Monday, April 26, 2010

Mailbox Monday - April 26, 2010

Mailbox Monday is hosted each week at The Printed Page. There the warning is that: "Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists." I've certainly found it to be true.

After a couple of months being good and not buying too many books I went to town this past week:

Friday
Robert A Heinlein

The Amazon.com product description:
Engineered from the finest genes, and trained to be a secret courier in a future world, Friday operates over a near-future Earth, where chaos reigns. Working at Boss's whimsical behest she travels from far north to deep south, finding quick, expeditious solutions as one calamity after another threatens to explode in her face....

Everyman And Medieval Miracle Plays
Ed. A.C. Cawley

The Amazon.com product description:
In addition to the morality play, Everyman, this volume contains a selection of fifteenth century biblical pageants: the very best from the cycles of York, Chester, Wakefield, Coventry and "N. town." A translation of the Cornish Death of Pilate rounds out this fascinating collection for admirers of theatre and of medieval literature.

Medieval Costume And Fashion
Herbert Norris

The Amazon.com product description:
This superb panoramic study of clothing worn in the Middle Ages will fascinate costume enthusiasts, fashion historians and anyone intrigued by medieval life. A meticulously researched text is enhanced with nearly 700 illustrations depicting all manner of apparel—from fur-trimmed cloaks and brocaded robes of courtiers and the nobility to simpler mantles, tunics and trousers worn by merchants, huntsmen, and other commoners. Also included: hairstyles, foot-covering, jewelry, headgear, weapons, and even advice on table manners. "Fascinating in its detail and particularly clearly and well arranged [this book is] a helpful and welcome means of refreshing one’s memory with long-forgotten dates."

The Life of Christina of Markyate
Trans. C. H. Talbot

The amazon.com product description:
'I wish to remain single, for I have made a vow of virginity.' This is the remarkable story of the twelfth-century recluse Christina, who became prioress of Markyate, near St Albans in Hertfordshire. Determined to devote her life to God and to remain a virgin, Christina repulses the sexual advances of the bishop of Durham. In revenge he arranges her betrothal to a young nobleman but Christina steadfastly refuses to consummate the marriage and defies her parents' cruel coercion. Sustained by visions, she finds refuge with the hermit Roger, and lives concealed at Markyate for four years, enduring terrible physical and emotional torment. Although Christina is supported by the abbot of St Albans, she never achieves the recognition that he intended for her. Written with striking candour by Christina's anonymous biographer, the vividness and compelling detail of this account make it a social document as much as a religious one. Christina's trials of the flesh and spirit exist against a backdrop of scheming and corruption and all-too-human greed.

Special Sistes: Women In The European Middle Ages
Arthur Fredrick Ide

The back cover blurb:
Special Sisters weaves a tapestry tightly illuminating the lives, labors and loves of medieval women. From a general discussion of women from 721 - 1431 A.D., to select biographical sketches of such women as the Merovingian Queen Brunhilda, the german nun Hildegard of Bingen and the French maid from Domremy, Jeanne d'Arc (St. Joan of Arc), this contribution to the history of women investigates all facets of the life of women who worked in the fields or managed manors; fought to defend their hearths, castles, nation, or against the Moslems who were in control of the Holy Land; owned businesses or took work home to finish and earn some income; to organizing guilds and going on strike against unfair employers.

Iron Butterflies
Andre Norton

The back jacket blurb:
Amelia could never have known that the necklace - the delicate filigree butterflies of dead black iron - would become the yoke that could drag her down to her death.

Amelia Harrach lived with a name blackened by scandal. They said her grandmother's marriage to a captive Hessian officer during the American Revolution had been false. Moreover, they said Amelia's father was a bastard. Then came the news that her grandfather was indeed alive, and ready to acknowledge Amelia's legitimace, and make her heiress to a great fortune in Germany.

And so began a journey - a journey into horror and evil that would endanger Amelia and her fortune.

Suddenly she was trapped in a world of drugs and nighmares. But the treacherous way to freedom lay ahead - and so did love...

The Last Apocalype
James Reston Jr.

The amazon.com product description:
Enter the world of 1000 A.D., when Vikings, Moors, and barbarians battled kings and popes for the fate of Europe.
As the millennium approached, Europeans feared the world would end. The old order was crumbling, and terrifying and confusing new ideas were gaining hold in the populace. Random and horrific violence seemed to sprout everywhere without warning, and without apparent remedy. And, in fact, when the millennium arrived the apocalypse did take place; a world did end, and a new world arose from the ruins.
In 950, Ireland, England, and France were helpless against the ravages of the seagoing Vikings; the fierce and strange Hungarian Magyars laid waste to Germany and Italy; the legions of the Moors ruled Spain and threatened the remnants of Charlemagne's vast domain. The papacy was corrupt and decadent, overshadowed by glorious Byzantium. Yet a mere fifty years later, the gods of the Vikings were dethroned, the shamans of the Magyars were massacred, the magnificent Moorish caliphate disintegrated: The sign of the cross held sway from Spain in the West to Russia in the East.
James Reston, Jr.'s enthralling saga of how the Christian kingdoms converted, conquered, and slaughtered their way to dominance brings to life unforgettable historical characters who embodied the struggle for the soul of Europe. From the righteous fury of the Viking queen Sigrid the Strong-Minded, who burned unwanted suitors alive; to the brilliant but too-cunning Moor Al-Mansor the Illustrious Victor; to the aptly named English king Ethelred the Unready; to the abiding genius of the age, Pope Sylvester II--warrior-kings and concubine empresses, maniacal warriors and religious zealots, bring this stirring period to life.
The Last Apocalypse is a book rich in personal historical detail, flavored with the nearly magical sensibility of an apocalyptic age.

Organic Crops In Pots: How To Grow Your Own Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs
Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell

The amazon.com product description:
Here's how to grow your own produce any place where space is at a premium. A tiny yard, balcony, or sunny windowsill can hold pots of organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs--and these 30 brilliant projects will show you not only how to grow them all from scratch, but how to plant them in an array of attractive containers, from colanders to recycled tins. There's an amazing range of crops that can be grown this way, including herbs, climbing beans, root vegetables, chilies, soft fruits, and cut-and-come-again salad leaves. Growing your own also means you can ensure that all your crops are produced organically, and this book is packed with tips and techniques, from advice on feeding and watering to knowing when to harvest. "Organic Crops in Pots" tempts the novice gardener to get growing and the more experienced gardener to grow organically. *Create your own organic garden using containers that will enhance the tiniest of outdoor spaces. *Learn how to grown more than 30 easy varieties of root vegetables and leafy crops, herbs, and fruits. *How to deter pests and avoid chemicals so your crops are naturally organic and delicious.


Everyday Food: Great Food Fast
Martha Stewart

The amazon.com product description:
No matter how busy you are, at the end of the day you want fresh, flavorful meals that are easy to prepare. And you want lots of choices and variations—recipes that call for your favorite foods and take advantage of excellent (and readily available) ingredients. In the first book from the award-winning magazine Everyday Food, you’ll find all of that: 250 simple recipes for delicious meals that are quick enough to make any day of the week.

Because a change in weather affects how we cook as much as what we cook, the recipes in Everyday Food are arranged by season. For spring, you’ll find speedy preparations for main-course salads, chicken, and poached salmon that minimize time spent at the stove; summer features quick techniques for grilling the very best burgers and kabobs as well as no-cook pasta sauces; for fall, there are braised meats and hearty main-course soups; and winter provides new takes on rich one-dish meals, roasts and stews, and hearty baked pastas. Finally, a chapter on basics explains how to make year-round staples such as foolproof roast chicken, risotto, couscous, and chocolate sauce.

Designed in a contemporary and easy-to-read format, Everyday Food boasts lush, full-color photography and plenty of suggestions for substitutions and variations. With Everyday Food, even the busiest on-the-go cook can look forward to meals that bring freshness, nutrition, and a range of flavors to dinner all week long.

The Museum At Purgatory
Nick Bantock

The amazon.com product description:
From magic carpets to miniature mummies to a room simply containing "obscure objects," Curator Non overseas all that is housed in the Museum at Purgatory, and afterlife way station where artists and collectors comb over their lives, trying to discover whether they are headed for Heaven or Hell.As Non takes readers on a fascinating tour through each of the Museum's rooms -- along with its contents and their owners -- he picks up clues about his own forgotten life, piecing together a past that finally allows him to conclude his own story.

Medieval Households
David Herlihy

The amazon.com product description:
Traces the history of family life during the Middle Ages and examines medieval marriages, childhood, motherhood, and fatherhood. 

 Amusing side-note: I just discovered this book was referenced by another book I have: The Kindness Of Strangers by John Boswell.

The Venetian's Wife
Nick Bantock

The amazon.com product description:
The newest novel by the acclaimed author/illustrator of the Griffin & Sabine trilogy is part love story, part mystery, and part ghostly tale--an altogether bewitching brew of sensualtiy and lost treasures. A young woman's obsession with a drawing of Shiva, the Hindu god, leads to a curious job offer: to find the few remaining pieces of a 15-th century adventurer's renowed collection of Indian sculptures. 90+ color illustrations.

Elantris
Brandon Sanderson

The amazon.com product description:
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping -- based on their correspondence -- to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

Sex, Dissidence and Damnation: Minority Groups In The Middle Ages
Jeffrey Richards

The amazon.com product description:
For the authorities of medieval Europe, both secular and ecclesiastical, dissent struck at the roots of an ordered, settled world. But why was the danger felt to be so great and so immediate from a minority of mostly poor and powerless individuals. In Sex, Dissidence and Damnation , Jeffrey Richards looks at the persecuted lives of heretics, witches, Jews, prostitutes, lepers, and homosexuals to examine the motivation behind intolerance in the Middle Ages. Richards argues that, above all, it was deviation from the sexual norms of the Church which authorities sought to suppress. At a time when the Second Coming was expected, sexual deviance was seen as having a malignant influence, not just in an individual life, but on the world at large. Richards provides a comprehensive look at medieval sexuality, both in terms of society's official attitudes and its unofficial practices. He bases his study firmly within the context of the medieval psyche, charting the shifting perceptions of sex, dissidence, and damnation throughout the Middle Ages. Offering an insightful study of historical intolerance, Sex, Dissidence and Damnation enables readers to form their own judgements about how--if at all--attitudes have changed since then.

The Fires Of Vesuvius
Mary Beard

The Amazon.com product description:
Pompeii is the most famous archaeological site in the world, visited by more than two million people each year. Yet it is also one of the most puzzling, with an intriguing and sometimes violent history, from the sixth century BCE to the present day.
Destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 CE, the ruins of Pompeii offer the best evidence we have of life in the Roman Empire. But the eruptions are only part of the story. In The Fires of Vesuvius, acclaimed historian Mary Beard makes sense of the remains. She explores what kind of town it was—more like Calcutta or the Costa del Sol?—and what it can tell us about “ordinary” life there. From sex to politics, food to religion, slavery to literacy, Beard offers us the big picture even as she takes us close enough to the past to smell the bad breath and see the intestinal tapeworms of the inhabitants of the lost city. She resurrects the Temple of Isis as a testament to ancient multiculturalism. At the Suburban Baths we go from communal bathing to hygiene to erotica.
Recently, Pompeii has been a focus of pleasure and loss: from Pink Floyd’s memorable rock concert to Primo Levi’s elegy on the victims. But Pompeii still does not give up its secrets quite as easily as it may seem. This book shows us how much more and less there is to Pompeii than a city frozen in time as it went about its business on 24 August 79. 

The Forgetting Room 
Nick Bantock

The amazon.com product description:
When his grandfather dies, Armon inherits the family home in Ronda, Spain, and finds himself trying to unravel the surreal conundrum his grandfather has left for him. Armon begins to remember his childhood art lessons, and gradually, as his grandfather's studio takes hold of him, he finds himself pulled, day by day, toward a most extraordinary elliptic link with his past.
Binding art and text in a narrative marriage, Nick Bantock takes us to the Forgetting Room, where he teases us through a tale of discovery, revenge, alchemy, and Moorish legend.
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