Friday, June 04, 2010

bookfinds @ Kittling: Books

Summer's finally finding the Sonoran Desert. Temperatures are predicted to be over 110°F. next week, so it's a good thing that I've planned a little blogging break. Almost as though I knew what was coming, eh?

It is my intention to stay away from the computer for most of next week; therefore, I am busy scheduling posts so everyone will think I'm still glued to the Internet.

This week has marked more progress with the family of Gila Woodpeckers who live in the area and love all things citrus. For the past couple of weeks, the adults have been flying themselves into a stupor to keep the youngsters fed. Then at the beginning of this week, I noticed that the adults weren't flying back to the nest with the orange bits. The youngsters were being enticed away from home. Last night the youngsters were feeding themselves bits of orange, and one of them is most definitely a pig. It's been fun to watch all the proceedings. But I've digressed from books, haven't I?

Since I have been preparing for this break, I haven't exactly been on the lookout for new-to-me books. That doesn't mean that I didn't stumble across any, so let me tell you about the ones I found! Click on the book covers if you want more detailed information about any of the books.

Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard.
"When quiltmaker Ozella McDaniels told Jacqueline Tobin of the Underground Railroad Quilt Code, it sparked Tobin to place the tale within the history of the Underground Railroad. Hidden in Plain View documents Tobin and Raymond Dobard's journey of discovery, linking Ozella's stories to other forms of hidden communication from history books, codes, and songs. Each quilt, which could be laid out to air without arousing suspicion, gave slaves directions for their escape. Ozella tells Tobin how quilt patterns like the wagon wheel, log cabin, and shoofly signaled slaves how and when to prepare for their journey. Stitching and knots created maps, showing slaves the way to safety. The authors construct history around Ozella's story, finding evidence in cultural artifacts like slave narratives, folk songs, spirituals, documented slave codes, and children's' stories. Tobin and Dobard write that "from the time of slavery until today, secrecy was one way the black community could protect itself. If the white man didn't know what was going on, he couldn't seek reprisals." Hidden in Plain View is a multi-layered and unique piece of scholarship, oral history, and cultural exploration that reveals slaves as deliberate agents in their own quest for freedom even as it shows that history can sometimes be found where you least expect it."

Keeping the House by Ellen Baker
"As a new bride in a new town, Dolly Magnuson is consumed with trying to be the perfect wife, as determined by articles in the reigning womens' magazines, and with trying to obtain the perfect house, the abandoned Mickelson mansion, a crumbling Victorian that has captured her fancy to the point of obsession. As Dolly plies her fellow quilters during Monday afternoon sewing bees about the fate of various Mickelson family members, she hatches a plan to restore the house to its original glory in hopes that her husband will buy it for them, a ploy to save her sanity as much as her marriage. But when one of the Mickelson scions returns and catches Dolly dusting the family heirlooms, Dolly discovers more about the family, and herself, than she ever dreamed possible."

All the Wrong Moves by Merline Lovelace
"Samantha, a smart-mouthed air force lieutenant, tests gadgets for the military at a Texas desert facility. On an early morning hike, Samantha finds two badly decomposed bodies, soon identified as a weapons dealer and a smuggler of illegal aliens. After an arsonist burns her test lab, Samantha ratchets up her involvement in the investigation, with handsome border patrol agent Jeff Mitch Mitchell keeping her heart racing as they search for the killer. Well paced, this chatty first-person narrative develops the character of the not-so-military-type heroine who doesn't deal well with authority figures but does the best she can because she knows her job's important."

Whiskey on the Rocks by Nina Wright
"Still reeling from her husband's death, thirty-three-year-old realtor Whiskey Mattimoe is adjusting to a new life, which includes the embarrassing purse-snatching antics of her mischievous Afghan hound. That's bad for business, but not as bad as having clients die on the premises. When one of her properties turns into a murder scene, Whiskey becomes hopelessly tangled in a devious scheme involving identity fraud and priceless art. Dodging a house fire, break-ins, and attempts on her life, Whiskey manages to keep her sense of humor throughout the chaos with help from a part-time police force, her eight-year-old neighbor, and other eccentric characters in the Lake Michigan resort town of Magnet Springs."

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to getting a copy of the last book so I can read about that purse-snatching Afghan hound.

Have you read any of these titles? Would you recommend any of them? If you haven't read any of them, did any of them tickle your fancy enough to add to your own wish lists? Which ones? Do tell!


  1. Cathy, I'm interested in HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW. I think I had heard about this book before. Today on my blog, I reviewed a book in the Elm Creek Quilting series by Jennifer Chiaverini. There is another book in the series, THE RUNAWAY QUILT, that deals with the very issue talked about in HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW. Fascinating subject.

  2. Hidden in Plain View looks so good!

  3. This is a story about blankets and shirts, not quilts, but it does deal with gaining freedom by unusual means. According to an often-quoted story, a black woman named Mrs. Dabney laundered clothes and bedding for the Confederates during the Civil War. Whenever she overheard information about rebel troop movements, she'd move her wash around on her clotheslines, thereby sending coded messages to the Union Army, which was camped across the river at Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her husband, a Union cook and groom, interpreted her messages.

  4. I've had Keeping the House on my wish list for a while.

  5. Kay-- I've read The Runaway Quilt. I've always been fascinated with the ties of quilts to the Underground Railroad.

    Carina-- I think that's the winner this week!

    Betty-- Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this!

    Kathy-- It does look good, doesn't it?

  6. Ouch -sounds hot. Drink lots of water!

    I collect Merline Lovelace and hadn't heard of All the Wrong Moves. Thanks for the heads up!
    Whiskey on the Rocks looks cute too.

    I hope you have a good blogging break.

  7. Martha-- I'm glad I could give you a heads up about the Lovelace books!


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