Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Book Sale Bag Lady

So today as I was hauling around Locust Grove, VA, I realized that for the first time in a couple of months, I'd be traveling past one of my favorite places: The Wilderness Library. I love, love, love the Wilderness Library because it is on the edge of a well-to-do gated community and a lot of people donate a lot of good books to them and I get lots of great deals on books I want to read!

So, I stopped in and decided to take a gander at what they had. I walked out $8.50 poorer, but look at the awesome books I got:

1. Away by Amy Bloom

This one has been on my PBS wishlist FOREVER. I walked into the library and got it for 50 cents!

Lillian Leyb is a desperate young woman, fresh off the boat, trying to make her way in New York during the mid-1920s. Like thousands of other Jews, she has fled the pogroms in Russia with no money, few skills and little English; she rents half a mattress in a crowded flat and competes for sewing jobs with other desperate young women.

2. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

I read this a long time ago, but I'm looking forward to reading it again.

In the Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States, far-right Schlafly/Falwell-type ideals have been carried to extremes in the monotheocratic government. The resulting society is a feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled, unable to have jobs or money and assigned to various classes: the chaste, childless Wives; the housekeeping Marthas; and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives.

3. The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks.

I've never read this book, but there was a time when absolutely everyone I knew had read it or was in the midst of reading it. It doesn't even really sound that special to me, but it's one of those "but everyone else is doing it!" type things. I wanna join the club!

Jane Rosenal, the narrator of The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing, is wise beyond her years. Not that that's saying much--since none of her elders, with the exception of her father, is particularly wise. At the age of 14, Jane watches her brother and his new girlfriend, searching for clues for how to fall in love, but by the end of the summer she's trying to figure out how not to fail in love. At twice that age, Jane quickly internalizes How to Meet and Marry Mr. Right, even though that retro manual is ruining her chances at happiness. In the intervening years, Melissa Bank's heroine struggles at love and work. The former often seems indistinguishable from the latter, and her experiences in book publishing inspire little in the way of affection. As Jane announces in "The Worst Thing a Suburban Girl Could Imagine": "I'd been a rising star at H----- until Mimi Howlett, the new executive editor, decided I was just the lights of an airplane."

4. The Quality of Life Report by Meghan Daum.

I read the first page of all the books today as I was skimming and this is probably the one I am most excited to read once I finish Julie and Julia.

...Lucinda Trout, a New York TV producer who, while on assignment, falls in love with the town of Prairie City. Daum, with typical acuity, is wise to her character's real motivations for moving to the country: she wants to be a better person, and believes the Midwest will do the trick: "This was, after all, serious country. The real heartland, the plains. It was Willa Cather-novel serious. It was Sissy Spacek-movie serious and documentary-film-about-poor-conditions-in-meat-packing-plants-serious." Lucinda soon discovers that she's not immune to the less-than-perfect aspects of Prairie City living, and acquires a boyfriend of questionable hygiene and judgement; a rambling, isolated farmhouse that looks like the set to a Sam Shepard movie but is impossible to heat; and a tanning-bed tan and a set of false nails that are the region's signature style.

5. Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky.

I wasn't going to get this one, but my eye kept on returning to it and after I picked it up and re-read the back cover for a third time, I decided there must be something about that was appealing to me and I should get it. I can't say if I'm going to love it or hate it, but I'm interested in reading it anyway.

When Dana and Hugh Clarke's baby is born into their wealthy, white New England seaside community, the baby's unmistakably African-American features puzzle her thoroughly Anglo-looking parents. Hugh's family pedigree extends back to the Mayflower, and his historian father has made a career of tracing the esteemed Clarke family genealogy, which does not include African-Americans. Dana's mother died when Dana was a child, and Dana never knew her father: she matter-of-factly figures that baby Lizzie's features must hark back to her little-known past. Hugh, a lawyer who has always passionately defended his minority clients, finds his liberal beliefs don't run very deep and demands a paternity test to rule out the possibility of infidelity. By the time the Clarkes have uncovered the tangled roots of their family trees, more than one skeleton has been unearthed, and the couple's relationship—not to mention their family loyalty—has been severely tested.

6. Island of Lost Girls by Jennifer McMahon.

Another hidden gem, the plot of this sounds good and the first page was good as well. I like a little mystery thrown in with my chick lit. I hope this is a good one!

Recent college grad Rhonda Farr witnesses a child abduction in front of a convenience store in Pike's Crossing, Vt. Ernestine Ernie Florucci willingly leaves her mother's car because her six-foot-tall abductor is wearing a rabbit suit. Rhonda remembers her best friend Lizzy's father entertaining her and Lizzy in a rabbit costume in 1993, and vanishing soon after. Three years later, Lizzy disappeared en route to high school. Guilt over her inability to stop Ernie's abduction spurs Rhonda to join the search for the girl.

7. Do What You Are by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger.

I am a big believer in the Meyers Briggs, and this past year has really put me at a crossroads. The General and I have been having serious discussions about what I should do with my life and I really feel like I just don't know. I'm hoping this will help me figure it out!

Already a classic in the genre, Do What You Are has helped hundreds of thousands of people find truly satisfying work. Do What You Are introduces Personality Type - how you process information, make decisions and interact with the world around you - and shows you which of the 16 types describes you best. It lists dozens of occupations that are popular with people of your type. Then, using workbook exercises and real-life examples to highlight the strengths and pitfalls of each personality type, it shows you step-by-step how to use your unique strengths to customise your job search, ensuring the best results in the shortest period of time. And if you plan to stay in your job, Do What You Are provides savvy advice for getting the most out of your current career.

8. Send Me Down a Miracle by Han Nolan.

Yes, I like to check out the young adult offerings too. There are some genuinely great books written for young adults, and this looks like even if it's not mind-blowing, it could be quite good.

There's a startling, almost itchy moment in every adolescent's life when she or he first realizes that adults are fallible. Yet, for 14-year-old Charity, the revelation is even more profound: not only is her dad (the town's preacher) merely wrong about the eccentric Adrienne Dabney, he's dang-blasted and over-the-top wrong. Although she's always been a perfect preacher's daughter, Charity is about to shock the whole town by standing up to her father, proving him wrong in front of God and everyone.

9. Unseen Companion by Denise Gosliner Orenstein.

Another YA book that looks to have potential.

In this kaleidoscopic first-person novel, set in 1968 and 1969, the point of view shifts from one Alaskan teenager to another. Each contributes something to the shadowy portrayal of the novel's central, tragic figure, Dove Alexie, a 16-year-old "mixed-breed" who was imprisoned for striking a white teacher, beaten by his racist jailer, and lost in the system until the story's end.

10. Waterfalls by Robin Jones Gunn

C'mon, ladies, I know you're with me on this one: we all need a little lighthearted, fluffy romance in our lives, right? Well, I read one romance novel every two or three years, and I guess it's about time. What better way than a hot book editor and a gorgeous Hollywood leading man!?

Meredith Graham's job as a children's book acquisitions editor takes her to Glenbrooke, Oregon, where she meets the only man who has ever made her heart leap: Jacob Wilde. Trouble is, his heart doesn't seem to be leaping in response to hers. But then, Jake's a movie star. Out of her league. Still, she can't get him out of her mind. So when circumstances continue to throw the two of them together, Meri decides to pull out all the stops to win her "dream man" -- but all of her schemes can't prepare her for what happens when they meet again.

11. Where the Broken Heart Still Beats by Carolyn Meyer

This is a non-fiction YA book that looks absolutely fascinating. I can't wait to read about Cynthia Ann Parker's story.

At the age of nine, Cynthia Ann Parker was captured in an Indian raid and taken to live as a slave with the Comanche. Twenty-four years later, she is the wife of a chief and the mother of a young warrior destined to become the great chief Quanah Parker. But in 1861 Cynthia Ann Parker and her infant daughter are recaptured, and returned against their will to a white settlement.

So that's what I got for $8 at the book sales today! I can't wait to start reading!

2 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Unknown said...

What a haul!
Can I borrow "Away" when you are done?
I'm reading "Skeletons at the Feast" by Chris Bohjalian(sp...the guy who wrote Midwives and The Transister Radio) - it's about Nazi Germany and it took about 100 pages to get into but I'm liking it up is Gurenesy Literacy Potato Peel Pie Society - also WWII....

I wish I know you wanted Family Tree, I have it but haven't read it - my mom gave it to me, I can't decide if I want to read it or not.

Unknown said...

oh btw .... The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing is ok...I read it awhile back...typical "chick lit" nothing truly noteworthy I thought, but a good light read.