Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wowbrary Wednesday/Waiting For Wednesday

I haven't written a Wowbrary Wednesday/Waiting for Wednesday post in a while. Not because I haven't found anything interesting through Wowbrary, but because I've often not thought about it until Wednesday has come and gone (yet again).  This recent Wowbrary was full of tantalizing titles, so I was determined to write something.

(Plus, June is sadly lacking in blog-able "National XYZ Month" observances, so I was in need of posts.)

What is Wowbrary? Friends, if you are a Fauquier County Public Library patron and don't subscribe to Wowbrary, you are missing out! Wowbrary is a weekly email newsletter that lets you know of new titles that have recently been ordered.  Not just books--DVDs, CDs, ebooks, books on CD are included as well. You can place holds on titles directly from the newsletter.  These books have been featured in recent Wowbrarys, and I am excited to read them!

The Astronaut Wives Club

I REALLY cannot wait to read this.  The premise sounds outstanding, and the reviews have been excellent.  Author Lily Koppel examines the wives of astronauts on the Mercury, Apollo, and Gemini flights (with some attention paid to wives of astronauts on other shuttles).  These military wives were immediately thrust into the spotlight once the shuttle program took off, and found it difficult to cope with the relentless scrutiny that came with the never ending press.  Since they were the only ones who knew what it was like to cope with the worry and loneliness of being an astronaut's wife, in addition to juggling the care of children and home life single-handedly, the women formed close bonds with each other.  Triumphs (a personal tour of the White House from Jackie Kennedy) and tragedies (several wives lost husbands on failed shuttle attempts) are covered. Publishers Weekly loved it, calling it "a truly great snapshot of the times."


I'm falling behind in reading new fiction, so I'm anxiously waiting for Fever.  This is a historical fiction look at "Typhoid Mary," the Irish immigrant cook who was the first known healthy carrier of the pathogen that causes typhoid fever.  Reviews have been remarkable, with Kirkus Reviews hailing it as "[A] memorable biofiction that turns a malign figure of legend into a perplexing, compelling survivor."

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, A Small Town, And the Secret of a Good Life

I FLIPPED OUT when I saw that The Little Way of Ruthie Leming was on order. I've been wanting to read this for several months now, and was planning to buy a personal copy for an upcoming trip.  Any Louisiana-related book instantly draws my attention, especially if I am familiar with the area.  Rod Dreher grew up in the sleepy town of St. Francisville, LA (not far from Baton Rouge) and booked it out to the big city as soon as he could.  Finally ending up as a journalist in Philadelphia, Dreher and his family returned to St. Francisville for an extended stay when his sister was diagnosed with terminal cancer (he and his family eventually moved back to the town permanently).  It's definitely a tearjerker, but it's also about appreciating your roots and the more positive aspects of small town life (while acknowledging its difficulties). Kirkus calls this "[E]motionally complex and genuinely affecting."

The World is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village

First of all--I love that cover. Very cool.  Anna Badkhen tells the year in a life of a northern rural Afghan village.  I enjoy books set in foreign countries, so this is right up my alley.

Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry

I run the LEGO Club at the Warrenton library during the school year, so my interest was definitely piqued when I saw this in a recent Wowbrary. This is the rise and fall and rise of the famed Dutch toy company, which nearly lost its way in the 1990s.  The focus on the book is on the company's significant troubles during that decade and its impressive turnaround, which was largely due to genuine interactions with LEGO customers.

1913: In Search of the World of the World Before the Great War

Books about the year before the start of World War I are not new, but what intrigues me about 1913 is that author Charles Emmerson profiles life (social, economic, and political) in two dozen cities, including cities in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa; many World War I era books only focus on Europe and the United States, so this will be a great asset.

Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails From Milan to Palermo

I'm going to Italy this summer (I KNOW!!! So excited.), so I've just checked out several travel books about Italy and Italian history.  I don't know if I'll receive and finish this before my trip, but I have a feeling I'm going to want to read about Italy for a while. :-)    Tim Parks explores the country through its railway system.  Parks has lived in Italy since 1981 and has traveled frequently throughout the country via train, and remarks on how the country has changed in the past decades.  It's received very good reviews; Kirkus calls it "enchanting," while Publishers Weekly says that it's "a fascinating portrait of a society that seems rooted in place no matter how fast it goes."

Paris: The Novel

I have a few Edward Rutherfurd novels in my personal book collection, but I bought short fat paperbacks with small fonts that intimidate me (I can be picky about fonts).  Luckily, this full-sized hardback might do the trick, because I love the idea of his novels (he tells the history of a specific city/place through the lives of his characters). His previous novels have focused on Russia, New York, and England--hope he has an Italy one planned!

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

The Chechen conflict is not something that I'm very familiar with, other than it appearing in the news every so often, so I'm definitely looking forward to this novel.  Starting with the fall of the Soviet Union, author Anthony Marra relates the region's troubles through several characters, including an eight year old boy.  Reviews have been extraordinary for this debut novel, including several starred reviews.

We Need New Names 

Judging from the reviews, We Need New Names may be an emotionally tough read at times, but I'm game to at least try it.  A 10 year old girl leaves the violence of Zimbabwe to live with her aunt and uncle and Detroit, where she is overwhelmed by American culture.  It's earning stellar reviews, but as I said, emotionally sensitive readers may find it difficult to get through.

The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War 

There are no more World War I veterans alive (the last one died in 2011), which makes Richard Rubin's work that much more special.  In 2003, journalist Richard Rubin began tracking down surviving World War I veterans (only dozens alive at that time) to interview them about their war time experiences and the societies that they left and returned to after the war. While World War II veterans were greeted with the GI Bill and other amenities, World War I veterans were pretty much dumped back into society without much recognition of their service.  One of the veterans interviewed by Rubin was a Cajun from Louisiana, so I'm eager to read his experiences (I know that the Cajuns had difficulties integrating within the services during World War II until they were able to serve as French interpreters, but I don't know anything about their experiences during The Great War).

Wow! That's a lot of reading to do.  Looking forward to some great reads this summer.

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