Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia, formerly from The Printed Page, where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox Monday currently is on tour, and this month’s host is the Mailbox Monday blog.
Here’s what I added to my shelves over the last couple of weeks:
House Inspections by Carsten René Nielsen, translated by David Keplinger, which I bought at Novel Places after a translation event organized by Serena and had signed by the poet and the translator (Amazon/IndieBound)
“I am not surprised that Nielsen should have already gained a large readership in the United States. While the poems place focus on the interior, referencing his city, his neighborhood, his small apartment, he is attracting readers from farther and farther away. As his attention spirals toward the microscopically local (in one poem he falls into a large plate and can’t find his way out), he appeals to something universal and wide-reaching that lies just under the words, the sense that there is something here which we may barely see — we’d have to squint — but what it is, where it is hiding. The question comes up repeatedly in the title poem of this collection, calling us on a mission to inspect, interrogate these moments, these houses of insight, as policemen would, so that ‘even at night, while the running lights of an airplane inch across the sky, the questions can be heard as a hardly audible mumbling in the darkness between houses: ‘What … is … here?’” — David Keplinger from the Introduction (from the back of the book)
To escape a recent heartbreak in New York, Grania Ryan returns to her family home on the rugged, wind-swept coast of Ireland. Here, on the cliff edge in the middle of a storm, she meets a young girl, Aurora Lisle, who will profoundly change her life.
Despite the warnings Grania receives from her mother to be wary of the Lisle family, Aurora and Grania forge a close friendship. Through a trove of old family letters dating from 1914, Grania begins to learn just how strangely and deeply their families’ histories are entwined. Events that took place in that vanished world about to be torn apart by World War I created a legacy of heartache and regret that has left its imprint on each new generation. Ultimately, it will be Aurora whose exceptional intuition and indomitable spirit may be able to break the spell of the past and unlock its chains.
Sweeping from Edwardian England to present day New York, from the majestic Irish coast to the crumbling splendor of a legendary London townhouse, The Girl on the Cliff introduces two remarkable women whose quest to understand their past points them toward a future where love can triumph over loss. (publisher’s summary)
In this luminous sequel, return to the enchanting world of the national bestseller The School of Essential Ingredients.
Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has take a turn she didn’t expect…
Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind — and links that break — The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship. (publisher’s summary)
London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for code breaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined — and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history. (publisher’s summary)
As World War II sweeps the Continent and England steels itself against a German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5. Spirited, strong-willed, and possessing one of the sharpest minds in government for mathematics and code-breaking, she fully expects to be sent abroad to gather intelligence for the British front. Instead, she is dispatched to go undercover at Windsor Castle — to tutor the young Princess Elizabeth in math. Yet the upstairs-downstairs world at Windsor quickly proves more dangerous — and deadly — than Maggie ever expected. (publisher’s summary)
Christmas With Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly, from the author for review (Amazon)
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a little bit of Jane Austen…
Christmas is being celebrated in style at Purley Hall in Hampshire because renowned actress, Dame Pamela Harcourt, is holding a special Jane Austen Conference. Everybody’s there: Katherine and Warwick, Robyn and Dan, Kay, Adam and Gemma, and Sarah and Mia. Oh, and Mrs Soames.
But, when a rare first edition of Pride and Prejudice goes missing, the guests have to forget the fun and games and turn detective…
Christmas with Mr Darcy is the light-hearted novella sequel to the bestselling Austen Addicts’ Trilogy: A Weekend with Mr Darcy, Dreaming of Mr Darcy and Mr Darcy Forever. (from Victoria Connelly‘s website)
A former hard-driving attorney, Steven Wolf, has reluctantly left his job and family and moved to Arizona for its warm winter climate. There, he is drawn to a local group that rescues abused racing greyhounds. Though he can just barely take care of himself because of a spinal condition, Wolf (as everyone calls Steve) adopts Comet, an elegant cinnamon-striped racer. Or is it Comet who adopts Wolf? Perhaps each has an instinct for self-preservation, because their meeting will alter the course of both their lives.
Racers, cruelly treated and exposed only to the track and cage, have no experience with the most basic everyday skills, such as walking on tile floors and climbing stairs, and so Wolf must show Comet how to lead a normal dog’s life. Gradually, a confident and mysterious spirit emerges from the stunning animal. And when Wolf’s health and mood sharply decline, the tables turn. Now he can no longer perform basic everyday skills, such as climbing stairs and grocery shopping, and Comet must help. In Comet’s Tale, we follow their journey as Wolf teaches Comet to be a service dog.
Soon she is towing shopping carts down food store aisles, opening doors for Wolf, and even pulling off Wolf’s blankets, insisting he get out of bed, stop moaning, and take a walk! How can he stay depressed when Comet is busy dragging him to stand and gawk at every security guard (she has a thing for men in uniform) or hauling his wheelchair at top speed through a smiling, scattering crowd in the airport terminal? Comet attracts new friends to Wolf’s isolated world, and, finally, she plays a crucial role in restoring his health, saving his marriage, and broadening his definition of success.
As inspiring as it is entertaining, Comet’s Tale leaves us all with a deeper understanding of the extraordinary kinship between man and dog. (publisher’s summary)
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
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© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.