Mailbox Monday – July 12, 2010

Welcome to another edition of Mailbox Monday hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

Here is what arrived at my house this week:

Lindsay from Viking/Penguin sent me a copy of The Breaking of Eggs by Jim Powell which is due for a U.S.  release at the end of this month.  The book was first published in the UK in March of this year and was long-listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize for first novels. The novel is the story of Feliks, a curmudgeonly Communist whose life’s work is a travel guide to the Eastern bloc.  But it is 1991 and when the Berlin Wall falls, Felix finds his beliefs crumbling around him and is forced to accept an irresistible offer from a  capitalist American publisher.  What follows is a wry and stirring tale about a man who wakes up from a self-imposed isolation into a changed world that he must get to know all over again.  Early reviews describe The Breaking of Eggs as “unforgettable,” “winsome and moving,” and “fresh.”

Jim Powell has alternately worked as a managing director of a large London advertising agency, the founder of a successful ceramics business, a speechwriter for three government ministers, and an office boy for the Beatles. He lives in Northamptonshire, England. The Breaking of Eggs is his first novel. Learn more about Powell and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Simply from Scratch by Alicia Bessette arrived unsolicited from Dutton/Penguin. This novel is due for release in August and centers around a young widow, Zell, who is mourning the death of her husband who died more than year ago during a post-Katrina relief mission. When she teams up with a nine year old girl to enter a baking contest, both characters’ lives are indelibly changed. This novel has called “utterly charming” by author Patricia Wood, and “full of vivid characters and grace” by author Marisa de los Santos. It also includes a recipe for a delicious dessert which I just may have to make myself!

Alicia Bessette was born and raised in central Massachusetts and graduated from La Salle University in Philadelphia. A pianist and freelance writer, she and her husband live near Philadelphia with their adopted racing greyhound, Stella. Simply From Scratch is Alicia’s first novel. To learn more about Bessette and her work, visit the author’s website.

Sonya from Pamela Dorman/Viking/Penguin sent me a gorgeous hardcover of The Blind Contessa’s New Machine by Carey Wallace which was released this month. I have to admit, the cover is what immediately captured my imagination – but then I read about the book and found myself entranced by its premise. Based on the true story of the blind woman who inspired the invention of the typewriter, this debut novel is set in nineteenth century Italy. Kirkus describes the book as “a dreamy, sensual fairy tale.

Carey Wallace grew up in Michigan. Her work has appeared in Oasis, SPSM&H, Detroit’s MetroTimes and quarrtsiluni, which she guest-edited in 2008. She is a founder of the Working Artists Initiative for the International Arts Movement, which helps emerging artists establish strong creative habits, of the Zoae Series, a New York arts showcase which she directed until 2008, and of the event-based Lost City Gallery, which has connected young artists with patrons in both New York and Detroit. Wallace is also the founder of The Hillbilly Underground – a retreat that draws international artists to rural Michigan. She lives in New York. Learn more about Wallace and her work by visiting the author’s beautiful website.

Atria Books offered readers a Galley Alley promotion, and I received a copy of Leaving the World by Douglas Kennedy. This novel is described on the book jacket as “a riveting portrayal  of a brilliant woman that reflects the way we live now, the many routes we follow in the course of a single life, and the arbitrary nature of destiny.” Part mystery, part literary…it is a book I am looking forward to reading.

Douglas Kennedy is the author of eight previous novels. His work has been translated into twenty-two languages and in 2007 he received the French decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He divides his time between Paris, Maine and London and has two children.

Lisa Roe sent me an unsolicited copy of Questions and Answers on Life Insurance: The Life Insurance Toolbook by  Tony Steuer, CLU, LA which is due for release in August through Life Insurance Sage Press. The book is being marketed for “anyone from consumers to financial advisors” as the definitive resource on life insurance. Steuer uses a question and answer format to cover the basics and finer points of life insurance including how to  differentiate between types of policies, find and evaluate a policy and company, hire a trusted agent, understand the practice of underwriting, and monitor a policy’s performance.

Tony Steuer is a specially licensed Individual Life and Disability Insurance Analyst, one of about 30 in the state of California. Prior to 1995 he served as Assistant Vice President with Acordia-Lloyd. He has been quoted in Newsday, appeared on the Wall Street Journal Morning Radio Show, the Larry Shannon show, and for SLATE magazine. To learn more about Steuer and his work, visit the author’s website.

I’ve thumbed through the book already, but because Kip and I already have life insurance policies with a trusted agent (we actually could have used this book 5 years ago!), I would love to give this book away to someone who could use it. The first person who leaves me a comment saying they want the book, gets it (U.S. postal addresses only please!!).

So, what great books found their way into YOUR home last week!?!?!

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    • Serena on July 12, 2010 at 08:11

    Looks like a nice variety of books…happy reading.

    • Lady Q on July 12, 2010 at 09:20

    I’m so jealous! I so want to read The Blind Contessa’s New Machine!! Here’s my Mailbox. Happy reading! (Love your doggie pics, btw!)

  1. I also really want to read The Blind Contessa’s New Machine. I really hope that you enjoy it and will be checking back to see what you think! I hope you enjoy all your new reads!

  2. I am hoping to get The Blind Contessa’s New Machine. I am also jealous. LOL

  3. You got a nice variety of books! I really want to read Simply From Scratch since the author is one of this year’s Debs.

    • Mary on July 12, 2010 at 18:08

    Simply from Scratch was in my mailbox a week or two ago. I enjoyed it.

    • Susan on July 12, 2010 at 18:28

    Enjoy your new books! 🙂

    Here’s mine:

    • Dawn M. on July 13, 2010 at 01:10

    If no one has claimed the life insurance book yet, I’d like to have it. I’m clueless about all of that and would really like to understand more.

    Thanks! :0)

  4. I got a copy of Simply from Scratch too-I liked it for the most part and hope you do too. I am posting a review in August. Looking forward to seeing what you have to say about it.

    here is my mailbox

    • Anna on July 14, 2010 at 06:42

    The Breaking of Eggs sounds interesting. Can’t wait to hear what you think about it.

    Check out my mailbox.

  5. I want to read Simply From Scratch!!! If Pat and Marissa both endorse it, it’s bound to be a hit in my book!

    • Wendy on July 26, 2010 at 06:54

    Once again, I am remiss in responding to all of you in a timely manner! Thanks for stopping by and leaving me your comments!!

  6. Hi, I’m the author of Questions and Answers on Life Insurance – thank you for mentioning it – sorry it was too late to be useful in your purchase. However, it contains information on monitoring and reviewing your policy. If you would like another copy, let me know 🙂

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