Saturday, February 14, 2009

In My Mailbox (9)

Kristi over at Story Siren asks readers to share what books they received in the mail each week. Most of my books are from book trading sites like and Frugal Reader. I've been away visiting my daughter. When I arrived home, this is what I found:

The Rock and The River by Kekla Magoon. This author is new to me. I won the book courtesy of Doret at The Happy Nappy Bookseller. To receive it, I had to commit to writing a review so stay tuned. Select the link to see Doret's review.

You can check out Ms. Maggon at her blog.

The rest of my stash includes

White Teeth by Zadie Smith. This will be shelved at our library.
... novelist Zadie Smith takes on race, sex, class, history, and the minefield of gender politics, and such is her wit and inventiveness that these weighty subjects seem effortlessly light. She also has an impressive geographical range, guiding the reader from Jamaica to Turkey to Bangladesh and back again.

The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat. I'm a huge Danticat fan. Have wanted to read this for a while. I have read it is not an easy read. We'll see. It will be housed at our library as well.

Haitian-born Danticat's third novel (after The Farming of Bones and Breath, Eyes, Memory) focuses on the lives affected by a "dew breaker," or torturer of Haitian dissidents under Duvalier's regime. Each chapter reveals the titular man from another viewpoint, including that of his grown daughter, who, on a trip she takes with him to Florida, learns the secret of his violent past and those of the Haitian boarders renting basement rooms in his Brooklyn home...

Played by Dana Davidson. Don't normally name drop, but I'm making an exception here. I atteded school with Dana. She was an exceptional student and athlete. You knew she was going to do well at whatever path she chose. She didn't disappointed. This award winning teacher now author teacher has published two YA novels. Glad to have this one. It will be part of our Prize Bucket at Color Online.

Gorgeous Ian Striver is horrified when he receives his final challenge for entry into the FBI, an exclusive fraternity at Cross High School. Not only must he prove that he has gotten plain Kylie Winship, an obvious virgin, to "give it up," but he must also prove that she has fallen in love with him. Although Ian is prepared to fulfill the challenge, he isn't ready to fall in love himself. Neither is Kylie prepared to fall for Ian, who sometimes even humiliates her. Davidson, the author ofJason and Kyra (2004), has written a disturbing, authentic romance. The characters are African American, but the story is focused on plot and characters rather than ethnicity. Direct and affecting, this will pull at readers' heartstrings while also serving as fair warning for teenage girls everywhere.

A Raisin In the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. If you haven't read this classic play or seen it, don't tell anyone and do get it. Got this from paperbackswap for my cousin. She's wanted a copy.

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun written in 1959 is an intriguing, must read play. This play shows the strength of an African-American family's values and ability to stick together. They face many hard things that shock the reader and the audience including an accidental pregnancy. They battle against harsh prejudice and a system that attempts to keep them from having good opportunities to improve their life. Hansberry does a good job of intertwining family hardships with the individuality of each character.

Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson. Woodson is my favorite YA author, period. I've heard a lot about this title and with the release of the sequel, I had to have this. After I read it, it will be shelved at our community library.

Lonnie Collins Motion, the Locomotion of the title, is a New York City fifth grader with a gifted teacher who assigns her class to write different forms of poetry. The house fire that killed Lonnie's parents and the four years of trauma and slow healing that follow are gradually revealed through his writings. In a masterful use of voice, Woodson allows Lonnie's poems to tell a complex story of loss and grief and to create a gritty, urban environment. Despite the spare text, Lonnie's foster mother and the other minor characters are three-dimensional, making the boy's world a convincingly real one. His reflections touch on poverty and on being African American when whites seem to have the material advantages, and return repeatedly to the pain of living apart from his younger sister.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Listen to the audiobook this past summer. Got the paperback for my daughter who shares my interest in self-improvement.

Full of grace and simple truth, this handsomely designed book makes a lovely gift for anyone making an elementary change in life, and it reads in a voice that you would expect from an indigenous shaman. The four agreements are these: Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best. It's the how and why one should do these things that make The Four Agreements worth reading and remembering

The Color of Water by James McBride. Read this when it first published. Got a copy on trade. Will be shelved at our library.

This book is, indeed, a tribute to the author's mother. In it, the author, a man whose mother was white and his father black, tells two stories: that of his mother and his own. Tautly written in spare, clear prose, it is a wonderful story of a bi-racial family who succeeded and achieved the American dream, despite the societal obstacles placed in its way.

Staying Fat for Sarah Bynes by Chris Crutcher. A librarian at Shelfari recommended the author. After reading Whale Talk, I was sold on the author and immediately checked out my second Crutcher novel. Loved this.

An obese boy and a disfigured girl suffer the emotional scars of years of mockery at the hands of their peers. They share a hard-boiled view of the world until events in their senior year hurl them in very different directions. A story about a friendship with staying power, written with pathos and pointed humor.


Sarahbear9789 said...

I really liked Staying Fat for Sarah Bynes by Chris Crutcher.

susan said...

Hi Sarah,Thanks for coming by.

Adele said...

Played sounds like a book that would be right up my alley. Lucky you!

The Ravenous Reader said...

You had an amazing week. I was in the book store yesterday and saw the Rock and the River and after reading the review I am putting it in my "To get next" lists. Thank you :)

susan said...

Thanks RR andADele for coming by.

Hope. said...

A Raisin in the Sun! Oh my goodness, I love that book. I had to read it for my history class this year, and I loved it... almost as much as I love Animal Farm, which is one of my all-time favorite classics. :)


susan said...

Hi Hope, thanks for coming by. Do hop over to Color Online and earn a chance to win free books.

KB said...

Susan, thanks for stopping by my blog. Sometimes I feel so isolated out here. I stopped by Color Online and will be adding it to my list!

Erika Lynn said...

A Raisin in the Sun is great and you had a very good week