Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.
Somehow I came home with more non-fiction than fiction today. I really enjoyed taking my time and browsing the upstairs non-fiction shelves today, making some interesting discoveries for future library loots – more in another post. Not so many books this week as I still have a few leftover from my last loot!
The Beginning Place – Ursula K Le Guin
It’s been a while since I’ve read a new-to-me Le Guin (I reread the Earthsea Quartet ever so often). So I’m looking forward to this one.
Fleeing from the monotony of his life, Hugh Rogers finds his way to “the beginning place”–a gateway to Tembreabrezi, an idyllic, unchanging world of eternal twilight. Irena Pannis was thirteen when she first found the beginning place. Now, seven years later, she has grown to know and love the gentle inhabitants of Tembreabrezi, or Mountaintown, and she sees Hugh…moreFleeing from the monotony of his life, Hugh Rogers finds his way to “the beginning place”–a gateway to Tembreabrezi, an idyllic, unchanging world of eternal twilight. Irena Pannis was thirteen when she first found the beginning place. Now, seven years later, she has grown to know and love the gentle inhabitants of Tembreabrezi, or Mountaintown, and she sees Hugh as a trespasser. But then a monstrous shadow threatens to destroy Mountaintown, and Hugh and Irena join forces to seek it out. Along the way, they begin to fall in love. Are they on their way to a new beginning….or a fateful end?
Runaways Vol. 1: Pride and Joy – Brian K Vaughan
Oh dear, can’t remember where I heard of this from, but it sounds like a fun series!
All young people believe their parents are evil but what if they really are? Meet Alex, Karolina, Gert, Chase, Molly and Nico whose lives are about to take an unexpected turn. When these six young friends discover their parents are all secretly super-powered villains, the shocked teens find strength in one another. Together, they run away from home and straight into the adventure of their lives vowing to turn the tables on their evil legacy.
Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story
This book caught my eye among its neighbours in the graphic novels shelves. Sounds a little sad though.
From one of Europe’s most celebrated young comics artists, a deeply personal story that will resonate with all of us who have chosen to love in the face of great challenges.
One summer night at a house party, Fred met Cati. Though they barely spoke, he vividly remembered her gracefulness and abandon. They meet again years later, and this time their connection is instantaneous. But when things become serious, a nervous Cati tells him that she and her three-year-old son are both HIV positive. With great beauty and economy, Peeters traces the development of their intimacy and their revelatory relationship with a doctor whose affection and frankness allow them to fully realize their passionate connection. Then Cati’s son gets sick, bringing Fred face to face with death. It forces him to question the meaning of life, illness, and love ndash; until a Socratic dialogue with a mammoth helps him recognize that living with illness is also a gift; it has freed him to savor his life with Cati.
Like the best graphic memoirs, Blue Pills puts a daunting subject into artistic and human terms in a way that is refreshingly honest and profoundly accessible. A brave and unsentimental romance, Blue Pills will resonate with anyone whose love has faced great obstacles and triumphed.
A Pelican in the Wilderness: Hermits, Solitaries, and Recluses – Isabel Colegate
I was checking the library catalogue for Colegate’s works, whom I first heard of on Wicked Wonderful Words, when I saw that she had written this non-fiction book. Sounds interesting.
From Lao-tse and the Buddha, St. Anthony and the early Celtic hermits, through Rousseau, Thoreau, Ruskin and down to the present day, certain gifted persons, each in his own way, have shown a vocation for living alone and apart, finding in simplicity and attention to Nature a spiritual space to be explored and rejoiced in. Others, retreating from the world in scorn or cut off from it by scandal, have found that solitude is Hell, a pit of melancholy and morbid fancy. In this, her first work of nonfiction, novelist Isabel Colegate gives us the lives of the solitaries–male and female, medieval and modern, divinely inspired and patently fraudulent. But this is no mere gallery of saints and sinners, poets and misanthropes. It is also a re-valuation of solitude for our times, and a reminder that it is in solitude that the soul meets itself, refreshes itself, and from there goes out to join the communal dance.
Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation – John Carlin
We watched Invictus over the weekend and it was based on this book.
In 1985, Nelson Mandela, then in prison for twenty-three years, set about winning over the fiercest proponents of apartheid, from his jailers to the head of South Africa’s military. First he earned his freedom and then he won the presidency in the nation’s first free election in 1994. But he knew that South Africa was still dangerously divided by almost fifty years of apartheid. If he couldn’t unite his country in a visceral, emotional way—and fast—it would collapse into chaos. He would need all the charisma and strategic acumen he had honed during half a century of activism, and he’d need a cause all South Africans could share. Mandela picked one of the more farfetched causes imaginable—the national rugby team, the Springboks, who would host the sport’s World Cup in 1995.
Against the giants of the sport, the Springboks’ chances of victory were remote. But their chances of capturing the hearts of most South Africans seemed remoter still, as they had long been the embodiment of white supremacist rule. During apartheid, the all-white Springboks and their fans had belted out racist fight songs, and blacks would come to Springbok matches to cheer for whatever team was playing against them. Yet Mandela believed that the Springboks could embody—and engage—the new South Africa. And the Springboks themselves embraced the scheme. Soon South African TV would carry images of the team singing “Nkosi Sikelele Afrika,” the longtime anthem of black resistance to apartheid.
As their surprising string of victories lengthened, their home-field advantage grew exponentially. South Africans of every color and political stripe found themselves falling for the team. When the Springboks took to the field for the championship match against New Zealand’s heavily favored squad, Mandela sat in his presidential box wearing a Springbok jersey while sixty-two-thousand fans, mostly white, chanted “Nelson! Nelson!” Millions more gathered around their TV sets, whether in dusty black townships or leafy white suburbs, to urge their team toward victory. The Springboks won a nail-biter that day, defying the oddsmakers and capping Mandela’s miraculous ten-year-long effort to bring forty-three million South Africans together in an enduring bond.
John Carlin, a former South Africa bureau chief for the London Independent, offers a singular portrait of the greatest statesman of our time in action, blending the volatile cocktail of race, sport, and politics to intoxicating effect. He draws on extensive interviews with Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and dozens of other South Africans caught up in Mandela’s momentous campaign, and the Springboks’ unlikely triumph. As he makes stirringly clear, their championship transcended the mere thrill of victory to erase ancient hatreds and make a nation whole.
The Devil’s Highway: A True Story – Luis Alberto Urrea
Found this via Amy Reads.
In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, a place called the Devil’s Highway. Fathers and sons, brothers and strangers, entered a desert so harsh and desolate that even the Border Patrol is afraid to travel through it. Twelve came back out.” Now, Luis Alberto Urrea tells the story of this modern odyssey. He takes us back to the small towns and unpaved cities south of the border, where the poor fall prey to dreams of a better life and the sinister promises of smugglers. We meet the men who will decide to make the crossing along the Devil’s Highway and, on the other side of the border, the men who are ready to prevent them from reaching their destination. Urrea reveals exactly what happened when the twenty-six headed into the wasteland, and how they were brutally betrayed by the one man they had trusted most. And from that betrayal came the inferno, a descent into a world of cactus spines, labyrinths of sand, mountains shaped like the teeth of a shark, and a screaming sun so intense that even at midnight the temperature only drops to 97 degrees. And yet, the men would not give up. The Devil’s Highway is a story of astonishing courage and strength, of an epic battle against circumstance. These twenty-six men would look the Devil in the eyes – and some of them would not blink.
Invisible China: A Journey Through Ethnic Borderlands – Colin Legerton and Jacob Rawson
Somehow, when browsing the library’s online catalogue, I came across this fascinating-sounding book.
In this eloquent and eye-opening adventure narrative, Colin Legerton and Jacob Rawson, two Americans fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Uyghur, throw away the guidebook and bring a hitherto unexplored side of China to light. They journey over 14,000 miles by bus and train to the farthest reaches of the country to meet the minority peoples who dwell there, talking to farmers in their fields, monks in their monasteries, fishermen on their skiffs, and herders on the steppe.
In Invisible China, they engage in a heated discussion of human rights with Daur and Ewenki village cadres; celebrate Muhammad’s birthday with aging Dongxiang hajjis who recount the government’s razing of their mosque; attend mass with old Catholic Kinh fishermen at a church that has been forty years without a priest; hike around high-altitude Lugu Lake to farm with the matrilineal Mosuo women; and descend into a dry riverbed to hunt for jade with Muslim Uyghur merchants. As they uncover surprising facts about China’s hidden minorities and their complex position in Chinese society, they discover the social ramifications of inconsistent government policies–and some deep human truths as well.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
See more Library Loot here
I read The Left Hand of Darkness many moons ago and enjoyed it. I should add some more Le Guin to my tbr list.
I’ve enjoyed Vaughn’s other series (Y: The Last Man) as well as The Pride of Baghdad. Haven’t gotten around to The Runaways yet.
Enjoy your loot!
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I’m so excited that you are giving The Devil’s Highway a try – such a great book I thought. Some other really interesting ones here as well, especially Invisible China!
Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! I’m looking forward to reading The Devil’s Highway.
[…] shelf for a little while, as I sought out what I felt to be the more interesting books in my recent Library Loot. Then I finally picked up A Pelican in the Wilderness, and I was pleasantly surprised. This book is […]
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