Monday, June 29, 2009

Mailbox Monday - June 29th

After buying no books for last week, this week is a bumper five books.

The first one that came this week is Barbara Hanawalt's book Growing Up In Medieval London: The Experience Of Childhood In History. I ordered it the previous week and it arrived about last Wed. Barbara Hanawalt is an author that a couple of my teachers last year recommended to me, and I finally got around to getting one of her books. I've also got The Ties That Bound on order.

The jacket blurb says:

Bringing together a wealth of evidence drawn from court records, literary sources, and books of advice, Barbara Hanawalt weaves a rich tapestry of the lives of the common children of medieval London during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Much of what she finds is eye opening. She shows for example that contrary to the belief of some historians medieval adults recognized and paid close attention to the various stages of childhood and adolescence. For instance, wardship cases reveal that London laws granted orphans greater protection than do our own contemporary courts. And with her innovative narrative style, Hanawalt brings medieval childhood to life, creating composite profiles based on the experiences of real children, such as Alison the Bastard Heiress, whose guardians married her off to their apprentice in order to gain control of her inheritance.Ranging from birth and baptism to apprenticeship and adulthood, here is a myth-shattering, innovative work that illuminates the nature of childhood in the Middle Ages.

You'd think that after I got my degree, I'd be able to stop buying history books, but that's turning out to not be true at all.

The remaining four books are fiction:

The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop. I read and reviewed this book when it first came out at the beginning of March and I absolutely loved it. Even though I don't have to re-read it again any time soon, I probably will.

The jacket blurb:
From the national bestselling authora the new novel set in the "darkly fascinating world"("SF Site") of the Black Jewels.
Dena Nehele is a land decimated by its past. Once it was ruled by corrupt Queens who were wiped out when the land was cleansed of tainted Blood. Now, only one hundred Warlord Princes standawithout a leader and without hope.
Theran Grayhaven is the last of his line, desperate to find the key that reveals a treasure great enough to restore Dena Nehele. But first he needs to find a Queen who remembers the Bloodas code of honor and lives by the Old Ways. The woman chosen to rule Dena Nehele, Lady Cassidy, is not beautiful and believes she is not strong. But she may be the only one able to convince bitter men to serve once again.
J.R.R. Tolkien's Tales From The Perilous Realm (Hardcover). To be honest, I have all the stories in this volume (some of them in more than one edition, but to me, Alan Lee's illustrations make the book worth it. All of the illustrations in this book are black and white sketches, but wonderfully detailed for all that. Of the many great illustrators of Tolkien's Middle-Earth, Alan Lee is by far my favorite.

Tales From The Perilous Realm is made up of Roverandom, Farmer Giles Of Ham, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Smith Of Wootton Major, Leaf By Niggle and even the essay On Fairy-stories. All of it is introduced by Tom Shippey, the author of The Road To Middle-Earth and J.R.R Tolkien: Author Of The Century.

I doubt I'm going to be reading any time soon though, with the other books on my plate right now. These days I seem to be more collecting books on or by Tolkien than actually reading them.

Hand of Isis by Jo Graham. I've never read anything by Jo Graham before, but the premise looked interesting (and there was a buy three books, get the fourth free sale going on).

The jacket blurb actually says very little about the story:
Set in ancient Egypt, Hand of Isis is the story of Chariman, a handmaiden, and her two sisters. It is a novel of lovers who transcend death, of gods who meddle in mortal affairs, and of women who guide empires.

The final book I bought this past week was The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson. I don't know if I would normally have bought it just based on the jacket blurb, but there was quite a bit of discussion (all of it positive) of the book on a number of the blogs I follow a couple of months ago. Based on that, I went for it.

The jacket blurb:
In this lush, romantic retelling of one of the most enduring Irish legends, acclaimed Celtic historical author Jules Watson reignites the tale of Deirdre—the Irish Helen of Troy—in a story that is at once magical, beautiful, and tragic.

She was born with a blessing and a curse: that she would grow into a woman of extraordinary beauty—and bring ruin to the kingdom of Ulster and its ruler, the wily Conor. Ignoring the pleadings of his druid to expel the infant, King Conor secrets the girl child with a poor couple in his province, where no man can covet her. There, under the tutelage of a shamaness, Deirdre comes of age in nature and magic…. And in the season of her awakening, the king is inexorably drawn to her impossible beauty.

But for Deirdre, her fate as a man’s possession is worse than death. And soon the green-eyed girl, at home in waterfall and woods, finds herself at the side of three rebellious young warriors. Among them is the handsome Naisi. His heart charged with bitterness toward the aging king, and growing in love for the defiant girl, Naisi will lead Deirdre far from Ulster—and into a war of wits, swords, and spirit that will take a lifetime to wage.

Brimming with life and its lusts, here is a soaring tale of enchantment and eternal passions—and of a woman who became legend.
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