Library Loot (2 February 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.

This week’s Library Loot is mostly about books in translation, for my month of reading translated books.

A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry – edited by Czesław Miłosz

I was looking for a poetry anthology, in an attempt to try reading some! And this one’s international theme caught my eye.

Czesław Miłosz’s A Book of Luminous Things—his personal selection of poems from the past and present—is a testament to the stunning varieties of human experience, offered up so that we may see the myriad ways that experience can be shared in words and images. Miłosz provides a preface to each of these poems, divided into thematic (and often beguiling) sections, such as “Travel,” “History,” and “The Secret of a Thing,” that make the reading as instructional as it is inspirational and remind us how powerfully poetry can touch our minds and hearts. “

Out – Natsuo Kirino

Nothing in Japanese literature prepares us for the stark, tension-filled, plot-driven realism of Natsuo Kirino’s award-winning literary mystery Out.

This mesmerizing novel tells the story of a brutal murder in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works the night shift making boxed lunches strangles her abusive husband and then seeks the help of her coworkers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime. The coolly intelligent Masako emerges as the plot’s ringleader, but quickly discovers that this killing is merely the beginning, as it leads to a terrifying foray into the violent underbelly of Japanese society.

At once a masterpiece of literary suspense and pitch-black comedy of gender warfare, Out is also a moving evocation of the pressures and prejudices that drive women to extreme deeds, and the friendships that bolster them in the aftermath

Detective Story – Imre Kertész

From Nobel Laureate Imre Kertész comes this riveting novel about a torturer for the secret police of a Latin American regime who tells the haunting story of the father and son he ensnared and destroyed.

Now in prison, Antonio Martens is a torturer for a recently defunct dictatorship. He requests and is given writing materials in his cell, using them to narrate his involvement in the torture and assassination of a wealthy and prominent man and his son whose principled but passive opposition to the regime left them vulnerable to the secret police. Inside Martens’s mind, we inhabit the rationalizing world of evil and see firsthand the inherent danger of inertia during times of crisis. A slim, explosive novel of justice railroaded by malevolence, Detective Story is a warning cry for our time.

Brothers – Yu Hua

A bestseller in China, recently short-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize, and a winner of France’s Prix Courrier International, Brothers is an epic and wildly unhinged black comedy of modern Chinese society running amok.

Here is China as we’ve never seen it, in a sweeping, Rabelaisian panorama of forty years of rough-and-rumble Chinese history that has already scandalized millions of readers in the author’s homeland. Yu Hua, award-winning author of To Live, gives us a surreal tale of two brothers riding the dizzying roller coaster of life in a newly capitalist world. As comically mismatched teenagers, Baldy Li, a sex-obsessed ne’er-do-well, and Song Gang, his bookish, sensitive stepbrother, vow that they will always be brothers–a bond they will struggle to maintain over the years as they weather the ups and downs of rivalry in love and making and losing millions in the new China. Their tribulations play out across a richly populated backdrop that is every bit as vibrant: the rapidly-changing village of Liu Town, full of such lively characters as the self-important Poet Zhao, the craven dentist Yanker Yu, the virginal town beauty (turned madam) Lin Hong, and the simpering vendor Popsicle Wang.

With sly and biting humor, combined with an insightful and compassionate eye for the lives of ordinary people, Yu Hua shows how the madness of the Cultural Revolution has transformed into the equally rabid madness of extreme materialism. Both tragic and absurd by turns, Brothers is a monumental spectacle and a fascinating vision of an extraordinary place and time.

Cook Like a Rock Star: 125 Recipes, Lessons, and Culinary Secrets – Anne Burrell
Ok so this one isn’t translated (obviously!) I spotted it on the New Arrivals shelves, and have quite enjoyed watching Anne Burrell on the Next Iron Chef.

The Magician King – Lev Grossman
Ok another one not in translation, but I had requested this Overdrive ebook a while ago and it was finally available.

The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.

Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent’s house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.

The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the modern heir to C.S. Lewis, and the cutting edge of literary fantasy.

Books for wee reader

I Like Fruit: Petit Collage – Lorena Simovich

The Runaway Bunny – Margaret Wise Brown

Hop! – Phyllis Root

Yum Yum Dim Sum – Amy Wilson Sanger

Helen Oxenbury’s Big Baby Book – Helen Oxenbury

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


    1. There are so many bunny-related board books (and I’m sure picture books too, but we haven’t gotten to that stage yet) out there. I grab any rabbit-y books as wee reader was born in the Year of the Rabbit, so he is also sometimes known as xiaobaitu (小白兔) or little white rabbit.


  1. I want to read “Yum Yum Dim Sum”. Haha. Was it just pictures of different types of dimsum and their names?


    1. Oh there’s a cute rhyme that goes with it. However, they used ‘craft-y’ pictures of dim sum (made of paper or paper-like materials) instead of actual dim sum! So that was a bit disappointing….!!


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