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This week I found some really great books on my front porch…
Because I helped celebrate Penguin’s 75 Years of excellence…Lindsay was generous enough to send me my own copy of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. The cover on this edition is fabulous. Created by world renowned fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo this couture-inspired interpretation of this classic novel makes it a treasured edition for my permanent library. Thank you, Lindsay!
W.W. Norton & Company sent me a hard cover edition of The Red Thread by Ann Hood. The novel revolves around fictional character Maya Lange who opens the Red Thread adoption agency which specializes in placing Chinese baby girls with American families. Released in May 2010, this is a novel of fate and the red thread that binds together the characters’ lives. The book has been lauded as a “stirring portrait of unforgettable love and the yearning for a baby.”
Ann Hood is the author of ten books. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including the Paris Review, Tin House, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She received a BA in English from the University of Rhode Island and lived in Boston and St. Louis before moving to New York City, where she attended graduate school at NYU in American Literature. Hood has has won a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, and two Pushcart Prizes. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and their children. Learn more about Hood and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Although unsolicited, I was really excited to get Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi from Other Press. This novel is translated from The Dari (Afghanistan) by Erdag M. Goknar. Earth and Ashes was Rahimi’s debut novel (he has since written a second novel and his third is due for release in 2011). Set in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion, the book tells the story of an Afghan man struggling to reach his son in order to deliver a devastating message. Reviewers have raved about this slim novel, calling it “a sobering literary testament to the horrors of war,” (Publishers Weekly) and “a hallucinatory, tragic cry of despair” (Le Monde of France).
Atiq Rahimi was born in Kabul in 1962 and was just seventeen years old when the Soviet Union invaded his country. He was eventually given asylum in France in 1984 (after first fleeing to Pakistan). He received his doctorate in audio-visual communications from the Sorbonne and returned to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2002 to film an adaptation of Earth and Ashes. An award winning documentary and feature film maker, as well as a renowned author who won the 2008 Prix Goncourt award for his novel The Patience Stone, Rahimi continues to inspire young writers in Afghanistan through a Writer’s House in Kabul.
Emily Hudson by Melissa Jones (due for release in September 2010) arrived from Pamela Dorman Books/Viking. Inspired by the life of Henry James and his relationship with his cousin Minny Temple, this novel opens at the beginning of the Civil War and centers around Emily, an orphan whose entire family is wiped out by consumption. Emily first goes to Newport, Rhode Island to live with a wealthy uncle and his family where she meets William – her hypochondriac cousin who dreams of being a writer. As events unfold, Emily finds herself whisked away to England by the controlling William where her health begins to falter. She later travels alone to Rome searching for fulfillment.
Melissa Jones was born in England and is the sister of author Sadie Jones. She has published two previous novels, but Emily Hudson is her first work of women’s historical fiction.
Touchstone Books/Simon & Schuster sent me a copy of Never Wave Good-Bye by Doug Magee. What if you placed your child on a bus for her first trip to sleep-away camp and fifteen minutes later a second bus, the real one, showed up? That is the essential question posed on the book flap of this debut novel. Early reviews are raving about Never Wave Good-Bye calling it a “terrifying read,” “a wrenching first novel,” and “a page turner of the first order.”
Doug Magee has worked as a photojournalist, screenwriter, film producer and director. He has published the nonfiction books Slow Coming Dark (a book of interviews with death row inmates) and What Murder Leaves Behind (profiles of families of murder victims) as well as three children’s books. I’ll try not to hold it against him that he is a long-time Yankees fan (Go Red Sox!!). Learn more about Magee and his work by visiting the author’s website.
Vanishing and Other Stories by Deborah Willis found its way to my doorstep through Harper Perennial. This collection of fourteen stories tells about secrets (both kept and unearthed), and lives shaped by missing lovers, parents, and children. The blurb on the back cover of the book promises that Willis’ “incredible array of characters” will “linger in the imagination and prove nothing is ever truly forgotten.”
Deborah Willis has had her work published in the Bridport Prize Anthology, Event, and Grain. She has won the PRISM International annual fiction prize and has been short-listed for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, and long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
Jocelyn Kelley of Kelley & Hall Book Publicity and Promotion sent me this gorgeous edition of Season of Water and Ice by Donald Lystra. Published in October 2009 by Switchgrass Books (an imprint of Northern Illinois University Press), Season of Water and Ice was selected by the Library of Michigan as a 2010 Michigan Notable Book. In May 2010, the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (an organization of independent and university presses) gave the novel its 2009 Midwest Book Award for general fiction. The story is one of two teenagers confronting life at a fear-filled time. Lystra’s debut novel is being compared to Salinger or the early Hemingway. Reviewers describe the book as one which “captures the uncertainty of adolescence,” and is “spare and direct and yet profoundly evocative.”
Donald Lystra has received degrees in electrical engineering and sociology from the University of Michigan. He began writing fiction in the mid 1990s. His stories have appeared in many publications, and his work received Special Mention in the 2002 Pushcart Prize anthology. Mr. Lystra is the recipient of a 2008 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and he has been a Writing Fellow at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Learn more about Lystra and his work by visiting the author’s website.
Megan at Phenix and Phenix Literary Publicists sent me a gorgeous hardcover edition of Drawn to the Land by Elizabeth J. Cockey and Barton M. Cockey. The photo of the book cover does not really do it justice. Filled with Elizabeth’s gorgeous landscape paintings of the upstate New York region, this book explores the modern day farm with a focus on sustainable farming practices. The book depicts local area farms throughout the seasons and reveals the stories of farm life in the upper Hudson River Valley. I sat down on my porch within hours of receiving the book and read it cover to cover (read my review).
Elizabeth Cockey is an art therapist, public speaker, artist and author. She works at the Good Samaritan Nursing Center and has published a memoir of her experiences working as an art therapist with patients living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Barton Cockey is a short story writer, amateur historian and archeologist. He is also a doctor who works as a Diagnostic Radiologist at the Great Baltimore Medical Center in Advanced Radiolgoy. In Drawn to the Land, Dr. Cockey interviewed local farmers and is the textual voice of the book.
To learn more about the Cockeys and their work, visit the authors’ website.