A Walk Around The Fiction Shelves

Last time I was in the library I realised that I hadn’t posted about library books for quite some time. And I had an idea. Instead of writing about the books I brought home I would write about the books that caught my eye, for many different reasons, but got left behind…

I was disappointed to see Isabel Ashdown’s first two novels – Glasshopper and Hurry Up and Wait – on the shelves. Two wonderful books that really should be out on loan.

I do wish that my library had a system in place for displaying reader recommendations. At the moment I just rearrange books so that ones I think need a little push are more prominent, but I’ve signed up for a new friends of the library group, so hopefully I’ll get the chance to do a little more.

I noticed a lovely hardback copy of The Children’s Book by A S Byatt. I have a copy of my own and it looked rather intimidating but recently I picked up Ragnarok, Byatt’s contribution to the Canongate Myths series, and it reminded me just how good her writing is.

I counted three titles by Willa Cather in Virago Modern Classics editions – Lucy Gayheart in a traditional green cover and O Pioneers and My Antonia in more recent editions. I love Willa Cather’s writing but its a long time since I read any of her books.

All of her novels are on my shelves and I’m hoping to re-read at least one of two for the Willa Cather Novel Reading Challenge at Wildmoo Books

I spotted two books that I’d borrowed and then had to return unread, because other people had them on order and I didn’t want to read them in a rush. One day I’ll read them:

The Songwriter by Beatrice Colin and The Spider Truces by Tom Connolly

Please tell me I’m not the only person who has to do this?!

I caught sight of Henrietta’s War by Joyce Dennys, and wondered why I haven’t read it yet. I have a copy of my own, it’s very short, and it looks terribly readable. Silly really!

I paused to peruse an Everyman Classics edition of The Wings of The Dove by Henry James. It was mentioned as a possibility for Venice in February, and now that I’ve look at it again the idea of a re-read really appeals. But it may be a book too many. I’ll see how things are – and if it’s still on the shelf – when February comes.

I’m always drawn to The Wilding by Maria McCann. A lovely historical novel and the hardback edition has a beautiful cover.

My hand automatically went out to A Month in The Country by Jocelyn Playfair. Because it was a dove-grey Persephone edition and I always hope that one day the library will have one of the Persephones I don’t own.

It hasn’t happened yet, but I can dream.

I noticed two more Virago Modern Classics with striking new covers – A Glass of Blessings and Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.

I love and miss the traditional green Virago covers, but I have to admit that new editions of books by Barbara Pym, Molly Keane and Elizabeth Taylor do seem to be very popular in the library. And that has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

I saw Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. I have read so much praise for this book and I will read it one day.

I spotted of the three books in Anne Zouroudi’s Greek Detective series – The Messenger of Athens, The Doctor of Thessaly and The Lady of Sorrows. Books one, three and four. Trouble is I’m after book two – The Taint of Midas.

Why does that always happen when I want to read a series in order? I see the earlier books that I’ve read, I see the later books that I’m not ready for, but I never seem to see the book I want!

And, finally, I saw Thérèze Raquin by Émile Zola. I meant to re-read it for this year’s RIP Challenge, but I wanted to read more books than I had time for and this one fell by the wayside. maybe next year.

So many books to ponder, for so many reasons.

Does anybody else do this too?

7 responses

  1. I’m crazy about A. S. Byatt, especially Possession which I’ve read twice. I could reread it again, I love it so much. I own The Children’s Book, but I’ve not yet read it. Somehow, I need to gear up for such a tome.

    As for The Wings of The Dove Frances (of nonsuch book) and I were discussing the possibility of a read-along. I’ll let you know if that takes place. So glad you’re in for the Venice in February Challenge!

  2. Yes, I often have to take books back unread because someone else wants them. So I take them back and get told by the machine to put them on the return shelf, not put them somewhere special because they’re reserved. Don’t get it.

    Henrietta’s War is utterly delightful… you must read it. Definitely hoping to read some Willa Cather next year.

  3. I love browsing in the library, but it’s certainly not easy deciding which books to pick up and which to leave behind! And I often return books unread, either because someone has ordered them or I find I’m just not in the mood for them once I bring them home.

    I read The Children’s Book a few months ago and loved it. It’s a challenging read but worth the time and effort. Cutting for Stone is a great book too – I can definitely recommend that one.

  4. I’ve got The Children’s book on my shelf but like you I’m little intimidated and put off reading. Apparently it’s amazing though and the cover is beautiful so I really should just give it a go.

  5. Sometimes I have to return a book unread because other people want it but sometimes they go back because it just isn’t the ‘right’ time for them and sometimes, like you, because I know that I want to take my time over reading that particular book and don’t want to worry about time scales.

    I have done that several times this year, mostly with non-fiction and quite often I have ended up buying that particular book because I know that it will be one that I will return to in the future.

    I am also guilty of having a beautiful hardback copy of The Children’s Book on my shelves, having only read the first few pages from the library copy before I decided to buy it. Part of me is intimidated by Byatt and wants to delay reading it until I feel sufficiently ‘intelligent’, though heaven only knows when/if that will happen.
    Do read Henrietta though and the second volume if you can find it – it is a lovely cheering read and just right for dark days!
    Hope you and yours all have a lovely Christmas.

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