My Library Book Stack; or Accountability’s a B*tch

I have a lot of library books out on loan.

Last year I worked hard to keep my library loans down to a reasonable number, for a reasonable amount of time. I tried to create a new, less compulsive habit. And then … well, and then COVID-19 became a thing, we went into Lockdown #1 and I panic-borrowed all the books because books might make for lumpy security blankets, but they’re great for building tall walls around yourself to defend against reality.

And so my bad borrowing habit has returned with a vengeance. About half of the books in this list were borrowed back in March and I’ve still not read them. I’ve been redeployed during both lockdowns, so it’s not like I’ve suddenly conjured up more time or less responsibility.

In an effort to make myself accountable, maybe claw back a little self-control, I’m here to admit to you all that I have 26 library books out and have had them all far longer than I should have done. My aim is to read them all if I can, although I will return immediately anything that gets requested by another borrower.

I’m tempted to swear I’ll not buy another book until I’ve achieved my goal … but … who would I be kidding?


So, hi! My name’s Mayri. I borrow too many library books.


This is what I have out on loan, in no particular order:


The Fiction Pile

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The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford

I picked this up because of Tammy’s review over at Books, Bones & Buffy. (Also, go visit Tammy’s blog right NOW, because she has snowflakes!!)

This Body’s Not Big Enough for the Both of Us by Edgar Cantero

Because I enjoyed Meddling Kids so much.

Under the Skin by Michel Faber

I was convinced that a review by imyril prompted me to request this book in from another branch. Certainly she’s mentioned it several times in recent posts, but I was sure I’d read a longer piece. As this has been a week of sleeplessness and strange imaginings over here I’m going to let it slide. Either way, imyril made me want to read this.


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The Island of Doctor Moreau by H G Wells

Something I’ve not read before, and I was having a bit of a Wellsian moment when I picked it up. It’s only little, so it’ll be a spur of the moment read when I get to it.

Morlock Night by K M Jeter

I’m going to be reading this for Vintage SciFi Month, right after I’ve reread Well’s Time Machine.

The Man with Six Senses by Muriel Jaeger

Another Vintage SciFi Month read. It was written in 1927, by a woman I’ve never heard of … how could I not snatch it from the shelf as soon as I saw it?!


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Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

I’m on a major Fforde kick this year – his brand of funny is super comforting to me. I’ve really got to finish the Thursday Next books (re)read-through first though.

The Library of the Unwritten by A J Hackwith

Everyone everywhere says this is awesome. Also, it has the word ‘library’ in the title.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkin

See previous comment about the word ‘library’.


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Also, First Among Sequels, One of Our Thursdays is Missing and The Woman Who Died A Lot, all by Jasper Fforde.

To complete my Next read-through. When I’ve read these final three I will also be able to cross the Thursday Next series off my Great Series Read Project list. (Level up!)


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The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

Because I’m a sucker for Austen retellings/different POV/minor character stories, and a friend of mine said it was good.

Changeless by Gail Carriger

Because when I’m done with Fforde I want something else that’s light and funny to read before bed.

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

I’ve been curious about this book since it appeared in the library two years ago. More recently, I saw that a TV show had been made with the same name. The book sounds odd and not a little intriguing – that’s enough for me.


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The Man with the Compound Eyes by Wu Ming-Yi

This book has the most beautiful cover by Joe Wilson, and I’m frightened that one of my colleagues will discard it someday soon because it hasn’t yet found a reader. So I’m keeping it out on loan for safe-keeping until I’ve read it. (Brain spasm: I’d love to promote the books on our shelves that don’t seem to receive any love or attention, I bet there’s some corkers among them. You know the kind: those books with the slightly uninspiring covers; the books that the eye slides over when searching for something interesting. Hmmm, might have to run this past the boss next week…).

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Been meaning to read this for a while and as none of our patrons seem interested right now … mine!

Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge

My next Hardinge, for when the mood strikes.



The Non-fiction Pile

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How the World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy by Julian Baggini

Recommended to me by a Waterstones employee whose enthusiasm sold it completely. Unfortunately, I’m a much much slower reader of non-fiction (I really should learn to take just one non-fiction book out at a time), and I spoke to her back in January … *ahem* better late than never, eh?

Extreme Metaphors: Interviews with J G Ballard 1967-2008 ed. Simon Sellars & Dan O’Hara

Also on a J G Ballard kick. I also have The Crystal World on my Vintage SciFi Month reading pile.

Steampunk by Paul Roland

Currently interested to learn how Steampunk arose and this looks like it’ll answer the question.


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Mythos by Stephen Fry

Fry – love. Mythology – love. Perfect combo.

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Currently reading. Just the most beautifully written social history. I don’t know whether to cry or rage.

Craftfulness by Arzu Tahsin & Rosemary Davidson

Probably something I’ll just dip into, rather than read cover to cover.


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Finally, Utopia by Thomas More and Utopia by Marlin Coverley

Because I catch myself rhapsodizing about either Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy or Jo Walton’s The Just City on a weekly basis and thought perhaps a wider understanding of the idea of utopia was in order … so I can be irritatingly enthusiastic about more than just two books.



So, now you know.

I totally understand if you feel we can’t be friends now you know I am such a blatant abuser of my library powers. I’d hang my head in shame, only my chin would hit the stack of books I’m carrying …



  1. I won‘t throw a stone, but then again, I don’t use the library here.
    Back in the 80s I read everything by Gibson and Sterling and Ballard. That’s when I came across The Difference Engine and thought „Hu, that feels different. Cool, but not Cyberpunk. Is Cyberpunk over already?“
    That was my very first touch of Steampunk!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a fervent enabler, I can hardly be a judge about such things. The weird thing? I _have_ written a longer piece about (the movie of) Under the Skin, but I’ve never re-published it since moving to WordPress five years ago(!) – I’ve been waiting to reread the book to turn it into a Book Was Better. So in this case, it might not have been me (yet, but it might still be me one day 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No shame, no head hanging required, books are there for when you NEED them, I have brought many books over the years/decades that I still haven’t read. Think of it as research for your customers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Doesn’t your library have a return policy? How have you kept them out for so long?

    But you won’t get any shaming from me. I use to regularly take out more than I knew I could read, “just in case” 😀 When it comes to books, it is impossible to be over-prepared.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. wow, that is an impressive batch of library books – but I have every confidence in you. I always used to have lots of library books on the go at any given time – that seems to have changed a little over recent years simply because I seem to have moved more to ebooks than physical copies.
    Good luck 😀
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good for you! Own it, and be proud of it!!! 😀 If I worked in a library, I’d be even worse than you; as it is, I currently have only 6 books on loan (ah, wait – I checked and it’s 11 :D), but if I could, I’d have borrowed TONS! 😂😂😂
    Man, that’s a lot of Fforde 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have been incredibly lucky at our library: that we reopened after both lockdowns and that up until very recently we had a pretty good book budget. Right now we are not looking so good … but I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed! 😀

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  7. I too am a big fan of the snowflakes on Tammy’s site haha. Not something I’ve ever consciously realised before, but I’ve not read The Island of Doctor Moreau either. As a big Wells fan I find myself somewhat perturbed. Must rectify this…

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