Ehhem ... anyway ... back to this week's list ...
- Beside a Burning Sea, by John Shors - This book "place in 1942 near the Solomon Islands. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor less than one year ago, and the United States is embroiled in war. On a U.S. hospital ship are 9 men and women who will survive the bombing of the ship and swim to a nearby island to wait for their rescue. One of the survivors is the person who sabotaged the ship, and the other people don’t find out until it’s almost too late." Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? says: "Bottom line: this will be one of my favorite books of the year."
- An Edible History of Humanity, by Tom Standage - From the Book Jacket: "Throughout history, food has acted as a catalyst of social change, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict, and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is a pithy, entertaining account of how a series of changes-caused, enabled or influenced by food-has helped to shape and transform societies around the world." I learned about this one from BookBrowse.com's newsletter.
- Magnifico, by Miles J. Unger - This is "a vividly colorful portrait of Lorenzo de' Medici, the uncrowned ruler of Florence during its golden age. A true "Renaissance man," Lorenzo dazzled contemporaries with his prodigious talents and magnetic personality. Known to history as Il Magnifico (the Magnificent), Lorenzo was not only the foremost patron of his day but also a renowned poet, equally adept at composing philosophical verses and obscene rhymes to be sung at Carnival. He befriended the greatest artists and writers of the time -- Leonardo, Botticelli, Poliziano, and, especially, Michelangelo, whom he discovered as a young boy and invited to live at his palace -- turning Florence into the cultural capital of Europe. He was the leading statesman of the age, the fulcrum of Italy, but also a cunning and ruthless political operative." I learned about this one from Simon & Schuster's May Update email. You can read an excerpt from the book here to see if you might like it - I did!
- Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin - "Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America -- to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland" -- she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future." I learned about this one from Simon & Schuster's Academic English newsletter. My mom grew up in Brooklyn, daughter of an Irish mother and Italian father ... this story couldn't be more appropriate for me!