Library Checkout: October 2015

library checkout feature image

I used to be a library fiend. At one point we belonged to about six different library systems thanks to our jobs at universities and our frequent back-and-forths to a couple of towns where we used to live. Back when reservations were still free through Reading Borough Libraries I would regularly have 20 or more new books on request at any one time, and every trip to the library required backpacks, tote bags and my husband’s help to get everything to the car.

Now that holds cost 50 pence each, however, I’ve cut back to basically zero. Most of what I used to read via libraries has now been replaced by e-books downloaded from NetGalley and Edelweiss. This is rather a shame, as I still love the feeling of stocking up with piles of physical books. I’ll still make an exception and pay 40 pence to reserve a book through our (more strictly local) Wokingham Borough Libraries when it’s something I’m hugely keen to read, like the new Jonathan Franzen novel or a book I need to review and can’t find online.

Nowadays I mostly peruse my local library for poetry collections and new nonfiction, though I can occasionally be tempted by recent fiction I haven’t gotten my hands on by other means.

(Thanks to Shannon at River City Reading for the great idea and the template! Check out her blog for other link-ups.)




  • DK Eyewitness Guides to Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland; Rough Guides to Scandinavia and the Czech Republic; Lonely Planet Guides to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and “Europe on a Shoestring” [we’re contemplating a big trip around Europe by train next spring; the next few months will be for dreaming and planning]
  • When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone, Philip Gould
  • Dept. of Speculation, Jenny Offill
  • Weathering, Lucy Wood [for BookBrowse review]
  • Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field, John Lewis-Stempel

Poetry books:

  • As Far as I Know, Roger McGough
  • Two Cures for Love: Selected Poems 1979–2006, Wendy Cope
  • The Night Trotsky Came to Stay, Allison McVety
  • 40 Sonnets, Don Patterson
  • Fair’s Fair, Susan Utting
  • Striptease, Susan Utting
  • Loop of Jade, Sarah Howe
  • Water Sessions, James Lasdun
  • Standard Midland, Roy Fisher

Do you take advantage of your local libraries?

What were some of your best recent library reads?

5 responses

  1. That is a shame about the cost for holds. Here in the U.S., most libraries I am familiar with do not charge for holds. Although I have heard of a small few who will charge if the hold isn’t picked up (sort of like an overdue fine to reinforce behavior). I believe libraries are feeling the pains of a traumatic lack in funding, so they are forced to find ways to make up some of the shortfalls. This in turn hurts their users, who then seek their resources from other place, and we’re down the rabbit hole of having elected officials point to a lack of library usage to cut library support. Argh!


  2. You’re quite right, Mike: especially here in the U.K., public libraries have suffered heavily from budget cuts. If we don’t use them, we may well lose them!


  3. Coming out of the library with a bunch of books is a good feeling, isn’t it? I have actually been trying not to use the library as much, because I have so many good books on my shelf that I haven’t read yet, but it is proving to be a losing battle. The library is just too tempting. That’s a good thing for the library, though, I guess. And, now I feel so thankful that I don’t have to pay to put books on hold!
    That’s an impressive list of poetry books you have there!


  4. I’ve heard a few people here in the States mention that their library systems charge for holds – it would definitely be discouraging for me, too! Can’t wait to hear what you think of Weathering, it’s one I’m really looking forward to!


  5. The charge for holds is a bummer. My library charges for inter-library loan books, so that’s something I’ve cut way down on since moving here (my old library was in a huge system and any loans between those libraries was free). Though sometimes I’ll still do it, figuring that $3 for a loan is still cheaper than if I had to buy the book myself, plus this way I’m supporting my library. They’re few and far between though.


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