Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In the merry month of May,books can bloom in time for June

We are in the midst of spring,with summer approaching fast( and hopefully not furious),making this time of year a lovely transition from cold to warm in more ways than one. A very much looked forward to change up is in new books,which span from refined to relaxing.

Whether you're seeking a nice lit pick for Mother's Day, a new book club selection or planning to get a jump on a juicy beach read,there should be something in this preview post that will take you in the right direction:


I've reviewed this book earlier this month but singing the praises of The Secrets of Mary Bowser feels right at any time. Lois Leveen's debut novel
takes a relatively unknown heroine of the Civil War,an educated young woman freed by her Abolitionist owner,and shares a mix of fact and fiction about her exploits as a spy for the Union army.

Mary's journey through life is expanded by more than just her experiences working under cover as a maid in the household of Confederate president
Jefferson Davis. Her experiences growing up as a slave,with one parent forced to live apart from her and her mother to going to school in Philadelphia by herself and seeing how even in a free state,racial bias is still prevalent to falling in love with a man who volunteers to fight for freedom,are alluringly amazing to read(May 15):

Hilary Mantel won accolades,along with the Booker Prize,for her twist on the tales of the Tudors with Wolf Hall back in 2009 and next month she returns to that time with Bring Up The Bodies. The story of Henry the Eighth and Anne Boleyn is seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell,whose rise to political power was made with their marriage.

However,as Anne is becoming less enchanting to the king,so is the appeal to Cromwell in keeping her as queen. Anne and her kin are not about to let go without a fight,which means more than one head may roll. Even to those familiar with this perilous period,Mantel shines a newer light on the subject that showcases it's doomed beauty brilliantly(May):


Even amongst non-foodies,chef Marcus Samuelsson is a well known name. From his restaurants in the heart of Harlem to his appearances on shows such as Top Chef Masters and Chopped,Samuelsson's dedication to the art of cooking and sincere nature have won over many folks who haven't had the pleasure of tasting his food.

He tells his life story in Yes,Chef,that starts from his childhood in Ethiopia to being adopted by a Swedish couple after the untimely death of his mother and his love of cooking taking him to apprenticeships in Sweden and France and onward to New York. Samuelsson's culinary climb to the top of his profession promises to be a read-worthy entree indeed(June):


The mysteries of sex are a reoccurring theme in John Irving's novels and in his upcoming book,In One Person,they take center stage. Leading man
Billy Abbott explores his desires for both men and women over the course of his life,starting in the straitlaced 1950s and dealing with the turbulence of the AIDS crisis during the 1980s.

Along the way,Billy falls in and out of love with a variety of friends and lovers,not to mention handling the quirks of his less than functional family. Irving's blend of humor and heart,plus epic story telling,should serve him and the reader rather well here(May):


The heroine of Elizabeth Percer's An Uncommon Education,Naomi Feinstein,is determined to use her time at Wellesley college wisely in order to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor capable of curing her ill prone parents. However,the isolation she craves for her studies turns out to be less appealing that she imagined.

An unexpected rescue of a drowning girl brings Naomi into the Shakespearean Society,a long standing secret club in the school,that opens up a whole new realm of social delights for her. That breath of fresh air becomes hard to enjoy when threat of a scandal forces her to choose between the new people in her life and those who have always been there. This debut novel could provide a lot of interesting debate for the college bound and book groups alike(May):

For Downton Abbey fans who love the thrill of the dark side,Sadie Jones may have your perfect cup of literary tea with The Uninvited Guests. A birthday party at a country estate in Edwardian England is interrupted by the arrival of unexpected guests,passengers from a nearby train derailment in need of shelter.

Amongst the distraught newcomers is Charlie Traversham-Beechers,a man who seems to know more than he should about the hostess,Charlotte,and her family. His attempts to provoke the delicate harmony of the household soon unleash an array of personal demons that appear to have very real teeth. The heady atmosphere of this riveting novel is bound to cause quite a bit of late night page turning(May):


Leila Meacham made an charming debut with the 2010 release of her steadfast saga Roses and lucky for us all,she's not stopping there.

Her upcoming novel,Tumbleweeds,like her first book is set in Texas and follows three good friends as they struggle to overcome a life changing event that affects their futures and bond with one another.

Not much more is known about the book,yet if it's half as satisfying as Roses was,Tumbleweeds should be making it's way into many a beach bag this summer(June).

While the temptation to go outdoors and indulge in the inviting spring and summer weather is understandable,do try to make reading part of that fun. Speaking of fun,book talks are a good way to be social this season but there's no need to resort to fisticuffs about which character is best,unless you're severely provoked,of course:

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