June 25, 2010

Friday Finds: Queens and Bohemians

I found some great-looking books lately on your blogs! Here are just a few of the books you've got me adding to Mt. TBR:

Found at The Burton Review
Queen's Hereafter by Susan Fraser King
The story of Margaret, the Hungarian-born Saxon princess who married Malcolm Canmore, King of Scots, bringing reform and foreign ways to Scotland—Queen Hereafter is also a tale of Margaret’s friendship and rivalry with Eva, a Scottish harper, and Eva’s kinswoman, the former Queen Gruadh, known as Lady Macbeth.

Found at things mean a lot
Tamar by Mal Peet
Tamar is historical novel, partially set during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War. Tamar is the code-name of a Dutch man who lived in England before the war began, and who’s sent to his home country as a spy in 1944. His mission is to help reorganize the Dutch resistance and undermine German authority until the Allies arrive, while his companion, Dart, is a radio operator who reports back to London. Tamar is also a story set in England in the 1990’s, about a fifteen-year-old girl who is herself named Tamar and whose beloved grandfather, a spy during WW2, has committed suicide following his wife’s dementia. Using a box her grandfather left her to guide her, Tamar uncovers a story that goes back to the wartime period of which her grandparents never spoke, and whose repercussions have impacted her family more than she can imagine.

Found at things mean a lot
Among the Bohemians by Virginia Nicholson
Too much reverence can estrange us from the object of our worship. I, for one, love to be brought up close – to touch, to taste, if possible to smell the lives of people from the past. I want to know how they coped. I want to compare my life with theirs. I want to feel I could have known them. This appetite for identification with history is important. A sense of contact brings with it a sympathy which helps us to understand our own links with the past.(Isn’t that a wonderful quote? I love books that allow me to feel that kind of connection with the past. And this is certainly one of them.) Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939 is a vivid and engaging portrayal of Bohemian life in the early twentieth-century.

Found at Serendipity
Fair Play by Tove Jansson
onna had a happy habit of waking each morning as if to a new life., which stretched before her straight through to evening, clean, untouched, rarely shadowed by yesterday's worries and mistakes.
Another habit - or rather a gift, equally surprising - was her flood of unexpected and completely spontaneous ideas. Each lived and blossomed powerfully for a time until suddenly swept aside by a new impulse demanding its own undeniable space.

There is something about a Tove Jansson book that leaves you quiet and contemplative. I always feel a calmness float over me when I have finished one of her books. Her stories are not fast and thrill seeking, but they hold my attention all the way through. I suppose the best way to describe the books of Tove Jansson are slow but steady, like drifting gently down a winding lazy river, allowing you to take in all the aspects of the world around you as you pass, using all your senses to feel your way along.

Found at BookNAround
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin
Blind acceptance splinters a polygamous marriage in Shoneyin's gripping debut set in modern-day Nigeria. Bolanle Alao, the newest and youngest of Baba Segi's wives, threatens to upset the balance of power--she is educated and beautiful, though naïve about the relationship dynamics among the other three wives in the house. Raped at 15, Bolanle considers herself disgraced and unwanted until Baba Segi, an overweight, malodorous businessman welcomes her into his family, no questions asked, until it seems she cannot conceive. Like the other wives, she feels she has been saved by Baba Segi, who accepts all of them politely, but beyond brief mentions of his sexual encounters and visits to the toilet, Baba Segi is a peripheral character. When greedy Iya Segi and Iya Femi plot to run young, sweet Bolanle out of the family, the result is disaster. It is Bolanle's unexpected submissiveness that leads her and her husband to uncover a secret that forces him to assert his control over the family. Shoneyin masterfully disentangles four distinct stories, only to subtly expose what is common among them.

Found at Bookend Diaries
The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
Half-sisters Cassie and Peck could not be more different. Cassie is a newly divorced journalist with her feet firmly planted on the ground; Peck is a vintage-obsessed actress with her head in the clouds. In fact, the only thing they seem to have in common is their inheritance of Fool's House, a rundown cottage left to them by their beloved Aunt Lydia. But Cassie and Peck can't afford the house, and they can't agree on anything, much less what to do with the place. Plus, along with the house, they've inherited an artist-in-residence and self-proclaimed genius named Biggsy who seems to bring suspiciously bad luck wherever he goes. As these two likable sisters try to understand their aunt's puzzling instructions to "seek a thing of utmost value" from within the house, they're both distracted by romantic entanglements with men from their pasts. The Summer We Read Gatsby, set in the end-of-an-era summer of 2008, is filled with fabulous parties, eccentric characters, and insider society details that showcase Ganek's pitch-perfect sense of style and wit.


  1. I have Among The Bohemians and got quite a bit through it. I loved it. so interesting!

  2. I can't wait for Queen Hereafter! I LOVED Lady MacBeth!

    Good finds Rebecca!

  3. Great finds! I've had my eye on The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives.

  4. Summer We Read Gatsby sounds very good!!

  5. I have heard good things about The Summer We Read Gatsby -- enjoy!

  6. The Summer we Read Gatsby sounds like it could be really interesting!

  7. Wow, Rebecca, I have not been by in so long...been away from the blogs...but your new page looks fabulous! Maybe it's not new...lol, but new to me :)

    You truly do have the best book blog in town!
    Rebecca, Queen of the Books...I like that :)
    Hope all is well and great picks!

    I'm doing my first Giveaway at my blog..."The Help." If you haven't read it, it's wonderful! Come by and sign up to win :)

    Hugs to You

  8. Great list.. and now you've added to mine!


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