Sunday, 30 November 2014

Library Trip #1



I have been very good recently at not acquiring any books at all and just reading from my shelves, but last week the siren song of the library was just too strong.  Giles went asleep in the pushchair on the way, so I had plenty of time to have a good browse and make my selections.  I've gone for four non-fiction and four fiction.  I can't promise that I will end up reading them all, as this stack is rather over-ambitious, but I had fun choosing them.



  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua - Memoir.  I remember the controversy around this parenting book when it came out, and now I have a little one of my own, I'm keen to read it.  Being a 'tiger mother' is all about pushing your children to their limits.  Hopefully this will be thought provoking.
  • There was a Country by Chinua Achebe - History.  I first read about the Biafran War, in which part of Nigeria tried to become independent, in Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun.  This promises to be a personal history of the period by a writer I admire.  I can't wait to get to this one.
  • The Viral Storm by Nathan Wolfe - Science.  Wolfe is a biologist specialising in viruses than can cause pandemics, and this book is all about his work tracking and trying to defeat them.  




  • The Devil Came on Horseback by Brian Steidle - Memoir. Steidle was hired by the African Union to document the genocide in Darfur, and this book is about his experiences.  I'm sure this will be a powerful but difficult read.
  • The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris - Fantasy.  I know next to nothing about Norse mythology, so this retelling by a respected writer seems like a good place to start.
  • The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan - I've read two books by Tan and have had a somewhat mixed experience with her.  I like the sound of the plot of this one, about the daughter of an American forced to become a courtesan.  We shall see.


  • River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay - Fantasy.  I haven't got much idea of the plot of this one, I've just seen it featured on a few lists of more diverse fantasy.
  • Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie - A book I've been meaning to read for the longest time.  Set in the aftermath of 9/11 and the Nagasaki bombings, it promises to be an epic read.

Have you read any of these books?  I'd love to hear your opinions if you have, to help me prioritise which ones to get to first.

18 comments:

  1. Great haul! I've not read any of the books you've listed, but do have the Kay and Tan books sitting on my shelves. FYI - Rivers of Stars is actually a sequel to Under Heaven, although I don't know that one needs to be read before the other.

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    1. Thanks for the heads up about Rivers of Stars. I'll look into reading Under Heaven first, it really bugs me to read things out of order.

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  2. Burnt Shadows sounds particularly intriguing. I hope you enjoy your library picks :) I went to the library a few weeks ago and acquired a nice little pile but, oddly, since having those on my shelves, I've been reading all my own books. Not helpful!

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    1. I think Burnt Shadows is one I will at least try before having to return it. Would love to see a post of your library books :)

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  3. Wow, ambitious indeed. I admit to frequently taking more books out from the library than I can handle, but I refuse to feel guilty about it. I'm planning to take January off from library books to try to read some of my backlog, but it sounds like you did that already. I loved Amy Tan's earlier books but have gone off her recently... maybe you will have better luck with this one. Guy Gavriel Kay is one I would like to pick up as well, and I'm fascinated by Norse mythology so I am intrigued by The Gospel of Loki. Enjoy your books!

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    1. I refuse to feel guilty either, it doesn't cost anything so it doesn't matter if I don't finish all of them/return some unread. I did a similar thing last January, it felt good to catch up with the books on my shelves.

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  4. Burnt Shadows is excellent! I found it in a charity shop a few years ago and loved it. It's not an easy read but it's really worth it.

    I've been meaning to get The Gospel of Loki for a while (not least because the book itself is gorgeous) but haven't got round to it yet so I'll be interested to see what you think!

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    1. I will definitely try Burnt Shadows then :)

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  5. I love that stack! I have a Chinua Achebe book that I have to read but haven't got to it. So I'll be curious to see what you think of the one you borrowed. Also, Kamila Shamsie. I need to read her books!

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    1. Ooh, which Achebe do you have? There's one about his education that I really want to try.

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  6. The great thing about the library is that you can read all or none of the books you check out and you haven't spent a dime! Unless you turn them in late of course. :-0 I haven't read any of these, but I like the diversity. It is a good example for me as I don't read very widely these days.

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    1. Exactly, that's why whenever I feel the urge to just acquire books, I head for the library!

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  7. Looks like a great selection. I've gotten more interested in fantasy lately, so I'd be interested in what you think of those picks--if you make it to any of the fantasies.

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    1. I've been really into fantasy for the last year or so, I'm having fun exploring the genre.

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  8. Lovely haul! I'm also curious to read more about Biafra after Half of a Yellow Sun.

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    1. The Achebe book really intrigues me, it'll be one I at least try. If I enjoy the first few chapters, I'll probably buy the whole thing.

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  9. I really enjoyed the Gospel of Loki! Loki as a narrator is very sassy.

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