Friday Finds – January 29, 2010

Welcome to Friday Finds hosted by Jenn at Should Be Reading. It has been a long time since I’ve participated in this meme and I have quite a few *starred* items in my Google Reader…books which have caught my attention through fantastic reviews and ticklers.

Clicking on book titles will take you to Amazon where you can read more information about the book; clicking on the featured blogger will take you to their review or post about the book.

To join Friday Finds, visit Jenn’s post today and link up!

The Courilof Affair by Irene Nemirovsky caught my eye through a review by Booklover Book Reviews who wrote: ‘Don’t let the lack of words used (only 168 pages) fool you – Nemirovsky delivers a powerful message through the telling of this story. In her usual beautiful prose (credit must also go to translator Sandra Smith) she does much more than relate historical events and experiences of our narrating character at the dusk of his life – she evokes a mood.‘ I’ve read two books by this author and loved them both. I will definitely be putting this on my TBR pile!

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton was reviewed by Chris at Book-A-Rama who wrote: ‘The Custom of the Country is mostly a feminist novel but it’s also a satirical look at wealth: the rising nouveau riche of America and the fading old families of New York and Europe. They are all subject to their own follies.‘ I just finished reading The House of Mirth (read my review) and Wharton is one of my favorite classic writers. Thanks for the great review, Chris…you’ve added another one to my wish list!

Fall of the Giants by Ken Follett came to my attention through a tickler on Passages to the Past. This book is the first in a projected trilogy which follows five interrelated families – one American, one Russian, one German, one English and one Welsh – beginning during WWI and the Russian Revolution. I LOVE Follett’s writing. This book gets released in September 2010 and will definitely be making its way onto my TBR pile.

Forgetting English by Midge Raymond was reviewed in December by Ti at Book Chatter. She wrote: ‘I am not a fan of short fiction but every now and then I give it a try and usually I am disappointed. That said, I was not disappointed by Forgetting English. In fact, I was so mesmerized by the beauty of the writing that I spent an entire morning on the couch enjoying it. From one story to the next, I found myself completely and utterly absorbed. Each story is so different and yet there are common themes…insecurity, yearning, shame and the need to escape.‘ I love finding good collections of short stories, and Ti’s review made me sit up and take notice of this one. On to my wish list it goes!

Stranger Here Below by Joyce Hinnefeld caught my eye at Amy’s blog My Friend Amy. Hinnefeld’s previous novel In Hovering Flight was my top read in 2009 (read my review) and I am thrilled to see she will be publishing another novel in the Fall of 2010. This latest book is about a young women, one haunted by the past, who forges a troubled friendship in Kentucky in the early 1960s. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! *sorry there is no link to Amazon yet!*

Beside A Burning Sea by John Shors was reviewed by Carrie at Books and Movies who wrote: ‘Shors’ strength obviously lies in writing character and in understanding people, no matter their heritage or background. I loved so many of these characters…‘ I adore historical fiction which has wonderful characters, and this book seems like it would be a good fit for me. Thanks for the great review, Carrie!

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden was reviewed way back in November by Books and Other Stuff who wrote: ‘This novel really deserved winning the Giller Prize, and I can’t wait for next part of the trilogy.Through Black Spruce is the second book in a trilogy and centers around Native American Will Bird. It sounds like an amazing book.

The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan was reviewed over at Beth Fish Reads in November. This is a children’s book which can be enjoyed by adults as well. Beth writes: ‘Although The Rabbits is the winner of The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Picture Book of the Year award, the sparsely told story addresses adult and universal issues.‘ and ‘I recommend this book for parents who like to discuss political and environmental issues with their children and to anyone who loves beautiful art. The paintings are incredible, and I will turn to this book many times to study the details.‘ Doesn’t this sound incredible???

A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn got a terrific review at Reactions to Reading who wrote: ‘This is yet another book that has everything I look for in my crime fiction and had me alternating between indignant mutterings under my breath, heart-in-my-mouth fear and more than a few tears.‘ This crime fiction novel is one that I don’t want to miss.

That sums up my most recent finds! What are yours??

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    • Ti on January 29, 2010 at 09:43

    Thanks for the shout-out! I hope you enjoy Forgetting English as much as I did.

    • Alayne on January 29, 2010 at 09:45

    Ooh lots of goodies for you. My finds are at The Crowded Leaf.

    • MizB on January 29, 2010 at 09:52

    Glad you were able to play along, today, Wendy! And, btw, Through Black Spruce is one of the books that my f2f book group put up as a possible choice for this year’s reads (it didn’t get chosen, though). The woman who suggested it really enjoyed it, and the way she talked about it made me add it to my TBR list, immediately! 🙂


  1. Thanks for linking to my review! I hope you get a chance to read Beside a Burning Sea- and that you enjoy it as much as I did!

    • Mary on January 29, 2010 at 11:24

    I need to look up the Nemirovsky. I liked Suite Francais.
    Nice finds!

  2. Ooh, there are lots of great-sounding books on your list! I’m particularly interested in Forgetting English and A Beautiful Place to Die.

    • mee on January 29, 2010 at 13:41

    I just borrowed the Rabbits from the library last week 🙂

    • Sandra on January 29, 2010 at 16:09

    I especially want to read the Hinnefeld book, I reviewed and loved In Hovering Flight. Through Black Spruce, also reviewed, was a wonderful story. Hope you enjoy them.

  3. Thanks for the link and I hope you enjoy A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE as much as I did. I’ve been trying to plough through my TBR bookcase rather than find any more books to read so I don’t have a Friday Find for you

  4. Those are wonderful finds!

    Friday Find: The Ravenous Audience by Kate Durbin

    • Wendy on January 31, 2010 at 09:12

    Ti: You’re welcome! I am always looking for new short story collections – that one looks fantastic!

    Alayne: *nods* I’ll be over to visit sometime today 🙂

    Jenn: I’ve seen Black Spruce on several blogs – and it always seems to call to me. Your story just cements the fact that this is a book I should get.

    Carrie: You’re welcome! I hope I will like it too – it looks like my kind of book 🙂

    Mary: I am definitely interested in reading more Nemirovsky!

    Avisannschild: Glad they spoke to you – those two books look really good!

    Mee: Oh, I’ll look forward to your thoughts on it!

    Sandra: Another vote for Black Spruce (*makes note to get that book SOONER rather than later). Like you, I was so blown away by Hinnefeld’s book – I can’t wait to read her next one!

    Bernadette: You’re welcome! Oh, I’m with you about trying to shrink the TBR stacks in my bedroom (they are TOWERING!!)…but I have no resistance to adding more *sighs*

    Gautami: Thanks, I think so too…will be over to see yours today!

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