Library Loot

I really didn’t mean to bring home so many books this week, but there have been  too many great books on the shelves. Some I resisted, but there were four I just had to bring home. And now my ticket is full, so there will be no more loot until I take something back.

Here are those irresistable books:

The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller

“1920. The Great War has been over for two years, and it has left a very different world from the Edwardian certainties of 1914. Following the death of his wife and baby and his experiences on the Western Front, Laurence Bartram has become something of a recluse. Yet death and the aftermath of the conflict continue to cast a pall over peacetime England, and when a young woman he once knew persuades him to look into events that apparently led her brother, John Emmett, to kill himself, Laurence is forced to revisit the darkest parts of the war. As Laurence unravels the connections between Captain Emmett’s suicide, a group of war poets, a bitter regimental feud and a hidden love affair, more disquieting deaths are exposed. Even at the moment Laurence begins to live again, it dawns on him that nothing is as it seems, and that even those closest to him have their secrets ….”

Ilove the period, I loved the concept, so I ordered the book as soon as it appeared in the catalogue.

Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey

“Olivier is a French aristocrat, the traumatized child of survivors of the Revolution. Parrot the son of an itinerant printer who always wanted to be an artist but has ended up a servant. Born on different sides of history, their lives will be brought together by their travels in America. When Olivier sets sail for the New World, ostensibly to study its prisons but in reality to save his neck from one more revolution – Parrot is sent with him, as spy, protector, foe and foil.”

Another book that sounded just perfect. I didn’t order it because I knew that a copy was bound to appear sooner or later, and this week it did.

The Twisted Heart by Rebecca Gowers

“When Kit goes to a dance class she is hoping simply to take her mind off her studies. Soon it looks like Joe, a stranger she meets there, might do more than that. But when Kit uncovers a mystery involving the young Charles Dickens and the slaughter of a prostitute known as The Countess, she is sucked back in to the world of books, and discovers how Dickens became tangled up with this horrendous crime.”

This was the bookthat called me loudest from the longlist for the Orange Prize. I love a literary mystery and the opening chapter already has me hooked.

Secret Son by Laila Lalami

“When a young man is given the chance to rewrite his future, he doesn’t realize the price he will pay for giving up his past…Casablanca’s stinking alleys are the only home that nineteen-year-old Youssef El-Mekki has ever known. Raised by his mother in a one-room home, the film stars flickering on the local cinema’s screen offer the only glimmer of hope to his frustrated dreams of escape. Until, that is, the father he thought dead turns out to be very much alive. A high profile businessman with wealth to burn, Nabil is disenchanted with his daughter and eager to take in the boy he never knew. Soon Youssef is installed in his penthouse and sampling the gold-plated luxuries enjoyed by Casablanca’s elite. But as he leaves the slums of his childhood behind him, he comes up against a starkly un-glittering reality…”

Another book longlisted for the Orange Prize. I wasn’t sure when I first read about it, but so manypeople have been so positive about this one that I just had to pick it up.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? 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.

23 responses

  1. I picked up Parrot & Olivier from my library this week too. It has just been listed on the Miles Franklin Award longlist (major literary prize in Australia).

    • I did take a look at the longlist last week. Very few authors from the rest of the English speaking world (apart from the USA) seem to get much attention in the UK, so I keep my eye on lists and I’ve found some great books that way in the past.Lovesong and The Book of Emmett are calling loudest at the moment.

    • I wasn’t sure about Secret Son at first, but I heard a lot of good things, and I have to say that, now I have it to hand, it looks very readable.

  2. Looks like a good lot of books! I’ve not read any of them, but quite liked Lalami’s Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, and am hoping to read Secret Son soon. I must say that I’m quite liking the sound of Parrot and Olivier in America. Happy reading!

  3. Nice haul! The Return of Captain John Emmett is on my TBR list too, but I’m afraid it’s going to be a long time before a library copy is available. Looking forward to hearing what you think of Second Son – it sounds very intriguing.

    • I was watching for Captain John Emmett and I put in my order as soon as he arrived in the catalogue.But Secret Son is in progress first – it looks like a quicker read, and I really need to make some space on my ticket.

  4. I thought I would be bringing home The Twisted Heart this week too. On the shelves when I checked but someone beat me to it – darn!

    Hope you enjoy!

    • The same thing happened to me with Lorrie Moore’s Orange Prize nominated book. But at least I have plenty of good things to read while I wait!

  5. The Twisted Heart is the one that intrigues me the most. Am going to add it to my ‘look for at the library’ list.

    I brought home four books from a visit to another Devon town library last week, including 2 more in McCall Smith’s Isobel Dalhousie series. And now I’ve got two more reserved books waiting for me in my own library – The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths (Norfolk crime/achaeology) and a sci fi, Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon. My ticket will then be full too. So much for trying to keep my library stack down a bit…

    • The Twisted Heart looks a little strange, but definitely in a good way.

      And I do like the look of your library pile. I left Elly Griffiths behind a couple of weeks ago, but now I’ve read more about her I’m watching out for the book to come back again.

  6. I’ve just read The secret son – it was good but not shortlist material I felt!

    You need to do what I do and acquire use of your partner’s card!

    • I’m reading The Secret Son, and sofar my reaction is similar to yours. Good, but lacking that certain something to make it really special.

      My fiance is bookish too – which is generally a good, but it rules out expanding on to his ticket!

  7. I use my elder daughter’s library card as well as my own and unfortunately they are both over the supposed limit!
    Sometimes I get over enthusiastic about requesting books – very easy to do online- and they all seem to come in at once but luckily I know enough people who work at the library so I can get away with it. A lot of them tend to get renewed as many times as I am allowed though before I have managed to read them and regrettably some of them do go back unread (although sometimes that is because I have discovered that they are not the book for me – the Eleanor Catton longlisted for the Orange is a case in point!)

    • And don’t you feel so virtuous, ordering books from the library instead of buying?! I have exactly the same problem. I’m supposed to put books on a wishlist, but I can’t resist checking, and then if they’re there …

  8. Rebecca Gowers’ first novel, When to Walk, was also quite good, though one of those with somewhat unsympathetic characters, so the sort of reader who minds that might be frustrated with their flaws and oozing humanity.

    I really enjoyed The Twisted Heart but I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I was more of a Dickens reader (which I’m sure some of you are). Having said that, she did make me want to read more Dickens. The fact that her main character spends an inordinate amount of time at the library will make it easy for a number of us bookishly-afflicted to relate to her on that count at least!

  9. I haven’t read any but the Secret Son definitely got my attention. I’ll be interested in reading your feedback. Enjoy your loot!

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