Library Loot/Teaser Tuesday

It’s been a while since I wrote a Library Loot post and as I went to the library today I thought I’d combine it with a Teaser Tuesday post.

I’ve dipped into each book. From top to bottom they are:

Follow Your Heart by Susanna Tamaro, translated from the Italian by Avril Bardoni. I fancied reading something a little different from my usual type of book – this book won the Premio Donna Citta di Roma in 1994. From the book jacket – it reflects on feelings and passions and how failure to communicate leads to futility, misunderstanding and tragedy – a meditation on existence. An old woman writes to her granddaughter. Here’s my teaser:

As I have wandered aimlessly through the empty house these last few months, the misunderstandings and bad temper that marred our years together have vanished. The memories surrounding me now are of you as a child – a vulnerable, bewildered little creature. (page 3)

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. A book I’ve known of for so many years and never read. I had no idea that it is a detective story! I love the way it begins:

Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him. With his inky fingers and his bitten nails, his manner cynical and nervous, anybody could tell he didn’t belong – belong to the early summer sun, the cool Whitsun wind of the sea, the holiday crowd. (page 1)

I can just see the scene!

White Nights by Anne Cleeves. I’ve been looking out for this book, the second in her Shetland Quartet, ever since I enjoyed reading the first one – Raven Black. Shetland detective Jimmy Perez investigates what seems at first to be a straightforward suicide. This is my teaser:

‘I don’t know my name’, he said flatly. No drama now. ‘I can’t remember it. I don’t know my name and I don’t remember why I’m here.’ (page 16)

Sister by Rosamund Lupton. More crime fiction, a psychological thriller. I’d read about this book on a blog (sorry, can’t remember which one – it may have been more than one blog) and thought it sounded good. Beatrice’s younger sister Tess is missing. She refuses to give up looking for her and  is determined to discover the truth about Tess and what has happened to her.

For a moment, amongst the crowd, I saw you. I’ve since found out it’s common for people separated from someone they love to keep seeing that loved one among strangers; something to do with recognition units in our brain being too heated and too easily triggered. This cruel trick of the mind lasted only a few moments, but was long enough to feel with physical force how much I needed you. (page 26)

I have high hopes of all four books.

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.

Library Loot

This is a sign that I’m a hopeless bookaholic. Despite listing books I’ve had for ages and still haven’t read – not mentioning all the to-be-read books all around the house – yesterday I went to the library and came home with these books:

  • The Fanatic by James Robertson is historical crime fiction, described on the back cover as ‘an extraordinary history of Scotland: a tale of betrayals, stolen meetings, lost memories, smuggled journeys and disguised identities.‘ I’d enjoyed his second book The Testament of Gideon Mack a few years ago. And how could I resist bringing this book home when I saw it began in Bass Rock, which is just up the coast from us – see my photo here.
  • Stories of the Railway by V L Whitechurch. From the book cover I learnt that V L Whitechurch was a celebrated crime writer and an expert railway enthusiast. He wrote a large number of crime short stories set in the golden age of Britain’s railways – this selection was originally published in 1912 as ‘Thrilling Stories of the the Railway‘. I’d read about him on Martin Edward’s blog and was pleased to find a copy on the library shelves.
  • The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez. I’d read about this book, a mix of murder and maths and wondered whether my elementary grasp of maths would be enough for me to follow the equations  and cryptic symbols involved in solving this mystery.
  • The London Train by Tessa Hadley. There seems to be a theme here in my choice, following on from the Stories of the Railway. In this book, the London train between Wales and London, connects two stories that are interlinked through ‘a single moment concerning two lives stretched between two cities’.

And last but by no means least two books on watercolour painting, because this is now taking up some of my reading time. On Thursdays I go to a local art group and dabble in paint. I mentioned this a while ago on my blog and people asked to see some of my paintings. Here are two I don’t feel too embarrassed to show:

Library Loot

Library Loot:

From top to bottom they are:

  • A Detective at Death’s Door by H R F Keating. I haven’t read anything by H R F Keating, so I’m not sure what to expect. There’s a long list of his books at the front of the book and a brief summary of his work. He was the crime reporter for The Times for 15 years and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association and the Society of Authors as well as President of the Detection Club. With such credentials I’m hoping to like this book, the fifth Detective Superintendent Harriet Martens novel. Martin Edwards’ page has much more information about Keating.
  • The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl. I’ve recently read Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood and am keen to read more of Dicken’s books and books about Dickens (both fiction and non-fiction). So, even though I wasn’t too keen on Pearl’s novel about Edgar Allan Poe, I thought it was worth borrowing this book to try it. From the back cover this novel seems to be about Dickens’ final instalment of his last manuscript that disappeared after his death in 1870.
  • The Turning of the Tide by Reginald Hill. This was originally published under the pseudonym Patrick Ruell in 1971 called The Castle of the Demon. It looks as though it’s a sinister thriller when Emily discovers a body lying in the water at a sleepy coastal town. I like Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe books and am hoping his earlier book won’t disappoint.
  • Frozen Moment by Camilla Ceder. ‘Move over Wallander‘ it says on the front cover. Camilla Ceder is a Swedish writer who also works in counselling and social work. This is her first novel; a murder mystery featuring Inspector Christian Tell, a world-weary detective with a chequered past. I picked this book off the new book stand attracted by its cover.
  • The Rain Before It Falls by Jonathan Coe. I’ve never read anything by Coe but I keep seeing his name on various blogs, so my eyes were drawn to this book in the library. The book’s blurb attracted me, describing the book as ‘intensely lyrical in its evocations of rural Shropshire and post-war London, and extremely moving in its portrayal of the nature of love and happiness.’ It looks like my sort of book.

Library Loot

Here’s a pile of books I’ve recently borrowed:

From top to bottom they are

  • Brat Farrar by Joesphine Tey. Patrick had committed suicide, so who is the mysterious young man claiming to be him and calling himself Brat Farrar? I borrowed this because I enjoyed Tey’s books, The Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair.
  • The Sea Lady by Margaret Drabble: a story of first and last love and the ebb and flow of time giving shape to our lives. I borrowed this because it’s been a long time since I read anything by Drabble, the last one being The Witch of Exmoor.
  • Naked to the Hangman by Andrew Taylor. Detective Inspector Thornhill is under suspicion of murder and his wife and former lover join forces to try to help him. The only other book by Taylor that I’ve read is The American Boy, historical crime fiction, set in 19th century England, with links to Edgar Allan Poe.
  • The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber. This was on display at the library in a section of books called ‘Thrills and Chills’, not normally the sort of book I read, but this looked interesting about an art dealer with a dark past and the discovery of a previously unknown masterpiece by Velazquez. When I got the book home I realised I’ve got another book by Gruber – The Book of Air and Shadows, which I started once and put to one side, so I don’t expect much from this book.
  • Truth to Tell by Claire Lorrimer. I fancied reading something different by an author I’d not heard of before. The title appealed to me. The Library Journal blurb tells me it’s ‘Nicely done pyschological suspense, firmly in the cozy tradition.’ It looks more like a historical romance though.
  • Green for Danger edited by Martin Edwards, a collection of short crime fiction stories on the theme of ‘crime in the countryside.’ I’ve become quite a fan of these short story collections. This one includes stories from Robert Barnard, Reginald Hill, Ruth Rendell, Ann Cleeves and Martin Edwards, himself. I think I’ll start with this book.
  • The Death Ship of Dartmouth by Michael Jecks, a medieval mystery set in 1324. In Dartmouth a man is found lying dead in the road and a ship has been discovered half ravaged and the crew missing. I first came across Jecks when I read King Arthur’s Bones by The Medieval Murderers, in which he wrote one of the short stories. I hope this is just as good.

Have you read any of these books – are they any good?

Library Loot is hosted by is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Library Loot

It’s been a while since I did a Library Loot post. This is my latest haul from the Mobile Library that called round this morning (as usual click on the photo to enlarge):

I really appreciate the mobile library service, the van stops just along the road from our house and has a varied, if small selection of books. I chose:

  • The Lighthouse by P D James, an Adam Dalgleish mystery, set in an imaginary, remote island off the Cornish coast.  It’s been a few years since I read one of P D James’s books – I hope it won’t disappoint.
  • Have Mercy On Us All by Fred Vargas. I haven’t read any of his books before. According to the blurb on the back cover this is ‘an unusual and eccentric thriller’  and Adamsberg is ‘one of the most fetchingly weird detectives … a bit like Morse, but much more French.’ That’s odd as Morse isn’t a bit French!  I’m not sure I’ll like it, but that’s the beauty of library books – I don’t mind giving up on them. On the other hand, if I buy a book that’s very disappointing.
  • The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri, an Inspector Montalbano Mystery. I’ve read one of his before which I enjoyed, so I have high hopes for this one.

Library Loot

I hadn’t intended to borrow any more library books for a while, at least until I’ve read at least half of the ones I’ve got out at present. But on Thursday I was watering the hanging basket at the front door and glancing down the road saw a mobile library van. We moved here in December and this was the first time I’d seen it. Needless to say I went across the road to have a look and came away with four books. It comes here every three weeks! So now I have three libraries locally that I can use – I’m spoilt for choice.

One of the books I borrowed is a great source of writers: Myers’ Literary Guide The North East. This includes not just writers born in the North East, which includes the counties of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham, and Cleveland, but also writers with important links to the area. These include such people as Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Coleridge, Auden and Larkin. This area of Britain boasts the first known writer of English prose – Bede (673 – 735) who was also known as ‘The Father of English History’ – and the first Christian English poet, Caedmon (fl. 670 – 680), a servant at the monastery in Whitby. The only drawback is that it concentrates on historical rather than modern writers.

I also borrowed:

  • Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M C Beaton. This was quite opportune because I’d read an article about Agatha in newbooks Crime Fiction Supplement the other day. The victim of the haunting is an old lady nobody likes. Then she is murdered. This looks as if it sits in the Cozy Mystery genre.
  • Indiscretion by Jude Morgan, who was also mentioned in the Supplement, so maybe that’s why one of his books stood out for me. This one is historical fiction set in Regency England.
  • The Cruellest Month: an Inspector Gamache Crime Novel by Louise Perry. I keep seeing her books mentioned on book blogs but haven’t read any of them yet. This is a Canadian whodunit about a seance in an old abandoned house that has gone wrong. Another Cozy Mystery?