Library Loot (22 September 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.

So I’ve been in a non-blogging mode. And that is why I have completely forgotten about my previous library loot. And here it is.

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter -William Deresiewicz

Before Jane Austen, William Deresiewicz was a very different young man. A sullen and arrogant graduate student, he never thought Austen would have anything to offer him. Then he read Emma—and everything changed.

In this unique and lyrical book, Deresiewicz weaves the misadventures of Austen’s characters with his own youthful follies, demonstrating the power of the great novelist’s teachings—and how, for Austen, growing up and making mistakes are one and the same. Honest, erudite, and deeply moving, A Jane Austen Education is the story of one man’s discovery of the world outside himself.

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume 6 – edited by Jonathan Strahan

I found this book in the library’s catalogue while searching for Nalo Hopkinson, a writer I’ve only recently heard of, thanks to Buried in Print.

An ancient society of cartographer wasps create delicately inscribed maps; a bodyjacking parasite is faced with imminent extinction; an AI makes a desperate gambit to protect its child from a ravenous dragon; a professor of music struggles with the knowledge that murder is not too high a price for fame; living origami carries a mother’s last words to her child; a steam girl conquers the realm of imagination; Aliens attack Venus, ignoring an incredulous earth; a child is born on Mars… The science fiction and fantasy fiction fields continue to evolve, setting new marks with each passing year. For the sixth year in a row, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan has collected stories that captivate, entertain, and showcase the very best the genre has to offer. Critically acclaimed, and with a reputation for including award-winning speculative fiction, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year is the only major “best of” anthology to collect both fantasy and science fiction under one cover. Jonathan Strahan has edited more than twenty anthologies and collections, including The Locus Awards (with Charles N. Brown), The New Space Opera (with Gardner Dozois), and The Starry Rift. He has won the Ditmar, William J. Atheling Jr., and Peter McNamara awards for his work as an anthologist and reviewer, and was nominated for a Hugo Award for his editorial work. Strahan is currently the reviews editor for Locus.

Frida’s Bed – Slavenka Drakulić
I’ve been meaning to read something, anything really, by Drakulic. And this was the only one available at my library.

A few days before Frida Kahlo’s death in 1954, she wrote in her diary, “I hope the exit is joyful—and I hope never to return.” Diagnosed with polio at the age of six and plagued by illness and injury throughout her life, Kahlo’s chronic pain was a recurrent theme in her extraordinary art. In Frida’s Bed, Slavenka Drakulic´ explores the inner life of one of the world’s most influential female artists, skillfully weaving Frida’s memories into descriptions of her paintings, producing a meditation on the nature of chronic pain and creativity. With an intriguing subject whose unusual life continues to fascinate, this poignant imagining of Kahlo’s thoughts during her final hours by another daringly original and uncompromising creative talent will attract readers of literary fiction and art lovers alike.

Death of a Red Heroine – Qiu Xiaolong

It’s always interesting to read crime/mystery/detective fiction set in other parts of the world, and I hope this one, set in China, will be so too.

In this Anthony Award-winning debut, Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police must find the murderer of a National Model worker, and then risk his own life and career to see that justice is done. A Loyal Character Dancer is the latest in Qiu’s Shanghai series featuring Inspector Chen.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
What did you get from your library this week?


  1. I’ve seen A Jane Austen Education on the shelf and thought about picking it up. I haven’t yet though. Perhaps your thoughts on it will sway me to give it a chance. I think I should read more Austen before I do pick it up.


    1. I’ve enjoyed the chapters on Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park so far. Unfortunately the current chapter is on Northanger Abbey and that is a book that I am far less familiar with (I think I read it, but it must have been a long time ago). So a lot of it is lost on me. And now I feel the need to go read it!


  2. I had so many things to say after reading A Jane Austen Education! I didn’t always agree with Deresiewicz’s take on Austen but I really enjoyed reading his thoughts. Part of what I love so much about Austen is hearing about other readers’ experiences with her. Enjoy your loot!


  3. Have you noticed how much behind I am with reading blogs? I’ve commented first on your latest library loot post xD

    As for last week’s, I haven’t read any on your library’s check-out list, but they are all titles that appeal to me! I’ve read both good and negative reviews about Qiu Xiaolong’s books, wondering what that book is like?


    1. I’ve just started reading Qiu’s book. And while the writing style is nothing to shout about (is it the translation? I never know, and I never will as my Chinese is only so-so), the character of Inspector Chen is a little different from what I expected (he is probably the kind that Inspector Singh would scoff at!). Plus I really appreciate that Qiu sometimes details what his characters consume! I’m the kind of person who when reading something like “and they sat down to dinner” just wonders what exactly they ate and why won’t the writer make more effort in telling me!


      1. Oh well, they can’t be all like Singh 😉 And at least he can eat whatever he likes without having to fear or his health, like Singh does?
        Yes, perhaps it is the translation. A lot can go wrong (fall flat) when the translating isn’t up to par 😦


  4. Were you able to find any others of Nalo Hopkinson’s works? (There must be a short story of hers in there, too?) I love the one-book-leads-to-another phenomenon anyhow. Frida’s Bed strikes my fancy on this list…I’ll look forward to your thoughts on it.


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