Portrait of a moment in time for books that I’m reading

There’s always such a wealth of books to read in addition to the more topical internet, magazines, and newspapers. Here’s a snapshot of what I’m currently either reading or waiting for from the library.

I’m in three book clubs so always at least try the month’s choices. The books up for discussion next are “Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang” (discussion November 1st), “The City and the Stars” by Arthur C. Clarke (discussion October 15th), and “We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Right” by Adam Winkler (discussed during October).

Sometimes the book club selections for future months intrigue me more. I’m listening to “Overstory” by Richard Powers (the November selection for the Now Read This, the online book club sponsored by NPR and the NYT Book Section), and hoping to soon begin “The House of Broken Angels” by Luis Alberto Urrea (listened to in July for Now Read This, but showing up again for my old office’s book club for discussion December 6th).

Then there are the library books. I always get them by putting them on hold and waiting. NYPL permits a maximum number of holds of 15 which I spread among audiobooks and ebooks readable on Kindles. I use the Libby app for all changes, additions, and deletions. One of the many things I love about Libby is that holds are listed by when the library expects them to be available — oldest last. I buy many books or read them for “free” thru the Kindle Unlimited program. But the library is the best source for books I may only want to skim, that are too expensive for the value (from my perspective), or ideas I want to have show up later.

I just borrowed “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. Unfortunately, the audiobook which I understand is read beautifully by the author won’t be available for four weeks which will be after the Kindle book needs to be returned. I’m truly not sure if I’ve ever read a Morrison book (embarassing). Maybe “Beloved”? I also just received “The Genius of Birds” by Jennifer Ackerman in audiobook.

My current hold list at NYPL is:

  • Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl – available in two weeks
  • Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield (audiobook) — three weeks
  • The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen (audiobook) — also in three weeks
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett — three weeks
  • Ask Again, Yes by Marth Beth Keane (audiobook) — the fourth book that might arrive in three weeks
  • Songs of America by Jon Meacham — fifth item supposedly ready in three weeks
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (audiobook) — four weeks
  • Exhalation, Stories by Ted Chiang — available in four weeks which will make things tight for the book club
  • The Water Dancer by Ta-Nahesi Coates — about five weeks
  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee — about five weeks
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison (audiobook) — 12 weeks
  • The Body by Bill Bryson — unsure when it will be available

Depending on how many other books I’m reading or listening to, I fill in around the edges with fun books taking less than four hours to read, most of them sci-fi/fantasy; new releases from favorite authors like Elly Griffiths, Ann Cleve, and Louise Penny; and some that are simply pure trash.

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