Library Loot: November 2012

It has been a while since I wrote a Library Loot post. Then again, it has been a while since I visited the library for new books, since so much of my reading has been slow and focused on books I already own. This past week, however, I have picked up a few new copies from the local library.

First, I came across a small list of Indonesian authors that might be of interest to students of Dutch colonial history. I cannot tell you how happy I was to finally discover a few titles, as I had tried to search for them before, but without a proper starting place it really is quite difficult to find what you’re looking for. In the end, I picked up these two copies. I have listed the English titles, but of course my library had the Dutch translation of said books. Funny how both feature “An Indonesian novel” in large letters on the cover. Anyway..

This Earth of Mankind - Pramoedya Ananta ToerThis Earth of Mankind – Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Penguin, 1981

This is the first installment of a tetralogy (The Buru quarted) written during the time he was a prisoner on Buru island on charge of being a communist according to Suharto’s regime. This book is set during the final years of Dutch colonialism and tells the story of a Javanese boy Minke, who is educated at a Dutch elite school. He becomes involved with the daughter of Nyai Ontosoroh, who is a concubine of a Dutch man. Apparently, Toer was critical of Dutch colonialism and was imprisoned by the Dutch during the war of independence. According to wikipedia, Toer both incorporates the power of Islam as a power of resistance, but also criticises the way religion is sometimes used to deny critical thinking. While I am pretty sure I will encounter a lot of insecurities about how to formulate an opinion about a book in such a complicated setting, I cannot help but be very curious.

The Weaverbirds – Y.B. Mangunwijaya
Lontar Foundation, 1991

About Y.B. Mangunqijaya wikipedia tells me that he was a Catholic religious leader, architect and writer. I am quite interested if that makes a difference in how he portrays Dutch colonialism in the novel? Anyway, the weaverbirds, about which I can find surprisingly little information online (plus, no cover image!) is the story of the love between a Dutch KNIL soldier and a Javanese women who supports the Indonesian Republic.

84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff
Viking Press, 1975

To be honest, I do not have a clue what this novel is about, but I remember that I have heard the name repeatedly. Then, when Hannah mentioned it in my last post about Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day I couldn’t wait to get it from the library. So here we are. And the idea of a book about a letter exchange and friendship between Hanff and a bookshop owner? Sounds right up my alley.

The Book of Night Women - Marlon JamesThe Book of Night Women – Marlon James
Riverhead Books, 2009

I don’t exactly remember where I have seen this title before, I think it might have been over at Buried in Print or Amy Reads? The plot summary reminded me a little of Allende’s Island Beneath the Sea which I loved earlier this year. The Book of Night Women is about Lilith, born on a sugar plantation in Jamaica at the end of the 19th century. She joins a group of women who plan to revolt, but as she discovers her own identity and desires she also threatens to become a weak link in the conspiracy.

Patronage - Maria EdgeworthPatronage – Maria Edgeworth
Sort of Books, 2011 (orig. 1814)

I was browsing and came across a title by Maria Edgeworth. There is no way I could skip it and not take it home, right? According to the back cover this book is “a controversial, hugely entertaining novel by a woman who dared to explore the masculine as well as the feminine worlds of her protagonists” and is “a critique of the way young men gained careers and young women gained husbands.” Um, colour me intrigued.  Of course, in true Edgeworth fashion (except that Castle Rackrent was quite short so I guess I am undermining my own point), it is a long novel: 668 pages of not all that large print. I hope it’s worth it.

Did you pick up any books at the library recently that you are excited about?

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Library Loot is a weekly meme co-hosted by Claire (The Captive Reader) and Marg (The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader) that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

13 thoughts on “Library Loot: November 2012

  1. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    The cover of Patronage is lovely. And I have been wanting to read The Book of Night Women forever. Looks like a good loot!

  2. Leeswammes

    I’ve never heard of The Book of Night Women, but I have seen (part of) that cover before: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (Dutch version) Don’t you hate it when covers are recycled?

    I’ll look forward to reading your review of Toer. I came across this author after I posted my review of a book by another Indonesian author, and Toer was recommended by some in the comments.

    Have a good time with your new books – a nice selection!

  3. Ana @ things mean a lot

    I think you’ll LOVE the Helene Hanff. It’s a perfect book to read just before a trip to London too – you can look for the sign on Charing Cross Road when you’re there! Does that edition also have The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street? If so, even better.

    I have The Book of Night Women on my TBR too (the one here, miraculously enough) – it was definitely Amy’s fault that I got it, and maybe also Teresa’s if I remember right.

  4. Sandra

    I’d love to read the books about Indonesia, my library doesn’t have these but I’m adding them to my tbr list. You will like Helene Hanff I’m sure. I’ve read at least 5 of her books and loved them all. Charing Cross is the first of 3, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street and Q’s legacy continue the story. I’m betting you’ll want to read them too if you like this one. Night Women is on my list to read but after The Book of Negroes (because the author lives in the same city that I do). I’ll watch for your review and may get to it in February during Black History Month. Enjoy your loot. Mine is here:

  5. Teresa

    The Book of Night Women is excellent! Some really difficult ideas, but really thoughtful and satisfying.

    One of these days, I will get around to reading 84 Charing Cross Road. I love the movie version but still haven’t read the book.

  6. Claire (The Captive Reader)

    You are going to LOVE 84, Charing Cross Road! It is one of my favourite bookish books and I often dip in and out of it when I’m browsing my shelves, reading one or two of the letters at a time. The film is also excellent.

    I love the cover for Patronage but have never read anything by Edgeworth so will be interested to hear how you get on with it. Enjoy your loot!

  7. Word Lily

    Yay, 84, Charing Cross Road! I look forward to hearing what you think about it. And yay for Indonesian books, too!

    I started Book of the Night Women years ago now, when it first came out, but it was too brutal for me at the time.

  8. Lorraine S.

    I saw the video of 84, Charing Cross ten years ago, then read the book. I now have ALL of Helene Hanff’s used books. Think I liked the book?


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