Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mailbox Monday and Giveaway

Thanks for joining me for Mailbox Monday! I also have a new GIVEAWAY this week and three winners of last week's giveaway.  Keep reading through the post to find all the goodies.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. (Library books don’t count, but eBooks & audiobooks do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists!
Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, who graciously hosted it for a long, long time, before turning it into a touring meme (details here). I am very pleased to host this month.

Please leave the link to your Mailbox Monday post with Mr. Linky. If you do not have a blog, leave your mailbox list in a comment.


I had three copies to give away of Strange Relation: A Memoir of Marriage, Dementia, and Poetry by Rachel Hadas.  This looks like an incredible book -- a great book club choice, I would think.

THE BOOK: In 2004 Rachel Hadas's husband, George Edwards, a composer and professor of music at Columbia University, was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at the age of sixty-one. STRANGE RELATION is her account of "losing" George. Her narrative begins when George's illness can no longer be ignored, and ends in 2008 soon after his move to a dementia facility (when after thirty years of marriage, Hadas finds herself no longer living with her husband). Within the confines of those difficult years, years when reading and writing were an essential part of what kept her going, she "tried to keep track....tried to tell the truth."

THE WINNERS:  Using, I picked the following winners of this compelling memoir:

Thank you to all who participated and congratulations to the winners!  I will contact you shortly.


Again thanks to book publicist extraordinaire, Mary Bisbee-Beek, I have three copies of Emotional Currency: A Woman's Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship with Money by Kate Levinson, PhD.  I confess I had to read the title twice -- at first I read it as using money to build a relationship, which would be pretty nefarious. :)

THE BOOK: Emotional Currency gives women the tools to understand – and challenge – their psychological relationship with money so they can make smarter decisions about their current and future financial responsibilities.
Here’s the book every woman (and most men) need: a clear, thoughtful, and beautifully-written guide for how to cope with the myriad of emotions caused by money. Kate Levinson – practicing therapist and businesswoman –shows how money is both mercilessly public and intimately personal – stirring up our deepest feelings about dependence and independence, status, attractiveness, and terrifying confusion between net worth and self worth. Women in today’s economy are especially vulnerable because of gender biases in the workplace, patterns of parenting and upbringing that assume women do not “handle” financial matters well, and social norms that still disapprove of money-wise women. This book is a wise and important antidote.
Robert B. Reich
Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy
Goldman School of Public Policy
University of California, Berkeley

RULES: The contest is open until Sunday, January 23, 2011. To enter, do any or all of the following, but you must leave a comment for each one:

1. Leave a comment on this post. You must include a way to contact you (email or website address in your comment or available in your profile). If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner. (1 entry)

2. Blog about this giveaway. (Posting the giveaway on your sidebar is also acceptable.) Leave a separate comment with a link to your post. (1 entry)

3. Subscribe to my rss feed, follow me on blogger, or subscribe via email (or tell me if you already are a subscriber or follower). Leave a separate comment for this. (1 entry)

4. Tweet this post on Twitter. Leave me a separate comment with your twitter user name. (1 entry)

5. Stumble this blog, digg it, technorati fave it, or link it on facebook. Leave a separate comment. (1 entry)

There are a lot of ways to enter (maximum of five entries), but you must LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT for each one or they will not count. I will use to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is open to entries from the U.S. and Canada only. The deadline for entry is 9:00 PM, Pacific Time, on Sunday, January 23, 2011. I will draw and post the winner's name in my Mailbox Monday post for January 24, 2011.


I ended up with several new books last week, some that came in the mail, some that I picked up while I was traveling in the Bay Area for work.

The Losing Role by Steve Anderson.  WWII espionage from the German point of view. I got it for Hubby but am going to read it myself first.  See my interview of the author here.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. This is my Book Club book this week and will be the first book I don't read before we meet. I had it on hold at the library and realized too late that it wouldn't get here in time.  Neither did the one I ordered.  Oh well.

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.  This is a fancy, annotated edition.  Apparently Santa didn't remember that I asked for this for Christmas, so I had to take matters into my own hands.  I only recently read this for the first time and fell in love with it (review here).

Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais. I read this in college and am not likely to read it again, but I found this Modern Library Giant edition on the "take one, leave one" shelf at my hotel and convinced myself that I would reread it.  I must have been inspired by staying a block from the Berkeley campus.

The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen.  The Friends of the Berkeley Library bookstore was also only a block from my hotel. I found this one and the Buckley novel, below.

Getting it Right by William F. Buckley, Jr.

Exit Lady Masham by Louis Auchincloss. I also went to Moe's Books on Telegraph Ave. and found this beautiful edition that goes with the fancy books I got for Christmas.

Review of the Day: The Palace Council

The Palace Council by Stephen L. Carter is not what it looks like it is going to be. It has a cover on it like a typical political thriller. And the book descriptions support that supposition with lines like "a suspenseful story of secret societies [and] political intrigue" and "the machinations of spies and assassins."

But political thrillers aren't usually narrated by two-time National Book Award winners or have a plot that stretches over 20 years. The hero is Eddie Wesley, a prominent writer and member of African-American high society during the twilight of the Harlem Renaissance. Yes, Wesley solves a murder mystery, hunts for his missing sister, and tries to discover the secrets of an enigmatic clandestine society, the Palace Council. But he also hangs out with Langston Hughes, writes eight or ten serious novels and a scathing critique of the Vietnam War, and spends decades analyzing the sociology of black intellectuals while mooning over his lost girlfriend.

There is violence and intrigue aplenty, with a plot involving J. Edgar Hoover, Cold War spies, all the Kennedys, Nixon, Vietnam, domestic terrorists, and an elaborate, but never fully explained, plan by the Palace Council to control it all. Someday. There are so many moving parts it is hard to follow them all, and several key pieces never fall into place.

But it is not the shaggy plot that makes the book worthwhile, it is the opportunity to consider Mid-Century American culture and politics from the perspective of African-American academics, politicos, and social mavens. This atypical point-of-view makes The Palace Council stand out from others in the genre.

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