Gosh, it's been literally ages since I have shared a pile of library finds here. I have been trying hard to concentrate on reading from my own shelves and so have been very selective on which books I borrow from the library to the point of hardly borrowing at all. I can resist no longer as you can see. It makes me feel all happy inside to bring home a stack of library books and share them here. Realistically I know I won't read them all, but I will do my best and at least dip into them to see which will be keepers in one way or another--either will get back in line for them or will watch for a paperback edition later. Let's see what I've been tempted by of late:
While the Gods Were Sleeping by Erwin Mortier -- "a novel about the magnitude and impact of the First World War, the recollections of which are recorded in the notebooks of the elderly Helena. The young Helena is sent to her uncle’s country house before the war, and from here she witnesses scenes of indescribable horror. But it is also where she meets Matthew again, a British Army photographer who she goes on to marry. This is a story not about spectacular events; rather, Mortier is concerned with writing about war, history and the past with great empathy and engagement, and with a mixture of melancholy, qualification and resignation." This is translated from Dutch and must have been on some prize longlist somewhere. He has been compared to Proust if that gives you a sense of his prose style. It absolutely demands to be read slowly and some passages reread!
The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel -- "Cécile, a stylish forty-seven-year-old, has spent the weekend visiting her parents in a provincial town southeast of Paris. By early Monday morning, she's exhausted. These trips back home are always stressful and she settles into a train compartment with an empty seat beside her. But it's soon occupied by a man she instantly recognizes: Philippe Leduc, with whom she had a passionate affair that ended in her brutal humiliation thirty years ago. In the fraught hour and a half that ensues, their express train hurtles towards the French capital. Cécile and Philippe undertake their own face to face journey—In silence? What could they possibly say to one another?—with the reader gaining entrée to the most private of thoughts. This is a psychological thriller about past romance, with all its pain and promise." I thought this sounded very clever and hopefully will be amusing in a wry sort of way.
Mrs. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal -- "In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character, Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel." I am sure I will like this series. It has been recommended to me by friends and I have forever been meaning to try it.
Absalom's Daughters by Suzanne Feldman -- "Self-educated and brown-skinned, Cassie works full time in her grandmother’s laundry in rural Mississippi. Illiterate and white, Judith falls for “colored music” and dreams of life as a big city radio star. These teenaged girls are half-sisters. And when they catch wind of their wayward father’s inheritance coming down in Virginia, they hitch their hopes to a road trip together to claim what’s rightly theirs." This sounds like such an unusual set up--had to give it a go.
A Few Right Thinking Men by Sulari Gentill -- "Meet Rowland Sinclair, gentleman and artist living in 1931 Sydney. Friend of the Left, son of the Right, he paints in a superbly tailored, three-piece suit and houses friends who include a poet, a painter, and a feminist sculptress whom he has painted nude and hung it in the drawing room. Is he perhaps in love with Edna? If so, she isn’t having any." I need to read more Australian literature and I love a good 1930s mystery!
Siracusa by Delia Ephron -- "With her inimitable psychological astuteness and uncanny understanding of the human heart, Ephron delivers a powerful meditation on marriage, friendship, and the meaning of travel. Set on the sun-drenched coast of the Ionian Sea, Siracusa unfolds with the pacing of a psychological thriller and delivers an unexpected final act that none will see coming." I have read about this and listened to a podcast interview with the author--it keeps popping up and how can I resist anything "Italy"!
Eve of a Hundred Midnights by Bill Lascher -- "The unforgettable true story of two married journalists on an island-hopping run for their lives across the Pacific after the Fall of Manila during World War II—a saga of love, adventure, and danger." I am a slow nonfiction reader and I doubt I will manage a library copy when there are other people waiting for it. But I will dip in and see if it is something I really want and likely will just order a copy for myself.
The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell (not in the stack as it is my gym book so it is sleeping in my locker overnight) -- "On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?" I will tell you about this one soon--it seems to be a quick sort of read.
I have the books sorted by most-want-to-read, further sorted by due dates and lastly by how long the line is for them. Such a fine balance library books must call for. Which can be renewed or have short waiting lines and which beckon to me most strongly. So, the Jewell is first up (and soonest due) with Siracusa very close behind. I have started the Mortier novel but it will need to be read slowly and with attention. It was an ILL request through the library where I work and happily I can renew it. The MacNeal will easily be renewed and most likely more than once since it is the oldest (and the first in the series). And I am leaning heavily towards the Feldman as the story simply really appeals at the moment.
The library game. Flexing my fingers now to get back into things. Oh, library books. I have missed you . . .