Library Loot

I so seldom use the public library that I’ve never managed to join in Library Loot, the weekly everybody-join-in from Claire and Linda. It does inspire guilt in me that I’m not much of a library-goer, because I do want to celebrate libraries and encourage their use – but hundreds of unread books on my shelf discourage me. And, of course, battered old 1930s hardbacks aren’t the easiest things to find in public libraries – though they have proved very useful for my occasional Agatha Christie binges.

BUT today, dear reader, I came away with two books. I headed to Oxford Central Library after work, to see if I could borrow any graphic novels. The Making Of sparked me off wanting to read more, and I thought a try-before-you-buy situation would work well. Ideally I’d be able to browse the shop Peter mentions in the comments to yesterday’s post, Gosh! in London – but… it’s in London.

Oxford Central Library does have two sides of a bookcase devoted to graphic novels, which impressed me a lot. What didn’t impress me so much was the style of the graphic novels they had. Almost all of them were the comic book style that doesn’t appeal to me at all. Nothing remotely similar to the beautifully illustrated, soft and vibrant colours of Evens’ books. But I did grab one book which didn’t scream Batman at me. And it was…

are-you-my-mother

The other book I borrowed isn’t a graphic novel; I found it when checking the Fiction shelf to see if they had any Brecht Evens books there (before I found the designated graphic novel section); I couldn’t resist the title How To Be a Public Author, and started flicking through it. It’s ‘by Francis Plug’, but is actually by Dan Ewen (hence being where Evens would have been) – a witty play on the Booker Prize, apparently. Plug goes about collecting signatures from famous authors, while writing a self-help book himself. It could be terrible, but it could be brilliant… has anybody read it?

How to Be a Public Author

Time will tell whether or not I manage to prioritise these books before they’re due back at the library, but… they both look intriguing, certainly, and at least I’ve done my bit for the statistics! Has anybody read either of them?

24 thoughts on “Library Loot

  • June 16, 2015 at 7:43 am
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    As a (once) Frequent Fine-payer, allow me to advise you to make sure you have an on-line Library account so that you can renew books and avoid fines! It works like a dream here in Somerset – AND we have email reminders to let us know when books are almost reaching their due back date Fines are Very Rare these days – so I can use my money to reserve / order books instead :)

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    • June 16, 2015 at 11:28 pm
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      Fear not, I’ve had an online account for many years!

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  • June 16, 2015 at 7:58 am
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    Sounds like a good and small haul. I am a bit behind, so I haven’t read about your adventures with graphic novels yet, but it’s good that the library has a large selection, and maybe a few different kinds in it as you found what you wanted. Good luck reading them before the due date – how long a loan period do you get?

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    • June 16, 2015 at 11:28 pm
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      I can’t remember how long it is BUT they do email to remind me when it’s ending, so I usually renew many times…

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  • June 16, 2015 at 9:16 am
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    I tend to borrow books and send them back unread, which is pretty silly really. Trouble is, I reserve them in the full flood of enthusiasm and by the time they come in, I’ve moved on to something else – a fickle reader! Having said that, I *have* read many of the BL Crime Classics from the local library, for which I salute them! :)

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    • June 16, 2015 at 11:29 pm
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      That is a good service, indeed! I have a few unread BL Classics on my shelves, so haven’t hunted those down just yet – but I bet they’d have them in Oxford’s, which is pretty good.

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  • June 16, 2015 at 11:40 am
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    The library is a good place to try out graphic novels; they’re expensive! Have you read Jane, the Fox and Me? The story is rather slight but the illustrations are stunning.

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    • June 16, 2015 at 11:29 pm
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      Sadly my library doesn’t have that, but it does look lovely. Thanks Lory!

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  • June 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm
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    Goodness, many things to say. Yes, use your online library account, because it’s pure gold. I have about 50 on hold at any one time, but I keep most of them “inactive” which means I can reserve something the moment I hear about it on CBC radio or a favourite blog and then it works its way up the line, but I don’t have to activate it until I’m ready to read it. When I get low on reading material, I go to the list and activate a few.

    And of course, like Kaggsy, I return some unread, or more likely, I read a few chapters and know it’s not for me. Quite liberating.

    It’s okay to have a few fines to pay. It supports the system.

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    • June 16, 2015 at 11:30 pm
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      “Low on reading material” is an event that never quite seems to happen! But I am delighted to hear that blogs help send readers to libraries, as it makes me feel like I’m doing my bit (a little) even if I don’t use the library that much myself.

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      • June 17, 2015 at 4:31 pm
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        “Low on reading material.” Okay, only relatively low. As in, “…I feel like reading something not already on my bookshelves or TBR piles.”

        OMG, I guess I really am hopeless.

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  • June 16, 2015 at 7:27 pm
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    Have you read Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis? I read it recently and loved it! There’s also a wonderful animated film of it. Next on my list is Maus by Art Spiegelman.

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    • June 16, 2015 at 11:31 pm
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      I have not! Only Evens’ graphic novels so far – but Persepolis is the one that keeps coming up when I mention graphic novels IRL, so I should explore…

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  • June 17, 2015 at 7:41 am
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    You are getting very very modern this year.I cannot keep up.

    So you are reading “graphics” but have not got around to reading all your tea stained old 1930s novels?

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    • June 19, 2015 at 10:19 pm
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      I feel terrible now! It seems like I am mixing things up a bit. BUT the podcast, at least, gives opportunity for more discussion of tea stained old 1930s novels :)

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  • June 17, 2015 at 4:41 pm
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    I have used and loved libraries since I could read! Early on, my mother used our local library, conveniently located on the walk home from school, as after school daycare, to fill the gap between the end of my school and her work day. My current local library is not the best, but through interlibrary loan I am often able to secure exactly that kind of 1930s hardcover. I sometimes wonder how long it’s been since they’ve been released from the stacks. Without heavy reliance on libraries, I’d be a lot poorer and my house a lot more crammed with books, so I am always grateful for the library.

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    • June 19, 2015 at 10:21 pm
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      It sounds like you have the library all sewn up! I have got the occasional old book from the library stacks, but I’m a sucker for owning the things… this is a legacy of not having quite got over the fact that I can actually BUY BOOKS AND KEEP THEM, which still thrills me.

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  • June 17, 2015 at 5:19 pm
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    I read a Q & A with Alison Bechdel about Are You My Mother? just a few weeks ago. It sounds interesting. It is a follow up of sorts to Fun Home which was about her dad. Are You My Mother? explores her relationship with her mom and how that was affected by her writing and releasing Fun Home. I’ve not heard of the other book, but it sounds worth a read. Please let us know what you think of both of these. Yay, libraries!

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    • June 19, 2015 at 10:21 pm
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      I certainly will! The style definitely appeals, so I’m hoping the story matches up.

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  • June 18, 2015 at 1:08 am
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    I’ve not read either, but I did read Bechdel’s Fun Home last year. I am curious to see how you will feel about graphic novels/memoirs. I did think that Fun Home was impressive, but it was the first graphic memoir I had ever read and I had a hard time knowing where to look. Do I read first and then look at the picture, or vice versa? I have also since read Persopolis, which I liked less than Fun Home, mostly because I found the story less interesting.

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    • June 19, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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      That is tricky, Ruthiella! With the Evens, I tended to try to do both, and then go back and look at the pictures again because I hadn’t paid them enough attention the first time.

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  • June 18, 2015 at 1:22 am
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    Have you read “Ethel and Ernest” by Raymond Briggs? It’s a very touching/sad/insightful graphic novel about his parents lives, from his mother’s teen years as a maid and his father’s as a milkman, through World War II and all the changes of the 20th century. A really wonderful work.

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    • June 19, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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      I haven’t, but I have meant to – ever since I saw the documentary about Briggs’ life a couple of years ago. It sounds wonderful.

      Reply

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