Friday, September 10, 2010

Library Loot: Naked Baby, Quirky Check-Out, and Five Books Borrowed

Look at this!  Library Loot has a brand new badge!  Isn't it purty?  It's the creation of Molly from Book Fare Delights, just as Library Loot is hosted by Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader and Claire from The Captive Reader.

So before I share my loot, we had kind of an ... interesting library visit on Tuesday night.  As I was browsing the biographies looking for something for The Husband, a baby toddled into our aisle.  A naked baby. 

"Now that's something you don't see every day," Betty (age 8.5) said. The baby was accompanied by an adult, but it just kept following us. There was just something funny about a naked baby in the stacks at the library.

Then when we went to check out, the computer refused to let us take out any more books.  We were at 55 and our limit, per card, is 99, so we were more than within our limits.  But the library system just transitioned to a new database - we can now borrow from any library in the state, including college and some private libraries!!! - so things were kind of quirky.  (I thought it was because they reduced the limit of books one could have out - and I'm embarrassed to say I had a minor panic attack over this - but I later realized it was because Betty has too many books out on one topic, which would be her latest obsession of whales (particularly orcas) and dolphins.)  Hopefully that's all it was.

Anywhoo ... onto the loot for this week (thankfully there was still room on my card for these and others).  I have five books this week.

American Music, by Jane Mendelsohn.

This is the one I'm most excited about.  I've been looking for this for several weeks now, ever since I read Beth Kephart's wonderful post about it, so I was thrilled to see this on the New Books shelf.

This luminous love story centers on Milo, a severely wounded veteran of the Iraq war confined to a rehabilitation hospital, and Honor, his physical therapist. When Honor touches Milo's destroyed back, mysterious images from the past appear to each of them, puzzling her and shaking him to the core.

As Milo's treatment progresses, the images begin to weave together in an intricate, mysterious tapestry of stories that winds through several generations. There are Joe and Pearl, a husband and wife in the 1930s, whose marriage is tested by Pearl's bewitching artistic cousin, Vivian. There is the heartrending story of a woman photographer in the 1960s and the shocking theft of her life's work. And the story of a man and woman in seventeenth-century Turkey—a eunuch and a sultan's concubine—whose forbidden love is captured in music. The stories converge in a symphonic crescendo that reveals...

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

I've seen this one mentioned (and praised) by several bloggers, so I was thrilled to see this, also on the New Books shelf.  I almost missed it, but am glad I didn't.

Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the troubled young woman he employs, never discover each other's pasts, but the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other people whose paths intersect with theirs in the course of nearly fifty years. A Visit from the Goon Squad is about time, about survival, about our private terrors, and what happens when we fail to rebound.

In an Instant: A Family's Journey of Love and Healing, by Lee and Bob Woodruff

I heard Lee Woodruff speak during the Association of Fundraising Professionals conference in April and she was so dynamic.  She was so down-to-earth and spoke in such a conversational way that many of us were emotional upon hearing her story of her husband Bob's head injuries sustained by a roadside bomb in Iraq. I almost bought this at the conference bookstore, as well as Lee's follow up book, Perfectly Normal, but I held off doing so.  I borrowed Perfectly Normal from the library several weeks ago, so hopefully I'll be able to get to this one before that is due back.

In January 2006, the Woodruffs seemed to have it all - a happy marriage and four beautiful children. Lee was a PR executive, and Bob had just been named co-anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight." Then, while Bob was embedded with the military in Iraq, an IED killed his cameraman and nearly killed him. In An Instant is the frank and compelling account of how Bob and Lee's lives came together, were blown apart, and then were miraculously put together again.

Just an Ordinary Day, The Uncollected Stories of Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson's story "The Lottery" is one of my favorites. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't read anything else of hers.  That will change, especially since I am thisclose to signing up for Carl's Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge, for which I think this book would qualify.  I absolutely love the story of how this particular collection of stories came to be, according to this synopsis from Publisher's Weekly.

From the hilarious first story in this treat of a collection, in which a college girl tricks the devil (horns, hoofs and all) into selling her his soul, we know we are in Jackson territory-the Jackson of the classic short story "The Lottery'' and the novel The Haunting of Hill House. For Jackson devotees, as well as first-time readers, this is a feast: more than half of the 54 short stories collected here have never been published before. The circumstances that inspired the volume are appropriately bizarre. According to Jackson's children, "a carton of cobwebbed files discovered in a Vermont barn" arrived in the mail one day without notice; along with the original manuscript of her novel, the box contained six unpublished stories. Other pieces, culled from family collections, and from archives and papers at the San Francisco Public Library and the Library of Congress, appeared in print only once, in various magazines. The stories are diverse: there are tales that pillory smug, self-satisfied, small-town ladies; chilling and murderous chronicles of marriage; witty romantic comedies; and tales that reveal an eerie juxtaposition of good and evil. The devil, who can't seem to get an even break, makes several appearances. Each of Jackson's ghost stories-often centered around a child, missing or dead-is beautifully anchored in and thoroughly shaped by a particular point of view. A few pieces that qualify as humorous takes on the predicaments of modern life add a relaxed, biographical element to a virtuoso collection. (Dec.) FYI: Jackson, who died in 1965 at age 48, is poised for a literary revival: the BBC is releasing a biography in the fall, and a new film version of The Haunting of Hill House is currently in production.

And finally, this last book is a re-loot, to borrow (hee!) Marg's term. 

Rex: A Mother, Her Autistic Child, and the Music that Transformed Their Lives, by Cathleen Lewis

The inspiring story of Rex, a boy who is not only blind and autistic, but who also happens to be a musical savant.

How can an 11-year old boy hear a Mozart fantasy for the first time and play it back note-for-note perfectly-but struggle to navigate the familiar surroundings of his own home? Cathleen Lewis says her son Rex's laugh of total abandon is the single most joyous sound anyone could hear, but his tortured aversion to touch and sound breaks her heart and makes her wonder what God could have had in mind. In this book she shares the mystery of Rex and the highs, lows, hopes, dreams, joy, sorrows, and faith she has journeyed through with him.

Hmm, 3 out of 5 books that relate to music somehow. Sounds like a good pile of reading to me!

copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Claire (The Captive Reader) said...

Too many books out on one topic? What a strange and tragic rule! How that must impair the random enthusiasms of youth! I used to go and check out entire shelves at a time when I was interested in a certain topic. It's such a fun way to read.

Enjoy your loot!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

I know, it does seem to be an odd rule. This particular library is in a college town, so my thought is maybe it has something to do with potentially needing the books for reports. (These were adult books, not from the kids section.) I'm hoping, though, it was a quirk in the new system.

Cavalier92 said...

I swear there is something about some librarians that causes them to think that their job is to protect the books from the people, rather than to GET the books to the people.

I too say Lee Woodruff speak several years back and she was quite inspiring while also being sobering. I hope the book is as good as her speech.

Linda said...

You're the second Library Looter with a Shirley Jackson book. Must be something in the air. enjoy!

Mollie said...

Haha I love the naked baby story and Betty's comment so cute!

A Visit from the Goon Squad sounds really good. Enjoy your loot!

Thanks for the shout-out on the badge! I was so glad it won. I created several but that was one of my favs!