THIS WEEK’S TWO FEATURED BOOKS, “DIVINING VENUS,” BY MARY ELIZABETH POPE, AND “THE REMAINING INGREDIENTS,” BY ELLEN FOOS, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, ALONG WITH A LIST OF SNOWFLAKES BOOKS BY SUBJECT.
I don’t know most of the 1,626 people who, as of yesterday, follow this blog, In many cases, I don’t know your name, where you live, or what you like to read. I don’t know if you peruse the weekly Snowflakes posts intently or automatically route them to your e-mail spam folder. But whoever you are, I’d love to hear from you.
You can make comments on the blog site, of course (snowflakesarise.wordpress.com), but you can also e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or contact me on Facebook or Twitter (@bookblizzard).
One thing I’d like to know is if one of the Snowflakes posts prompted you to buy that book. It would be nice to assume that some of these posts have borne fruit, but there is no concrete way of knowing unless someone tells us. And if you read that book and enjoyed it, I’d like to hear about that, too.
Let me know, also, if you have a book you’d like to recommend — we do fiction, non-fiction, poetry, short stories and memoir — or if you are an author yourself and would like to participate. It’s completely free, it’s unique, and I try to make it fun.
And finally, being a realist, I can see that we readers (and I am definitely an enthusiastic member of that clan) have become a bit spoiled. I can click on Book Bub or Amazon and see excellent books for $2 or less. Sometimes they’re even free.
We won’t be doing that here. However, if you see a book that intrigues you and you don’t want to pay the entire cover price, drop me an e-mail and make a counter offer. Perhaps some sort of deal can be struck. Moreover, starting this week, I’m including a list of weekly Snowflakes deals at the end of this post.
Thanks for being part of this.
— Darrell Laurant
UPCOMING ON SNOWLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, AUGUST 9-15.
As usual, we have a diverse trio of books with which to tempt you this week. Two of our offerings present serious messages — Lynn Kanter’s “Her Own Vietnam,” about the toll that war took on combat nurses, and “One Hundred Hungers,” Lauren Camp’s depiction of a multi-ethnic family and its challenges, done in verse.
The third book is “Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion,” an intriguing take on history from John Chaplick, whose novel “The Rivergrass Legacy” was featured on Snowflakes last year. “Forbidden Chronicles” just won the President’s Award given by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association in the Historical Fiction genre.
“HER OWN VIETNAM,” BY LYNN KANTER.
For three decades, Della Brown has tried to forget her service as a U.S. Army nurse in Vietnam. But in the middle of the safe, sane life she’s built for herself, Della is ambushed by history. She receives a letter from a fellow combat nurse, a woman who was once her closest friend, and all the memories come flooding back: Della’s nightmarish introduction to the Twelfth Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi, where every bed held a patient hideously wounded in ways never mentioned in nursing school. The day she learned how to tell young men they were about to die. The night her chopper pilot boyfriend failed to return from his mission.
Through these harrowing memories the reader encounters Della’s younger selves—the scared, naive nursing school graduate learning combat medicine on the job; then the traumatized young woman freshly returned from horrors no one wants her to speak about, masking her anguish with alcohol and cynical stoicism.
Even now, as a well-adjusted adult whose life is filled with meaningful work and the company of loved ones, Della has yet to come to terms with her painful history. But as the U.S. prepares to plunge into war in Iraq, Della struggles to make peace with her memories of Vietnam. She must also confront the fissures in her family life, the mystery of her father’s disappearance, the things mothers and daughters cannot—maybe should not—know about one another, and the lifelong repercussions of a single mistake.
An unflinching depiction of war and its personal costs, Her Own Vietnam is also a portrait of a woman in midlife — a mother, a nurse, and long ago a soldier.
“ONE HUNDRED HUNGERS,” BY LAUREN CAMP
Part memoir, part myth, One Hundred Hungers offers an account of cultural and familial exchange. Poet Lauren Camp grew up with the heritage and cuisine brought to the U.S. by her father’s Jewish family when they fled their homeland—Baghdad, Iraq—in 1950. At Sabbath dinners at her grandparents’ house, she was surrounded with the aromas of Middle Eastern cooking, the chants of ancient rituals, and the harsh sounds of Arabic, which she didn’t understand. Food and tradition were the family’s connection to the home they left behind, and also the bond between the girl and her father.
As an adult, Camp began to explore why the family emigrated. By then, the U.S. was at war with Iraq. Her father had essentially erased his memory of the place he was born. With the few morsels he shared, and her own extensive research and informed imagination, Camp has assembled a book of poems that casts a candlelit shadow of life in the Middle East, and its growing tensions, alongside a portrait of an American youth.
One Hundred Hungers flows in and out of vignettes that depict the privilege and underlying danger for a first-born boy in a city of river-fed commerce. Other poems show life in suburban America for his extended refugee family and his little girl. In still other poems, Camp imagines impossible conversations with her father about the past and about contemporary issues in his country of origin.
Camp places the politics and menace in the background, focusing instead on the relationships and mealtime rituals brought—along with one suitcase—to the new land. In rich, aromatic language, One Hundred Hungers celebrates a family’s perseverance.
“FORBIDDEN CHRONICLES OF A ROMAN CENTURION,” BY JOHN CHAPLICK.
An archaeological dig under the streets of London unearths a Roman Centurion’s 2,000-year-old letter which threatens the foundations of Christian doctrine and implicates the New Testament as a forgery promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church.
In a desperate effort to assess the validity of the letter’s contents, a team of scholars, including Dr. Peter Clemens, a devout Christian, and Professor Sam Wykoff, an avowed atheist, tracks the first century itinerary of Roman Legion XX, and the journey of the apostle Paul upon whose writings the centurion’s letter was based.
In the process, the team encounters danger and subterfuge at every turn. An anti-Christ group anxious to discredit the Bible, and religious zealots eager to protect the status quo by attempting to stop and kill members of the team are just a few of the obstacles that must be overcome.
LAST DAY ONLY (NOTE: ALL SNOWFLAKES POSTS ARE ARCHIVED UNDER THE AUTHOR’S NAMES ON THE AUTHOR PAGE).
“Divining Venus,” short stories by Mary Elizabeth Pope, and “The Remaining Ingredients,” poetry by Ellen Foos.
THIS WEEK’S DEALS
Writes Lynn Kanter: “The best place to buy Her Own Vietnam is from the publisher, Shade Mountain Press: http://www.shademountainpress.com/lynnkanter.php. You’ll be supporting an independent feminist press – and you’ll get a great deal, because the paperback is on sale for $8.
And from me: I’ll will be happy to mail anyone a signed copy of my first novel, “The Kudzu Kid,” for $5, plus $2.50 for postage. Look it up under Darrell Laurant on the Author page, e-mail me at email@example.com.