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 Unabridged Chick.
Here’s what I received:
With its battlefields paved over and its bunkers crumbled, the Third Reich of Nazi Germany nevertheless lives on in countless photographs that record an era of extraordinary brutality. This collection of more than 500 photographs taken by amateurs and by professional propagandists provides a panoramic overview of Nazi Germany, offering intimate glimpses into living rooms and killing grounds, kitchens and concentration camps, movie theaters and battle fronts. The explanatory text explores the context of the images. Together, these photographs, most never before seen, create a time capsule, capturing the faces of Hitler’s soldiers as well as those who suffered under the Nazi onslaught on humanity. (publisher’s summary)
In 1941 photographer Croswell Bowen joined American Field Service volunteer ambulance drivers and served alongside the British Eighth Army during World War II. As the war continued to escalate, he would have his mental, emotional, and physical well-being tested beyond anything he ever imagined.
Back From Tobruk is the remarkable account of one man’s journey across a world torn apart, with only his camera and his moral convictions to guide him. As Bowen watched the number of wounded and dying soldiers rise, he struggled to understand the very nature of war itself. A lifelong Catholic and devoted pacifist, he tried to reconcile his commitment to nonviolence with his growing belief that the end of this war would finally bring peace to the world. Spending time in hospital and field dressing stations as both a caregiver and a patient, he witnessed soldiers reaching out to their former battlefield enemies, showing grace and compassion in a world seemingly bereft of both. “When the great leaders sit down at the peace table,” he wrote of his fellow servicemen, “they might take a lesson from those men.”
Later a successful journalist and author, Bowen never forgot what he had witnessed during his time in Africa and the Middle East. Back From Tobruk documents the brutality of war and the resilience of the human spirit. (publisher’s summary)
Are you in the midst of one of those “exciting” phases of life, like the eerily quiet empty nest…or the new job with the distractingly attractive, off-limits boss…or a wacky new roommate who isn’t at all as advertised? What about all of those at once…
You may begin to think you’re living someone else’s reality. And maybe that’s not a bad thing…
International bestselling author Jill Mansell spins a poignant and funny story of mothers, daughters, friends, and lovers…and what happens when everything takes a turn for the unexpected. (publisher’s summary)
“Emma & Elton: Something Truly Horrid” by Alexa Adams (Amazon)
Few heroines evoke such diverse emotions as Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse, for whom readers profess everything from disdain to devotion. In “Emma & Elton,” Alexa Adams explores what might have befallen the supercilious Miss Woodhouse if she were made aware of Mr. Elton’s affection prior to his proposal. This short story was first published on Adams’ blog in tribute to Halloween, and though you’ll find no ghost or ghouls gracing its pages, tenderhearted Janeites be warned: here lies “something truly horrid.” (publisher’s summary)
A Pemberley Medley by Abigail Reynolds (Amazon)
Five Pathways to Pemberley
It’s the best of all worlds.
Five short Pride & Prejudice variations by bestselling writer Abigail Reynolds gathered in one volume. Can Mr. Darcy win Elizabeth Bennet’s heart…or will they misunderstand each other forever? Can he stand by and watch Elizabeth lose everything she holds precious…including him? (publisher’s summary)
Though the events are almost a century old, the imprisonment and execution of Tsar Nicholas and his family still hold an aura of mystery that fascinates. In haunting prose, Robert Alexander retells the story through the eyes of Leonka, once the kitchen boy to the Romanovs, who claims to be the last living witness to the family’s brutal execution. Mysteriously spared by the Bolsheviks, the boy vanished into the bloody tides of the Russian Revolution. Now, through Alexander’s conjuring, he reemerges to tell his story. What did the young boy see in those last days of the Imperial Family? Does he have answers to long-standing questions about secret letters smuggled to the Tsar, thirty-eight pounds of missing tsarist jewels, and why the bodies of two Romanov children are missing from the secret grave discovered in 1991? (publisher’s summary)
From the library sale for a total of $1.50:
Anne Michaels’ fiercely beautiful debut novel tells the interlocking stories of three men of different generations whose lives are transformed by the events and shifting effects of the same war.
At its center is poet Jakob Beer: traumatically orphaned as a young boy during the Second World War, rescued from the mud of a buried Polish city and secreted to a Greek island by Athos Roussos, scientist, scholar, and above all, humanist. In the seclusion and tenderness of Athos’ small house, they spend the last years of the Occupation in a precarious refuge insulated and made lavish with poetry and cartography, botany and art, geology and ancient history.
After the war, in Toronto, where Athos has accepted a teaching post at the University, Jakob is faced with the tangible, insistent nature of the recent past: his own surfacing in all its darkness and profundity, the question of his beloved sister’s fate its harrowing focus. Yet this is also the time when he meets the woman who will become his first wife, and begins his life-long work as a translator and poet (“The world could disappear…in the purity of white pages.”) And in this layered process of reentering life, Jakob learns the power of language — to destroy, to omit, and to obliterate; but also to witness and tell, conjure and restore.
And it is in Toronto as well that, late in his life, Jakob will cross paths with Ben: a young professor, expert in the dramas of weather and biography but naive in the drama of his own life. The quiet elation Ben senses in the older man, and Ben’s own connection to the wounding legacies of the war, kindle a fascination with Jakob and his writing, upsetting and then opening that part of himself long since shut down against his knowledge of the past. (publisher’s summary)
Jacqueline Winspear’s marvelous and inspired debut, Maisie Dobbs, won her fans from coast to coast and raised her intuitive and resourceful heroine to the ranks of literature’s favorite sleuths. Birds of a Feather finds Maisie on another dangerously intriguing adventure in London between the wars. It is the spring of 1930, and Maisie has been hired to find a runaway heiress. When three of the heiress’ old friends are found dead, Maisie must race to find out who would want to kill these seemingly respectable young women before it’s too late. As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers lie in the unforgettable agony of the Great War. (publisher’s summary)
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
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© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.