I love the library, always have, always will, but this year i have to find a better balance. You see, I bring home so many library books that I read relatively few of my own. The size of Mount TBR is quite ridiculous. And so is the size of my library pile, and the number of books that go in-out, in-out.
So what do I do? Well I checked my library pile and more than half the books there are books I ordered in from reserve stock or from other branches. So until my birthday (March 2nd) I will order NO BOOKS! I’ll add them to a wishlist instead.
By March 2nd I should have reduced my pile significantly. From then on I’m allowing myself two reservations a month, and I may well monitor that in my sidebar.
Plus I’m going to keep a library notebook and note down books I want to read but really haven’t got time for. Then I won’t have to bring home books just in case I forget the details between library and home. It has happened!
No book comes home unless I have time to read it before it’s due back.
Does that sound like a plan? There may be an odd slip, but at least I have a strategy.
Meanwhile, I have bought books home. Just three little books this week.
Here they are:
“After the breakdown of a turbulent relationship, Frank moves from Canberra to a shack on the east coast once owned by his grandparents. He wants to put his violent past and bad memories of his father behind him. In this small coastal community, he tries to reinvent himself as someone capable of regular conversation and cordial relations. He even starts to make friends, including a precocious eight year old named Sal. But it is not that easy for him to let go of the past. Leon is the child of European immigrants to Australia, living in Sydney. His father loves Australia for becoming their home when their own country turned hostile during the Second World War. His mother is not so comforted by suburban life in a cake shop. As Leon grows up in the 50s and 60s, his watches as his parents’ lives are broken after his father volunteers to fight in the Korean War. Leon himself goes from working in the shop, sculpting sugar dolls for the tops of wedding cakes, to killing young men as a conscripted machine-gunner in Vietnam. In the fall out from the war, Leon thinks he might be able to make a new life with his woman, make a baby, live by the sea in a small shack. But something watches from the cold shade of the teeming bush. Set in eastern Australia with its dark trees and blinding light, where the land is old but its wounds are still wet, this beautifully realized debut tells a story of fathers and sons, their wars and the things they will never know about each other. It is about the things men cannot say out loud and the taut silence that fills up the empty space.”
I have heard so much praise for this book that I just had to bring it home.
“Pastworld. A city within a city. A city for excursions and outings. Pastworld is a theme park with a difference, where travellers can travel back in time for a brush with an authentic Victorian past. But what if the Jack the Ripper figure stopped play-acting and really started killing people? For Caleb, a tourist from the present day, his visit goes terribly wrong when his father is kidnapped and he finds himself accused of murder. Then Caleb meets Eva Rose, a Pastworld inhabitant who has no idea the modern world exists. Both Caleb and Eva have roles to play in the murderer’s diabolical plans – roles that reveal disturbing truths about their origins.”
Not my usual sort of book, but it’s beautifully produced and it called me.
“”Based on real events in Epping Forest on the edge of London around 1840, “The Quickening Maze” centres on the first incarceration of the great nature poet John Clare. After years struggling with alcohol, critical neglect and depression, Clare finds himself in High Beach Private Asylum – an institution run on reformist principles which would later become known as occupational therapy. At the same time another poet, the young Alfred Tennyson, moves nearby and becomes entangled in the life and catastrophic schemes of the asylum’s owner, the peculiar, charismatic Dr Matthew Allen. For John Clare, a man who had grown up steeped in the freedoms and exhilarations of nature, who thought ‘the edge of the world was a day’s walk away’, a locked door is a kind of death. This intensely lyrical novel describes his vertiginous fall, through hallucinatory episodes of insanity and dissolving identity, towards his final madness. Historically accurate, but brilliantly imagined, the closed world of High Beach and its various inmates – the doctor, his lonely daughter in love with Tennyson, the brutish staff and John Clare himself – are brought vividly to life. Outside the walls is Nature, and Clare’s paradise: the birds and animals, the gypsies living in the forest; his dream of home, of redemption, of escape.”
I liked the look of this when it appeared on the Booker shortlist last year and so when it appeared on the returns trolley at the weekend I picked it up. I’ve started reading and my first impression is that the prose is lovely but the story may not quite live up to it.
Which book should I go for next? And which are you curious to know more about?
And what did you find in the library this week?
See more Library Loot here.