Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire (The Captive Reader) and Marg (The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader) that encourages bloggers to share the books they've checked out of the library. If you'd like to participate, just write up your post, feel free to steal button, and link up using the Mr. Linky on Claire's site this week. And, of course, check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
Big Library haul this week--almost all of my hold requests came in at the same time!
The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time by David L Ulin: Expanding on a 2009 essay, Ulin, former book review editor of the Los Angeles Times, addresses the act of reading and its place in our information overloaded age. Ulin relies mainly on his own experiences as a loyal reader--specifically a recent attempt to reread The Great Gatsby alongside his son Noah's high school English class--which goes devastatingly wrong ("You'd fail if you were in my class," Noah pronounces). Ulin uses this incident to frame the larger narrative, fluently addressing the art and craft of literature, the reader's participation, the writer and the writing--and the act of rereading. He addresses in greater depth distractions from reading, specifically the ever-present seductions of technology, and the experience of reading on a screen. Moving toward an optimistic note, Ulin argues that technology can enlarge us, citing Rick Moody and Jennifer Egan as writers who embrace this ever-changing landscape. Ulin's short book not only puts forth a strong and passionate case for reading but also compiles a reading list of writers and critics (e.g., Anne Fadiman, Joan Didion, David Shields) who have influenced Ulin and who are well worth reading. [Publishers Weekly]
The House of Paper by Carlos Maria Dominguez: A devastatingly beautiful Conrad scholar, Bluma Lennon is killed by a car while crossing a street near Cambridge University while holding a copy of Emily Dickinson's poems. Several weeks later, the narrator, one of Bluma's several lovers, receives a copy of Joseph Conrad's The Shadow-Line in the mail. There's no letter, but the postmark is Uruguay; the book is inscribed by Bluma to "Carlos"--and it is encrusted with portland cement. The unnamed narrator sets out for Montevideo to discover its secret. [Publishers Weekly]
The Secret of Lost Things: A Novel by Sheridan Hay: Coming to New York from Tasmania at the age of eighteen, Rosemary takes a job at a used and rare bookstore run by the gruff Mr. Pike and his idiosyncratic staff and becomes caught up in the search for a long-lost Melville manuscript.
The Savage Garden by Mark Mills: Assigned to write about a famous sixteenth-century garden, Cambridge scholar Adam Banting visits the garden only to discover that the woman to whom the garden was dedicated may have been murdered, a finding that points to a more recent killing.
Oscar Wilde & the Vampire Murders by Gyles Brandreth: opens in 1890, at a glamorous party hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Albemarle. All of London’s high society—including the Prince of Wales—are in attendance at what promises to be the event of the season. Yet Oscar Wilde is more interested in another party guest, Rex LaSalle, a young actor who claims to be a vampire. But the entertaining evening ends in tragedy when the duchess is found murdered—with two tiny puncture marks on her throat. Desperate to avoid scandal and panic, the Prince asks Oscar and his friend Arthur Conan Doyle to investigate the crime. What they discover threatens to destroy the very heart of the royal family. Told through diary entries, newspaper clippings, telegrams, and letters, Oscar Wilde and the Vampire Murders is a richly atmospheric mystery that is sure to captivate and entertain.
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell: is a haunting, multi-generational tale of the horrors done to women in the name of family and under the guise of mental health. Esme and Kitty were two daughters of privilege who endured a terrible tragedy while their family was in India. Upon returning to Scotland, they are forced into the claustrophobic nature of high society. Esme does not take well to this aafter a shocking scene at a ball, she is sent away to a mental institution. There she is completely forgotten and abandoned for sixty years, until the institution is closed and its residents reintegrated into society. An unsuspecting grand-niece is suddenly Esme's guardian; and Esme brings more than a few family secrets out of the ward when she leaves. [Harcourt Publishing]