Library Loot (March 31 to April 6)

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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.

Happy Wednesday!

The very excellent library-related news is that the library is open! Right now only the main branch of the library is open, but hey, that’s the one that’s closest to me anyway.

So it was with excitement (and a bit of anxiety, as I always feel a bit anxious when heading indoors these days), that I went to the library on a Wednesday morning, just when they opened. The husband works from home and the kids were in remote learning – I usually have to keep an eye on them but I figured, a quick half hour or so would be ok, all for the love of books!

They’ve changed things, adding someone to man the front entrance to answer questions and probably make sure everyone is masked up etc. They’ve spaced out the machines, the holds section, pushed out some children’s books shelves so that the space isn’t so tight. There’s still no-contact pick-up for those who don’t want to venture inside.

But it was a lovely 15 minutes spent inside picking up my holds, talking to a librarian because I couldn’t find one of my holds (looks like it’s still in quarantine), then grabbing a few books for the kids off the new children’s books section.

Ok, so here’s what I got this week:

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The Absolute Book – Elizabeth Knox

Taryn Cornick believes that the past–her sister’s violent death, and her own ill-conceived revenge–is behind her, and she can get on with her life. She has written a successful book about the things that threaten libraries: insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring . . . but not all of the attention it brings her is good.

A policeman, Jacob Berger, questions her about a cold case. Then there are questions about a fire in the library at her grandparents’ house and an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter, as well as threatening phone calls and a mysterious illness. Finally a shadowy young man named Shift appears, forcing Taryn and Jacob toward a reckoning felt in more than one world.

The Absolute Book is epic, action-packed fantasy in which hidden treasures are recovered, wicked things resurface, birds can talk, and dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, from contemporary England to Auckland, New Zealand; from a magical fairyland to Purgatory. Above all, it is a declaration of love for stories and the ways in which they shape our worlds and create gods out of morals.

Banned Book Club – Kim Hyun Sook and Ko Hyung-Ju 

When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas of Western Literature far from the drudgery she was promised at her family’s restaurant. But literature class would prove to be just the start of a massive turning point, still focused on reading but with life-or-death stakes she never could have imagined.

This was during South Korea’s Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protestors. In this charged political climate, with Molotov cocktails flying and fellow students disappearing for hours and returning with bruises, Hyun Sook sought refuge in the comfort of books. When the handsome young editor of the school newspaper invited her to his reading group, she expected to pop into the cafeteria to talk about Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Scarlet Letter. Instead she found herself hiding in a basement as the youngest member of an underground banned book club. And as Hyun Sook soon discovered, in a totalitarian regime, the delights of discovering great works of illicit literature are quickly overshadowed by fear and violence as the walls close in.

In BANNED BOOK CLUB, Hyun Sook shares a dramatic true story of political division, fear-mongering, anti-intellectualism, the death of democratic institutions, and the relentless rebellion of reading. 

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water – Zen Cho

Zen Cho returns with a found family wuxia fantasy that combines the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies with characters drawn from the margins of history.

A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined.

Anna K: A Love Story – Jenny Lee

Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.

As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Storyis a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.

The kids’ loot:

What did you get from your library this week?

9 Comments

  1. I have The Absolute Book out from the library in hardcopy!! About 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through. Really interested to hear what you think. I keep drawing weird, not-really-readalike comparisons to The Goldfinch (not good), Discovery of Witches (good), and Hazel Wood (good).

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  2. Ahhhhh, I am so jealous! Though I am very grateful for curbside pickup, I cannot wait until the library is open for browsing again.

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  3. I hadn’t heard of Anna K and I wouldn’t have read it after finding out about it here but for the Korean interest. I have left it at work for the weekend now, as I am thinking of donating it to our library, although I am not sure whether the sex and drugs are OK. The Korean interest worked perfectly as a way of replicating the constraints of Russian society of the past, and the characters’ motivations were well drawn in themselves. I appreciated the afterword explaining how the story formed in Jenny Lee’s head – her love for the original book is apparent throughout.

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