showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list…
whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever!
(they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).
So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!
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GOOD BOOKS FOR YOUR WEEK-END
Today, I’m presenting the last 5 titles added to my Goodreads TBR.
IN AWARDING John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature,
the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent,
he had “resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth,
with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American.”
Ethan Allen Hawley,
the protagonist of the novel,
works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned.
With the decline in their status,
his wife is restless,
and his teenage children are hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide.
Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards. [Goodreads]
In her latest novel, Textermination, the eminent British novelist/critic Christine Brooke-Rose pulls a wide array of characters out of the great works of literature and drops them into the middle of the San Francisco Hilton.
Emma Bovary, Emma Woodhouse, Captain Ahab, Odysseus, Huck Finn… all are gathered for the Annual Convention of Prayer for Being, to meet, to discuss, to pray for their continued existence in the mind of the modern reader.
But what begins as a grand enterprise erupts into total pandemonium: with characters from different times, places, and genres all battling for respect and asserting their own hard-won fame and reputations.
Dealing with such topical literary issues as deconstruction, multiculturalism, and the Salman Rushdie affair, this wild and humorous satire pokes fun at the academy and ultimately brings into question the value of determining a literary canon at all. [Goodreads]
‘My life is different now. I don’t go to work. I don’t have an office. I stay at home, hide behind curtains and make notes. I wait for something to happen.’
Gordon Kingdom struggles with the fate of his seriously-ill wife while patiently observing and methodically recording the lives of those around him: his neighbours.
He has files on them all, including:
-Don Donald (best friend and petty thief)
-Annie Carnaffan (lives next door, throws footballs over the fence)
-Benny (the boy who paints with his eyes closed).
And then there’s Angelica, the new girl (42) on the street, with her multi-coloured toenails and her filthy temper. It’s when she arrives that Gordon’s world of half-truths really begins to unravel.
Faced with a series of unexpected events and a faltering conscience, he’s left with an impossible decision. Because in the banality of everyday life, what would you do if the unthinkable happened. [Goodreads]
Published September 1st 2012 by Legend Press
Winner of the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Scholarship and New York Post’s Must-Read Book of the Week
Marie Antoinette has remained atop the popular cultural landscape for centuries for the daring in style and fashion that she brought to 18th century France. For the better part of the queen’s reign, one man was entrusted with the sole responsibility of ensuring that her coiffure was at its most ostentatious best. Who was this minister of fashion who wielded such tremendous influence over the queen’s affairs?
Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, The Queen, and the Revolution charts the rise of Léonard Autie from humble origins as a country barber in the south of France to the inventor of the Pouf and premier hairdresser to Queen Marie-Antoinette.
By unearthing a variety of sources from the 18th and 19th centuries, including memoirs (including Léonard’s own), court documents, and archived periodicals the author, French History professor and expert Will Bashor, tells Autie’s mostly unknown story.
Bashor chronicles Léonard’s story, the role he played in the life of his most famous client, and the chaotic and history-making world in which he rose to prominence. Besides his proximity to the queen, Leonard also had a most fascinating life filled with sex (he was the only man in a female-dominated court), seduction, intrigue, espionage, theft, exile, treason, and possibly, execution.
The French press reported that Léonard was convicted of treason and executed in Paris in 1793. However, it was also recorded that Léonard, after receiving a pension from the new King Louis XVIII, died in Paris in March 1820. Granted, Léonard was known as the magician of Marie-Antoinette’s court, but how was it possible that he managed to die twice?[Goodreads]
Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America’s nuclear arsenal. A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved–and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind.
Written with the vibrancy of a first-rate thriller, Command and Control interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a nuclear missile silo in rural Arkansas with a historical narrative that spans more than fifty years. It depicts the urgent effort by American scientists, policymakers, and military officers to ensure that nuclear weapons can’t be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. Schlosser also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked their lives to avert a nuclear holocaust. At the heart of the book lies the struggle, amid the rolling hills and small farms of Damascus, Arkansas, to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States.
Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with men who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Command and Control takes readers into a terrifying but fascinating world that, until now, has been largely hidden from view. Through the details of a single accident, Schlosser illustrates how an unlikely event can become unavoidable, how small risks can have terrible consequences, and how the most brilliant minds in the nation can only provide us with an illusion of control. Audacious, gripping, and unforgettable, Command and Control is a tour de force of investigative journalism, an eye-opening look at the dangers of America’s nuclear age. [Goodreads]
Published September 17th 2013 by Penguin Press HC