Friday 12 March 2010

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB at You Should Be Reading and you can find it here. MizB does a fantastic job with this meme every week, so do pop over and pay her a visit.

I just realised that I haven't participated in this memo for quite a few weeks, so I apologise to anyone who comes looking for this post.

1) The Night Counter by Alia Yunis.

I found this one over at Eva's blog A Striped Armchair. The book was part of her Library Loot for the week. This one really struck with me as it has a fair amount of magical realism in it.

Here is the blurb from Amazon
After 85 long years, Fatimah Abdullah is dying, and she knows when her time will come. In fact, it should come just nine days from tonight, the 992nd nightly visit of Scheherazade, the beautiful and immortal storyteller from the epic The Arabian Nights.Just as Scheherazade spun magical stories for 1,001 nights to save her own life, Fatima has spent each night telling Scheherazade her life stories, all the while knowing that on the 1,001st night, her storytelling will end forever. But between tonight and night 1,001, Fatima has a few loose ends to tie up. She must find a wife for her openly gay grandson, teach Arabic (and birth control) to her 17-year-old great-granddaughter, make amends with her estranged husband, and decide which of her troublesome children should inherit her family's home in Lebanon--a house she herself has not seen in nearly 70 years. All this while under the surveillance of two bumbling FBI agents eager to uncover Al Qaeda in Los Angeles.But Fatima’s children are wrapped up in their own chaotic lives and disinterested in their mother or their inheritances. As Fatima weaves the stories of her husband, children, and grandchildren, we meet a vision less psychic, a conflicted U.S. soldier, a gynecologist who has a daughter with a love of shoplifting and a tendency to get unexpectedly pregnant, a Harvard-educated alcoholic cab driver edging towards his fifth marriage, a lovelorn matchmaker, and a Texas homecoming queen. Taken in parts, Fatima’s relations are capricious and steadfast, affectionate and smothering, connected yet terribly alone. Taken all together, they present a striking and surprising tapestry of modern Arab American life.Shifting between the U.S. and Lebanon over the last hundred years, Alia Yunis crafts a bewitching novel imbued with great humanity, imagination, and a touch of magic realism. Be prepared to be utterly charmed.

2) Victorian Sensations by Michaal Diamond
I found this over at Nymeth's blog 'Things Mean Alot.'
What attracted me to this book, was the fact that it covered media stories about Charles Dickens and Jack the Ripper. Nymeth also mentioned in her review finding lots of lovely Victorian novels to add to her TBR list , who can resist that.

Here is the blurb from Amazon.
From political sleaze and scandal to West End hits and the 'feel-good' factor, Michael Diamond explores the media stories that gripped Victorian society, in an age when newspapers became cheap, nationally distributed and easily accessible to all classes. Fully illustrated, and drawing on a wealth of original material, Victorian Sensation sheds light on the Victorians' fascination with celebrity culture and their obsession with gruesome and explicit reportage of murders and sex scandals. With a vivid cast of characters, ranging from the serial poisoner William Palmer, to Charles Dickens, Jumbo the Elephant, distinguished politicians and even the Queen herself, this passionate analysis of the period reveals how the reporting methods of our own popular media have their origins in the Victorian press, and shows that sensation was as integral a part of society in the nineteenth century as it is today.

3) White Cat by Holly Black

Anyone who has read my blog over the last year will know that I do loved Holly Black's Tithe and Valiant, so I am really excited to read that she has a new book coming out soon called White Cat. This book will not be out until June, so I will have to console myself with Ironside and The Spiderwick Chronicles which I still have to read.

Here is the blurb from Amazon.
Cassel is cursed. Cursed by the memory of the fourteen year old girl he murdered. Life at school is a constant trial. Life at home even worse. No-one at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at home is ever going to forget that he isn't a magic worker. Cassel's family are one of the big five crime families in America. Ever since magic was prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground and into crime. And while people still need their touch, their curses, their magical killings, their transformations, times have been hard. His granddad has been driven to drink, his mother is in prison and his brothers detest him as the only one of their family who can't do magic. But there is a secret at the centre of Cassel's family and he's about to inherit it. It's terrifying and that's the truth. The White Cat is a stunning novel of a world changed by magic. In this world only 1% of the population can work magic but they have the power of nightmares.

4) The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck.

Now my knowledge of Steinbeck only goes as far as Of Mice and Men, which I remember having to pull to pieces for my English 'O' level when I was sixteen, so I have never looked at Steinbeck's work since. Yet this one caught my eye over at Diane's blog Bibliophile By The Sea.

Here is the blurb from Amazon.

The Wayward Bus travelled the back roads through the lush California countryside. Its driver was a man of the land - lusty, hot-blooded and uninhibited. On the bus was a girl who danced at stag parties, a travelling salesman strictly out for fun, a boy coming into manhood and a college girl pursuing her secret, passionate quest. This is a story of crisis and passion, of love and longing. In many ways it is one of Steinbeck's most powerful novels, not least because it shows just how profound his knowledge of human beings and their emotions is.

These are my finds this week. Have you read any of them? What have you found this week?


  1. Ooh these sound so good. The one that speaks to me most is White Cat but will jot all of them down.

    I am making inroads into the Sookie Stackhouse books after getting them for my birthday. And the fabulous thing is that tv Bill is leaping into my imagination as I read them... he was SO well cast *sigh*

  2. What a great list!

    I discovered Victorian Sensation just after Christmas when Nymeth posted her list of bookish gifts. Unfortunately, my library does not carry it and by the time the inter-library come through, I was knee-deep in grading and could not read it in the allotted time.

    I hope that my library will someday order a copy of their own and I can spend quality time with this book. I look forward to reading your review.

  3. I hadn't heard of that particular Steinbeck. He wrote so many books! I've been enjoying them one by one as I have time.

  4. Victorian Sensation is on my wishlist. Great finds, as always.

  5. Nice finds - The Night Counter really catches my eye.

  6. Love the cover on The Night Counter --sounds good. Thanks for the "shout out" on The Wayward Bus, it is a good one. Good picks this week Viv.

    Here is my link for the week:

  7. I haven't read any others of Steinbeck's work after Of Mice and Men either (which was so tragic I never wanted to read it again).

    I love the cover of The Night Counter.

  8. The Holly Black book does sound good and dark

  9. I love the cover on The Wayward Bus...I think I may have actually read this one, about a hundred years ago! LOL. Which means I don't remember anything about it!

    The cover on the first book caught my eye, too.

  10. Hello!

    I actually got Night Counter in the mail a while back and it looks so good. I love the cover.

    I also received White Cat by Holly Black as an ARC and since it's not really up my alley, I was wondering if I could send it to you to read and review. If so, email me your address and I can ship it out to you ASAP.

    nycbookgirl at gmail dot com

  11. Great finds! The Night Counter sounds really good. My finds are at The Crowded Leaf.

  12. Carmen - glad to hear you are loving the Sookie Stackhouse books. I do hope to read the whole set at some point.

    White Cat - I am so excited as Amanda has just offered me her copy, yay!

    Molly - I haven't checked my library yet, but I do hope they have a copy of Victorian Sensations.

    Amanda - Steinback has been off my radar for years.

    Andreea and Kathy - thankyou.

    Diane - no problem, I do like to mention my book buddy friends every so often.

    Alyce - I know just what you mean about Of Mice and Men, it was a gut wrenching book.

    Blodeuedd - and now I can get my hands on a copy. Yay me!

    Laurel Rain-Snow - I bet you will read it again now.

    Amanda - I think you are super duper and I have sent you an email.

    Alaine - Thanks

  13. Wonderful finds! I look forward to your reviews.

    Enjoy your weekend, Vivienne.

  14. I also haven't heard about that Steinbeck book. I'm sure it's marvelous!

  15. I'm very interested in the one by Holly Black. Great finds!

  16. I hope you enjoy Victorian Sensation when you get to it, Vivienne!


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