Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Library Loot

The recently established library in my small town is microscopic. Case in point: any title not aimed at children is placed in one of two sections, fiction and non-fiction. That's how little material these humble shelves hold. It wasn't until I discovered they miraculously had a copy of The Name of The Rose, and just in time for my recent readathon, that I bothered obtaining a card. 

As a compulsive book buyer, I generally prefer to purchase my books. The temporary non-existence of my book budget has compelled me to seek new titles in frugal ways. Though books aren't as plentiful as I would like them to be, I was surprised at how many of the library's titles called to me. I entered intending to get a card, check out the Eco novel and leave.

Somehow I left with an additional six titles. Whoops. I'm not sure how it happened. The chance of completing these texts before their impending due date is as probable as the library suddenly ballooning overnight. But it's nice to have options. I've discovered there's a great deal of satisfaction in walking away from a library, a goldmine of literature tucked under my arm, with the knowledge that I didn't pay for them! Free books for everybody!

Until the inevitable late fines accrue. Oh, late fees, I wish I knew how to quit you.

So, in this addition to the Library Loot event hosted by Claire and Marg, here are the treasures I've borrowed this week.

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer

After posting a request for Georgette Heyer recomendations, I shrieked with delight when I found two of her novels on the shelf. (But only on the inside. I wouldn't wish to disturb other book fiends.) The dear friend who kindly gave me Frederica as a gift also had Sylvester, or The Wicked Uncle highly recommended to her, and it's also a favourite of Claire's (otherwise known as The Captive Reader). I can't wait to dig into this one!

Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I studied some Barrett Browning for my dissertation and came to the conclusion that she's currently underrated. It seems like people feel the need to take sides and camp with Team Elizabeth or Team Robert. Can't we just acknowledge that both are wonderful in their own unique way?

Poetry has been calling to me as of late, and this volume is on my Classics Club list. Many birds, one stone.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Although this one was frequently requested when I worked at the bookstore, but I never paid it much heed apart from taking note of the unusual title. Whenever a customer said they were looking for a book with a strange title, something about Guernsey or potatoes, I knew exactly to what they were referring.

Since my dear friend said it reminded her of me I've been dying to read it. And I love epistolary narratives. I don't care how many people diss them!

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs by Alexander McCall Smith

Speaking of unusual titles, this novel surely wins the prize for most fabulous title of the century. At the very least it should be nominated. Though I've heard some enthusiastic McCall Smith recommendations, I would be lying if I said that's why I picked this little book off the shelves. This selection is entirely based on the awesome title and the fact that there's a cute little dog on the cover. I can never resist a cute dog. Seriously, never.

Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly

In the past few months I've come across some pirate documentaries on The History Channel that have been vastly entertaining and educational. When I learned that while pirate law forbade the presence of women on the ship there were still famous female pirates, my curiosity increased ten fold. Girl power?

Hopefully I'll be able to pick more fascinating fun facts from this work of non-fiction.

Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure by Emma Campbell Webster

This specimen of Jane Austen kitsch looked too hilarious to pass up. I have yet to fully look into it, but merely flipping through has led me to some statements that are comical in their absurdity: 'Add "Insufficient Knowledge of Embroidery" to your list of Failings. This has seriously compromised your chances of attracting a rich husband.'

Oh, dear. Is this why I'm single? Should I stick to my sampler and forget the books?

As you see I am spoiled for choice. What are you reading this week?


Jillian said...

Ha ha -- I might have to check out that Lost in Austen book. It soundshilarious. AndI LOVE Choose Your Own Adventure!! Great loot. :)

Jillian said...

Wow. I really didn't proof read that at all, did I? Or, as it appears I prefer to say:

WowIreallydidn'tproof readthatat alldid I ?


Karen K. said...

I swear this is the fourth blog post to include Heyer I've read this week! Coincidence? I think not! So far I've read four by Heyer, three of which were Regency novels. I liked The Quiet Gentlemen and The Grand Sophy the best so far.

Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

Your library may be small but they certainly have some fun books! Do they all you to do inter-library loans? That might help once you've worked through what little stock they have.

Obviously, I can only applaud your choice of Sylvester and I do hope you like it! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a lovely, cosy read and I love McCall Smith's von Igelfeld books (I actually just read the newest one a couple of weeks ago). von Igelfeld is not for everyone but I love him; he's like a Germanic Fraiser Crane, only far more socially incompetent. Enjoy your loot!

Charlotte said...

I love epistolary novels too - looking forward to hearing what you think of these :)

Diana said...

Jillian: Idon'tknow what you'retalking about,itlooks finetome. ;)

I'll let you know what I think of Choose Your Own Adventure when I've had a proper look at it. But the bits I've read have cracked me up!

Diana said...

Karen: Thanks for your Heyer suggestions! Looking forward to reading them. I guess Heyer Fever is making its way around the book blogosphere. :)

Diana said...

Claire: A Germanic Frasier Crane sounds utterly delightful. I loved watching that show growing up and felt quite chuffed with myself each time I got a cultural joke (that this fueled my intellectual ego demonstrates how few them got through to me).

My library does offer inter-library loan services but the fee puts me off. Like, if I'm forced to pay money to read a book, why not pay a bit more and keep it FOREVER. (Yes, I am very possessive of my books. It's a quirk.) I'd probably only request a title from another library if I'm confident it's something I wouldn't want to reread and share with others.

Diana said...

Charlotte: Epistolary Narrative Fans Unite! (Try saying that five times quickly.) I confess I don't quite understand why people hate them so much.

Yes, it's rather unrealistic for someone to memorize entire conversations verbatim then commit it to what must be pages and pages of handwritten letters/journals/etc. But there's a lot about literature that's not strictly realistic, even in realism. Just go with it, readers. Embrace the epistolary form! :)

Iris said...

I did the exact same thing with my local library. Since I live in a non-English speaking country, I enver became a member because the shelves with English books are limited. But then I wanted to have a chance to read relatively new books without buying (since I no longer have money for that) and I have been browsing the shelves (and I have found out they have shelves that aren't accessible to the public that hold a lot of older books!) and now I'm sold :)

As for your loot, I have read two of those books. The Guernsey Literary.. is a lovely book :) And I enjoyed the Lost in Austen book, though I wasn't completely sold on finishing it.

Mona said...

I've discovered there's a great deal of satisfaction in walking away from a library, a goldmine of literature tucked under my arm, with the knowledge that I didn't pay for them! Free books for everybody!

I know, isn't it the best feeling? :)

Looks like you have a great stack. I'm in the library typing this right now and I had to restrain myself from LOL-ing when I saw the Lost in Austen book! Hope you njoy your loot!

Diana said...

Iris: a secret section of the library not open to the public? How fabulous and mysterious. I hope you've been finding some good material there!

Diana said...

Mona: Yes! It provides a certain sense of contentment. For the past several years, most of my library check outs have been academic, so I kind of forgot the feeling of getting a just-for-fun book for free. It's fantastic.

I'm glad the Lost in Austen quote amused you, even if you almost LOLed in the library. :)

Violet said...

Put 'Devil's Cub' on your Heyer list. And 'The Nonesuch', 'The Reluctant Widow', and 'Faro's Daughter'. I've read all Heyer's Regency novels many times. :] I've never found another writer who gets the period detail so spot on. I love Potato Pie, and the Sausage Dog book is so hilarious. There's a small series, all worth reading if you come across them. I use the library a lot as I don't buy much fiction. EBB & RB were both wonderful poets. I love their story too. Such a Victorian melodrama. :)

Christine said...

Oh The Guernsey book is just wonderful. I hope you enjoy it!

Diana said...

Violet: Yes, Heyer recreates the Regency period better than any other author I've come across. She sort of renewed my faith in historical fiction from that era.

EBB and RB have a fascinating story. I was lucky enough to read a bit about it when I conducted research on her relationship with her spaniel, Flush. I'd love to explore it more, because it was so intriguing to learn about, and I know I barely scratched the surface!

Diana said...

Christine: Yet another reader who enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society! After hearing so many recommendations, I'm convinced I'll love it, too. :)

Tanya Patrice said...

The library does that to me too - no way I ever come out with just 1 book!

Diana said...

Tanya: I can't leave any literary establishment empty-handed. I swear it's impossible!

Even when I go into a bookstore, telling myself I can't buy anything, I still emerge with purchases. At least with the library I take the books but leave the guilt. :)

amanda @ simplerpastimes said...

I feel absolutely spoiled by the wonderfulness of my library system. Yes, system--complete with multiple branches and the ability to request books from other systems in the state for free! It wasn't until recently that I realized how many libraries aren't as good. I guess I'll have to vote for the library levy this fall...

It's great that you were able to find so many choices though. Beware, you may become a library addict!

Diana said...

Amanda: I wouldn't be surprised if I do become a library addict, especially since I'm temporarily banning myself from purchasing anything. I have to satisfy my bibliophilia somehow!

Your library system sounds incredible. How lucky to have so many wonderful resources at your disposal. :)