Friday Finds: The Custom of the Country

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

First published in 1913, Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country is a scathing novel of ambition featuring one of the most ruthless heroines in literature. Undine Spragg is as unscrupulous as she is magnetically beautiful. Her rise to the top of New York’s high society from the nouveau riche provides a provocative commentary on the upwardly mobile and the aspirations that eventually cause their ruin. One of Wharton’s most acclaimed works, The Custom of the Country is a stunning indictment of materialism and misplaced values that is as powerful today for its astute observations about greed and power as when it was written nearly a century ago.

I really need to make notes when I come across books I want to read. I saw this one mentioned somewhere and got so excited that I added it to my Goodreads list and then promptly forgot where I saw it. If you recently mentioned this book, then thank you!

Doesn’t it look good? I wish I could just lock myself in a room for a year just so that I could read all the classics that I’ve been wanting to.

Friday Finds: The Irresistible Henry House

The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

It is the middle of the twentieth century, and in a home economics program at a prominent university, real babies are being used to teach mothering skills to young women. For a young man raised in these unlikely circumstances, finding real love and learning to trust will prove to be the work of a lifetime. In this captivating novel, bestselling author Lisa Grunwald gives us the sweeping tale of an irresistible hero and the many women who love him.

From his earliest days as a “practice baby” through his adult adventures in 1960s New York City, Disney’s Burbank studios, and the delirious world of the Beatles’ London, Henry remains handsome, charming, universally adored—and never entirely accessible to the many women he conquers but can never entirely trust.

Filled with unforgettable characters, settings, and action, The Irresistible Henry House portrays the cultural tumult of the mid-twentieth century even as it explores the inner tumult of a young man trying to transcend a damaged childhood. For it is not until Henry House comes face-to-face with the real truths of his past that he finds a chance for real love.

I saw this book mentioned somewhere (cannot remember where) and it struck me as such an odd story that I had to add it to my TBR list. It’s quite different than what I would normally pick up.

Sometimes, different is good.

By the way, when I was in high school I was in a play titled Irresistible Albert where all these women fall in love with plain-looking Albert. This book sort of made me think of that play.

Friday Finds: The Outermost House

The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

In 1926, Henry Beston spent two weeks in a two-room cottage on the sand dunes of Cape Cod. He had not intended to stay longer, but, as he later wrote, “I lingered on, and as the year lengthened into autumn, the beauty and mystery of this earth and outer sea so possessed and held me that I could not go.” Beston stayed for a year, meditating on humanity and the natural world. In The Outermost House, originally published in 1928, he poetically chronicled the four seasons at the beach; the ebb and flow of the tides, the migration of birds, storms, stars, and solitude. The landscape was his major character, and his writing provides a snapshot of the Cape, a place physically changed yet as soulful 80 years later. Like Henry D. Thoreau before him, and Rachel Carson after him, Beston was a writer of stunning beauty, importance and vision.

As mentioned above, this was originally published in 1928 but this week, I’ve seen it mentioned numerous times. I’m intrigued. Doesn’t it sound lovely?

Friday Finds: Mockingbird

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

 Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.

This book is geared towards young adults but when I saw it on Shelf Awareness I had to add it to my pile and when the publisher sent me a copy, well, I had to push it to the top.

It’s comes out April 15th but I’ll probably snuggle up with it this weekend. I have to add that it’s such a ‘cute’ book too. Very small and compact.  I know publishers are beginning to see that readers are often just as excited about a cover than they are the actual book but small details like quality binding, nice, thick paper, they all make for a better reading experience.

Just wanted to say that.

Friday Finds: The Dream of Perpetual Motion

The Dream of Perpetual Motion
By Dexter Palmer

 

 Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

Imprisoned for life aboard a zeppelin that floats high above a fantastic metropolis, the greeting-card writer Harold Winslow pens his memoirs. His only companions are the disembodied voice of Miranda Taligent, the only woman he has ever loved, and the cryogenically frozen body of her father Prospero, the genius and industrial magnate who drove her insane.

The tale of Harold’s life is also one of an alternate reality, a lucid waking dream in which the well-heeled have mechanical men for servants, where the realms of fairy tales can be built from scratch, where replicas of deserted islands exist within skyscrapers.. As Harold’s childhood infatuation with Miranda changes over twenty years to love and then to obsession, the visionary inventions of her father also change Harold’s entire world, transforming it from a place of music and miracles to one of machines and noise. And as Harold heads toward a last desperate confrontation with Prospero to save Miranda’s life, he finds himself an unwitting participant in the creation of the greatest invention of them all: the perpetual motion machine.

Isn’t it wild?

Friday Finds: A Dark Matter

A Dark Matter by Peter Straub

 Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body—and the shattered souls of all who were present.

Years later, one man attempts to understand what happened to his wife and to his friends by writing a book about this horrible night, and it’s through this process that they begin to examine the unspeakable events that have bound them in ways they cannot fathom, but that have haunted every one of them through their lives. As each of the old friends tries to come to grips with the darkness of the past, they find themselves face-to-face with the evil triggered so many years earlier. Unfolding through the individual stories of the fated group’s members, A Dark Matter is an electric, chilling, and unpredictable novel that will satisfy Peter Straub’s many ardent fans, and win him legions more.

I don’t step outside of my literary fiction box too often but every now and then I do. This one looks like a real page-turner. I haven’t read a Straub book in ages. Perhaps I should give this one a shot. Has anyone read it?

Friday Finds: The Infinities

The Infinities by John Banville
Release Date: February 23,  2010

 Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

On a languid midsummer’s day in the countryside, old Adam Godley, a renowned theoretical mathematician, is dying. His family gathers at his bedside: his son, young Adam, struggling to maintain his marriage to a radiantly beautiful actress; his nineteen-year-old daughter, Petra, filled with voices and visions as she waits for the inevitable; their stepmother, Ursula, whose relations with the Godley children are strained at best; and Petra’s “young man”—very likely more interested in the father than the daughter—who has arrived for a superbly ill-timed visit.

But the Godley family is not alone in their vigil. Around them hovers a family of mischievous immortals—among them, Zeus, who has his eye on young Adam’s wife; Pan, who has taken the doughy, perspiring form of an old unwelcome acquaintance; and Hermes, who is the genial and omniscient narrator: “We too are petty and vindictive,” he tells us, “just like you, when we are put to it.” As old Adam’s days on earth run down, these unearthly beings start to stir up trouble, to sometimes wildly unintended effect. . . .

Blissfully inventive and playful, rich in psychological insight and sensual detail, The Infinities is at once a gloriously earthy romp and a wise look at the terrible, wonderful plight of being human—a dazzling novel from one of the most widely admired and acclaimed writers at work today.

Banville won the Man Booker Prize for The Sea back in 2005. I haven’t read his work before but The Sea is on my list and now this one looks really good too. Sigh. My shelves will never be empty, that’s for sure!

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