Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mailbox Monday--- Keeping Me On My Toes


Mailbox Monday is on tour! That's right-- my favorite weekly meme is out and about. For the entire month of September you'll be able to find Mailbox Monday on Bermudaonion's Weblog. If taking a look at the books other people discovered in their mailboxes intrigues you, and if you'd like to participate, this just might be the meme for you. Thanks for hosting, Kathy!

Autumn is still on hold here, with the strong possibility of more records being broken this weekend. Summer has decided to hang around, but then it's known to love the Sonoran Desert.

Other Paperback Swap (PBS) members certainly kept me on my toes this past week. While I received 4 books, I sent 15 books to new PBS foster homes. I hope they all enjoy the books as much as I did.

Here's the rundown on the four books I found in my mailbox:
  1. King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa by Adam Hochschild (PBS). "King Leopold of Belgium, writes historian Adam Hochschild in this grim history, did not much care for his native land or his subjects, all of which he dismissed as 'small country, small people.' Even so, he searched the globe to find a colony for Belgium, frantic that the scramble of other European powers for overseas dominions in Africa and Asia would leave nothing for himself or his people. When he eventually found a suitable location in what would become the Belgian Congo, later known as Zaire and now simply as Congo, Leopold set about establishing a rule of terror that would culminate in the deaths of 4 to 8 million indigenous people, 'a death toll,' Hochschild writes, 'of Holocaust dimensions.' Those who survived went to work mining ore or harvesting rubber, yielding a fortune for the Belgian king, who salted away billions of dollars in hidden bank accounts throughout the world. Hochschild's fine book of historical inquiry, which draws heavily on eyewitness accounts of the colonialists' savagery, brings this little-studied episode in European and African history into new light."
  2. The Blind Man of Seville by Robert Wilson (PBS). "Inspector Jefe Javier Falcón is called out during Spain's Semana Santa festivities to probe the death of a prosperous Seville restaurateur, Raúl Jiménez. The deceased was found strapped to a chair with his eyelids removed, facing a television on which had been showing a video of him entertaining prostitutes. Jiménez's heart had failed as he struggled to escape. Falcón embarks on an investigation that will lead to the slayings of a hooker and an art dealer, and force the homicide cop into a game of wits against a killer obsessed with the contradictions between illusion and reality. Meanwhile, Falcón is himself obsessed with the long-secreted journals kept by his late father, a famous painter, whose brutal acts during the Spanish Civil War and subsequent hedonism in North Africa shaped Javier's life... and will make him the killer's next target."
  3. A Timely Vision by Joyce and Jim Lavene (PBS). "Dae O’Donnell is the appealing heroine in this new mystery series by the Lavenes. She runs a collectible shop known as Missing Pieces, is the mayor of the small town of Duck, North Carolina, and specializes in finding lost things. She manages the latter because, on top of being a savvy and compassionate businesswoman, Dae also happens to be psychic. By simply touching the owner of lost things, she is able to find whatever is missing. One of the oldest residents of Duck, Miss Mildred, asks Dae to find her missing watch, but when a body turns up, Dae becomes involved in finding a murderer instead—and in proving that Miss Mildred couldn’t have been responsible for the crime."
  4. The Adventures of Allegra Fullerton: Or, A Memoir of Startling and Amusing Episodes from Itinerant Life-- A Novel by Robert J. Begiebing (PBS). "A historian taking inventory of a Massachusetts archive stumbles across a kunstlerroman (artist novel) written by feisty Allegra Fullerton, who details her adventures as a traveling portrait painter in 19th-century New England. Begiebing presents Allegra's memoirs in formal, lustrous period language, and his meticulously evoked settings, dialogue and characters provide a seamlessly authentic entry into the era. Widowed in 1836 at the age of 20, Allegra returns to the New Hampshire farm where she was raised, but rather than endure the drudgeries of farm life, she decides to use her gift for creating 'true likenesses.' Accompanied by her brother Tom, who serves as her 'assistant-promoter-protector,' Allegra takes to the road to earn their livelihoods by 'limning' the features of both the living and the dead (through then-fashionable memorial portraits). Though clients are initially skeptical of the idea of a woman painter, Allegra's work speaks for itself, and soon they are flush from her commissions."

 Although King Leopold's Ghost fascinates me, I wouldn't be at all surprised if I picked up A Timely Vision first. I've been reading two extremely slow-moving chunksters in a row, and I desperately need something light and fun to cleanse the old palate!

How about you? Have you read any of these books? Would you recommend them? If they're new to you, do any of them look good enough to add to your own wish lists? Do tell!


Now comes the fun part: checking all the books other participants received last week. I always find something to add to my own wish list!

13 comments:

  1. All your books are new to me, they do sound interesting. Enjoy!

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  2. Cathy - These all look interesting :-). I look forward to reading what you think of them.

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  3. I always try to follow chunksters with light, fun reads. Enjoy your new books!

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  4. I would probably choose to read A Timely Vision too, but they all look good. Enjoy!

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  5. King Leopold's Ghost is one my all-time non-fiction favorites! Great read. :)

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  6. I love seeing what people are reading too (as if I did not have enough of my own...LOL)

    Super looking books!

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  7. The Adventures of Allegra Fullerton looks fabulous! Hope you like it. My mailbox is at The Crowded Leaf.

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  8. You do a great job of purging your books. And you find the most interesting books.

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  9. King Leopold's Ghost looks really interesting! Here's my loot: Coffee and a Book Chick

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  10. Great mailbox. I need to be so much better at getting rid of books.

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  11. Wow, you did great last week!!! The Blind Man of Seville looks like a good one.

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  12. Someone's been busy at PBS! :)

    Creative Madness Mama: My Mailbox

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  13. Jennifer-- Thanks!

    Margot-- You know I'm not shy about sharing my opinion! LOL

    Mary-- Light and fun is wonderful after those two books, let me tell you! LOL

    Myckyee-- Thanks!

    Michele-- Ooooh! Thanks for the thumbs up on that one. I picked it up and started reading it. Had to make myself stop.

    Sheila-- Thanks!

    Alayne-- I hope I do, too!

    Beth-- I try! LOL

    Coffee-- Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Holly-- I have to be so I can make room for the new recruits! ;)

    Kathy-- One person at PBS found my bookshelf and thought it was Christmas. She seemed to infect several other people, too. I had to make a special P.O. run!

    Cherry-- Yes, I have! Thanks for stopping by.

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Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!