Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mailbox Monday - May 16th

Mailbox Monday, which was started by Marcia at The Printed Page, is on blog tour—and the host for May is:  Mari @ Mari Reads.

Here are my new arrivals for the past week. I decided to add the "product description" of each from Amazon's website, in case anyone is interested in knowing what they are about.
 
  • A Storm at the Door; Stefan Merrill Block  (Random House - June 21, 2011) -

    Product Description

    The past is not past for Katharine Merrill. Even after two decades of volatile marriage, Katharine still believes she can have the life that she felt promised to her by those first exhilarating days with her husband, Frederick. For two months, just before Frederick left to fight in World War II, Katharine received his total attentiveness, his limitless charms, his astonishing range of intellect and wit. Over the years, however, as Frederick’s behavior and moods have darkened, Katharine has covered for him, trying to rein in his great manic passions and bridge his deep wells of sadness: an unending project of keeping up appearances and hoping for the best. But the project is failing. Increasingly, Frederick’s erratic behavior, amplified by alcohol, distresses Katharine and their four daughters and gives his friends and family cause to worry for his sanity. When, in the summer of 1962, a cocktail party ends with her husband in handcuffs, Katharine makes a fateful decision: She commits Frederick to Mayflower Home, America’s most revered mental asylum.

    There, on the grounds of the opulent hospital populated by great poets, intellectuals, and madmen, Frederick tries to transform his incarceration into a creative exercise, to take each meaningless passing moment and find the art within it. But as he lies on his room’s single mattress, Frederick wonders how he ever managed to be all that he once was: a father, a husband, a business executive. Under the faltering guidance of a self-obsessed psychiatrist, Frederick and his fellow patients must try to navigate their way through a gray zone of depression, addiction, and insanity.

    Meanwhile, as she struggles to raise four young daughters, Katharine tries to find her way back to Frederick through her own ambiguities, delusions, and the damages done by her rose-colored belief in a life she no longer lives.

    Inspired by elements of the lives of the author’s grandparents, this haunting love story shifts through time and reaches across generations. Along the way, Stefan Merrill Block stunningly illuminates an age-old truth: even if one’s daily life appears ordinary, one can still wage a silent, secret, extraordinary war.
  • This Burns My Heart; Samuel Park (Simon and Schuster July 12, 2011) -

    Product Description

    Chamara is difficult to translate from Korean to English: To stand it, to bear it, to grit your teeth and not cry out? To hold on, to wait until the worst is over? Such is the burden Samuel Park’s audacious, beautiful, and strong heroine, Soo-Ja Choi, faces in This Burns My Heart, an epic love story set in the intriguing landscape of postwar South Korea. On the eve of marriage to her weak, timid fiancé, Soo-Ja falls in love with a young medical student. But out of duty to her family and her culture she turns him away, choosing instead a world that leaves her trapped by suffocating customs. In a country torn between past and present, Soo-Ja struggles to find happiness in a loveless marriage and to carve out a successful future for her only daughter. Forced by tradition to move in with her in-laws, she must navigate the dangers of a cruel household and pay the price of choosing the wrong husband. Meanwhile, the man she truly loves remains a lurking shadow in her life, reminding her constantly of the love she could have had.
    Will Soo-Ja find a way to reunite with her one true love or be forced to live out her days wondering “what if ” and begin to fully understand the meaning of chamara?
    He is not just telling her to stand the pain, but giving her comfort, the power to do so. Chamara is an incantation, and if she listens to its sound, she believes that she can do it, that she will push through this sadness. And if she is strong about it, she’ll be rewarded in the end. It is a way of saying, I know, I feel it, too. This burns my heart, too.
 
(Recent Purchases)
  • The True History of Paradise; Margaret Cezair Thompson (2009) -

    Product Description

    It is 1981. Jean Landing secretly plans to flee her beloved Jamaica–the only home her family has ever known, a place now rife with political turmoil. But before she can make her final preparations, she receives devastating news: Lana, her sister, is dead. The country’s state of emergency leaves no time to arrange a proper funeral. Even Jean’s mother, Monica, who hadn’t spoken to Lana in more than a decade, cannot fully embrace her grief.

    The tragedy only underscores Jean’s need to leave an island that holds no promise of a future. Her harrowing journey to freedom across a battered landscape takes Jean through a terrain of memories: of her childhood, with a detached mother at odds with an adoring father, of her complex bond with Lana, and of the friends and lovers who have shaped and shared her days. Epic in scope, The True History of Paradise poignantly portrays the complexities of family and racial identity in a troubled Eden.
  • Bruised Hibiscus; Elizabeth Nunez (2003) -

    Product Description

    The year is 1954. A white woman’s body, stuffed in a coconut bag, has washed ashore in Otatiti, Trinidad, and the British colony is rife with rumors. In two homes, one in a distant shantytown, the other on the outskirts of a former sugar cane estate, two women hear the news and their blood runs cold. Rosa, the white daughter of a landowner, and Zuela, the adopted “daughter” of a Chinese shop owner used to play together as girls—and witnessed something terrible behind a hibiscus bush many years ago.
  • The White Woman on the Green Bicycle; Monique Roffey (2011) -

    Product Description

    A beautifully written, unforgettable novel of a troubled marriage, set against the lush landscape and political turmoil of Trinidad

    Monique Roffey's Orange Prize-shortlisted novel is a gripping portrait of postcolonialism that stands among great works by Caribbean writers like Jamaica Kincaid and Andrea Levy.

    When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England, George is immediately seduced by the beguiling island, while Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill-at-ease. As they adapt to new circumstances, their marriage endures for better or worse, despite growing political unrest and racial tensions that affect their daily lives. But when George finds a cache of letters that Sabine has hidden from him, the discovery sets off a devastating series of consequences as other secrets begin to emerge.
  • Beware of Pity; Stefan Zweig (2006) -

    Product Description

    "Stefan Zweig was a dark and unorthodox artist; it's good to have him back."--Salman Rushdie

    The great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.

    Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of the barracks. The surroundings are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated young Hofmiller asks his host's lovely daughter for a dance, only to discover that sickness has left her painfully crippled. It is a minor blunder that will destroy his life, as pity and guilt gradually implicate him in a well-meaning but tragically wrongheaded plot to restore the unhappy invalid to health.
  • The Pumpkin Eater; Penelope Mortimer (2011) -

    Product Description

    The Pumpkin Eater is a surreal black comedy about the wages of adulthood and the pitfalls of parenthood. A nameless woman speaks, at first from the precarious perch of a therapist’s couch, and her smart, wry, confiding, immensely sympathetic voice immediately captures and holds our attention. She is the mother of a vast, swelling brood of children, also nameless, and the wife of a successful screenwriter, Jake Armitage. The Armitages live in the city, but they are building a great glass tower in the country in which to settle down and live happily ever after. But could that dream be nothing more than a sentimental delusion? At the edges of vision the spectral children come and go, while our heroine, alert to the countless gradations of depression and the innumerable forms of betrayal, tries to make sense of it all: doctors, husbands, movie stars, bodies, grocery lists, nursery rhymes, messes, aging parents, memories, dreams, and breakdowns. How to pull it all together? Perhaps you start by falling apart.
Hope that you had a great week in books too!

33 comments:

  1. Two novels set in Trinidad! Sound like wonderful reads.

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  2. I also got a copy of This Burns My Heart, and even though I know little about it, it sounds really good and the title intrigues. Lots of great things in that mailbox this week!

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  3. I'm excited about This Burns My Heart! It sounds fabulous! Enjoy your books!

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  4. Oh, Diane, I think STORM AT THE DOOR sounds good, if a little grim. :-)

    Enjoy your books!

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  5. That is quite the interesting variety! Happy reading!!!

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  6. I don't own any of these (yet!). BRUISED HIBUSCUS and WHITE WOMAN ON GREEN BICYCLE catch my eye ... enjoy your new books :)

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  7. I got This Burns My Heart too. I can't wait to see what you think of White Woman on a Green Bicycle.

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  8. I have not read any of these books, but my co-worker recently enjoyed This Burns My Heart.

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  9. I got Storm at the Door as well - hope you enjoy it!

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  10. Great books you got. I will be keeping my eye out for your reviews :) Enjoy

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  11. Enjoy your books and thanks for sharing!

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  12. What a fabulous week! I love that you included the product description :) I always link mine to goodreads for the same reason - make it that much easier to locate the book info if someone is interested in it!

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  13. I got past the first picture and descriptions and was thinking "wow you have a couple great books this week" and then of course you had MORE. They all sound fantastic, I hope they are!

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  14. These titles are all new to me so will be watching for your thoughts on them. They all sound very interesting.

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  15. I have The Storm at the Door, too, so I'm especially looking forward to your review of that one. Enjoy all your new books!

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  16. A Storm at the Door sounds very captivating...and The Pumpkin Eater sounds familiar. (Penelope Mortimer does, too). Must check this out.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  17. A Storm at the Door & Pumpkin Eater sound wonderful! I'll look forward to your reviews!

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  18. Bruised Hibiscus sounds particularly intriguing to me. Enjoy all your new reads!

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  19. Storm At The Door sounds interesting, I hope you enjoy all of them.

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  20. Sucha wonderful group of books! I'm especially interested in The Pumpkin Eater, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle and Bruised Hibiscus. Beware of Pity is also intriguing.
    Enjoy, Diane!

    BTW: Earlier,I visited your blog but an old Mailbox Monday post popped uo so that's why I wrote a comment to an older post of yours! Weird!)

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  21. Marvelous range of books -- I just got The White Woman on the Green Bicycle and I'm looking forward to reading it!

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  22. I will have to check out This Burns My Heart. I lived in Seoul Korea for a year and absolutely fell in love with the country and culture.

    Happy reading!

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  23. Wow! You certainly had a great week of books, and some very interesting reading ahead!

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  24. This Burns My Heart sounds incredible. I have to see if I can read more on this one. I'll wait to see how it affected you in the end.

    Amazing books :)

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  25. You got some great ones to look forward to!

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  26. Good books this week...which one are you looking forward to reading the most?

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  27. The Bruised Hibiscus sounds good. Happy reading!

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  28. Another nice week for you. I see some interesting titles there.

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  29. Wow! I'm so jealous right now. Have a great week!

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  30. Totally putting the Stefan Zweig book on my list. I've only read one of his books, The Post-Office Girl, and that was enough to hook me in to want to read more. Such a great book.

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  31. I'm so excited to see that you've got Samuel Park's new book. I've placed this book in my Kindle wish list.

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  32. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle is on my TBR - I can't wait to read it. This Burns my Heart sounds like an interesting read.
    Happy Reading!

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