Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And the TBR Pile Grows and Grows ...

My to-do list at work today included a stop at the resale shop that my workplace runs and once again, the damnedest thing happened. There's some sort of magnetic pull between me and the used books shelf in the corner. I can't possibly imagine why or how this phenomenon happens.

Here's what caught my eye and a few dollars from my paycheck this afternoon (each synopsis is from

The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
This bestselling and innovative debut novel from Audrey Niffenegger explores the perfect marriage, one that is tested by challenges the couple can neither control nor predict. An imaginative extension of everyday life, the story asks: What if two people who loved each other deeply, married, and faced a life in which one person remained constant while the other slipped fluidly in and out of time? A modern love story with a twist that invites us to linger over questions of how life and love change over time.

I'm the last person to read this, right? I'm sure of it.

The Miracles of Santo Fico, by D.L. Smith

The magic of Chocolat meets the charm of Il Postino in this love story set in a forgotten Tuscan village, brimming with unforgettable characters, an enchanting setting, and more than one happy ending. When Leo Pizzola returns from America to Santo Fico—a tiny, forgotten village in Tuscany—he discovers more than the now neglected vineyard of his childhood. There's Marta, Leo's first and only true love, who will barely speak to him now; Topo, his once trusting, but now leery, best friend; and Father Elio, the village's pillar of faith who is experiencing a spiritual crisis all his own. When Leo and Topo are forced to orchestrate a series of manmade miracles—each more botched than the last—the end results are truly. . . miraculous. The Miracles Of Santo Fico pours forth with the stories of a village that is rediscovering the beauty of life itself and the nature and meaning of miracles.

Never heard of this novel, or D.L. Smith (this is his debut novel) but doesn't this look interesting? How could I resist it for $1.00?

Shut Up & Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN Are Subverting America, by Laura Ingraham

Tired of the Hollywood Left-and the vast network of liberals in elite positions-who always bad mouth America? Well, so is feisty radio sensation Laura Ingraham-and she has the answers in this pugnacious, funny, and devastating critique of the liberals who hate America.

I've never listened to Laura Ingraham nor do I know much about her, but I do like the premise of her book.

And I also picked up two books for The Dean ...

October 1964, by David Halberstam

In 1989 David Halberstam published Summer of '49, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller. It was a compelling portrait of baseball in an America as yet unchanged by affluence, technology, and social progress. The players, almost all white, had been raised in harsh circumstances, the games were played in the afternoon on grass and were broadcast on radio, the teams traveled by train, and the owners had dictatorial power over the players. Here also was the story of the Yankees winning the first of their pennants under Casey Stengel before going on to become baseball's greatest dynasty. October 1964 is Halberstam's exciting new book about baseball -- this time about the last season of that Yankee dynasty. Like the previous book, it is both sports and history, and it is a fascinating account of an electrifying baseball championship against the background of profound social change. The Yankees, like most American League teams, reflected the status quo and, in contrast to the National League teams, had been slow to sign the new great black players (indeed, for a time, their best scouts were ordered not to sign them). Though the Yankees boasted such great names as Mantle, Maris, and Ford, theirs was an aging team: Mantle, hobbled by injuries, was facing his last hurrah in post-season play. By contrast, the St. Louis Cardinals were a young tough team on the ascent, featuring talented black players -- Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, Lou Brock, and Bill White -- who were changing the very nature of the game with their unprecedented speed and power. Halberstam has once again given us an absorbing tale of an exciting season and a great Word Series that reflected a changing era in both baseball and the rest of society as well: The fabric that insulated baseball from the turmoil in the rest of the country was beginning to tear. We get intimate vignettes not only of the players but also of the scouts who signed them including the black scouts who had been denied the chance.

The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World 1788-1800, by Jay Winik
It is an era that redefined history. As the 1790s began, a fragile America teetered on the brink of oblivion, Russia towered as a vast imperial power, and France plunged into monumental revolution. But none of these remarkable events occurred in isolation. In The Great Upheaval, acclaimed historian Jay Winik masterfully illuminates how their fates combined in one extraordinary moment to change the course of civilization.
Winik brings his vast, meticulous research and narrative genius to the cold, dark battlefields and deadly clashes of ideologies that defined this age. Here is a savage world war, the toppling of a great dynasty, and an America struggling to survive at home and abroad. Here, too, is the first modern Holy War between Islam and a resurgent Christian empire. And here is the richest cast of characters ever to walk upon the world stage: Washington and Jefferson, Louis XVI and Robespierre, Catherine the Great, Adams, Napoleon, and Selim III. Exquisitely written and utterly compelling, The Great Upheaval vividly depicts an arc of revolutionary fervor stretching from Philadelphia and Paris to St. Petersburg and Cairo—with fateful results. A landmark in historical literature, Winik's gripping, epic portrait of this tumultuous decade will forever transform the way we see America's beginnings and our world.


kristen said...

I had to put my own TBR pile behind closed doors. I couldn't even look at it anymore, staggering up to the ceiling, taunting me and my inability to get motivated. *sigh*

DemMom said...

I.Love.The.Time.Traveler's.Wife. Favorite book in years. And I listened to it, didn't read it. Hope you enjoy! I'm liking Look Me in the Eye.

Florinda said...

No, you won't be the last person to read The Time Traveller's Wife - because that will be me. I still haven't been lured to that one...not sure why.

J.C. Montgomery said...

Oh I hope you get to Audrey Niffenegger's book first! One of my most favorite reads.

I'd advise having hankies handy. You know, just in case, uhm, you suddenly get allergies or something. Ahem.