Mailbox Monday #167

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is Diary of an Eccentric.

Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailbox meme.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes, which I bought.

In 1968, at the age of twenty-three, Karl Marlantes was dropped into the highland jungle of Vietnam, an inexperienced lieutenant in command of a platoon of forty Marines who would live or die by his decisions. Marlantes survived, but like many of his brothers in arms, he has spent the last forty years dealing with his war experience. In What It Is Like to Go to War, Marlantes takes a deeply personal and candid look at what it is like to experience the ordeal of combat, critically examining how we might better prepare our soldiers for war. Marlantes weaves riveting accounts of his combat experiences with thoughtful analysis, self-examination, and his readings—from Homer to The Mahabharata to Jung. He makes it clear just how poorly prepared our nineteen-year-old warriors are for the psychological and spiritual aspects of the journey.

Just as Matterhorn is already being acclaimed as acclaimed as a classic of war literature, What It Is Like to Go to War is set to become required reading for anyone—soldier or civilian—interested in this visceral and all too essential part of the human experience.

2.  The Names of Things by John Colman Wood for review in May from Ashland Creek Press.

The anthropologist’s wife, an artist, didn’t want to follow her husband to the remote desert of northeast Africa to live with camel-herding nomads. But wanting to be with him, she endured the trip, only to fall desperately ill years later with a disease that leaves her husband with more questions than answers.

When the anthropologist discovers a deception that shatters his grief and guilt, he begins to reevaluate his love for his wife as well as his friendship with one of the nomads he studied. He returns to Africa to make sense of what happened, traveling into the far reaches of the Chalbi Desert, where he must sift through the layers of his memories and reconcile them with what he now knows.

3.  The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng for review in March from Myrmidon Books.

It’s Malaya, 1949. After studying law at Cambrige and time spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh, herself the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle fringed plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses, but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice ‘until the monsoon comes’. Then she can design a garden for herself. As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day. But the Garden of Evening Mists is also a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? Why is it that Yun Ling’s friend and host Magnus Praetorius, seems to almost immune from the depredations of the Communists? What is the legend of ‘Yamashita’s Gold’ and does it have any basis in fact? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?

4. A Demon Does It Better by Linda Wisdom, which I won from Peeking Between the Pages.

After more than a century, Doctor Lili Carter, witch healer extraordinaire, has returned to San Francisco and taken a job at Crying Souls Hospital and Asylum, where something peculiar and wicked his happening. Patients are disappearing, and Lil wants to know why. AND DOUBLY DANGEROUS FOR A DEMON… Lili finds herself undeniably attracted to perhaps the most mysterious patient of all-a demented but seriously sexy demon named Jared. What’s behind the gorgeous chameleon demon’s late-night escapades? Before long, Lili and Jared are investigating each other-and creating a whole new kind of magic.

What did you receive this week?


  1. These are all new to me…looking forward to your wonderful reviews!

  2. The Garden of Evening Mists sounds especially tempting. Enjoy each of your new books!

  3. Martha @ Hey, I want to read that says

    Interesting titles, all new to me. They really do sound good. Happy Reading.

  4. Great goodies in the mailbox Serena! I think I’m going to be doing something with Garden of Evening Mists too and I sure hope you’ll like Demon. Her books are such fun!

  5. These look good. Mostly new titles for me.

  6. This one is new to me. Enjoy!

  7. I read great things about What it is Like to Got to War. I’m already looking forward to your review.
    I am reviewing The Garden of Evening Mists, too!

    Enjoy your new books, Serena!

  8. The Garden of Evening Mists looks like one that I would enjoy…I will be anticipating your review!

  9. Among the titles you have here, What it is Like to go to War and The Garden of Evening Mists caught my eye. Would love to hear your thoughts about them. Enjoy your new books!

    Here’s mine over at GatheringBooks:

  10. These all look intriguing…hope you have a great week!


  11. Looking forward to your review of the first book!

  12. Can’t wait to borrow the Marlantes book from you. 😉

  13. I read Marlante’s first book and enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy all these new books.

  14. You always end up with intriguing books! enjoy the reads