Library Matters

 I started to write Library Loot posts a couple of weeks ago and thought I’d combine this one with the today’s Musing Mondays post as that is about the library …

How often do you visit the library? Do you have a scheduled library day/time, or do you go whenever? Do you go alone, or take people with you?

I don’t have a scheduled day to visit the library, but I do go frequently.  Actually I borrow books from two libraries – a little branch library, which I visit the most and the main County library. I either go on my own or with my husband.

Sometimes I go specifically to the library but often I combine my visit with shopping trips.  I prefer the branch library because even though there are less books on the shelves to choose from there is a really friendly atmosphere there – the staff know me. In any case if I want a particular book I can reserve it. They have several displays, that I always check first such as new books and first books before browsing the shelves or looking for specific books/authors. It’s a lot easier to park here as well. I usually borrow far too many books. At the moment I’m up to the limit on my ticket – 15 books, but I can always use my husband’s as he doesn’t borrow as many. We often borrow a DVD and have recently been taking out an audiobook as well.

I haven’t been to the library this week, maybe going tomorrow, so my Library Loot post is about some of the books I’ve got out already. Of the 15 books I have out there are four books that I haven’t started to read. They are (the summaries are from the library catalogue, except for the Wodehouse book):

  • The Crowded Bed by Mary Cavanagh – Joe Fortune, a Jewish GP, has been married to Anna, his Aryan beauty, for 20 years, in a relationship that is sustained with great passion and happiness. But in the shadows of their lives, dark secrets are hidden.
  • An Imaginative Experience by Mary Wesley – Mary Wesley draws out on a plot of unforgettable impact: of loss, of release, of a necessarily comic acceptance of fate, of love the ‘imaginative experience’. Rich in character and wit, and powerfully moving, this is a novel of the heart’s pain and deliverance.
  • Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen by P G Wodehouse – extract from the back cover – When the doctor advises Bertie to live the quiet life he and Jeeves head for the pure air and peace of Maiden Eggesford. However they hadn’t reckoned on Aunt Dahlia, aound whom an imbroglio develops involving the Cat which Kept Popping Up When Least Expected.
  • The Mirror Cracked from Side To Side by Agatha Christie – One minute, Heather had been gabbling on at her movie idol, Marina Gregg – the next, Heather suffered a massive seizure. But for whom was the poison really intended? This is one in a new-look series of Miss Marple books for the 21st century.

Writing about them now makes me want to read them all at once, but since I’m in the middle of other books they’ll have to wait.

Library Loot

I went to the library yesterday to pick up a reservation, The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe. I’d written about the short course on the Impressionists I’m doing and Litlove recommended this book. It has a lovely front cover showing part of Eugene Manet on the Isle of Wight by Berthe Morisot. I’d love to see the original which is in the Musee Marmottan in Paris.

The course I’m doing is focussing on the sites the painters used and not much about their lives and as I know very little (nothing really) about them this book promises to enlighten me. It covers Manet, Monet (I get those two mixed up in my head), Pisarro, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, going into their homes, their studios, describing their love affairs and arguments, as well as their canvases and theories. It has some illustrations.

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Whilst I was in the library I looked for other books on the Impressionists focussing on their actual works. There was plenty of choice and I came home with two large heavy books:

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  • The Impressionists by Robert Katz and Celestine Dars. This is full of colour illustrations in two sections, one on the history of Impressionism and one on the life and works of  the artists in Sue Roe’s book plus Frederic Bazille.
  • The Impressionists by Themselves, edited by Michael Howard. This is a massively heavy book containing a selection of their paintings, drawings and sketches with extracts from their writing. It’s arranged chronologically covering the years 1856 – 1924

I don’t think the three week loan period will be long enough for me to absorb these books but at least I’ll find out if I want to buy any of them for future reference.

Library Loot

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

I must confess that I always have far more books out from the library than I could ever read in the loan period and I take back a number of them unread or keep renewing them as long as I can. But I do enjoy browsing and taking books home that I think I may want to read. It’s a great way of trying out books I may never read otherwise.

Yesterday I was going to go to my course on the Impressionists in the morning and food shopping in the afternoon. That was the plan, but the snow changed all that. The course was cancelled as the tutor couldn’t get there. But the snow wasn’t too bad so we went shopping in the morning and as we were passing the library I popped in. I quickly scanned the shelves and came out with four books, which all seemed to just jump off the shelves into my hands.

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  • Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman – a book of short stories. This appeals to me because the stories are about the families who have lived in Blackbird House on the wild coast of Massachusetts for over two hundred years. It promises to be a magical tale. I haven’t read anything by Alice Hoffman yet although I have got Practical Magic.
  • The View From Castle Rock by Alice Munro – biographical fiction, “a brilliantly imagined version of the past.” Munro’s family emigrated  from Edinburgh to Canada in the 18th century.
  • Ferney by James Long. Cornflower wrote about this book and I added it to my wishlist, so I was really pleased to see it in the library. It’s set in a broken-down old cottage in Somerset , a couple’s dream and financial nightmare.
  • A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch. I may have read this many years ago, but I’ve been thinking about reading Murdoch’s books recently and this was the only one in the library that I thought I hadn’t read. Elizabeth Jane Howard’s quote on the book describes the book as a “comedy with that touch of ferocity about it which makes for excitement.”

The question now is will I read them before 26 February when they’re due back. That all depends upon what I feel like reading and I have plenty to choose from – another 8 books from the library or any of the other books sitting around waiting to be read.