reporting all things bookish

Archive for the category “Library Loot”

Library Loot: January 2 to 8

badge-4Library 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 found at The Captive Reader. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

In my post just yesterday, I mentioned that  I would be limiting myself to two library books per visit. Well, dear reader, I have missed that goal completely in my very first visit to the library….but only by one.

Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez has been on my to-read list for quite some time. After a rather complex procedure that involved picking the books off my Goodreads list that most interested me and crosschecking it against availability at my local library, I decided on the Kabul Beauty School.

Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni jumped out at me as I scanned the biographies shelf this evening, so I decided to give it a try.

Trespassers Will be Baptized by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock is the third memoir on the list. This one I found while scanning the shelves in the religion section. My hope is that it is a more an encouraging remembrance of faith with some amusing anecdotes and less a bitter memory of the religion of childhood…but I guess I’ll have to wait and see.



Library Loot: October 24-30

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.

After an incredibly long hiatus, I was back at my local library this week. Admittedly, it wasn’t a “for fun” trip, as I picked up a few titles for a class I am taking, but I was able to pick up one fun read on my trip, and for now, I’ll take it. 🙂 Here’s the loot:

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson

This one is assigned reading for my Management and Church Administration course. It looks pretty interesting, so I am looking forward to reading it.

Other titles for class I took out this week:

Good to Great:Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Managing the Non-profit Organization: Practices and Principles by Peter Drucker

This weeks non-school, non-obligatory read is A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd, the first of the Bess Crawford Mysteries. If you’ll recall, I started with the third book in the series, An Unmarked Grave by mistake, and I am seeking to finally set things right. Although I am only a few chapters in, and know that I will not be disappointed with this choice!



Library Loot: August 15-21

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 (at Claire’s page this week) any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

I’ve been on a bit of a library hiatus, trying not to fill my books with things that aren’t Summer Reading Challenge books or things I need to read and review, but I genuinely missed my weekly library trips, so I decided to reincorporate it into my routine. I reserved a few, and found one I couldn’t help but pick up off the Express (7 day) Shelf. Here’s the loot…

Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 by Madeline Albright was my express pick. Prague Winter was actually my express pick- I really wonder if I’ll be able to complete it in the short 7 day time frame, but I’d like to try. Albright weaves the history of Czechoslovakia in War War II with her own families plight, creating what promises to be an engaging narrative.

I Begin My Life All Over: The Hmong and the American Immigrant Experience by Lillian Faderman is an oral history of Hmong refugees from the country of Laos. It came up as a recommendation on Goodreads…and while I am not sure what book the recommendation was based on, I was intrigued enough to request it from the local library.  It has some excellent reviews, and thoughtfully discusses some critical issues related to immigration.

Help Wanted: Tales from the First Job Front by Sydney Lewis documents the stories of 25 young adults and their first full time jobs. Again, this utilizes the format of oral history as individuals tell their stories. I work in higher education, and recently I’ve observed a number of graduates making their transition from full-time students to full-time employees. It can be a challenging transition, and I am interested to see how it plays out in the histories presented by Sydney Lewis.


Library Loot: August 1-7

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.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted Library Loot because its been a few weeks since I’ve visited the library for any other reason than to return some items. But this week I needed some fresh material, and some reserves I had ordered came in, so I headed down. Here’s the loot:

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnarvon

I am actually listening to this one, which tells the story of the family who resided in Highclere Castle, where Julian Fellowes Downton Abbey is set. Its more than anything a biography of Lady Almina, but its interesting, and so far I’ve actually been able to put a couple of historical events in perspective in my mind, which I always enjoy.

Austenland by Shannon Hale was actually one I set my sights on even before I signed up for Austen in August. According to Amazon, “Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.

Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen—or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?” It looks light and fun and totally counts for an Austen in August post.

What about you? What are you reading this week?

Mailbox Madness: July 22-28

These past two weeks I haven’t been posting my usual Library Loot because, I haven’t actually been to the local library. <Insert looks of shock and horror here> But my mailbox has been surprisingly full of new reads. Here’s the madness:

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay”. fictionalizes the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél’ d’Hiv’ roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand’s family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand’s family, about France and, finally, herself. ” from

This one has been recommended to me several times, and I have picked it up, looked at in the bookstore, and put it back down at least half a dozen times. When it was recommended again more recently, I decided to take a chance and order a copy on

Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Bk. 2) by Alexander McCall Smith. This series came out while I was in grad school, and was wildly popular…but I was just too knee deep in required reading to take a look. My roommate saw the television series developed, and loved it, and wondered what the books were like. Enter the nerdy roommate who will always read the book before watching the movie (me, just in case that’s not obvious), who then decided to read her way through the series. Fortunately, their is

Reality Check by Karen Tuft is a book I received from a book blog giveaway. It was fun receiving a signed copy shipped directly from the author. The book, a fictional spin on the Bachelor, is about Lucy Kendrick, who finds herself signed up to be a contestant on the reality television show Soulmates, the result of some friends matchmaking mischief. What she doesn’t anticipate is being pursued by millionaire bachelor Ethan Glass. Thanks for the copy Karen, I can’t wait to read it!

The End by Mark Hitchcock was sent to me by the Tyndale Media Network for review. Addressing the Biblical prophecies and the end of days, The End intends to be a comprehensive look at the topic. I will admit, I tend to be rather put off by end times literature. To often, it has been a make or break topic in the theological discussions, and to me, that seems slightly over the top. There are a variety of views on the matter, but its not a make or break issue for the Christian faith.

So why am I reading this? Because I think it will be challenging for me, and possibly for those that read this blog. As its a topic I generally avoid, I don’t actually read much about the subject, nor do I really consider my own theological view on the matter. Hopefully, I’ll learn some things and have a chance for reflection.

My final book is A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. I love Mark Twain. His writing is witty and insightful, and I’ve had just a taste of this book. Just enough of a taste that I can’t wait to finish it. I was thrilled when I was able to get a copy off of, as I am pretty convinced this is one I want to own.

Wow. That’s alot of books. No guarantees on the timetable for completion, but know that I will be posting reviews as I finish them.

Review: How to Love An American Man

 How to Love An American Man by Kristine Gasbarre was part of my library loot from this past week. I was intrigued when I saw the title, intrigued enough to add it to my reserve items. When I found myself between books this past weekend, I decided to give it a try.

First of all, I’ll be honest. Its not at all what I anticipated, even having read the description. So we’re both on the same page, here is the books description as it appears on Amazon:

“Kristine Gasbarre made a New York career of dating driven, inaccessible men. When she realizes her love life will never result in happiness if she continues on the same path, she makes a big decision—relocating to Italy to discover her roots and find out what defines her adoring grandpa. But upon receiving the news of his sudden passing, she is lured away.

With nowhere left to go, Krissy returns to her small hometown for the first time in a decade to help care for her grandmother—a refined, private matriarch suffering from early dementia along with the loss of her husband. In her reluctant agreement to share the nearly lost love stories and transformative lessons from her rich sixty-year marriage, Krissy’s grandma becomes the one offering comfort as she coaches her granddaughter through the fear of loving. Grandma’s unapologetic femininity and secret giving spirit opens Krissy’s eyes about relationships, teaching her the single most important requisite for loving a man: first a woman has to learn the power of her own inner beauty.”

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting to be honest, but what I found in the memoir, I loved. Krissy’s intimate conversations with her Grandma Glo on love and her grandmother’s life with her grandfather are something to be treasured, and they seem so healing for both of them as they remember the past, and learn from it together.

Krissy transforms in the year she spends with her family. She increasingly comes to rely on her grandmother’s advice and opinions. And she becomes so much more confident.

As a single woman, I think it was also an interesting read, not that I plan on running out and applying each part to my life. But I have certainly been aware of the temptation to change myself to capture the attention of a man, all the while, wanting him to be the one noticing and pursuing me. If Krissy’s Grandma Glo is right, I’ve had things backwards.

The book was a quick read, but a thoughtful and fun memoir. I would definitely recommend it.

Review: Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James is one of the most enjoyable novels I have read in a long time. This was an impulse selection from a trip to the library a few weeks ago. A friend of mine had recommended it to another friend…and we’ll after observing thier discussion back and forth after both had read it, I couldn’t help picking it up and reading it for myself.

Death Comes to Pemberley reintroduces us to our favorite Jane Austen characters- Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy, Jane, and Mr. Bingley as they have settled after getting married. But tradgedy strikes on the eve of the annual autumn ball as a coach carrying none other than Lydia Wickham comes careening up the drive, and she tumbles out announcing that Wickham has been murdered.

I have been reluctant to read any of the take-offs based on Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice characters, believing that modern day authors would be unable to capture the ton, and knowing I would be disappointed with the story. So what made me take the risk with this one? Well…the two friends who read this are also Jane Austen fan’s and just as snobby as I am. And if they loved it, it was worth a shot.

And it was more than worth a shot. Death Comes to Pemberley is a fantastic read. P.D. James does a phenomenal job of capturing Austen’s beloved characters, not recreating them, but somehow magically capturing Austen’s voice while weaving in a mystery. The plot was intriguing, the characters well done, and the end not quite what I had predicted. Overall, its a fantastic read, and one I would highly recommend.

Library Loot July 11-17

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 link on Marg’s page any time during the week.

I keep promising myself that, really, this week is it, next week, I won’t request quite so many books from the library- I’ll just work on completing my to-be-read pile from last week’s library visit, as well as the to-be-read books from my Summer Reading Challenge list. And then I request a few more…sigh. Clearly, I have a problem.This week, to add insult to injury, not only did I pick up my reserve items, but I also had the audacity to choose a book off of the seven day express shelf. What was I thinking?!

But without any further whining, or justification for my reading (and borrowing) habit, this week’s loot:

How to Love An American Man: A True Story by Kristine Gasbarre

I read a review of this book at some point in the last couple of weeks, and as it is a memoir, and just looked interesting, I couldn’t help reserving it. (In case you haven’t noticed, I kind of have a thing for memoirs and biographies. I love stories of any variety, but I am particularly drawn to real life stories.)

Closing Time by Joe Queenan

Joe Queenan’s autobiography on growing up in Philadelphia in the 1960’s.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

This is the first book in a series set in Rural Ohio Amish farm country. Kate Burkeholder returns to Painters Mill, OH to become the Chief of Police in the town she grew up in. The opportunity to brings her to her home and proves somewhat dangerous as parts of her past are revealed, and secrets long kept are unhidden.

I saw a review of  the third in the series on and was intrigued enough to pick up the first in the series.

My final pick in this week’s loot is my impulse borrow- Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. Last September I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and straight on its heels, discovered an intolerance to corn. For those unfamiliar Celiac is an autoimmune disorder whereby eating gluten, found in wheat, barley, and rye causes an immune system reaction in the small intestine. In me, it was also another factor that was aggravating my asthma.

Wheat Belly, however, is not about Celiac. It’s about the gluten-free diet that is fashionable these days in hip towns like mine, and big cities. Admittedly, the trend annoys me, even as it makes things more available for people like me who refrain from gluten for a good reason. I picked up the book not to make fun of the diet, but to see if I could find out why it is just so appealing. And hey, maybe there will be a fun recipe or two.

My plan tonight is to curl up with my loot for a few weeks ago- Death Comes to Pemberley, a nice cup of decaf earl grey, and some homemade leftover rice pudding. Enjoy this weeks reading, and be sure to check out the loot on other blogs!

Library Loot July 4-10

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 (this week at The Captive Reader) any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

This week, I went to the library on Tuesday night before heading home for my roommate’s birthday dinner. With Anna Karenina on my plate and a rather lengthy list of summer reads, you’d think I’d have enough sense to limit the number of books I am taking out from the library or placing on reserve, but not so much. So… this week’s library loot:

All That I Am by Anna Funder

One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead

Keepsake: A Novel by Kristina Riggle

Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

I happened to read the review of Between You and Me over at 5 Minutes for Books the other day, and was intrigued by it. Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus wrote The Nanny Diaries, which I loved and I was interested partially because I thought this novel would be something in the vein. I started it last night, and its really not. I didn’t get particularly far before I decided to take this one back and request it at a later date. It may be interesting, but when I have so many books to read, it didn’t capture my attention quite enough to stay on the shelf.

The final two books on my reserve list are art books. In case you weren’t able to ascertain this in my weekend recap this past Monday, I LOVE art. The first of these books is about my beloved Metropolitan Museum of Art- Rogue’s Gallery: The Secret Story of the Lust, Lies, Greed, and Betrayal That Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Michael Gross.

The second of these books is The Rescue Artist by Edward Dolnick which tells the story of the theft of Edvard Munch’s The Scream from Norway’s National Art Museum in 1994, and the hunt that followed.

Last summer, I read The Forger’s Spell, also by Dolnick which I found captivating. The world of art crime is certainly one of intrigue, and Edward Dolnick does an incredibly good job of telling it stories. I started The Rescue Artist last night and am already 38 pages in. I have the feeling I’ll be finishing this one rather quickly. 🙂

How about you? Have you picked up anything from the library this week that you’ve enjoyed?

Review: The Calligrapher’s Daughter

The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim falls under multiple categories for me: epic, historical, Asian literature. It the story a Najin who is born in Korea as the Japanese colonize Korea. Her father is very much a traditionalist, a calligrapher for the Korean dynasty, and deeply an artist at heart. Najin flourishes among the changes that occur as a result of the occupation, but maintains her commitment to her Korean culture. It’s a story of love and family and culture.

I struggled a bit with this one as a read, wondering at points if I would give it up. At the beginning the writing was a bit dry and overly laden with details, but as I moved past the first third of the book, it became much more engaging.  Kim has a unique voice, and her writing is good. Aside from incorporating the history and the culture, Kim also writes the book from several perspectives, which is both frustrating and fascinating. Primarily the story is told from Najin’s perspective, but at times she shifts perspectives to the mother, father, and brother. The shifts add much more depth to the story as it layers the details in a creative and unexpected way.

This book really surprised me. I think I was expecting a straightforward read about a specific story taking place in a specific time in Korean history. This story had those elements, but the author did so much more with them. If you like Asian literature along the lines of Amy Tan and Lisa See it is certainly one to consider.

Post Navigation