Monday, April 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday - April 18

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.  Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!
Created by Marcia at The Printed Page, Mailbox Monday, now has its own blog.  This month Passages to the Past is hosting.  Stop on over and see what everyone else got this week (and don't forget to wallow in some of the glorious historical fiction featured there.)  I include not only print books I received but also books that arrived via the virtual E-book route.

Only one in the real mailbox this week but it's one I'm quite pleased with.  I've had a Goodreads account for quite awhile now, but use it mainly to track books I want to look for and don't yet own.  Recently I discovered that they have a great giveaway program to get books out to readers for some publishing buzz.  I was thrilled when I won one!

This is a period of history I'm very interested in, and plan to spend a while taking this one in slowly.  It's over 600 pages, but will certainly revive my memories of the period.  The publisher says :

In June 1961, Nikita Khrushchev called Berlin “the most dangerous place on earth.” He knew what he was talking about.

Much has been made of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, but the Berlin crisis of 1961 was even more decisive in shaping the Cold War – and more perilous. Its story is packed with lessons for these turbulent early years of the twenty-first century, and it is only now that enough new documentary evidence has become available to tell it fully

My virtual E mailbox had a very intriguing entry this week.   The short story is one of my favorite genres and I'm always on the lookout for new collections.  This one from The Univesity of Iowa press especially intrigued me.  I have lived in both Japan and Hawaii, and this one is pulling me right in. It hopped to the head of the queue.

Lester Higata knew his life was about to end when he walked out on the lanai behind his house in Makiki and saw his long-dead father sitting in a lawn chair near the little greenhouse where Lester kept his orchids. Thus begins Barbara Hamby's magical narrative of the life of a Japanese American man in Honolulu. The quietly beautiful linked stories in Lester Higata's 20th Century bring us close to people who could be, and should be, our friends and neighbors and families.    Starting in 1999 with his conversation with his father, continuing backward in time throughout his life with his wife, Katherine, and their children in Hawaii, and ending with his days in the hospital in 1946, as he heals from a wartime wound and meets the woman he will marry, Hamby recreates not just one but any number of the worlds that have shaped Lester. The world of his mother, as stubbornly faithful to Japan and Buddhism as Katherine's mother is to Ohio and conservative Christianity; the world of his children, whose childhoods and adulthoods are vastly different from his own; the world after Pearl Harbor and Vietnam; the world of a professional engineer and family man: the worlds of Lester Higata's 20th Century are filled with ordinary people living extraordinary lives, moving from farms to classrooms and offices, from racism to acceptance and even love, all in a setting so paradisal it should be heaven on earth.   

Never forgetting the terrors of wartime -- We wake one morning with the wind racing toward us like an animal, and nothing is ever the same -- but focusing on the serene joys of peacetime, Lester populates his worlds with work, faith, and family among the palm trees and blue skies of the island he loves.   


  1. I have a Goodreads account too but rarely use it...all Library Thing for me. And I am vaguely aware they have a giveaway program but have never checked it out.
    Guess I should..

  2. I've won several books from GoodReads and LibraryThing both. Since I need to limit buying books, they are a great source of new books.


Welcome, thanks for stopping by. Now that you've heard our two cents, perhaps you have a few pennies to throw into the discussion. Due to a bunch more anonymous spam getting through, I've had to disallow anonymous comments. I try to respond to all comments posing a question, but may not always get to you right away.