Monday, January 10, 2011

Mailbox Monday - January 10th

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the previous week. Original host was Marcia at The Printed Page, but now on blog tour, with Rose City Reader is hosting during the month of January. 

Six books arrived by mail this past week:
(These 2 were gift card purchases)

  • Dr Zhivago; Boris Pasternak (I've been drooling over the recent edition since I first saw it)
  • Pictures of You; Caroline Leavitt - Two women running away from their marriages collide on a foggy highway, killing one of them. The survivor, Isabelle, is left to pick up the pieces, not only of her own life, but of the lives of the devastated husband and fragile son that the other woman, April, has left behind. Together, they try to solve the mystery of where April was running to, and why. As these three lives intersect, the book asks, How well do we really know those we love—and how do we forgive the unforgivable? 
 

  • How To Read the Air; Dinaw Mengestu (sent by PBS member) - Jonas Woldemariam's parents, near strangers when they marry in violence-torn Ethiopia, spend most of the early years of their marriage separated, eventually reuniting in America, but their ensuing life together devolves into a mutual hatred that forces a contentious divorce. Three decades later, Jonas, himself moving toward a divorce, retraces his parents' fateful honeymoon road trip from Peoria, Ill., to Nashville in an attempt to understand an upbringing that turned him into a man who has "gone numb as a tactical strategy" and become a fluent and inveterate liar--a skill that comes in handy at his job at an immigration agency, where he embellishes African immigrants' stories so that they might be granted asylum. Mengestu draws a haunting psychological portrait of recent immigrants to America, insecure and alienated, striving to fit in while mourning the loss of their cultural heritage and social status. Mengestu's precise and nuanced prose evokes characters, scenes, and emotions with an invigorating and unparalleled clarity. 
  • Evenfall;  Liz Michalski - (Berkley Trade) - Frank Wildermuth always regretted a mistake he made as a teenager: choosing Clara Murphy over her sister Gert. And like a true Murphy woman, Gert got on with her life, never admitting to heartbreak. Not even now, decades later, with Frank dead-dead, that is, but not quite gone. Now, Frank's niece, Andie Murphy, is back in town to settle his estate, and she sees that things have changed in Hartman, Connecticut. Aunt Gert still drives her crazy, but Cort, the wide-eyed farmboy she used to babysit, is all grown up-with a whole new definition for the word "sleepover." Even freakier are the whispers. Either Andie's losing her mind, or something she can't see is calling out to her-something that insists on putting right the past. 
  • The Memory Palace;  Mira Bartok (sent by Simon and Schuster) - People have abandoned their loved ones for much less than you’ve been through,” Mira Bartók is told at her mother’s memorial service. It is a poignant observation about the relationship between Mira, her sister, and their mentally ill mother. Before she was struck with schizophrenia at the age of nineteen, beautiful piano protégé Norma Herr had been the most vibrant personality in the room. She loved her daughters and did her best to raise them well, but as her mental state deteriorated, Norma spoke less about Chopin and more about Nazis and her fear that her daughters would be kidnapped, murdered, or raped. When the girls left for college, the harassment escalated—Norma called them obsessively, appeared at their apartments or jobs, threatened to kill herself if they did not return home. After a traumatic encounter, Mira and her sister were left with no choice but to change their names and sever all contact with Norma in order to stay safe. But while Mira pursued her career as an artist—exploring the ancient romance of Florence, the eerie mysticism of northern Norway, and the raw desert of Israel—the haunting memories of her mother were never far away.

    Then one day, Mira’s life changed forever after a debilitating car accident. As she struggled to recover from a traumatic brain injury, she was confronted with a need to recontextualize her life—she had to relearn how to paint, read, and interact with the outside world. In her search for a way back to her lost self, Mira reached out to the homeless shelter where she believed her mother was living and discovered that Norma was dying.

    Mira and her sister traveled to Cleveland, where they shared an extraordinary reconciliation with their mother that none of them had thought possible. At the hospital, Mira discovered a set of keys that opened a storage unit Norma had been keeping for seventeen years. Filled with family photos, childhood toys, and ephemera from Norma’s life, the storage unit brought back a flood of previous memories that Mira had thought were lost to her forever. 
  •  Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter; Tom Franklin (Amazon Vine) - In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town.
    More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades.
I'm especially looking forward to Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, which has been getting amazing reviews. Have you read any of these?

55 comments:

  1. That's more than three books!

    How to read the air looks really good. I just finished the Memory Palace (I read it as an egalley) and I was overall disappointed, but I really love memoirs and have read a lot of fantastic ones recently so that may have influenced my judgment. There were a few interesting bits but it will not be a book I am recommending. Still, I am curious to see what you think of course.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I received Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter from one of my secret santa's last month and am looking forward to reading that one too. It sure sounds good, doesn't it?

    I am also interested in How to Read the Air and will look forward to reading your thoughts on it when you get to it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really really want to get my hands on the new Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of Doctor Zhivago. It's supposed to be fantastic! Haven't read any of the others you got...

    ReplyDelete
  4. You have some really good stuff here - Pictures of you sounds so good.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great books in you mailbox this week! Enjoy :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was so busy during December that I didn't take in any new books, barely read, and have hardly begun my reading year.

    But I loved seeing your pictures.

    I miss mail.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dr Zhivago should be really good. I never read the book but liked the movie and am somewhat partial to books set in Russia. I'll wait for your review of that particular translation. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is sitting on my shelf and with all the great reviews, I hope to get to it soon. Have a wonderful week and happy reading.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have not read any of them, but the Memory Palace and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter intrigue me.

    I look forward to reading your reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I read Dr. Zhivago while in college (really liked it). I read Crooked Letter last month (will track down more books by this author!). Have a good week, Diane.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am jealous! Well, not really!

    Happy Reading!

    Here is my post!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sounds like you had a good week in books. Happy reading!

    ReplyDelete
  12. These all look great so I will definitely be looking forward to your reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, what an amazing mailbox! Hope you love Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter...I did.

    Also loved Dr. Zhivago, but it's been many years since I read it.

    I'm very curious about Pictures of You. Sounds compelling.

    Here's my Monday:

    (click on my name)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I really wanted to read The Memory Palace, but I resisted requesting it. I look forward to your review. Enjoy all your books!

    ReplyDelete
  15. You have some great books-the Memory Palace interests me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have not read any of them. I've read good reviews for Crooked Letter too!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is one that I am hoping to read soon! I look forward to your reviews :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I also got The Memory Palace and am really excited about it! I am envious that you got Dr. Zhivago as well. I have been wanting to read that one and have read several great reviews of it. I hope you enjoy all your new arrivals!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Looks like you had quite a busy week. I hope you enjoy them all!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. here's mine http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2011/01/mailbox-monday-relationship-obits.html

    ReplyDelete
  21. I can't wait to read The Memory Palace, sounds so interesting to me!

    Have a wonderful week!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Pictures of You sounds like it has a good premise. I got the Mengetsu book for Christmas and look forward to it. I really loved his first novel so I have high hopes for this one.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Great collection! I would love to read How to Read the Air...my youngest daughter is from Ethiopia. Have a great day, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  24. That is a beautiful copy of Dr. Zhivago. I have never read the book but I do love the movie. I have seen great reviews for Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. I hope you enjoy all your new reads!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love your new books. The Dr Zhivago one looks good.

    ReplyDelete
  26. That edition of Dr Zhivago looks beautiful. A nice addition to your collection!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I read a couple of chapters from How to Read the Air, and it's really beautiful! The Memory Palace is on my wishlist - I'm hoping to read it soon!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Crooked Letter is very,very good!! Memory Palace looks interesting. I look forward to your review of it.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You clean up real nice at the mailbox, especially envious of your Crooked Letter Crooked Letter. Dr Zhivago is a classic and the cover is an example of it's classic appeal.

    Enjoy the reads :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I read Pictures of You and thought that it was pretty good.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I've had Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on my wish list for a little while now. The Memory Palace sounds heart-breaking - I'd have to be in the right mood for that one, I think.

    Enjoy your books!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh I'm looking forward to seeing what you think of Pictures of You - I think it sounds like a really interesting story!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow - The Memory Palace and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter both sound really interesting... a little serious but very good. :) Here's my Mailbox! ~ Wendi

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great list of books there. Don't you just love gift card purchases?!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I look forward to reading what you think about The Memory Palace, if you choose to review it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  36. These all look fantastic. I also love the look of the new edition of Dr. Zhivago.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Great-looking mailbox this week! I recently finished The Memory Palace as well as Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - they were both very good reads. BUT ... don't start Crooked Letter unless you have plenty of time .. I could NOT put it down; I actually tried to go to sleep and woke up thinking about it and had to finish.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I'm going to be reading Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter on my Kindle for the Okra Pick Challenge. I heard so many good things about it! Happy reading, Diane!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Crooked Letter is one that I want to read this year for sure. Great mailbox!

    ReplyDelete
  40. What a great variety of books! I have heard so much about Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and look forward to your thoughts on it! Enjoy all of your goodies and have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Nice stack of books this week. They all sound interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I read a review for The Memory Palace in the NYT a few weeks ago. It sounds quite intriguing.

    ReplyDelete
  43. i recently read about 'pictures of you' and am interested in it! i look forward to your review and hope you enjoy it.

    nat @book, line, and sinker

    ps. would you be able to open your comments to accept NAME/URL? it makes it a tad easier for me to comment because i'm self hosted. :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Evenfall appeals to me as does Pictures of You. I would probably like all of these, really!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Nice when you get so many good books, isn't it. Now what to read first?

    ReplyDelete
  46. All of these are books I'd enjoy. Now I just need to take a month off from work to get caught up on some of my reading!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Evenfall sounds good! Looks like a story about family relations and secrets.

    Enjoy your new haul!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I love your two book purchases! The Dr. Zhivago cover is beautiful & a wonderful read and I very much want to read Pictures of You. Severl of your other books are on my tbr, too! I hope you enjoy Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and How to Read the Air!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I've heard FANTASTIC things about Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. I like to let books like that cool down a bit before I read them, though (just read The Help).

    Enjoy the books! I've also been drooling over that edition of Dr. Zhivago.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi Diane,

    Some great books this week, although they are all new to me, apart from the Caroline Leavitt, which was recommended to me by another blogger, so is already on my list.

    Enjoy reading them all.

    Yvonne

    ReplyDelete
  51. Great books! Enjoy them and Happy Fourth!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Great books! Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is on my wishlist! Enjoy all your new reads.

    ReplyDelete
  53. If I could, I would steal your mailbox :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. *gasp* I love that cover of Doctor Zhivago! *drool*

    ReplyDelete
  55. Crooked Letter has been on my wishlist for a long time. I hope you enjoy your goodies.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)