Love Your Library, March 2023

Thanks to Naomi for writing about her fascinating selection of recent library audiobook reads, all of them nonfiction; plus several Canadian novels read from the library. I appreciate Elle for being my most faithful participant; here’s her latest borrowings. And welcome to Jana, who has contributed for the first time with a post about what her library system has to offer: the different ways she can access audiobooks, the non-media items that can be borrowed (such as gardening tools from a Library of Things), and take-home activity kits.

Have you heard of the “Human Library”? The tagline is “Unjudge someone.” The idea is that you sign up to hear about someone else’s experiences that are quite different to your own. Events are online or in person and have involved ‘human books’ from 85 countries. “We host events where readers can borrow human beings serving as open books and have conversations they would not normally have access to. Every human book from our bookshelf, represent a group in our society that is often subjected to prejudice, stigmatization or discrimination because of their lifestyle, diagnosis, belief, disability, social status, ethnic origin etc.” I would be fascinated to hear from anyone who has taken part in this initiative.


As for my own library use since last month:


  • Ephemeron by Fiona Benson
  • A Fortunate Man by John Berger
  • Quiet by Victoria Adukwei Bulley
  • The Things We Do to Our Friends by Heather Darwent
  • Maame by Jessica George
  • Pure Colour by Sheila Heti
  • Cane, Corn & Gully by Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa
  • England’s Green by Zaffar Kunial
  • Martha Quest by Doris Lessing
  • Nightwalking: Four Journeys into Britain after Dark by John Lewis-Stempel
  • His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
  • The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore
  • We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman
  • Manorism by Yomi Sode



  • Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry
  • Shadow Girls by Carol Birch
  • How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz
  • This Is How Your Marriage Ends: A Hopeful Approach to Saving Relationships by Matthew Fray
  • Islamic Mystical Poetry, ed. Mahmood Jamal
  • Two Sisters by Blake Morrison
  • Rain by Don Paterson

I also have some lovely piles out from the public library and university library to read soon.

What have you been reading or reviewing from the library recently?

Share a link to your own post in the comments. Feel free to use the above image. The hashtag is #LoveYourLibrary.

18 responses

  1. The Human Library sounds a bit like NPR’s Storycorps project, which I’ve always loved. There’s little more extraordinary to me than talking to someone who appears completely ordinary and discovering that their life has been stranger and richer (sometimes even its ordinaryness) than you could have imagined. It’s happened more than once to me recently and it always makes me feel happier and better about the world, every time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I was a more natural conversationalist; I’m sure I’d learn so much from talking to people. No surprise that I tend to turn to books instead.


      1. I really only have one major tip and that’s to ask questions, as many as you can. People generally consider you charming and interesting if you get them to talk a lot about themselves!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha ha, I’m usually considered a ‘good listener’ because I let people go on and on about themselves 😉 But I’m not one to seek out the conversations in the first place.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Human Library initiative sounds amazing. With all the horrors in the world, there are wellsprings of compassionate, creative response to the forces of division that threaten us all. Thank you for sharing that!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome! Thanks for reading.


  3. I have a couple of future dystopian titles by Lessing to read, Mara and Dann and it’s sequel (which in fact I’ve previously read out of sequence). But neither is from the library. Currently I’ve borrowed a translation of Herodotus, and have an Arthur Machen classic still out on loan (I’ve returned another novel of his I’d borrowed and a collection of short stories I now have my own copy of). Still ploughing through my own TBR though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t gotten on well with Lessing’s dystopian material, but I happen to know a song based on Mara and Dann:

      The personal TBR is never-ending and doesn’t mind having a library stack as a companion, or at least I don’t think so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s a lovely track from Anne Marie Sanderson, musically and – and on just one hearing – lyrically, so I’ll need to listen again. The only other Lessing I’ve read is The Fifth Child after which, following up on the cuckoo in the nest theme, I read Diski’s fascinating Skating to Antarctica. Must read more of both authors.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I listen to her Book Songs EP all the time — it’s the perfect length for completing a short task to.

        The Fifth Child was a good R.I.P. read for me a few years back. I’ve read 7 by Lessing now, everything from feminist classic (The Golden Notebook) to cat-themed memoirs. My favourite by a mile was The Grass Is Singing.

        That’s a wonderful book by Diski. I also loved Stranger on a Train, the only other of hers that I’ve read thus far.


  4. A friend of mine has been in the human library as the parent of a transgender child! They have had some very illuminating conversations with people.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] library meme – discovering this makes my bookish heart happy! This linkup is hosted by Bookish Beck on the last Monday of each month (which I’ve just barely missed – hopefully Tuesday is […]


  6. My library recently started a Library of Things where you can check out gardening tools – I don’t know that we’ll ever do something on the level of the Human Library, but I am excited about some of the less conventional things that are happening!

    I wrote a post mostly talking about an audiobook that I have checked out, and the various ways that my library offers audiobooks:

    Thanks for hosting this! Happy Reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How wonderful that your library has so much more to lend out besides books and DVDs! It’s a great strategy for making the building a true community hub.

      We are hoping to start up a tool library in my neighborhood, probably to be housed in a shipping container in the corner of the community garden where I volunteer. It would also offer things like lesser-used kitchen appliances and party supplies. It should help discourage consumption and waste, and get neighbors interacting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A tool library is a great idea; very exciting to see it beginning! Good luck getting it going.


  7. I’ve heard of a Human Library, but have never taken part in one. Our library apparently held one sometime before I started working there – I’m sad I missed it. The woman who organized it said it was a great idea but SO much work to put together. Our community has grown so much even in the last 5 years, I think it would be pretty amazing to try it again.

    I’m looking forward to Catherine Newman’s new book. And I’ll have to go see what you have to say about Maame!

    Thanks for linking to my posts! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine it would be a lot of work organising so many people. You’d need an army of volunteers to get something like that off the ground.

      I think you’ll enjoy the sense of humour in the Newman. Maybe you have a best friend who’s the Ash to your Edi (or vice versa)!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: