My Sunday Selection

Today I’m looking at my recent selection of library books.

When I went to my local library this week the librarian had just finished processing a pile of new additions and passed them over to me to look at. I love new library books, so clean and fresh. I chose two out of the pile and then browsed the rest of the books. These are the ones that I brought home:

The two new books are:

Great House by Nicole Krauss. I have her earlier book, The History of Love in my to-be-read piles and I’ve read one or two reviews of this book on book blogs recently and thought it sounded interesting. It’s a story centred around ‘a desk of many drawers that exerts a power over those who possess it or give it away‘ (taken from the book cover).

Being Polite to Hitler by Robb Foreman Dew. I’ve never heard of this book, or the author but the title caught my attention and I wondered what it could be about. It’s set in Ohio in mostly the 1950s and follows the experiences of a widowed schoolteacher and those around her. Described on the book cover as a ‘moving, frank and surprising portrait of post- World War Two America.’

I had gone to the library, specifically to look for books by Nigel Tranter, a Scottish author whose books I’d read many years ago. Reading Katrina’s post on Pining for the West about Right Royal Friend by Nigel Tranter reminded me how much I’d enjoyed them and I wondered if I’d still like them. Tranter wrote very many books, mostly historical fiction based on real people and events. There were several of his books on the shelves and I chose Envoy Extraordinary, set in the 13th century following the lives of Patrick III, Earl of Dunbar and Alexander III. Patrick played a major part in Scotland’s affairs, although he was more interested in the welfare of his people and ‘encouraging the wool production of his sheep-strewn Lammermuir Hills‘. I chose this book because the Lammermuir Hills are not too far from where we live.

The other two books I chose are:

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, a book that had Annie of Senior Common Room ‘hooked’. She wrote:

Aaronovitch brings just the right amount of cynicism about both the police service and the current social climate to his writing and as a result the book is not only very funny but also, despite the magic, recognisably about the world in which we live.  It is also, if you happen to know the parts of London about which he is writing, very well researched.

It’s a mixture of crime and fantasy – Detective Constable Peter Grant is also a trainee wizard, dealing with ‘nests of vampires, warring gods and goddesses of the River Thames and digging up graves in Covent Garden.

A Kind Man by Susan Hill, another one of her novellas, described as ‘a parable of greed and goodness and an extraordinary miracle.’ It’s set in an unspecified time period, but before the National Health Service was set up. I know from the book cover that it is the story of the marriage of Tommy Carr and his wife Eve. Tragedy strikes when their little daughter dies.

10 thoughts on “My Sunday Selection

  1. Being polite to Hitler would have caught my eye, too, that does sound interesting.
    I notice that the books don’t have shelfmarks, that’s unusual. Doesn’t your library use them for fiction books?


    1. No, Jennifer, fiction is shelved in sections, A-Z by author for General fiction, Crime Fiction, Westerns and Science Fiction. Non-fiction is arranged by the Dewey Decimal system.


      1. That’s interesting, I’ve never seen it done like that. The fiction sections in a library are always a quick way to find out what people like to read (my library doesn’t have any Western for example, but lots of Fantasy, Love and Biographies).


  2. The only one of those I’ve read is Great House – it’s beautifully written and I did enjoy it, although I found I really had to concentrate as there were so many little details that proved to be important later in the book. I hope you like it!


  3. Just read The Kind Man, and it is typical Susan Hill. Beautifully written and the sort of writing that sticks in your mind.

    I didn’t get very far with Great House, I’m afraid. In theory it should have been just the sort of thing I like, but it didn’t gel at all and I don’t think I even read 30 pages.

    Like the sound of Rivers of London though and the Nigel Tranter so must look out for them.


  4. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Envoy Extraordinary. Alexander III fell off his horse and died just a short walk away from where I live so I’m going to try to get a hold of a copy of it too. I love the smell of new books, when I worked in a library my favourite job was opening up the boxes straight from the publishers!


  5. I agree–new library books are special 🙂

    I read a huge book by Nigel Tranter decades ago, and now can’t find it. I must have purged it when I ran out of shelf space, but I remember liking it a lot.

    Being Polite to Hitler definitely has an intriguing title. You’ll have to post whether it lives up to its title!

    Enjoy your haul.


  6. I’ve been curious about Rivers of London. I’ve never heard of Nigel Tranter but I’m checking out the blog you mentioned and will have to check out his books. Thanks!


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