Mailbox Monday is hosted by MariReads. I've received a few new books recently:
Won through LibraryThing
Nothing can mend a broken heart quite like family. Sherry has struggled all her life to understand who she is, where she comes from, and, most important, why her mother slapped her cheek one summer afternoon. The incident has haunted Sherry, and it causes her to dig into her family's past. Like many family histories, it is fractured and stubbornly reluctant to reveal its secrets; but Sherry is determined to know the full story. In just a few days' time, her extended family will gather for a reunion, and Sherry sets off across the country with her mother, Dumpling, to join them. What Sherry and Dumpling find on their trip is far more important than scenic sites here and there--it is the assorted pieces of their family's past. Pulled together, they reveal a history of amazing survival and abundant joy.
Won through Book Trib
More than 200 truly rewarding reads are covered, with a non-spoiler synopsis, background information, discussion points, and suggested companion volumes
With so many fantastic books out there, book clubs and avid readers can have difficulty choosing what to read next—thankfully, this comprehensive guide brings together the best and most loved titles for easy reference. Featuring a diverse selection, from Pride and Prejudice to The Handmaid's Tale, The Kite Runner to Cloud Atlas, the guide includes interesting discussion points and facts as well as potential companion books with similar themes, honest opinions from readers, and razor-sharp reviews from critics, so readers will know they're making the right choice every time. Top ten lists are also included, such as Top Ten Quick Reads (Metamorphosis, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Top Ten Challenging Reads (Anna Karenina, Possession), Top Ten Gay Reads (Giovanni's Room, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit), and Top Ten Chilling Reads (The Stand, Ring). Compiled by a range of English literature experts and avid readers, this book is sure to inspire any book lover.
Florida Wildflowers: A Comprehensive Guide by Walter Kingsley Taylor
Received through NetGalley
I received an actual print copy via NetGalley. A very impressive guide to wildflowers in Florida, and so much more!
S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline
Received from Crown Publishing
Cassie Robichaud’s life is filled with regret and loneliness after the sudden death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Purchased through Amazon (along with the accompanying DVD)
From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.
With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.
They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.
Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.
Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.
These are all used books that I picked up at the Sandman used book store in town:
The Quincunx by Charles Palliser
An extraordinary modern novel in the Victorian tradition, Charles Palliser has created something extraordinary--a plot within a plot within a plot of family secrets, mysterious clues, low-born birth, high-reaching immorality, and, always, always the fog-enshrouded, enigmatic character of 19th century -- London itself.
(This book caught my eye years ago at the book store, as I am familiar with the term "quincunx" or "finger of God" through my dealings with astrology in my youth. I've wanted this book for years, and when I saw it in the used book store, I felt fate whisper in my ear!)
San Piedro Island, north of Puget Sound, is a place so isolated that no one who lives there can afford to make enemies. But in 1954 a local fisherman is found suspiciously drowned, and a Japanese American named Kabuo Miyamoto is charged with his murder. In the course of the ensuing trial, it becomes clear that what is at stake is more than a man's guilt. For on San Pedro, memory grows as thickly as cedar trees and the fields of ripe strawberries - memories of a charmed love affair between a white boy and the Japanese girl who grew up to become Kabuo's wife; memories of land desired, paid for, and lost. Above all, San Piedro is haunted by the memory of what happened to its Japanese residents during World War II, when an entire community was sent into exile while its neighbors watched. Gripping, tragic, and densely atmospheric, Snow Falling on Cedars is a masterpiece of suspense - one that leaves us shaken and changed.
(I'm always lured in by books that take place in the Olympic Mountains or Puget Sound area of Washington)
The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty by Caroline Alexander
Surely this exhaustingly-researched, enthralling and enthusiastically-written tome is the last word on the most famous of all seafaring mutinies, that of shipmate Fletcher Christian and against Lieutenant Bligh on the Bounty. More than 200 years have gone by since the ship left England after dreadful weather kept it harbored for months, on its mission to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies. The mutiny in Tahiti left the mutineers scattered about the paradisiacal islands and found Bligh and 18 of his loyal crew members set adrift in a 23-foot open boat. Bligh, who'd served as Capt. James Cook's sailing master, fantastically maneuvered the crew on a 48-day, 3,600-mile journey to safety. Caroline Alexander, author of The Endurance, is never in over her head even when weaving together densely twisting narratives, or explaining the unwritten rules of the Royal Navy, of the complexities of class and hierarchy that impelled much of what happened aboard the Bounty. The book centers far more on the effort to round up the mutineers than the actual mutiny itself. The book is enlivened by the colorful commentary of the crew members themselves, gleaned from letters and court documents. Alexander does us all the favor of presenting Bligh the way he was understood and received in his day--as a brilliant navigator who, when placed in context, was not a brutal task-master at all. She roots the tyrannical figure we know so well from the movies on the last-ditch efforts of one well-connected crew member to save his own hide from hanging. --Mike McGonigal
(I've been fascinated with the "mutiny on The Bounty" since Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins introduced me to the event in the movie by the same name)
Lost Nation by Jeffrey Lent
Lost Nation opens with a man known only as Blood guiding an oxcart of rum toward the wild country high in New Hampshire, an ungoverned territory called the Indian Stream - a land where the luckless or outlawed have made a fresh start. Blood is a man of contradictions, of learning and wisdom, but also a man with a secret past that has scorched his soul. He sets forth to establish himself as a trader, hauling with him Sally, a sixteen-year-old girl won from the madam of a brothel over a game of cards. Their arrival in the Indian Stream triggers an escalating series of clashes that serve to sever the master-servant bond between them and offers both a second chance at life. But as the conflicts within the community spill over and attract the attention of outside authorities, Blood becomes a target for those seeking easy blame for the troubles. As plots unravel and violence escalates, two young men of uncertain identity appear, and Blood is forced to confront dread apparitions of his past while Sally is offered a final escape.
(I don't know what it was about this book that caught my eye, but I'm just fascinated with it)