Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire fromThe 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. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
Today I went to the library; I went expecting to check out three respective books but I came home with 7 books. All of them except for one of them are already on my TBR list so hopefully I’ll get through them all because I do want to read all of them eventually. Here are the books I got:
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Classic; 1,017 pages
Bleak House is a satirical look at the Byzantine legal system in London as it consumes the minds and talents of the greedy and nearly destroys the lives of innocents–a contemporary tale indeed. Dickens’s tale takes us from the foggy dank streets of London and the maze of the Inns of Court to the peaceful countryside of England. Likewise, the characters run from murderous villains to virtuous girls, from a devoted lover to a “fallen woman,” all of whom are affected by a legal suit in which there will, of course, be no winner. (from Goodreads)
I’m reading this in February as part of the 2013 “I’ve Always Meant to Read that Book” Challenge. I’ll admit it, I’m quite intimidated as the prospect of reading the entire thing in one month, and in the shortest month of the year too. But I’m determined to try, wish me luck!
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Non-fiction; 544 pages
In Bryson’s biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand — and, if possible, answer — the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining. (from Goodreads)
I’ve read only a few of Bryson’s books but I’ve enjoyed them. The library only had a copy of this book in large-print, which I don’t particularly care for. I’m reading this book as part of a group read-along starting next week and ending in mid-February.
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
Fiction; 343 pages
Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the United States to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn’t the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village–they’ve all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men–her own “Siete Magníficos”–to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over. (from Goodreads)
I’ve had this book on my TBR list for awhile. I happened upon it face up in the non-fiction section and so I took it as a sign and checked it out.
All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year Long Journey with Jane by Amy Elizabeth Smith
Non-fiction; 385 pages
With a suitcase full of Jane Austen novels en espanol, Amy Elizabeth Smith set off on a yearlong Latin American adventure: a traveling book club with Jane. In six unique, unforgettable countries, she gathered book-loving new friends– taxi drivers and teachers, poets and politicians– to read Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice.
Whether sharing rooster beer with Guatemalans, joining the crowd at a Mexican boxing match, feeding a horde of tame iguanas with Ecuadorean children, or tangling with argumentative booksellers in Argentina, Amy came to learn what Austen knew all along: that we’re not always speaking the same language– even when we’re speaking the same language. (from Goodreads)
Gosh, I can’t wait to read this book. It seems like a perfect introduction to the challenge I set myself to read the first three of Austen’s novels this year!
The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer
Non-fiction; 432 pages
Have you lost the art of reading for pleasure? Are there books you know you should read but haven’t because they seem too daunting? In The Well-Educated Mind, Susan Wise Bauer provides a welcome and encouraging antidote to the distractions of our age, electronic and otherwise. In her previous book, The Well-Trained Mind, the author provided a road map of classical education for parents wishing to home-school their children, and that book is now the premier resource for home-schoolers. In this new book, Bauer takes the same elements and techniques and adapts them to the use of adult readers who want both enjoyment and self-improvement from the time they spend reading.
The Well-Educated Mind offers brief, entertaining histories of five literary genres—fiction, autobiography, history, drama, and poetry—accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type. The annotated lists at the end of each chapter—ranging from Cervantes to A. S. Byatt, Herodotus to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich—preview recommended reading and encourage readers to make vital connections between ancient traditions and contemporary writing. (from Goodreads)
I don’t really have much to say about this book; I just want to reads it!
Non-fiction; 277 pages
For the bestselling miscellany market, an NPR librarian’s compendium of fascinating facts on history, science, and the arts
How much water do the Great Lakes contain? Who were the first and last men killed in the Civil War? How long is a New York minute? What are the lost plays of Shakespeare? What building did Elvis leave last? Get the answers to these and countless other vexing questions in a “All Facts Considered.” Guaranteed to enlighten even the most seasoned trivia buff, this treasure trove of “who knew?” factoids spans a wide range of intriguing subjects.Written by noted NPR librarian Kee Malesky, whom Scott Simon has called the “source of all human knowledge”Answers questions on history, natural history, science, religion, language, and the arts Packed with valuable nuggets of information, from the useful to the downright bizarre, (from Goodreads)
I love random facts of all kinds- I can’t wait to browse through this!
Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale
Non-fiction; 320 pages
Headstrong, high-spirited, and already widowed, Isabella Walker became Mrs. Henry Robinson at age 31 in 1844. Her first husband had died suddenly, leaving his estate to a son from a previous marriage, so she inherited nothing. A successful civil engineer, Henry moved them, by then with two sons, to Edinburgh’s elegant society in 1850. But Henry traveled often and was cold and remote when home, leaving Isabella to her fantasies.
No doubt thousands of Victorian women faced the same circumstances, but Isabella chose to record her innermost thoughts—and especially her infatuation with a married Dr. Edward Lane—in her diary. Over five years the entries mounted—passionate, sensual, suggestive. One fateful day in 1858 Henry chanced on the diary and, broaching its privacy, read Isabella’s intimate entries. Aghast at his wife’s perceived infidelity, Henry petitioned for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Until that year, divorce had been illegal in England, the marital bond being a cornerstone of English life. Their trial would be a cause celebre, threatening the foundations of Victorian society with the specter of “a new and disturbing figure: a middle class wife who was restless, unhappy, avid for arousal.” Her diary, read in court, was as explosive as Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, just published in France but considered too scandalous to be translated into English until the 1880s. (from Goodreads)
This is the one book that I borrowed that was not on my TBR list. I read Summerscale’s The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective which I own and enjoyed immensely. So when I saw it on the shelf, I grabbed it.
Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? What did you get from the library this week?