July 2024
« Mar    

Library Loot – May 8, 2010

Another round of library loot this week!  I don’t have too much to share, just three books.  I’ve been requesting a lot of books, so I’ve been reading my acquisitions surprisingly quickly.  I hope to get through the two YA books this weekend.

Library lootThe library books are the three at the bottom:

  • Empress Orchid, Anchee Min – I have really been eager to read more by Anchee Min ever since I finished Pearl of China.  I have her novel Katherine on my TBR pile but this one has always appealed to me, too.
  • Just In Case, Meg Rosoff – Continuing my small obsession, I appear to be determined to read all four of Meg Rosoff’s books in a couple of months.  Actually, the release date of The Bride’s Farewell may prevent that, but I will definitely be reading it.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Carrie Ryan – I’ve been wanting to read this since release and now I finally have my hands on it.

The top two are books that came to me in the mail.  I thought it would be fun to add them in for once, too, so I’m hijacking my own post.

  • Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay – I have Nymeth to thank for this.  I don’t recall if I ever mentioned that I didn’t get a gift from the Book Bloggers Holiday Swap.  My Santa never responded to emails, and when I chose one of the donations to make up for it, that person didn’t respond either.  So Ana generously offered to buy me a book herself, and I’m so grateful that as a result I have the newest release of one of my absolute favorite authors.  Thank you, Ana!
  • Virgin Widow, Anne O’Brien – Got this one for review.  It’s about Anne Neville, and I will admit that I hesitated to accept it.  But it’s my thing, it’s been too long since I reviewed a medieval historical fiction novel, and it’s had good reviews.  It comes out in the UK later this month and will be published in the US later this year – I imagine I’ll be seeing a good number of reviews for it around then!

Thanks as always to Eva and Marg for hosting Library Loot!


Library Loot – Apr 29th 2010

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’ve had to start taking out fewer books because I already reached my limit of 12!  My new library is pretty small, but they have a lot of good books.  I’m also thrilled by the fact that they have a free holds system for all the branches.  Both of my last libraries charged for holds of any kind, which I thought was pretty crappy even if I understand they have to make money somehow.

Thanks as always to Eva and Marg for hosting this meme!

Here’s what came home with me last week and this week:

  • What I Was by Meg Rosoff – Anyone who saw my review of How I Live Now shouldn’t be too surprised that I immediately picked up the next Rosoff I could find!  I was hoping for The Bride’s Farewell but figured I would take what I could get. :p  Already read this and review is coming soon.
  • Vanilla by Tim Ecott – This was an impulse pick-up.  I saw a display on vanilla beans last summer in Cornwall at The Eden Project and I was astonished at how much work it takes just to get one little bottle of vanilla.  This is a travelogue about it, which I thought sounded pretty cool.
  • Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit – This is a memoir about a series of emails written between two women starting in 2005.  Bee Rowlatt, a BBC reporter, contacted May Witwit, an English professor in Iraq, with a few interview questions and a friendship formed.  Looks just like my kind of book.
  • Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry – Tasha and I had enough fun together reading Lorna Doone that we decided to try another book!  I let her choose and so in May we’ll be reading this doorstopper together.  It’s a western historical saga, so let’s see if it can jolt me out of my boredom with the historical genre.

Have you found any good library loot lately?

I am an Amazon Associate.


Library Loot - Apr 16th 2010

I haven’t done a Library Loot post in a really long time.  I moved and then it took me a couple weeks to find time to join the library, plus I haven’t been reading as much so a little part of me wondered whether I should stick to my own books for now.

Of course that didn’t happen; I am now a proud member of my latest library with a good number of books checked out.  We actually plan on joining another library system nearby (I know, it’s an addiction) because they have a greater selection, but we’ll have to go on the weekend and we’ve only spent one weekend here so far and aren’t likely to stay for a couple more.

So!  I bring you what I have taken out so far:

  • Leviathan, Scott Westerfeld – I’ve been wanting to read this since it came out, and I actually already have but neglected to review it.  I will probably include it on a mini-review post soon.
  • Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher – Random Read-a-Thon selection.  Again, no review; it was okay.
  • Edith Wharton, Hermione Lee – I am still in the middle of her Virginia Woolf but I knew I wanted to read this one next, so I went and got it out.  I love Edith Wharton; I know I may find some unpleasant truths in her biography but I’m willing to take that chance.
  • Rumours, Anna Godbersen – I wasn’t totally in love with The Luxe but I really need some relaxing YA.  Plus my library has all of this series, so I might actually be able to read it all.
  • Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama – I’ve been wanting to read this for a long time.
  • My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk – I thought this sounded awesome.  It’s set in 16th century Istanbul and billed as a thrilling murder mystery with meditations on love, artistic devotion, and tensions between the East and West.  And I’m sure I’ve seen positive reviews somewhere.
  • Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris – Another wishlist book.
  • Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell – I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time too.  My mom also just let me know that David Mitchell’s new one has arrived to their address for me, so I decided I should read this first.
  • The Boy Who Loved Books, John Sutherland – How could I not want to read a book about a boy whose life was saved by books twice?  This is a memoir and I hope it’s as good as it sounds.
  • Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Jen Mah – I tend to browse the Chinese history section each time I go in and this just caught my eye.
  • Chains, Laurie Halse Anderson – I’ve been wanting to read another of her books since Speak and this is the one they had in!

Sorry for the lack of pictures/links – I’ve meant to post this since Monday but can’t sustain the energy to do more than write it out.  You don’t want to know how many reviews I have waiting to be written, either.  I’m definitely still adjusting to this work thing even though it’s been a month.  I’m not complaining, this is what I wanted, but I still find it hard to believe I have to go there every day!  On the bright side, I have managed to start commenting a little on breaks – I just need to figure out how to work in writing for my own blog.  I decided a post without links and pictures was better than no post at all.

Thanks as always to the fantastic Eva and Marg for hosting this meme!


Library Loot: Dec 17, 2009

library-lootIt may not have been too obvious, but I’ve taken somewhat of an unofficial break from blogging these past couple of weeks.  First Keith was off work for a week and around, so I wasn’t too inclined to spend all my time on the computer as I normally do, and I just drifted away from it.  Then, the exact day he went back to work, I got sick with a nasty cold virus that had me actually unable to focus on reading a couple of days this week (the horror!) and I couldn’t summon the mental energy to write posts or read any of those currently filling up my Google Reader.  I also had a job interview that required some preparation, and all my efforts went in that direction for about a week.  So my loot has gone unrecorded, but that’s okay because there isn’t all that much of it.  This is two weeks’ worth, too.  I think I may have more that I missed, but it’s hard to tell, so I’ll just go with the most recent acquisitions.

  • The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood – I have become very interested in the Canongate Myths series recently, and since I also decided to read more by Margaret Atwood, this seemed an obvious choice.  Plus, it’s nice and slim, and I’ve been reading plenty of chunksters lately.
  • Painting Mona Lisa, Jeanne Kalogridis – This is called I, Mona Lisa in the US.  In response to this selection, you might say, “But Meghan, you haven’t read that other book you have by Jeanne Kalogridis!”  And in protesting you’d be totally right, I haven’t, but since I enjoyed The Agony and the Ecstasy, I decided this was related enough to warrant borrowing.
  • Agincourt, Juliet Barker – Let’s be honest here.  I am hating being unemployed and I want a job.  The one thing I do like about it, though, is that generally I have the brainpower and the will to read lots of history.  I’ve enjoyed and learned from Juliet Barker’s books and essays on chivalry, so I’m interested to see what she thinks of the Battle of Agincourt.
  • Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell – I’m due for my turn on the Classics Circuit next week and so I’m reading this now.  I’m so late on it because I really wanted to read Wives and Daughters, but someone has had it taken out of my branch of the library and since it’s available in other branches, I can’t request it.  Annoying, but I’m sure Ruth will be enjoyable.

I am an Amazon Associate. If you click on these links and buy a product from Amazon, I will earn a small profit to help maintain my blog at no cost to you.


Library Loot: Week of Nov 8th, 2009

library-lootThis was a fairly quiet week at the library for me.  I haven’t been reading many of the books I’ve taken out, mostly because I’ve actually been reading a bit less this month.  For one thing, my evenings are generally no longer my own because I’m married, which I clearly don’t mind, and while I’m unemployed, I’m in charge of the flat, so I spend more time cleaning and cooking.  Nanowrimo takes a couple of hours out of my day, and I spend time every day looking for and applying for new jobs, if I can find any I’m qualified to do.  There are depressingly few jobs out there that aren’t for IT specialists or business/marketing majors.  If there are any British publishing companies out there looking for someone who is passionate about books, I’m willing to work!

Anyway, on to the books!  Click on the pictures to be taken to individual Librarything pages.


  • Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier – Chevalier is a hit or miss author for me, so I got this out of the library for a reason.
  • Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie – I really enjoyed the first book of hers I read and was recently getting annoyed that I’d read all the lightest fiction I have in my possession (in this country – 2/3 of my TBR is in the US) except for a few historical romances, which I’m not in the mood to read right now.  Jennifer Crusie seemed like a good way to remedy the situation.
  • Touch the Dark by Karen Chance – Same reasoning here as above, and I liked Karen Chance’s story in On the Prowl.
  • Daisy: The Life and Loves of the Countess of Warwick by Sushila Anand – I mentioned this book in my Sunday Salon post and I’m still enjoying it.  The first half of the book was more about Daisy’s love life, while this second half is much more about Daisy’s involvement in politics.  Both are interesting and quite a reflection on the turn of the century in England.  I’ll be finished with this one soon.

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?

Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Eva and Marg.


Library Loot: Week of Nov 1st, 2009

library-lootI have been very lazy with my Library Loot (hosted by Eva and Marg) posts lately.  The reason is because I’ve been using my husband’s computer.  It’s more powerful than my laptop and our flat is so small that I don’t need the portability, plus typing at the desk is better for my wrists.  My camera, however, uses an SD card that I can just plug into my laptop and get the pictures from, so I’ve long lost my camera cord, and that means I can’t get pictures onto this computer directly from it.  This computer does not have the slot for the SD card.  I’m generally too lazy to wait the ten minutes it takes to start up my laptop, upload the pictures, and then turn the thing off again right away.  So, I’m just using some cover pictures from Amazon today.  I hope no one minds!  This post covers a couple of trips.  Links on the pictures go to LibraryThing, in text go to Amazon through my Amazon Associates account.

From the big library:

  • Nocturnes, Kazuo Ishiguro – I already finished all the stories in this and am in the process of writing my review.  Ishiguro is one of my favorite authors and now I’ve read all of his books but The Unconsoled, which I have on my TBR pile.  This collection was not as good as the novels, but I’ll leave the rest for my post.
  • My Invented Country, Isabel Allende – This is  for the Women Unbound challenge.  I loved one of Allende’s later memoirs, so I’m looking forward to this.
  • The Tale of Murasaki, Liza Dalby – Same as above!  This is historical fiction, which I’m a little tired of, but hopefully medieval Japan will be different enough to captivate me.
  • The Borgia Bride, Jeanne Kalogridis – I got this out a couple weeks ago, before I realized I was tired of historical fiction, and it’s pretty big.  I may need to renew it.

And the smaller library:

  • The Dark Rose, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles – I waited for this second volume in the Morland Dynasty series for months in York and never got it.  Just found it on the shelf here, and was thrilled!
  • Wild Swans, Jung Chang – Another for the Women Unbound Challenge.
  • Brave New World, Aldous Huxley – I’ve been wanting to read this for years.

Have you taken anything interesting out of the library lately?


Library Loot: Oct 7, 2009

library-lootI waited to do my loot (hosted by Eva and Marg) until I’d been to both my libraries.  I’m hoping that the libraries help stave off my intense desire to buy books.  It’s only been two weeks; right now we’re quite poor so that’s helping, but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to resist once I do have money of my own.  I’m starting to apply for jobs, so we’ll see what happens.  I know it could be months but I’m foolishly optimistic.

Anyway, at the moment I’m using Keith’s cards so I can get my own under my married name without hassle in a week and a half (!) so we go on the weekend when he’s around.  I have two piles to share with you today.  In theory, I have two public library systems.  They both charge for loans from other libraries, though, so I’m limited to what’s inside.  The first is from the bigger city library:


  • The White Mare, Jules Watson – This is historical fiction about the Roman conquest of Britain.  I’d never heard of it before but it looked pretty enough on the shelf, so I decided to give it a try.  It’s the start of a series.
  • The Warden, Anthony Trollope – I have been craving classics lately.  Since I have Barchester Towers, I thought I’d start at the beginning, even if this one is not as good.
  • The Iron Tree, Cecilia Dart-Thornton – I saw the middle one of this series in my old York library but don’t think I actually managed to check any of them out.  I saw it and decided to read it now!
  • Cotillion, Georgette Heyer – The library had maybe five Heyers and it was hard choosing!  I remembered some positive reviews for this, though, so I took it first.
  • The Painted Man, Peter V. Brett – Another fantasy that I had out of the York library but didn’t get a chance to read.

And my second, smaller library.  This one is literally three minutes walk away, so I got more, figuring I can pretty much always get there when the books are due.


  • The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga – Last year’s Booker winner.  Booker winners tend to be hit or miss for me, but I’m still optimistic about reading a lot of them.
  • Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood – I have The Year of the Flood over here to review, but I haven’t read it yet because I didn’t want to spoil what happens in this book.  I’m hoping to start this today or tomorrow.
  • Wolfskin, Juliet Marillier – I love Marillier’s work!  I think I’ve won her latest book, but I took this out to tide me over.
  • Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates – I don’t really have a reason for reading this.  I haven’t seen the film or anything, but it’s supposed to be good, and it’s a quick read so I have to get to it before Saturday.  The quick reads, which are non-renewable and due in a week, are hopefully going to help me read new releases without keeping them for months on end until someone else requests them.
  • Very Valentine, Adriana Trigiani – This author has had lots of positive reviews around the blogosphere and this book of hers was cover out, so I thought why not?
  • London: The Biography, Peter Ackroyd – I’m really excited about this!  I love London and huge sweeping histories are totally my thing.  It is gigantic, though, so I’m glad I have a few weeks to read it.
  • Emma, Jane Austen – This one’s not pictured because I forgot it was elsewhere – sorry!  Anyway, as I mentioned on Sunday, I got this to coincide with the BBC miniseries.  I’ve finished and loved it now, the review will be up in a few weeks.

So that’s my loot!  Read any of these books before?  Let me know what you thought!

(And in case you’re curious, those are indeed my own books alongside and behind the library books.)


Library Loot & What’s on My Desk Wednesday

library-lootFirst I’m going to start off with Library Loot.  This is hosted by Eva and Marg!  I got four books out this week, two yesterday and two today.  Three were holds and one was a little more spontaneous.  I also just realized that now my due dates have fallen into the range of the two weeks I’ll be home, so I really have to start reading those library books!


From the top:

  • The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve been feeling a lack of huge fantasy epics in my life lately.  I don’t remember where I heard about this one.  I’m sure it was on a blog, but I can’t remember which one.  If I mentioned it in your comments, let me know, because you probably deserve credit for it.
  • Bonk by Mary Roach.  This promises to be hilarious non-fiction about the science of sex, everyone’s favorite topic.  Again, heard about this everywhere and I’ve been eager to try one of Mary Roach’s books.
  • The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett.  I’ve seen favorable reviews of this in most places and I know the spoiler that may have made me dislike the book otherwise, so I’m still looking forward to it.  Note again what I said about fantasy.  Once my challenge to read 30 books in June is over, I’m going to be all about the chunksters.
  • Eyes of the Storm by Jeff Smith.  This is Bone vol. 3!  I’m loving the Bone series.  I haven’t been writing reviews of them because I can’t decide how to do it.  I might buy the whole thing when I go home, reread, and write a review of that.  We’ll see.

whats-on-deskNext up, I was tagged by the lovely Becky at One Literature Nut for the What’s On My Desk? Wednesday meme, which is hosted by Sassy Brit.  The rules:

1. Grab a camera and take a photo of your desk! Or anywhere you stack your books/TBR pile. And no tidying!
2. Add this photo to your blog.
3. Tag at least 5 people!
4. Come back here and leave a link back to your photo in the comments section.

Becky specifically mentioned my grad work so I’ve taken quite a few pictures to get the full effect.  First, we have the desk.

img_1312I must confess, I cleaned a little, but it needed to be done and it’s still messy.  Anyway, we have my computer, propped up because it overheats in my oven of a room.  See that pipe on the bottom under all the wires?  It’s hot all year round and even though it’s summer and a lovely 70 degrees, my room is basically never comfortable because that pipe radiates heat constantly.  Behind my computer are my public library books.  Under my phone I have two books that I really should finish one day.  On the far right in the back are just a few of my massive pile of research books, and directly in front of them are my review books and the Sims 3, which I’m also intending to review soon.  I also have bookmarks to complete the literary aspects of my desk.  Otherwise, I have a little rabbit that I crocheted for my mom, lip gloss, hair ties, a glass of water, my glasses, and various crochet and sewing bits that are mostly hidden on the left there.

Then, because you haven’t seen enough yet, we have my tall pile of academic books, with a couple of articles tucked in.

img_13131Why do I have so many books on Richard III?  Well, quite a few of them touch on Anthony Woodville, and I take what I can get.  He’s not all that popular a subject unfortunately.

Okay, now my actual TBR piles, the arrangement that I’m meant to be reading and my messy shelves with the waiting books on them:

img_1315img_1316The books on the bottom half cut off shelf are those that I’ve read.

I’m going to be rebellious and not pass on the tag.  I never know who has a camera or is willing to take pictures of what they have at random.  If you want to take pictures of your TBR pile and share them with us (you know you do), consider yourself tagged by me.

Apologies for all the posts around here lately.  I’m already scheduling my reviews into the distant future, but after this month I plan to read fewer but bigger books and will then spend less time filling up your RSS readers!


Library Loot, June 10th

library-lootThis meme is hosted by Eva and Alessandra.

This one extends over two weeks.  Since I’m almost at my limit of 20 books at the library, I can usually only get out as many as I’m returning.  I try to keep it to 18 or 19 so that I can get any holds which come in at bad times.  Each week, then, I get about 3-4, so in two weeks I’ve amassed enough to justify another post!  I think I’ve taken out some good ones these last two trips.  Here they are:


  1. Guilty Pleasures, Laurell K. Hamilton.  I don’t know why I picked this one up.  I know the series deteriorates massively over the last few volumes.  I guess I just wanted to see all the fuss about the Anita Blake series for myself, plus the library rarely has the first volume of a series staring me in the face like that, so I took it.
  2. Unnatural Fire, Fidelis Morgan.  I picked up the second book in this series at the library book sale so I thought I would take out the first and make sure I hadn’t missed anything.
  3. The Luxe, Anna Godbersen.  I’m going to go ahead and blame Beth Fish for this here.  She posted about it and I, like the good sheep that I am, put it on reserve.  This is a series that the library does not continue, so if I like it, I’ll have to buy the rest.
  4. To Catch an Heiress, Julia Quinn.  My quest to read Quinn’s backlist continues.
  5. Slightly Sinful, Mary Balogh.  I recently welcomed Mary Balogh to my favorites list and this is the one my mom couldn’t find at our favorite charity bookstore.
  6. The Cellist of Sarajevo, Steven Galloway.  Thanks to Gautami Tripathy, I almost bought this one at Sainsbury’s, but then decided to wait and got it out of the library instead.  I’m trying to acquire fewer “cheap” books so I can buy more expensive hardcovers and support the authors.  Also, someone told me that in the UK, authors get paid royalties for me checking books out, so that sounds pretty good to me.
  7. The Great Cow Race, Bone vol. 2, Jeff Smith.  I actually got vol. 1 last week but read and returned it already.  I can also lay this one at the door of Beth Fish Reads!  Nymeth gets credit for finally pushing me over the edge though.  I’ve actually already read this and might stop in for vol. 3 tomorrow.  My library only has up to 5, so I’m not sure what I will do afterwards.

Library Loot: May 12th

library-lootI have been wanting to do a library loot post (hosted by Eva and Alessandra) for a really long time!  I’m a big fan of my local public library.  They don’t always have the best selection when it comes to new and upcoming books or YA (they don’t have ANY of Melissa Marr’s books or John Scalzi’s books or the rest of the Uglies series or even all of the Sookie Stackhouse series), but I can usually find plenty of exciting books.  I’m a grad student so I don’t have much money to spare, but I really like to bring new books home every so often.  The library is the perfect solution, especially because I don’t feel guilty if I stock up on the romance novels.  ;)

Here’s what I found today:


In case you can’t see the titles, those are from the top:

Silk, Alessandro Baricco
Love Walked In, Marisa de los Santos
Across the Nightingale Floor, Lian Hearn

I had a couple that I actually put back.  I’ve been tempted by The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory two weeks running now.  I know I’m not going to read it soon, but I want to at some point.  I also put down Hand of Isis by Jo Graham, mostly because it was long and I’m not really in the mood for a chunkster.  When I am, I have a few very large ARCs that need to go first.

Then, since I’ve never done one of these before, I thought I’d show you all how many books I already have. I just realized now that I also have a crochet book that’s not in this picture, but I’m not too enamored with it so that’s okay.

img_1239From the top:

Empress, Karen Miller
Uglies, Scott Westerfeld
Everything and the Moon, Julia Quinn
Simply Magic, Mary Balogh
Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison
When Will There Be Good News?, Kate Atkinson
Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, Laurie Viera Rigler
Slammerkin, Emma Donoghue
The Road Home, Rose Tremain
Katherine Swynford, Alison Weir
The Tainted Relic, The Medieval Murderers is on its side there. I have a large print edition because that’s all the library had.

What should I read first? 

(Quick reminder: giveaway for Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales ends tomorrow!  You don’t want to miss this fabulous collection of short stories, especially when you might get it for free!)