Library Loot (February 19 to 25)

badge-4Library 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!

How’s your week going so far? I’ve got quite a mixed Library Loot haul this week but it looks like a lot of great reads. Happy reading!

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

 

Bloom by Kevin Panetta

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band—if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, in which the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D Jackson

Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.

Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.

Stargazing by Jen Wang

When Moon’s family moves in next door to Christine’s, Moon goes from unlikely friend to best friend―maybe even the perfect friend. The girls share their favorite music videos, paint their toenails when Christine’s strict parents aren’t around, and make plans to enter the school talent show together. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she sometimes has visions of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn’t where she really belongs.

But when they’re least expecting it, catastrophe strikes. After relying on Moon for everything, can Christine find it in herself to be the friend Moon needs?

New York Times–bestselling author-illustrator Jen Wang draws on her childhood to paint a deeply personal yet wholly relatable friendship story that’s at turns joyful, heart-wrenching, and full of hope

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

Library Loot (February 12 to 18)

badge-4Library 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.

Claire has the link-up this week. 


Autumn Light: Season of Fire and Farewells – Pico Iyer

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.


A Song for a New Day – Sarah Pinsker

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?

 

Library Loot (February 5 to 11)

badge-4Library 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 Library Loot day! Don’t forget to link-up below.

 

My post is rather full of manga this week.

 

 

Dreamin’ Sun Vol 1, 2, 3, 4 – Ichigo Takano

I just discovered that Ichigo Takano, who wrote the manga series Orange, which I love, has another series. There’s a total of 10 volumes in this series (which started in Japan in 2008). So I’m looking forward to reading the rest!

Shimana Kameko lives in a home where she feels she doesn’t belong. Her mother is dead, her father has remarried, and her six-month-old baby brother takes up everyone’s attention. Kameko skips school and runs away to a nearby park, where she literally stumbles over a mysterious man in a kimono. The stranger, Fujiwara Taiga, offers Kameko a place to stay — on three conditions. The first condition is that Kameko tell him why she ran away from home. The second is that she fetch the stranger’s lost apartment key (he is locked out!). The third condition is… to have a dream. Kameko meets the conditions, moves in, and begins a journey of romance and self-discovery.

 

The Adventures of Barry & Joe – Adam Reid

Brothers from different mothers, bromancing history to save us from Trump.

These are the continuing adventures of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, time traveling superheroes in search of a brighter future for America.

Moments after the inauguration of our 45th President, best friends Barack Obama and Joe Biden were escorted to a secret lab run by the world’s greatest scientists. They were asked to take off all their clothes and hold very still in a fetal position until they felt a painful tingling sensation. Then they vanished. They would awake to find themselves apart, and inside their younger bodies—driven to find each other and change history for the better. Their faithful guide on this journey is Samuel L. Jackson, a brilliant actor from the present who appears in the form of an augmented reality that only they can see and hear. And thus, they find themselves leaping through time, striving to right injustice wherever they find it, looking for a world which they can proudly call home.

A visual feast that’s both graphic and novel, this book is a love letter to cheesy science fiction and the two men who can still be counted on to inspire us.  Featuring comics produced by Titmouse Inc (Big Mouth, The Venture Bros.), it’s 224 pages of adventure that will melt your snowflake brain and give you hope for humanity at the same time. 

 

The kids’ loot:

What did you get from your library this week?

 

Library Loot (January 29 to February 4)

badge-4Library 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 Library Loot day!

Claire has the link-up this week.


 

I’m intrigued by this cover! Hope it’s a good read…

Wilder Girls – Rory Power

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true

Pastry Love – Joanne Chang

James Beard award–winning baker Joanne Chang is best known around the country for her eight acclaimed Flour bakeries in Boston. Chang has published two books based on the offerings at Flour, such as her famous sticky buns, but Pastry Love is her most personal and comprehensive book yet. It includes 125 dessert recipes for many things she could never serve in the setting of a bakery—for example, items that are best served warm or with whipped cream on top. Nothing makes Chang happier than baking and sharing treats with others, and that passion comes through in every recipe, such as Strawberry Slab Pie, Mocha Chip Cookies, and Malted Chocolate Cake. The recipes start off easy such as Lemon Sugar Cookies and build up to showstoppers like Passion Fruit Crepe Cake. The book also includes master lessons and essential techniques for making pastry cream, lemon curd, puff pastry, and more, all of which make this book a must-have for beginners and expert home bakers alike.

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

Library Loot (January 22 to 28)

badge-4Library 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 Library Loot day!

Don’t forget to link up!

I borrowed some books to take part in January in Japan, something that was happening on Instagram.

Goodnight PunPun Vol 2 – Inio Asano

Meet Punpun Punyama. He’s an average kid in an average town. He wants to win a Nobel Prize and save the world. He wants to go far away with his true love. He wants to find some porn. But Punpun’s life is about to unravel…

 

Master Keaton Vol 7 – Naoki Urasawa

When the wall that separated the East and West falls, the twentieth century comes to an end and brings radical changes to the world. During this turbulent time, Taichi Hiraga Keaton has difficulty finding a job in archaeology even though his long line of cases as an insurance investigator doesn’t seem to end. As he navigates through dangerous adventures, Keaton encounters some bittersweet lives

Pumpkinheads – Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

Library Loot (January 15 to 21)

badge-4Library 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 and happy Library Loot day!

Claire has the link-up 

I have an awesome (virtual) stack of books this week!

Somehow I kept thinking this was a speculative fiction kind of read. But it looks like it’s a “missing girl” type of read, but in a different type of setting. 

Disappearing Earth – Julia Phillips

One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the north-eastern edge of Russia, two sisters are abducted. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women.

Set on the remote Siberian peninsula of Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth draws us into the world of an astonishing cast of characters, all connected by an unfathomable crime. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty – densely wooded forests, open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes and the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska – and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused.

In a story as propulsive as it is emotionally engaging, and through a young writer’s virtuosic feat of empathy and imagination, this powerful novel provides a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before

 

Definitely a must read!

Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo

Joint Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2019

Teeming with life and crackling with energy — a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.

 

In the Land of Invisible Women – Qanta Ahmed

The decisions that change your life are often the most impulsive ones.
Unexpectedly denied a visa to remain in the United States, Qanta Ahmed, a young British Muslim doctor, becomes an outcast in motion. On a whim, she accepts an exciting position in Saudi Arabia. This is not just a new job; this is a chance at adventure in an exotic land she thinks she understands, a place she hopes she will belong.
What she discovers is vastly different. The Kingdom is a world apart, a land of unparralled contrast. She finds rejection and scorn in the places she believed would most embrace her, but also humor, honesty, loyalty and love.
And for Qanta, more than anything, it is a land of opportunity. A place where she discovers what it takes for one woman to recreate herself in the land of invisible women

 

Edge – Koji Suzuki

Edge begins with a massive and catastrophic shifting of the San Andreas fault. The fears of California someday tumbling into the sea–that have become the stuff of parody–become real. But even the terror resulting from this catastrophe pales in comparison to the understanding behind its happening, a cataclysm extending beyond mankind’s understanding of horror as it had previously been known. The world is falling apart because things are out of joint at the quantum level, about which of course there’s never been any guarantee that everything has to remain stable.

Koji Suzuki returns to the genre he’s most famous for after many years of “not wanting to write any more horror.” As expected from Suzuki, the chills are of a more cerebral, psychological sort, arguably more unsettling and scary than the slice-and-dice gore fests that horror has become known in the U.S. Never content to simply do “Suzuki”–as it were–but rather push the envelope on what horror is in general and for which readers have come to know him, Edge borders on being cutting-edge science fiction. The author himself terms this novel, which he has worked on for some years, a work of “quantum horror.”

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

 

 

Library Loot (January 8 to 14)

badge-4Library 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.

Hi everyone and happy Library Loot day!

Found this on the new arrivals shelves

The White Card: A Play in One Act – Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine’s first published play, The White Card, poses the essential question: Can American society progress if whiteness remains invisible?

Composed of two scenes, the play opens with a dinner party thrown by Virginia and Charles, an influential Manhattan couple, for the up-and-coming artist Charlotte. Their conversation about art and representations of race spirals toward the devastation of Virginia and Charles’s intentions. One year later, the second scene brings Charlotte and Charles into the artist’s studio, and their confrontation raises both the stakes and the questions of what–and who–is actually on display.

Rankine’s The White Card is a moving and revelatory distillation of racial divisions as experienced in the white spaces of the living room, the art gallery, the theater, and the imagination itself.

The Caregiver – Samuel Park

From the critically acclaimed author of This Burns My Heart comes gorgeous, emotionally wise tale about a daughter who unearths the hidden life of her enigmatic mother.

Mara Alencar’s mother Ana is the moon, the sun, the stars. Ana, a struggling voice-over actress, is an admirably brave and recklessly impulsive woman who does everything in her power to care for her little girl. With no other family or friends her own age, Ana eclipses Mara’s entire world. They take turns caring for each other—in ways big and small.

Their arrangement begins to unravel when Ana becomes involved with a civilian rebel group attempting to undermine the city’s torturous Police Chief, who rules over 1980s Rio de Janeiro with terrifying brutality. Ana makes decisions that indelibly change their shared life. When Mara is forced to escape, she emigrates to California where she finds employment as a caregiver to a young woman dying of stomach cancer. It’s here that she begins to grapple with her turbulent past and starts to uncover vital truths—about her mother, herself, and what it means to truly take care of someone.

Told with vivid imagery and subtle poignancy, The Caregiver is a moving and profound story that asks us to investigate who we are—as children and parents, immigrants and citizens, and ultimately, humans looking for vital connectivity.

Mosquito – Roma Tearne

Shortlisted for the Costa (Whitbread) 2007 First Novel Award

Set adrift by the recent death of his wife, Theo Samarajeeva abandons his comfortable writer’s life in London and returns to Sri Lanka, his war-torn homeland. There he finds himself slipping into friendship with Nulani, a talented and enigmatic young artist–a friendship that blossoms into love. Under the threat of a rising terrorist insurgency, their affair offers a glimmer of hope in a country on the brink of destruction.

But when the insurgency explodes, their precarious world is torn apart. Theo is held captive and stripped of everything he once held dear. Nulani is forced into exile. No one, it seems, is safe; only the sea and the land remain breathtakingly lovely. As the country descends into a morass of violence and hatred, the tragecy of civil conflict spreads like a poison among friends and lovers sickened by the fac of war. Ultimately, each of them will be tested in the most terrible ways.

By turns heartbreaking and uplifting, Mosquito is a first novel of remarkable beauty and compelling power.

I brought this home but will have to return without reading it. I had quickly grabbed it off the shelves as it was something I was looking for. Didn’t realize the first few pages were missing!

A Crack in the Wall – Claudia Piniero

Pablo SimĂł’s life is a mess. His career as an architect is at a deadend; reduced to designing soulless office buildings desecrating the heart of Buenos Aires. His marriage seems to be one endless argument with his wife over the theatrics of their rebellious teenage daughter. To complicate matters, Pablo has long been attracted to sexy office secretary Marta Horvat, who is probably having an affair with his boss. Everything changes with the unexpected appearance of Leonor, a beautiful young woman who brings to light a crime that happened years before, a crime that everyone in the office wants forgotten, at all costs.

Claudia Piñeiro once again demonstrates her capacity to reveal the things hidden behind the facades of our existence; human relationships based on habit and cowardice, rather than love; on excessive ambition and personal gain, rather than morality.

The kids’ loot:

What did you get from your library this week?