Monday, July 30, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday currently is on tour, and this month’s host is Mrs. Q: Book Addict.

Here's a look at my most recent acquisitions.

Nightingale Wood, by Stella Gibbons - by the author of the absolutely fabulous Cold Comfort Farm, the novel has been recommended by people whose taste in books runs similarly to mine.  Here's the Amazon blurb:
Poor, lovely Viola has been left penniless and alone after her late husband's demise, and is forced to live with his family in their joy­less home. Its occupants are nearly insufferable: Mr. Withers is a tyrannical old miser; Mrs. Withers dismisses her as a common shop girl; and Viola's sisters-in-law, Madge and Tina, are too preoccupied with their own troubles to give her much thought. Only the prospect of the upcoming charity ball can lift her spirits-especially as Victor Spring, the local prince charming, will be there. But Victor's intentions towards the young widow are, in short, not quite honorable.
Simply irresistable, and it will be a fun respite from the serious Civil War related reading that has consumed me lately.

Drood, by Dan Simmons - this sounds absolutely wonderful and is a nice appropriate followup to the Claire Tomalin bio of Dickens that I finished in June and Bleak House, which I read in the spring.  Here's a bit from the New Yorker review, courtesy of Amazon:
In this creepy intertextual tale of professional jealousy and possible madness, Wilkie Collins tells of his friendship and rivalry with Charles Dickens, and of the mysterious phantasm named Edwin Drood, who pursues them both. Drood, cadaverous and pale, first appears at the scene of a railway accident in which Dickens was one of the few survivors; later, Dickens and Collins descend into London�s sewer in search of his lair. Meanwhile, a retired police detective warns Collins that Drood is responsible for more than three hundred murders, and that he will destroy Dickens in his quest for immortality. Collins is peevish, vain, and cruel, and the most unreliable of narrators: an opium addict, prone to nightmarish visions. The narrative is overlong, with discarded subplots and red herrings, but Simmons, a master of otherworldly suspense, cleverly explores envy�s corrosive effects.

I'm thinking this will be a good prelude to a book I hope to acquire and read by year's end: Unequal Partners: Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Victorian Authorship.

The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy L. Sayers - I haven't read a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery in years and it's high time I indulged in such a treat.  Besides there's a book club at my church and this is their selection for September and I'm hoping to attend the meeting.

Here's another quote from Amazon reviews:
Missing emeralds, unexpected corpses, a cryptogran, erudition, a touch of the macabre, an old church with ringing bells, and Peter Wimsy performing feats of deduction and exercising his freakish humor. A fine bit of writing, a good story, and at the same time a rattling good mystery.

First Family, by Joseph J. Ellis - a bio of Abigail and John Adams.  I read David McCullough's bio of John Adams last year, and then watched the mini-series...twice!  I am an Adams family fan, and hate that he is given such short shrift by the Washingtonians, Jeffersonians, and even Jacksonians.  Even the National Park Service lets Adams down.  After our visit to Concord earlier this month, we drove to Quincy to see the birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams as well as PeaceField, the farm that Adams retired to with Abigail.  I expected a full-fledged park and not just a sign. The birthplaces are particularly sad--just sitting there on a busy street corner with barely a marker to note their significance.  Peacefield was slightly better, but it also fell far short of my expectations.


  1. I love that red ribbon on Nightingale. It really catches your eye.

    Happy reading!

  2. A nice mix of books.

  3. Drood does sound wonderful. I am also a fan of the Adams.

  4. Just love the cover of Nightingale Wood! I've only read one or two of Stella Gibbons' short stories - would love to read her novels one of these days. Enjoy your new books.

  5. Cold Comfort Farm is one of my all time favorites. Good reminder to find her other books!

    I was frustrated by Drood, but think I enjoyed it more than I didn't. Sounds like a good one to read before you read the non-fiction version.

    I'm reading through the Wimsey books in order and just pulled the fourth one off my shelf. I won't get to it for a while, but it is in the stack for vacation.

    That Ellis book is on my TBR shelf. We really do have similar book tastes!

    Happy reading!

  6. "The First Family" looks great. I also read McCullough's biography of Adams and a few other books on related subjects. I actually think that when all is said and done, Adam, though grouchy, was the most decent of the major founders.

    I thought that Ellis's "His Excellency: George Washington" was also a very good biography.

  7. The Nine Tailors looks good.

    Nice mailbox.

    Stopping by from Mrs. Q's blog.

    Silver's Reviews

  8. I tried to read The Nine Tailors once, and I think I just wasn't in the mood for it. I need to give her books another go someday.

  9. I loved Cold Comfort Farm but never thought to look for anything else Gibbons wrote. Can't wait to hear what you think. I've got First Family on loan from my mom - when you get ready to read it, let me know. I'd love to read it at the same time so we could talk about it.