Friday, February 26, 2010

bookfinds @ Kittling: Books --From One Paperback Swap Digest

Usually I'm rotten at keeping track of where I've found book recommendations. This week it will be easy. All the books in this post were in one day's "Daily Wish List" email from Paperback Swap (PBS). If any of you are PBS members and haven't heard about the Daily Wish List and Daily Digest emails, let me know. They can be an excellent source of recommendations.

Hopefully some of the books that appeal to me so much will also appeal to you! (Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon for more information.)

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer. "Medieval history expert Mortimer transports readers to jolly, squalid old England for a thorough survey of everyday 14th century life. Going beyond the "nasty, brutish and short" of it, Mortimer's immersive visitor's-guide approach to popular history gives readers a seamless sense of being there."

Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression of the 1930's, Volume 1 by Janet Van Amber Paske and Rita Van Amber. "A collection of nostalgic, heartwarming stories contributed by survivors of the Great Depression, along with the comforting recipes that kept body and soul of their families together. Includes a bonus section of updated quick, easy, economical, nutritious recipes and tips for today. Rita Van Amber, a child of the Great Depression, is passionate about preserving the authentic personal history of that era as it happened in homes across the country. Her project was born from a desire to commemorate the women who so valiantly struggled to feed their families and make do in the midst of barren cupboards and discouraged husbands, as she saw her mother do firsthand. Her daughter and co-author, Home Economist Janet Van Amber Paske, learned economical and nutritious cooking at her mother's knee and shares her recipes and techniques in the bonus section."

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn. "In The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson Jerome Charyn imagines an Emily Dickinson of mischievousness, brilliance, desire, and wit (all which she possessed) and then boldly sets her amidst a throng of historical, fictional, and surprising characters just as hard to forget as she is."

Emily Dickinson was the first poet I read who felt as though she were speaking for me. I learned a lot from her: the power of observation, word choice... and that you don't always have to punctuate things the way other people expect you to!

Murder Passes the Buck by Deb Baker. "When her neighbor Chester Lampi is shot and killed in his hunting blind, sixty-six-year-old widow Gertie Johnson seizes the opportunity to become a detective. Gertie is abetted (and hindered) in her investigation by her grandson Little Donny, man-hungry best friend Cora Mae, and volunteer bodyguard Kitty. It doesn't help that Chester's death has been ruled an accident by the sheriff of this backwoods community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Or that Sheriff Blaze Johnson happens to be Gertie's son. Whether it's interrogating neighbors, spying, or impersonating the FBI-not to mention staying one step ahead of Blaze-Gertie will do whatever it takes to solve the case, even when the killer takes aim at her." Stephanie Plum fans will understand when I say the clincher for me was one reviewer calling Gertie "Grandma Mazur with a shotgun."

Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger. "Soon after a woman's bound body turns up in a remote, abandoned church on the island of Mykonos [Greece], a score of other bodies surface—all, like the first, female travelers whose disappearances over two decades have been overlooked or ignored. Police chief Andreas Kaldis, recently transferred from Athens, teams with older homicide cop Tassos Stamatos to investigate the crimes, but even the wily veteran struggles with the plethora of suspects and local pressure to hide a peril that threatens the tourism the island lives on."

Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation by Ellen Fitzpatrick. "Within seven weeks of the President's death, Jacqueline Kennedy received more than 800,000 condolence letters. Two years later, the volume of correspondence would exceed 1.5 million letters. For the next forty-six years, the letters would remain essentially untouched. Now historian Ellen Fitzpatrick has selected approximately 250 of these letters for inclusion in Letters to Jackie, a remarkable human record that perfectly preserves the heart-wrenching grief and soul searching of the nation in a time of crisis. Capturing the extraordinary eloquence of so-called ordinary Americans across generations, regions, race, political leanings, and religion—in messages written on elegant stationery, scraps of paper, in pencil, type, ink smudged by tears, and in barely legible handwriting—the letters capture what John F. Kennedy meant to the country, and how his death for some divided American history into Before and After. In Letters to Jackie, Fitzpatrick allows Americans to write their own history of these tumultuous times. "The coffin was very small," as one sixteen-year-old girl observed, "to contain so much of so many Americans." In reflecting on their sense of loss, their fears, and their striving, the authors of these letters wrote an American elegy as poignant and as compelling as their shattered and cherished dreams."

The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth, and the Epic Story of the Map that Gave America Its Name by Toby Lester. "In 2003, the Library of Congress paid $10 million for the only existing copy of the 1507 map that was the first to show the New World and call it America. Lester ranges over the history of cartography, such as the zonal maps of the Middle Ages that divided the world into three parts—Africa, Europe and Asia. In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann, working with a small group of scholars in a small town in eastern France produced their map, based on Amerigo Vespucci's voyages to the West and discovery of South America. In just a few decades the Waldseemüller map was out of date, but its world-changing status lived on, and in 1901 a Jesuit priest, poking around a small German castle, stumbled on a copy. Lester traces the map's journey to America over the next century in a majestic tribute to a historic work."

The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors and Conservationists by Peter Laufer. "Fluttering across the globe for at least 40 million years, Lepidoptera face increasing threats in modern times, largely from habitat loss and pesticides. Amateur and professional butterfly experts weigh in on everything from art to conservation, breeding and butterfly sex to development and wing colors, as well as the meaning of their fascination for humans. Lepidopterology contains a surprising stack of unsolved mysteries, including the process of metamorphosis: what goes on in the chrysalis, in which every cell of the caterpillar's body liquefies before reconstituting into a butterfly, might as well be magic. Laufer also finds controversy in commercial breeding and discovers "worldwide criminal operations" in butterfly poaching and smuggling (in which driving species to near extinction is a standard practice for pushing up specimen prices). In casual prose, Laufer delivers an absorbing science lesson for fans of the colorful bugs."

There you go-- all the books that fascinated me enough to put them on my wish list last week.

Did any of them pique your interest enough to add them to yours?


  1. I don't need a daily newsletter to help my wish list grow - all I have to do is open my Google Reader!

  2. The cookbook from the 30s reminds me of my grandmother's cookbooks that I inherited because I was the only one interested in family history and cooking. There are lots of recipes and cooking hints from WW II. Also many recipes for VERY sweet desserts - she and her friends always tried to outdo each other.

  3. Lenore-- The author lives there part-time. I just have this idea in my head that all those small Greek isles are incredibly beautiful!

    Kathy-- I must not be subscribing to the right blogs! LOL

    Barbara-- Another thing that warmed me to that book was the fact that it's spiral bound. I've found more gems in my mother's and grandmother's libraries that were spiral bound.

    Diane-- You're welcome!

  4. You got in some great sounding books! The book about Medieval england sounds expecially interesting. I also love the sound of Murder Passes the Buck!

  5. I'm with Kathy -- I seem to add to my wishlist just by going through my Google Reader!

  6. I add to my wish list almost daily, too, but I'm terrible at keeping track of where the recommendations come from (mostly from other bloggers, but who?!?)

    I've been most consistent with using the 'wish list' library designation on Library Thing, then adding a Private Comment noting where I first heard of the book.

    And, no, I haven't read any of the new books on your list, but I love the variety!

  7. Sharon-- I have to admit that those two pique my interest most!

    Beth-- I must have weird taste buds!

    Dawn-- I just started using the wish list designation at Library Thing. Let's see if I can keep doing so!


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