Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Finds 08/07/09


Happy Friday everyone! This has been a very long week for me, compounded by a serious lack of sleep, and I am SO ready for the weekend. Tomorrow afternoon is my book club's annual pool party. I'm looking forward to discussing that Guernsey book but I'm more excited about simply lounging in the sun ... I've hardly been outside all summer long, and I'm feeling deprived. And pale.

Anywho ... here are the books that I've added to my TBR list over the last week or so. There are 9 books this time, and they are quite varied I think.

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The Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell - recommended by my IRL friend Paul - This book attempts to answer the question "why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the 'self-made man,' [Gladwell] makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: 'they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.' Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, 'some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky.'"


Drawing in the Dust, by Zoe Klien - from Simon & Schuster newsletter - "Brilliant archaeologist Page Brookstone is convinced bones speak, yet none of the ancient remnants she has unearthed during her twelve years of toiling at Israel's storied battlegrounds of Megiddo has delivered the life-altering message she so craves. Which is why the story of Ibrahim and Aisha Barakat, a young Arab couple who implore Page to excavate the grounds beneath their house in Anatot, instantly intrigues her."




Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater - from Lenore's review - "Ever since a yellow-eyed wolf saved her from an attack by other wolves, Grace has felt drawn to “her wolf” and looks out for him. Sam is that wolf – allowed to be the human he was born as for a few months each summer – but who must change back when the cold weather comes. A twist of fate brings them together finally, and Sam must fight to retain his humanity and to be able to stay with Grace." This YA book is not something I'd have ever chosen on my own but I loved Lenore's review so I'm definitely going to read this one.



The Wilderness Warrior, by Glenn C. Atlshuler - reviewed at Read Street - This book "celebrates [Teddy] Roosevelt, a Harvard trained zoologist, as a 'pro-forest, pro-buffalo, cougar-infatuated, socialistic land conservationist.' Between 1901 and 1909, 'that damn cowboy' set aside 234 million acres of Wild America for posterity, creating hundreds of federal bird reservations, national game preserves, forests, parks, and monuments. More than his trust-busting or his Nobel Peace Prize, Brinkley demonstrates, these actions should secure Roosevelt’s reputation as one of the greatest presidents in American history.'"




Kinky Gazpacho, by Lori Tharps - "Lori Tharps was born and raised in the comfortable but mostly White suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she was often the only person of color in her school and neighborhood. At an early age, Lori decided that her destiny would be discovered in Spain. She didn't know anyone from Spain, had never visited the country, and hardly spoke the language. Still, she never faltered in her plans to escape to the Iberian Peninsula. Arriving in the country as an optimistic college student, however, Lori soon discovers Spain's particular attitude toward Blackness. She is chased down the street by the local schoolchildren and pointed at incessantly in public, and her innocent dreams of a place where race doesn't matter are shattered. The story would end there, except Lori meets and marries a Spaniard, and that's when her true Spanish adventure really begins." Fizzy Thoughts said this book wasn't what she was expecting but I think I'd really enjoy it.


Exodus, by Leon Uris - "The story unfolds with the protagonist, Ari Ben Canaan, hatching a plot to transport Jewish refugees from a British detention camp in Cyprus to Palestine. The operation is carried out under the auspices of the Mossad Le'aliyah Bet. The book then goes on to trace the histories of the various main characters and the ties of their personal lives to the birth of the new Jewish state." In her comment on my SARUM post Myrthe mentioned this book and it sounded really good.




Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel - Rebecca says, "I loved reading this book. It was part novel. It was part romance. It was part magic. It was part cook book (although I’d never attempt to create the meals, given the long-winded, unclear instructions that start with plucking feathers and so forth). Certainly, Like Water for Chocolate had it faults in that it is short and all people in it were caricatures. And yet, I didn’t care. It was a fun book."



Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - This is "is the story of fifteen-year-old Kambili. She and her family live in fear of her father, a brutal and controlling man. Kambili’s father fights corruption and censorship, pays the school fees of numberless children, and helps those of his community who are in need. Yet in return he demands that they all share his strict Catholic faith, and rejects those who don’t, including his own father. And at home, he terrorizes his wife and children. After a military coup which is followed by social unrest, Kambili and her brother Jaja go to stay with their aunt. There, they discover a whole new way of living, and Kambili finally learns what her own laughter sounds like." Things Mean A Lot had wonderful things to say about this book. What she said made me thing that this MIGHT be similar to Barbara Kingsolver's THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, a book I truly love.



Our Longest Days, by Sandra Koa Wing (editor) - This book is "different from other WWII books ... in that it is comprised of diary entries from real people living in England during the war. Mass Observation was established by Tom Harrisson in Dec. 1936 to get a feel for the thoughts and opinions of the British people, which he believed were not accurately portrayed in the London newspapers. Mass Observation participants wrote diary entries, completed questionnaires, and provided artifacts over a period of several years." This book is a collection of their writings. Diary of an Eccentric says this book "does a great job of illustrating the frustrations and fears associated with bombing raids and possible invasion by the Germans, the every day struggles associated with rationing, and the impact of the war on holiday gift-giving, dating, and work."

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Did any of these books make it to your TBR list? What other books really caught your eye this week? Let me know in the comments, or leave a link to your post and I'll come visit. As always, thanks to Should Be Reading for hosting Friday Finds. Happy weekend to all!

18 comments:

Kelly said...

Exodus is wonderful! I'm glad to see this older book on your find list! Great finds!

Mary said...

Great finds! Kinky Gazpacho looks interesting.

Jess said...

Shiver is definitely on my TBR list. Great finds!

Heather J. said...

Kelly - I love finding old books that I've missed out on. Feel free to recommend others you think I might like!

Mary & Jess - Thanks for stopping by. :)

Serena said...

Drawing in the Dust, by Zoe Klien looks like a good one!

Mel said...

Heather, just stumbled on your blog & wanted to say your blog description above sums up why I'm here too, lol.

I loved the Outliers book, Malcom alwyas thows some interesting tidbits into the mix. As a mom (& a born analyzer), I really enoyed the read.

bermudaonion said...

I read Exodus years ago and remember being moved by it. I don't remember a lot about the book, though - I think it's one I should probably re-read. Great finds!

Crystal said...

They all look really great, but I especially like Drawing in the Dust.

Heather J. said...

Serena & Crystal - I'm glad you agree with me.

Mel - Thanks for coming by. :)

bermuda - Ooh, another supporter for that one - great!

jlshall said...

I read Exodus years ago, back when it first came out (though I'm not really that old), and loved it. It's a great book and had quite an impact at the time. Glad you've found it and hope you enjoy!

Heather J. said...

jlshall - Thanks for the encouragement to read it!

Ti said...

Enjoy your book club meeting. We had ours last night. We discussed Bridge of Sighs. It was a good discussion.

I just saw Shiver somewhere and it caught my eye.

I remember liking Like Water for Chocolate. The movie was odd but the book was delightful.

The sun keeps getting hidden by these weird clouds right now. It's like 95 degrees but the weather is getting gloomy. I just had to mention it sinced I am trying to type and then wham..it got so dark!

Erika Robuck said...

Like Water for Chocolate is a great fairy tale for grown ups. My grandmother gave it to me to read when she was alive, and it makes me think of her when I see it.

*sigh*

softdrink said...

Since Powell's wouldn't buy back Kinky Gazpacho, I still have my copy. I'd be happy to send it to you...let me know if you're interested.

Violet said...

Great finds. I love the cover for Drawing in the dust.

I've read Water for Chocolate, it sure is a different book. I have Purple Hibiscus in my TBR

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

KINKY GAZPACHO caught my eye, too, after reading softdrink's review. I even checked the local Borders to see which section it was in (bio/memoir, which is where Jill said it belonged, not travel).

I listened to OUTLIERS on audio. I liked it more than BLINK, but THE TIPPING POINT remains my fave Gladwell book.

Rebecca Reid said...

I'm glad you are intrigued by Like Water for Chocolate. I enjoyed it!

Anna said...

Thanks for linking to my review! Purple Hibiscus caught my eye.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

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