Last week I was at a public library and came across John Wyndham’s novel Stowaway to Mars. Being a big (and recent) fan of Wyndham, I was chuffed to find a title I had never heard of before. When I went to the self-service kiosk to check out the book, the computer told me I was unable to take it out and that I should go to the circulation desk for assistance. While I waited for a member of staff (seemingly forever) I thought “What if someone has a hold on this and they don’t let me check it out?” Thinking, thinking, thinking. I stepped out of line and looked up the book in the catalog to see what its status was. The title did not come up, suggesting the book just needed a barcode, blah, blah, blah. But then I thought “What if it takes them days to give it a barcode rather than minutes?” It’s a fairly hard to find title…more thinking, thinking, thinking…Knowing they don’t have a security system for books I walked out of the library without checking it out.
I finished the book this weekend and brought it back to the library. But, I was curious to see what the issue was so I pretended like I wanted to check it out. I got the same message as before. When I explained to the situation to a library employee, he told me that it was no longer one of their books, that it had been withdrawn, and then handed it over to me saying it was mine to keep. In some circumstances this might have been really cool but I was sad that they were taking it out of circulation. Then the employee thought to ask someone else and she indicated after glancing at the computer that the book had been lost for a long time and all he had to do was hit a button to reinstate it in their system.
So there it is. Instead of withdrawn or lost forever, it is back in the system and ready for someone else to check it out. That is once I return it.
SHELF FOURTEEN: 33 books, 19 unread, 14 read, 42% completed
Lanchester, John – Mr. Phillips (completed)
Lanchester, John – The Debt to Pleasure
Lanchester, John – Capital
In 2009, Mr. Phillips received an honorable mention when I decided my best reads for the year. In refreshing my mind on what the heck the book was about, I discovered a few reviewers who likened its plot to Ulysses. My only guess is that there aren’t similarities style-wise or I shan’t have gotten through Mr. Phillips, let alone really liked it. The plot is literally one day in the life of a newly fired accountant as he ambles about London pretending to his wife that he is at work.
Laski, Marghanita – The Village
Larkin, Philip – Jill
Larkin, Philip – A Girl in Winter
Larkin is one of the two people who helped resurrect Barbara Pym’s writing career. Known more as a poet than novelist, I couldn’t resist snapping up these two novels to see if he has any of the Pym magic or some other sort of magic that I may find interesting.
Larsen, Nella – Passing (completed)
Fascinating 1920s story of an African-American woman who passes for white even to her white, racist, husband told from the point of view of her school friend who is also light skinned but not trying to pass as white.
Laurence, Margaret – A Bird in the House
Laurence, Margaret – The Diviners
Laurence, Margaret – A Jest of God (completed)
Laurence, Margaret – The Stone Angel (completed)
Margaret Laurence was the original national treasure of Canadian authors called Margaret before that upstart Atwood sucked all the air out of the room. All four shown here form part of the Manawaka Sequence after the fictional Manitoba town in which they take place. There is another one, The Fire Dwellers, that I don’t own. Since it is the third in the sequence after The Stone Angel and A Jest of God, I have been reluctant to move on to the other two I own. I really need to get my hands on TFD so I can continue reading these brilliant books.
Lavin, Mary – The House in Clewe Street
Leary, Ann – The Good House (completed)
I bought this off of a sale table knowing nothing about it other than it has been seemingly everywhere in the blogosphere when it was published. All I remember is alcoholic real estate agent and fact that I really liked it.
Leavitt, David – While England Slept (completed)
Leavitt faced charges of plagiarism lawsuit and a copyright infringement lawsuit over the similarities between this novel and Stephen Spender’s memoir World Within World published in 1950. After pulping the first version, Leavitt reissued a revised version in 1995. I had many unrelated qualms over this book but I still ended up enjoying it and found it quite moving. (I was not able to get over my qualms with Leavitt’s most recently novel The Two Hotel Francforts, which I found not plausible, not period, and tedious.)
Lebrecht, Norman – The Game of Opposites (completed)
Lebrecht, Norman – The Song of Names (completed)
These two novels are so good that I am frustrated that: 1) Lebrecht spends too much time being a bitchy classical music critic and not writing more novels; and 2) More people don’t read these two novels. The Song of Names read by Simon Prebble is also probably the single most brilliantly read audio book I have listened to.
Lehman, Rosamund – Invitation to the Waltz
Lerner, Ben – Leaving the Atocha Station
Lessing, Doris – The Sweetest Dream
Lessing, Doris – The Summer Before the Dark (completed)
Lessing, Doris – Five
Lessing, Doris – The Grass Is Singing
Lessing, Doris – Alfred & Emily
Lessing, Doris – Love, Again
Lessing, Doris – Ben, In the World (completed)
With the exception of her magnum opus The Golden Notebook, I really like Doris Lessing’s fiction. I thought Ben, In the World was stunning and sad and a great follow-up to the rather chilling The Fifth Child.
Leverson, Ada – The Little Ottleys
Levi, Lia – The Jewish Husband
Levine, Sara – Treasure Island!!! (completed)
Lewis, Sinclair – Arrowsmith (here in UK edition titled Martin Arrowsmith)(completed)
Lewis, Sinclair – Dodsworth (completed)
Lewis, Sinclair – Work of Art
Lewis, Sinclair – Babbitt (completed)
Lewis, Sinclair – Ann Vickers
NEXT TIME: Lewis to Markovitz