Library Loot (January 23, 2012)

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.

Happy Lunar New Year everyone! It’s obviously not a holiday here in the US but in Singapore, it is, so hope everyone in Singapore had a great day off. My parents and sister had a big shabu-shabu-style hotpot at my aunt’s house for reunion dinner on the eve (Sunday night) and on the next day (the first day – it’s traditionally 15 days of celebration), they themselves hosted our relatives on my dad’s side for a big 10-course lunch (most of it ordered from a restaurant) including my favourite yu sheng (raw fish salad  – which seems to mostly be a Singaporean/Malaysian dish). I’m afraid I have to recycle my photo from last year as I doubt I’ll get to have yu sheng this year…. 😦

Anyway, 新年快乐! May the Dragon year be a happy, healthy one!

Tossing yu sheng

Voice Over: A Novel (French Voices (Seven Stories Press)) – Celine Curiol

As I mentioned earlier, I’m interested in reading more translated works in February. Well I decided to get things started with a few books from the library, like this one.

A lonely young woman works as an announcer in Paris’s gare du Nord train station. Obsessed with a man attached to another woman, she wanders through the world of dinner parties, shopping excursions, and chance sexual encounters with a sense of haunting expectation. As something begins to happen between her and the man she loves, she finds herself at a crossroads, pitting her desire against her sanity. This smashing debut novel sparkles with mordant humor and sexy charm.

The Rising of the Moon

First saw this on Bookslut: “I don’t read Mitchell — I inhale her, laughing my socks off the entire time”. And with that, I knew I had to read something by her.

Every full moon, a Ripper runs amok on the streets of Brentford. Masters Simon and Keith Innes set out to catch the killer under the disturbing guidance of the repellently delightful sleuth, Mrs. Bradley. Full of the very British eccentric goings-on that mark the popular tales of Gladys Mitchell, this shows her at her mordant and morbid best.

Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale – Zack Whedon, Joss Whedon et al

Oh I loved Serenity (although I only watched it after it was cancelled) and Shepherd Book is one interesting (and mysterious character). This graphic novel reveals his background, which I’ve always been quite curious about!

One of Serenity’s greatest mysteries is finally revealed in The Shepherd’s Tale, filling in the life of one of the show’s most beloved characters – Shepherd Book! Who was Book before meeting Mal and the rest of the Serenity crew, how did he become one of their most trusted allies, and how did he find God in a bowl of soup? Answers to these and more questions about Book’s past are uncovered in this original hardcover graphic novel by rising stars Zack Whedon (Dr. Horrible, Terminator, Fringe) and Chris Samnee (Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps, Daredevil) . A pivotal chapter in the ongoing Serenity saga, The Shepherd’s Tale is also a rollicking, action-packed epic in its own right.

The Walking Dead, Book 2 – Robert Kirkman (Author), Charlie Adlard (Illustrator)

Buried in Print’s post reminded me that I’ve not kept up with this series.

This hardcover features issues #13-24 of the hit series along with the covers for each of the issues, all in one oversized hardcover volume. Continuing the tale of Rick Grimes and his band of survivors from the zombie apocalypse that has ravaged the world.

Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life – Sandra Beasley

We recently discovered that wee reader’s eczema may be due to food allergies. A blood test showed that he’s allergic to wheat, egg whites and peanuts. His allergist said there’s a possibility that he might outgrow these allergies but for now, it’s all about avoidance (and boy is wheat in everything!).

Like twelve million other Americans, Sandra Beasley suffers from food allergies. Her allergies—severe and lifelong—include dairy, egg, soy, beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamias, pistachios, cashews, swordfish, and mustard. Add to that mold, dust, grass and tree pollen, cigarette smoke, dogs, rabbits, horses, and wool, and it’s no wonder Sandra felt she had to live her life as “Allergy Girl.” When butter is deadly and eggs can make your throat swell shut, cupcakes and other treats of childhood are out of the question—and so Sandra’s mother used to warn guests against a toxic, frosting-tinged kiss with “Don’t kill the birthday girl!”

It may seem that such a person is “not really designed to survive,” as one blunt nutritionist declared while visiting Sandra’s fourth-grade class. But Sandra has not only survived, she’s thrived—now an essayist, editor, and award-winning poet, she has learned to navigate a world in which danger can lurk in an unassuming corn chip. Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is her story.

With candor, wit, and a journalist’s curiosity, Sandra draws on her own experiences while covering the scientific, cultural, and sociological terrain of allergies. She explains exactly what an allergy is, describes surviving a family reunion in heart-of-Texas beef country with her vegetarian sister, delves into how being allergic has affected her romantic relationships, exposes the dark side of Benadryl, explains how parents can work with schools to protect their allergic children, and details how people with allergies should advocate for themselves in a restaurant.

A compelling mix of memoir, cultural history, and science, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is mandatory reading for the millions of families navigating the world of allergies—and a not-to-be-missed literary treat for the rest of us.

Dealing with Food Allergies in Babies and Children – Janice Vickerstaff Joneja

The tools and methods this guide provides for analyzing and treating allergies in children are adaptable to a variety of situations—without ever losing sight of a child’s nutritional needs. Recognizing that deficiencies in critical nutrients during a child’s early years can have enormous consequences on growth and bodily functions, the book focuses on prevention and allergy management during pregnancy, in the early weeks of life, and in early childhood. The unique allergen scale and the strategies for confronting the 10 most common allergens will help parents balance their child’s specific nutritional needs while managing delicate allergies to food.

The Essential Feminist Reader – Estelle Freedman (Editor)

Including: Susan B. Anthony Simone de Beauvoir W.E.B. Du Bois Hélène Cixous Betty Friedan Charlotte Perkins Gilman Emma Goldman Guerrilla Girls Ding Ling • Audre Lorde John Stuart Mill Christine de Pizan Adrienne Rich Margaret Sanger Huda Shaarawi • Sojourner Truth Mary Wollstonecraft Virginia Woolf

The Essential Feminist Reader is the first anthology to present the full scope of feminist history. Prizewinning historian Estelle B. Freedman brings decades of teaching experience and scholarship to her selections, which span more than five centuries. Moving beyond standard texts by English and American thinkers, this collection features primary source material from around the globe, including short works of fiction and drama, political manifestos, and the work of less well-known writers.

Freedman’s cogent Introduction assesses the challenges facing feminism, while her accessible, lively commentary contextualizes each piece. The Essential Feminist Reader is a vital addition to feminist scholarship, and an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the history of women.

A couple of Overdrive e-books (translated of course)
The Lake – Banana Yoshimoto, Michael Emmerich (Translator)

While The Lake shows off many of the features that have made Banana Yoshimoto famous—a cast of vivid and quirky characters, simple yet nuanced prose, a tight plot with an upbeat pace—it’s also one of the most darkly mysterious books she’s ever written.

It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though … until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too.

They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre religious cult. . . .

With its echoes of the infamous, real-life Aum Shinrikyo cult (the group that released poison gas in the Tokyo subway system), The Lake unfolds as the most powerful novel Banana Yoshimoto has written. And as the two young lovers overcome their troubled past to discover hope in the beautiful solitude of the lake in the countryside, it’s also one of her most moving.

The Confessions of Noa Weber – Gail Hareven (Author), Dalya Bilu (Translator)

Acclaimed author Noa Weber has a successful “feminist” life: a strong career, a wonderful daughter she raised alone, and she is a recognized and respected cultural figure. Yet her interior life is bound by her obsessive love for one man—Alek, a Russian émigré and the father of her child, who has drifted in and out of her life.

Trying to understand—as well as free herself from—this lifelong obsession, Noa turns her pen on herself, and with relentless honesty dissects her life. Against the evocative setting of turbulent, modernday Israel, this examination becomes a quest to transform irrational desire into a greater, transcendent understanding of love.

The Confessions of Noa Weber introduces a startlingly talented writer in a rich tale that illuminates the desires, yearnings, and complexities of life in Israel.

And some board books for wee reader

Little One Step – Simon James

On the Night You Were Born – Nancy Tillman

A to Z – Sandra Boynton

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


  1. Yes, Happy New Year! I hope you enjoy the next set of Kirkman comics; I’m still quite happily engaged in the series. That is a great sell on the Mitchell novels; I would have snapped that up too. The allergy question must seem a little overwhelming; we deal with similar situations in our family, too, and it becomes routine very quickly. (But wheat, yes, it * is * in everything. No wonder so many bodies are reaching their individual tipping points with it!)


    1. The Walking Dead series is just so absorbing. After some initial hesitation (I had forgotten who was who), I jumped right in and before I knew it, the sun had gone down and I was 2/3 of the way through!


      1. I so enjoyed reading the first volumes of the series this way; now that I’m caught up, I’ve taken to reading the last single volume before the current one (and it always yields something that I hadn’t noticed) and then the new one, but it’s not quite as much fun as the total immersion of the first several issues. If you haven’t already watched the series, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as well!


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