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.
This afternoon I went to the library! Here’s what I got:
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Classic; 601 pages
Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Here Steinbeck created some of his most memorable characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity; the inexplicability of love; and the murderous consequences of love’s absence. (from Goodreads)
Don’t have much to say about this one. I’m reading it for a challenge this month but I’m not really looking forward to it. Also, I didn’t realize that it was so long!
Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War by Sebastian Faulks
Classic; 483 pages
Set before and during the great war, Birdsong captures the drama of that era on both a national and a personal scale. It is the story of Stephen, a young Englishman, who arrives in Amiens in 1910. Over the course of the novel he suffers a series of traumatic experiences, from the clandestine love affair that tears apart the family with whom he lives, to the unprecedented experiences of the war itself. (from Goodreads)
The April theme over at the Classics Club for events is war, and someone is hosting a reading along if this! I really want to join but I just don’t know if I will have the time. I’m hoping to at least start it and if necessary to finish it in May, so we’ll see!
In the Wake of the Plague: the Black Death and the World It Made by Norman Cantor
History; 245 pages
The Black Death was the fourteenth century’s equivalent of a nuclear war. It wiped out one-third of Europe’s population, taking some 20 million lives. And yet, most of what we know about it is wrong. The details of the Plague etched in the minds of terrified schoolchildren—the hideous black welts, the high fever, and the awful end by respiratory failure—are more or less accurate. But what the Plague really was and how it made history remain shrouded in a haze of myths.
Now, Norman Cantor, the premier historian of the Middle Ages, draws together the most recent scientific discoveries and groundbreaking historical research to pierce the mist and tell the story of the Black Death as a gripping, intimate narrative. (from Goodreads)
Yay for research!
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
Non-fiction; 316 pages
A National Book Award finalist and National Book Critics Circle finalist, Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy is a remarkable view into North Korea, as seen through the lives of six ordinary citizens. “Nothing to Envy” follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years — a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today — an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects — average North Korean citizens — fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival.”Nothing to Envy” is a groundbreaking addition to the literature of totalitarianism and an eye-opening look at a closed world that is of increasing global importance. (from Goodreads)
Reading this for a group read this month. The first check-in actually two days from now so I probably won’t be all the way caught up but I am really excited to read this one!
Sense and Sensibility: Authorative Text, Contex, and Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition) by Jane Austen
Classics; 410 pages
The text is that of the 1813 Second Edition (the origins of which can be traced back to 1795). The text is fully annotated and is accompanied by a map of nineteenth-century England. “Contexts” explores the personal and social issues that loom large in Austen’s novel: sense, sensibility, self-control, judgment, romantic attachments, family, and inheritance. Included are writings by Adam Smith, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, Hannah Moore, and Maria Edgeworth. “Criticism” collects six early and twelve modern assessments of the novel. Contributors include Alice Meynell, Reginald Farrer, Jan Fergus, Raymond Williams, Marilyn Butler, Mary Povey, Claudia L. Johnson, Gene Ruoff, Patricia Meyer Spacks, Isobel Armstrong, Mary Favret, Deidre Shauna Lynch, Eve Sedgwick, and Deborah Kaplan. A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are included. (from Goodreads)
This is the only copy of Sense and Sensibility that my library had. Besides the novel, included are footnotes, maps, a ‘context’ section that explores social issues at the time of the novel, and essays on the book itself. Interesting!
Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human by Elizabeth Hess
Science; 384 pages
Could an adorable chimpanzee raised from infancy by a human family bridge the gap between species—and change the way we think about the boundaries between the animal and human worlds? Here is the strange and moving account of an experiment intended to answer just those questions, and the astonishing biography of the chimp who was chosen to see it through.
Dubbed Project Nim, the experiment was the brainchild of Herbert S. Terrace, a psychologist at Columbia University. His goal was to teach a chimpanzee American Sign Language in order to refute Noam Chomsky’s assertion that language is an exclusively human trait. Nim Chimpsky, the baby chimp at the center of this ambitious, potentially groundbreaking study, was “adopted” by one of Dr. Terrace’s graduate students and brought home to live with her and her large family in their elegant brownstone on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Drawing on interviews with the people who lived with Nim, diapered him, dressed him, taught him, and loved him, Elizabeth Hess weaves an unforgettable tale of an extraordinary and charismatic creature. His story will move and entertain at the same time that it challenges us to ask what it means to be human, and what we owe to the animals who so enrich our lives. (from Goodreads)
This was a total impulse grab from the shelf but it seems interesting!
What have you checked out from the library recently?