Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
I went to the library on Monday, having skipped last week’s (physical) library visit because of a bad migraine that had me in bed most of the day (luckily the husband was able to work from home and do all the school pickups and drop-offs).
And on Sunday, the 6yo asked me, “Mummy, can you please go to the library tomorrow? We need new books!” What could I do with a request like that except to head to the library to pick up books for them?
Also, of course, some for myself.
Returning to his longtime home in Japan after his father-in-law’s sudden death, Pico Iyer picks up the steadying patterns of his everyday rites: going to the post office and engaging in furious games of ping-pong every evening. But in a country whose calendar is marked with occasions honoring the dead, he comes to reflect on changelessness in ways that anyone can relate to: parents age, children scatter, and Iyer and his wife turn to whatever can sustain them as everything falls away. As the maple leaves begin to turn and the heat begins to soften, Iyer shows us a Japan we have seldom seen before, where the transparent and the mysterious are held in a delicate balance, and where autumn reminds us to take nothing for granted.
In the Before, when the government didn’t prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce’s connection to the world–her music, her purpose–is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: she performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law. Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery–no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she’ll have to do something she’s never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough
Empty Hearts – Julie Zeh, translated from the German by John Cullen
A prescient political and psychological thriller ripped from tomorrow’s headlines, by one of Germany’s most celebrated contemporary novelists
A few short years from now, the world is an even more uncertain place than it is today, and politics everywhere is marching rightward: Trump is gone, but Brexit is complete, as is Frexit; there’s a global financial crisis, armed conflict, mass migration, and an ultrapopulist movement governs in Germany. With their democracy facing the wrecking ball, most well-off Germans turn inward, focusing on their own lives. Britta, a wife, mother, and successful businesswoman, ignores the daily news and concentrates on her family and her work running a clinic specializing in suicide prevention.
But her legitimate business is connected to a secret and far more lucrative operation known as The Bridge, an outfit that supplies terrorist organizations looking to employ suicide bombers. Using a complex candidate-identifying algorithm designed by Babak, a brilliant programmer and Britta’s only employee, The Bridge has effectively cornered the market, and terrorism almost never takes place without Britta’s services–which is why news of a thwarted suicide attack in Leipzig comes as a shock. Then The Bridge’s database is stolen and a colleague at the clinic murdered, driving Britta, Babak, and their latest recruit into hiding. On their heels is a new terrorist organization called Empty Hearts, a group unlike any they’ve encountered before.
Part suspenseful thriller, part wickedly effective social satire, Empty Hearts is a novel for our times, examining urgent questions of morality, politics, and culture, and presenting a startling vision of a future where empathy is a thing of the past.
The Threads of the Heart – Carole Martinez, translated from the French by Howard Curtis
They say Frasquita knows magic, that she is a healer with occult powers, that perhaps she is a sorcerer. She does indeed possess a remarkable gift, one that has been passed down to the women in her family for generations. From rags, off-cuts, and rough fabric she can create gowns and other garments so magnificent, so alive, that bestow a breathtaking and blinding beauty on whoever wears them; they are also capable of masking any kind of defect or deformity (and pregnancies!).
But Fasquita’s gift incites others’ jealousy. She is hounded and eventually banished from her home. What follows is an extraordinary adventure as she travels across southern Spain all the way to Africa with her children in tow. Her exile becomes a quest for a better life, for herself and her daughters, whom she hopes can escape the ironclad fate of her family of sorcerers.
Winner of no less than nine literary prizes, a bestseller in France and Italy, and soon to be a major film directed by the author, Carole Martinez’s The Threads of the Heart has won the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers in Europe. For readers who loved The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende or One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Threads of the Heart possesses the lyric beauty of a prose poem and the narrative power of myth and cannot fail to delight
Everything Inside: Stories – Edwidge Danticat
From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying, a collection of vividly imagined stories about community, family, and love.
Rich with hard-won wisdom and humanity, set in locales from Miami and Port-au-Prince to a small unnamed country in the Caribbean and beyond, Everything Inside is at once wide in scope and intimate, as it explores the forces that pull us together, or drive us apart, sometimes in the same searing instant.
In these eight powerful, emotionally absorbing stories, a romance unexpectedly sparks between two wounded friends; a marriage ends for what seem like noble reasons, but with irreparable consequences; a young woman holds on to an impossible dream even as she fights for her survival; two lovers reunite after unimaginable tragedy, both for their country and in their lives; a baby’s christening brings three generations of a family to a precarious dance between old and new; a man falls to his death in slow motion, reliving the defining moments of the life he is about to lose.
This is the indelible work of a keen observer of the human heart–a master at her best.
The kids’ loot:
What did you get from your library this week?