Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mailbox Madness (Aug 2 - Aug 8)

Bison roam the Black Hills of South Dakota

In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren.  Mailbox Monday's host for August is Chick Loves Lit. Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week!

by Catherine Taggart
The thought of ancient civilizations is enough to make anyone groan. Between long hours of tedious mathematics and years of droning Latin classes, it's no wonder that the Greek and Roman societies are most often thought of as dull subjects from school. The Classics, however, flips this long-standing opinion on its head, revealing the clever humor and impressive technological and scientific advancements made by these societies. Between the ninth century B.C. and the seventh century A.D., these great civilizations thrived, leaving behind a legacy felt in every part of the world-from language to medicine, from art to architecture.

The Classics lets you understand the importance of...

  • The Greek alphabet, from alpha to omega
  • The history and characteristics that define Greek and Roman architecture and its influence on modern building
  • Greek and Latin words, which make up more than 30 percent of the words in the English language, and how you can build your vocabulary by learning the roots
  • The Greek and Roman gods, the mythology surrounding them, and the part these figures play in our culture
  • Almost 1,000 years of Greek and Roman history, from the birth of democracy to Caesar's empire
  • The philosophies taught by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle and what their ideas have contributed to the world we live in today
  • How the modern cultural staples such as the Olympics were formed by classical literature, written by authors such as Homer and Cicero-what happened, what does it mean, and why is it still being read and taught today
  • And much more!
This concise and witty text makes both a fascinating introduction to the world that became the foundation for Western Civilization and the perfect refresher course for the individual looking to brush up on years of schooling. The Classics puts the same information available in volumes of stuffy textbooks at your fingertips in one entertaining read, guaranteed to inform and delight.
by Jennifer Ackerman
Some colds are like mice, timid and annoying; others like dragons, accompanied by body aches and deep misery. In AH-CHOO!, Jennifer Ackerman explains what, exactly, a cold is, how it works, and whether it's really possible to "fight one off." Scientists call this the Golden Age of the Common Cold because Americans suffer up to a billion colds each year, resulting in 40 million days of missed work and school and 100 million doctor visits. They've also learned over the past decade much more about what cold viruses are, what they do to the human body, and how symptoms can be addressed. In this ode to the odious cold, Ackerman sifts through the chatter about treatments-what works, what doesn't, and what can't hurt. She dispels myths, such as susceptibility to colds reflects a weakened immune system. And she tracks current research, including work at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, a world-renowned center of cold research studies, where the search for a cure continues.
by Daphne Kalotay
When she decides to auction her remarkable jewelry collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi Ballet, believes she has drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the former ballerina finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events -- both glorious and heartbreaking -- that changed the course of her life half a century before.
It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of the theater; that she fell in love with the poet Viktor Elsin;that she and her dearest companions -- Gersh, a dangerously irreverent composer, and the exquisite Vera, Nina's closest friend -- became victims of Stalinist aggression; that a terrible discovery led to a deadly act of betrayal -- and to an ingenious escape that eventually brought her to the city of Boston.
Nina has hidden her dark secrets for half a lifetime. But two people will not let the past rest: Drew Brooks, an inquisitive young associate director at the Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a Russian professor who believes that a unique set of amber jewels may hold the key to his own ambiguous past. Together these unlikely partners find themselves unraveling a literary mysery whose answers will hold life-changing consequences for them all.
Artfully interweaving past and present, Moscow and Boston, the behind-the-scenes tumult of theater life and the transformative power of art, Daphne Kalotay's luminous debut novel, an ingeniously plotted page-turner, captures the joy, uncertainty, and terror of lives powerless to withstand the forces of history, while affirming that even in the presence of evil, the human spirit reaches for transcendence and grace.

by Steve Dublanica

Tipping is huge in America. Almost everyone leaves at least one tip every day, more than five millio American workers depend on them, and we spend $66 billion in tips each year. And everyone recognizes that quesy feeling -- in bars and restaurants, barbershops and beauty parlors, hotels and strip clubs and everywhere else -- when the check arrives or the tip jar looms. Omnipresent yet poorly understood, tipping has worked its way into almost every part of everyday life.

In Keep the Change, bestselling author Steve Dublanica dives into this unexplored world, in a comical yet serious attempt to turn himself into the Guru of the Gratuity. As intrepid and irreverent as Michael Moore or A.J. Jacobs, Dublanica travels the country to meet strippers and shoeshine men, bartenders, bellhops, bathroom attendants, and many others, all in an effort to overcome his own sweaty palms when faced with those perennial questions: should I tip and how much? Throughout he explores why tipping has spread; explains how differences in gender, age, ethnicity, and nationality affect our tipping attitudes; and reveals just what the cabdriver or deliveryman thinks of us after we've left a tip.

Written in the lively style that made Waiter Rant such a hit, Keep the Change is a fun and enlightening quest that will change the way we think -- and tip.

by Elin Hilderbrand
Read by Denise Hicks

Birdie Cousins has thrown herself into the details of her daughter Chess's lavish wedding, from the floating dance floor in her Connecticut backyard pond to the color of the cocktail napkins. Like any mother of a bride-to-be, she is weathering the storms of excitement and chaos, tears and joy. But Birdie, a woman who prides herself on preparing for every possibility, could never have predicted the late-night phone call from Chess abruptly announcing that she's canceled her engagement.

It's only the first hint of what will be a summer of upheavals and revelations. Before the dust has even begun to settle, far worse news arrives, sending Chess into a tailspin of despair. Reluctantly taking a break from the first new romance she's embarked on since the recent end of her thirty-year marriage, Birdie circles the wagons and enlists the help of her younger daughter, Tate, and her own sister, India. Soon all four are headed to beautiful, rustic Tuckernuck Island, off the coast of Nantucket, where their family has summered for generations. No phones, no television, no grocery store -- a place without distractions where they can escape their troubles.

But when sisters, daughters, ex-lovers, and long-kept secrets come together on a remote island, what might sound like a peaceful getaway becomes much more. Before summer has ended, dramatic truths are uncovered, old loves are rekindled, and new loves make themselves known.  It's a summertime story only Elin Hilderbrand can tell, filled with the heartache, laughter, and surprises that have made her compelling, bestselling novels as much a part of summer as a long afternoon on a sunny beach.

by Matt Burgess

Alfredo Batista has some worries. Okay, a lot of worries. His older brother, Jose—sorry, Tariq—is returning from a stretch in prison after an unsuccessful robbery, a burglary that Alfredo was supposed to be part of. So now everyone thinks Alfredo snitched on his brother, which may have something to do with the fact that Alfredo is now dating Tariq’s ex-girlfriend, Isabel, who is eight months pregnant. Tariq’s violent streak is probably #1 worry on Alfredo’s list.

Also, he needs to steal a pit bull. For the homecoming dogfight.

Burgess brings to life the rich and vivid milieu of his hometown native Queens in all its glorious variety. Here is the real New York, a place where Pakistanis, Puerto Ricans, Haitians, An ­glos, African Americans, and West Indians scrap and mingle and love. But the real star here is Burgess’s incredible ear for language—the voices of his characters leap off the page in riotous, spot-on dialogue. The outer boroughs have their own language, where a polite greeting is fraught with menace, and an insult can be the expression of the most tender love.

With a story as intricately plotted as a Shakespearean comedy—or revenge tragedy, for that matter—and an electrically col ­loquial prose style, Dogfight, a Love Story establishes Matt Burgess as an exuberant new voice in contemporary literature. The great Queens novel has arrived.


bermudaonion said...

I got a couple of the same titles. Ah-Choo sounds interesting - I had no idea that UVA has a world-renowned center of cold research studies. Enjoy your new books.

Mystica said...

You have a really nice mix out there! Enjoy your week.


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