Monday, June 21, 2010

Mailbox Monday - June 21

Mailbox Monday is hosted each week over at The Printed Page, where they warn about how it increases TBR piles. I think I know why it's on Monday's too - and it's not the alliteration! For some reason for the last couple of weeks I've gotten a freebie book on Monday. Not the other days of the week - just Monday.

Anyway, I've got lots of books to list this week - most of which I bought.

Shogun by James Clavell
The amazon.com product description:
An explorer in seventeenth-century Japan, ambitious Englishman Blackthorne encounters the powerful and power-hungry Lord Toranaga and Catholic convert Lady Mariko. Reissue.
Bought on the recommendation of the bookseller at my favorite used bookstore. The current book I'm reading as well. The description may be sparse, but the book is detailed and intricate. I'm really enjoying it.

Samurai William by Giles Milton
The amazon.com product description:
With all the adventure, derring-do, and bloodcurdling battle scenes of his earlier book, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, acclaimed historian Giles Milton dazzles readers with the true story of William Adams—the first Englishman to set foot in Japan (and the inspiration for James Clavell’s bestselling novel Shogun). Beginning with Adams’s startling letter to the East India Company in 1611—more than a decade after he’d arrived in Japan—Samurai William chronicles the first foray by the West into that mysterious closed-off land. Drawing upon the journals and letters of Adams as well as the other Englishmen who came looking for him, Samurai William presents a unique glimpse of Japan before it once again closed itself off from the world for another two hundred years. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

A Brief History of The Samurai by Johnathan Clements
The amazon.com product description:
From a leading expert in Japanese history, this is one of the first full histories of the art and culture of the samurai warrior. The samurai emerged as a warrior caste in medieval Japan and would have a powerful influence on the history and culture of the country for the next 500 years.
I was inspired to find out more about Japan thanks to watching The Last Samurai - which explains a number of the books I bought this week.

Geisha by Lesley Downer
The amazon.com product description:
Ever since Westerners arrived in Japan, we have been intrigued by geisha. This fascination has spawned a wealth of fictional creations from Madame Butterfly to Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha". The reality of the geisha's existence has rarely been described. Contrary to popular opinion, geisha are not prostitutes but literally "arts people". Their accomplishments might include singing, dancing or playing a musical instrument but, above all, they are masters of the art of conversation, soothing worries of highly paid businessmen who can afford their attentions. The real secret history of the geisha is explored here.
Exiles Of The Stars by Andre Norton
The amazon.com product description:
While on a mission for the Thothian priests, the Free Traders' ship is forced down on a barren and seemingly uninhabited planet. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I'm actually not certain if I already have this book or not. Andre Norton is one of those authors with so many books and now they're being reprinted - sometimes under new titles.

Shadow of the Swords by Kamran Pasha
The amazon.com product description:
An epic saga of love and war, Shadow of the Swords tells the story of the Crusades—from the Muslim perspective.
Saladin, a Muslim sultan, finds himself pitted against King Richard the Lionheart as Islam and Christianity clash against each other, launching a conflict that still echoes today.
      In the midst of a brutal and unforgiving war, Saladin finds forbidden love in the arms of Miriam, a beautiful Jewish girl with a tragic past. But when King Richard captures Miriam, the two most powerful men on Earth must face each other in a personal battle that will determine the future of the woman they both love—and of all civilization.
      Richly imagined, deftly plotted, and highly entertaining, Shadow of the Swords is a remarkable story that will stay with readers long after the final page has been turned. 
 This was the book that turned up in my mailbox this morning. Perfect timing, I'd say.

Imperial Lady by Andre Norton and Susan Shwartz
The amazon.com product description:
With Imperial Lady, based on the life of a real historical princess of the Han dynasty and mixed with Chinese legendry andry, Andre Norton (a Grand Master of Fantasy) joins with Susan Shwartz to create a stirring, romantic, and unforgettable tale.
 I'm pretty sure I've read this book before, but I spotted it at the used bookstore and went for it.

The Key Of The Keplian by Andre Norton and Lyn McConchie
The amazon.com product description:
A Native American girl discovers the truth about the Keplian horses who lure riders to their deaths--and must lead them into battle against the evil of the Dark Tower before they can serve light once again.
My favorite of the Witch World novels, and IIRC, this was the first one I read, back when it first came out. Unfortunately I passed it on and then couldn't find it again when I wanted to re-read it.

Snow Flower And The Secret Fan by Lisa See
The amazon.com product description:
In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, an “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s written a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on the fan and compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together they endure the agony of footbinding and reflect upon their arranged marriages, their loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace in their friendship, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their relationship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a captivating journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. Now in a deluxe paperback edition complete with an expanded Random House Reader’s Circle guide and an exclusive conversation between Lisa See and her mother, fellow writer Carolyn See, this lyrical and emotionally charged novel is, as the Seattle Times says, “a beautifully drawn portrait of female friendship and power.”
Aristophanes: Lysisatrata/The Acharnians/The Clouds
The amazon.com product description:
Writing at the time of political and social crisis in Athens Aristophanes was an eloquent yet bawdy challenger to the demagogue and the sophist. The Achanians is a plea for peace set against the background of the long war with Sparta. In Lysistrata a band of women tap into the awesome power of sex in order to end a war. The darker comedy of The Clouds satirizes Athenian philosophers, Socrates in particular, and reflects the uncertainties of a generation in which all traditional religious and ethical beliefs were being challenged.
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