Monday, May 9, 2011

Too Many ILLs

I've been trying to read my way through the entire Persephone book list, and as much as I would like to own every single one of these beautiful dove-grey editions, I realized that it would cost almost as much as a plane ticket to England.  So I have been utilizing my library's interlibrary loan option as much as possible.  Not only are they free, but it's really fun to get books from Arkansas or Boston or from whatever college library is willing to send them -- and some of the editions are beautiful, and even really old.

But I did go a little crazy back in March when I realized that I was not limited to only five ILL requests -- I could request up to ten!  Without thinking it through I requested nine Persephones (and one future Persephone, to be reprinted next year), assuming that first of all, I might not get all of them, and secondly, that it would take forever.  Ha!  Within a month all ten had arrived and I had another month to finish every one, not to mention various books for book group, plus I had to start reading an 800 page volume of Dickens for the Classics Circuit.  What the heck was I thinking?

Foolishly, I did not take a photo to record my ambitious stack of checkouts for posterity, but here's a list of what I ordered and received:

  • Bricks and Mortar by Helen Ashton
  • The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Every Eye by Isobel English
  • The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
  • The Village by Marghanita Laski
  • Doreen by Barbara Noble
  • The Fortnight in September by RC Sherriff
  • The Hopkins Manuscript by R.C. Sherriff
  • Because of the Lockwoods by Dorothy Whipple (technically not a Persphone, but I think they're reissuing it in 2012)
  • On the Other Side: Letters to My Children From Germany, 1940-1946 by Matilde Wolff-Monckeberg
Of course the trouble with ILLs is that they don't belong to my library, and they don't usually let you renew them.  The arrivals were staggered somewhat, and so far I've been able to get through six of the ten, and I should finish the seventh sometime today.  I managed to read the first six pretty close to their due dates; sadly, I was forced to return two of them (Every Eye and The Shuttle) unread.  I did get a one-week extension for the last two, The Hopkins Manuscript and On the Other Side.

I do regret not blogging about these reads more faithfully -- I've only written reviews of two of them so far.  However, in the next couple of days I hope to write reviews or at least mini-reviews of the rest of them in a sort of round-up posting.

Does anyone else overdo it with ILLs?  Do you rearrange your reading schedule to fit them in or return them unread?  I know I'm not the only one who checks out way too many library books, but ILLs are a special category.  I'd love to know if I'm not the only one with this problem!


  1. Wow - that is a lot of Persephone indulgence - lucky you - I wish I was at the start of my persephone reading journey. I don't get ILLs, they're expensive, but luckily most of what I want is available in the county and only costs 95p to reserve (but I can't even afford that at the moment :( )

  2. My library doesn't seem to do Inter Library Loans, so I've not had this problem. I try to only order a book from the library when I've nearly finished the one I'm on, otherwise I'd have the same problem you have - but that's pretty impressive that you got through as many as you did.

  3. Brilliant, brilliant plan! I'm so drawn to all the P's I'm reading about but our library system -- actually, both of the ones I have cards for -- only have a couple of the classics, and none of the grey ones. I have been able to find some older, pre-Persephone editions of some of the books. I just never thought of inter-library loan. My 'problem' centers on maxing out the number of reserves I can have, and balancing out getting in early with the things there's a long line for with leaving spots for books I want one of the the other libraries in the system to kindly send over. But back to the Ps. Until I can go to London with an empty suitcase and a lot of book money, maybe you could just program things so they wing their way to me after you read each one? :)

  4. Verity -- I never dreamed they'd actually all arrive! At the moment, ILLs are free in our library system, but for all I know this could change soon -- Texas library budgets are on the chopping block so I might lose this privilege eventually.

    Tracy -- I know I should be more disciplined with my library reserves, but it's so tempting when they're free! Also, I volunteer at the library twice a week and sometimes I just can't help checking out extra books.

    Audrey -- my library doesn't have any of the dove-grey volumes either, though it does have multiple copies of Miss Pettigrew in the Persephone Classic edition. I've also found old editions of Persephone titles for sale pretty inexpensively online, though I haven't bought any yet. My birthday and Christmas wish lists are almost exclusively dove-grey books.

  5. Despite the logistical headache of having so many ILLs for such a short period, there's something wonderfully indulgent about having a stack of such fabulous titles to hand. I'm so impressed by how many of them you did manage to get through!

  6. I try not to order more than a couple at a time, but sometimes I over-indulge, not expecting them to come all at one time, and then I get hit with a whole bunch together. :D

  7. I used to get ILLs a lot, then my library starting charging £4 each for them! I could buy a second=hand copy of the book for that!

  8. I hope you manage to get through both of the Sherriff books. They are both fantastic and quite different in tone and content.

  9. Claire -- I finished another one last night which was quite short, so I only have one left. Hopefully I can finish it by the weekend and not be too late returning it.

    Amanda -- you never know if they're going to arrive or not. I feel like I need to take advantage of ILL services while we still have them -- who knows what will happen with the library budgets?

    Joanne -- that's shockingly expensive! I agree, you could buy a good used copy for that much sometimes.

    Thomas -- I only have The Hopkins Manuscript left, I hope to start on it tonight.

  10. Yes, I definitely go through ILL binges and then feel I have to put everything else aside when they arrive since some other library is lending them to mine and I do try to be polite and use what I've requested.

    You have quite a stack there, and none of them are familiar to me. Enjoy!

  11. I've been trying really hard to read from my shelves and limit my requests to books I know I want to read. But I recently made lists of all the Persephone's I can get from local libraries and I'm excited to say there are about 15!! Can't wait for an excuse to read more of them.

  12. I have too many library books period! If I added ILLs to the mix I would be in way over my head!

  13. It has been a while since I used the ILL service and I had to pay 50p for one book, and the librarian was really hesitant about telling me that it would cost 50p. Obviously previous customers were scathing about having to pay the money!

  14. Wow! You really did it. congrats.
    I only request one or two books at a time, otherwise I would end up returning them unread.

  15. Yes, I have the same problem as you. What gets me in trouble is I never know when an ILL will come in; it could be three days or three weeks. That makes it hard to plan. It is SO annoying that you can't renew an ILL. I've racked up some fines trying to get a book finished.

  16. How come ILL are free? My University charges are approximately £10 per ILL which accurately reflects the charges made to them plus a small internal cost for the administration. Thus, as a physicist, I'm never going to use that mechanism to obtain novels as clearly they can not be siad to be part of my teaching or research duties.


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