Library Loot, August 10-16

It’s been one of those weeks. One of those weeks where you feel dissatisfied with everything in your life, including every single book you try to read. I abandoned many books this week, even those I had made a good start in or was really looking forward to. I tossed Franny and Zooey by the wayside after I got bored with Zooey’s horrible treatment of his mom, sent The Lantern on to the next reader when I realized I was not in the mood for flowery writing, and brutally rejected countless other unworthy novels. The only thing that has seemed to hold my interest this week is the biography of the Kennedy White House I am currently racing through.

So, my library loot only contains three books this week. These are the three that made it home and have stayed home with me and that I hope to start soon.

1. The Best American Short Stories of 2010 edited by Richard Russo. I always like reading at least a few selections from this collection every year. This edition contains stories from Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan, one of my personal favorites Lauren Groff and Orange Prize winner Tea Obreht.

2. Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter. I really don’t know much about this epic novel, but it was on the best seller list in 1962 and so qualifies to be read due to my current obsession with this era.

3. The Siege by Helen Dunmore. I’ve read so many positive reviews of this novel that is set during the siege of Leningrad and of Helen Dunmore’s other novels that I thought I’d try it. After reading Snowdrops, in which a major character briefly talks of her experiences during the siege I’ve had an interest in reading more about this horrible tragedy.

What have you taken out of the library this week? What do you do when you have a reading slump?

Library Loot, August 3 – 9

This week’s loot reflects my current passion for everything early ’60’s. I started watching Mad Men last week and I am infected. I’d never had any interest in Mad Men before now, but found myself watching the first season one evening when there was not much else on TV. I’ve now made it to the end of season 2 and have re-discovered my interest in this fascinating time in America’s history. I say re-discovered because I did have a previous interest in this time period during my teen years. It started when I was spending the summer with my grandparents and found some vintage copies of Vogue in my grandma’s storage closet. They covered the years from about 1961-66 and I was enthralled. I hauled them all out of their dusty boxes and looked at them over and over and over again throughout the summer. I wish I would have had the foresight to ask my grandma if I could have them, but I didn’t and they are long gone. The images stayed with me, however, and now I am revisiting my interest in the early ’60’s.

Here’s this week’s loot (with help from my cat Mabel and her spooky eyes):

1. The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and His Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O’Hagan. This is the story of the last two years of Marilyn Monroe’s life told by her dog, Maf. I started it last night and it is very quirky and …. different. It’s very hard to describe, but I’m enjoying it.

2. Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House by Sally Bedell Smith. You can’t read about the early ’60’s without reading about the Kennedys.

3. Mad Men: The Illustrated World by Dyna Moe. A tongue-in-cheek look at the habits, fashion and alcohol of Mad Men.

4. The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. Published in 1958, it showed up on the NYT Best Seller list in 1960.

5. Mad Men, Season 4. I probably won’t get to season 4 for a week or so, but I am greedy and didn’t want anyone to get it before me!

What are you passionate about this week?

Library Loot, July 27 – August 2

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Here are my library check-outs for this week.

From the top:

1. Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland. I have no particular interest in this, but I saw it on the shelf and thought it looked like something I can get totally captivated by. We’ll see… Has anyone read it?

2. Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch. Orange Prize nominee, Booker Prize long listed, and it has the sound of a rambunctious and exuberant story. I’m very much looking forward to it!

3. The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper. This is the sequel to A Brief History of Montmoray which I finished a few days ago and will post about soon. The first novel was a completely absorbing read and I can’t wait to start this sequel.

4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I got a wild hair the other day and impulsively checked this out. I read it a lifetime ago when I was a teen and Sylvia Plath seemed romantic. I admit I still have a tiny obsession with her!

5. Snowdrops by A.D. Miller. I started reading this Booker long lister last night and am smitten! Decadent, treacherous, cynical Moscow – not my usual fare, but fascinating and witty.

Oooh, my list is making me jealous of myself! I think I brought home some outstanding titles this week. What have you taken out of your library recently?

Library Loot July 13 – 19

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

I only came home with 5 books this week, which is kind of a miracle for me as I work in a library and usually take home many more books than just five.

From the top:

1. Giant by Edna Ferber. I’ve been wanting to read Ferber since the spring when I read about her in Elaine Showalter’s excellent literary history A Jury of Her Peers. I suggested Ferber for Katrina at Pining for the West’s CPR Book Group,  yet I still haven’t read her. I started this book tonight and am thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s a family saga set among rich Texas ranchers – what’s not to love?

2. Daphne by Justine Picardie. Helen from She Reads Novels wrote an enticing review of this last week and I immediately placed a request for it to be sent from our main branch.

3. A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper. This young adult novel has been on my TBR for a while and I finally picked it up when I realized that I haven’t read a YA novel since May. This has been compared to I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and it definitely has the same structure (a series of diary entries) but seems to be a bit more melancholy and dark.

4. Night and Day by Virginia Woolf. I was tempted into checking this out as it is one of the first novels mentioned in (see below)

5. A Very Great Profession by Nicola Beauman. I’ve always wanted to read this history of women’s writing from 1914-1939 by the founder of Persephone Books, but copies are expensive on Amazon. I discovered that my local university library had a copy and requested it through ILL. It is pristine – I wonder when it was last checked out? I was so anxious to start it that I surreptitiously read while working the reference desk today, but I promise I didn’t neglect any patrons!

Have you checked anything out from the library this week?