Library Checkout: February 2017

I’m trying not to be an apologist blogger anymore so I won’t apologize for not putting up blog content. I totally feel bad about it and I’m alive. Just…really terrible at putting up blog content!


This is why the library checkout, hosted by Charleen @ It’s a Portable Magic, is so great. We all get content and I don’t have to use my brain too too much. (What is wrong with my brain, you guys? It feels mushy)

Although, really, it’s been a shameful month at the library. You’ll see. I just have so many stacks of books at home and I’m starting to feel really terrible about not reading all of them, all the time. It’s a horrible feeling and I’m hoping it goes away if I focus on my own books for a while. I’m really terrible at that, though. I’m the kind of reader that’s like “OH THAT’S SO SHINY AND NEW, LET ME HAVE IT NOW.” I need to get more in the mindset of “These books aren’t going anywhere. I don’t need to have this book in my possession this instant.”

Even though I know it’s true, it feels like a lie.

Anyway, let’s get to the shame of my month at the library.

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante (ohhhh I loved this one! Remember when I was super lukewarm about My Brilliant Friend? I take it back. Give me all the Ferrante books!)
Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory (I’m still reading this as I write this. I’m really enjoying it but it’s dense and long and I know someone’s waiting for it so I’m trying to read as fast as I can)

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (I don’t know what happened here – I have loved all of Cleave’s other work. This one felt inauthentic and forced. Since someone was waiting for it, I decided to just send it back)

Returned unread
The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (this is the second time I have returned one of her books to the library unread even though I really enjoyed Eligible!)

Currently out
Hitman Anders and the Meaning Of It All by Jonas Jonasson

On hold
Nothing right now but I’m thinking about putting a hold on the next Elena Ferrante book…maybe Emily Climbs too…


Library ghettoes

I started reading Beatriz Williams for the first time this year. I bought A Hundred Summers and the next time I went to the library, I thought I would go ahead and pick up another one of her books.

When I got to the W section, I couldn’t find any of her books. I assumed that she was incredibly popular and all of her books were currently out. The next time I was in the library, I did the same thing. Still, none of her books were there. I decided to use the computer to see what was going on and learned that Beatriz Williams’ books are considered Romance books and have their own section.

The problem, for me, is that I’ve long held Romance novels to be the domain of silver haired golden girls. I couldn’t just roll up to the Romance section and have other people see me searching the shelves for a book to read! I strolled past, like I was just passing through, and quickly dipped down to pick one up – luckily the Ws fell at the end of the row.


Me, sneaking into the Romance section

I’ve since returned a couple of times (for more) and every time I get the same feeling. I actually stopped and checked out some of the authors the other day and realized that I had looked for some of these authors in the past but never found them because I never go to the Romance section.

And this got me thinking: why the hell is there a romance section? And how are these decisions made? Jane Fallon, Jane Green and Sophie Kinsella are not Romance but Nora Roberts and Beatriz Williams are?

What about Danielle Steele? I’ve definitely seen her books in the regular fiction section.

The thing is, there are probably loads of readers that have never read work by authors they might really enjoy because they’ve been relegated to this Romance ghetto. I used to bypass the crime fiction/mystery section for the same reason. I thought that those books were only for old people (why am I so ageist?!) and gave them a pass until I started reading Agatha Christie several years ago. Crime fiction is still fiction. Romance novels are still fiction. Fantasy is still fiction.

Graphic novels – those can have their own section, that’s totally fine.

Why can’t they all live together in one big fiction section?

If you know the actual reason, please tell me!


Library Checkout: March 2016


Each month, Shannon @ Rivercity Reading does a library useage rundown and invites all of us to do the same.

I wrote this post. And then I realized that my library use in March was pathetic so I rectified it immediately. It started with wanting to return the books so others could love them and ended with a new pile of 5 books. A conservative stack, really.

Herewith, March, the library and me:

Library Books Read
Jennie Churchill: Winston’s American Mother by Anne Sebba
The Sisters: Babe Mortimer Paley, Betsy Roosevelt Whitney, Minnie Astor Fosburgh: The Lives and Times of the Fabulous Cushing Sisters by David Grafton
The Mathematician’s Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer
In the Woods by Tana French
Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie

Checked Out, To be Read
The Slap by Christos Tsoikos
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johanson
Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell
After Alice by Gregory Maguire
Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea (sounds like Crazy Rich Asians in Saudi Arabia!!)
The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams

Returned, Unread
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Color Purple by Alica Walker

On Hold
None. When I wrote this before I was like “no holds, I’m boring, sorry.” But now I have all these new books to read and I’m stoked.

What did your library reading look like in March?



Library Checkout: November 2015

We’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving up here in Canada but since this will go up on American Thanksgiving, just wanted to wish all of you celebrating a happy, delicious day with your loved ones.

I know I’m super thankful to Shannon at Rivercity Reading for starting this handy little library love chain letter because it means I don’t have to think about content for a blog post! And of course, I’m so thankful to have such wonderful libraries close to home because they continue to support my love of reading without devastating my bank account.

Let’s get to it!


Library Books Read

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
Broken Harbour by Tana French
Snobs by Julian Fellowes
The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

It felt like I had a strong library reading month but actually, I just had a strong library visiting month. I did manage to read these before my crippling inability to CHOOSE a book handcuffed me. (Anyone else feeling this right now? I dread finishing books because I have to DECIDE what I’m going to read next and I don’t want to make the “wrong” choice. As if there’s such a thing.)

Checked Out, To Be Read

The Wife, The Maid and the Mistress by Arial Lawhon
Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie
The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra (I thought I had A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Chelsey, but I don’t! This is the one I grabbed)
Carol by Patricia Highsmith

For some reason when it’s time to choose a new book and I look at these books I don’t want to read any of them. But I have the same issue with all the books I have yet to read, the ones I’ve borrowed and my own. What is happening?

Returned Unread

The Bishop’s Man by Linden McIntyre

I started reading it, was looking forward to reading it in fact. But nothing about it hooked me and after 60 pages I decided that actually I wasn’t in the mood to read about the horrible things priests did to kids that the Church did nothing about.

On Hold

Still nothing! I don’t deserve to get to hold anything – I was late returning some of the books and now I owe $0.60.

What did your library month look like? Any tips for healing my choosing paralysis? 



Library Love

It’s October (late October at that, how did this even happen?!) and I’ve managed to read 120 books. OK fine, 119. But I’m reading book 120 right now.

And lest you think this is just a chance for me to brag about that, there is actually a point.

The library.

Of the 120 books this year (yeah I’m rounding up – by the time this goes up, I will be finished with The Library at Mount Char), 26 have come from the library. Now, math has never been my strong suit but that’s 22% of the total. That’s a pretty big chunk.

Last year, when I was planning my wedding, the library became part of my regular routine because it was a free way to get fresh reading material. Once the dust had settled on that event, I went a little insane buying new material. I’ve always been someone who likes to buy books. I enjoy having them, I like lending them (to some people) and I love looking at them. Certain books hold really strong memories too – of when I read them, what was going on in my life at the time, how I reacted to a certain book.

But something shifted with me this year. I don’t know if it’s because books are quite literally taking over my home, if it’s that I’m getting older and am starting to shift away from having stuff or if maybe I’m starting to read faster and I can’t keep up with the need for new material (can you imagine finishing a book and having nothing on hand to start on?) but I’ve needed my library in a way that I didn’t before.

I LOVE my library.


I love that there’s one around the corner from my office. It has completely removed that old obstacle of returning books on time. When I finish a book, I bring it to work and it sits on my desk until a day when I have enough of them and I walk over to bring them back. And usually walk out with a new stack.

I love the selection at my library. I love that I can walk in and out with fresh new reads with very little effort. If I have more time, I can wander. I will probably never run out of great mysteries to read there. I love that they take their recommendations so seriously – those librarians know their stuff.

I love how quiet it is in the library. I find being around people exhausting. Partially, I mostly hate other people but I also tend to take on other people’s emotions so just being around people drains me. I’m physically exhausted from being social. The library lays no claims to me this way. It allows me to exist, quietly, whispering great titles at me, knowing just what I need.

I love that there’s no judgment. Taking a stack of 8-10 books? Good for you. Reading about the Nazis? It’s important not to forget! Is that a pile of Maeve Binchy/Jane Green/other author people roll their eyes at? We all have our favourites!

I love the idea that when I return a book I love, someone else has the opportunity to find it.

Makes you want to go to your library doesn’t it? Libraries are one of the best things in life – the chance to read widely and freely (literally) is completely underrated. I have two library due dates right now but once that first one passes, you better believe I will be in there looking for another stack.


Library Checkout: September 2015

Shannon at Rivercity Reading is doing a little Library Checkout link-up thingy and since I can’t seem to stop myself from going to the library and picking up more books, I thought I might as well put my book insatiability to work!


Library Books Read
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

Checked Out, To Be Read
Girl at War by Sara Novic
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith
The Woman Who Stole My Life
(I realize we’ve covered this before)
Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Returned Unread
Nothing yet!

On Hold
Nothing anymore – I went to pick up The Weight of Blood and came home with two more! It’s looking like I’m going to have to quit my job or something just so I can actually read all these books in this lifetime.

Care to join us?


Book Gluttony: The Library Trip

I did it again. I ignored the piles of unread books in my own house to take a trip to the library and bring home another pile of books to read.

I could take the time to unpack what is wrong with me that I can’t seem to be happy with the riches already in my home and insist on making my reading life that much more chaotic (to say nothing of the physical piles of chaos I’ve created in our home…) but who wants to do that?

Want to hear about the bookish treasure I took home instead?

That’s what I thought. Read on, book lovers!

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. I’ve been wanting and meaning to read this book ever since it came out but for whatever reason, every time I pick it up in a bookstore, I’ve put it down again. But hey, I work in communications, it might not be a bad idea to finally read this book about the “renaissance of public shaming” via social media.

Girl at War by Sara Novic. I keep seeing this book and reading about it and it kind of jumped out at me at the library so I brought it home. This book about the war in Yugoslavia and it’s aftermath on our heroine, Ana Juric holds a personal connection for me: my father was a peacekeeper in that conflict. I’m not sure that I’ve ever read any fiction about this area and I’m glad for the opportunity to remedy that.

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith. I can’t seem to quit him. And after reading the most recent Isabel Dalhousie novel (The Novel Habits of Happiness) I decided that I’d been harsh on this series based on the first book. This is the second book in the series and I’m excited to potentially have another mystery series to love.

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes. I LOVE Marian Keyes. I’m pretty sure I own all of her books. I meant to buy this one. But every time I almost did it, I stopped myself. When I saw it at the library, I thought to myself why do I need to own this book? Why not just take it home now? So that’s exactly what I did.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Earlier this year I read and LOVED China Dolls. I’m hoping that Shanghai Girls is more of the same. Shanghai in the 1930s always seems like the most elegant place, until it all falls to sh*t of course.

Well there you have it. Are you marvelling at my self restraint? I only brought home FIVE books, guys. I can totally get through a pile of five books. I was actually incredibly selective when I went this time. I spent a lot of time in non-fiction but there was nothing there that I had to read immediately. Actually it just made me feel bad that I had books by A.N. Wilson and Judith Flanders already sitting at home since I glanced at some of their other work and almost brought them home too…

Also. There’s a teachers weekend at one of the big bookstores up here, the weekend of the 26th and I’ve already had one of the teachers in my book club offer to take advantage of that on my behalf so the book gluttony isn’t slowing down any time soon…