Friday, March 16, 2012

Library Haul, March 2012

Since my last post, I worked in Spain for ten months, traveled a lot, then moved home, decided on a career, was accepted to grad school, and now am working on saving every penny I can, as my tuition makes a Ferrari seem reasonably priced. This means no spending money, EVER.

The advantage of this relative impoverishment is that I have rediscovered the public library. I consume information like Pac man eats dots, and sometimes I find myself overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge available to me at the library- I WANT IT ALL INSIDE MY BRAIN- meaning that before I know it, I am checking out at least ten books.

Sometimes the books are wonderful, and I want to share them with everyone, hence the title of this post: Library Haul, March 2012. For those of you unfamiliar with the haul concept, it is an idea that became popular on the youtoobs a few years ago. People go shopping (mostly for clothes and makeup, but there are book and library hauls too) and then present their "haul" to the viewer.

And now, without further ado, my library haul:

1. Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China, by Guy Delisle. I whipped through this delightful graphic novel in one sitting. The book is a chronological compilation of observations made by the author during his time in Shenzhen, China. The observations are astute and often hilarious- I laughed out loud many times throughout. Highly recommended.

2. Burma Chronicles, by Guy Delisle. Do you see a theme here? I enjoy art and tales of travel...why not combine the two? I'm quite excited to read this one after finishing Delisle's other one last night.

3. Mid-Life, by Joe Ollmann. Another graphic novel, but one I picked up last-minute on a whim (it's okay to do that sort of thing at the library.) The description reads as follows: "Mid-life is the story of a 40-year old man, John, who becomes a father again with his much-younger second wife which results in a slow, painful attack by flowered baby bags..." I'm hoping this doesn't turn out to overly predictable.

4. Suez 1956: The Inside Story of the First Oil War, by Barry Turner. I recently finished watching the first season of "The Hour", a BBC series about news broadcasters in the 50s, in which the Suez Canal crisis figures prominently. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, and decided I wanted to learn the nitty gritty of this war of which I know very little. One chapter in, so far so good.

5. Putin's Labyrinth, by Steve Levine. The subtitle is "Spies, Murder, and the Dark Heart of the New Russia". Putin scares me. And I figure that if I read about things going on in Russia, then I can, at least for short periods of time, tuck away the anxiety I have due to the drastic changes currently happening in North America. Maybe that's also why I'm reading about a war that took place in 1956... it takes me away from the increasingly scary present. Fingers in ears, LA LA LAAAA!

6. Othello, published by No Fear ShakespeareTM. The play comes with a side by side modern English translation, which is awesome for getting the gist of more complicated expressions. I did intially contemplate reading just the translation (heresy, I know), but eventually I gave in to the beauty of phrases such as, "The goodness of the night upon you, friends!" One act in, thus far.

7. Pick-A-Plot: You Are a Cat! by Sherwin Tjia. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is a CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE book for grownups! I haven't started it yet, but I have high hopes for good fun. This is the first of a series of Pick-A-Plot books; others include You are Doing 20 to Life!, You are a Cult Leader!, and You are on a Date! Creepily, there is also one titled You are a Concentration Camp Cop!, which, seems, uh, inappropriate and not very fun.

8. Vaudeville! by Gaetan Soucy. I am developing a slight obsession for Canadian literature, hence the choice of this French-Canadian novel. I haven't started it yet, but again, I have high hopes. I figure if it won the Scotiabank Giller Prize AND someone bothered to translate it into English, it must be satisfactory.

And that's it for now! (Well, actually, I also checked out a Perry Mason DVD for my father who otherwise watches old episodes on the Described Video channel, but that doesn't concern us.)

What are you reading lately, dear reader?


  1. You're tastes are eclectic my dear. I'll have to look for that graphic novel on China. Thanks for the tip.

  2. re: Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China. I just picked up something similar last week, Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods by Florent Chavouet. Also hilarious and beautiful graphic novel on visiting Tokyo for 6 months.