Library Checkout July 2019

Taking up my son’s challenge to read more of my own purchased books, I’ve not read very many library books in July. But I’ve sure been checking them out and putting them on hold! I’m still attempting to suspend my long list of library holds – thank goodness for that capability. Thanks to Bookish Beck for hosting this monthly meme that celebrates library use.

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Books Read:

The Black Book – Ian Rankin (John Rebus series #5) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Terrible Two Gets Worse – Mac Barnett and Jory John ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

March: Book 3 – John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Island of Doctor Moreau – H.G. Wells ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Currently Reading:

Gmorning, Gnight!:Little Pep Talks For Me and You – Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jonny Sun

Lost – Sharon Bolton (Lacey Flint series #3)

Checked Out, To Be Read:

The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton

Highland Homeland: The People of the Great Smokies – Wilma Dykeman and Jim Stokely

Burnout:The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle – Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski

Greenglass House – Kate Milford

Returned Unfinished:

A Duke By Default (Reluctant Royals #2) – Alyssa Cole (I just wasn’t in the mood to read romance.)

In the Holds Queue: (so many! here are a few new ones)

The Lightest Object In the Universe – Kimi Eisele

Magic For Liars – Sarah Gailey

The Lager Queen of Minnesota – J. Ryan Stradal

Have you read anything on my list? Anything grab your fancy?

 

 

 

 

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Library Checkout June 2019

library-checkout-feature-imageI’m still trying to manage my library holds so that I can also read some of my own books… so far I’ve been doing a good job of not letting them all come in at once. Is it an art, or a science… I’m not sure! My pre-ordered copy of the new Kate Atkinson, Big Sky, arrived at home Tuesday, so the library books will have a wait a few days. Here’s what I got up to at the library this month. Thanks to Bookish Beck for hosting this monthly celebration of library use!

READ:41PwH2e9fjL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Huntress by Kate Quinn ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (Such a page-turner!)

CURRENTLY READING:

Nothing. I’m reading two of my own books!

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ:91LDnCtTjEL

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Queenie by Candace Carty-Williams

RETURNED UNFINISHED:

I Miss You When You Blink by Mary Laura Philpott (underwhelming)

IN THE HOLDS QUEUE:

Soooooo many books. Here are a few:91Q73aHp3PL

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Evvie Drake Stars Over by Linda Holmes

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

Maid by Stephanie Land

Let’s hope I can keep an eye on those holds and still chip away at the books from my own shelves. Anything catch your eye from my list?

Library Checkout April 2019

In an earlier post I lamented never getting to backlist books because of all the holds coming in from the library on new titles. I did pause my holds but that doesn’t mean I’m not checking books out from the library! Here’s what I read, checked out, and have on hold for the month of April. Thanks to Rebecca at Bookish Beck for hosting this monthly meme – check her blog out!

library-checkout-feature-imageLIBRARY BOOKS READ:

Outer Order, Inner Calm – Gretchen Rubin ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

My Sister the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Tooth and Nail – Ian Rankin ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope – Karamo Brown ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

CURRENTLY READING:

Harriet the Spy – Louise Fitzhugh (a re-read; I haven’t read it since childhood and was inspired by Marcie at Buried in Print.)

Road Rage – Ruth Rendell (Inspector Wexford #17)

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Start-up – John Carreyrou (digital audio book; about 75% finished)

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ:

The Folded Clock – Heidi Julavits (memoir)

The Rumor – Elin Hilderbrand (“light” fiction)

The Sky at Our Feet – Nadia Hashimi (middle grade)

The Story of Diva and Flea – Mo Willems (chapter book – not for my son, for me!)

The Psychopath Test – Jon Ronson (nonfiction)

A Dying Fall – Elly Griffiths (mystery)

Wade in the Water – Tracy K. Smith (poetry)

Bright Dead Things – Ada Limon (poetry)

IN THE HOLDS QUEUE:

We do NOT have time to list all of my holds. Currently I have 18 books on hold (for me) and some movies and music too. It’s utter insanity. I’m trying to manage them and not have them all come in at once. I still want to read some of my OWN books, plus I’ve got two classics in line for May reading. Some of the books I have on hold are:

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive – Stephanie Land

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls – Anissa Gray

An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

RETURNED UNREAD:

I really should be better about keeping track of this! I’m sure I’ve returned things unread but I didn’t write that down. 🙂

So, anything spark your interest here? Have you read any of these? What’s your latest item checked out from your library?

Light Bulb Moments (Bookish Edition)

Two things I’ve recently realized:

  1. I can’t put down The Count of Monte Cristo for any length of time and expect to pick it back up again with a good memory of what I’d read before. And…
  2. I’ve got to quit getting new books on hold at the library if I want to read all the books on my TBR list that I say I want to read.

So I’ve delved back into my gigantic Dumas classic, after letting it sit on my shelf for most of March. I’ve already made some good progress – I’m now at 70% complete! That Count is quite the master of disguises. I feel like Villefort is juuuusssttt about to figure it all out but he’s not quite there yet. It’s still a wonderful, entertaining read. I just have to maintain my momentum and not let it sit for too long. Then it becomes too easy to not pick it back up again.

Also, I’ve used the “vacation stop” function on my library holds and pushed them all back until next month so that I can focus on what I’ve got checked out now and what I’m reading from my own shelf. I was getting inundated with holds and could feel the others looming.

I was going through my Goodreads TBR list, which I do from time to time to assess whether or not I really want to still read these things. And I kept thinking, Oh I really want to read that! Why haven’t I read that yet? You know why? NEW BOOKS. Shiny new books that keep coming out every week and sound so amazing and I have to get on the holds list right now! Perhaps as my holds stop date gets closer I’ll extend it further. I really want to make a dent in my TBR list, which at the moment is 363 books.

What am I reading now?

 

My Sister the Serial Killer is SOOOO compelling. I just started Notes of a Native Son and so far it’s wonderful. It’s my choice for April’s Instagram #Unreadshelfproject2019. The prompt this month is to read the latest book you’ve acquired. I’ve only read three stories in the Gallant collection but I will finish it by the end of the month.

Have you had any bookish light bulb moments lately?

Excellent Nonfiction to End the Year

So far in 2018, of the 114 books I’ve read (which DOES include the chapter books I read with my son at bedtime!) only 20 have been nonfiction. This is pretty representative of my reading habits. I am interested in nonfiction, especially memoirs, but nonfiction takes me longer to read than fiction, which makes me hesitant to pick it up. I keep feeling all those books on my TBR list looking over my shoulder as I take my time with a nonfiction book – on average, I’d say it takes me a good week longer to read one than it does a novel. This is all to say that it surprises me that my last three reads (one of which I’m currently reading) are all five star nonfiction reads, and they’re all published this year.

51LSDwIJIUL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_First up, The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton. I LOVED this book. Mr. Hinton spent 30 years on death row in Alabama for crimes he didn’t commit. The police and prosecution shamefully railroaded him in a sham of a trial and his court-appointed lawyer was disinterested at best. He only came up on the radar of the police because of an old grudge by a man who’d been interested in someone Hinton had dated. On Death Row, initially angry and with a heart full of vengeance at the injustice of the world and his situation, Hinton had an epiphany while hearing another man on the block crying in the night.

I didn’t know his story or what he had done or anything about him that made him different from me – hell, I didn’t know if he was black or white. But on the row, I realized, it didn’t matter. When you are trying to survive, the superficial things don’t matter. When you are hanging at the end of your rope, does it really matter what color the hand is that reached up to help you? What I knew was that he loved his mother just like I loved my mother. I could understand his pain.

… I realized the State of Alabama could steal my future and my freedom, but they couldn’t steal my soul or my humanity. 

This book not only taught me about the power of forgiveness and the indomitable human spirit, it also made me question my thoughts on the death penalty. To Hinton, every man on death row with him was a child of God, and was not only the worst thing he ever did (or didn’t do, as his case showed.) He showed up for every man he watched walk past him on the way to the electric chair over the years by banging the bars of his cell and yelling, as did the other men in the block. It was a way to show them that in their darkest moment they weren’t alone, no matter what horrible action or circumstances led them there.

They called all of us monsters. But I didn’t know any monsters on the row. I knew guys named Larry and Henry and Victor and Jesse. I knew Vernon and Willie and Jimmy. Not monsters. Guys with names who didn’t have mothers who loved them or anyone who had ever shown them a kindness that was even close to love. Guys who were born broken or had been broken by life. Guys who had been abused as children and had heir minds and hearts warped by cruelty and violence and isolation long before they ever stood in front of a judge and jury.

There are so many parts of this book I made notes on, so many quotable passages. The story of his legal battle to freedom takes many twists and turns and kept me turning the pages just as his struggle to remain sane and humane on death row did. Eventually he ends up being represented by Bryan Stevenson, who wrote the bestseller Just Mercy and heads the Equal Justice Initiative. While in prison, Hinton forms a book club as a way to gain some mental freedom for himself and his fellow inmates. Funnily enough, the first book they choose is James Baldwin’s Go Tell it on the Mountain, which is my current Classics Club Spin pick! I just loved this book and I feel like it deserves a wide audience. If you have any desire to read books about social justice issues, the persistence of the human spirit, or just a page-turning memoir, please give this one a try.

51wZq9rEc8L._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_My next five-star nonfiction read was Susan Orlean’s The Library Book. This is a far-reaching book, part true crime, part memoir, part history, part exploration of the role of the public library in today’s society. It was fascinating! Starting from the event of the largest library fire in the history of the United States, the devastating 1986 fire at Los Angeles’s Central Library, Orlean branches off from there to discuss her own history with public libraries and the special connection to her mother who always brought her there growing up. She investigates whether or not the main suspect in the fire, Harry Peak, actually started it. (I admit that by the end of the book, I couldn’t decide!) She delves into the formation and colorful history of the L.A. library system, and follows current department heads today to see how the library is impacting the community right now. All these strands are braided together beautifully. Anyone who cares the least little bit about public libraries should read this.

In Senegal, the polite expression for saying someone died is to say his or her library burned. When I first heard the phrase, I didn’t understand it, but over time I came to realize it was perfect. Our minds and souls contain volumes inscribed by our experiences and emotions; each individual’s consciousness is a collection of memories we’ve cataloged and stored inside us, a private library of  life lived. It is something that no one else can entirely share, one that burns down and disappears when we die. But if you can take something from that internal collection and share it – with one person or with the larger world, on the page or in a story recited – it takes on a life of its own.

9781524763138_p0_v6_s550x406And last, I’m currently reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming, and I’m confident it will also earn five stars from me. Not surprisingly, she’s a beautiful writer. I’m about 130 pages in, or a third of the book. She’s dating Barack and they’re starting to realize just how serious the relationship is. I loved reading about her childhood growing up on the South Side of Chicago, her steady, loving parents and her close relationship with her older brother. I loved reading about her shy, buttoned down personality and her growing sense of confidence in herself. One tidbit I found fascinating is that in her kindergarten class picture, it’s about 50-50 black and white kids, but by fifth grade, it’s all black kids. She grew up right in the heart of the “white flight” of the 1960’s. I have enjoyed her reflections on her extended family and their journeys from the South to Chicago during the Great Migration. I’ve also liked getting to know our former president a little better, her first impressions of him and what drew them together. I admire her vulnerability and openness in this memoir and can’t wait to read more.

What was your favorite nonfiction book of 2018? 

 

Library Checkout, November 2018

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Library Checkout is a monthly library-use meme hosted by Rebecca at Bookish Beck. Please do visit her blog, she always reads so diversely (and in massive quantities, too!) Here is a snapshot of my library usage in November:

LIBRARY BOOKS READ:

There There – Tommy Orange ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Death of Mrs. Westaway – Ruth Ware ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The House at Sea’s End – Elly Griffiths (Ruth Galloway mystery #3)                 ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I am LOVING this series!

Dark Sacred Night – Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch mystery #31/Renée Ballard #2) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ I don’t know how Connelly does it. He’s a MASTER of compelling, propulsive writing. I still care about Bosch 31 books later. I’m excited to see the new direction he’s taking now that he’s partnering with Ballard.9780062368607_p0_v3_s550x406

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life – Ed Yong ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Unsheltered – Barbara Kingsolver ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (Review to come)

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times – Pema Chödrön ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

CURRENTLY READING:

51LSDwIJIUL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row – Anthony Ray Hinton

A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway #4) – Elly Griffiths

CHECKED OUT, TO BE READ:

Dare to Lead – Brené Brown

Spy School – Stuart Gibbs (middle-grade fiction – I’ve been meaning to get back into reading MG fiction for a while now)

IN THE HOLDS QUEUE:

The Library Book – Susan Orlean

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Fox 8  – George Saunders

Gmorning, Gnight!:Little Pep Talks For Me and You – Lin-Manuel Miranda40854717

Go Tell it On the Mountain – James Baldwin (My Classics Club spin book!)

Plus, 6 more books on hold that I’ve had on hold for a while now and keep pushing back using my library system’s “suspend” function. I’m starting to wonder if I really want to read these after all! It might be time to let some of these go.

Anything from my selections look interesting to you? What have you checked out from your local library lately?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Library Checkout – October 2018

I love this library usage meme that Bookish Beck hosts each month. Do check out her blog here.

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Books Read: Because I’ve been reading my OWN BOOKS (yay!) – Lethal White, The Lottery and Other Stories, and Transcription – I’ve only read a few library books this month.

  • Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neal Hurston.       ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
  • Babymouse: Queen of the World by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm (juvenile graphic novel) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
  • 34137106A Different Pond by Bao Phi (a semi-biographical picture book I read with my son – terribly moving, about an first-generation little Vietnamese boy and his immigrant father and beautifully illustrated.) ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Currently Reading:

  • I Contain Multitudes:The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong (library digital audiobook – I’m at 63% and my loan expires today so I have to get it again – I may try to finish it in paper form. Very interesting!)
  • When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön
  • Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know by Timothy Beal

Checked Out, To Be Read:

  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • The House at Sea’s End – Elly Griffith
  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway– Ruth Ware

In the Holds Queue: (Besides 7 books still on hold from my August list – I’ve been suspending the holds for a while!)

  • Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver41hE+t2wE-L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_
  • Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly
  • Daring to Lead by Brene Brown

Cookbooks: (I’m adding this category because I don’t feel like they really fit in well with the other kinds of books I check out regularly – I don’t read them from cover to cover.)

  • Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines (I made the Cinnamon Squares and they were AMAZING!)
  • Debbie Macomber’s Table by Debbie Macomber ( I made the Lemon Shortbread Streusel Bars – also delicious, picture below!)

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Anything from my list appeal to you? What have you checked out recently from your library?