Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Giveaway - While the Gods Were Sleeping - Elizabeth Enslin

I've got a wonderful giveaway today - Elizabeth Enslin's memoir - WhileThe Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal.

From the publisher, Seal Press:

"Love and marriage brought American anthropologist Elizabeth Enslin to a world she never planned to make her own: a life among Brahman in-laws in a remote village in the plains of Nepal. As she faced the challenges of married life, birth, and childrearing in a foreign culture, she discovered as much about human resilience, and the capacity for courage, as she did about herself.

While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal tells a compelling story of a woman transformed in intimate and unexpected ways. Set against the backdrop of increasing political turmoil in Nepal, Enslin’s story takes us deep into the lives of local women as they claim their rightful place in society—and make their voices heard."

Elizabeth Enslin with son in Chitwan, Nepal, 1987
"Elizabeth Enslin grew up in Seattle and went on to earn her PhD in cultural anthropology from Stanford University in 1990. While a graduate student, she married into a Brahman family in the plains of Nepal. Inspired by local women, especially her mother-in-law, she researched women’s organizing, poetics, politics, and agroecology. Her academic essay, “Beyond Writing: Feminist Practice and the Limits of Ethnography,” still inspires conversations about feminism and the ethics of research and activism.

Enslin returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1995 and earned her living as a high school and college teacher, a grant writer, and an independent consultant. She has published creative nonfiction and poetry in The Gettysburg Review, Crab Orchard Review, The High Desert Journal, The Raven Chronicles, Opium Magazine, and In Posse Review and received an Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the Oregon Arts Commission and an honorable mention for the Pushcart Prize.

She currently lives in a strawbale house in the canyon country of northeastern Oregon, where she raises garlic, pigs, and yaks. While the Gods Were Sleeping is her first book. Learn more at elizabethenslin.com. You can find Elizabeth Enslin on Facebook and on Twitter.

While the Gods Were Sleeping is newly released - A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the Rural Health Educations Service Trust (RHEST) for projects dedicated to improving women's reproductive health in Rural Nepal Read an excerpt of While the Gods Were Sleeping.

If you'd like to read this fascinating memoir, I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment (and a contact method) to be entered. US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Oct 12/14.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bones Never Lie - Kathy Reichs

Bones Never Lie is the latest release in Kathy Reichs's Temperance Brennan series. It's hard to believe that this is number 17!

Tempe is a forensic anthropologist and now she's also part of the Charlotte NC cold case squad. When two child murders reveal similarities that can't be ignored, the team searches to see if there are others that match their cold cases. There are - but they're in Canada and seem to be the work of serial killer Anique Pomerleau - a woman who almost killed Tempe as well. Could she have crossed the border to continue her spree? And when a child who matches Pomerleau's type is snatched in Charlotte, the question arises - could it be her?

There are other forensic series out there, but in my opinion, Reichs is absolutely the best. She herself is a forensic anthropologist in NC and Quebec - she knows what she's writing. And it shows. Her plots, the crimes and the road to answers are intriguing and believable. It's very easy to step into Reichs's books.

But what really grabs me is the character of Tempe. I like her - she's engaging, smart and comes across as a real person. I may not always agree with her decisions (she tends to go in guns blazing in some situations), but it makes for action filled reading. I also quite like her surly partner Skinny Slidell - his gruff, grumpy nature and sloppy exterior belies a dedicated, quick mind. I enjoy his one liners and haranguing of the brass and other agencies.

Reichs has created a personal storyline for Tempe that started with the first book and continues on. It's just as interesting - and sometimes just as frustrating. I was glad to see Andrew Ryan back and Pete not in the story at all this time. Tempe's mother plays a significant role in the solving of this crime. I'm not quite sure what I thought of her involvement - it was perhaps a wee bit far fetched and seemed like an awkward plot device to have some information discovered.

I laughed when I read the scene where Tempe is watching the television show Bones. For those of you unaware, Reichs's character is the basis for this program. (celebrating it's 200th episode!)

Over the course of seventeen books, there are bound to be some titles that are stronger than others. The last book, Bones of the Lost, was just an okay read for me. But Bones Never Lie is a return to Reichs's earlier strengths and had me engaged from first page to last. Happily finished in a day and a half. And the stage is set for further adventures. I'll be looking forward the eighteenth book! Read an excerpt of Bones Never Lie. You can keep up with Kathy Reichs on Twitter and on Facebook.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Winners!

And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of The Vintner's Daughter by Kristen Harnish is:

Jean Lewis!


And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of Ark Storm by Linda Davies, courtesy of Forge Books is;

Margie!



And last, but not least, the randomly chosen winner of a copy of The Fault in Our Stars on Blu-ray, courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is:

Carrie!

Congratulations! I've contacted everyone by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 48 hours. After that time a new winner will be chosen. Keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #22

- You can't judge a book by its cover - which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another...
 
Canadian/US cover
UK cover
I was hunting down cover art for my forthcoming review of Kathy Reichs' latest book, Bones Never Lie, and came across the US/Canadian cover on the left and the UK cover on the right. I'm not sure this week. The NA cover is subtler, yet it's still one that makes me want to look inside. The UK cover is more lurid, but has a nice little blurb on the front. Undecided for me this week. Either way, it's a really good read. Which cover do you prefer? Have you read, or do you plan to read Bones Never Lie?
You Can't Judge A Book By Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Film on Friday #22 - The Auction

The Auction, from director Sebastien Pilote, has been a selection at numerous film festivals - including Cannes and the TIFF.

Gaby is an aging farmer. He has worked the family farm alone for over forty year as his brothers wanted no part of it. He and his wife had two daughters. But the girls have left, as has his wife. The constants in his life are his dog, his one friend, the hired boy, the sheep - and the land. He lives a solitary life, but seems content.

Pilote's cinematography is absolutely beautiful. Rural Quebec was used for the setting. The farm is authentic, the house comfortable and lived in. Pastoral.  Pilote's camera often pauses that extra moment and the viewer can't help but see what Gaby sees.

Gabriel Arcand plays Gaby and I thought he was superb. If I didn't know he was an actor, I would absolutely believe he was a farmer. This character is a man of few words. Arcand's facial expressions, body language and simple actions convey much with few words. His eyes are particularly expressive.

His oldest daughter Marie arrives for a visit - the joy Gaby experiences at seeing his child and grandchildren is extremely touching. However, Marie has her own reason for visiting - she needs money - $200,000 to be exact. She and her husband are divorcing and she wants to stay in the house. Here, I got angry. Gaby's offer to come and live with him are rebuffed, his inquires into her savings, her husband helping her out are all met with no. I really didn't like Marie - I thought her extremely selfish. Gaby however wants to help her - he loves his children dearly. So....he decides to sell his farm.

Heartbreaking. In reading the director's notes, Pilote has described his film as a tribute to fatherhood. In that respect he has succeeded. The sacrifices Gaby is willing to make, the losses he is willing to suffer for his children speaks volumes. (But I still couldn't get past not liking Marie)

The soundtrack is particularly effective, complementing the setting. The ending left me wanting more. And that's a good thing. I would have like to know what happened to Gaby 'after'. The last screen shot of him left me feeling quite sad...while the last shots of his daughters show them enjoying their own pursuits.

All in all, this is one of the best films I've watched from Film Movement. Absolutely recommended.

As always, there is a short film included. The Giant - a non verbal animated - was the addition to this feature film. Although I could see the tie in - nature and land - it didn't do much for me.

Canada / 2013 / French with English subtitles / 111 min

Thursday, September 25, 2014

GI Brides - Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

The subtitle of GI Brides by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi is: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love.

Over one million American GI's 'invaded' England during the Second World War . And by the end of the war, over 70,000 women had married American servicemen and headed to the United States to start a new chapter in their lives.

Barrett and Calvi's book documents the lives of four of these women - Sylvia, Gwendolyn, Rae and Margaret, from the early days of the war, to meeting their husbands and finally their experiences over the pond. The narrative rotates through each woman's story in alternating chapters. It's absolutely fascinating reading and I was hard pressed to put it down.

The time period is explored and relived through each woman's memories. Historical references are made to actual events and attitudes of the time, but the focus of  GI Brides is personal and intimate. Although falling in love with a dashing young military man and crossing the ocean to a new country had the feeling of a romantic fairy tale, what these women actually experienced was not. Now, this was not necessarily the case for all GI Brides. The authors do mention that they "needed stories that really stood out - where the women had faced adversity and grown as a result."

There are over forty pictures included in the book, that I found myself looking at almost every time I finished a chapter - gazing at a black and white photo of years gone by and contemplating the direction their lives took.

I am captured by memoirs - even more so in this case. These women persevered and soldiered on - "We're British, we can stand anything. Those simple words brought great solace and support to a group of women building lives far from family and home."

It was only while reading the authors' notes at the end of the book that I discovered that Nuala Calvi is the granddaughter of Margaret, lending a very personal note to the book.

GI Brides reads almost like fiction - anyone enjoying this time period and a look at real lives lived would absolutely enjoy this book. Read an excerpt of GI Brides.

"Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi are the bestselling authors of The Sugar Girls, which chronicled the stories of young women working in Tate and Lyle’s factories in the East End of London. Duncan studied English at Cambridge and now works as writer and editor, specializing in biography and memoir. Nuala is a writer and journalist. She trained at London College of Printing and has written for The Times, The Independent, the BBC, CNN and numerous Time Out books." You can find the authors on Facebook , on Twitter and on their blog.


See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Over the Counter #231

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Finding joy.....and hearts.....

First up was The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life and Regained My Soul by Dave Bruno.

From the publisher, Harper Collins:

In The 100 Thing Challenge, Dave Bruno relates how he remade his life and regained his soul by getting rid of almost everything. But The 100 Thing Challenge is more than just the story of how one man started a movement to unhook himself from consumerism by winnowing his life’s possessions down to 100 things in one year. It’s also an inspiring, invigorating guide to how we all can begin to live simpler, more meaningful lives."

Next up was Find It in Everything: Photographs by Drew Barrymore.

From the publisher, Little, Brown and Company:

"Photographs by Drew Barrymore reveal hearts found in everyday situations.

I have always loved hearts," writes acclaimed actress Drew Barrymore in the foreword to this heartwarming gift book. "The way that continuous line accomplishes the most extraordinary thing--it conveys love." In FIND IT IN EVERYTHING, Barrymore shares the photographs she has taken of heart-shaped objects and patterns she has come across over the past ten years. Some are obvious and others barely discernible. A discarded straw wrapper, a hole in a T-shirt, a scallion in a bowl of miso soup -- seemingly everywhere she turns her lens a heart reveals itself. A very personal collection of images, many of them accompanied by brief captions that reflect on beauty in the everyday, FIND IT IN EVERYTHING is a delightful book from the beloved actress and director, who now adds photographer to her list of credentials."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)