Monday, 7 December 2009

Library Loot

I haven't posted a library loot post for some time as I have been consciously attempting not to borrow (nor buy) any books and work on the every-increasing to-be-read piles/stacks/shelves. instead I did collect a few requests this week though and noticed another that I had been wanting to reading so added that to my ticket.

Bluestockings: The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education by Jane Robinson is a book that I requested upon reading Nymeth's review a couple of months ago. I wanted to read it at the time but now serendipitously it will make for the perfect non-fiction reading for the Women Unbound Challenge.

Another non-fiction title in this current library stack and also another blogger recommendation from Eva of A Striped Armchair is Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf. I actually requested this before Eva endorsed it, when she mentioned in her own Library Loot post a few weeks ago; I knew that a neuroscience book about how and why we read was something that ... well, I needed to read. Last Christmas books about the effect of music on the brain seemed to be all the rage and I am thrilled that there is a literary equivalent. I have a feeling that upon reading this I shall want to own my own copy.

Serving Crazy with Curry by Amulya Malladi is a book that I've been trying to track down for a couple of years. It is out-of-print in the UK and the library in my home-city didn't have a copy at the time I was originally looking for it so I was excited to discover that my new library's district did upon remembering about it. I did buy one of Malladi's other titles, The Mango Season, last year and enjoyed it; it was easily readable and diverting. I enjoy Indian-American settings and books about cooking and suicide (my, that makes me sound morbid) so the synopsis for Serving Crazy with Curry intrigued me.

It's not that Devi is the black sheep of her family. It's just that she can't seem to succeed at anything. Not even suicide. Rescued at the last minute by her interfering mother, Devi is returned to the family home to recover from the 'incident.' While Devi refuses to talk, she insists on cooking - and what food she creates! Drawn back to the table again and again by her stunningly successful dishes, the other members of the family talk, argue, joke and worry. Soon, secrets emerge, unshakeable family relationships lurch into new patterns, and success and failure don't seem quite as clear-cut as they used to be. This delightful, hopeful book sheds a warm light on three generations of women. Traditional and modern values and the cultures of Southern India and California are stirred and blended into surprising new flavours, much like one of Devi's own curries.

Last but not least is the debut novel of James Scudamore, The Amnesia Clinic. After loving Heliopolis when I read it as part of my Booker longlist reading challenge, I made a mental note to read Scudamore's previous work at some point and jumped on it when I happened to spy it in the library on my visit to collect requests. Winner of the Somerset Maugham Award in 2007, The Amnesia Clinic was also shortlisted for other literary prizes and sounds as fantastic (in both senses of the word) as its follow-up.

Anti, a quiet English boy living in Quito, Ecuador, strikes up a friendship with flamboyant classmate Fabian, who is everything Anti isn't: handsome, athletic and popular. What's more, he lives with his rakish Uncle Suarez, while Anti is stuck in the dull ex-pat world inhabited by his parents. Suarez, a storyteller par excellence, infects the boys with his passion for outlandish tales, and before long their relationship becomes one conducted entirely through the medium of storytelling. One subject, however, is taboo: Fabian's parents. But when details surrounding their disappearance begin to emerge, Anti decides to console his friend with a story suggesting that Fabian's mother may be living at a bizarre hospital on the coast for patients with memory loss. With confused emotions and reality losing its tenuous grip, the boys embark on a quixotic voyage across Ecuador in search of an 'Amnesia Clinic' that may, or may not exist.

Have you looted any library books this week and what do you think of mine?

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg encouraging library use and its promotion.


Kals said...

Serving Crazy with Curry sounds great. I think I'll check that out once I get to read your review =)

Anonymous said...

Lovely selection there. Proust and the Squid isnt reviewd on my blog tomorrow but is mentioned as my Gran will be asking for some comments on certain books and that is one of them!

verity said...

You've done better than me as I compensated for book buying ban with library books!

Serving crazy with curry sounds interesting, and I shall look forward to reading your review and maybe requesting my own copy!

Vivienne said...

Serving Crazy with Curry is definitely one I would like to read. I read The Mango Season a couple of years ago and loved it. I had forgotten who had written it,so thank you for sharing this information.

farmlanebooks said...

I'm really looking forward to hearing what you think of the Amnesiac Clinic - I'll be wanting to read it if it is anywhere near as good as Heliopolis.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to get The Amnesia Clinic on ReadItSwapIt for a long time, with not much joy.

Will be looking forward to the review... haven't read Heliopolis yet, so I might start my Scudamore journey with that.

Enjoy the reads :)

Vintage Reading said...

Look forward to your review of Bluestockings. I like the sound of that.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to your review of Bluestockings. It was the Book of the Week awhile ago on BBC Radio 4 and I've been wanting to hear more about it since then!

Rachel (Book Snob) said...

I've asked for Bluestockings for Christmas - hopefully I'll get it! Look forward to your review!

Aarti said...

ALL those books sound excellent! I can't wait until I see your reviews. Bluestockings has been one I've been eying for a while.

Paperback Reader said...

Kals, I hope to read it soon. The Mango Season is also very good.

Simon, how serendipitous about Proust and the Squid! I hadn't heard of it before Eva's post(s) and looking forward to reading.

Verity, you have a lot less books unread on your shelves and are also quicker to read them! I still feel overwhelmed by the small amount of library books that I have.

Serving Crazy with Curry should be a light but absorbing read.

Vivienne, you're welcome! I love when a fellow blogger reminds me of a book/author.

Jackie, I thought you would be. I'd love it to be anywhere near as good as Heliopolis.

anothercookie, the non-trade paperback of Heliopolis is available from early next year so it should be readily available and I readily recommend it - it's a fabulous journey to Sao Paolo!

Nicola, you're in luck as I will be reading Bluestockings first from that stack.

makedo, I should be reading and reviewing it soon. I'd heard about it as book of the week and hope it will be mine too!

Rachel, what a lovely addition to the Christmas list! I hope Santa brings it for you and that we both enjoy it.

Aarti, it's a lovely little loot :). Bluestockings was one I requested before the Women Unbound challenge but it will be the perfect read for it, I think.

Eva said...

Yay for Proust and the Squid! :D I'm jealous-my library doesn't have Bluestockings. Maybe I'll ILL it if you love it as much as Nymeth. hehe

Paperback Reader said...

Eva, I am very excited about Proust and the Squid! And Bluestockings - here's hoping you feel the need to ILL it!