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:

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer at Luxury Reading.

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that were crumbling in the trunks of desert shepherds. His goal: to preserve this crucial part of the world’s patrimony in a gorgeous library. But then Al Qaeda showed up at the door.

“Part history, part scholarly adventure story, and part journalist survey….Joshua Hammer writes with verve and expertise” (The New York Times Book Review) about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world’s greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction. With bravery and patience, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. His heroic heist “has all the elements of a classic adventure novel” (The Seattle Times), and is a reminder that ordinary citizens often do the most to protect the beauty of their culture. His the story is one of a man who, through extreme circumstances, discovered his higher calling and was changed forever by it.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid at BermudaOnion.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds–revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love–Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating ‘complex, likable characters’ (Real Simple), this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means–and what it takes–to face the truth.

MARTHA:

Wintersong by S. Jae Jones found at Read With Katie

Dark, romantic and unforgettable, this riveting debut for fans of Labyrinth and Naomi Novik tells the fantastical story of a young woman’s journey towards love and acceptance

Deep in his terrifying realm underground, the cold and forbidding Goblin King casts a dark shadow over nineteen-year-old Liesl. Her grandmother had always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Sensible and plain, Liesl knows it’s her duty to keep her beautiful sister safe from harm, but she wishes only to indulge in her wild, captivating music, composed and played in secret in the Goblin King’s honor.

When her beautiful sister Käthe is stolen by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must set aside her childish fantasies to journey to the Underground and save her. Drawn despite herself to the strange, beautiful world she finds–and the mysterious man who rules it–she finds herself facing an impossible choice. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones’ richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman’s search for self-actualization.

This is available at Audible and I am very tempted to pick it up with one of my credits.

Good Karma by Christina Kelly found at Book Fan

A charming, heartfelt tale of love lost and regained in a gated community in Savannah, Georgia.

After almost forty years in New Jersey, Catherine, Ralph, and their beloved Boston Terrier Karma are hitting the road, relocating to a gorgeous, serene island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, where Catherine can work on her backhand and Ralph can hit the links. But upon their arrival in the Seven Oaks gated community, it becomes apparent that Catherine and Ralph’s visions of retirement couldn’t be more different. While Catherine is intrigued by their quirky neighbors, Ralph’s golf-and-poker routine seems to be interrupted only by his flirtations with their zealous real estate agent.

As the pair drift further apart, Catherine cannot help but sense her marriage is at risk. Then, she meets recent widower Fred at the dog park. United by their dogs, they embark upon a friendship that could be something more—until she discovers that he’s not quite what he seems. As she sorts out fact from fiction and discovers what sorts of secrets might be hiding behind Seven Oaks’ pristine picket fences, she’ll have to make a decision affecting her future happiness and her chance at newfound love.

This cover brought a smile to my face – even though I know a little about life in a gated community!

SERENA:

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker @BookFan

Professional journalist and amateur drinker Bianca Bosker didn’t know much about wine—until she discovered an alternate universe where taste reigns supreme, a world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of flavor. Astounded by their fervor and seemingly superhuman sensory powers, she set out to uncover what drove their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a “cork dork.”

With boundless curiousity, humor, and a healthy dose of skepticism, Bosker takes the reader inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, California mass-market wine factories, and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: What’s the big deal about wine? What she learns will change the way you drink wine–and, perhaps, the way you live–forever.

I love wine, and this sounds like a fun book. I want to read it.

Project You: More Than 50 Ways to Calm Down, de-Stress, and Feel Great by Aubre Andrus and Karen Bluth @Read with Katie

Find your balance. Make a protein-packed smoothie to energize for a busy day. Center yourself after a stressful week by taking five minutes to write in your journal. Strengthen your body and calm your mind with simple yoga poses and breathing techniques. Craft a vision board to help you achieve your goals. Create a time budget to organize your schedule. Develop an evening routine that will help you wind down before sleep. Award-winning author Aubre Andrus shares more than 50 do-right-now projects that will help you beat stress, smile big, and discover a calmer, more blissful you.

Despite my one word choice of deliberate, I still find myself stressed and overtaxed this year. I already need a vacation and it’s only March. This sounds like it could be helpful.

What books caught your eyes this week? Please share in the comments.

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