Books On My Shelves

This week I found a book on my bookstore shelves called Two Murders in My Double Life by Josef Skvorecky. I've never seen or heard of this book before and it's not a new book (published in 1999) but it sounds interesting.

From the publisher's website:

In Josef Škvorecký's first novel written in English, the narrator lives in two radically dissimilar worlds: the exile world of the post-Communist Czech Republic where old feuds, treacherous betrayals, and friendships persevere; and the comfortable, albeit bland world of middle-class Canada. Murder intrudes upon both worlds. One features a young female sleuth, a college beauty queen, jealousy in the world of academia, and a neat conclusion. The other is a tragedy caused by evil social forces and philosophies, in which a web of lies insidiously entangles Sidonia, the narrator's wife. A brilliantly stylish tour de force in which the bright, sarcastic comedy of one tale sharply contrasts with the dark, elegiac bitterness of the other,Two Murders in My Double Life confirms Škvorecký's reputation as a versatile and engaging writer.

I like the idea that this book has humour mixed in with the murder plots. I don't especially like the publisher's description of middle-class Canada though! ;=)

Review: REMARKABLE CREATURES by Tracy Chevalier

From Tracy Chevalier's website:

In 1810, a sister and brother uncover the fossilized skull of an unknown animal in the cliffs on the south coast of England. With its long snout and prominent teeth, it might be a crocodile – except that it has a huge, bulbous eye.

Remarkable Creatures is the story of Mary Anning, who has a talent for finding fossils, and whose discovery of ancient marine reptiles such as that ichthyosaur shakes the scientific community and leads to new ways of thinking about the creation of the world.

Working in an arena dominated by middle-class men, however, Mary finds herself out of step with her working-class background. In danger of being an outcast in her community, she takes solace in an unlikely friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a prickly London spinster with her own passion for fossils.

The strong bond between Mary and Elizabeth sees them through struggles with poverty, rivalry and ostracism, as well as the physical dangers of their chosen obsession. It reminds us that friendship can outlast storms and landslides, anger and and jealousy.

My review:

Based on the true history of Mary Anning, a 19th century woman who became renowned as a 'fossilist', Remarkable Creatures recounts the story behind her discovery of fossils washed up on the shores of Lyme Regis, a village in England, and the friendship which develops between Mary and the spinster Elizabeth Philpot.

I enjoyed this book very much. The friendship between the two women showed how class structure and status, as well as gender, affected what a woman could and could not do in polite society during the 1800's. I could feel the frustration, along with the characters, of not being taken seriously by the established norms of the day. I also enjoyed following Mary as she made amazing discoveries along the beaches of Lyme Regis. Having majored in geology at university, I especially enjoyed recognizing the familiar names of some of the creatures Mary Anning picked up and was also taken aback when a very familiar name from the world of geology popped up on the page.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Sometimes I'm in the mood for something light yet still exciting. I noticed this book while browsing online and it fits the bill:

The description of Still Life on Joy Fielding's website reads:

Beautiful, happily married, and the owner of a successful interior design business, Casey Marshall couldn’t be more content with her life until a car slams into her at almost fifty miles an hour, breaking nearly every bone in her body, and plunging her into a coma. Lying in her hospital bed, Casey realizes that although she is unable to see or communicate, she can hear everything. She quickly discovers that her friends aren’t necessarily the people she thought them to be–and that her accident might not have been an accident at all. As she struggles to break free from her living death, she begins to wonder if what lies ahead could be even worse.

I enjoyed 'See Jane Run' by this author so I'm pretty sure I'll like this one too. It's coming out in paperback on January 26.

Tuesday Teasers

Tuesday Teasers is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page. Share two sentences somewhere between lines 7 and 12 and the title of the book that you’re getting the teaser from. Please avoid spoilers! Read the official Tuesday Teaser Rules.

This week my teaser is from The Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning. From page 84:

A Silent conversation, Azuba felt, flowed between them. Were she not present, they would be discussing the ship-how she was trimmed, how she went, the shifting wind, the treacherous bay currents.

I'm reading this now (along with two other books) and I'm really enjoying the story. It's a great read.

Mailbox Monday

This meme is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page and Kristi at The Story Siren.

I received a lovely audiobook last week, Hope for Animals and Their World by Jane Goodal with Thane Maynard and Gail Hudson.

I won this book in a contest on Metroreader's blog. Thank you to Metroreader!

From the book's website:

At a time when animal species are becoming extinct on every continent and we are confronted with bad news about the environment nearly every day, Jane Goodall, one of the world’s most renowned scientists, brings us inspiring news about the future of the animal kingdom. With the insatiable curiosity and conversational prose that have made her a bestselling author, Goodall-along with Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard and co-author Gail Hudson-shares fascinating survival stories about the American Crocodile, the California Condor, the Black-Footed Ferret, and more; all formerly endangered species and species once on the verge of extinction whose populations are now being regenerated.

I'm looking forward to listening to this book!

Books On My Shelves

I usually go to my bookstore on a Saturday or Sunday and spend the day working on paperwork (ugh!) but I also spend time perusing the shelves and tables looking for the books that have come in during the past week. So I thought I would do a post about books that I find on the shelves that I've never seen before. The only problem is I don't have a button that goes can go with it. I don't know how to make buttons! If anyone can point me in the right direction on finding out how to make one I'd very much appreciate it!

This week I found a series by Wilbur Smith. The first book, called River God is described on the back cover:

In the city of Thebes at the Festival of Osiris, loyal subjects of the Pharaoh gather to pay homage to their leader. But Taita, a wise and formidably gifted eunuch slave, sees him only as a symbol of a kingdom's fading glory. Beside Taita stand his proteges: Lostris, daugher of Lord Intef, beautiful beyond her fourteen years; and Tanus, proud young army officer, who has vowed to avenge the death - at Intef's hand - of his father, and seize Lostris as his prize. Together they share a dream - to restore the majesty of the Pharaoh of Pharaohs on the glittering banks of the Nile.

The other three novels in this series are The Seventh Scroll, Warlock and The Quest. They sound like great historical adventure novels that I could get lost in. I'm putting this series on my TBR list and returning the book to the shelf (no matter how painful that act is!).

Waiting on Wednesday: The French Blue by Richard W. Wise

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

I can't pinpoint exactly why, but something about the description of
The French Blue by Richard W. Wise really attracted me. From the author's website:

On a dark night in September of 1792, someone made off with the 69 carat French Blue diamond. Confiscated from King Louis XVI by the revolutionaries of the French National Assembly, the gem, along with the rest of the French Crown Jewels, had been secreted in a royal storehouse for safe keeping. Many of the gems stolen that night were subsequently recovered by the French government. The French Blue was never seen or heard of again.

In September of 1812, a deep blue diamond weighing 177 grains (44.25 carats) was reported in the possession of London diamond merchant, Daniel Eliason. In 1830 this stone, now listed at its correct weight of 44.52 carats, became part of the collection of the Anglo-Dutch financier Henry Philip Hope. Most scholars have come to believe that the Hope Diamond is a recut version of the original French Blue.

Tuesday Teasers

Tuesday Teasers is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page. Share two sentences somewhere between lines 7 and 12 and the title of the book that you’re getting the teaser from. Please avoid spoilers! Read the official Tuesday Teaser Rules.

My teaser is from Drood by Dan Simmons, page 107:

Dickens lowered the shield over most of the bullseye's lens and gestured for me to follow him. The paving stones on this lower, older level of the catacombs were uneven, and several times I had to use my stick to brace myself from falling. Just around the bend in the corridor, more main passageways branched to the right and left.

I am absolutely loving this book! It's a hefty tome but so far (I'm on page 300 of 775 pages) it's been worth lugging around.

Not a Mailbox Monday or Books Bought meme but....

It is a books received post. I got a few books for Christmas but the ones that really surprised me were those I received from the Book Blogger Holiday Swap and the LT Secret Santa. I already posted about the Holiday Swap books so I thought I would do one for LT the Secret Santa since again I was very impressed with the Santa's choices for me. I recognize that it's not easy to book shop for someone who owns a bookstore but both Santas managed to give me books that I did not already own. And the LT Secret Santa got me books that I hadn't even heard of but are books that I would've bought had I seen them. So, thank you to my LT Secret Santa!

The first book she chose is called Of Bees and Mist and is written by Erick Setiawan.

From the book's website:

Erick Setiawan’s debut is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree over a period of thirty years—their galvanic love and passion, their shifting alliances, their superstitions and complex domestic politics—and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality. An astonishing debut, Of Bees and Mist is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and entirely memorable.

This book looks really good. You can read the first chapter here. I've only read the first page and I can tell I'm going to enjoy this book.

The second book I received is The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque by Jeffrey Ford.

From the publisher's website:
A mysterious and richly evocative novel, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque tells the story of portraitist Piero Piambo, who is offered a commission unlike any other. The client is Mrs. Charbuque, a wealthy and elusive woman who asks Piambo to paint her portrait, though with one bizarre twist: he may question her at length on any topic, but he may not, under any circumstances, see her. So begins an astonishing journey into Mrs. Charbuque's world and the world of 1893 New York society in this hypnotically compelling literary thriller.

This book, set in NYC, which for me is an added attraction, sounds deliciously mysterious and I can't wait to read it.

Once again, thank you to my LT Secret Santa for your brilliant book choices!

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard

From the publisher's website:

In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman--and never went home again.

Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak's pink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce? LUNCH IN PARIS is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs--one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world's most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate soufflé) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart.

Peppered with mouth-watering recipes for summer ratatouille, swordfish tartare and molten chocolate cakes, Lunch in Paris is a story of falling in love, redefining success and discovering what it truly means to be at home. In the delicious tradition of memoirs like A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, this book is the perfect treat for anyone who has dreamed that lunch in Paris could change their life.
I like books centered around food so Lunch in Paris sounds great to me!

Book Blogger Holiday Swap

Well the holidays are over but I have one last post to do for the Book Blogger Holiday Swap. I posted previously about the gift I received just before Christmas. I decided to wait to open the package so I posted a picture of the still-wrapped contents. I'm doing a post now to show what was in the box and to thank my Santa for the lovely gifts!

The package was from Belgium. There was a note accompanying the box (as I also mentioned in the first post about this) that said it was difficult to choose a book for someone who owns a bookstore. This is true and was not something I'd really thought about before. (My husband and I only opened the store last fall.) Well, my Secret Santa was very successful in choosing a book for me. It was Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I do (well...did) not own it and my store does not have it. But I have picked that book up in bookstores many times, looked at it, read the back and then thought, next time I'm in I'll get it. One time I was even carrying it around intending to buy it but was in a rush so didn't. I'm a bit of a foodie, I have approximately 300 cookbooks and love to read memoirs by chefs so this was the perfect book to get me!

Also in the package was a lovely box of Belgium specialty chocolates. I say 'was' because the chocolates are long gone. I can tell you though that they were delicious wafers of pure heaven, some filled with delectable hints of orange, caramel and pistachio.

The last item in the box was a package of cookies that my daughter and I shared. They had a sponge toffee flavour and crispy texture. Soooo good! The note mentioned that this cookie is in the likeness of Belgium's Saint Nic. The cookies are called Speculoos and they are Belgian molded spice cookies. I've never had them before and my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Thank you to the wonderful blogger who sent me this package. I hope your holidays were filled with love, laughter and wonderful days and the new year brings everything you wish for!

BookBound ♣ ♣ ♣ Mamanunes Templates ♣ ♣ ♣ Inspira��o: Templates Ipietoon
Ilustra��o: Gatinhos - tubes by Jazzel (Site desativado)