Library List 008

It’s been a while since I did a library list. And when I say a while, I mean two and a half years. Oops! In case you’re wondering, my library list is just a round up of books that I have reserved at the library, and I’m waiting for them all to come in. Wanna see what I’ll be reading soon?

001 Library List

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
I have absolutely no idea where I heard about this one, but I have no doubt why I reserved it. “Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone on the Long Island…One day, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon’s grandmother. Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before fate deals its next deadly hand.” Librarians, books, centuries-spanning mysteries? I’m there, with bells on. I’m number one on the list, so it shouldn’t be too long before I get this one.

Don’t be a Dick, Pete by Stuart Heritage
I follow Stu Heritage on Twitter; he won my heart last year when he wrote this blistering take-down of Elf on the Shelf, calling Facebook in December ‘the devil’s armpit’ in the first paragraph. His book is a biography of his younger brother, and by all accounts is hilarious, touching and warm. I’m number one on the list for this one too, but it has only just come out, so I might have to wait for the library to actually receive their copies.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I don’t move in bookish circles, but I do follow a lot of bookishly circular on Twitter, and this is one of the books that everyone is talking about. Sarra Manning at Red has called it as her book of the year already, so I’m excited to read it. It’s evidently the story of a woman who struggles with social skills who is stuck in a rut, but who finds some people who become her people. I’m possibly over-simplifying things, but I’ll let you know exactly what I think when I read it. It’s not out until next week, but it’s already reserved and I’m number eight.

002 Library List

The Future Homemakers of America by Laurie Graham
This is a book from quite a few years ago, but there’s a sequel coming out, and having read a couple of Laurie Graham books in the past, I thought I’d like to give this one a go. There’s a romance attached to the 1950s that I can’t resist, and this is a story about American military wives based at a US airbase in Norfolk, England. I’m sold! Actually, in writing this, I think I may have started this book once before. I’m first on the list for this one.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Paula Hawkins, of Girl on the Train fame, has a new book out, and it sounds pretty far removed from her previous novel. It follows the story of women who die in the Drowning Pool, the latest victim being Nel Abbot, whose daughter believes she was murdered, rather than a victim of suicide. It sounds spooky and eerie and great, and I’ve heard good things. I was a little late to the reserving bandwagon on this one, it seems – I’m number 118 and it’s only been out a couple of days, so this one is going to take a while.

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Loveday Cardew is the name of the main character of this book, and it may turn out that she’s just too quirky for words (I don’t like overly quirky). But it’s a book about someone who loves books, and they rarely fail to enchant me, so I’ve got high hopes. I’m second on the list for this one.

003 Library List

The Power by Naomi Alderman
I already reserved and borrowed this book from the library once, but it was reserved by someone else, and I had to take it back, unfinished. I’ve almost bought it multiple times since, but in the end I just popped it back on the reservation list, and now it’s waiting for me to pick it up! I can’t wait to dive back in, as I loved what I read.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Another book that has been all over Twitter, I’ve been wanting to read this for a while but only recently got around to reserving it. It seems to be one of those teenage-girls-in-the-summer books that seem to be very au fait at the moment, but I’m more than happy to read them if they are well written. I’m number nine on the list, so it’s going to be a little while.

Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William J. Mann
Since two of my favourite podcasts at the moment are My Favorite Murder, and You Must Remember This, a book that combines murder and old-time Hollywood was always going to be a winner. It can be hard to get good books about classic Hollywood, so I’m hoping this lives up to my expectations. I’m first on the list!

National Libraries Day 2015

In case you hadn’t realised it, today is National Libraries Day. Anyone who is a regular reader of Is That You Darling will know how fond I am of libraries; a quick search of my blog brought 22 pages of posts that mention the word library! I’m lucky enough to have a library where I live, and always have had. I have fond memories of borrowing books when I was small, when the library was in a hall, and the bookcases were covered up when the hall was used for other things. Membership cards were cardboard, and each book had a little cardboard slip in the front that was taken out when the book was borrowed (my fingers still sometimes look for the pocket in the front of a library book now, before I remember they don’t have them any more!).

Nowadays, the library is in a modern building, and it has recently been refurbished, so it has even has self-service machines now. It’s not the biggest library in the world (in fact, it might be one of the smallest in Essex), but it’s full of books, and a room full of books is the best thing ever.

So National Libraries Day is here, and while Essex Libraries have various different events going on across the county, sadly, there was nothing happening at my library. In fact, I was outnumbered by staff when I paid a visit this morning, which is not at all out of the ordinary, but considering the importance of the day, it’s a shame. Libraries are so very important, and people much more talented than me have spent some time explaining why.

♥ Caitlin Moran called libraries ‘Cathedrals of Our Souls’, a sentiment I can’t agree with more.
♥ Julia Donaldson wrote a poem called Library Poem
♥ Zadie Smith wrote a piece in defence of libraries
♥ Philip Pullman gave a speech in 2011 saying ‘Leave the libraries alone’.

Most of these are a couple of years old, but the idea remains the same. To me, libraries are invaluable, and sadly, they are constantly under threat. I know that as a book lover, it’s hardly a surprise that I’m going to enjoy a system that allows me to borrow them for free. But there are a plethora of reasons to love your library, and free books isn’t the only one. Internet access, printing facilities, reading groups, a sense of community, citizens’ advice, DVDs, audio books, a warm place to sit and read a newspaper, children’s activities. The list goes on. I don’t want to live in a world where libraries don’t exist!

Even though my library didn’t hold any special events to celebrate this day, I still paid a visit, as I do most Saturdays. I had a book to collect that I had reserved, and I always take a look at the shelves to see if there’s anything else I fancy (despite a TBR pile that is enough to make you weep). Also, today, I wanted to take a library shelfie, to join in with NLD15! It was a challenge, because the library was so quiet, and I felt like an idiot, but I got a couple, and then chose my favourite!

Not great, as you can see, but as I said, I felt like a fool!

These are the books I borrowed today. I had How to Build a Girl reserved, and it came in during the week, so I picked that up, and then spotted the other two on the shelves. The Painter’s Apprentice was in the historical section, which is not one that I frequent too often, as I don’t like an awful lot of historical fiction. But this caught my eye (it has a colourful colour), and then the synopsis sold it. I’ll let you know what I think if I do actually get around to reading it! The other one is Daphne by Justine Picardie, and it’s the fictionalised true story of Daphne Du Maurier. I know I just said that I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but this is the kind that I do like – real lives in novel form. I loved Mrs Hemingway last year, and I think this might be a similar sort of thing, so I’m glad it caught my eye!

These are all the books that I currently have on loan from the library (sorry for the poor quality – I took the photos with my phone!). I’m already partway through three of them, which is the way I always read my library books! They aren’t that diverse in nature, all but two are fiction, and six of the novels come from the ‘modern’ section of the library (though that covers a lot). The chances are that I won’t end up reading them all before they need to go back, but that’s the joy of the library, I can borrow fourteen books, and as long as I take them back in time, that’s fourteen free books. I rarely feel precious about keeping books; I just don’t have the room, and I don’t re-read an awful lot any more, so I am happy to read a book and pass it along.

As long as libraries are around, I’ll be using them, and I’ll always encourage everyone else to do so. Library card – free. Borrowing books – free. What’s not to love?

Library List 007

It has been ages and ages since I shared a library list! There’s no good reason for this, I have been reserving and collecting things since my last update in August, I just haven’t shared any of them! But I thought I would now, because I have three on my list that I am waiting for (and I like to do these things in threes!).

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
This is one of those books that I have no idea how I heard about, or, to be honest, why it’s on my list. I can’t see that anyone has recommended it, and the honest truth is that it doesn’t even sound like the sort of thing that I would necessarily want to read! It’s entirely possible it was on some sort of list of best books, or something, because that’s where I get a lot of my reading inspiration. It sounds interesting enough; it’s about an actor who dies onstage during a production of King Lear, and then goes on to explore a connection between him and four other people. Goodreads has it as science fiction and dystopian fiction, and I’m not sure how that fits in, but I’m interested to get it to see what it’s all about! I’m number three on the list, and I reserved it a month ago, so it could be a while.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
There’s no wondering why this one is on my list. I’m a big Amy Poehler fan (as are most people I think), and I’ve been waiting for ages for her book to come out. I have loved Tina Fey’s and Mindy Kaling’s memoirs, and this, I believe, is very much in that vein. It’s obviously going to be laugh out loud funny and very clever, so I can’t wait to read it. I’m number one on the list, but it’s not actually in stock yet, so who knows when I’ll actually get it!

The Humans by Matt Haig
I’m that idiot that didn’t know anything about Matt Haig until about a month ago. Someone I greatly admire tweeted about him, and then weirdly, he followed me on Twitter (I’m one of thousands, so don’t feel special). So I actually looked into his books, and realised that he’s probably a bit great, so I went ahead and reserved The Humans. It sounds really great, a story about a dead professor whose body is occupied by an alien, and I can’t wait for it to arrive. I’m number one, and there are plenty of copies available, so hopefully this should arrive within the next couple of days.

There are three other books on my list that I am waiting for, and have been for some time! I reserved Ballistics by D.W. Wilson, in May, and I was still sitting at number one on the list with no sign of movement. I had a little look, and it seems as though I might have been waiting for a copy that was never going to arrive, so I’ve switched to a different copy. Fevre Dream, by George R.R. Martin, was one that I was attempting to read for my 1982 challenge, but that came and went without me getting the book. I’ve switched the copies on that too! And finally, I’m still waiting on Only Remembered, by Michael Morpurgo, which I reserved in July, and shows no signs of arriving. I don’t know what’s up with that, but I think Essex Libraries has one copy, so it will just remain on the list until it arrives.

Library List 006

As I said last time I shared a library list, it’s been a while again. I go through phases where I reserve everything in sight, and then I hold back and remember that I already have far too much to read to be adding more to the pile. Up until the other day, I had been holding off, and waiting for the few books on my list, and then I went on a bit of a reserving frenzy, and here we are again!

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
I heard Clare Balding talking about this book on her Radio 2 show on Sunday, and it reminded me that I have wanted to read it for a while, so I reserved it straight away. Vera Brittain served as a nurse during World War I, and she lost her fiancée, her brother and two close male friends during the conflict. Testament of Youth is famously a memoir of her life during the war, and everyone I have ever heard talking about it says how powerful and wonderful it is. I can’t wait to read it, but given the centenary of the war this year, I’m number twenty on the library list, so it will be a while.

Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe
Whenever Janet at Words That Can Only Be Your Own posts her monthly reads, my to-read number creeps up a little. There’s always at least one book that she has read that I want to read! This month, it was
Love, Nina, a collection of letters from the author to her sister, and its sounds amazing. I love books of letters, I think they give you an insight into life in a very unique way, so I’m eager to read this. I’m first on the list, so I’m hoping it won’t be too long.

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
I’m trying to step up my attempt to read ten books from 1982 before my birthday. I’m currently on three, with three months until my birthday, so it’s going to be a bit of a challenge! Fevre Dream is one such book. I’ve never read anything by George R.R. Martin that isn’t in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, so I’m curious to see what I make of this one. It’s a vampire story set in the mid-19th century, so it’s not my usual type of thing, but that’s the point of the challenge – to push me out of my comfort zone in terms of reading! I’m number three on the list for this one.

On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin
Another 1982 book, I have no idea what to expect from On the Black Hill. All I know is that it is set on farm in rural Wales, and tells the story of two brothers. it seems to have some favourable reviews online, so it’s definitely worth a go, but I worry that I will be bored by it! We’ll see; I’m number two on the list, so I shouldn’t have too long to wait to find out.

Sour Sweet by Timothy Mo
This is another book that I would never have thought to read had it not been for the 1982 challenge. It’s about the Chinese immigrant experience in 1960s London. China as a country was never one that fascinated me, and I had never particularly wanted to explore its culture, but last year I read Miss Chopsticks by Xinran, and it sparked my interest a little bit. I hope I’m going to enjoy this one, and I’m number one in the list for it.

A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
I’ve never read a whole book by Ishiguro; I tried to read When We Were Orphans last year as part of my A-Z challenge, but I couldn’t manage to get through it. This is another one from 1982, so I’m going to give him another go and see if I get any further. I’m intrigued by Ishiguro’s identity as an Anglo-Japanese man, I would think that means he can bring a unique sense of identity to his characters, so hopefully I will enjoy A Pale View of Hills. I’m top of the list at the library.