Library Loot (19 August 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 finally took wee reader out for his first visit to the library (usually it was a quick drop in, with the husband watching him in the car, or I would leave him with the grandparents – who are now back to Singapore – while I enjoyed a nice quiet-ish hour to myself), and he seemed to enjoy looking around. As usual I spotted too many books that I wanted to read!

A Meeting by the River– Christopher Isherwood

Was pushing wee reader around the shelves, on a mini tour of the library, when I spotted this slim volume on the shelves. I quite enjoyed the Isherwood Berlin stories that I read a few years ago, and keep meaning to watch A Single Man.

Isherwood’s final novel, bringing together his thoughts on gay identity and Eastern mysticism, now back in print.

Two English brothers meet, after a long separation, in India. Oliver, the idealistic younger brother, prepares to take his final vows as a Hindu monk. Patrick, a successful publisher with a wife and children in London and a male lover in California, has publicly admired his brother’s convictions while privately criticizing his choices.

First published in 1967, A Meeting by the River delicately depicts the complexity of sibling relationships-the resentment and competitiveness as well as the love and respect.

The Swimming-Pool Library – Alan Hollinghurst

I’ve never read anything by Hollinghurst, but I’ve always been curious. And with his new book out, I figured it was high time.

A literary sensation and bestseller both in England and America, The Swimming-Pool Library is an enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS; an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity, for ways of life that can no longer be lived with impunity. “Impeccably composed and meticulously particular in its observation of everything” (Harpers & Queen), it focuses on the friendship of two men: William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, an old Africa hand, searching for someone to write his biography and inherit his traditions.

Helpless: A Novel– Barbara Gowdy

I quite enjoyed my last outing with Gowdy, although it was a little bizarre. This was the only other book of hers available at the library.

Nine-year-old Rachel Fox has the face of an angel, a heart-stopping luminosity that strikes all who meet her. Her single mother, Celia, working at a video store by day and a piano bar by night, is not always around to shield her daughter from the attention–both benign and sinister–that her beauty draws. Attention from model agencies, for example, or from Ron, a small-appliance repairman who, having seen Rachel once, is driven to see her again and again.

When a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, Rachel is taken from her home. A full-scale search begins, but days pass with no solid clues, only a phone call Celia receives from a woman whose voice she has heard before but cannot place. And as Celia fights her terror and Rachel starts to trust in her abductor’s kindness, the only other person who knows where she is wavers between loyalty to the captor and saving the child. Will Rachel be found before her abductor’s urge to protect and cherish turns to something altogether less innocent?

Tapping into the fear that lies just below the surface of contemporary city life, Barbara Gowdy draws on her trademark empathy and precision to create a portrait of love at its most consuming and ambiguous and to uncover the volatile point at which desire gives way to the unthinkable.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Brian Selznik

I was checking out upcoming movie trailers on IMDB the other day, and was reminded that I hadn’t read this yet!

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

One Day – David Nicholls

Another to-read via a movie trailer!

It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

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


  1. I read One Day last year and had a lot of fun with it. I’ve never read anything by Isherwood or Hollinghurst, though I’ve heard so many good things about both. Enjoy your loot and congratulations on wee reader’s first library trip – definitely an important milestone!


  2. I really enjoyed One Day and the book about Hugo whathisface. Haven’t heard of or read the other ones, but the one about the kid who kidnaps seems appealing.

    I have heard that the movie of One Day is dreadful (due to Anne Hathaway’s awful Brit accent), but the book is A-OK. And congrats on taking the Wee One to the library, the fount of knowledge… A good habit to encourage (as we all know.)

    liz in texas


    1. Thanks Liz for stopping by and leaving a comment!
      I’m not entirely sure whether I would want to watch One Day, but I guess since I already knew the cast, I kinda had Anne Hathaway’s face in mind when I was reading the book! Not sure whether that’s a good thing or not….!


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