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Library Loot: November 10-16, 2010

November 15, 2010

The return of Library Loot! And of vlogging! Tis bittersweet, though. You see, my sister has this really nice (i.e. $600) digital video camera, and she said I could use it to record my vlogs. So on Friday, I went ahead and recorded it, was all ready to pop it on to my computer and get uploaded, when I found out that she lost her USB cord. And since it’s a Sony, the memory card won’t just load into my laptop. And the thing we need to make the memory card laptop-compatible isn’t stocked in stores anymore, so my sister had to order it online. Which means I’m stuck with fuzzy low-quality vlogs with weird lighting/colouring for another few weeks. Sorry about that! (Also, upon reviewing it, I realised that this is NOT an angle I should ever put the webcam at again. But at this point, I’ve recorded it like four times-to sort out video camera/webcam issues-on two separate days, and I will go insane if I have to rerecord again. So, I’m ignoring my vanity and posting anyway. ;) )

(Just fyi, when I used ‘Anglo-American’ to describe the nonfiction I read, I meant most of the nonfic authors are from either the US or UK. I recognised on watching it that the phrase (which can also mean Americans-of-English-descent) might be confusing, since I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I actively seek out nonfiction by POC authors. Attempting to become more precise in my word choices here!)

And the covers/linked titles:

All She Was Worth by Miyuke (I’m a mystery fan), Soul Made Flesh by Carl Zimmer (loved Microcosm), The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (chasing bawa’s review and Teresa’s rec)

Purge by Sofi Oksanen (Tiina’s rec), The Magician’s Book by Laura Miller (Clare’s Narnia Week), Lovesick by Angeles Mastretta (loved Women with Big Eyes)

Africa’s World War by Gerard Prunier (I’m an international relations nerd), By the Sea by Abdulrazak Gurnah (Amy’s review of different Gurnah novel), American Vertigo by Bernard Henri Levy (I love Tocqueville)

Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender (it caught my eye at a bookstore), The Age of Dreaming by Nina Revoyr (seen in a library recommend list), Endless Night by Agatha Christie (Danielle’s review)

Have you read any of these?

48 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2010 7:28 am

    I added Africa’s World War to my list because I never read enough about the countries of Africa. There’s a class entitled “Africa and the World” that I want to take, but it never fits into my schedule of required classes. Looks like I’ll have to do my learning on my own.

    • November 16, 2010 11:45 am

      As long as you’re prepared for an academic text, I think you’ll love Africa’s World War. :) I only got to take one class on Africa in college (West African Politics, taught by a professor from Cote d’Ivoire): I wish I could’ve taken more, but there’s never enough time!

  2. November 15, 2010 8:09 am

    Oh I have Purge to read, looking forward to that. Africa’s World War sounds FASCINATING, and I can’t wait to hear more about By The Sea, and I will obviously have to find a copy!

    • November 16, 2010 11:46 am

      I’ll be gushing about it shortly! :) Africa’s World War is definitely fascinating…when I finish it up, I’ll try to blog about it. I always find it difficult to blog about international relations books, though, since I approach them from an academic rather than reader perspective!

  3. November 15, 2010 9:24 am

    _The Magician’s Book_ is outstanding. I finished reading it and went back to the beginning and read it again. I reviewed it (in two posts) at books about books.

    • November 16, 2010 11:46 am

      When I finished it I was sorely tempted to go back and reread it! Definitely one of my top reads of the year, and I wish I had my own copy. :)

  4. November 15, 2010 10:38 am

    Since I just finished a reread of all the Narnia books, I really want to go and get The Magician’s Book. It sounds fabulous!

    • November 16, 2010 11:47 am

      I think it’ll definitely give you food for thought!

  5. November 15, 2010 11:49 am

    Once again…love the vlog! I’m really interested in the Bernard Henri-Levy book. I read his book about Daniel Pearl and it was so well written. I’d love to try something else of his.

    • November 16, 2010 11:48 am

      Thanks Kathleen! :) I began American Vertigo last night: it’s more an impressionistic account than I expected, but the writing is lovely.

  6. November 15, 2010 12:48 pm

    I have a couple of books by Michael Cox which I look forward to reading. I hope you enjoy this one as I have heard it is good.

    • November 16, 2010 11:51 am

      I started it, and it’s definitely written for bookish people which is fun! :)

  7. November 15, 2010 1:22 pm

    I loved The Meaning of Night! If you enjoy it I would also recommend the sequel, The Glass of Time, which I thought was even better.

    • November 16, 2010 11:51 am

      I’ve heard great things about Glass of Time too: I’m sure I’ll be giving it a go one of these days. :)

  8. November 15, 2010 1:44 pm

    Enjoy your new loot!!

  9. Ashley permalink
    November 15, 2010 3:02 pm

    I look forward to reading your thoughts on The Magician’s Book! I absolutely *love* Narnia, and got The Magician’s Book a Christmas ago or so, and I remember having really strong reactions to it (some good some bad; I remember thinking the author was a little petty at times, but I also was up half the night reading it and talked about it a *lot*). Anyway, it’s nice to see that you are settled in with your new library :-)

    • November 16, 2010 11:53 am

      I didn’t notice a lot of pettiness in the book, but then while I love the Chronicles I’m not a Christian and I’m not attached to Lewis as a person (v as an author, if that makes sense). I just loved all of the different issues she addresses!! Definitely gives you a lot to think/talk about, and I felt most of it was relevant to a much bigger experience than just Narnia. :)

      • Ashley permalink
        November 17, 2010 4:54 am

        I think I just remember feeling like at times she completely dismissed the opinions of certain readers/critics solely because they were religious, which struck me as silly. But I don’t want to be a rain-on-your-parade commenter; I loved the different issues she addresses too. I had a great time reading the book and also loved some of the things I learned in it (like Calormen being loosely based on the 1001 Arabian Nights; I read a version of it a bit ago and since I was looking for it I actually saw a bunch of phrases that I recognized from the Narnia books; it really added to my enjoyment). And when I finished the book I felt like I half-wanted to write a letter or talk to the author, so I figure that’s got to be a good sign! And now I feel like I’m babbling on way too long in your comments section. At any rate, I’m glad that you enjoyed The Magician’s Book and look forward to your review of it. :-)

  10. November 15, 2010 3:06 pm

    Once again a lovely loot! And nice to see Purge there.:)

    By the Sea seems especially interesting to me. Unfortunately my library doesn’t have it. We do have Paradise, though.

    About the non-fiction, have you read anything by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek? He’s very much “in” at the moment. His latest book is Living in the End of Times and it is about political philosophy, international politics, globalisation and economics. He is also written at least 2 books on philosophy of religion On Belief and The Puppet and the Dwarf: the Perverse Core of Christianity.


    • November 16, 2010 11:54 am

      Too bad you don’t have By the Sea! But much of why I loved it was the writing, so I bet Paradise will be wonderful too. :)

      Thanks for the suggestion of Slavoj Zizek: I haven’t heard of hime before! My library has four of his books, though (including Living in the End of Times) so I’ll request one of them. :D

  11. November 15, 2010 3:54 pm

    You always have such a varied collection with lots of books that are new to me! I’m glad you are loving The Meaning of Night and I totally agree with you about the footnotes:) Hope you enjoy the rest of it. I’ve also put The Magician’s Book (because I love the Narnia books too) and The Age of Dreaming (just because it’s by a half-Japanese author and I love reading books about mixed backgrounds. Plus Ishiguro is also one of my favourite authors!) onto my wishlist. I enjoyed watching and listening to your vlog and am looking forward to your next one :)

    • November 16, 2010 11:55 am

      The Magician’s Book is incredible, definitely one for your wishlist! :D I should be starting Age of Dreaming soon, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

  12. Caroline permalink
    November 15, 2010 4:17 pm

    Glad to see the return of your Library Loot posts – and a new vlog! Love those! I also loved the Narnia books as a kid, and I’ll be checking out the Magician’s Book as soon as the holds on my library account are no longer maxed out! (My library only allows 15 holds at a time :(, so I need to go and pick up some of the ones waiting for me before I can put more on hold. ) I’ll have to try and find the Meaning of Night, too – that one sounds great.

    • November 16, 2010 12:03 pm

      Thanks Caroline! My library only allows 20 holds, so I feel your pain. :(

  13. November 15, 2010 7:12 pm

    Your hair is so pretty. My ambivalence about dying my own hair continues ambivalent. :p (Also, your books look good.)

    • November 16, 2010 12:05 pm

      lol: thanks! It’s a bit darker in r/l: my poor webcam can’t balance colours to save its life, lol. But it has lightened up since I dyed it, which is a little annoying…so if you’re ambivalent, I say don’t do it. ;)

  14. November 15, 2010 7:21 pm

    Love seeing your hair in action :D And I LOVE the new patio with the open wooden slats!! It looks so peaceful!! I think my favorite quote of the whole vlog was your comment about never realizing you could love e.coli so much :p So I think the book I want to read more than anything here is By the Sea! That cover is incredible and you just made it sound so good…can’t wait to hear you talk about it!

    • November 16, 2010 12:06 pm

      Yep: our patio & backyard are so pretty! There’s a section that totally reminds me of The Secret Garden; I love it. :D

  15. November 15, 2010 7:40 pm

    Can’t wait to see your thoughts on Purge, especially since you probably have more knowledge of the setting/history going into it than I did.

    • November 16, 2010 12:06 pm

      I didn’t realise you’d read Purge! Once I finish it, I’ll go read your post. :)

  16. November 15, 2010 7:48 pm

    Yay for Agatha Christie!! This isn’t one I’ve read by her but so far I’ve enjoyed every book that I have read. Your loot sounds great so enjoy!!!

  17. Deb permalink
    November 15, 2010 8:02 pm

    ENDLESS NIGHT is the most a-typical Agatha Christie I’ve ever read (and I think I’ve read most of her work). That isn’t to say it’s not a good read, just not the typical Christie “cosy.”

    • November 16, 2010 12:07 pm

      I got it because I’ve read most of her mysteries, so I’m really curious to see how she writes in a different genre. So I’m quite glad to hear it’s atypical! :)

  18. November 15, 2010 9:16 pm

    Great books, I’ve read Bad Girls don’t die during the readathon and I enjoyed it.

    • November 16, 2010 12:08 pm

      I couldn’t get into Bad Girls, but I’m glad you enjoyed it! :)

  19. November 15, 2010 9:38 pm

    Great vlog, Eva. I have not read any of these but an adding a couple to my TBR list!

  20. November 16, 2010 9:42 am

    Wow, what a great selection of books! It’s terrible, but I’ve not heard of a single one. American Vertigo and The Age of Dreaming, in particular, look really interesting to me, and I look forward to hearing what you think of them!

    • November 16, 2010 12:13 pm

      I tend to read kind of random books, so I don’t think it’s terrible you haven’t heard of them! :) I’ve just begun American Vertigo, so I should be posting on that pretty soon: hoping I’ll get to Age of Dreaming this week too!

  21. November 16, 2010 10:40 am

    Wonderful Library Loot, Eva! ‘Africa’s World War’ looks like a wonderful book! ‘By the Sea’ has a beautiful cover! Nice to see Mastretta’s ‘Love Sick’ in your Library Loot. ‘Soul Made Flesh’ looks like a fascinating book! And you are reading another Agatha Christie? That is really wonderful! I remember reading Nymeth’s review of ‘The Magician’s Book’ by Laura Miller and being moved powerfully by it. I am really looking forward to reading your thoughts on it – I am really itching to write a long comment on that book now, but I will wait for your review to do that :)

    It was wonderful to see your vlog too. It was really great that you talk in detail about each of the books in your library loot in your vlog.

    Enjoy reading your Library Loot :) Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on these wonderful books!

    • November 16, 2010 12:15 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed my vlog! I’m always up for more Christie, lol: at this point, I’d guess I’ve read at least 80% of her stuff. I missed Nymeth’s post on The Magician’s Book (must’ve been during one of my blogging breaks), but the book was incredible and Nymeth’s such a marvelous writer I’m not surprised it was moving. :)

      • November 16, 2010 2:21 pm

        Wow! You have read 80% of Christie’s works – that’s amazing! Which ones are your favourites? Maybe you will write a post on it :)

  22. Ellyn permalink
    November 16, 2010 5:09 pm

    I enjoy reading your Library Loot posts and watch your Vlogs. However, I feel inadequate sometimes. I recently completed a B.A. English, but don’t think I’ve read as much in my lifetime (45 years) as you have read since you began keeping track of what you’ve read! Do you read at a certain time every day and for a certain amount of time? I really want to get into a daily reading habit.
    Karenne S

    • November 17, 2010 6:51 pm

      Hi Karenne! I’ve actually addressed the question of how I read so much on my about page, since it comes up on a semi-regular basis. :) First of all, I’m a naturally pretty quick reader: depending on the book, I average 60-100 pages an hour; I think I get that from my mom. But second of all, for the past two years I’ve been too ill to work. :( I’m single and a live with my parents, which means my only household chores are keeping my own room tidy and cooking. I’m also a homebody, because my illness often makes it difficult to drive/get out, because my unemployment leaves me with very little money, and because I’m naturally more of an introvert. So I have a lot of free time…when my illness isn’t flaring up, I can read at leisurely pace all day if I feel like it. So definitely don’t feel inadequate!

      When I was in college, I read about 100 books a year, which works out to a bit less than 2 a week. I definitely got into a daily reading habit: for me, this was in the mornings when I woke up. Rather than reading before bed (which often provoked me to stay up too late because I didn’t want to stop), I’d go to bed an hour earlier. That way, I could get up an hour earlier in the mornings and read before starting my day. I read best when I have larger chunks of time, at the very least 30 minutes…I find it difficult to read just a few pages of a book here and there. For other readers, though, this ‘sneaking in pages’ route (when you’re in line at the grocery store, for example) works well, so you might want to give it a go! Assuming I read an hour each weekday and two hours each weekend, that works out to 9 hours of reading, which is enough for me to get through 450-900 pages. That would put me at about 100 books a year, so that’s what I expect I’ll return to when I am healthy enough to work!

      If you’re looking into creating a daily reading habit, perhaps make some rituals to go along with it. I have a couple places I love to sit and read that are in TV-free areas, and I usually make a mug of tea before settling down in a book. I prefer reading in loungewear, so if I’ve just come home from running errands I’ll change first. And I have so many excellent-sounding books tempting me that I’m always excited to get back to reading! :)

      I hope that this helps you a bit! Most of all, reading should be fun, so you might need to try a few sitting areas/times of day/refreshments/etc. until you figure out your perfect combination. And congrats on that B.A.! :D


    • November 17, 2010 7:01 pm

      Maybe set aside a time each day, either at the beginning or the end of the day. It’s hard for us to carve out time for ourselves sometimes but you deserve it! Good luck. :-)

  23. November 17, 2010 6:56 pm

    Eva so good to see another of your vlogs! I did read your review of Women with Big Eyes and I’m so glad to hear you liked that book. Wasn’t it great? What I loved most about it is that it felt very real to me – like a conversation I could have with my aunts. Anyway can’t wait to hear what you think of Lovesick.

    Enjoy your library loot!

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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