Monday, April 06, 2009

Mailbox Monday-- The Mail Carriers Finally Delivered

Whenever I logged into Paperback Swap to mail a book out, I'd look at the books that were on route to me and wonder when they were going to get here. I was beginning to think that either (1) all the mail carriers had spring fever, or (2) they were reading my books before passing them along to me. They either acclimated to spring, or they got their reading done because all but one of the books on my PBS list showed up last week in my mailbox. I sent 7 books to new homes and took in 13 foster books (11 from Paperback Swap, 1 from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program, and 1 from the Poisoned Pen.) Here's the scoop:

--Sovereign by C.J. Sansom (PBS). "
Sansom's engrossing third historical featuring Matthew Shardlake (after 2005's Dark Fire) finds the hunchbacked barrister at the vortex of strife-torn Tudor England in the rainy autumn of 1541. Northern Britain anxiously awaits the arrival of the Great Progress taking Henry VIII and an entourage of thousands toward York to quell a fresh rebellion." This is an excellent historical mystery series.

--In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany (PP).
"After the murder of developer Reginald Montgomery, rookie constable Molly "Moonlight" Smith is partnered with Sergeant John Winters because of her knowledge of the people and local politics in her hometown of Trafalgar, British Columbia. Although Molly is delighted with her assignment, former Vancouver cop Winters is less enthusiastic." Delany also has the first in an historical mystery series due out in May that's set in the Gold Rush era.

--The Secret River by Kate Grenville (PBS).
"Kate Grenville recalls her family’s history in an astounding novel about the pioneers of New South Wales. Already a best seller in Australia, The Secret River is the story of Grenville’s ancestors, who wrested a new life from the alien terrain of Australia and its native people."

--Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (PBS).
"Dexter, your friendly neighborhood serial killer, is a police department blood-spatter expert who, in his spare time, kills people. Not just anyone, you understand--he only kills other killers, people whom he believes deserve it. Is this because Dexter really has a heart of gold? No, he's a monster (he is the first to admit it), but at least he tries to steer his evil into productive channels. In the second of Lindsay's alliteratively titled thrillers, Dexter's nemesis, Sergeant Doakes, is getting a little too close for comfort, and there is also the matter of a psychopath on the loose."

--Blindness by Jose Saramago (PBS).
"In an unnamed city in an unnamed country, a man sitting in his car waiting for a traffic light to change is suddenly struck blind. But instead of being plunged into darkness, this man sees everything white, as if he "were caught in a mist or had fallen into a milky sea." A Good Samaritan offers to drive him home (and later steals his car); his wife takes him by taxi to a nearby eye clinic where they are ushered past other patients into the doctor's office. Within a day the man's wife, the taxi driver, the doctor and his patients, and the car thief have all succumbed to blindness. As the epidemic spreads, the government panics and begins quarantining victims in an abandoned mental asylum--guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone who tries to escape."

--Midnight Cactus by Bella Pollen (PBS). "
Alice Coleman, looking to escape her unhappy marriage to a brash British businessman, uproots her kids and flees to Temerosa, Arizona, the site of one of her husband's failed business schemes. She decides to reactivate his project to turn the bleak mining town into a resort with the help of kindly Mexican caretaker Benjamin, who recommends hiring reticent cowboy Duval as the contractor. The arid Southwest is so different from her urban existence in London that Alice and her children must adjust not only to the deceptively dangerous desert climate but also to the cowboy culture and the border politics."

--Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (PBS).
"Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle's mother has disappeared. While tracing her steps on a car trip from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents, Salamanca tells a story to pass the time about a friend named Phoebe Winterbottom whose mother vanished and who received secret messages after her disappearance. One of them read, "Don't judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins." Despite her father's warning that she is "fishing in the air," Salamanca hopes to bring her home. By drawing strength from her Native American ancestry, she is able to face the truth about her mother. Walk Two Moons won the 1995 Newbery Medal.

--The Stettheimer Dollhouse edited by Sheila W. Clark (LT-ER).
"Infusing her sensibility into every detail--from the Limoges vases in the chintz bedroom to the crystal-trimmed candelabra in the salon--Carrie Walter Stettheimer (1869-1944) wove together the fashion and style of New York's high society in the early twentieth century to create one of the finest dollhouses in the world. Stettheimer worked on the twelve-room dollhouse for nearly two decades, creating many of the furnishings and decorations by hand. Styles of decoration vary from room to room, yet the wallpapers, furniture, and fixtures are all characteristic of the period following World War I. The result is a magnificent work of art, now in the permanent collection of the Museum of the City of New York.

--Sightings, Extraordinary Encounters with Ordinary Birds by Sam Keen (PBS). "
Sam Keen, the New York Times best-selling author of Fire in the Belly, has spent a lifetime reflecting on nature. In Sightings, a collection of essays, bird watching forms the basis for observations spiritual and soulful, witty and wise. He describes his childhood ramblings in the silence of the Tennessee wilderness as feeling distinctly more spiritual than the hard pews of his grandmother's church. Later in life, the presumed extinction and subsequent rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker prompts a meditation on the nature of the sacred. Blessed with moments of beauty and the insight to recognize them as such, Keen translates the marvels of nature into the language of heart and soul."

--Written in Bone by Simon Beckett (PBS). "
In the exceptional second thriller from British author Beckett to feature forensic anthropologist David Hunter, the former GP investigates a suspicious death on Runa, a small island in the Hebrides. With the mainland official force preoccupied with a horrific train wreck that might have been the work of terrorists, Hunter must try to determine whether the victim was murdered.

--What Looks Like Crazy by Charlotte Hughes (PBS).
"Psychologist Kate Holly's own life has become the stuff of intensive therapy. She's divorcing her gorgeous firefighter husband, she has an eccentric secretary, her mother and aunt have erected a vaguely sexual sculpture in her front yard, and her psychiatrist ex-boyfriend won't stop calling to find out what color panties she's wearing."

--Missing Witness by Gordon Campbell (PBS). "Sixty-four-year-old lawyer Campbell sent the manuscript of this novel, unsolicited, to Morrow, the publisher bought it within a week. That will come as no surprise to readers of this suspenseful legal thriller, which has drawn comparisons to the early work of Scott Turow. Campbell brings to it a deep love of the law and a great feel for his Phoenix setting. That's where recent law-school grad Douglas McKenzie takes his first job, passing up an offer from a blue-chip firm for a chance to work with legendary defense attorney Dan Morgan. The hard-drinking, chain-smoking ex-marine asks Doug to help him with a huge murder case when he learns Doug has a family connection to the defendants. A rich cattleman's son has been shot, and the murderer is either his glamorous wife or his emotionally disturbed 12-year-old daughter."

--The Invention of Clouds: How an Amateur Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies by Richard Hamblyn (PBS). "
The amateur meteorologist was Luke Howard, a London chemist who gave the three basic cloud families names that survive today: cirrus, cumulus and stratus. Howard had, Hamblyn writes, "the penetrating... insight that clouds have many individual shapes but few basic forms." The author, who supervises undergraduates in English and the history of science at the University of Cambridge, weaves several strands-Howard's work, the lively London science scene 200 years ago and the development of meteorology-into a grand story."

That was my haul last week. To see what others got in their mailboxes, click on that hungry-looking gator box at the top of this post. Thanks for hosting this fun meme, Marcia!


  1. Great haul :D
    I love Dexter, but I am yet to read the books about him so those are certainly on my list

    My mailbox was certainly not that full but fun still :D


  2. Wow, what a haul. I loved The Secret River and Blindness is on my must read list. It'll be interesting to see what you think of those books. Happy reading.

  3. That is a lot of books you got. Lucky you! I have C. J. Sansom's 'Dark Fire', I think it was the first one in the series and I only remember not finishing it. I'll have to try an dread it one more time to see if I like it better now and why I didn't then.

  4. Wow, what a stack. You must have had the Poisoned Pen mail that book to you - I know you couldn't have walked in there and come out with only one book.

  5. Amazing haul! I really enjoyed The Secret River and I have Midnight Cactus here to read someday.

  6. That's a tower! I haven't heard of any of those books. Happy Reading!

    here's my mailbox:

  7. How fun that you got all the books at once! I've been wanting to read Blindness.

  8. Linda--Dexter is one of the few times when I can say that I enjoy the TV series as much as the books.

    Sandra--It's good to hear that you loved The Secret River. I couldn't resist snagging a copy of Blindness.

    Lilly--I wouldn't feel too badly if I tried reading a book and didn't like it. I'd just move on to the next one. But then I'm a hard-hearted soul sometimes!

    Kathy--You know me so well. I'd asked the Poisoned Pen to locate a copy of the book for me, and when it arrived I asked them to mail it to me!

    Kristen--Another vote for The Secret River! Midnight Cactus certainly sounds intriguing!

    Thanks, Serena!

    Alyce--The second I read a synopsis of Blindness, I knew I had to get a copy!

  9. You had a wonderfully happy mailbox last week! My sister-in-law loves the Dexter books - she started reading them after watching the tv show, which she also loves. :)

    ~ Wendi

  10. Whew! What time it must have taken to write up everything!

    And I have to say, I read the first Dexter and then got hooked on the Showtime series and then abandoned the books because the show was much much much much better and they seemed to diverge quite a bit and I didn't want to know what might happen on the series. It is my favorite show, really. And I feel bad about choosing a show over a book but it happens sometimes!

  11. I really enjoyed the Simon Beckett. I was reading the Dexter series and I think about 3 in, I just got bored with them....

  12. What a great week for you! A lot of these sound interesting. Enjoy your latest stack!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  13. Thanks for stopping by, Wendy!

    Jenners--I have to admit that I cheated and snapped the synopses from Amazon. I had too much to do to get ready for all my house guests!

    Luanne--I haven't watched many of the TV episodes nor have I been quick to read the books because I have the idea that, if I did, Dexter would quickly wear thin with me, if that makes sense!

    Thanks, Anna!

  14. Thank you for stopping by the mailbox this week. What a great book week for you. I sometimes feel the same way about my mailman. Nothing for weeks and then boom!


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