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?

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  1. Caribou Island and The Winter Ghosts both look excellent to me and I have The Cookbook Collector and Bread Givers are on my to-read pile for this year. Thanks for the new titles to add to my list.

  2. You got wonderful books!

    Happy Reading!!

    Here is my Monday: Mailbox/What Are You Reading? post!

    • zibilee on December 27, 2010 at 07:55

    Ooh! Lots of good stuff there! I also got Caribou Island and The Hundred Secret Senses and am looking forward to them. I actually read The Hundred Secret Senses about 10 years ago, but the plot and characters have slipped my mind, so I am excited to read it again. I love Amy Tan.

  3. I received for review The Elephant Keeper by Christopher Nicholson from Tribute Books Reviews & Giveaways.

    “I asked the sailor what an Elephant looked like; he replied that it was like nothing on earth.”

    England, 1766: After a long voyage from the East Indies, a ship docks in Bristol, England, and rumor quickly spreads about its unusual cargo—some say a mermaid is on board. A crowd forms, hoping to catch a glimpse of the magical creature. One crate after another is unpacked: a zebra, a leopard, and a baboon. There’s no mermaid, but in the final two crates is something almost as magical—a pair of young elephants, in poor health but alive.

    Seeing a unique opportunity, a wealthy sugar merchant purchases the elephants for his country estate and turns their care over to a young stable boy, Tom Page. Tom’s family has long cared for horses, but an elephant is something different altogether. It takes time for Tom and the elephants to understand one another, but to the surprise of everyone on the estate, a remarkable bond is formed.

    The Elephant Keeper, the story of Tom and the elephants, in Tom’s own words, moves from the green fields and woods of the English countryside to the dark streets and alleys of late-eighteenth-century London, reflecting both the beauty and the violence of the age. Nicholson’s lush writing and deft storytelling complement a captivating tale of love and loyalty between one man and the two elephants that change the lives of all who meet them.

    • Lady Q on December 27, 2010 at 11:04

    I’m so jealous to see The Winter Ghost in all these mailboxes! Caribou Island sounds good, too! Thanks for linking up to Mailbox Monday! Happy reading!

    • Shelley on December 27, 2010 at 11:16

    Victorian England is far from the time and place of my own writing, but I’m just starting Elizabeth Glaskell’s North and South.

    Just wanted to mention that Amy Tan is a wonderful role model for my college students.

    • Mystica on December 27, 2010 at 11:54

    So many good books here. The Kate Mosse one and the Rose Tremain are the ones I am particularly interested to see what you think of them. Waiting for your reviews.

  4. We share a couple of titles in common. I’m curious about Caribou Island. It looks like it might be a good read.

    • Amanda on December 27, 2010 at 13:10

    A Doll’s House is really good! I hope you enjoy it.

    • Mary on December 27, 2010 at 13:59

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about the new Amy Tan novel. Enjoy all your books!

    • Staci on December 27, 2010 at 14:46

    All of your books look great…most especially the Amy Tan novel..I love her!! Enjoy!

  5. Oooooh, The Cookbook Collector sounds awesome! Definitely adding to my TBR list.

    I hope you enjoy it.

    My MM is here:

  6. I picked up The Cookbook Collector without reading anything about it…I just loved the title.

    • Serena on December 28, 2010 at 06:24

    You have one of my favorite Amy Tan books in this stack! I also love Ibsen’s work. Caribou Island sounds like another good read. Have a great New Years, and I hope you’ll think about joining my poetry challenge in 2011. You only have to commit to reading one book of poems.

    • Anna on December 29, 2010 at 10:46

    Amy Tan is one of my favorites. I’m hoping to re-read some of her books in the new year. I have Bread Givers and read it ages ago. I remember liking it, but don’t remember much else. Enjoy your new books!

  7. Lucky you…your “mailbox” is full of some wonderful books. Enjoy!

  8. Trespass was one of my top 10 of 2010, and I think you’re in for a treat! I’ve heard great things about many of those and several are on my TBR, so I’ll look forward to your reviews!

    • Pam on December 30, 2010 at 17:48

    Ah, I hope you like The Cookbook Collector; I wasn’t a big fan but I think it could be good if in the right mood.

  9. Just found your blog and think it is great 🙂
    You certainly received some wonderful books. I am particularly interested in the sound of Every Man Dies Alone.

    Hope you had a fun, safe New Year’s!

    • Wendy on January 6, 2011 at 06:47

    Thanks everyone for stopping by!!

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