This time of year, I debate whether it’s ethical to use one of my daughter’s library cards, because in addition to the number of new arrivals on my shelves, I am regularly requesting library books.

I debated using ‘incessantly’ rather than ‘regularly’, but I decided it’s not exactly accurate and, yet, it feels more truthful nonetheless. It really does seem incessant, as do the trips back-and-forth, especially on brutally humid days like today.

(Fortunately, when there is a city-wide heat alert in effect, the libraries operate as cooling centres, literally and figuratively. What a luxury.)

One of the constant (regular? incessant?) sources of inspiration is the list of authors attending this year’s International Festival of Authors this year.

Studying their line-up is much like reading the “So Excited to Read ‘x’ This Season” and “Most-Anticipated Fall Release” lists dotting the bookish universe these days.

Half of the names listed there are immediately interesting, about another quarter become interesting simply by reading on, and the remaining authors often elicit a vaguely curious “Hmmmm” (they, too, often become interesting to me when the full schedule of events, with topics and outlines becomes available).

And, yet, there is the ever-present tug between the realization that something new is shiny and tempting – say, Aminatta Forna’s novel, The Hired Man – and another book is still lingering on the TBR list – for instance, her memoir, Danced on the Water.

IFOA Borrowed copies

Click to enlarge, if you wish (titles listed below)

And there is the nagging reality that although, for example, I own neither The Hired Man nor Danced on the Water, I have a copy of The Memory of Love which I was so desperate to have that I ordered it from overseas when it was first published and, yet, hundreds of other books have been read since, and not that one. (I know, I know: it’s wonderful. I must read it.)

But what to do? I already have a stack, hip-high, of the new 2013/autumn releases I’m aiming to read in the next few weeks, so what of this stack of library books? (If you are intuiting that it is not the only stack, you are correct, but it’s Wednesday, and I am concentrating on all-things-IFOA today.) How to choose just one?

IFOASmallBadgeCharles de Lint’s The Cats of Tanglewood Forest (Illus. Charles Vess)
Ann Ireland’s The Blue Guitar
Abdellah Taïh’s An Arab Melancholia (Trans. Frank Stock)
Olive Senior’s Dancing Lessons
Aminatta Forna’s Danced on the Water
Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of My Lives
Kelly Braffet’s Save Yourself
D.W. Wilson’s Ballistics
Owen King’s Double Feature

What reading projects have been building into stacks for you these days?
Is there a title on this stack you’d recommend that I move to the top?