Books That Caught Our Eye

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At Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received.

Every Wednesday we will each share two books that caught our eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.

We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.

LESLIE:

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande @Bookfan

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should.

Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Gawande reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make. Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patients’ anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them. And families go along with all of it.

This book is very relevant to issues I’m facing with aging parents and sounds like an enlightening read.

Drunken Fireworks by Stephen King @Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf.

Alden McCausland and his mother are what they call “accident rich”; thanks to an unexpected life-insurance policy payout and a winning Big Maine Millions scratcher, Alden and his Ma are able to spend their summers down by Lake Abenaki, idly drinking their days away in a three-room cabin with an old dock and a lick of a beach.

Across the lake, they can see what “real rich” looks like: the Massimo family’s Twelve Pines Camp, the big white mansion with guest house and tennis court that Alden’s Ma says is paid for by “ill-gotten gains” courtesy of Massimo Construction. When Alden’s holiday-weekend sparklers and firecrackers set off what over the next few years comes to be known as the Fourth of July Arms Race, he learns how far he and the Massimos will go to win an annual neighborly rivalry—one that lands Alden in the Castle County jail.

A Stephen King book I haven’t read!

VICKI:

Falling by Jane Green @Sam Still Reading

The New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House, Jemima J, and Summer Secrets presents a novel about the pleasure and meaning of finding a home—and family—where you least expect them…

When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.

On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.

Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.

But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all.

In a novel of changing seasons, shifting lives, and selfless love, a story unfolds—of one woman’s far-reaching journey to discover who she is truly meant to be…

I haven’t read a Green book in a while so this caught my eye.

All at Sea by Decca Aitkenhead @Luxury Reading

The thing to remember about this story is that every word is true. If I never told it to a soul, and this book did not exist, it would not cease to be true. I don’t mind at all if you forget this.

The important thing is that I don’t.’

On a hot still morning on a beautiful beach in Jamaica, Decca Aitkenhead’s life changed for ever.

Her four-year-old boy was paddling peacefully at the water’s edge when a wave pulled him out to sea. Her partner, Tony, swam out and saved their son’s life – then drowned before her eyes.

When Decca and Tony first met a decade earlier, they became the most improbable couple in London. She was an award-winning Guardian journalist, famous for interviewing leading politicians. He was a dreadlocked criminal with a history of drug-dealing and violence. No one thought the romance would last, but it did. Until the tide swept Tony away, plunging Decca into the dark chasm of random tragedy.

Exploring race and redemption, privilege and prejudice, ALL AT SEA is a remarkable story of love and loss, of how one couple changed each other’s lives and of what a sudden death can do to the people who survive.

My husband and I were opposites so this book interests me.

SERENA:

The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue @Luxury Reading

a modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth—a suspenseful tale of romance and enchantment

In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night, Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside.

The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. So begins a dual odyssey: of a husband determined to find his wife, and of a woman trapped in a magical world where her life is not her own.

This sounds entirely creepy!

Monticello by Sally Gunning @Under My Apple Tree and Tribute Books Mama

From the critically acclaimed author of The Widow’s War comes a captivating work of literary historical fiction, set in America in the years after the Revolution, that explores the tenuous relationship between the brilliant and complex founding father Thomas Jefferson and his devoted daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

After the early death of her mother, young Martha Jefferson accompanied her father, Thomas Jefferson, on his first diplomatic mission to Paris. Five years later, father and daughter have come home to Monticello, the family’s beloved plantation set high in the lush hills of the Virginia countryside.

Though Monticello has suffered from her father’s absence, Martha finds it essentially unchanged, even as she has been transformed. The sheltered girl that sailed to Europe is now a handsome seventeen-year-old woman with a battle-scarred heart, who sees a world far more complicated than it once seemed.

Blessed with her father’s sharp mind and independent spirit, Martha has long abhorred slavery and yearned for its swift end. Yet she now discovers that the home she adores is burdened by growing debt and cannot survive long without the labor of its slaves. Her bonds with those around her are shifting, too. As the doting father she has idolized since childhood returns to government, he becomes increasingly distracted by tumultuous fights for power and troubling attachments that pull him further away. And as Martha begins to pay closer attention to Sally Hemings—the beautiful light-skinned slave long acknowledged to be her mother’s half-sister—she realizes that the slave’s position in the household has subtly changed. Eager for distraction, Martha welcomes the attentions of Thomas Randolph, her exotic distant cousin, but soon Martha uncovers burdens and desires in him that threaten to compromise her own.

As her life becomes constrained by the demands of marriage, motherhood, politics, scandal, and her family’s increasing impoverishment, Martha yearns to find her way back to her childhood home; to the gentle beauty and quiet happiness of the world she once knew at the top of her father’s “little mountain.”

An irresistible blend of emotional drama, historical detail, and vivid atmosphere, Monticello skillfully brings to life Martha Jefferson Randolph, a strong and compelling woman who influenced — as much as she was influenced by — one of the most intriguing figures in American history.

I have a fascination with Thomas Jefferson, and I suspect part of that has to do with his penchant for books and reading and learning.

What books caught your eye this week?

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