In My Mailbox: September 13-19

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.

I’m in the middle of moving and, therefore, trying not to acquire more books at the moment. So naturally, several new books came into my home this past week!


From the library, two audiobooks to listen to as I’m packing and driving:

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko, narrated by Kirby Heyborne

I quite enjoyed Choldenko’s earlier book, Al Capone Does My Shirts, which I read several years back. As always, I listened to a track to make sure I liked the reader’s style, which I do. From GoodReads:

Moose has never met Al Capone, but a few weeks ago Moose wrote a letter to him asking him to use his influence to get his sister, Natalie, into a school she desperately needs in San Francisco. After Natalie got accepted, a note appeared in Moose’s freshly laundered shirt that said: Done.

As this book begins, Moose discovers a new note. This one says: Your turn. Is it really from Capone? What does it mean? Moose can’t risk anything that might get his dad fired. But how can he ignore Al Capone?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, narrated by Frank Muller

I read The Great Gatsby in high school but have since forgotten pretty much everything about it. My experience with To Kill A Mockingbird on audio was so positive that I’ve decided to seek out other well-done recordings of classics. Plus, AudioFile speaks highly of this particular production:

Readers familiar with Fitzgerald’s novel of the Jazz Age and those who have never read it will both benefit from Frank Muller’s wonderful narration. Muller brings the classic’s rhythms to life, letting us hear the differences in class or regional origins in just a few words that might be missed on the silent page. What’s more, the fundamental dishonesty of Gatsby’s self-creation comes through in his repetition of stock phrases. Muller’s delivery accents the often missed poetic qualities of Fitzgerald’s prose. One can hear the rhythmic cadences in each phrase, and even how the vowels in individual descriptive passages resonate with one another. This is what an audiobook should be.


I also picked up a couple of used books from a bookstore clearance bin, both of which I’ve been hoping to read:

Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago

A book about a day when no one dies? That’s just intriguing. And Saramago’s writing style is so different that I’ve been looking forward to exploring it. From GoodReads:

On the first day of the new year, no one dies. This of course causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, morticians, and doctors. Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration — flags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life.

Then reality hits home — families are left to care for the permanently dying, life-insurance policies become meaningless, and funeral parlors are reduced to arranging burials for pet dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots.

Death sits in her chilly apartment, where she lives alone with scythe and filing cabinets, and contemplates her experiment: What if no one ever died again? What if she, death with a small d, became human and were to fall in love?

City of Light by Lauren Belfer

Ann over at Books on the Nightstand talked about City of Light in an episode discussing places as book characters. Then, when Belfer’s new novel, A Fierce Radiance, came out recently, more and more customers told me how much they loved her books. For $2 on clearance, how could I resist? From GoodReads:

Set in the spring of 1901, as preparations for the Pan-American Exposition would seem to promise Buffalo, New York, a permanent place in the world, Lauren Belfer’s book is narrated by the never-married headmistress of a fashionable girls’ school. At 36, Louisa Barrett does her best to free her charges from their societal shackles…

What Louisa is most concerned about, however, is her 9-year-old goddaughter, Grace Sinclair, who has grown increasingly unstable since her mother’s sudden death. Meanwhile, Grace’s father is heading up Buffalo’s hydroelectric power plans with dangerous zeal–much to the chagrin of local conservationists who oppose any exploitation of Niagara Falls. Will Tom’s intensity, which smacks of fanaticism, extend so far as murder?


That’s it for me (thank goodness!). What books came into your home this week?

Join the Conversation


  1. I’m taking note of all these audio books! Just getting into t hem right now, I’m never sure where to look. I think it’d be great to listen to Gatsby on audio. I couldn’t get through it in print.

    1. I’ll report back about how they turn out! I thought audiobooks were pointless until I listened to “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery, read by Cassandra Morris and Barbara Rosenblat, last year. That single recording got me completely hooked! Welcome to the addiction 🙂

      I’m hoping to find good recordings of some of the classics, because classics are a stumbling block of mine and I’d like to get more comfortable with them. If you come across any good ones, do let me know!

    1. I managed to “hate” everything I read in high school (including Gatsby), I think just because I had to read it for high school. I’m trying to give some of those books a second chance, since the two I’ve reread so far — Their Eyes Were Watching God and To Kill a Mockingbird — I’ve ended up loving. I like audiobooks a lot, so I thought maybe I’d try that approach!

    1. We read Al Capone Does My Shirts with a school group a few years back. The kids LOVED it, and so did the staff! I’m hoping the second one is just as good.

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