Mailbox Monday – March 21, 2011

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday.

This wonderful weekly meme was started by Marcia at The Printed Page. She now has given it its own blog – and the meme tours from blog host to blog host on a monthly basis.

This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Laura at I’m Booking It. Make sure you visit Laura’s blog today and add your link … you’ll also find links to other readers’ mailboxes there.

This is what arrived at MY house this week:

James Meeder and his awesome staff at Picador have been keeping my shelves stocked with some great books lately. Maree sent me a copy of Happy Now? by Katherine Shonk which is due for release April 1st. The novel follows “Claire Kessler’s chaotic and often tragicomic journey through the weeks that follow her husband Jay’s suicide on Valentine’s Day.” Jay leaves behind an extensive suicide note which is actually enclosed in a binder and Claire must gather her courage to actually read it. This novel explores the possibilities and limitations of human relationships. One reviewer praised the novel for being “poignant and witty rather than melancholy and dark.

Katherine Shonk is the author of a collection of short stories set in Russia.  The Red Passport was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year. Her works has also appeared in Best American Short Stories and Tin House. She works as an editor and writer for Harvard University and lives in Chicago. Read more about Shonk and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Also from Maree at Picador, The Woman Who Shot Mussolini by Frances Stonor Saunders (due for release April 2011) looks like a fascinating biography. On April 7, 1926 an assassination attempt was made on Mussolini. Violet Gibsen stepped from a crowd on Rome’s Campidoglio Square and shot at him at point blank range. She was arrested and labeled a “crazy, Irish spinster.” Up until now, little has been known of this remarkable woman. Saunders recreates Gibson’s life and the events leading up to the assassination attempt in a book which critics call “meticulous,” “intelligent,” and “tender.”

Frances Stonor Saunders is a British historian and journalist, and the author of The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and The World of Art and Letters which was short listed for the Guardian First Book Award, received the Royal Historical Society’s Gladstone Memorial Prize and has been translated into ten languages. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and The Independent. She lives in London.

Simon & Schuster sent me a finished copy of So Much Pretty by Cara Hoffman which was released last week. This debut novel offers “an unflinching look at the intersection of idealism and violence in rural America.” Hoffman explores themes of abuse against women, teenage violence, environmental politics and societal mistrust in a novel set in a typical small town in western New York state and centered around the disappearance and murder of a local girl. Described as “captivating,” “searing,” and “insightful,” this is a book which is already getting some great reviews.

Cara Hoffman grew up in an economically depressed town in upstate New York. After dropping out of high school, she traveled to London and then spent three years working under-the-table jobs in Europe and the Middle East. Upon her return to the United States in the 1990s, she began working as an investigative reporter. Hoffman covered New York State’s rural and rust-belt communities for over a decade, reporting on environmental politics, county legislatures and crime. He received a New York State Foundation for the Art Fellowship for her writing on the aesthetics of violence and its impact on children. So Much Pretty is her first novel. Read more about Hoffman and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Also from Simon & Schuster came Mary Higgins Clark’s latest suspense-thriller: I’ll Walk Alone (due for release next month).  Revolving around the abduction of a toddler and tapping into the anxiety surrounding identity theft, the novel is set in New York City. Zan Moreland’s infant son has been missing for two years when a British tourist releases a photo to the tabloids which appears to show Zan kidnapping her own child. Zan is thrust into the public spotlight, then discovers that her identity also appears to have been stolen. Fast paced and “ingeniously plotted,” this is a novel which will certainly appeal to readers who love the suspense-thriller genre.

Mary Higgins Clark is the bestselling author of 31 previous novels, three collections of short stories, a memoir, and a children’s book. She is co-author with Carol Higgins Clark of five holiday suspense novels. Over 100 million copies of her books have been sold in the United States alone. She is # 1 fiction bestselling author in France, where she received the Grand Prix de Literature Policière in 1980 and The Literary Award at the 1998 Deauville Film Festival. In 2000, she was named by the French Minister of Culture “Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters.” Mary Higgins Clark was chosen by Mystery Writers of America as Grand Master of the 2000 Edgar Awards. She  lives with her husband in New Jersey. To learn more about Higgins Clark and her work, visit the author’s website.

Did any great books arrive at YOUR home this week?

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  1. I recently read So Much Pretty .. and I haven’t yet posted my review .. it was an interesting read, but not at first, at least not for me. I look forward to seeing your thoughts on it.

    Even though the premise of Happy Now? would suggest a dark read, I like the synopsis. I think that I will definitely have to look that one up!

    Enjoy your reading week!

  2. Enjoy your mailbox.

  3. The Woman Who Shot Mussolini does look fascinating. Enjoy your new books!

  4. I see great books here! Look forward to read your reviews! As usual, for the some weeks, I got none!

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

  5. I also got So Much Pretty and am looking forward to reading it. It sounds like it deals with some pretty interesting issues and I am wondering what you will think of it too!

    • Lisa on March 21, 2011 at 08:57

    All of your books look great! Enjoy your books!

    • Alyce on March 21, 2011 at 11:48

    Those are all new to me and look great – especially the Mussolini one!

  6. I have never read Mary Higgins Clark but that may soon change. I’ll Walk Alone sounds riveting! I may have to read it! Interesting mailbox for you this week. Great assortment! Enjoy!

    • Mary on March 22, 2011 at 16:38

    I love your mailbox! Happy Now? caught my attention. Enjoy 🙂

    • Wendy on March 28, 2011 at 06:31

    Julie: Hmmmm, I wonder how I’ll like So Much Pretty!! I agree about Happy Now?

    Mystica: Thanks!

    Kathy: I don’t read a lot of biographies, but that one looked good.

    Gautami: Hope your mailbox fills up soon 🙂

    Heather: I will be interested to compare notes on Hoffman’s book with you!

    Lisa: Thank you!

    Alyce: I agree 🙂

    Beth: The last time I read a Mary Higgins Clark book was eons ago!

    Mary: Thank you!

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