Monday, July 18, 2011

Mailbox Monday - July 18, 2011

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. Hosting duties are being rotated every month. For July our host is Gwendolyn at  A Sea of Books.  Be sure to stop on over and see what everyone else got this week.

I haven't done a Mailbox post for a couple weeks, so here are the books that arrived during the past three weeks.

A Mug-Up With Elisabeth
by Melissa Hayes

One of the wonderful things about being a librarian in Maine is having people who have lived here all their lives introduce me to some of our wonderful Maine authors.  None is more famous, or prolific, than Elisabeth Ogilvie.  I kept borrowing the library's copy of this one but that didn't help others who wanted it.  So I finally realized I need to have my own.  The publisher describes it as
the essential reference for fans of Elisabeth Ogilvie's books--and a wonderful introduction to one of Maine's most prolific writers. A Mug-up, which refers to the old fishing term for a coffee break, presents a biography of Ogilvie, exploring her ancestry, childhood, education, emergence as a writer, and her life on Maine's spectacular islands. It also offers a sampling of some of her earlier and out-of-print writing and synopses of all her published writings, and explores some recurrent themes in her work. The book's appendices provide a glossary; concordances for names and locations; lists of boat names, flora, and fauna; and a bibliography.
For those of us unable to attend the ALA conference earlier this year where ARCs are often readily available, several publishers offered a galley grab on Shelf Awareness.  I was rewarded with this galley from Simon and Schuster.
 The Very Thought of You
by Rosie Alison

Shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize
England, 31st August 1939: The world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic, childless couple. Soon Anna gets drawn into their unraveling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair with unforeseen consequences. A story of longing, loss, and complicated loyalties, combining a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, The Very Thought of You is not just a love story but a story about love.
Destiny of the Republic,
a Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
by Candice Millard

I received this ARC from Doubleday for review in September.  Since I've been participating in the LibraryThing reading the president's group, this one will fit right in. 
James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back.

But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil. The unhinged assassin’s half-delivered strike shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter behind-the-scenes struggle for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his con­dition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, worked around the clock to invent a new device capable of finding the bullet.

Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive,
The Destiny of the Republic will stand alongside The Devil in the White City and The Professor and the Madman as a classic of narrative history.
Best Kept Secret
by Amy Hatvany

Another galley grab via Shelf Awareness, this one from Washington Square Press.

It wasn’t always like this. Just a few years ago, Cadence seemed to have it all—a successful husband, an adorable son, and a promising career as a freelance journalist.  But with the demise of her marriage, her carefully constructed life begins to spiral out of control.  Suddenly she is all alone trying to juggle the demands of work and motherhood.               

Logically, Cadence knows that she is drinking too much, and every day begins with renewed promises to herself that she will stop.  But within a few hours, driven by something she doesn’t understand, she is reaching for the bottle - even when it means not playing with her son because she is too tired, or dropping him off at preschool late, again.  And even when one calamitous night it means leaving him alone to pick up more wine at the grocery store.  It’s only when her ex-husband shows up at her door to take Charlie away that Cadence realizes her best kept secret has been discovered….

Heartbreaking, haunting, and ultimately life-affirming, Best Kept Secret is more than just the story of Cadence—it’s a story of how the secrets we hold closest are the ones that can most tear us apart.

And finally,  I received a copy of a collection of short stories, many of them set in Vietnam.  This was a thank-you for participating in the War Through the Generations Vietnam reading group last year.  I'd almost forgotten that it was going to be coming, so it was a delightful surprise.

A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
by Robert Olen Butler


  1. Nice mailbox this week. I received The Very Thought of You too. I hope we both enjoy it.

  2. Enjoy your books.

    I have The very thought of you to read.


  3. The one by the Maine author sounds really good - enjoy I like supporting local authors.

  4. What a good mix of book. Enjoy!

  5. You got some good looking books! I've heard The Very Thought of You is fabulous!

  6. Wonderfully diverse mailbox this week, Tina. I am so lusting after The Very Thought of You! I hope you love it. Have a great week and enjoy your new reads!

  7. Destiny of the Republic looks great, hope you enjoy it!

  8. I have to have The Very Thought of You. Sounds so good!

  9. I'm putting The Destiny of the Republic on my list right now.

  10. My friend just finished Best Kept Secret and recommended it to me. She really liked it. I hear The Very Thought of You is good as well.

  11. Nice variety. The short stories sound interesting. I received Destiny of the Republic also. I know little about Garfield and I'm hoping it's interesting.


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