Monday, January 3, 2011

Mailbox Monday - January 3 - 2011


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. 

Three books arrived by mail this past week, and they all look and sound good to me:


  1. Stranger Here Below; Joyce Hinnefeld (sent by a PBS member) - In 1961, when Amazing Grace Jansen, a firecracker from Appalachia, meets Mary Elizabeth Cox, the daughter of a Black southern preacher, at Kentucky s Berea College, they already carry the scars and traces of their mothers troubles. Poor and single, Maze s mother has had to raise her daughter alone and fight to keep a roof over their heads. Mary Elizabeth s mother has carried a shattering grief throughout her life, a loss so great that it has disabled her and isolated her stern husband and her brilliant, talented daughter. The caution this has scored into Mary Elizabeth has made her defensive and too private and limited her ambitions, despite her gifts as a musician. But Maze s earthy fearlessness might be enough to carry them both forward toward lives lived bravely in an angry world that changes by the day. Both of them are drawn to the enigmatic Georginea Ward, an aging idealist who taught at Berea sixty years ago, fell in love with a black man, and suddenly found herself renamed as a sister in a tiny Shaker community. Sister Georgia believes in discipline and simplicity, yes. But, more important, her faith is rooted in fairness and the long reach of unconditional love. This is a novel about three generations of women and the love that makes families where none can be expected. 
  2. World and Town; Gish Jen (Amazon Vine) - 
    Hattie Kong—the spirited offspring of a descendant of Confucius and an American missionary to China—has, in her fiftieth year of living in the United States, lost both her husband and her best friend to cancer. It is an utterly devastating loss, of course, and also heartbreakingly absurd: a little, she thinks, “like having twins. She got to book the same church with the same pianist for both funerals and did think she should have gotten some sort of twofer from the crematorium.”

    But now, two years later, it is time for Hattie to start over. She moves to the town of Riverlake, where she is soon joined by an immigrant Cambodian family on the run from their inner-city troubles, as well as—quite unexpectedly—by a just-retired neuroscientist ex-lover named Carter Hatch. All of them are, like Hattie, looking for a new start in a town that might once have represented the rock-solid base of American life but that is itself challenged, in 2001, by cell-phone towers and chain stores, struggling family farms and fundamentalist Christians.

    What Hattie makes of this situation is at the center of a novel that asks deep and absorbing questions about religion, home, America, what neighbors are, what love is, and, in the largest sense, what “worlds” we make of the world.

    Moving, humorous, compassionate, and expansive, World and Town is as rich in character as it is brilliantly evocative of its time and place. This is a truly masterful novel—enthralling, essential, and satisfying. 
  3. Captivity;  Deborah Noyes (sent by PBS member) -
    This masterful historical novel by Deborah Noyes, the lauded author of Angel & Apostle, The Ghosts of Kerfol, and Encyclopedia of the End (starred PW) is two stories: The first centers upon the strange, true tale of the Fox Sisters, the enigmatic family of young women who, in upstate New York in 1848, proclaimed that they could converse with the dead. Doing so, they unwittingly (but artfully) gave birth to a religious movement that touched two continents: the American Spiritualists. Their followers included the famous and the rich, and their effect on American spirituality lasted a full generation. Still, there are echoes. The Fox Sisters is a story of ambition and playfulness, of illusion and fear, of indulgence, guilt and finally self-destruction. The second story in Captivity is about loss and grief. It is the evocative tale of the bright promise that the Fox Sisters offer up to the skeptical Clara Gill, a reclusive woman of a certain age who long ago isolated herself with her paintings, following the scandalous loss of her beautiful young lover in London. Lyrical and authentic and more than a bit shadowy Captivity is, finally, a tale about physical desire and the hope that even the thinnest faith can offer up to a darkening heart.

    Hope you received some great book to start off the New Year.

33 comments:

  1. I am not able to get into Captivity but I have to try once more.

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  2. Captivity sounds majorly spooky. Just the cover gives me the paranormal chills.

    You had a good week and look forward to reading your review on the sisters with the ghostly touch.

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  3. Love the captivity cover and the synopsis sounds interesting.Have fun reading !

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  4. Looking forward to your reviews, Diane. These are new to me.

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  5. I love Gish Jen -- Mona in the Promised Land was a favorite the year I read it.

    Hope you enjoy all your books :)

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  6. Stranger Here Below really captured my interest...what unique books! Hope you enjoy them.

    Here's my Monday:

    (click on my name)

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  7. These look so good! I did not receive any book this week too, like last week. A book famine, is it?


    You did great! I could manage to read only one.

    Wish you and your family a very Happy New Year. May 2011 filled with reading!

    Here is my Monday: Mailbox/What Are You Reading? post!

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  8. "World and Town" looks great. Enjoy your new books! Happy New Year and 2011 to you!

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  9. They do all look good! I hope you enjoy them!

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  10. I really like Gish Jen and hope that you enjoy that one. I am also interested in Captivity and am interested in reading that one myself, so I will be looking forward to your reviews!

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  11. Love the eerie cover on Captivity! looking forward to your thoughts on it. Enjoy!

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  12. I read We Hear The Dead last year and that was all about the Fox sisters. It was OK but dragged a bit in the middle. Interesting story though.

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  13. Haven't seen any of these before. Enjoy your reads!

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  14. I haven't heard of any of those before, but they look good.

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  15. These books are new to me--enjoy them, Diane!

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  16. read mine http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2011/01/mailbox-monday.html

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  17. Great books! I have Captivity on my review books stack left over from 2010. Those are the books I'm concentrating on first in 2011.

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  18. Captivity sounds great. :) I need to catch up on my Amazon Vine reviews so I can request some more...

    Here's my Mailbox! ~ Wendi

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  19. Great reads to start the new year. I have not heard of any of these books. I will wait for your reviews.
    Thanks for the birthday wishes for me and Jimmy:)

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  20. World and Town sounds intriguing. Hope you enjoy it and all your books.

    Happy New Year Diane!

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  21. Oooooo these all sound sooo good! I am adding them to my wish list.
    Hope you enjoy them.
    Natalie ;0)

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  22. One day I'd really like to try Gish Jen's books. Hadn't heard of any of these. Hope you'll enjoy them!

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  23. I am jealous of the Gish Jen one -- Enjoy, honey :)

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  24. I've not participated in this meme, but I've seen it around for so many years. Mondays always feel so crazy-busy.

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  25. I need to read Captivity soon; it's been lingering on my shelves too long. I've heard nice things about the new Gish Jen, so I hope you enjoy it!

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  26. All of them sound great but for some reason Captivity is pulling me in!

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  27. I really enjoyed Stranger Here Below and hope you do, too! I almost picked up Captivity but then didn't. I'll be curious to hear what you think. Happy reading!

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  28. These all sound great! I still have to read Captivity one of these days.

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  29. STRANGER HERE BELOW and CAPTIVITY are on my wish list (LOVE those Unbridled Books!); I bought WORLD AND TOWN at an author event a month or so ago (sigh ... haven't yet read it).

    Enjoy your new books, Diane!

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  30. Haven't heard of these but they look good! Happy reading, Diane!

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  31. Enjoy your new books.I read Joyce Hinnefield's first book and loved it. Her writing is top-notch. Enjoy!

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