Thursday, June 18, 2009

Library Loot (18 June 2009)

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg 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'm incredibly pleased with the variety I lugged back from the library today, which includes non-fiction, classics, graphic novels.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Yes the movie was seen ages ago, but I haven't managed to get hold of a copy of the book until today! Delighted!
When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.

But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.

Coraline will have to fight with all her wits and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.

Nothing To Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone by Mary Morris
I have never traveled alone, unlike the very brave DSD, but this sounds like such a great travelogue.
Traveling from the highland desert of northern Mexico to the steaming jungles of Honduras to the seashore of the Caribbean, Mary Morris confronts the realities of place, of poverty, of machismo, and of self.
Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
Another score today at the library, which always had the other volumes of the Sandman series during my previous visits, just not the first one.
Preludes and Nocturnes is the first volume in the story of The Sandman.

Morpheus, the King of Dreams, has been held prisoner for 75 years by a wealthy madman. The world has suffered in his absence. Regaining his freedom, Morpheus must restore his deteriorated realm, The Dreaming, and recover his power, much of which resides in three stolen tools: his pouch, helmet, and ruby.

La Perdida by Jessica Abel
Of course I couldn't help browsing the shelf of graphic novels, and this caught my eye.
From the Harvey and Lulu award–winning creator of Artbabe comes this riveting story of a young woman’s misadventures in Mexico City. Carla, an American estranged from her Mexican father, heads to Mexico City to “find herself.” She crashes with a former fling, Harry, who has been drinking his way through the capital in the great tradition of his heroes, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Harry is good—humored about Carla’s reappearance on his doorstep—until he realizes that Carla, who spends her days soaking in the city, exploring Frida Kahlo’s house, and learning Spanish, has no intention of leaving.

When Harry and Carla’s relationship of mutual tolerance reaches its inevitable end, she rejects his world of Anglo expats for her own set of friends: pretty-boy Oscar, who sells pot and dreams of being a DJ, and charismatic Memo, a left-wing, pseudo–intellectual ladies’ man. Determined to experience the real Mexico, Carla turns a blind eye to her new friends’ inconsistencies. But then she catches the eye of a drug don, el Gordo, and from that moment on her life gets a lot more complicated, and she is forced to confront the irreparable consequences of her willful innocence.

Jessica Abel’s evocative black–and–white drawings and creative mix of English and Spanish bring Mexico City’s past and present to life, unfurling Carla’s dark history against the legacies of Burroughs and Kahlo. A story about the youthful desire to live an authentic life and the consequences of trusting easy answers, La Perdida–at once grounded in the particulars of life in Mexico and resonantly universal–is a story about finding oneself by getting lost.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
The delirious 1925 Jazz-Age classic that no less an authority than Edith Wharton called "the great American novel." If any American fictional character of the twentieth century seems likely to be immortal, it is Lorelei Lee of Little Rock, Arkansas, the not-so-dumb blonde who knew that diamonds are a girl's best friend. Outrageous, charming, and unforgettable, she's been portrayed on stage and screen by Carol Channing and Marilyn Monroe and has become the archetype of the footloose, good-hearted gold digger, with an insatiable appetite for orchids, champagne, and precious stones. Here are her "diaries," created by Anita Loos in the Roaring Twenties, as Lorelei and her friend Dorothy barrel across Europe meeting everyone from the Prince of Wales to "Doctor Froyd" — and then back home again to marry a Main Line millionaire and become a movie star. In this delightfully droll and witty book, Lorelei Lee's wild antics, unique outlook, and imaginative way with language shine.
The Engagement by Georges Simenon
On the outskirts of Paris, a prostitute is found murdered in a vacant lot. In a seedy apartment house nearby lives pasty, fat Mr. Hire. Mr. Hire, who earns his living through a petty postal scam, is a convicted pornographer, a peeping Tom, and, once a week, the unlikely star of a Parisian bowling club, where people think he works for the police. He is a faceless man of regular habits who keeps to himself and gives his neighbors the creeps. After the murder, Mr. Hire's concierge points a finger at him: he was out late the night of the crime. The police have the suspect under 24-hour surveillance. They are only waiting for him to make the inevitable mistake and give himself away. Except that creepy Mr. Hire is in fact an innocent man, whose only mistake is to have fallen head-over-heels in love with the wrong girl. One of the most chilling and compassionate of Simenon's extraordinary psychological novels, The Engagement explores the mystery of a blameless heart in a compromised soul.
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers--a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village--will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future. As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I rewatched Young Frankenstein last week, and then thought that it's high time I read the book.
Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turnsto evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.
More library loot here.


Anonymous said...

Oooh, first time reading Preludes, you're in for a treat. Although, the first volume is a bit murky, in story and illustration. I would recommend reading it and then immediately read the second vol. The Doll's House.

From the second vol. onwards it's one of the best comics ever written. In fact, I rate Gaiman's comic writing better than his novels.

Eva said...

Nothing to Declare looks like a book I need to read right now! :D And that 20s book looks like fun too! I'm getting A Fine Balance next week. :) Just fyi, I didn't like Preludes & Nocturnes very much, but the series gets better. :D

olduvai said...

damnedconjuror - thanks for stopping by! Yeah I read Gaiman's Anansi Boys recently and wasn't all that thrilled with it. But I am definitely looking forward to The Sandman (hopefully the library won't be out of Vol II when I get there).

Eva - I can't remember where I heard about Nothing To Declare from, but the writer seems to have quite a few travel-related books out including one about a trip from Beijing to Berlin by rail, which sounds pretty good too.

Marg said...

I quite liked Coraline when I read it. Haven't managed to see the movie yet.