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In My Mailbox: September 19-25

September 25, 2010

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, hosted by The Story Siren, in which bloggers share books they’ve acquired in the mail / at the library / from a bookstore.

Happy Banned Books Week!  As of yesterday, I have officially moved.  The books that came into my home bridge the gap between my old city and my new: two purchased from my old library’s used book sale and two borrowed from my new library’s shelves in preparation for Banned Book Week!

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Purchased from my old library (I couldn’t resist…I’m already moving so many books, what’s a few more?):

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart

I keep hearing about how well done this book is, how interesting it is to read.  I like well-written nonfiction, and I like books about traveling in foreign countries, so when I saw this one for fifty cents, I couldn’t resist.  Here’s the blurb from GoodReads:

The Places In Between CoverIn January 2002 Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through mountains covered in nine feet of snow, hamlets burned and emptied by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations. By night he slept on villagers’ floors, shared their meals, and listened to their stories of the recent and ancient past. Along the way Stewart met heroes and rogues, tribal elders and teenage soldiers, Taliban commanders and foreign-aid workers. He was also adopted by an unexpected companion-a retired fighting mastiff he named Babur in honor of Afghanistan’s first Mughal emperor, in whose footsteps the pair was following.

Through these encounters-by turns touching, con-founding, surprising, and funny-Stewart makes tangible the forces of tradition, ideology, and allegiance that shape life in the map’s countless places in between.

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

This book is another nonfiction title I’ve heard about again and again.  A remarkable story paired with good writing, all for under a dollar?  Sign me up.  The GoodReads summary:

Mountains Beyond Mountains coverTracy Kidder follows Paul Farmer around the world and back trying to understand the strange man who never gave up on his adolescent ideals and never grew up. Through interviews and shared struggles, Kidder starts to understand the complex and brilliant man just as you, the reader starts understanding and sympathizing him as well.When Paul Farmer was just a student and visited Haiti, he found his life calling there. He traveled sporadically back and forth from Harvard to Haiti to attain his degree but his heart and mind never left. Till this day Paul Farmer keeps his home in Haiti, refusing to give sub-par care to anyone who comes knocking at his door while other doctors keep telling him that it is not “economic” to be giving first class care and medicine to people in poor countries who need it the most.

A heartwarming story of struggle against the odds and the preservation of a single man who would give everything up for the sake of others in need.

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I also borrowed The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson from the library for my Banned Books Week reading.  I posted about them yesterday, so I won’t repeat myself!

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I’m looking forward to reading these books, when I get to them.  How about you?  Did any new books find their way into your home this week?

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8 Comments
  1. September 25, 2010 7:43 am

    The Places in Between sounds really interesting 🙂

    • Erin permalink*
      September 26, 2010 12:37 am

      I thought so, too! Hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

  2. September 25, 2010 8:20 am

    I really disliked “The Places In Between”. My book group was reading it so I checked it out but lost interest early on and finally was convinced by my fiancee not to finish it (I was complaining that much) – my book group enjoyed it much better apparently. My brief notes on this one from way-back-when: “Horrifically dull writing. And no redeeming characters, though I doubt this says anything about their actual ‘character’ but more about his inability to recognize or convey their ‘character’ through writing.”

    • Erin permalink*
      September 26, 2010 12:39 am

      Wow, that’s not a good review! I’ve heard a lot of book groups say they enjoyed the book, and it sounds like yours was no exception. I’m intrigued now, having heard such opposing views of the book!

  3. September 25, 2010 8:22 am

    I’ve got longsuffering copies of both Mountains Beyond Mountains and The Places in Between waiting on my shelves for me to get to them. They do both look so good, don’t they? 🙂

    • Erin permalink*
      September 26, 2010 12:40 am

      They do look good! Though I bet mine are well on their way to being in the “long suffering” category as well. It just seems to happen when I buy a book instead of getting it from the library.

  4. September 26, 2010 9:40 pm

    The Places In Between was a great book!
    Alison Can Read

    • Erin permalink*
      September 26, 2010 11:25 pm

      I’ve heard mostly good things, so I’ll definitely be giving it a go. What a fascinating topic, too!

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