Regular Shelf Love readers will probably know that I’ve been trying to read from my own shelves this year, and so I’ve been avoiding the library. I’m pretty good at leaving the bookstore with nothing more than what I went there for, but the library? No way. I’m only limited by how much I fit in my bag and carry home.
This week, I went to the library for the first time since December. My plan was to pick up Thérèse Raquin for the Zola Classics Circuit and maybe one other book if something caught my eye. Ha! I came home with 10 books. Here’s the run down:
- Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. I’ve been wanting to try Anderson for ages, and I’ve heard good things about this book.
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Ditto above. I just couldn’t decide between these two books, so I brought them both home.
- Seeing by José Saramago. The Double and Blindness are two of my favorite books from recent years, and I’m eager to read more Saramago. This one is actually a sequel to Blindness in which people submit blank ballots in an election.
- The Plays of Tennessee Williams, Volume 4. Includes Sweet Bird of Youth, Period of Adjustment, and Night of the Iguana. In my last Sunday Salon post, I wrote about how I don’t read plays much anymore. In the comments, Frances suggested that I join in on a shared read of Night of the Iguana. I do love Tennessee Williams and haven’t read this play, so I’m thinking about it and got this volume just in case I decide to join in.
- Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. The only Sarah Waters I’ve read is The Little Stranger, which I loved. I have The Night Watch on my shelves, but people seem to consider this her best work. I’m very eager to read it, but I wonder if it would be better to save it for last so her other books don’t suffer by comparison. [Edited to add: I decided to start with Fingersmith.]
- Hush by Jacqueline Woodson. Woodson is another highly regarded YA writer I’ve never read. This book about a family in the witness protection program looks like a good one.
- Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. Yoshimoto is apparently very popular in Japan, but I haven’t heard much about her, other than Eva’s glowing review of this book, which actually contains two separate stories.
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang. A graphic novel comprising three separate but interconnected tales. I’ve had this on my list since it was recommended in an article on graphic novels that I edited over a year ago.
- The Dream by Émile Zola. A lot of people are reading Thérèse Raquin for the Classics Circuit, so I picked this up, just in case Jenny and I decide to alter our plans and read something different.
- Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola. For the Classics Circuit. I’ve never read Zola, and this does look exactly like my kind of book.
Obviously I’m not going to have time to read all of these books before they come due, especially since I am going to continue reading books from my shelf. I decided it would be fun to set up a poll and let you tell me which one I must be sure to read before I have to take them back. So cast your vote, and share your thoughts on any of these books in the comments.
In Other News: The organizers of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, held in September, are looking for people to help plan the festivities for 2010. This was a fun event last year, but I understand that it took a lot of work on the part of the organizers and committee members. One of the things I learned from observing the festivities as a participant (not a helper) is that the book blogging community is huge and that events like this, which are intended to celebrate the whole book blogging community, can only benefit from helpers from many different circles of book bloggerdom. I’ve volunteered to help out, and I hope some of you will too. Visit the sign up post at the BBAW blog if you’re interested.
Notes from a Reading Life
- Once Upon a Time in England by Helen Walsh. A devastating but very well-done novel about an English family and the troubles brought upon them by prejudice and their own tendency to self-destruction.
- Corrag by Susan Fletcher. Brand-new historical fiction about the 1692 Massacre of Glencoe. It’s off to a good start, with a condemned woman looking back on her life, and a series of letters by a minister and Jacobite sympathizer who has gone to learn more of the massacre.
- The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien. The riders of Rohan are headed to battle. Ride on, White Rider!
- The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Stroud (audio). The sequel to The Amulet of Samarkand. The story is getting more complex and political.
- The Ode Less Traveled by Stephen Fry. Lessons in writing poetry. Still plugging away at this. Most weeks, I’m managing one poetry exercise. The most recent was on sonnets.
- A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer. For the Classics Circuit. This will be my first Heyer, and some consider it her best, so I’m excited to read it.
- Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud (audio). The final book in the Bartimaeus trilogy.
- Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo. A novel that is apparently part thriller, part examination of the troubled politics of post-Colonial Kenya.
Books on My Radar
- Siberia by Nikolai Maslov. A graphic novel memoir about life in the U.S.S.R. I’ve come to really like a graphic novel format for memoirs, and I haven’t read much about Soviet life. Reviewed at A Life in Books.
- A Doctor’s Wife by Sawako Ariyoshi. A historical novel about a pioneering Japanese doctor and, most especially, his wife and mother. Reviewed at Whispering Gums.
- Dearest Anne by Judith Katzir. An Israeli novel about a young woman’s coming of age and the complex sexual relationship between her and her teacher. Reviewed at A Striped Armchair.