia Feito
  • Matrix by Lauren Groff
  • 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
  • Listen: How to Find the Words for Tender Conversations by Kathryn Mannix
  • I Give It to You by Valerie Martin
  • Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
  • Something out of Place: Women & Disgust by Eimear McBride
  • Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan
  • Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
  • Sheets by Brenna Thummler
  • The Disaster Tourist by Ko-Eun Yun

 

RETURNED UNFINISHED

  • August by Callan Wink – The first few pages were about a farm boy working out how to kill all the cats. No thanks.

 

RETURNED UNREAD

  • Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews – Luckily, I remembered that Laila said it was awful!
  • The Summer before the Dark by Doris Lessing – I should have learned from Memoirs of a Survivor that I don’t get on with her vague dystopian stuff.

 

What appeals from my stacks?

Library Checkout, July 2021

As seems to happen every few months, I felt the urge to cull my library stack and only keep out the books I’m actually excited about reading right now. So you’ll see that a lot of books got returned unread in July. I did manage to read a handful as well, though, with the list looking longer than it really is because of a lot of undemanding children’s and YA material. My summer crush is the super-cute Heartstoppers comics series.

As always, I give links to reviews of books not already featured, as well as ratings for reads and skims. I would be delighted to have other bloggers – not just book bloggers – join in with this meme. Feel free to use the image above 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

 

SKIMMED

  • Consumed: A Sister’s Story by Arifa Akbar

 

CURRENTLY READING

  • Second Place by Rachel Cusk
  • What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition by Emma Dabiri
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson
  • The Rome Plague Diaries: Lockdown Life in the Eternal City by Matthew Kneale
  • Nothing but Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
  • When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
  • Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich
  • Ice Rivers by Jemma Wadham

 

CURRENTLY SKIMMING

  • I Belong Here: A Journey along the Backbone of Britain by Anita Sethi
  • Plague: A Very Short Introduction by Paul Slack

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ

  • Autumn Story by Jill Barklem
  • The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx by Tara Bergin
  • Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler
  • The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
  • The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich
  • Gardening for Bumblebees: A Practical Guide to Creating a Paradise for Pollinators by Dave Goulson
  • The Summer before the Dark by Doris Lessing
  • Jilted City by Patrick McGuinness
  • The State of the Prisons by Sinéad Morrissey
  • Stiff by Mary Roach
  • August Folly by Angela Thirkell
  • August by Callan Wink

 

ON HOLD, TO BE PICKED UP

  • The Easternmost Sky: Adapting to Change in the 21st Century by Juliet Blaxland
  • The Sea Is Not Made of Water: Life between the Tides by Adam Nicolson
  • Heartstoppers, Volume 4 by Alice Oseman
  • Earthed: A Memoir by Rebecca Schiller
  • Forecast: A Diary of the Lost Seasons by Joe Shute
  • The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

IN THE RESERVATION QUEUE

  • Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews
  • The Echo Chamber by John Boyne
  • Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories by A.S. Byatt
  • Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin
  • Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs
  • Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse by Dave Goulson
  • The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
  • The Cure for Good Intentions: A Doctor’s Story by Sophie Harrison
  • An Eye on the Hebrides: An Illustrated Journey by Mairi Hedderwick
  • Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
  • The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
  • The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis
  • Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
  • His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
  • Heartstoppers, Volume 3 by Alice Oseman
  • Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven
  • Before Everything by Victoria Redel
  • Everyone Is Still Alive by Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • Cut Out by Michèle Roberts
  • Sheets by Brenna Thummler
  • The Lost Soul by Olga Tokarczuk
  • A Walk from the Wild Edge by Jake Tyler
  • 12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next by Jeanette Winterson
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
  • The Disaster Tourist by Ko-Eun Yun

RETURNED UNFINISHED

  • Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
  • Still Life by Sarah Winman

None of these captivated me after 10–30 pages. I’ll try the Shipstead and Winman again another time.

 

RETURNED UNREAD

  • Misplaced Persons by Susan Beale
  • This Happy by Niamh Campbell
  • Heavy Light: A Journey through Madness, Mania and Healing by Horatio Clare
  • Lakewood by Megan Giddings
  • The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley
  • A More Perfect Union by Tammye Huf
  • Joe Biden: American Dreamer by Evan Osnos
  • The Dig by John Preston
  • Dreamland by Rosa Rankin-Gee

The last of these was requested after me; I (at least temporarily) lost interest in the rest.

 

What appeals from my stacks?

Library Checkout, June 2021

I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things after my trip to the USA plus 10 days in quarantine. I sent my husband to pick up my latest pile of library reservations, and tomorrow I’ll get the chance to go in for one volunteering session before we’re off to Northumberland for 10 days (our major vacation of the year). It looks like Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle, at over 600 pages, will form the bulk of my holiday reading.

I would be delighted to have other bloggers – not just book bloggers – join in with this meme. Feel free to use the image above 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

  • Under the Blue by Oana Aristide
  • Blue Dog by Louis de Bernières
  • Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny

SKIMMED

  • How to Be Sad: Everything I’ve Learned about Getting Happier, by Being Sad, Better by Helen Russell

CURRENTLY READING

  • Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story by Paul Monette [set aside temporarily]

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ

  • This Happy by Niamh Campbell
  • Heavy Light: A Journey through Madness, Mania and Healing by Horatio Clare
  • Lakewood by Megan Giddings
  • The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley
  • A More Perfect Union by Tammye Huf
  • The Rome Plague Diaries: Lockdown Life in the Eternal City by Matthew Kneale
  • Elegy for a River: Whiskers, Claws and Conservation’s Last, Wild Hope by Tom Moorhouse
  • Joe Biden: American Dreamer by Evan Osnos
  • The Dig by John Preston
  • Dreamland by Rosa Rankin-Gee
  • Broke Vegan: Over 100 Plant-Based Recipes that Don’t Cost the Earth by Saskia Sidey [to skim only]

Plus a cheeky new selection from the university library – graphic novels, poetry, and a bit of fiction. No photo as of yet, but this is what my husband is bringing back for me later today.

  • The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx by Tara Bergin
  • Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia E. Butler
  • James Miranda Barry by Patricia Duncker
  • The Kite Runner: Graphic Novel by Khaled Hosseini
  • The Summer before the Dark by Doris Lessing
  • Jilted City by Patrick McGuinness
  • The State of the Prisons by Sinéad Morrissey
  • Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel by Mary Shelley
  • Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel by Anya Ulinich

 

ON HOLD, TO BE PICKED UP

  • Misplaced Persons by Susan Beale
  • Second Place by Rachel Cusk
  • The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
  • The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis [to skim only]
  • Nothing but Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
  • Demystifying the Female Brain: A Neuroscientist Explores Health, Hormones and Happiness by Sarah McKay [to skim only]
  • Heartstoppers, Volume 1 by Alice Oseman
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
  • Ice Rivers by Jemma Wadham
  • Still Life by Sarah Winman

IN THE RESERVATION QUEUE

  • Consumed: A Sister’s Story by Arifa Akbar
  • Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews
  • Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories by A.S. Byatt
  • Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin
  • When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
  • His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
  • To the Island of Tides: A Journey to Lindisfarne by Alistair Moffat
  • The Sea Is Not Made of Water: Life between the Tides by Adam Nicolson
  • Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Everyone Is Still Alive by Cathy Rentzenbrink
  • My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley
  • Earthed: A Memoir by Rebecca Schiller
  • I Belong Here: A Journey along the Backbone of Britain by Anita Sethi
  • Forecast: A Diary of the Lost Seasons by Joe Shute
  • Plague: A Very Short Introduction by Paul Slack
  • August Folly by Angela Thirkell
  • A Walk from the Wild Edge by Jake Tyler
  • August by Callan Wink
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

 

RETURNED UNFINISHED

  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers – The first few pages didn’t draw me in, and I’ve seen very polarized responses.
  • Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal – I read the first 40-some pages and skimmed up to p. 90. Victoriana by numbers. None of the characters leapt out at me. Such a disappointment after how much I loved The Doll Factory!

 

What appeals from my stacks?

Library Checkout, May 2021

Another big library reading month for me as I scrambled to get through the books that were reserved after me and then wrangle the remaining pile under some semblance of control before heading back to the USA for my mother’s wedding. I’ve also suspended any holds that look like they might arrive imminently – the first time I’ve taken advantage of this option. Once I’m back I’m sure I’ll quickly build up another goodly stack to last me through the summer.

I give links to reviews of books I haven’t already featured here, as well as ratings for most reads and skims. I would be delighted to have other bloggers – not just book bloggers – join in with this meme. Feel free to use the image above 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

SKIMMED

  • After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond by Bruce Greyson
  • The Ministry of Bodies: Life and Death in a Modern Hospital by Seamus O’Mahony

CURRENTLY READING

  • Blue Dog by Louis de Bernières
  • Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story by Paul Monette [set aside temporarily]

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ

  • Under the Blue by Oana Aristide
  • Summer Story and Autumn Story by Jill Barklem
  • This Happy by Niamh Campbell
  • The Pure Gold Baby by Margaret Drabble
  • Lakewood by Megan Giddings
  • The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley
  • A More Perfect Union by Tammye Huf
  • The Rome Plague Diaries: Lockdown Life in the Eternal City by Matthew Kneale
  • His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
  • Dreamland by Rosa Rankin-Gee
  • How to Be Sad: Everything I’ve Learned about Getting Happier, by Being Sad, Better by Helen Russell
  • Earthed: A Memoir by Rebecca Schiller
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (to reread)

IN THE RESERVATION QUEUE

  • Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews
  • Misplaced Persons by Susan Beale
  • Civilisations by Laurent Binet
  • Medusa’s Ankles: Selected Stories by A.S. Byatt
  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  • Heavy Light: A Journey through Madness, Mania and Healing by Horatio Clare
  • Second Place by Rachel Cusk
  • Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin
  • Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny
  • The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis
  • Nothing but Blue Sky by Kathleen MacMahon
  • Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal
  • Demystifying the Female Brain by Sarah McKay
  • When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain
  • Elegy for a River: Whiskers, Claws and Conservation’s Last, Wild Hope by Tom Moorhouse
  • Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan
  • Heartstoppers, Volume 1 by Alice Oseman
  • Joe Biden: American Dreamer by Evan Osnos
  • The Dig by John Preston
  • My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley
  • I Belong Here: A Journey along the Backbone of Britain by Anita Sethi
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
  • Broke Vegan: Over 100 Plant-Based Recipes that Don’t Cost the Earth by Saskia Sidey
  • Still Life by Sarah Winman
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

RETURNED UNFINISHED

  • You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
  • The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy – I read the first 22 pages. The plot felt very similar to Ankomst and I didn’t get drawn in by the prose, but this has been a huge word-of-mouth hit among my Goodreads friends. I’ll try it again another time.
  • Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley

RETURNED UNREAD

  • Failures of State: The Inside Story of Britain’s Battle with Coronavirus by Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott – I think I’m finally tiring of Covid stories.
  • Life Support: Diary of an ICU Doctor on the Frontline of the COVID Crisis by Jim Down – Ditto, though having now seen him at a Hay Festival event I might give this a try another time.
  • Life Sentences by Billy O’Callaghan – I can’t even remember how I heard about this or why I put a request on it!

What appeals from my stacks?