Monday, December 6, 2010

Mailbox Monday - December 6th

 
Mailbox Monday's December host is:  Lady Q @ Let Them Read Books.

Mailbox Monday is an opportunity to share the books that arrive by mail at your house during the previous week. Here is what I received:
 

 
  • Sunset Park; Paul Auster  (audio book from Amazon Vine program) In his sixteenth novel, four flat-broke twenty-something searchers end up squatting in a funky abandoned house in Sunset Park, a rough Brooklyn neighborhood. Bing, the “sloppy bear” ringleader, plays drums and runs the Hospital for Broken Things, where he mends “relics” from a thriftier past. Melancholy artist Ellen is beset by erotic visions. Grad student Alice is researching pop-culture depictions of postwar sexual relationships. Miles is a fugitive. Poisoned by guilt over his stepbrother's death, he hasn't communicated with his loving father, a heroic independent publisher; his kind English professor stepmother; or his flamboyant actor mother for seven years. Lately he's been in Florida, “trashing out” foreclosed homes, stunned by what evicted people leave behind in anger and despair. Miles returns to New York after things turn dicey over his love affair with a wise-beyond-her-years Cuban American teenager. As always with the entrancing and ambushing Auster, every element is saturated with implication as each wounded, questing character's story illuminates our tragic flaws and profound need for connection, coherence, and beauty. In a time of daunting crises and change, Auster reminds us of lasting things, of love, art, and “the miraculous strangeness of being alive.” 
 
  • The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey ; Walter Mosley - Ptolemy Grey is ninety-one years old and has been all but forgotten-by his family, his friends, even himself-as he sinks into a lonely dementia. His grand-nephew, Ptolemy's only connection to the outside world, was recently killed in a drive-by shooting, and Ptolemy is too suspicious of anyone else to allow them into his life. until he meets Robyn, his niece's seventeen-year-old lodger and the only one willing to take care of an old man at his grandnephew's funeral.

    But Robyn will not tolerate Ptolemy's hermit-like existence. She challenges him to interact more with the world around him, and he grasps more firmly onto his disappearing consciousness. However, this new activity pushes Ptolemy into the fold of a doctor touting an experimental drug that guarantees Ptolemy won't live to see age ninety- two but that he'll spend his last days in feverish vigor and clarity. With his mind clear, what Ptolemy finds-in his own past, in his own apartment, and in the circumstances surrounding his grand-nephew's death-is shocking enough to spur an old man to action, and to ensure a legacy that no one will forget.

    In The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, Mosley captures the compromised state of his protagonist's mind with profound sensitivity and insight, and creates an unforgettable pair of characters at the center of a novel that is sure to become a true contemporary classic. 
 
  • Lipstick in Afghanistan;  Roberts Gately - (Simon and Schuster) -  Roberta Gately’s lyrical and authentic debut novel—inspired by her own experiences as a nurse in third world war zones—is one woman’s moving story of offering help and finding hope in the last place she expected. Gripped by haunting magazine images of starving refugees, Elsa has dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a teenager. Of leaving her humble working-class Boston neighborhood to help people whose lives are far more difficult than her own. No one in her family has ever escaped poverty, but Elsa has a secret weapon: a tube of lipstick she found in her older sister’s bureau. Wearing it never fails to raise her spirits and cement her determination. With lipstick on, she can do anything—even travel alone to war-torn Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.
    But violent nights as an ER nurse in South Boston could not prepare Elsa for the devastation she witnesses at the small medical clinic she runs in Bamiyan. As she struggles to prove herself to the Afghan doctors and local villagers, she begins a forbidden romance with her only confidant, a charming Special Forces soldier. Then, a tube of lipstick she finds in the aftermath of a tragic bus bombing leads her to another life-changing friendship. In her neighbor Parween, Elsa finds a kindred spirit, fiery and generous. Together, the two women risk their lives to save friends and family from the worst excesses of the Taliban. But when the war waging around them threatens their own survival, Elsa discovers her only hope is to unveil the warrior within. Roberta Gately’s raw, intimate novel is an unforgettable tribute to the power of friendship and a poignant reminder of the tragic cost of war.

    I Still Dream About You; Fannie Flagg  (Amazon Vine) - The beloved Fannie Flagg is back and at her irresistible and hilarious best in I Still Dream About You, a comic mystery romp through the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, past, present, and future.

    Meet Maggie Fortenberry, a still beautiful former Miss Alabama. To others, Maggie’s life seems practically perfect—she’s lovely, charming, and a successful real estate agent at Red Mountain Realty. Still, Maggie can’t help but wonder how she wound up in her present condition. She had been on her hopeful way to becoming Miss America and realizing her childhood dream of someday living in one of the elegant old homes on top of Red Mountain, with the adoring husband and the 2.5 children, but then something unexpected happened and changed everything.

    Maggie graduated at the top of her class at charm school, can fold a napkin in more than forty-eight different ways, and can enter and exit a car gracefully, but all the finesse in the world cannot help her now. Since the legendary real estate dynamo Hazel Whisenknott, beloved founder of Red Mountain Realty, died five years ago, business has gone from bad to worse—and the future isn’t looking much better. But just when things seem completely hopeless, Maggie suddenly comes up with the perfect plan to solve it all.

    As Maggie prepares to put her plan into action, we meet the cast of high-spirited characters around her. To Brenda Peoples, Maggie’s best friend and real estate partner, Maggie’s life seems easy as pie. Slender Maggie doesn’t have to worry about her figure, or about her Weight Watchers sponsor catching her at the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. And Ethel Clipp, Red Mountain’s ancient and grumpy office manager with the bright purple hair, thinks the world of Maggie but has absolutely nothing nice to say about their rival Babs “The Beast of Birmingham” Bingington, the unscrupulous estate agent who hates Maggie and is determined to put her out of business.

    Maggie has heartbreaking secrets in her past, but through a strange turn of events, she soon discovers, quite by accident, that everybody, it seems—dead or alive—has at least one little secret. I Still Dream About You is a wonderful novel that is equal parts Southern charm, murder mystery, and that perfect combination of comedy and old-fashioned wisdom that can be served up only by America’s own remarkable Fannie Flagg.

Hope you received some great books as well.

38 comments:

  1. Hi Diane,

    Sounds like a pretty eclectic mix of books there, I also try to read a good mix of genres, makes things much more interesting!

    I especially like the sound of 'The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey' It covers an issue that affects so many of us in today's society and which, here in the UK anyway, is very much 'swept under the carpet' as far as long term care is concerned. It sounds like quite a moving read.

    Yvonne: www.fiction-books.biz

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  2. I would like to see what you think of Lipstick in Afghanistan! the title alone intrigues me.

    My Mailbox is also up. Please do come visit.

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  3. We wanted to say thans for your kind thoughts for our Rudy!

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  4. I Still Dream About You is on my wish list. Enjoy all your new books, Diane!

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  5. Love the wonderful mix of books. I kind of envy you!

    Here is my Monday: Mailbox/Whereabouts post!

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  6. My sister really liked The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey! All of your books look good to me.

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  7. Oh, I love Fannie Flagg! That one definitely goes on the list. The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey sounds quite intriguing although maybe a tad depressing.

    I hope you enjoy your new books, Diane and have a great week.

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  8. I actually just finished Sunset Park and am going to be writing my review in a few minutes. This was my first Auster, and I thought it was pretty good. I hope you enjoy it, and all your new reads!

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  9. I can't wait to read the new Fannie Flagg...I have always enjoyed her books.

    Hope you have fun reading through that stack, and thanks for visiting my blog.

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  10. Good variety of books this week Diane.
    My mom just finished reading the Fannie Flagg book and loved it.

    I have never read Paul Auster, and I'm not sure why since I do like things set in NYC. May have to try this new one.

    Hope you enjoy our week reading!

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  11. Fannie Flagg is one of those authors I've long been meaning to read. Enjoy all your new books!

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  12. I have Ptomely Grey at home but just haven't gotten to it yet. Enjoy all of your new goodies!

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  13. Sunset Park sounds really good! I've just discovered Auster and thought I've only read one of his books, I think he's amazing.

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  14. You got some intense books! Happy reading! My mailbox is at The Crowded Leaf.

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  15. Your books all look great. I've been coveting "Lipstick in Afghanistan" for a while now!

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  16. Lipstick in Afghanistan is one I've heard quite a bit of good reviews about lately -- hope you enjoy!

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  17. I've heard great things about Lipstick in Afghanistan - enjoy!

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  18. I received for review Out of Touch by Brandon Tietz from the author.

    Twenty-four-year-old Aidin, a wealthy socialite and self-proclaimed "club god," lives a magazine life based on decadence and excess that includes drugs, sex, and gourmet food. It's a life based on surfaces in a place where the surface is all that matters. His therapist later describes him as a materialistic drug addict bent on promiscuity with self-esteem and identity issues.One morning, after a night of heavy partying, Aidin awakes completely vacant of any sensation. He can't feel temperature. He can't feel pressure. He can't feel anything. After a near-fatal stint in denial, he seeks the help of Dr. Paradies, a therapist whose methods are far from conventional. She provides him with a new addiction in the form of a life list--a litany of activities to accomplish. As Aidin completes his list, he discovers talents he never knew he possessed, such as the ability to quickly learn new languages, an IQ off the charts, and amazing physical stamina.With these new discoveries, he questions his doctor's intentions. When Aidin digs for the truth, will he slip back into his addictive habits? Or is there truly a conspiracy underway, as he suspects? The answer forces him to make a life-altering decision.

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  19. We got that Fannie Flag book for our Grandma for Christmas...but it's a surprise!

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  20. Great selection of books Diane. I've heard that Lipstick is a really good book. I look forward to your thoughts on it.

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  21. You received some nice books! I wasn't happy with Sunset Park but would love to know what you think! Walter Mosley's book intrigues me!

    Happy Reading!

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  22. I've heard that Ptolemy Gray book is pretty good.

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  23. The Fannie Flagg one looks fabulous. I have just started reading her Christmas book - Redbird Christmas. She is awesome.

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  24. I have a copy of Sunset Park on my shelf, so I look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

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  25. I purchased The Fannie Flagg book but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I may have to wait for the new year to read it.

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  26. Great books this week. I can't wait to read Lipstick in Afganistan - I hope it's good!

    The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey sounds interesting - I will wait to see how you like it since I have alot to choose from already.

    Have a great week!

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  27. Oh interesting mix of books there! I haven't read any Fannie Flagg in forever. I loved her book Daisy Fay & the Miracle Man.

    Hope you enjoy your new books!

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  28. I'm liking all of the ones that showed up for you!! Jill wrote an awesome review of Ptolemy Grey so I put that on hold to read next year! Enjoy!

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  29. I've never read Paul Auster, but I'd really like to. I hope Sunset Park is amazing on audio, so I can add it to my list!

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  30. Sounds like an interesting bunch of books, Diane.

    I've been ordering lots and lots of books lately, but as gifts for Christmas. I love picking out books for people that I know they'll love!

    Enjoy your reading week!

    Sue

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  31. I had been hearing of the Ptolemy Grey book for a while. The title sounds very academic, but the reviews have been great. Enjoy your books!

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  32. I'll by really curious to know what you think of Paul Auster's book when you get to it. I was eying his books the other day, wondering if they'd be any good.

    All of the books you received recently sound good! Eventually I hope to read the Fannie Flagg book.

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  33. Those look great! I really enjoyed the Fannie Flagg book.

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  34. I recognize Lipstick in Afghanistan -- hope we both enjoy it!

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  35. Great Mailbox! Sorry it's taken me so long to visit, it's been a busy week! I've got to read Fannie Flagg one of these days! Thanks for participating in Mailbox Monday! Happy reading!

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