Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading.
 Here are a few new finds I discovered this week. Have you read any of these?
(Book List *Starred Review* )

This is one scary book. Using a variety of test methods, the authors determined individual “body burdens,” or the toxic chemical load we carry. The innocuous rubber duck, for example, offers a poison soup of phthalates that “permeate the environment and humans.” From other products and food, we also have a collection of chemicals shorthanded as PFCs, PFOAs, PSOSs, and PCBs. None of them are good, and they are everywhere, thanks to Teflon (which drew the largest administrative penalty against a company ever obtained by the EPA), Stainmaster, nonflammable pajamas, tuna (hello, mercury), and, would you believe, antibacterial products. The legacy of our chemically addicted society is not just all around us but also inside us, and it is killing us, as the Teflon case proved. (Workers in West Virginia believed that “having a high-paying job often meant getting sick,” and many were reluctant to sue and possibly scare DuPont away.) Poised between chirpy green-living manuals and dense academic papers, Smith and Bruce Lourie have crafted a true guide for the thinking consumer. If readers don’t change their ways after reading this one, then they never will.

Perfect Reader; Maggie Pouncey
(amazon)
n this enchanting debut novel, Maggie Pouncey brings to life the unforgettable Flora Dempsey, the headstrong and quick-witted only child of Lewis Dempsey, a beloved former college president and famous literary critic in the league of Harold Bloom.

At the news of her father’s death, Flora quits her big-city magazine job and returns to Darwin, the quaint New England town where she grew up, to retreat into the house he has left her, filled as it is with reminders of him. Even weightier is her appointment as her father’s literary executor. It seems he was secretly writing poems at the end of his life—love poems to a girlfriend Flora didn’t know he had. Flora soon discovers that this woman has her own claims on Lewis’s poetry and his memory, and in the righteousness of her loss and bafflement at her father’s secrets—his life so richly separate from her own in ways she never guessed—Flora is highly suspicious of her. Meanwhile, Flora is besieged by well-wishers and literary bloggers alike as she tries to figure out how to navigate it all: the fate of the poems, the girlfriend who wants a place in her life, her memories of her parents’ divorce, and her own uncertain future.

At once comic and profound, Perfect Reader is a heady, uplifting story of loneliness and of the spur to growth that grief can be. Brimming with energy and with the elbow-patchy wisdom of her still-vivid father, Flora’s story will set her free to be the “perfect reader” not just of her father’s life but of her own as well. 
(amazon)
They may watch The Bold and the Beautiful, but for many Islamic families in Cairo, it is not romance but arranged marriage that determines their lives. Told through the intimate stories of six Egyptian women across class, age, and four generations, this stirring first novel is about the power of tradition, including the horror of female circumcision, as the narrator, a graduate student at the American University in Cairo, gets to know mothers and daughters and becomes aware of their surprising strength under oppression. What gives the novel depth is the fact that men are not all demonized: there is the father who refuses to allow his daughter to be circumcised, always anguished that his wife could feel no sexual pleasure. Then there is the husband as lonely in an arranged marriage as his wife. The female characters also move well beyond the usual stereotypes: the mother-in-law is a bully, but her heartbreaking love story is unforgettable. Baugh gets behind the veil by surprising us with her plot, characters, and sense of place.

20 comments:

  1. Great finds! I think Slow Death By Rubber Duck would be too unsettling to read. I used to live in West Virginia near the DuPont plant...who knows what was in the air that I was breathing!

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  2. Scary scary world, that's for sure. We live near a nuclear plant and that is probably not doing us too much good either. It seems like there is no ideal place to live. There's always something.

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  3. Great finds. I am interested in the second book. I also find the cover of the first book funny. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Slow Death by Rubber Duck is likely to freak me out far to much. I won't want to go anywhere. I am already avoiding going out today to avoid the volcanic clouds that are passing over England due to the Icelandic volcano. Paranoid or what!

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  5. I have to read Slow Death by Rubber Duck ... The Veil from Garden City sounds powerful!

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  6. Perfect Reader looks divine - love the cover!

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  7. Oh wow! These all look good for different reasons. I will definitely have to keep my eyes open for these titles. Great finds, all of them!

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  8. Great finds! I'm with Missy, I think I'll skip Slow Death by Rubber Duck, though - I'd rather remain ignorant.

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  9. The View from Garden City is for me but I'd read Slow Death by Rubber Duck just for the title alone!

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  10. I've added The View from Garden City to my list of books to read. I like the idea of the men not being demonized.

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  11. Each of these sound intriguing in their own way, Diane. They are indeed "finds". Happy Friday!

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  12. I don't think I have it in me to read the first book but the second one sounds very good. Being Indian, I can completely understand the arranged marriage scenario...it will be an interesting read...

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  13. Interesting books...The View from Garden City looks good to me.

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  14. I'm glad that you shared "Slow Death by Rubber Duck." I have not heard of this book but I am always interested in subjects of this sort. Scary, yes, but informative and necessary in order to be proactive in today's society.

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  15. The Rubber Duck book I'm sure would drive me crazy and fuel paranoia - I must have it! LOL! :) No, really I will probably track it down. I like to know what we're facing in this world so that I can at least try to make good decisions. I switched from all non-stick pans to aluminum a few years ago after hearing about the horrors of Teflon. I still keep one teflon pan for cooking pancakes and fried potatoes in, but I keep it in pristine condition so that it won't get scratched and release toxins.

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  16. Perfect Reader sounds good and I really like that cover. Death by Rubber Duck - staying away from. That would just freak me out.

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  17. Slow Death...sounds truly scary!! Too scary to read maybe...love your other picks too!

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  18. Slow Death By Rubber Duck sounds like it would be absolutely eye-opening. Adding it to my list!

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  19. I have had Garden City on my wish list for such a long time. It finally came up on PBS last week but I was so busy at work I missed the 48 hour window! I think I will head to bn.com now!

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  20. The View from Garden City sounds like a captivating read but Slow Death would have me woefully worried. Love the title, "Perfect Reader"!

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