Has a Visit to the Library Ever Made You Think of People You’ve Never Met?

That’s what happened to me today.

It was only a quick visit, because we had a late start and lots of other things today, but I went into the art collection to look for a specific book, I had a quick look at the literary classics,  and of course I walked around the fiction shelves.
this is it

* * * * * * *

On the way out of the art collection the name of Alberto Manguel caught my eye, because Karen had written about his A Reading Diary very recently indeed.

“A Reader’s Diary” is described on its cover as “a love letter written to reading” and in a sense it is. However, it’s so much more than that; ranging over time back to Manguel’s childhood, and covering parts of his life and his experiences, it has a wider outlook on how things have changed during his lifetime. But it also makes the reader really stop and think about what great literature is; how it speaks to us over the centuries; and how books and writing are one of mankind’s greatest creations.”

The book I saw was Reading Pictures : What We Think About When We Look at Art. I picked it up and it did look interested, but not the book I have the time and attention for right now.

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The classics shelves don’t change much and but I saw a new book today, and when I saw it I thought Caroline! I remembered that she had written about Dorothy B Hughes not so very long ago.

“I love nothing as much as atmospherical crime novels and this one might be one of the greatest in this regard. Set in L.A., it really brings the city to life and makes great use of the landscape and weather conditions. I thought that fog and mist were particular to San Francisco but reading this, I have to assume that the L.A. area (at the time?) was constantly foggy. Reading how this lonely, deranged and driven killer hunts for his prey in the fog made for great reading.”

She wrote about In a Lonely Place and the book I found was The Blackbirder, which looks rather different but just as interesting.

* * * * * * *

I went to look for books by Maurice Druon, because I’ve been meaning to read his books for a while and I was reminded when Helen wrote about The Royal Succession – the fourth volume of his ‘Accursed Kings’ series.

” As The Royal Succession opens in the year 1316, Louis is dead, leaving no clear heir to the throne. There is some doubt over the parentage of Jeanne, his five-year-old daughter from his first marriage, so all eyes are on Queen Clémence, his pregnant second wife. While France looks forward to the birth of Clémence’s child, a regent is needed …..”

I’d thought that I had the first book, but when I went to look for it I realised that I hadn’t bought a copy because I’d checked the library catalogue and found that the whole series in stock. I wanted The Iron King – the first book in the series – and there it was on the shelf. It’s still there, because this week’s reading hours were already fully booked.

* * * * * * *

Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck is one of those book I’ve been thinking about bringing home for a while. It was on the shelf of new and interesting books today. I’d read Lady Fancifull‘s thoughts about her new second novel only last night.

“As in Wolf Winter, Ekback’s strengths are much in evidence – setting, complex and believable individual psychology and group psychology, and events taking place in the lives of individuals in a wider context. Strong characterisation, and a generally hypnotic, absorbing narrative. Character development, unpredictability, and a powerful sense of ancient, inexplicable forces. The sense of time and place are strong. Unfortunately, as with Wolf Winter, what was heading for sure five star all through fell off target for me in roughly the last 40 pages.”

So now I have two books on my ‘maybe someday’ list.

* * * * * * *

All of that in one very brief visit – I didn’t even venture into the room where history and biography live – I just picked up the copy of  The Jewel by Catherine Czerkawska that I had ordered from the reservations shelf, scanned my books, and set out to do other things.

10 thoughts on “Has a Visit to the Library Ever Made You Think of People You’ve Never Met?

  1. Thank you for the Ping Jane. And funnily enough, I ordered the Manguel from a market place seller (my local library has remarkably little out of the way, or even classics, now) Sad it used to be a place where I found nuggets of fascination. I really only go if I have a PC death or internet outage now. Anyway – I note that in your ‘related’ section is William Boyd, Sweet Caress which another ‘virtual review friend’ was asking me about earlier. Us bookie lovers link between the pages of books for sure. You really do feel you know a person somewhat by their bookshelves, don’t you?

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  2. Thanks for the link Jane! I think it'[s lovely that though we don’t all know each other, we give each other bookish ideas! I’ve done the same thing, wandering round a bookshop or library and thinking, oh, so-and-so wrote about this. The Mangual you got sounds fascinating!

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  3. Thanks for the mention, Jane. I’ll be interested to know what you think of The Iron King if and when you do read it. I hadn’t heard of The Jewel until now but it sounds intriguing and I love the cover!

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  4. Wonderful post! I get this feeling in Library and in Bookshops and even when browsing other people’s collection – it is until you articulated, I did not realize how often I did it! Its a booking-blogging thing! 🙂

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