Library Loot (15 February 2013)

 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 grabbed some books that I had on hold, including some interesting translated works.

Stone upon stone – Wieslaw Mysliwski


A masterpiece of postwar Polish literature, Stone Upon Stone is Wieslaw Mysliwski’s grand epic in the rural tradition – a profound and irreverent stream of memory cutting through the rich and varied terrain of one man’s connection to the land, to his family and community, to women, to tradition, to God, to death, and to what it means to be alive. Wise and impetuous, plain-spoken and compassionate Szymek Pietruszka recalls his youth in their village, his time as a guerrilla soldier, as a wedding official, barber, policeman, lover, drinker, and caretaker for his invalid brother. Filled with interwoven stories and voices, by turns hilarious and moving, Szymek’s narrative exudes the profound wisdom of one who has suffered yet who loves life to the very core.

Red Poppies – Alai, translated by Sylvia Li-Chun Lin, Howard Goldblatt


A lively and cinematic twentieth-century epic, Red Poppies focuses on the extravagant and brutal reign of a clan of Tibetan warlords during the rise of Chinese Communism. The story is wryly narrated by the chieftain’s son, a self-professed “idiot” who reveals the bloody feuds, seductions, secrets, and scheming behind his family’s struggles for power. When the chieftain agrees to grow opium poppies with seeds supplied by the Chinese Nationalists in exchange for modern weapons, he draws Tibet into the opium trade — and unwittingly plants the seeds for a downfall. A “swashbuckling novel” (New York Times Book Review), Red Poppies is at once a political parable and a moving elegy to the lost kingdom of Tibet in all its cruelty, beauty, and romance

The Daughter of Time – Josephine Tey

After reading about the Richard III discovery, I wanted to see what I could read (fiction that is) about him. Plus I’ve been wanting to read Tey for a while now. As good a time as any!


In one of Tey’s bestselling mystery novels ever, Scotland Yard Inspector Alan Grant is intrigued by a portrait of Richard III. Could such a sensitive face actually belong to one of history’s most heinous villains—a king who killed his brother’s children to secure his crown? Grant determines to find out once and for all what kind of man Richard was and who in fact killed the princes in the tower

Horseradish: Bitter truths you can’t avoid – Lemony Snicket
While wee reader wandered around the library (and I wandered after him to make sure he didn’t make a mess), I grabbed this book off the shelf as it sounded interesting.


Lemony Snicket’s work is filled with bitter truths, like: ‘It is always cruel to laugh at people, of course, although sometimes if they are wearing an ugly hat it is hard to control yourself.’ Or: ‘It is very easy to say that the important thing is to try your best, but if you are in real trouble the most important thing is not trying your best, but getting to safety.’

For all of life’s ups and downs, its celebrations and its sorrows, here is a book to commemorate it all – especially for those not fully soothed by chicken soup. Witty and irreverent, Horseradish is a book with universal appeal, a delightful vehicle to introduce Snicket’s uproariously unhappy observations to a crowd not yet familiar with the Baudelaires’ misadventures

The Stonekeeper’s curse (Amulet #2) – Kazu Kibuishi


In this thrilling sequel to AMULET #1: THE STONEKEEPER, Emily and her brother Navin head for Kanalis, a beautiful and mysterious city of waterfalls, where they hope to find the antidote for the poison that felled their mother. That cure lies in the eggs of a giant serpent atop Demon’s Head Mountain, but the kids’ archenemy, Trellis, is headed for the peak, too. A battle that will engulf all of Kanalis is looming. It’s up to Em to triumph over evil while controlling the amulet’s power . . . without losing herself!

And of course some loot for wee reader. He’s very into trucks, cars and airplanes right now, can you tell?

And a couple of e-books, which certainly came in handy when I had to wait at the lab for two hours while taking my two-hour glucose test (fasting! No water after drinking that nasty orange drink! What fun!)

The best exotic Marigold Hotel – Deborah Moggach


When Ravi Kapoor, an over-worked London doctor, is driven beyond endurance by his obnoxious father-in-law, he asks his wife: ‘Can’t we just send him away somewhere? Somewhere far, far away.’ His prayer seems to have been answered when his entrepreneurial cousin, Sonny, sets up a retirement home, recreating a lost corner of England in a converted guesthouse in Bangalore. Travel and set-up are inexpensive, staff willing and plentiful – and the British pensioners can enjoy the hot weather and take mango juice with their gin.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a brilliant comedy of manners, mixing acute observation with a deeper message about how different cultures cope in the modern world

Thirty-Three Teeth (Dr. Siri Paiboun #2 – Colin Cotterill


Feisty Dr. Siri Paiboun is no respecter of persons or Party; at his age he feels he can afford to be independent. In this, the second novel in the series, he travels to Luang Prabang where he communes with the deposed king who is resigned to his fate: it was predicted long ago. And he attends a conference of shamans called by the Communist Party to deliver an ultimatum to the spirits: obey Party orders or get out. But as a series of mutilated corpses arrives in Dr. Siri’s morgue, and Nurse Dtui is menaced, he must use all his powers—forensic and shamanic—to discover the creature—animal or spirit—that has been slaying the innocent.

What did you get from the library this week?



  1. I really like the diversity of your library loot. That first book I’d probably never have picked up, but sometimes browsing around reveals a gem like that 🙂 Hah! You reminded me to start reading The Coroner’s Lunch sometime soon. I hope the sequel proves to be as good as the first one. I see you rated it four stars.
    My library browse surprise is The Journal of Dora Damage, which is full of very entertaining twists and turns.
    Happy reading!


    1. I downloaded the Cotterill book in a bid for some lighter reading while battling this drawn-out cold of mine! The first one was pretty entertaining aside from a couple of issues I had with the book, so I have relatively high hopes!

      And yeah, most translated works tend to be a bit heavy going! I’m not all that sure what I’m getting myself into with Stone upon stone!


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