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.
Here are our picks:
In 1945, Betty MacDonald’s first book, The Egg and I, took first America, and then the world, by storm. Writing about her adventures as a young wife on a chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, the book was a breath of fresh air to a world that, in the wake of WWII, sorely needed it. From 1927 to 1931, Betty lived with her first husband near Chimacum, Washington – a newlywed doing her best to adjust to and help operate their small chicken farm.
The Egg and I enjoyed enormous success, selling over 1,000,000 within ten months of it’s original publication. It was adapted for stage, radio and screen, with the movie version starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. The movie version also introduced the world to Ma and Pa Kettle, the eccentric country bumpkins portrayed by the inimitable Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride, who were so popular that a string of spin-off movies was made about their adventures. Betty MacDonald wrote three other memoirs, as well as the still popular Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series for children, and is recognized by many as an important America humorist.
Betty MacDonald was only 50 when cancer cut her life short, and perhaps her untimely death is one of the reason’s she is not better known and appreciated today. However, there is renewed interest in MacDonald’s life and work.
I’ve never heard of this memoir but I’m happy to see it is now available in audio.
When family secrets are unearthed, a woman’s past can become a dangerous place to hide…
After the death of her adoptive mother, Ava Saunders comes upon a peculiar photograph, sealed and hidden away in a crawl space. The photo shows a shuttered, ramshackle house on top of a steep hill. On the back, a puzzling inscription: Destiny calls us.
Ava is certain that it’s a clue to her elusive past. Twenty-three years ago, she’d been found wrapped in a yellow blanket in the narthex of the Holy Saviour Catholic Church—and rescued—or so she’d been told. Her mother claimed there was no more to the story, so the questions of her abandonment were left unanswered. For Ava, now is the time to find the roots of her mother’s lies. It begins with the house itself—once the scene of a brutal double murder.
When Ava enlists the help of the two people closest to her, a police detective and her best friend, she fears that investigating her past could be a fatal mistake. Someone is following them there. And what’s been buried in Ava’s nightmares isn’t just a crime. It’s a holy conspiracy.
The cover title and the mystery of the blurb ‘caught my eye’.
High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing By Ben Austen found at BermudaOnion’s Weblog.
Joining the ranks of Evicted, The Warmth of Other Suns, and classic works of literary non-fiction by Alex Kotlowitz and J. Anthony Lukas, High-Risers braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project.
Built in the 1940s atop an infamous Italian slum, Cabrini-Green grew to twenty-three towers and a population of 20,000–all of it packed onto just seventy acres a few blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast. Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and the failure of government. For the many who lived there, it was also a much-needed resource–it was home. By 2011, every high-rise had been razed, the island of black poverty engulfed by the white affluence around it, the families dispersed.
In this novelistic and eye-opening narrative, Ben Austen tells the story of America’s public housing experiment and the changing fortunes of American cities. It is an account told movingly through the lives of residents who struggled to make a home for their families as powerful forces converged to accelerate the housing complex’s demise. Beautifully written, rich in detail, and full of moving portraits, High-Risers is a sweeping exploration of race, class, popular culture, and politics in modern America that brilliantly considers what went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor–and what we can learn from those mistakes.
This sounds interesting and I am curious what lessons have been learned as it seems housing problems still exist.
It’s been nine years since Larkin fled Georgetown, South Carolina, vowing never to go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she knows she has no choice but to return to the place that she both loves and dreads–and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home. Ivy, Larkin’s mother, is discovered in the burned out wreckage of her family’s ancestral rice plantation, badly injured and unconscious. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly 50 years. Secrets that lead back to the past, to the friendship between three girls on the brink of womanhood who swore that they would be friends forever, but who found that vow tested in heartbreaking ways.
I just adore Karen White’s books, so I cannot wait to get my hands on this one.
It’s a memoir and has to do with WWII, so I’m all over that one.
What books caught your eyes this week? Share in the comments.