Library Loot (11 March 2011)

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.

I looted the library from my house this week! Better yet, the library I borrowed from was all the way in Singapore. Heh. I was pretty thrilled to discover that I can access the Overdrive catalogue of the Singapore library and use the Bluefire reader to read these e-books.

Rabbit, Run – John Updike

I’ve always told myself to read more John Updike. Might as well start with this one.

Harry Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school and that was the best time of his life. Now in his mid-20s, his work is unfulfilling, his marriage is moribund, and he tries to find happiness with another woman. But happiness is more elusive than a medal, and Harry must continue to run–from his wife, his life, and from himself, until he reaches the end of the road and has to turn back….

Moral Disorder and Other Stories – Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s latest brilliant collection of short stories follows the life of a single character, seen as a girl growing up the 1930s, a young woman in the 50s and 60s, and, in the present day, half of a couple, no longer young, reflecting on the new state of the world. Each story focuses on the ways relationships transform a character’s life: a woman’s complex love for a married man, the grief upon the death of parents and the joy with the birth of children, the realization of what growing old with someone you love really means. By turns funny, lyrical, incisive, earthy, shocking, and deeply personal, Moral Disorder displays Atwood’s celebrated storytelling gifts and unmistakable style to their best advantage.

The Blind Side Of The Heart – Julia Franck
This won the German Book Prize and I first heard of it on Lizzy’s Literary Life.

Amid the chaos of civilians fleeing West in a provincial German railway station in 1945 Helene has brought her seven-year-old son. Having survived with him through the horrors and deprivations of the war years, she abandons him on the station platform and never returns. Many years earlier, Helene and her sister Martha’s childhood in rural Germany is abruptly ended by the outbreak of the First World War. Her father, sent to the eastern front, comes home only to die. Their Jewish mother withdraws from the hostility of her surroundings into a state of mental confusion. Helene calls the condition blindness of the heart, and fears the growing coldness of her mother, who hardly seems to notice her daughters any more. In the early 1920s, after their father’s death, she and Martha move to Berlin.Helene falls in love with Carl, but when he dies just before their engagement, life becomes meaningless for her and she takes refuge in her work as a nurse. At a party she meets Wilhelm, an ambitious civil engineer who wants to build motorways for the Reich and to make Helene his wife. Their marriage, which soon proves disastrous, takes Helene to Stettin, where her son is born.

She finds the love and closeness demanded by the little boy more than she can provide, and soon she cannot shake off the idea of simply disappearing. Finally, she comes to a shocking decision. “The Blind Side of the Heart” tells of two World Wars, of hope, loneliness and love, and of a life lived in terrible times. It is a great family novel, a powerful portrayal of an era, and the story of a fascinating woman.

The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule – Joanna Kavenna
This is off my non-fiction reading list

A legend, a land once seen and then lost forever, Thule was a place beyond the edge of the maps, a mystery for thousands of years. And to the Nazis, Thule was an icy Eden, birthplace of Nordic “purity.” In this exquisitely written narrative, Joanna Kavenna wanders in search of Thule, to Shetland, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, Greenland, and Svalbard, unearthing the philosophers, poets, and explorers who claimed Thule for themselves, from Richard Francis Burton to Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen. Marked by breathtaking snowscapes, haunting literature, and the cold specter of past tragedies, this is a wondrous blend of travel writing and detective work that is impossible to set down.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? See more Library Loot here.

12 Comments

  1. I noticed you also have an Atwood lined up 🙂 Did I understand you correctly… you are able to borrow e-books from a/the Singaporean library? How cool! And what a great resource as well 🙂
    Love reading what other people have added to their to-read lists, I just added The Jade Peony and The Blind Side Of The Heart to mine.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      Yes, I’m still a member of the Singapore library, although I’m not currently living there. I just happened to be looking at their digital library website the other day and realized I could borrow their Overdrive e-books, which my library system here in California doesn’t subscribe to.

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  2. Oh, I love it when a book finds a new reader because of something I wrote. I hope you enjoy The Blind Side of the Heart as much as I did.

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