I exercised zero control at the library!

I’m getting married in just under three months. Let’s just take a moment and think about how insane that is.

Sh*t’s getting real. And expensive. I may or may not have fallen off the book buying ban wagon. I have been exercising zero self control but it’s time to get my butt back to regular library trips.

So I went to the library and it was awesome. Every time I go back to the library after a lengthy absence I’m blown away all over again that all of these wonderful books are available to me for free. There is nothing better than free books.

I wandered around and started grabbing books left and right. Finally, a place where I don’t need to exercise any self control! I never get any of the Speed Reads. I don’t like the pressure. But good lord, if I was ok with that, there are so many books on those shelves that I want. Truly an embarrassment of riches.

This is the point in the blog post where I tell you about the books that I got at the library!

Every time I go, I always get an Agatha Christie. It’s probably official library policy somewhere: when one visits, one must take home one Agatha Christie mystery. This time was no different and I got Cat Among the Pigeons. I’d never heard of this one but the cover was purple and that was enough of a reason for me.

While I was in the Mystery section anyway, I poked my head around the Rs and wouldn’t you know it? Ian Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible was there. Multiple copies! Mine.

Last year I realized that I loved Elizabeth Gaskell. But I thought I had already read all of her work (Cranford, Mary Barton, Wives and Daughter, North and South) but I was wrong! There was still Ruth to love! That too was added to my pile.

When I finished The Kingmaker’s Daughter, I found myself intrigued by The White Princess, despite my best intentions. I didn’t love The Kingmaker’s Daughter but the end was so…unfinished. I knew I’d eventually have to read the follow up. I haven’t come across it at very frequently – it was one book that I knew I wasn’t going to buy. But it was waiting for me at the library this time.

I keep hearing amazing things about The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. I’ve come across it in bookstores and I haven’t bought it. I ended up finding it tucked in among piles of books just returned and decided that it was the perfect time to actually read it. I can’t wait to get to this one.

I’m watching The Borgias with Jeremy Irons on Netflix right now and loving it. There’s a lot of really cool history happening but it’s an era that I’m not familiar with. I don’t know very much about different popes or the kings, dukes and leaders of Italy as it was; Italian history in general actually. The show has made me want to know more and when I found a biography of Lucretzia Borgia (one of my favourite characters on the show) I needed to have it. I suspect that this will be one of those times I’m sad that I didn’t buy the book.

Finally, I grabbed a biography of Queen Anne. I know about as much about the Stuart monarchs as I do about Italian history and I’m looking forward to remedying that.

What do you think of my library haul? Have you read any of them?


I’m in Book Buying Rehab

You know how, in the past, I have imposed book bans on myself in an attempt to stop spending so much money in bookstores and read the books I already own?

Yesterday my other half put me on a book buying ban.

To be fair, in recent weeks my book habit has completely spiraled out of control. I can barely function on a day where I don’t go and throw down some money for my next hit. And it’s not like I have more time to read the ones that I already have. I just can’t stop. There are so many great books out there right now! These poor books were probably so excited to come home with me, looking forward to the moment when I jumped into their stories, eagerly anticipating the chance to share their magic with me.

And what did I do? I pushed them aside in favour of another book that caught my eye. A book that I felt was more important than the others, in that moment.

On my kitchen table there are at least 10 books that I’ve brought home with me in the last two weeks or so. Those are the books that I haven’t even shelved yet. That’s in addition to the stack of 5 on my bedside table and all the others that continue to sit on my bookshelves unloved and unread.

On my birthday, we went to the bookstore (obviously) and I came out with: The Count of Monte Cristo, which is my friend’s favourite book and I’ve always meant to read it; Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight because it mentioned Gone Girl on the cover and if something says it’s like Gone Girl, game over, you’re mine; Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin because this is the second Inspector Rebus book and it was the first time I’d seen it.

Then I got a gift certificate to the bookstore from a friend for my birthday (who knows and loves me so well) and I can’t hold onto that for any period of time so back I went. That time I was good. I only picked up Eva Stachniak’s Empress of the Night because I was going to see her at an event at the library that week; and Frog Music by Emma Donoghue because I took this quiz on Buzzfeed which told me that this was the book I was meant to read this spring.book pile

I don’t even remember when I picked up Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman but it’s been on my list for forever so I’m glad I could read it tomorrow if I wanted to. I’d been waiting for Paris: A Novel by Edward Rutherfurd to show up in paperback and when it did: mine. We’d talked about my frustration at discovering that Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman should have followed The Redeemer, not The Devil’s Star but I hadn’t managed to find it. Until a few days ago.

Then two nights ago we were in Costco and you know what happens there. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (look at me reading more YA fiction!) and The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell were in my hands before I even realized it. I almost brought home Jimmy Carter’s A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power but I knew I was already pushing my luck.

And all of those are in addition to the books I already had to read at home. Night Film, Claire Tomlin’s Charles Dickens biography, a biography of Princess Louise, War and Peace, Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley and A Winter’s Tale are all still sitting at home waiting for me.

Did I mention that I got my sister to lend me The Bone Season?

I’m out of control. I need some book rehab.


When Good Characters Annoy You

I love when characters that I love turn up in other books that I am reading. I have mentioned before that this happens often in Maeve Binchy books; Marian Keyes is another author that does this. I love when these instances provide a way for the reader to find out a little bit about how characters are faring after the final chapters in their own books.

Generally this is a delightful run-in and only serves to further solidify my love for a particular character. Normally it makes me smile.

But I’m in the middle of reading Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin and for the first time ever, a run-in with another character isn’t making me smile. It might actually be changing my perspective on said character.

Standing in Another Man’s Grave is an Inspector Rebus book. It is the most recent, the 19th in a long-running, popular series. In it, Rebus is retired but working on cold cases as a civilian while he tries his best to get back onto the force (they’ve raised the retirement age). He’s helping his former protégé Siobhan Clarke work on the disappearance of a young woman, that may or may not have something to do with a few other disappearances of young women going back to 1999.

So Rebus is being his usual crusty, rule-breaking self and loving it when Malcolm Fox starts sticking his oar in.

Malcolm Fox is the hero in Rankin’s The Complaints and The Impossible Dead. I haven’t read The Complaints but I did just read The Impossible Dead and I liked Malcolm Fox! He didn’t have much of a life outside of the job but do any book detectives ever have a great life outside of the job? He was just trying to make sure that the police held their end of the bargain you know? He seemed like an OK dude.

Well so far in Standing in Another Man’s Grave? Malcolm Fox is a d*ck. He’s all up in Rebus’ business, asking him why he’s been having drinks with this former gangster, warning him about trying to get back on the force. He’s even getting Siobhan Clarke to talk sh*t about Rebus. I thought they were friends! Rebus isn’t friends with the gangster guy – it’s complicated OK?

Obviously I’m only halfway through so this could still turn out great and Fox could turn out to be a hero. But right now I don’t care for the cut of his jib and it’s making me question whether or not I event want to go back and read The Complaints. Maybe all those other (fictional) police officers were right and Malcolm Fox is just a jerk.


Doors Open

I used to be a massive book snob. I was very capable of making my own book selections thankyouverymuch. I didn’t need input from other people because I was pretty sure that I was a better reader than them.

I was a total a**hole.

But within the past two years I’ve allowed other people to make reading suggestions that I’ve actually taken seriously. Sometimes these recommendations were followed up with that person actually lending me said book. And then I felt like I had to read it because they were being so nice about it and I dislike when people keep my books for a really long time. Other times I happened upon a recommendation on my next book outing and it seemed too much like fate to ignore.

Mostly I attribute this change in bookish attitude to my book club. The books that we’ve read have mostly been really great and most of them I never would have chosen on my own. Those girls showed me that I don’t know everything book related.

And mostly I’ve been very happy to be wrong.

Such was the case with Ian Rankin. I had heard of Ian Rankin before and when he made an appearance as a character in 44 Scotland Street I was even more curious. So when a colleague waxed poetical about her love of Ian Rankin and her very near miss of actually running into him when she was in Edinburgh, I was very intrigued. A few days later I found a stack of her Ian Rankin books on my desk.

I just finished my first one, Doors Open and it was great! I shouldn’t be surprised as it’s crime fiction and we all know about my love of crime fiction.

doors open

Mike Mackenzie is a very rich, very bored man so when his friend suggests that they “liberate” a few paintings from a warehouse by the water that actually houses a bunch of overflow works of art, he not only agrees, he goes about finessing the plot. The first quarter of the book leads up to the heist and you meet all kinds of characters from the art student who is aces at forging masterpieces, to the criminal mastermind that you really don’t want to cross and the banker who is having serious second thoughts.

The real fun doesn’t start until after the heist though, when human nature starts to make them all doubt each other. Suddenly friendships mean nothing, Scandinavian muscle shows up to collect on behalf of his boss and Inspector Ransome is on all their tails trying to piece together what actually happened.

As I was reading it I totally thought that it would make an excellent movie. I did a quick search this morning to see if that was likely and lo and behold I found this! So I’m going to have to keep my eyes out for that!

I have like 5 other Ian Rankin books still waiting for my attention. I don’t think I will dive right into the next one – I still like reading variety even if I’m not so picky about what I will and won’t read anymore. But when I finish The Midwife of Venice, I will definitely pick up another one and I’m likely to enjoy it too.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m glad I stopped being such a d*ck about reading.