Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.
In the country: stories – Mia Alvar
These nine globe-trotting, unforgettable stories from Mia Alvar, a remarkable new literary talent, vividly give voice to the women and men of the Filipino diaspora. Here are exiles, emigrants, and wanderers uprooting their families from the Philippines to begin new lives in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere—and, sometimes, turning back again.
A pharmacist living in New York smuggles drugs to his ailing father in Manila, only to discover alarming truths about his family and his past. In Bahrain, a Filipina teacher drawn to a special pupil finds, to her surprise, that she is questioning her own marriage. A college student leans on her brother, a laborer in Saudi Arabia, to support her writing ambitions, without realizing that his is the life truly made for fiction. And in the title story, a journalist and a nurse face an unspeakable trauma amidst the political turmoil of the Philippines in the 1970s and ’80s.
In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home. From teachers to housemaids, from mothers to sons, Alvar’s powerful debut collection explores the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined. Deeply compassionate and richly felt, In the Country marks the emergence of a formidable new writer.
A little life – Hanya Yanagihara
I finally gave in and borrowed this.
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
The Wicked + the divine Vol 2: Fandemonium – Kieren Gillen; Jamie McKelvie; Matthew Wilson; Clayton Cowles
The second volume of the award-winning urban fantasy series where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. Following the tragic and unjust death of Lucifer, it takes a revelation from Inanna to draw Laura back into the worlds of Gods and Superstardom to try and discover the truth behind a conspiracy to subvert divinity.
Honor Girl – Maggie Thrash
Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.
A Christmas Memory – Truman Capote
I found this gem on the display of the library staff’s favourite books.
First published in 1956, this much sought-after autobiographical recollection of Truman Capote’s rural Alabama boyhood has become a modern-day classic. We are proud to be reprinting this warm and delicately illustrated edition of A Christmas Memory–“a tiny gem of a holiday story” (School Library Journal, starred review). Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin, Miss Sook Falk: “It’s fruitcake weather!” Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an odd but enduring friendship between two innocent souls–one young and one old–and the memories they share of beloved holiday rituals
D.A. – Connie Willis
Another one I found on the library staff favourites shelves
Theodora Baumgarten has just been selected as an IASA space cadet, and therein lies the problem. She didn’t apply for the ultra-coveted posting, and doesn’t relish spending years aboard the ship to which she’s been assigned. But the plucky young heroine, in true Heinlein fashion, has no plans to go along with the program. Aided by her hacker best friend Kimkim, in a screwball comedy that has become Connie Wills’ hallmark, Theodora will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her shanghaied.
Also, some e-book holds just came in! I’m trying to read some of the books on the Tournament of Books 2016 longlist.
When we first meet U., our narrator, he is waiting out a delay in the Turin airport. Clicking through corridors of trivia on his laptop he stumbles on information about the Shroud of Turin–and is struck by the degree to which our access to the truth is always mediated by a set of veils or screens, with any world built on those truths inherently unstable. A “corporate ethnographer,” U. is tasked with writing the “Great Report,” an ell-encompassing document that would sum up our era. Yet at every turn, he feels himself overwhelmed by the ubiquity of data, lost in buffer zones, wandering through crowds of apparitions. Madison, the woman he is seeing, is increasingly elusive, much like the particulars in the case of the recent parachutist’s death with which U. is obsessed. Add to that his longstanding obsession with South Pacific cargo cults and his developing, inexplicable interest in oil spills. As he begins to wonder if the Great Report might remain a shapeless, oozing plasma, his senses are startled awake by a dream of an apocalyptic cityscape. In Satin Island, Tom McCarthy captures–as only he can– the way we experience our world, our efforts to find meaning (or just to stay awake) and discern the narratives we think of as our lives.
A Manual for Cleaning Women – Lucia Berlin
A MANUAL FOR CLEANING WOMEN compiles the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians.
Have you read any of these books? Which would you recommend I start with?
I read In the Country and part of A Manual for Cleaning Women. I really liked them both. Both were library books and I had to return Cleaning Women before I could read all the stories. I’ll check it out again. The great thing about story collections is that you don’t have to read them straight through. You can mix them or use them for breaks from other reading 9/Cleaning Women was especially god for this).
I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the two books. I’m in the second story of In The Country – the one set in Bahrain with the special education teacher – and I really love this story.
Well the on,y one from this list that I have read is A Little Life. I found it intriguing thought sometimes the writing was not great.
Gawd, I want to read all the books! I have The Wicked + the Divine on my TBR (first volume), and I really want to try out Honor Girl, In the Country, and mayyyybe A Little Life. I’m still unsure of that one a bit.
Well, I can tell you that I just ploughed my way through a quarter of the book and it was awesome.
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