Yearly Archives: 2010

Stone In A Landslide – Book Review

I was thirteen when, with a bundle of clothes in my arms, my father on my left and Maria on my right, I left my family, home, village and mountain. It was just a few kilometers between Ermita and Pallares, but it meant a day’s walk and losing sight of home. At the time, this hurt me more than anything else. As I walked away, I left the only world I had ever known behind. – from Stone in a Landslide, page 10 –

I feel like a stone after a landslide. If someone or something stirs it, I’ll come tumbling down with the others. If nothing comes near, I’ll be here, still, for days and days … – from Stone in a Landslide, page 89 –

Maria Barbal’s classic literary novella takes place in Spain at the beginning of the 20th century. It begins with thirteen year old Conxa leaving her family and village to go live with her childless aunt and uncle. Conxa is at first fearful and sad about being displaced from her family, but she grows to love her aunt and does not mind the hard work of living on a farm. The years slip by and eventually Conxa meets the charming Jaume, marries him and begins a family of her own. But the Spanish Civil War blights their lives and in the end, it is only Conxa’s steadfast will and unflinching spirit which keeps her moving forward.

Conxa’s voice is compelling and resolute as she relates the significant events of her life in a small village. It is the simpleness of her story which drives the narrative. With stark, yet poetic language, Maria Barbal captures the life of a young girl growing into adulthood and finally entering the waning years of her life. It is a quiet story, but one which captures the patient reader. When Conxa must face the loss of Jaume, her pain is described like the unraveling of a skein of wool:

No need to open your mouth, just find a bit of the pain and pull at it gently like wool from a skein, let it unravel, unravel … until you can’t see colours any more because your eyes have flooded but it’s not tears that fall from your eyes. The wool you were unraveling has turned into a sheet of water slipping down your cheek, and just as you were going to let out a sob, you realize you are not alone. A knot forms in your throat, causing such a strong pain but you swallow and swallow, until slowly you untangle the knot and you’re left with the skein. A fragment of sorrow, knot and all, has gone down directly to your stomach. – from Stone in a Landslide, page 101 –

It was moments like this which drew me to the story and made me feel as though I knew Conxa. Beautifully crafted, this book manages to say more in 126 pages than most longer novels are able to do. A story about coming of age, love, loss, and the connectivity of family, Stone in a Landslide is an amazing work of fiction.

Highly recommended to those readers who enjoy literary fiction.

FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.

Weekend Cooking with Fred Ramey, Co-Publisher Unbridled Books

Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Cooking hosted every week at Beth Fish Reads who writes:

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

This week I am pleased to invite Fred Ramey, Co-Publisher of Unbridled Books (with Greg Michalson), to Caribousmom to share a favorite holiday recipe. He was a founding editor of BlueHen Books and, earlier, Arden Press as well as
Publisher and Executive Editor of MacMurray & Beck.

Fred Ramey’s Recipe

Here’s a recipe that evolved from one that appeared in The Tsil Café, by Thomas Fox Averill, the most delicious novel Greg and I ever published (BlueHen, 2001). I’d put it second in our list after St. Burl’s Obituary – M&B, 1996- because its menus are reachable in our kitchen. I should say that Greg was the editor for both of those scrumptious novels. In The Tsil Café, Wes, the 15-year-old protagonist creates a turkey mole for another restaurant as his first act of cooking rebellion from his father. In his father’s restaurant, only native American ingredients are allowed. But in Wes’s mole there are onions and garlic.

We’ve altered the recipe a bit around our house. But here are its basics. (You’ll need access to a Latino grocery; cooking time is about 3 hours.):

Ingredients:

½ cup roasted peanuts
¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
6 or 8 ancho chiles
2 chipotle chiles
2 medium onions
One pound of tomatoes
All the cloves from a small head of garlic
2 teaspoons of achiote seeds (You can leave this out if you can’t find it.)
¼ cup Mexican cocoa (Abuelita’s is perfect, but any cocoa will do)
1½ teaspoons of cumin
3 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla (though we prefer the meat from one vanilla bean)

Wes calls for a tablespoon of cider vinegar. The last time we made this, we used a tablespoon of Verjus from a Michigan vineyard, just because we had it. But how often does that happen?

Whatever parts of a turkey you want to use, enough for however many folks are coming to dinner.

Directions:

Roast the peanuts and the sunflower seeds. They should be as dark as possible without burning. We use the toaster oven.

Stem and seed the chiles. Chop the onions. Halve the tomatoes. Peel the garlic. Run them all-including the peanuts and sunflower seeds-through a food processor until smooth.

Put the mixture into a large, wide pot on low heat. Add the spices and stir. When it’s bubbling, put in the turkey parts.

Cover and simmer for at least 2 hours; cooking until the meat falls from the bone and the sauce thickens. Dark meat  takes longer. Stir often. If the sauce becomes too thick, add water-or turkey broth if you have that.

Serve over rice.

As Wes’s Maria Tito says, “Love others, comfort yourself.

Thanks, Fred!!!

Read-A-Thon Update (Out with a Bang)

Just giving a brief update on my progress. I had to work all day yesterday so my reading was limited…but even still, I managed to read 177 pages and finish one of my books!

I finished reading Stone in a Landslide by Maria Barbal last night and will be posting a review either tonight or tomorrow morning.

I’ve decided to read The Doctor and The Diva by Adrienne McDonnell next. It looks great…and I hope it will be a quick read for me. I don’t have time to participate in the mini-challenges, but I am really happy to be getting some good reading in.

Off to work again today, but I hope to get at least 200 pages read before I go to bed tonight!

The Polski Affair – DNF

Among the other burdens I carry with me, the Hotel Polski lies like a stone upon my heart. What others think they know they never speak of and what I know I certainly never speak of. But think about it, that I do. – from The Polski Affair, page 8 –

When the Warsaw ghetto was destroyed in 1943, the surviving Jews fled to the countryside or hid in the homes of sympathetic Aryans. In an elaborate scheme to encourage Jewish citizens to come out of hiding, the Gestapo promised to allow Jews from Warsaw who held foreign passports of neutral countries to leave Poland and travel to South America where they could find refuge. They used the Hotel Polski to house Jewish families who were preparing to emigrate. Nearly 2500 people came out hiding and moved to the Hotel Polski. Instead of finding safe passage out of Poland, Jews were instead transported to Vittel, Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz when their passports were not recognized by South American governments. Jews without foreign passports were executed by the Germans at Pawiak prison. Only about 350 Jews who held Palestinian passports survived.

It is this historic event which serves as the backdrop to Leon Gildin’s novel The Polski Affair.

I was eager to read this book – the premise seemed promising and the novel won the 2010 International Book Award for Historical Fiction. Despite my high hopes, I found myself quickly disappointed. The narrator is a woman by the name of Rosa Herzog. She represents one of the few survivors of the Hotel Polski and tells her story in a dry voice, relating the events but lacking any real emotion. Her narrative bounces around quite a bit. Because of this, I felt largely unmoved by her story which read more like a history book than a first person narrative of a tragic event. I was distracted from the story repeatedly because of glaring typos and poor grammar (for example, on page 7 a sentence reads: “Just like Chaim and I.“). I could forgive one or two mistakes, but after stumbling over these types of sentences for 51 pages and finding my mind wandering, I finally put this book aside as one of the rare DNFs of the year.

I wanted to like this one, but I am afraid it is one of those self-published manuscripts that could have benefited from tighter editing.

Not recommended.

Unrated.

FTC Disclosure: This book was sent to me by a publicist for review on my blog.

The Truth-Teller’s Lie – Book Review

The sharp wind on my skin feels like total exposure. This can’t be happening. After three years of meticulous secrecy, I am about to tear down the barrier I’ve built between me and the world. I am going to blow my own cover. – from The Truth-Teller’s Lie, page 52 –

Naomi Jenkins is having an affair with a married man and harboring a dark secret she has not shared with anyone, including her moody lover, Robert. But, when Robert inexplicably disappears, Naomi begins to feel a bit desperate. Her desperation escalates when she goes to Robert’s home and peers through one of the windows – something she sees causes her to have a full blown panic attack, and then Robert’s bitter wife Juliet confronts her. Fearing the worst and certain the police are doing nothing to find Robert, Naomi decides to reveal her secret but hide it within a lie – she tells the police that Robert is a sick psychopath who raped her. What Naomi doesn’t know is that Robert also is hiding something – and the truth is darker and more frightening then anyone could imagine.

Sophie Hannah’s novel is a twisty, dark, psychological thriller that kept me reading long into the night. Naomi Jenkins is a damaged, obsessed woman. Naomi’s path crosses that of Police Sargent Charlie Zailer, a woman whose bad luck with men has made her cynical about relationships and the two of them begin to unravel the truth as the novel moves forward. Nothing about this story is predictable – even when I thought I knew where the plot was going, it would suddenly take a sharp turn and go somewhere else. Hannah gives her readers just enough information to make them think they understand the characters, and then takes them in another direction. The effect is unsettling.

If the book has a weakness it is the voice of the male characters who come off a bit stunted and stereotypical. I did not particularly like any of them. Luckily, it is Naomi and Charlie who carry the novel, and it is their female perspectives which give the story its strength.

This was my first Sophie Hannah book and it has made me curious about her previous work. Her writing is shocking and suspenseful. She dares to go to the darkest corners of the human psyche and explore the unthinkable. Many readers may be put off by the graphic nature of The Truth-Teller’s Lie, but mystery and thriller buffs will find it hard to put down.

Recommended for readers who like their thrillers dark, scary and unpredictable.

FTC Disclosure: This novel was sent to me by the publisher for review on my blog.

Readers wishing to purchase this book from an Indie Bookstore may click on the link below to find Indie sellers. I am an Indie Associate and receive a small commission if readers purchase a book through this link on my blog.


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Out With A Bang Read-A-Thon

Heather at Book-Savvy and Casey at The Bookish Type are hosting a read-a-thon to help us get the last of our 2010 books read…and I need all the incentive I can get. Even though I am working on the 29th and 30th, I still hope to squirrel away some time to read. Here is what the event is all about:

The Readathon will run from December 29 – 31 and participants will be reading as many books as they can during that time! Sign ups are HERE.

Casey and Heather will be giving away tons of swag and books during the Readathon (and a lot of it will be signed!) Several authors have been kind enough to donate items. There will also be fun daily Mini-Challenges, hosted by the following fabulous bloggers:

December 29

Pure Imagination
Kat Duncan
The Nerd’s Wife
YA Book Shelf

December 30

The Book Worms
Loud Words and Sounds
Family Literacy and You!

December 31

Books, Sweets and Other Treats
The Novel Affair
Reading Teen
A Writer’s Review

Here is what is in my TBR pile for the last three days of December (I hope to read at least TWO of these in addition to completing my current read):

  • The Truth-Teller’s Lie by Sophie Hannah (almost done with this one)
  • Stone in a Landslide by Maria Barbal
  • The Polski Affair by Leon H. Gildin
  • The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell
  • The Things That Need Doing by Sean Manning
  • The Last Child by John Hart
  • The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna
  • A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear by Atiq Rahimi

Wish me luck!!!

Unbridled Books Author Timothy Schaffert – Guest Blogger


THE COFFINS OF LITTLE HOPE, by Timothy Schaffert
FICTION Hardcover | 6×9 | 272 pages
(Unbridled Books) April 19, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-60953-040-2

Today, Timothy Schaffert visits Caribousmom with a piece about which author, dead or alive, he’d invite to his holiday dinner. This Spring, Schaffert is publishing his novel The Coffins of Little Hope with Unbridled Books. A little about the book (from the publisher’s website):

When a young country girl is reported to be missing, perhaps whisked away by an itinerant aerial photographer, Essie (an octogenarian obituary writer for her family’s small town newspaper) stumbles onto the story of her life. Or, it all could be simply a hoax, or a delusion, the child and child-thief invented from the desperate imagination of a lonely, lovelorn woman. Either way, the story of the girl reaches far and wide, igniting controversy, attracting curiosity-seekers and cult worshippers from all over the country to this dying rural town.  And then it is revealed that the long awaited final book of an infamous series of ya gothic novels is being secretly printed on the newspaper’s presses.

The Coffins of Little Hope tells a feisty, energetic story of characters caught in the intricately woven webs of myth, legend and deception even as Schaffert explores with his typical exquisite care and sharp eye the fragility of childhood, the strength of family, the powerful rumor mills of rural America, and the sometimes dramatic effects of pop culture on the way we shape our world.

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Timothy Schaffert on which author, dead or alive, he’d invite to his holiday dinner

Before Edward Gorey arrives in his long fur coat, I will prepare a dinner that is threateningly Victorian—pheasant still riddled with buckshot, raw oysters a suspicious hue, a plum pudding with a lucky golden ring inside just waiting to bust your tooth. Mr. Gorey and I will drink clotted nog and tell ghost stories by the fire. The tradition of spinning ghost stories at Christmastime never quite caught on here — other than in our appreciation of A Christmas Carol — but it makes perfect sense that a seasonal nostalgia might stir up spirits. (The Victorians recognized a Christmas devil, even — a figure of evil that lurks on Christmas Eve before the arrival of St. Nick.) So, on December nights, I tend to like to settle in with stories that haunt and evoke a holiday melancholia — “The Dead,” “The Rocking-Horse Winner,” “The Turn of the Screw.” So Gorey makes for a fitting midwinter dinner guest. He wrote and illustrated self-consciously antiquated tales of the consumptive and the murderous, of doomed ballerinas and depraved orphans, of mysterious bogs and foggy moors. His characters, whether rich or poor, were as lanky and underfed as skeletons, their eyes rimmed with sickliness, their gowns molting with dark feathers. Underlying it all is an irony so cold as to render his morbid tales sincere.

Timothy Schaffert grew up on a farm in Nebraska and currently lives in Omaha. He is the author of several critically-acclaimed novels including, The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God, Devils in the Sugar Shop, and The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters. His new novel, Coffins of Little Hope will also be published by Unbridled Books in April 2011.

Mailbox Monday – December 27, 2010

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday – the last mailbox post of 2010! This month Mailbox Monday is hosted by Let Them Read Books. Next month’s host (to kick off 2011) will be Rose City Reader.

I found some wonderful books in my mailbox this past week, including some I ordered or bought myself.

Here is what showed up on my doorstep:

Lydia at GP Putnam’s Sons/Penguin sent me an Advance Readers Edition of Kate Mosse’s latest book The Winter Ghosts. I have long wanted to read a Mosse novel, and this one looks especially good. Mosse’s latest book transports the reader to the romantic French countryside during the winter of 1928. Freddie, a man still dealing with the horrors of WWI, finds himself spinning out of control on a mountain road during a snowstorm. He manages to find his way to a tiny village where he meets a woman named Fabrissa. Over the course of one night, Freddie and Fabrissa will share their stories and unearth a centuries old mystery which will bind them.

Kate Mosse is a best selling novelist of historical fiction. She currently writes a column for the weekly British book trade magazine, The Bookseller, and for The Times, The Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Independent and the Financial Times. She is the co-founder and honorary director of the Orange Prize for Fiction and divides her time between England and France. Learn more about Mosse and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Elaine at Penguin tempted me with a new release of The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan which earned Tan a nomination for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996. The novel is set in both San Francisco and a remote village in Southwestern China. The story centers around two sisters: Olivia Laguni who is half Chinese and half American and her half sister Kwan Li who speaks poor English and is an embarrassment to Olivia. The press release reads: “Out of the friction between her narrators, Amy Tan has created a work that illuminates both the present and the past sweetly, sadly, hilariously, with searing and vivid prose.

Amy Tan is an award winning novelist whose work has earned her praise and been nominated for literary prizes such as The National Book Award, The National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her work has been translated into more than 25 languages. She divides her time between San Francisco and New York. Read more about Tan and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Harper Collins sent me an Advance Readers Edition of Caribou Island by David Vann. This is being called a “haunting and tense work of literary fiction.” Set in Alaska, the novel centers on a husband and wife whose “bitter love, failed dreams, and tragic past push them to the edge of destruction.” Author Stewart O’Nan praises Vann as a “sure-handed guide in some very dangerous territory,” and The Times (Lond0n) compares Vann’s writing to that of Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy.

David Vann  has received international praise for his prizewinning collection Legend of a Suicide. A former National Endowment of the Arts Fellow, Wallace Stegner Fellow, and John L’Heureux Fellow, Vann has taught at Stanford, Cornell, SF State, FSU, and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of San Francisco. He was born in Alaska and currently lives in the SF Bay Area with his wife. Read more about Vann and his work by visiting the author’s website.

I received a hard cover edition of A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear by Atiq Rahimi (published through Other Press in January 2011) as part of the brand new Book Club hosted by Jen from Devourer of Books, and Nicole from Linus’s Blanket. This book is up for discussion as part of Book Club in the month of January (on the last Tuesday of that month). I was really excited to win a copy of this book because in August of this year I read Earth and Ashes by the same author and was very impressed by it (read my review). In A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear, Rahimi brings the reader to Kabul in 1979 during the early days of the pro-Soviet coup. The novella takes place over the course of one night after a young man is brutally beaten by a group of soldiers and rescued by a strange and beautiful woman who awakens in him a forbidden love and forces him to examine his country in a different light.

Atiq Rahimi was born in Kabul in 1962 and fled to Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After the Taliban fell in 2002, Rahimi returned to Afghanistan where he became a renowned make of documentary and feature films. He is an award winning writer. Read more about Rahimi and his work on Wikipedia.

Here are books I ordered or bought for myself which also arrived this week:

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is on the reading list over at A Year of Feminist Classics. This book is slated for discussion in March. I purchased a newly released edition which really appealed to me. The book is actually a screen play and was written in 1879. Widely regarded as the first true feminist work, it is viewed as a timeless classic. Watch for a review and my thoughts sometime in March, or follow the discussion over at A Year of Feminist Classics blog.

Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska is on The Wolves reading list for January. This book was first published in 1925 and has been republished by Persea Books (my edition was reprinted in 2003). The novel centers around Sara Smolinsky, the youngest daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, who watches her father marry off her sisters to men they do not love.  Sara rejects her father’s Orthodox values pertaining to women, and seeks to be an independent woman through education, work and love. Set in 1920’s New York, the novel is about a young woman’s search to find a place for herself in the world.

Anziea Yezierska was born in Russian Poland and emigrated to the United States in 1890 at the age of eight years old. She was one of nine children and grew up in the Jewish ghetto on New York City’s Lower East Side. She worked in sweatshops and laundries to put herself through university. She published collections of short stories as well as novels. Yezierska died in 1970.

Trespass by Rose Tremain is one of those novels I have been coveting since I first learned of its publication this year. I have loved every novel I’ve read by Tremain…and I hope to love this one too. Trepass takes place in a valley in Southern France and centers around the desolate Aramon (a man who is drowning his sorrows in drink), his sister Audrun (who dreams of exacting retribution for a lifetime of betrayals), and Anthony Verey (a wealthy Londoner who upsets the fragile balance of life in the valley).

Rose Tremain is an award winning author who won the 1999 Whitbread Award for Best Novel (Music and Silence), was shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize (Restoration), and won the coveted Orange Prize for Fiction in 2008 (The Road Home). She lives in Eastern England.

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman is one of those books which has been getting a lot of buzz of late. In her latest novel, Allegra Goodman brings together two sisters who are opposites in every way. Eily Bach is the CEO of Veritech and is making her fortune in Silicon Valley; while Jessamine Bach is an environmental activist, graduate student in philosophy and barely making ends meet at an antiquarian bookstore. The Cookbook Collector is a novel of “appetite, temptation, and fulfillment.

Allegra Goodman was shortlisted for the National Book Award and is a New York Times bestselling author. Born in Brooklyn New York in 1967,  she grew up in Honolulu. The Cookbook Collector is her seventh novel. To learn more about Goodman and her work, visit the author’s website.

I could not resist buying a copy of Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. This chunky book (539 pages) is a family saga set during WWII in Berlin. A working class couple decide to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front, and find themselves pitted against the powerful Third Reich. Described as “more than an edge of your seat thriller, more than a romance, even more than literature of the highest order – it’s a deeply stirring story  of two people standign up for what’s right, and for each other.

Han Fallada (born Rudolf Ditzen)was a bestselling author before WWII and found himself in a Nazi insane asylum at the war’s end. He died in 1947 of a morphine overdose just before Every Man Dies Alone was published. Now this literary masterpiece has been translated and published for the first time in the United States by Melville House Publishing. Learn more about Fallada and his work on Wikipedia.

What books found their way to YOUR house this week?

Gulliver’s Travels – Book Review and Movie Tie-In

In choosing persons for all employments, they have more regard to good morals than to great abilities; for, since government is necessary to mankind, they believe that the common size of human understandings is fitted to some station or other, and that Providence never intended to make the management of public affairs a mystery, to be comprehended only by a few persons of sublime genius, of which there seldom are three born in an age: but they suppose truth, justice, temperance, and the like, to be in every man’s power; the practice of which virtues, assisted by experience and a good intention, would qualify any man for the service of his country, except where a course of study is required. – from Gulliver’s Travels, page 44 –

Jonathan Swift penned his most well-known novel, Gulliver’s Travels, in 1726. Most readers are familiar with the first part of the book – Gulliver’s journey to Lilliput where he is taken captive by the diminutive Lilliputians, and later lives among them for several months. But the full novel is actually written in four parts where Gulliver travels to several other locations, meeting other strange and fascinating creatures.

In part two, he finds himself in danger of being crushed by the huge inhabitants of Brobdinghag whose size is roughly twelve times that of Gulliver. Gulliver is rescued from this community by an eagle, who seizes the traveling box in which Gulliver sleeps, and drops it into the ocean where he is picked up by an English vessel.

Part three introduces the reader to the flying island of Laputa where the inhabitants are thrilled by music and mathematics, but have no practical skills.

Finally (in part four), Gulliver makes his way to the country of the Houyhnhnms who are actually horses who rule the country and the deformed creatures (“Yahoos”) who are, in fact,  human beings in their base form. Gulliver is welcomed into a horse’s household, and eventually rejects humans as merely Yahoos with very little reasoning ability which simply adds to the vices Nature has given them. Eventually Gulliver is expelled from the country as he is seen as a danger to civilization.

Gulliver’s Travels is primarily a satire which pokes fun at European government, and the petty differences between religions. The Lilliputians perhaps are the most petty of all – squabbling over the size of their shoe heels, and going to war with their closest neighbors because of a disagreement over how to eat an egg. The book becomes darker as it progresses, with Gulliver moving from an optimistic and rather innocent character, to one whose view of the world becomes more cynical.

Although I found this novel to be an interesting read, I must admit that some of the long, circular sentences left me skimming at times. This book is full of cultural, political and religious references which might be best explored as part of a book club or in a classroom. For the reader simply looking for an entertaining book, Gulliver’s Travels might be a little too deep.

Despite some of my reservations, Gulliver’s Travels is a good classic novel. As with many people, my favorite section was the first. It is hard not to be delighted with Gulliver’s time spent in Lilliput.

Recommended for readers of classic literature.

The Movie:

  • Released just in time for Christmas – December 25th.
  • Directed by Rob Letterman and starring Jack Black as Gulliver.

Movie Synopsis:

Jack Black is bigger than ever…as Gulliver, a perpetual underachiever and wannabe travel writer at a New York newspaper. When he finally makes an effort to actually venture out the city to write a travel piece, a storm-tossed voyage lands him on an island inhabited by tiny folks called Lilliputians. After a rocky beginning, the gargantuan Gulliver becomes an inspiration to his new six-inch-tall friends. He brings them modern-day wonders like a PDA and music video game – while they help him kick it old-school during his travels through this unforgettable world.

Want to see the movie trailer?

Looks fun, doesn’t it? And who doesn’t love Jack Black!?!??

FTC Disclosure: The book was sent to me by the publisher for review and movie tie-in promotion.

Readers wishing to purchase this book from an Indie Bookstore may click on the link below to find Indie sellers. I am an Indie Associate and receive a small commission if readers purchase a book through this link on my blog.


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Mailbox Monday – December 20, 2010

Welcome to the pre-Christmas edition of Mailbox Monday, hosted this month by Jenny at Let Them Read Books.

As always, make sure you drop by the host blog sometime today to view links to readers’ mailboxes and add your own!

What arrived at YOUR house this week? I found some goodies in my mailbox and at my front door…

Publicist Leah Paulos sent me an Advance Readers Edition of Frank Delaney’s newest book The Matchmaker of Kenmare (due for release in February through Random House). This historical novel is set in 1943 and brings back Ben McCarthy (the narrator of Delaney’s previous novel Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show). When Ben meets matchmaker Miss Begley, he finds himself following her into enemy territory on a mission to snatch a man the American’s need ahead of D-Day. Described as rich and tense, this novel is predicted to delight Delaney’s fans who have enjoyed his Irish novels in the past.

Frank Delaney is a best-selling author of more than 21 books, and has interviewed more than 3,000 writers for his BBC and international television and radio shows (Bookshelf, The Book Show, The Frank Delaney Show). He has served as a judge of many literary prizes (including the Booker Prize), and has acted as Literary Director of the Edinburgh Festival. Born in  Tipperary, Ireland,  his first book (James Joyce’s Odyssey which was published in 1979) received critical acclaim and best-seller status. He currently lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut, with his wife, Diane Meier. Read more about Frank Delaney and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Picador sent me The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (due for release in January). This magical debut novel won the Desmond Elliot Prize, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. This literary novel  is described as “a fairy tale; a fable; an allegory; a fantasy” in the style of Murakami and Marquez. The story takes place on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land where magical winged creatures flit and albino animals hide. Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass and has returned to the islands in search of a cure.

Ali Shaw is a British writer who graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English. He is also a talented artist (check out some of his drawings here). The Girl With Glass Feet is his first novel. Learn more about Shaw and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Amanda from Simon & Schuster sent me an Advance Readers Edition of Save as Draft by Cavanaugh Lee (due for release in February). This is an epistolary novel told entirely in emails, Blackberry texts and messages, Facebook and Match.com profiles. A love triangle develops  between quirky Izabel Chin (a wannabe-actress-turned-lawyer), Peter (her preppy friend and co-worker), and Marty (a guy who appears alluring through his Match.com profile). This debut novel is all about dating in the digital age – a funny look at what happens when relationships are instantly created and destroyed by the stroke of a “delete” key. I have a feeling this is going to be a fun novel to read!

Cavanaugh Lee grew up in San Francisco and received her undergraduate degree from UCLA’s School of Theatre and her law degree from UNC. She works as a federal prosecutor in Savannah, Georgia by day and works on her writing by night. Read more about Lee and her work by visiting the author’s website.