September 9, 2012 32 Comments
I know that I have enough books to last me a while, but still I got some more books recently. I was at a book fair last weekend where I only bought one (Dutch) book although I managed to pick up some more for free. I had set myself a budget but I especially liked the books that weren’t published yet (and that weren’t for sale). It was the sort of bookfair where they show off new books for the coming season (while also selling older books).
Not many publishers do ARCs, though, and I just happened to pick up two from a publisher after I mentioned I was a book blogger (showing my lovely new pink business card). And another publisher gave me a finished copy when I introduced myself (I knew them, and they me, from Twitter and I had recently reviewed a book for them).
Don’t worry, I have used a good amount of the budget on a different bookfair. About which more next week. And then a few more books came in via the post woman, for review. Be aware, I’ll only show you the books that are available in English. For brevity’s sake.
Books for review
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Louise Erdrich seems to be quite popular and I had never tried her. So, this review book from Harper is my chance! Except when I added it in Shelfari, my book administration site, I discovered I had read a book by her before, but that was 2008, long ago. It was The Master Butchers Singing Club and I enjoyed that to the amount of 4 stars. So I should be fine with this new novel!
From the publisher’s website: “On a summer Sunday in 1988, an Ojibwe woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is brutally attacked. Traumatized, Geraldine Coutts, a tribal enrollment specialist, refuses to share the details of what happened with the police or her husband Bazil, the tribal judge, and their thirteen-year old son Joe.
In one day, Joe’s home life is upended. His strong, steadfast mother stays in bed, slipping deeper into an abyss of depression while his father, struggling with his own anger and grief, tries to maintain a semblance of normality. Feeling increasingly alone, Joe is thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.
With Joe’s help, Bazil pores through previous legal decisions searching for clues to the attacker’s identity and motives, as well as answers to perplexing questions: Was the perpetrator Indian or white? Where, exactly, was the crime committed—on state or tribal land? Who should lead the investigation—the tribal police, the state, or federal law enforcement? Frustrated with the seeming banality and limits of his father’s power, becoming increasingly resistant to adult authority, and eager for justice, Joe sets out with his three friends, Cappy, Zack and Angus, to find the truth, a quest that begins at the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. Filled with unexpected twists and surprises both momentous and devastating, it is a journey of discovery that will leave Joe, his family, and his friends irrevocably transformed.”
Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn
I liked, but not loved another book about the English Queen, The Uncommon Reader by Allan Bennett. While I have no interest in real-life stories about royals, I’d love to try this review book from Harper about the Queen who leaves her palace for a little respite from her duties.
From the publisher’s website: “After decades of service and years of watching her family’s troubles splashed across the tabloids, Queen Elizabeth needs some proper cheering up. An impromptu visit to the place that holds her happiest memories—the former royal yacht, Britannia, moored in Leith, Scotland—is just the cure she needs. Hidden beneath a skull-emblazoned hoodie, the limber Elizabeth (thank goodness for yoga) walks out of Buckingham Palace, into the freedom of a rainy London day to catch the train to Scotland at King’s Cross.
But an unlikely sextet of royal attendants—a lady-in-waiting, a butler, an equerry, a mistress of the Mews, a dresser, and a clerk from the shop that serves the queen’s cheese—join together to find their missing monarch and bring her back before her absence sets off a national scandal.”
Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander
This book I got from Dutch publishers Nieuw Amsterdam and in Dutch it’s called Anne Frank is Alive and Lives in the Attic. In English, Hope: A Tragedy. Both are great titles I think, and I’m very intrigued. The people from Nieuw Amsterdam that I spoke to at the bookfair told me it’s hilarious.
From the author’s website: “The rural town of Stockton, New York, is famous for nothing: no one was born there, no one died there, nothing of any historical import at all has ever happened there, which is why Solomon Kugel, like other urbanites fleeing their pasts and histories, decided to move his wife and young son there.
To begin again. To start anew. But it isn’t quite working out that way. His ailing mother stubbornly holds on to life, and won’t stop reminiscing about the Nazi concentration camps she never actually suffered through. To complicate matters further, some lunatic is burning down farmhouses just like the one he bought, and when, one night, Kugel discovers history—a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history—hiding upstairs in his attic, bad quickly becomes worse.”
Shelter by Frances Greenslade
The Dutch publishers, Orlando publishers, have been doing a good job on marketing this book, because I had heard of it when I got it, even though it hadn’t been published yet. This happens less often than you might think, in the Netherlands at least (I can probably give you a whole list of USA and UK books that are to be published imminently, but with Dutch books, not so much). Anyway, it sounds like a good read.
From the author’s website: “Frances Greenslade’s new novel, Shelter is the story of two sisters, Maggie and Jenny, and their quest to find out what happened to their mother who left them to billet in Williams Lake, a small town in British Columbia, and never came back. Set in the 1960s and 70s in the wilds of the Chilcotin, where it’s still possible to lose yourself, the novel explores the attachment we have to our mothers, and the expectation we hold that they will always be our mothers, and nothing more.”
The boy who could see demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke
This book I saw at the bookfair and asked about. I was told it was not published yet, they only had copies for journalists. I said “How about book bloggers?” and waved my business card. They said “Sure. Would you like this book too?” And handed me Shelter, above. They are lovely people at Orlando. I also won a Meet and Greet from them (that happened the next day, also at the book fair). with UK writer Amanda Hodgkinson.
From the author’s website: “Alex Broccoli is ten years old, likes onions on toast, and can balance on the back legs of his chair for fourteen minutes. His best friend is a 9000-year-old demon called Ruen.
When his depressive mother attempts suicide yet again, Alex meets child psychiatrist Anya. Still bearing the scars of her own daughter’s battle with schizophrenia, Anya fears for Alex’s mental health and attempts to convince him that Ruen doesn’t exist. But as she runs out of medical proof for many of Alex’s claims, she is faced with a question: does Alex suffer from schizophrenia, or can he really see demons?”
Books I bought
If you follow my Dutch blog, you will have seen the books below there already. Sometimes there’s a bit of overlap between the blogs. Not often.
The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
This book has a strange format, it’s only a little bigger than a credit card and printed on “Bible paper”, very thin paper. You open it at the bottom and fold it upwards, so it’s read in landscape format. It’s the first time I bought this type of book and it seems very handy for fitting in a handbag. They are also available in English, called Flip Back Books. At 12,50 euros I find it too expensive so I’ve never bought one before, but this one was reduced, and, even better, the book had been on my wishlist for a while. This is the first in a series and I’ve heard it’s really good.
From the author’s website: “East London, 1888 [...] Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger’s son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.
But Fiona’s plans are shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man force her to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit – and the ghosts of her past – propel her rise from a modest West Side shop front to the top of Manhattan’s tea trade.
Fiona’s old ghosts do not rest quietly, however, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future. ”
The Untold Story by Monica Ali
This book was on my wishlist and I came across it at a reduced price. What is a reader going to do? Buy it, of course! I have read a few of Monica Ali’s books and enjoyed them, so I’m keen to read this. Another royalty story!
From Dutch online bookstore Bol.com: “When Princess Diana died in Paris’s Alma tunnel, she was thirty-seven years old. Had she lived, she would have turned fifty on July 1, 2011. Who would the beloved icon be if she were alive today? What would she be doing? And where? One of the most versatile and bold writers of our time, Monica Ali has imagined a different fate for Diana in her spectacular new novel, Untold Story.”
A book I won
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
I won this book from Tami of Just One More Thing in the 24 Hour Readathon last April. Because she was a bit late sending it, she also included a beautiful photo frame, which I thought was very nice of her. I have been curious about the book for a while and I’m looking forward to reading it.
From bol.com, the Dutch online bookstore: “‘I CAPTURE THE CASTLE meets THE VIRGIN SUICIDES. An eccentric and totally irresistible read’ Glamour Rosalind. Bianca. Cordelia. The Weird Sisters. Rose always first, Bean never first, Cordy always last. The history of our trinity is fractious — a constantly shifting dividing line, never equal, never equitable. Two against one, or three opposed, but never all together. Our estrangement is not drama-laden — we have not betrayed one another’s trust, we have not stolen lovers or fought over money or property or any of the things that irreparably break families apart. The answer, for us, is much simpler. See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.”
Have you read any of these books? Which of these would appeal to you?