Thursday, September 13, 2012

BBAW - Pimp That Book!

Today's Book Blogger Appreciate Week prompt asks bloggers to "pimp" a book we think needs more exposure.

This was a tough one for me - so many great books I've loved but I've talked about so many of them, a great many of them are classics you're all aware of, or they're well known to the world. I couldn't settle on one, really it's like asking me to pick a favorite child. Instead I'm just going to refresh your memory on some books I blogged about a long time ago that I think need to be mentioned again and a couple I love but never blogged about.

The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish by Elise Blackwell, published by my beloved Unbridled Books

It's been almost three years since I reviewed this book but it's one that has stuck in my memory. Beautifully written, vivid imagery, and a unique story combined to make this a winner. I loved the blend of historical fact and fiction and Blackwell managed to pull together a number of threads effortlessly.

The publisher's summary:

Set in southern Louisiana in the weeks preceding the great flood of 1927, this novel depicts a place and way of life about to be forever changed. On the verge of manhood and a stone’s throw of the rising Mississippi River, Louis Proby is pulled between his love of the natural world and the glittering temptations of New Orleans, between the beautiful Nanette Lançon and a father who no longer seems larger-than-life, between the simplicity of childhood and the complicated decisions of adulthood.

Louis comes of age at a time when the country is coming of age. In Louisiana, it’s a time when the powerful prove themselves willing to sacrifice the poor to protect their position. As the people of Cypress Parish go about their daily lives, bankers in New Orleans are plotting to alter those lives irrevocably. Like so many calamities, the one that befalls Cypress Parish has both natural and human causes.

In The Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White, published by HarperCollins

Just a few months after reading The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish, which introduced me to the leper colony of Carville, I picked up this book, White's memoir of his time in prison, in a compound at Carville that also housed the leper colony. White's memoir is unflinching and honest and heartbreaking. 

I wasn't alone in my opinion of this one. My mom enjoyed it every bit as much (and you know how much I value her opinion). SouthernLitReview.comColorful characters provide a fast pace throughout this soul-searching tale, and White weaves a story that will stick with even the most judgmental reader. had this to say: "Colorful characters provide a fast pace throughout this soul-searching tale, and White weaves a story that will stick with even the most judgmental reader."

The Birth House by Ami McKay, published by Knopf Canada

I never reviewed this book (I read it before I started blogging) but I've mentioned it many times. It is the book that convinced me that the Omaha Bookworms was the book club for me. We had what still stands as the greatest conversation about this book we've ever had about any book. 

Publisher's summary:
"The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of the Rare family. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing and a kitchen filled with herbs and folk remedies. During the turbulent years of World War I, Dora becomes the midwife's apprentice. Together, they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labors, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives.

When Gilbert Thomas, a brash medical doctor, comes to Scots Bay with promises of fast, painless childbirth, some of the women begin to question Miss Babineau's methods - and after Miss Babineau's death, Dora is left to carry on alone. In the face of fierce opposition, she must summon all of her strength to protect the birthing traditions and wisdom that have been passed down to her."

Amazing characters and a unique plot in a book that takes the reader through the gamut of human emotions. Really, you will laugh and cry. Chrisbookarama felt the same way.  Booking Mama said " I read the entire book in less than 24 hours because I couldn't put it down -- I was hooked from the start." 

If you've read McKay's The Virgin Cure and enjoyed it you absolutely must pick up The Birth House. As much as I liked the former, the later is even better. I only wish McKay wrote books faster - except just as well researched and wonderfully written!


  1. All the books look interesting but 'The Birth House' is the one I am going to check out first.. thanks for introducing me to these...

  2. I love fiction based on fact, especially books that are mostly based on the fact. It brings the time and people to life and allows them to be remembered in a way that just isn't the same in non-fiction. Though I won't say as good as because that's not strictly true. The Unnatural History sounds a book I'd like as do the others to be honest. You've spotlighted some very interesting books!

  3. I really liked The Birth House! I haven't read The Virgin Cure yet though.

  4. They all look good...I like IN THE SANCTUARY OF OUTCASTS...caught my eye first.

    Have a fun day.

    Silver's Reviews

  5. They all sound fantastic! I'm especially drawn to the 2nd one you mentioned and might pick that one up.

  6. Wow - three fantastic-sounding books! I especially appreciate that the first book on your list led you to read the second one, which also turned out to be interesting. I definitely think I'll be adding The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish to my wish list.

  7. It was difficult to figure out which books to highlight. In the end we have to come up with something and your choices sound terrific.

  8. In The Sanctuary of Outcasts isn't a book I would have likely chosen on my own, but it sounds very compelling -- will have to look for it!

  9. Wonderful post today, Lisa! I haven't read any of the books you mention, sad to say, but, on a good note, they are on my list to read. That's something at least!

    I've been really wanting to read Ami McKay's book forever. Not sure why I haven't yet.

    And I've always been interested in the history of leper colonies, so the other two are definitely of interest to me. Not to mention Elise Blackwell is an author I really want to read.

    Thanks for the reminder that I need to read these books!

  10. I am about halfway through The Birth House, and I totally get the love! She is such a talented author, and I really loved The Virgin Cure. I am excited to get back to finishing this one. Great list today!

  11. One of my friends has been enthusing over Ami McKay for years, and now you're doing the same. Guess it's time to add her books to the ol' wish list...

  12. I read In the Sanctuary of Outcasts a few years ago and really enjoyed it.