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Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Finds: BEA/BBC Books I'm Excited About

I didn’t mention all the books I picked up at BEA in my recap posts - and I’m not going to do that here either - but I do want to spotlight a few that are particularly exciting or special to me.  Be sure to tune in next Friday when I highlight the BEA books that got Kiddo really excited!

Zora and Me, by Victoria Bond and TR Simon 

Zora and Me"Whether she’s telling the truth or stretching it, Zora Neale Hurston is a riveting storyteller. Her latest creation is a shape-shifting gator man who lurks in the marshes, waiting to steal human souls. But when boastful Sonny Wrapped loses a wrestling match with an elusive alligator named Ghost — and a man is found murdered by the railroad tracks soon after — young Zora’s tales of a mythical evil creature take on an ominous and far more complicated complexion, jeopardizing the peace and security of an entire town and forcing three children to come to terms with the dual-edged power of pretending. Zora’s best friend, Carrie, narrates this coming-of-age story set in the Eden-like town of Eatonville, Florida, where justice isn’t merely an exercise in retribution, but a testimony to the power of community, love, and pride. A fictionalization of the early years of a literary giant, this astonishing novel is the first project ever to be endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust that was not authored by Hurston herself."

I love Zora Neale Hurston so I was pretty excited to see this book.

Heart of Lies, by M.L. Malcolm 

Heart of Lies: A Novel"Leo Hoffman was born with a gift for languages. When his dreams for the future are destroyed by World War I, the dashing young Hungarian attempts to use his rare talent to rebuild his life, only to find himself inadvertently embroiled in an international counterfeiting scheme. Suddenly Leo is wanted across the European continent for a host of crimes, including murder. Left with no options, he must escape to Shanghai with his lover, carrying with him a stolen treasure that could be his salvation . . . or his death warrant. But the gangsters who control the decadent Asian city have no intention of letting him outrun his past. And when the Japanese invade, one wrong move could cost Leo Hoffman everything he holds dear. An epic tale of intrigue, passion, and adventure, Heart of Lies heralds the arrival of a remarkable writer."

I met Ms. Malcolm at BEA and she really got me excited about this book.

Forbidden Creatures: Inside the World of Animal Smuggling and Exotic Pets, by Peter Laufer

Forbidden Creatures: Inside the World of Animal Smuggling and Exotic Pets"On the heels of his acclaimed The Dangerous World of Butterflies, investigative journalist Peter Laufer is back to chronicle his worldwide quest to penetrate the underworld of international animal smuggling. In Forbidden Creatures, Laufer exposes the network of hunters, traders, breeders, and customers who constitute this nefarious business—which, estimated at $10 to $20 billion annually, competes with illegal drug and weapons trafficking in the money it earns criminals. Laufer asks: What is being smuggled, from where and why? What is being done to stop the illegal trading and irresponsible breeding? Taking readers to exotic and often lawless locales, Laufer introduces brazen and dangerous traders and wealthy customers whose greed and mindless self-interest perpetuate what is now a crisis of survival for a growing number of wild species. Woven throughout with riveting stories from law enforcement officials and federal prosecutors, Forbidden Creatures is a compelling, first-person narrative written in Laufer’s hallmark conversational, entertaining style."

I'm a non-fiction fan and this one looked fascinating.

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, by Joyce Magnin

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow"No longer able or willing to leave her home, where she is cared for by her long-suffering sister Griselda, Agnes has committed her life to the one thing she can do besides eat. Agnes Sparrow prays and when Agnes prays things happen, including major miracles of the cancer, ulcer-healing variety along with various minor miracles not the least of which is the recovery of lost objects and a prize-winning pumpkin.  The rural residents of Brights Pond are so enamored with Agnes they plan to have a sign erected on the interstate that reads, Welcome to Brights Pond, Home of Agnes Sparrow. This is something Agnes doesn t want and sends Griselda to fight city hall. Griselda s petitions are shot down and the sign plans press forward until a stranger comes to town looking for his miracle from Agnes. The truth of Agnes s odd motivation comes out when the town reels after the murder of a beloved community member. How could Agnes allow such evil in their midst? Didn t she know? Well, the prayers of Agnes Sparrow have more to do with Agnes than God. Agnes has been praying to atone for a sin committed when she was a child. After some tense days, the townsfolk, Griselda, and Agnes decide they all need to find their way back to the true source of the miracles God."

This was in the BBC swag bag. I'd never had picked it up on my own but it looks like it might be a lot of fun!

You'll Be Sor-ree!, by Sid Phillips

You'll Be Sor-ree!: A Guadalcanal Marine Remembers The Pacific War"Sid Phillips knew he was a long way from his home in Mobile, AL, when he plunged into the jungles of Guadalcanal in August 1942. A mortarman with H-Company (the same company as Helmet For My Pillow author Robert Leckie), 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division, Sid was only a 17-year-old kid when he entered combat. Some two years later, when he returned home, the island fighting on Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester had turned Sid into an "Old Timer" by Marine standards, and more; he came home a man. These are his memoirs, the humble and candid tales that Sid collected during a Pacific odyssey spanning half the globe, from the grueling boot camp at Parris Island to the coconut groves of Guadalcanal to the romantic respite of Australia. In this true story, Sid recalls his encounters with icons like Chesty Puller, Gen Vandergrift, Eleanor Roosevelt, and his boyhood friend, Eugene Sledge. He remembers a sense of helplessness as Japanese bombers and battleships rained steel on him, the brutality of the tropical elements, and the haunting notion of being expendable. This is the story of how Sid stood shoulder to shoulder with his Marine brothers to discover the inner strength and deep faith necessary to survive the dark, early days of World War II in the Pacific."

WWII is a huge part of my family background and I generally enjoy reading about it.

Crossing Antartica, by Will Steger and Jon Bowermaster 

Crossing Antarctica "The story of the first transverse of Antarctica by dogsled and ski, a 4000-mile, seven-month (July 1989-March 1990) journey by an expedition of six men from six different countries, is told in expanded journal form by co-leader Steger. His team survived whiteouts, crevasses, 100F windchill, erratic supplies, a pregnant sled dog, a monotonous diet, a hostile National Science Foundation, frostbite and runny noses, and were rewarded by magnificent scenery and a sense of personal and scientific accomplishment. This above-average polar account keeps the reader moving along with the hardy six."

I'm a huge fan of polar exploration books so this was a must-have for me.

Sudan, by Ninie Hammon and Art Ayris

"Sudan 2000. The largest nation in Africa has been turned into an immense killing field, with over two million lives destroyed in a brutal and ongoing civil war. Human rights journalist Ron Wolfson travels to the heart of Africa to investigate reports of modern-day slavery. When a raid by Bedayene guerrillas results in the capture of a young girl, her father, a simple village farmer, mounts an against-all-odds attempt to redeem his daughter. While Ron’s brother, a U.S. congressman, seeks to force international political pressure, Ron becomes an eyewitness to the horrors of slavery. His life will never be the same as he joins the father in his desperate search for the young girl—before it’s too late. Based on a true story."

I was actually picking up books for Kiddo at this booth and the rep suggested taking this one for myself. Again, not one I might have picked up on my own but it looks good.

Those are the books that I'm super excited about from BEA.  Did any catch your eye?

For more Friday Finds please visit Should Be Reading.


Aths said...

Heart of Lies is on my TBR too! It definitely sounds very interesting!

Serena said...

I would really like to read: You'll Be Sor-ree!, by Sid Phillips

I wish I hadn't missed his signing.

bermudaonion said...

Were we at the same event? LOL The only one of those books I got Zora and Me and I am excited about it.

Wendy said...

I find it so fascinating the WIDE variety of books picked up. I only recognize two: Crossing Antarctica and Sudan. Kip picked up the Antarctica book...and I'm thinking of snatching it away once he's done with it :)

Trisha said...

I'm very excited to read Sudan, especially as I hear it may be made into a movie by the same people who produced Hotel Rwanda.

Jen-Girls Gone Reading said...

That Forbidden Creatures book sounds great. I have heard a little bit about this subject in the last couple of years, and it sounds crazy. Looking forward to your review.

Heather J. said...

Aths - I've seen a few good reviews of it already, so now I'm super excited!

Serena - I'll be happy to lend it to you - just remind me. :)

bermudaonion - I know, right?! When others were posting their BEA book finds I was thinking the exact same thing.

Wendy - Kip was in front of me in the very short line for the Antarctica book. We chatted for a bit and I remember thinking that I was possibly the only blogger who was picking up this book. ;)

Trisha - I hadn't heard that, but that makes me want to read it even more. Hotel Rwanda was a powerful movie.

Jen-Girls Gone Reading - I expect it will be heartbreaking in parts, but I find the subject fascinating.

bookfanmary said...

Wow, so many great looking books!

Joyce Magnin said...

Hi, I'm Joyce Magnin, the author of Agnes Sparrow. I'm so glad you took a looka t my novel. If you choose to read it, let me now what you think. I love to talk to readers and book clubs. You can find me joycemagnin (dot)com

Vanessa said...

Hi Heather,
I came across your blog via Shouldbereadings Friday Finds and in the spirit of that meme wanted to leave you a comment.

What great books you've selected. I'm quite intrigued to read Agnes Sparrow.

OK, if you are interested, why not "cyber-hop" over to sunny Spain and read my Friday Finds. You might find something of interest.

Do stay connected.
Happy weekend!

Alyce said...

Forbidden Creatures looks really good, but then all of the nonfiction on this post are appealing to me.

Beth F said...

I had the same reaction as Kathy -- Huh? I don't think I saw even one of those at BEA! I'll be highlight some books in the coming weeks.

Dave said...

The Antarctica book looks promising for my 2010 goal of reading at least one book from every continent.

Heather J. said...

bookfanmary - Thanks!

Joyce - Thanks so much for coming by! I'll definitely email you when I review your book. :)

Vanessa - Thanks for coming by - I'm off to visit you now.

Alyce - Well, you ARE my book-twin so they SHOULD appeal to you ... ~LOL~

Beth F - I'm looking forward to seeing what YOU found!

Dave - Oh I could recommend quite a few non-fiction books set in Antarctica! Let me know if you need ideas. :)

Lisa said...

I've going to have to add Sudan to my wishlist!

Heather J. said...

Lisa - I'm always glad to increase the TBR lists of other bloggers! ;)

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Heart of Lies and Sudan are really wonderful looking! Two I would love to read!

Amanda said...

I'm really excited about Zora and Me too! The authors were both signing right when I saw that one!

Heather J. said...

Sheila - Thanks, I'm really looking forward to them!

Amanda - I missed the signing :( because I picked up the book the day before.

Marg said...

They all look interesting in different ways, but I really like the look of Heart of Lies and You'll be Sor-ree, mainly because I too am fascinated by WWII.

Heather J. said...

Marg - Heart of Lies is on a blog tour now so I'm sure you'll be seeing some review of it. :)

diaryofaneccentric said...

I just reviewed Heart of Lies yesterday. (I hope when I switched my blog to wordpress yesterday and updated the Feedburner feed that it was a seamless move for my readers. I'm so not tech savvy!)


Heather J. said...

Anna - I think I commented on your review, but if not I MEANT to. :)

GMR said...

You know...they all sound interesting, but that CROSSING ANTARTICA book sounded like quite an adventure. Happy reading!

Heather J. said...

GMR - I really excited to read that one - it's a topic I usually enjoy!

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