Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

I broke down and ordered some new books for only the second time in two years. So you can tell that that I've lusted after them for some time.

In my mailbox this week:


Hiroshima, Mon Amour by Marguerite Duras France 1960 (112 pages)

A play in fact,
that was produced as a film in 1959 and won acclaim around the world. I tried for two years to get it through Bookmooch and thought I'd succeeded but it went astray in the mail and never arrived. It's about a French woman who falls in love with a Japanese man-in 1957 after visiting Hiroshima. The book contains dozens of photographs from the film and it's hard not to look at them toward the end before I read it. I have never seen the movie, foreign films have never played where I live. At only 112 pages, including photos, I am saving it for a day when all the men are out of the house and I have some quiet.

Strange Comfort: Essays on the Work of Malcolm Lowry by Sherrill Grace Canada 2009 (223 pages)

Malcolm Lowry is the one writer that I wish everyone would read. I own and have read all of his books. Under the Volcano is the only one well know to many but his others are so beautifully written that I can't get enough of him. Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place is as powerful a group of stories as you'll find. Dark as the Grave Wherein My Friend Is Laid, October Ferry to Gabriola, Lunar Caustic, and Ultramarine, are his other novels. If you've got something on your shelves by him that you haven't read, please do try him. He feeds something in me. I look forward to a long rainy day to enough these essays on his work.

American Jewish Fiction Guide by Josh Lambert US 2009 (200 pages)

An easy to read reference to hundreds of titles and authors, with several handy indices. Many of my favourites are discussed, though briefly. Cynthia Ozick, Chaim Potok, Tillie Olsen, Paul Auster, Leslie Fiedler; they're all there and many I have yet to read- Dara Horn, Francine Prose, I'm so excited about this one.

La Piece de Resistance:

On Sledge and Horseback to Outcast Siberian Lepers by Kate Marsden UK 1892 (243 pages)

I've had a personal interest in leprosy since I was a child and loved what few books (especially novels) that I could find on the subject. I found this on e-bay some years ago at an exorbitant price. One of the online book sellers had one left and while I dithered about the price someone else purchased it. There ensued a long period when none were available. I knew I was
waiting for another press run as soon as it appeared on a university curriculum in women's studies. I mean what a virago. This is her personal account of a daunting voyage and her work with the suffering in Russia, only one of the places she served the sick and dying. A nice new copy is now in my hands and once I start it, nothing will distract me.


The Apple by Penelope J. Holt US 2009 (180 pages)

The author asked me to review this one,
probably because of my interest in Jewish Holocaust history and literature. I'm not accepting arcs but how could I resist hearing the facts after that shamozzle about Herman Rosenblat's memoir being canceled? And that is a cover that I would buy a book for, a rare thing for me.

"Based on real events, The Apple tells Herman Rosenblat's story of survival, his Holocaust tale of love, and also the story behind the story. What was the real love and which the dream of love that kept the boy, Herman, alive in the ghettoes and Nazi concentration and slave-labor camps of Poland and Germany? Why did Herman construct his singular account as he did? And is it ever permissible for a survivor to intersperse fact with fiction in order to tolerate personal history?"

Personally, I would have read Herman Rosenblat's memoir and not cared a fig to find out that parts of it were fiction. For one thing, a good story is a good story (assuming that it was). Secondly, I've read a ton of fiction by Holocaust survivors in which they used their personal experience as part of it. It's a privilege to hear what those who can bear to even write about it have to say-either way. I look forward to what The Apple has to tell us.


A Perfectly Good Family by Lionel Shriver US 1996 (293 pages)

From The Olive Reader, the Harper Perennial blog. I was very impressed with We
Need to Talk About Kevin. I'm definitely going to read more of her books, including her new one, So Much for That (Hardcover), to be released by Harper on March 9, 2010. Thank you Harper Perenniel. A Perfectly Good Family will keep me busy until then- while I look for more ways of winning, swapping etc. for her other books. I'm so excited I don't where to start.

Do any of these
interest you? Leave a link to any you've reviewed. I'd love to read them.


  1. I've never heard of Hiroshima, Mon Amour before, but it sounds fascinating.

  2. I can see why the cover to The Apple appealed to you. It is just beautiful. Have a great week and happy reading! My MM is here

  3. The only one I've heard of is The Apple. The others look good!

  4. I'm so impressed that you went that long without buying any books. Those books should feel extra special! Enjoy!

  5. I have not heard of any of these, but they look worth checking out in more detail --enjoy!

  6. Great hual - I hope you enjoy them all!

    Here's my mailbox:

  7. These are all new to me titles. They all sound interesting! Enjoy!

  8. The cover of The Apple looks beautiful. Also, very impressed by your book buying. I have no control, well very little control.

    Enjoy your books!

  9. What a lovely batch of books! I'm drooling over them, especially A Perfectly Good Family. I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

    My mailbox haul is here.

  10. Great mailbox! Enjoy your books.

  11. what a nice week! enjoy.

    Want to enter my Book Lover's Basket Giveaway?? It would help my family a ton in the long run too!!


  12. Wow,, you have a great variety of books!
    I hope you enjoy them all! And congrats on the win!

  13. I loved "We Need to Talk About Kevin." I'll definitely have to check out "A Perfectly Good Family."

  14. Looks like you got some great books to get started on. Hiroshima, Mon Amour by Marguerite Duras is the most intriguing for me in this list.

  15. A book that talks about jewish fiction books? I'm not sure I understand what's interesting about that.

    Not sure if you know but I am holding the Jewish Literature Challenge this year but it started late so the time period is different.

    My Mailbox Monday post.

  16. Re "The Apple" by Penelope Holt, I am taken aback by your comment that you would have read Herman Rosenblat's memoir "and not cared a fig to find out that parts of it were fiction."

    As a survivor of six German concentration camps and an author of a Holocaust memoir, I can tell you that what concerns us most is that we leave behind a record that is the truth. I came across the Herman and Roma Rosenblat hoax almost two years ago and it instantly did not pass my smell test. Parts of it were totally implausible and parts were contrary to known historical facts. I worked together with several Holocaust scholars to debunk this phony tale and we were finally successful at the end of 2008 when several respected publications published their exposes.

    "The Apple" attempts to accomplish two things. One, to discover the "why" of the hoax, and two, to recount the true tale of the six-year ordeal of the Rosenblat family. In my view Penelope Holt succeeds in the second aim, while the full truth about the "why" still remains to be told.

    I look forward to reading your reaction to "The Apple" after you have read it.



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