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?