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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

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21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

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38 / 52 books. 73% done!

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25 / 40 books. 63% done!

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15 / 40 books. 38% done!

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9 / 25 books. 36% done!

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6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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23 / 100 books. 23% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

61 / 165 books. 37% done!
Thursday, July 15, 2021

Livin' It Up at the Library

Thanks so much to everyone who has filled out the survey I included in my last post.  Your responses have been so kind and helpful!  You've given me some great ideas for future posts as well as ways to improve the blog as a whole.  I appreciate your responses so much.  If you haven't had a chance to fill out the survey, please take a minute to do so.  I'll keep it up for now, with a link in my sidebar.  

One of the things several people said they'd like to
see more of at BBB is non-review posts.  Great!  I just went to the library yesterday and I haven't posted about my library hauls in forever and ever.

I don't know about you, but I hit up the library every 2-3 weeks.  I'm lucky to live near two different libraries—one is a branch of my city's library system, the other is a branch of my county's.  The former is only a couple miles from my house, but it's housed in an older building that just feels dark and dingy.  Its organization isn't my favorite either.  The county library, on the other hand, sits on a serene nature preserve.  With big windows that let in lots of natural light, it's bright and cheery with a lovely view of the sparkling lake that's right outside.  The books are well organized, the employees are helpful, and the place always vibrates with a happy hum, so yeah, I make the 30-minute round trip to that library because I like it so much better.  Not everyone gets why I go so far out of my way when there's a perfectly serviceable library just down the street, but I think fellow booklovers will understand!

Like most (all?) libraries, mine were shut down for some time due to COVID-19.  As soon as the county library could, it started offering curbside pick-up.  It then opened for "pop-in pick-up," which allowed patrons to come inside, collect their own holds, and quickly browse a small selection of books.  A couple months ago, it opened up fully.  Although it hadn't been as busy since the pandemic started, yesterday the place was hopping!  There were moms helping kids select books, toddlers running in the hallways, and people typing away on the public computers.  It wasn't very quiet, but that's okay.  The noise made me happy because it means that people are coming back to the library and loving every minute of it.  While masks are still recommended for the un-vaxxed, I only saw them on a few library employees.  That's kind of the norm around here—either people are vaxxed and mask-less or they "identify" as vaxxed and do whatever the heck they want.  I'm in the former category, thank heavens!  The only places I've been lately here in Arizona that still require masks for everyone are the airports and the county courthouse.  You should have seen the lady in the passport office recoil when I lifted my mask to lick my finger in order to flip through some papers.  Oops!

I don't know if other people have a library routine, but here's my usual plan of attack:

  • Return books at the kiosk in the foyer of the library.
  • Donate books I've read to the Friends of the Library store (also in the foyer).
  • Inside the library, I check out the tables that feature new books, both fiction and non.  I also grab the newest edition of BookPage magazine from these tables (it's free!).
  • Pick up my holds, of which I generally have at least several.
  • Browse the stacks, usually hitting the adult section for my favorite genres—mystery/thriller, historical, and general—and then the children's and YA sections for the same.
  • Check out at the kiosks.   

Anyone else have an established library routine or it just me? 

At any rate, here's what I picked up this time around:


The Boston Jane series by Jennifer L. Holm—I loved The Lion of Mars, so I wanted to read more from Holm.  This MG/YA trilogy seemed right up my alley.  It's about a proper young woman who travels from Philadelphia to Oregon Territory to marry a man she barely knows.  Naturally, she finds the experience of living on the frontier a bit...challenging.  I'm almost finished with the first installment, which I've very much enjoyed.  I'm glad I checked out the whole series at once!

My Own Two Feet by Beverly Cleary—I finished A Girl From Yamhill, Cleary's 1988 memoir about her childhood in Oregon, a few days ago.  It's interesting and charming, so I wanted to continue reading about her life in this second volume.

The War Outside by Monica Hesse—Hesse's Girl in the Blue Coat is a gripping read, so I decided to try out more of her books.  I checked out They Went Left on audio, but I didn't love the melodramatic narration or the wholly depressing nature of the book, so I DNF'd it about 1/3 of the way through.  I'm hoping I'll have better luck with The War Outside, which is about the imprisonment of Japanese- and German-born Americans at displacement camps during World War II.

From the Stacks: 

Lies in White Dresses by Sofia Grant—I didn't realize this until I Googled Grant just now, but this is actually a pen name for Sophia Littlefield, whose books I've enjoyed in the past.  I've never read anything she's written as Grant, but Lies in White Dresses sounds interesting.  It's about a group of women traveling to a Nevada ranch in the 40's or 50's (not sure which) to wait out the six weeks required before they can be granted divorces from their disappointing husbands.  When something shocking occurs, all of their lives change forever.

The Daisy Children by Sofia Grant—This one also sounds intriguing.  A woman in need of a new beginning is shocked to discover she's inherited a home from a grandmother she barely knew.  As she combs through the woman's possessions, she has to confront secrets from her family's past that explain SO much about its present.

The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb—McCrumb is an author I've heard of but never read.  I like stories about Appalachia, so I'm down for this one, which is based on the well-known song about Tom Dooley, who was a real person.  I realized later that this book is actually part of a 12-part series that explores the stories behind Appalachian folk songs.  The novels seem to be only loosely connected, so I'm going to break one of my cardinal reading rules and go ahead and read this one, Book 10, first.  Watch out, world!  I'm really living on the edge now.

The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan—I've read nothing but praise for this new release.  It's about four women who are competing on a BBC cooking show during World War II.  Sounds unique and interesting.

Speaking of borrowed books, I also just signed up for Kindle Unlimited.  I recently read and enjoyed The Girl Beneath the Sea by Andrew Mayne.  It's the first in the series, but neither of my libraries has the second volume, Black Coral.  Buying the Kindle book would cost me $7.99.  However, it's part of the "free" selections for Kindle Unlimited.  Since Amazon was having a promotion—Kindle Unlimited for $4.99 for two months—I decided to give it a go.  In addition to Black Coral, I've put these on my KU to-read list:

The House by the Sea by Louise Douglas—Lucy from Bookish Yarn recommended this one to me and it sounds right up my alley.  It's another one about an inherited house full of secrets, which just happens to be one of my very favorite literary tropes!

Where the Story Starts by Imogen Clark—More mysterious houses hiding intriguing secrets?  I'm in for sure.

Whew, this post turned out to be a lot longer than planned.  Thanks for hanging in there for it!  Since I love me a bulleted list, here's one for you:

  • Do you use your library often?  What's your library routine?
  • Have you read any of the books I listed?  What did you think of them?
  • Are you a Kindle Unlimited user?  Do you find it to be worth the money or not? 
  • If you are a KU user, do you ever listen to the books on audio?  Are all the narrators terrible or just the ones on the audiobooks I've tried?  Ha ha.

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