At Mailbox Monday, we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but also to check out the books received by others. Each week, our team is sharing with you a few Books That Caught Our Eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.
Sorry I went silent over the holidays. I had several nights busy wrapping gifts. Then I actually had my computer turned off for almost 9 days. Shocking for me! I am glad Emma and Serena added their picks and that others got to share during the holidays too.
We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.
found at Carstairs Considers.
Life on the Mississippi is an epic, enchanting blend of history and adventure in which Buck builds a wooden flatboat from the grand “flatboat era” of the 1800s and sails it down the Mississippi River, illuminating the forgotten past of America’s first western frontier.
Seven years ago, readers around the country fell in love with a singular American voice: Rinker Buck, whose infectious curiosity about history launched him across the West in a covered wagon pulled by mules.
Now, Buck returns to chronicle his latest incredible adventure: building a wooden flatboat from the bygone era of the early 1800s and journeying down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.
A modern-day Huck Finn, Buck casts off down the river on the flatboat Patience accompanied by an eccentric crew of daring shipmates. Over the course of his voyage, Buck steers his fragile wooden craft through narrow channels dominated by massive cargo barges, rescues his first mate gone overboard, sails blindly through fog, breaks his ribs not once but twice, and camps every night on sandbars, remote islands, and steep levees. As he charts his own journey, he also delivers a richly satisfying work of history that brings to life a lost era.
The role of the flatboat in our country’s evolution is far more significant than most Americans realize. Between 1800 and 1840, millions of farmers, merchants, and teenage adventurers embarked from states like Pennsylvania and Virginia on flatboats headed beyond the Appalachians to Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Settler families repurposed the wood from their boats to build their first cabins in the wilderness; cargo boats were broken apart and sold to build the boomtowns along the water route. Joining the river traffic were floating brothels, called “gun boats”; “smithy boats” for blacksmiths; even “whiskey boats” for alcohol. In the present day, America’s inland rivers are a superhighway dominated by leviathan barges—carrying $80 billion of cargo annually—all descended from flatboats like the ramshackle Patience.
As a historian, Buck resurrects the era’s adventurous spirit, but he also challenges familiar myths about American expansion, confronting the bloody truth behind settlers’ push for land and wealth. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced more than 125,000 members of the Cherokee, Choctaw, and several other tribes to travel the Mississippi on a brutal journey en route to the barrens of Oklahoma. Simultaneously, almost a million enslaved African Americans were carried in flatboats and marched by foot 1,000 miles over the Appalachians to the cotton and cane fields of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, birthing the term “sold down the river.” Buck portrays this watershed era of American expansion as it was really lived.
“I love free travelling through books and history: perfect combo!”
“Anyone will tell you the born of this world are marked from the get-out, win or lose.”
Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia, this is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.
Many generations ago, Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield from his experience as a survivor of institutional poverty and its damages to children in his society. Those problems have yet to be solved in ours. Dickens is not a prerequisite for readers of this novel, but he provided its inspiration. In transposing a Victorian epic novel to the contemporary American South, Barbara Kingsolver enlists Dickens’ anger and compassion, and above all, his faith in the transformative powers of a good story. Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.
“Except her last book, I have really enjoyed this author. Sounds like I should really get to this one”.
Once upon a time people called me the holiday queen. But catching my husband under the Christmas tree with another woman kind of did something to me. Like make me digitally crop him out of all our wedding photos and post them online. Who knew that post would go viral? Thanks to all the requests I received to do the same for other jilted partners, I started a new business called, the Holiday Ex-Files. And I couldn’t be happier. Well . . . at least I’m not unhappy.
Then along comes my ex-husband’s best friend, Noah Cullen. Yep, like the vampires. He’s extremely gorgeous like them too. He has a plan to help me believe in the magic of holidays again. But the more I’m around him, I begin to think he’s the magical one, and that perhaps I picked the wrong best friend to begin with. Maybe, just maybe, it will be a very merry Christmas after all.
“This sounds like a kind of spurned love and redemption story over the holiday season. Could be a fun one.”
Sophie Shah was six when she learned her mother, Nita, had died. For twenty-two years, she shouldered the burden of that loss. But when her father passes away, Sophie discovers a cache of hidden letters revealing a shattering truth: her mother didn’t die. She left.
Nita Shah had everything most women dreamed of in her hometown of Ahmedabad, India―a loving husband, a doting daughter, financial security―but in her heart, she felt like she was living a lie. Fueled by her creative ambitions, Nita moved to Paris, the artists’ capital of the world―even though it meant leaving her family behind. But once in Paris, Nita’s decision and its consequences would haunt her in ways she never expected.
Now that Sophie knows the truth, she’s determined to find the mother who abandoned her. Sophie jets off to Paris, even though the impulsive trip may risk her impending arranged marriage. In the City of Light, she chases lead after lead that help her piece together a startling portrait of her mother. Though Sophie goes to Paris to find Nita, she may just also discover parts of herself she never knew.
“I always love these family secrets kind of novels and this one sounds like a real heartbreaker. I can’t imagine leaving my child for any reason. I’d love to discover why Nita leaves.”
AN ALIEN ARTIFACT. AN ACCIDENTAL DISCOVERY. A LOOMING NUCLEAR APOCALYPSE.
Art is a computer geek and retro electronics aficionado who just wants to be left alone. When he stumbles upon an alien artifact, he can’t help but try and find out its purpose. Instead, he finds himself in over his head, in the midst of what might just turn out to be the end of the world, and nobody except him knows the truth. A truth that certain factions don’t want to get out – at any cost.
It’s not paranoia when self-driving cars are out to get you. Can Art survive the hunt, and maybe save the world in the process?
Progress Report is a near-future technothriller for fans of Ready Player One, Daemon, and Bobiverse.
“This sci fi thriller sounds like it is right up my sci fi reading alley!”
Tisha: The Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness by Robert Specht
found at Home With Sherry.
The beloved real-life story of a woman in the Alaskan wilderness, the children she taught, and the man she loved.
“From the time I’d been a girl, I’d been thrilled with the idea of living on a frontier. So when I was offered the job of teaching school in a gold-mining settlement called Chicken, I accepted right away.”
Anne Hobbs was only nineteen in 1927 when she came to harsh and beautiful Alaska. Running a ramshackle schoolhouse would expose her to more than just the elements. After she allowed Native American children into her class and fell in love with a half-Inuit man, she would learn the meanings of prejudice and perseverance, irrational hatred and unconditional love. “People get as mean as the weather,” she discovered, but they were also capable of great good.
As told to Robert Specht, Anne Hobbs’s true story has captivated generations of readers. Now this beautiful new edition is available to inspire many more.
What books caught your eye this week?