I got to thinking the other day, with all the trips I’ve made to the library over the first quarter of this year, I’ve yet to do a Library Loot posting for 2013. Well, time to remedy that. Here’s a brief summary of the books I recently grabbed from the shelves of my local public library. As you can see, a number of these books count towards a few reading challenges I’m taking part in this year. Since I’m also participating in the Book Dragon Lair’s Library Books Reading Challenge, of course all of the books you see here count towards that challenge.
The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World by Kati Marton – Not only do I find books about Jewish history hard to resist, harder still to resist are books about people who helped change the world. Can’t wait to start this one.
Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend by Barbara Oakley – This one has been on my to read for about five years. When I found it on the library shelf one afternoon I said enough is enough and grabbed it. Something tells me I won’t be disappointed
Best European Fiction 2013 edited by Aleksandar Hemon – Last year was the first year I participated in Rose City Reader’s European Reading Challenge and since I had such a good time. I’m doing it again this year. While most of the books I read as part of her challenge focus on mainly one particular country, I’m treating this recent anthology as a kind of “pan-European” selection.
Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes’ Secret Plot to Capture Rome from the New Italian State by David I. Kertzer – Another book for the European Reading Challenge. This might make a nice companion read to Mike Rapport’s 1849: Year of Revolution.
An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain by Diane Ackerman – After having pretty good luck with Ackerman’s The Zookeeper’s Wife, I thought I’d give another one of her books a try. Might go well with all the books on disease I’ve been reading of late.
Kingdom of Strangers: A Novel by Zoë Ferraris – I don’t read a lot of fiction but when I do I prefer stuff with an international flavor. After enjoying the last whodunnit I read, I’m hoping this murder mystery set in Saudi Arabia will be an equally entertaining read. Plus, it counts as part of the Middle East Reading Challenge.
Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity by Rebecca Goldstein – Like I mentioned earlier, I enjoy Jewish history. After having enjoying Elie Wiesel’s Rashi, Sherwin Nuland’s Maimonides and Deborah Lipstadt’s The Eichmann Trial, I’m hoping this 2006 offering from Jewish Encounters doesn’t let me down.
Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novel by Gaile Parkin – Another piece of fiction with an international flavor. Set in the small African nation of Rwanda, I grabbed this one for Mysteries in Paradise’s Global Reading Challenge.
Images of Muhammad: Narratives of the Prophet in Islam Across the Centuries by Tarif Khalidi – I grabbed this book with hopes it might be something like Omid Safi’s Memories of Muhammad: Why the Prophet Matters. Another book for the Middle East Reading Challenge.
Crete by Barry Unsworth – I don’t know a lot about the island of Crete, but it sounds like an interesting place. Yet another book for the European Reading Challenge.
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett – I love books about books. A book about people who steal books and the detectives who try to stop them? Count me in.
I doubt any of you would disagree with me if I said that these 12 books are a promising lot. Hopefully, with a little bit of luck and a good deal of hard work (not to mention excellent time management) I can make it through as many of these books as possible before I have to return them to the library. (Luckily, my library allows me to renew items multiple times. Otherwise I seriously doubt I’d be able to read so many library books year in and year out.) This is a neat-looking collection of books I’ve chosen. I can’t wait to start reading them.