Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading.
 Here are a few finds I discovered this week. Have you read any of these? 
Daniyal Mueenuddin
(National Book Award Finalist)
(amazon)....Starred Review - In eight beautifully crafted, interconnected stories, Mueenuddin explores the cutthroat feudal society in which a rich Lahore landowner is entrenched. A complicated network of patronage undergirds the micro-society of servants, families and opportunists surrounding wealthy patron K.K. Harouni. In Nawabdin Electrician, Harounis indispensable electrician, Nawab, excels at his work and at home, raising 12 daughters and one son by virtue of his cunning and ingenuity—qualities that allow him to triumph over entrenched poverty and outlive a robber bent on stealing his livelihood. Women are especially vulnerable without the protection of family and marriage ties, as the protagonist of Saleema learns: a maid in the Harouni mansion who cultivates a love affair with an older servant, Saleema is left with a baby and without recourse when he must honor his first family and renounce her. Similarly, the women who become lovers of powerful men, as in the title story and in Provide, Provide, fall into disgrace and poverty with the death of their patrons. An elegant stylist with a light touch, Mueenuddin invites the reader to a richly human, wondrous experience.

Anthill; E.O. Wilson
(amazon)....Starred Review - Raphael Semmes Cody of Clayville, Alabama, nicknamed Raff, wants to please his mismatched parents, but he isn’t comfortable with his working-class father’s rules for manliness or the ambitions of his mother’s wealthy family. He instead finds meaning, beauty, and a calling in a tract of old-growth longleaf pine forest surrounding Lake Nokobee, a rare and vulnerable swath of wilderness Wilson describes with bewitching precision and profound appreciation. A foremost authority on ants, an eloquent environmentalist, and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for his exceptional nonfiction, Wilson has written a debut novel of astonishing dimension, acuity, and spirit. As Raff evolves from an ardent boy naturalist to a zealous student enthralled by a mound-building ant species to a Harvard-trained lawyer, Wilson dramatizes conflicts of great complexity and consequence within “parallel worlds,” becoming the veritable Homer of “Antdom” as he brings ant colonies in peace and at war to startlingly vivid life. As gentlemanly Raff walks a fine line in his heroic efforts to save the precious, pristine Nokobee Woods, violence, a force Wilson perceives as intrinsic to “this pitiless world,” percolates. With lyrical exactitude, empathy for all life, and a shocking conclusion, Wilson’s wise, provocative novel of the interaction between humankind and the rest of nature expresses a resonant earth ethic.


Greyhound; Steffan Piper

(amazon)...12-year-old Sebastien Ranes is taking a trip. He doesn't exactly understand why, but he accepts it. His mother often seems too emotionally detached to care for him. Her latest boyfriend Dick takes cruel pleasure in mimicking the boy’s stuttering, and wants to live his life without "somebody else's kid" getting in the way. So it's no surprise when they pack his bags to send him away. It is a surprise when they send him alone. 
Ushered from his Stockton, California home, Sebastien must fend for himself and travel two thousand miles across the country to live with his grandmother and sister in Pennsylvania. Along the way, he learns that sometimes caring, guidance and understanding can come from some unlikely people.

Marcus is a man who has been neglected more by society than his family. As a young black ex-con, he is not the epitome of the person most would pick as a chaperone for their child's cross country trip. Yet rather than be held apart by their differences, Marcus and Sebastien are drawn together by the things that make us all alike. As both guide and protector, Marcus imparts his own style of wisdom while showing Sebastien that, despite the darker side of the human condition, people can and do care for one another. Greyhound is the story of the journey taken by a young boy into manhood, and by the reader into his world. Like every trip, there are many stops along the way. But this journey differs in the way young Sebastien arrives at his destination.

Robin Oliveira
(amazon)....In this stunning first novel, Mary Sutter is a brilliant, head­strong midwife from Albany, New York, who dreams of becoming a surgeon. Determined to overcome the prejudices against women in medicine-and eager to run away from her recent heartbreak- Mary leaves home and travels to Washington, D.C. to help tend the legions of Civil War wounded. Under the guidance of William Stipp and James Blevens-two surgeons who fall unwittingly in love with Mary's courage, will, and stubbornness in the face of suffering-and resisting her mother's pleas to return home to help with the birth of her twin sister's baby, Mary pursues her medical career in the desperately overwhelmed hospitals of the capital.

Like Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain and Robert Hicks's The Widow of the South, My Name Is Mary Sutter powerfully evokes the atmosphere of the period. Rich with historical detail (including marvelous depictions of Lincoln, Dorothea Dix, General McClellan, and John Hay among others), and full of the tragedies and challenges of wartime, My Name Is Mary Sutter is an exceptional novel. And in Mary herself, Robin Oliveira has created a truly unforgettable heroine whose unwavering determination and vulnerability will resonate with readers everywhere.

22 comments:

  1. Great finds! I was just looking at the Mary Sutter book online earlier this morning.

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  2. Great finds! Anthill and Mary Sutter have caught my eye.

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  3. Diane, I'm looking forward to MY NAME IS MARY SUTTER. Think it sounds very interesting.

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  4. I read a really wonderful review of In Other Rooms Other Wonders and think that it sounds like a wonderful book that I'd really like to read. I also just got a copy of My Name is Mary Sutter and am so looking forward to it!! I do hope that you like it too, and that you have a great weekend!!

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  5. I'm currently reading a "journey" novel and really liking it, will look closer at Greyhound!

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  6. I LOVE In Other Rooms, Other Wonders. It was one of my top books of 2008. The short story format was great!

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  7. Ooh Anthill looks so good, and the cover is amazing. Great finds. I have two this week at The Crowded Leaf.

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  8. That Mary Sutter book sure catches my eye...thanks for sharing these!

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  9. I haven't read any of these, but they look and sound really good. I'd like to read each of these books.

    Fabulous finds! Happy Friday, Diane!

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  10. Anthill and Mary Sutter have both got my attention!

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  11. I'm most drawn to the stories set in India. Thanks for highlighting these finds!

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  12. These all sound really good but the Greyhound especially piques my interest. I can't imagine a 12 year old traveling across country on his own.

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  13. All of your finds sound delicious!

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  14. Greyhound sounds like it will be good - also My Name Is Mary Sutter.

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  15. Mary Sutter looks like something I will enjoy!

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  16. I love E.O. Wilson's non-fiction writing but am a little nervous about his fiction. I'm waiting for someone else to read it first. :)

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  17. Mary Sutter is calling my name!!!

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  18. Love these! Particularly the Mary Sutter book! Thanks for turning me onto it!

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  19. Interesting books. Have not heard of them before. happy reading!

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