Library Loot

I dropped by the public library the other day to return some books only to grab a few more. Just like last time I selected a pair of books by authors from outside the United States. Penelope Lively is a British resident of London while Yasmina Khadra is the pseudonym of exiled Algerian writer Mohammed Moulessehoul who’s lived in France for years. 

  • Dancing Fish and Ammonites by Penelope Lively – I’ve borrowed this book several times only return it ignored and unread. Needing something representing the United Kingdom for Rose City Reader’s European Reading Challenge I’m hoping this time I finally read it. 
  • The Attack by Yasmina Khadra- Always hard for me to resist novels set in the Middle East, especially by native authors. Harder still if it’s deckle edged

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot icon and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Sharlene’s blog.  

Library Loot

I finished Keith Gessen’s A Terrible Country and still making my way through Karl Tobien’s Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner, the Only American Woman to Survive Stalin’s Gulag. Last night I started Chika Unigwe’s On Black Sisters Street. Yesterday, I drove into town to get my second booster shot and on the way back stopped by the library to return a book. Even though I have a big stack of library books next to my bed I was is still in the mood to grab a few more, especially stuff of an international flavor.  

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot icon and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Sharlenes’ blog.  

These two authors hail from outside United States and are expats. Heather Morris was born in New Zealand but now resides in Australia. Borris Akunin, Russian-Georgian author and longtime resident of Moscow moved to London in 2014. 

  • Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris – While it seems like everyone is gaga over Morris’s The Tattooist Of Auschwitz I’m going to start with her 2019 follow-up. Looks like a good companion to Dancing Under the Red Star
  • Sister Pelagia and the Red Cockerel by Boris Akunin – A Russian cult leader is murdered aboard a steamship en route from Imperial Russia to Ottoman Palestine and it’s up to Sister Pelagia, a Russian Orthodox nun to catch his killer. A historical whodunnit set against the backdrop of 19th century Russian religious millennialism was too much to pass up.

Library Loot: A World of Fiction

I’m almost done with Keith Gessen’s A Terrible Country, I’m a third of a way into Karl Tobien’s Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner, the Only American Woman to Survive Stalin’s Gulag and even though I haven’t touched any of the books from my last library trip I still found myself wanting more. Not just any books, I wanted novels by authors outside the United States, or set in countries outside the United States. Around here we’re starting to hit a stretch of nice spring weather and I’d like to relive those pleasant evenings and weekend afternoons I spent on my porch or deck reading great International fare like Vendela Vida’s The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty, Jennifer Clement’s Prayers for the Stolen or Mahi Binebine’s Horses of God. With that in mind I went looking for fiction of an international flavor.  

Each of are by authors residing outside the United States. Two are American expats, one a native Japanese and the other a Nigerian immigrant living in Belgium. As far as settings go, it’s a fairly diverse lot set in the Jordan, Japan, Belgium and a purposely unspecified “old European city.” 

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot icon and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Claire’s blog.  

  • On Black Sisters Street by Chika Unigwe – A novel about African women forced to work as prostitutes in Antwerp’s red light district doesn’t sound like cheery reading. But the reviews are glowing so I’ll give it a try. 
  • Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino –  I’ve never read anything by a Japanese writer so this will be a first. I’m a sucker for anything set in the early 1970s. 
  • The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon – Set in Amman, Jordan during the early days of the Arab Spring this mystery/thriller involving the wives of two American military personnel sounds promising. 
  • The Apartment by Greg Baxter – An Amazon “Best Book of the Month” for December 2013, this slim 200 page novel set in a Prague-like city sounds like the perfect thing to read on a lazy weekend afternoon. 

As I’m writing this on a Sunday morning the weather looks amazing. I can’t wait to get outside and start reading. 

Library Loot

As the first quarter of 2022 came to a close I realized I haven’t been devoting much attention to my one of my favorite reading challenges. For the better part of a decade I’ve eagerly taken part in Rose City Reader’s European Reading Challenge. Each year I’ve read and reviewed at least a dozen, sometimes two dozen books with each one about, or set it a different European country, or by a different European author. Sadly, for this year’s iteration of the challenge I’ve read just two books: Andrey Kurkov’s  Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches From Kiev and Cristina García’s Here in Berlin. Feeling the need to step up my game, I dropped by the public library and grabbed a small stack of books, each applicable towards the challenge. 

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot icon and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Claire’s blog.  

  • A Terrible Country by Keith Gessen – I’ve been hankering to read some fiction set in Russia. Time Magazine called Gessen’s novel “hilarious” and essential reading for understanding today’s Russia. 
  • A Hero of France by Alan Furst –  As far as historical fiction goes Furst’s Night Soldiers series of novels are my all-time faves. 
  • The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey by Dawn Anahid MacKeen – I’ve been wanting to read something on the Armenian Genocide for a long time. This book might count as Turkey towards the reading challenge. 
  • Encounters and Destinies: A Farewell to Europe by Stefan Zweig – As I continue to read about Central Europe’s Interwar period, I keep coming across references to Zweig. Originally, I thought I’d start with some of his short stories but I found this recently published collection of essays hard to pass up. 

This weekend the rain has returned and believe it or not, we’re expected to experience colder temperatures and even snow flurries. With a forecast like that I think I’ll just hunker down and read a few good books. Maybe even one of these. 

Library Loot

Whenever I need to pause while reading a book I make the foolish mistake of grabbing additional books from the library. So far my attempts to break this bad habit have been completely unsuccessful. Just the other day I took a break from what I’d been reading only to drop by the public library and borrow four more books. As we all know when it comes to library books I have no self control. 

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot icon and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Sharlene’s blog.  

This weekend I’m going to spend an afternoon in the pub with a pint of beer and my nose in a good book. Who knows, I might even end up reading one of these. We’ll just have to see. 

Library Loot

I kept telling myself on the way to the library I was only going to borrow three books. One on the Middle East, one on China and a little something for Rose City Reader’s European Reading Challenge. But after the dust cleared I walked out of there not with three books but eight. As we all know when it comes to libraries I have no self control. 

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot icon and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Sharlene’s blog.  

With the Omicron variant projected to loosen its grip on America I look forward to once again sitting in a pub with a pint of beer and my nose in a good book. Luckily for me, I now have no shortage of quality reading material. 

Library Loot

It should have been a quick trip to the library just to return one book. It ended with me grabbing four more. Even though my nose has been buried in Tony Judt’s 950 page tour de force Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 and there’s a special TBR pile on my desk set aside and ready to go I could not resist borrowing a few more library books. As we all know when it comes to libraries I have no self control. 

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot pic and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Sharlene’s blog.  

With the Omicron variant starting to hammer us and winter weather arriving in full force, fortunately I have no shortage of quality reading material. Can’t wait to get back to my reading. 

Library Loot

All I took was Clair’s recent Library Loot post to inspire me to grab a few more books. Foolish, since I still have a towering stack of previously borrowed books next to my bed. Just like I said last week, when will I ever learn? Probably never. 

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot pic and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Claire’s blog

Library Loot

Even though I’ve been enjoying Erika Fatland’s Sovietistan: Travels in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan I felt I needed a break. But instead of just reading something from the stack of previously borrowed stuff next to my bed I grabbed more library books. Once again, I have more library books on my hands than I know what to do with. When will I ever learn? 

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot pic and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Sharlene’s blog

  • Innocence; or, Murder on Steep Street by Heda Margolius Kovály – Needing something representing the Czech Republic for Rose City Reader’s European Reading Challenge made this one hard to resist. A murder mystery set during the early years of the Communist regime also made it hard to turn down. 
  • The Snows of Yesteryear by Gregor von Rezzori – Born in a part of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire that’s now Ukraine, Rezzori’s novel of family drama during the first decades of the 20th century looks like an entertaining glimpse into a world undergoing unprecedented political and societal change. 
  • Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School by Stuart Jeffries – 20th century intellectual giants Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Jürgen Habermas, and Herbert Marcuse are all associated with this highly progressive and intellectually bold department at Goethe University in interwar Frankfurt. One of my buddies who’s a professor at the local university is always talking about the Frankfort School. Maybe if I read this book I’ll finally understand what the heck he’s talking about.
  • A Feather on the Breath of God by Sigrid Nunez – A novel featuring a protagonist with a Chinese-Panamanian father and a German mother set in the housing projects in the 1950s and 1960s sounds like a fun adventure. 
  • Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging by Alex Wagner – The daughter of a Burmese mother and a white American father traveling around the world in search of answers regarding her ethnic identity is the perfect companion book to Nunez’s above-mentioned novel. 
  • Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin by Ann Patty – After working thirty-five years as a book editor in New York City, Ann Patty said no more and moved to the country. After getting bored with living out in the woods she started studying Latin at the local college. Sounds eerily similar to my life. (Other than I never spent 35 years as a book editor in New York, and I’m not studying Latin at the local college.) 

Library Loot

After finishing Ian Kershaw’s To Hell and Back: Europe 1914-1949 I was feeling adventurous and decided to grab a few more library books. With a towering stack of previously borrowed stuff next to my bed begging to be read one could argue this was a foolish move. But, as well all know I have no self-control whatsoever when it comes to library books. So I might as well make the best of the situation and just keep reading. 

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading to encourage bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write-up your post, steal the Library Loot pic and link your post using the Mr. Linky on Sharlene’s blog