Mailbox Monday – March 14, 2011

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday, hosted this month by Laura at I’m Booking It.

Here is what arrived at my house this week:

Kore Press (an independent publisher and community of literary activists devoted to bringing forth a diversity of voices) sent me a copy of For Sale By Owner by Kelcey Parker which looks really good. The women in Parker’s short story collection of “twisted domesticity weave secrets, soccer balls, kisses and dreams into the fabric of an evolving American subculture.” Kore Press is known for women’s writing which deepens awareness and advance progressive social change.

Kelcey Parker’s stories have been published by numerous literary journals and magazines. She has also published reviews and scholarship on contemporary fiction, and is a contributing writer for the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. She holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature fro the University of Cincinnati. Parker lives in Northern Indiana with her husband and daughter. She works as an assistant professor at Indiana University South Bend. Read more about Parker and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Author Beverly Olevin sent me her novel The Good Side of Bad (released through White River Press in September 2010). The book is set in 2008, during the global economic meltdown, and moves between New York and Seattle. Peter is a successful Wall Street player, while his sisters Sara and Florence find their home in Seattle. Florence is struggling with mental illness, and Peter and Sara are forced to disrupt their lives in an attempt to save her. The novel explores “the mysterious world of mental illness, the corruption and greed of financial markets, and the tangled ties of family. Ms. Magazine calls Beverly Olevin “a wonderfully gifted storyteller,” and author Elizabeth Clark-Stern calls The Good Side of Badan original vision of the pain, beauty, and paradox of modern life.

Beverly Olevin has published a previous novel: The Breath of Juno (Elkhorn Press – 1996). Her work has been published in literary magazines across the country. Olevin is also an accomplished playwright. She has numerous non-fiction publications which have sold over a million copies worldwide. Olevin teaches courses in Acting and Theatre at UCLA and at the University of Washington and directs plays in Los Angeles. She earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA and an MFA from Trinity University. Olevin currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her border collie Sadie. Learn more about Olevin and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Henry Holt and Company sent me an Advance Readers Edition of The Civilized World: A Novel in Stories by Susi Wyss which I acquired through Library Thing Early Reviewers Program (the book is slated for release at the end of this month). This book is a novel told in intersecting stories which are set in Africa and the United States. Three American women and two Ghanaian find their paths crossing in unexpected and explosive ways. As the women face meddling mothers-in-law, unfaithful partners, and the lingering aftereffects of racism, they learn that “their cultural differences are outweighed by their common bond as women.

Susi Wyss was raised in the United States until she was seven when her family relocated to Abidjan, Ivory Coast for three years. After earning a master’s degree in public health from Boston University, Wyss joined the Peace Corps, working on a child survival project in the Central African Republic. For the next 16 years, she visited and worked in over a dozen African countries, eventually living for another three years in Abidjan. Wyss has also earned an M.A. in fiction writing from Johns Hopkins. Her short work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Bellevue Literary Review, Bellingham Review, and The Massachusetts Review. She has served as an associate editor for the Potomac Review. Wyss currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area. The Civilized World is her first book. To learn more about Wyss and her work, please visit the author’s website.

Mark at Harper Collins was kind enough to send me an Advance Readers Edition of This Life is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone by Melissa Coleman (due for release April 2011). This memoir is set on the coast of Maine during the 1970s. Coleman’s parents were an idealistic couple from well-to-do families who gave up all luxuries and carved out a homestead in the woods, seeking simplicity and purity. Then one summer, Melissa Coleman’s three year old sister, Heidi, drowns in the family’s pond. What follows is divorce and a mother’s mental breakdown and Melissa was abandoned to the care of apprentices. Described as a “luminous memoir that explores the hope and struggle behind one family’s search for a self-sufficient life,” this book is the author’s search for understanding and redemption in the wake of family tragedy. Author Wally Lamb writes of Coleman’s prose: “Combine the sincerity of Thoreau’s Walden with the poignancy of Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle, add dashes of the lush prose found in Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire, and you end up with Melissa Coleman’s This Life Is in Your Hands.

Melissa Coleman is a freelance writer who focuses on lifestyle, health, and travel. She lives in Freeport, Maine with her husband and twin daughters. Read more about Coleman and her work by visiting the author’s website.

I received an Advance Readers Edition of John Hart’s newest novel Iron House from St. Martin’s Press (due for release in July 2011). I’ve read both of Hart’s Edgar winning novels which I loved (review of Down River; review of The Last Child), so I was really psyched to get a copy of Iron House. This novel, set in North Carolina, is described as follows: “There was nothing but time at Iron House. Time to burn, time to kill, and time for Michael to emerge strong and unforgiving while his brother, Julian, became a tormented soul at the orphanage for boys. Two decades later, Michael returns to North Carolina with a sentence on his head, the mob in hot pursuit, and his disturbed brother in trouble of a different kind.

John Hart attended Davidson College where he studied French literature. He later  earned graduate degrees in accounting and law, and for a time practiced criminal defense law. Hart has won two Edgar Awards for his last two novels. Iron House is his fourth novel. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and young children. Learn more about Hart and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Simon & Schuster sent me an Advance Readers Edition of The Source of All Things by Tracy Ross (released this month). This memoir unfolds across Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming and Alaska as one woman struggles to escape her shattered family while learning to become her own protector. Tracy Ross grew up with an abusive stepfather and a mother who suffered from deep depression. She finds her deepest sorrows and greatest joys in nature, a place where she gains the courage to confront her stepfather and demand answers. Watch a video where the author talks about her story:

Tracy Ross is an award-winning journalist and contributing editor at Backpacker magazine. Her essay “The Source of All Things” won the National Magazine Award in 2009 and was selected for inclusion in The Best American Sports Writing and The Best American Magazine Writing. Her work has appeared in Outside and Women’s Sports Illustrated. She lives with her family in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado. Read more about Ross and her work, and get links to related information by visiting the Simon & Schuster author page.

What books arrived at YOUR home this week?

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  1. Great mailbox! I’ve been seeing Iron House around lately. It sounds like a good one.

    Happy reading!

  2. The source of all things sounds new to me. Would like to see what you make of it.

  3. This Life is in Your Hands sounds fascinating – I don’t know why I find books like that so compelling.

  4. This Life is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone sounds fantastic, and like just the type of memoir that I would love. I am going to have to search for that one, and will be really interested in hearing your take on it when you are finished reading. Enjoy all your new arrivals!

  5. This Life is in Your Hands looks very interesting! Looks like you’ve got a good stack waiting for you. 🙂

  6. Looks like a good haul. Enjoy!

  7. You got some great books! Look forward to read your reviews! As usual, for the past three weeks, I got none!

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

    • Nicola on March 14, 2011 at 18:13

    Great mailbox. Interesting titles. This Life in Your Hands sounds fascinating.

    • Amused on March 14, 2011 at 19:05

    I’m looking forward to comparing thoughts with you on This Life is in Your Hands!

    • Teddy on March 14, 2011 at 21:49

    That looks like some heavy duty, deep, dark, books you have there. I can hardly wait for your reviews. All but one sound like ones I would like to check out.

    I received some good books myself.

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