Friday Finds -- September 24, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010


Friday FindsHosted by MizB at Should be reading, this meme asks you what great books did you hear about/discover this past week? Every week, I post three selections, and choose one among them as my pick to read, should I choose among the three books.

I had three really tough choices this week. All three are books I really want to read, and it's not easy selecting one. I had to think about this all day, assume that I was at a bookstore with enough money to buy only one book, or that it's Christmas and Santa's asking me to choose one among the three. My, you shouldn't have to choose between books. Eventually, I had a decision.

The Report by Jessica Francis Kane

I am obsessed with books on tragedies and calamities. I know it's odd. I hate it that I like to read about humanity's darkest moments. And yet, it's not for the dark tone that I read them, because then I should enjoy horror too, which I don't. I think the dark moments are when people are really tested. You see courage that you never knew a person could have. You see intense love and perseverance. You see people becoming the very opposite of what they are. A person may insist that he is a coward and will look out for himself first, and when the time comes, he finds he is braver than he gave himself credit for. Not that people should be tested to show those colors - in fact, I wish tragedies or calamities didn't happen.  But I feel the courage shown by people during such times deserve to be immortalized for all to read. I came across this book when I read Jessica Francis Kane's interview on Goodreads.
On a March night in 1943, on the steps of a London Tube station, 173 people die in a crowd seeking shelter from another air raid. When the devastated neighborhood demands a report, the job falls to magistrate Laurence Dunne. In this beautifully crafted novel, Jessica Francis Kane paints a vivid portrait of London at war. As Dunne investigates, he finds the truth to be precarious, even damaging. When he is forced to reflect several decades later, Dunne must consider whether he chose the right course.

The Wave by Susan Casey

This was a hard choice for me, and not exactly a new find. I had seen this spotlighted so many times that I didn't want to read it, and then I listened to the NY Times book review podcast in which Susan Casey spoke about her book and the rogue waves and how she was inspired to write the book. And then I was hooked!
For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dismissed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.

As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100 foot wave.
The Gendarme by Mark Mustian

Another WW1 themed book. This book also has as its background a dark theme, but one from which there are so many lessons, and also so many inspiring stories. I don't exactly know how I added this book to my TBR, because I had been hearing on and off about this one for a while now.
Emmett Conn is an old man, near the end of his life. A World War I veteran, he's been affected by memory loss since being injured during the war. To those around him, he's simply a confused man, fading in and out of senility. But what they don't know is that Emmett has been beset by memories, of events he and others have denied or purposely forgotten.

In Emmett's dreams he's a gendarme, escorting Armenians from Turkey. A young woman among them, Araxie, captivates and enthralls him. But then the trek ends, the war separates them. He is injured. Seven decades later, as his grasp on the boundaries between past and present begins to break down, Emmett sets out on a final journey, to find Araxie and beg her forgiveness.

7 comments:

Bibliophile By the Sea said...

The Gendarme is excellent. The other 2 look good as well.

bermudaonion said...

Great finds! My book club is reading The Gendarme for October, so I'll be reading it soon.

justpeachy36 said...

I've seen The Gendarme around too. I think that one looks really good!

Leslie @ Under My Apple Tree said...

Tragedies and calamities make for interesting reading... it's just human nature. All three of these look like good choices.

Nikki-ann said...

All 3 sound like good reads. You should never have to choose between books... I rarely do! If I'm struggling between one book and another than I'll usually choose them both and go without something else instead! :D

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Oooo I look forward to your Wave review :)

Gwen@ChewDigestBooks.com said...

I really enjoyed The Gendarme on a really strange level, one that I didn't even realize until I was reading the comments on my review.

I have the ARC and it is looking for a good home if you would like it:)