Friday, March 12, 2010

bookfinds @ Kittling: Books -- A Little of Everything

This week I have a little of everything lined up for you. I have to admit that I don't check my Daily Wish List email from Paperback Swap each and every single day. My wish list is almost out of control as it is! Normally, I check once a week, and never the same day of the week. It's a rare day when I don't find about a dozen books from that one solitary email.

This week I found way more than a dozen, and it was difficult to weed through them for this post. One thing I think you will agree with me on is that several genres are represented!

Here are the books that I added to my wish list this week. Just click on the book cover if you'd like to see more information about the book.

Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. "In 1976, graduate student Ulrich asserted in an obscure scholarly article that well-behaved women seldom make history. But Ulrich, now at Harvard, made history, winning the Pulitzer and the Bancroft Prizes for A Midwife's Tale—and her slogan did, too: it began popping up on T-shirts, greeting cards and buttons. Why the appeal, Ulrich wondered? And what makes a woman qualify as well-behaved or rebellious? Several chapters of this accessible and beautifully written study are brilliant."

The Frightened Man by Kenneth Cameron. "American novelist Denton is an uncomfortable outsider in class-ridden turn-of-the-century England. But he is about to be plunged into the dark heart of a society where privilege and propriety hide unspeakable horrors. When a stranger turns up at his door declaring he has just seen Jack the Ripper, Denton dismisses his lurid ravings as the delusions of a madman. But then a prostitute's horribly mutilated body is discovered that night - and Denton suspects the two events are connected. While the police investigation grinds towards a seemingly pre-ordained conclusion, Denton becomes obsessed with finding out who the victim really was and who killed her - a search that leads him by degrees into the darkest, most violent underbelly of London..."

City of Dragons by Kelli Stanley. "Set in San Francisco in 1940, Stanley's stunning first in a new series introduces a gutsy, independent heroine who isn't always likable. As the city celebrates the Chinese New Year with the Rice Bowl Party, a three-day carnival to raise money for China's war relief, PI Miranda Corbie sees Eddie Takahashi, a young Japanese numbers runner, shot dead in front of her on a crowded, fireworks-filled Chinatown street. When the police tell her to forget about Takahashi, the outraged Miranda decides to seek justice on her own. In her quest for Takahashi's killer, she encounters racism and sexism at nearly every turn. A former escort who's reinvented herself as a detective, the 33-year-old Miranda isn't taken seriously by the cops, who enjoy rehashing her past. Stanley aptly describes San Francisco as a city redolent and glistening with sin and lamplight, forever a girl you didn't take home to Mother."

Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors. "Shors's debut novel tells the story of the eldest daughter of the 17th-century emperor who built the Taj Mahal. From her self-imposed exile, Jahanara recalls growing up in the Red Fort; the devotion her parents, Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, had for each other; and the events that took place during the construction of the fabulous monument to their love. Although Jahan is the emperor and has many wives, Mumtaz is his soul mate, a constant companion and wise political consultant. She even travels with him into battle, where she eventually dies giving birth to their 14th child. Fortunately, she has the foresight to begin preparing her favorite daughter, Jahanara, by instructing the girl in the arts of influence and political strategy. Thus the young woman is able to pick up where her savvy mother left off."

The World of Carl Larsson by Hans-Curt Köster. "This book, packed with Carl Larsson's works, follows his life from his youth through his final years. Narrative honestly and objectively details the life of the man known as 'artist to the whole Swedish nation.' A treat! " [I have a couple of prints of his work, and I love it.]

Sink Trap by Christy Evans. "Georgiana Neverall, a software engineer turned plumber, finds big trouble clogging a warehouse drain. Georgie knows something bad has happened to Martha Tepper when she fishes the supposedly retired librarian's beloved brooch out of a pipe, but her boyfriend, City Council member Wade Montgomery, and the police dismiss her concerns. It's left to Georgie, her friend Sue and her boss's wife, Paula, to track down Martha's body with a little help from Georgie's Airedales, Daisy and Buddha. Suspects include Georgie's mother's boyfriend and Martha's accountant—who happens to be Wade. Evans garnishes the relatively straightforward mystery with plumbing tips and moments of wry humor from Georgie's interaction with her take-charge mother, her too-chatty friends and her adorable dogs."

Perfection Salad: Women and Cooking at the Turn of the Century by Laura Shapiro. "A journalist who has written extensively on aspects of feminism, Shapiro presents a well-researched history of women as nutritional revolutionaries during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This serious study is lively entertainment, spiced by the author's wit and wry perceptions. Through her, we discover clues to the motives of women who turned American kitchens into laboratories, run according to the dicta of the Boston Cooking School and similar establishments that proliferated across the country. The most memorable of the culinary movers was Fannie Farmer, whose cookbook was published in a modest 3000-copy edition in 1896. Stories about Farmer and other domestic scientists of the period add strong appeal to Shapiro's report. So do the parallels between early feminists and today's advocates of equal rights. It is somber to realize, as the author emphasizes, that fear of significant power for women "even over themselves" kept their aims restricted. By 1900, they had settled for the status of experts in home economics instead of independence."

A Place in the Woods by Helen Hoover. "Anyone who has ever experienced the damp cool of forest shadows, heard the rustle of leaves as a wild occupant gathers food, or stood in awe while listening to the forest breath high in the tree tops upon a gentle breeze, will immediately be transported back to that magical place through the words of Helen Hoover and the wonderful illustrations of her artist husband Ade. Fleeing the city of Chicago to risk making a life in the far northern woods of Minnesota, seeking virgin timber and solitude, Helen writes of their struggles with near poverty and the anxiety of isolation. Through it all they find peace of mind and spirit, and advocate for the preservation of wild natural places to the greatest degree possible."

The Quilters: Women and Domestic Art, An Oral History by Patricia J. Cooper and Norma Bradley Allen. "First published in 1977, The Quilters chronicles the lives and quilts of pioneer women of Texas and New Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century. Compelling black and white portraits of the women accompany their moving oral histories, while thirty-six color photographs showcase the quilts. This award-winning book was the basis of the Broadway play 'Quilters', nominated for seven Tony Awards."

Yellowthread Street by William Marshall. "The Hong Bay district of Hong Kong is seediness writ large, a spectacularly chaotic warren of cut-rate brothels and betting shops and other less wholesome enterprises. Keeping the peace – sort of – are the cops of the Yellowthread Street Station, under the jaundiced eye of Detective Chief Inspector Harry Feiffer. They’re an intrepid (if foul-mouthed) bunch, but even their formidable skills are taxed by the Bay’s latest series of little mishaps, which begins with a fellow near the fish market chopping up his wife with an axe. Meanwhile, notorious madam Hot Time Alice Ping and her leg-breaker, Osaka the Disemboweler, are plotting revenge on the Mongolian, a giggling, freelance extortionist whose glee at hacking off fingers and other non-essential bits is terrifying the neighborhood shopkeepers. It all adds up to a breathless night, culminating in a frenzied three-way battle against Hong Kong’s neon backdrop. And then there’s the tourist from New Jersey who seems to have misplaced his wife . . ."

Whew! It's a good thing that I don't check that email everyday, isn't it? Are any of these books already on your wish list? Did I include any that were new to you and you just couldn't resist adding them to your bulging list?

Do tell!


  1. I LOVE the title Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History!

  2. The Frightened Man sounds good.

  3. I've added three of these to my list. If you keep this up, I'll be swamped!

  4. I must read Laura Shapiro's Perfection Salad. I've read her books on women's history before and this sounds wonderful.

  5. Funny how reading your wish list always adds to my wish list. You have a couple I'm really interested in but the Laura Shapiro book is going at the top of the list. It's a subject I'm very interested in.

  6. I´ll have to repeat what bermudaonion said about Well-behaved Women! LOL. I was one ontil I was 18, but fortunately I have grown up and learned to speak up for myself and others now and then.

    Carl Larsson´s paintings are so warm and positive! They were in vogue in Scandinavia in the 70s so I remember them quite well.

  7. I am just curious as to where you find all these interesting titles to put on a wishlist? Most weeks I have never heard of the books that you have requested.

    When I try to visit Paperback Swap or Bookmooch, I get overwhelmed and end up leaving the site without making any requests.

  8. Kathy-- It sounds like an excellent book, too!

    Ryan-- That one really intrigues me, too.

    Joe-- I don't think I'm going to find this many books every week, so perhaps there's hope!

    Barbara-- The information I found about it really makes me want to read it, too.

    Margot JR-- I thought about you and Beth Fish Reads when I found it. :)

    Dorte-- I was hoping that someone else would be familiar with Larsson. I've been toying with the idea of spotlighting some of my favorite books on art.

    Molly-- Two of my favorite sources are the Poisoned Pen monthly Booknews, and the daily digest emails you can request from PBS. If there's anything I can do to help you feel less overwhelmed at PBS, please let me know!

  9. Beth-- I thought of you immediately when I found it!

  10. I think the Shors book would be interesting.


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