Mailbox Monday – June 20, 2011

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday, hosted this month by The Bluestocking Guide. Make sure you visit Bluestocking today and add your link in the comments … you’ll also find links to other readers’ mailboxes there.

To see the schedule of this meme’s host, please visit the dedicated blog.

Here is what arrived at MY house this week:

Bloomsbury (by way of the Library Thing Early Reviewers Program) sent me a hardcover edition of The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E.B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic by Michael Sims. One of my favorite childhood books was Charlotte’s Web – a book I read and re-read dozens of times until its pages frayed and the spine broke. E.B. White was a shy child who grew up on a farm and felt more of a kinship with animals than with people. Sims takes readers inside the mind of this talented writer, and chronicles his “animal-rich youth” in this latest biography. The blurb on the book promises: “The Story of Charlotte’s web illuminates the life of an American literary icon, and will add richness and appreciation for anyone who has loved – or has yet to read – this cherished classic.

Michael Sims is an internationally acclaimed nonfiction author, journalist, editor, and speaker. He has written about everything from watershed ecology to Victorian crime fiction, from satirical poetry to air pollution. His essays, articles, reviews, and book excerpts have appeared in many periodicals, including Orion, American Archaeology, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, England’s New Statesman, Australia’s Financial Review, and alternative weeklies from Charleston to Honolulu. He lives in Pennsylvania. Learn more about Sims and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Viking/Penguin sent me a hardcover copy of Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. This debut novel is set in New York City in the late 1930s and centers around twenty-five year old Katey Kontent who finds herself propelled from a secretary into the upper echelons of New York high society. Described as “a fresh take on the classic American story of someone risking from humble immigrant beginnings to reach great heights,” Rules of Civility offers a portrait of New York City just as the Depression was beginning to end, and introduces a strong and memorable female character to readers. The novel is receiving some glowing early reviews.

Amor Towles was raised just outside of Boston. He graduated from Yale University and received an MA in English from Stanford University, where he was a Scowcroft Fellow. He is a principal at an investment firm in Manhattan, where he now lives with his wife and two children. Rules of Civility is his first novel. Read more about Towles and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Atticus Books sent me a copy of The Great Lenore by J.M. Tohline. This debut novel is predicated on an interesting concept: a ravishing young Brit’s falsely reported death provides her with an opportunity to begin a new life…but first she longs to know the reaction of her two-timing husband and his aristocratic family. Described as “masterful, clever and touching,” The Great Lenore is a “playful literary riff on affluence, love, grief, and duplicity.

J.M. Tohline grew up just north of Boston, and now lives on the edge of the Great Plains with his cat, The Old Man and The Sea. His creativity and ability to connect with writing peers is well known to his fans. In a prior giveaway, he challenged fellow Tweeters to tell him a riveting story in six words; he also invited fellow writers to participate in a community storytelling experiment which grew to involve 63 contributions from nearly 30 writers over a three day period. The Great Lenore is Tohline’s first novel. Read more about him and his work by visiting the author’s wonderfully creative website. Follow Tohline on Twitter or visit him on Facebook.

Tor/Forge sent me Tunnel Vision by Gary Braver. Following a biking accident on icy Boston streets, grad student Zack Kashian lapses into a coma. When he wakes up on Easter 12 weeks later, Zack finds he has become an object of intense interest by religious fanatics after being secretly filmed muttering the Lord’s Prayer in the original Aramaic.  The media is abuzz about the “Miracle Man”, and religious fanatics flock to his hospital bedside even though he claims to be an atheist. Zack’s revival also catches the attention of Dr. Elizabeth Luria who heads up a small team of neuroscientists secretly researching near-death experiences (NDE). Their objective: to determine if there is anything to the claims of NDE victims floating down tunnels into the celestial light and meeting spiritual beings? Yet Zack’s experiences are anything but heavenly.  “Filled with high drama, plot twists and narrow escapes, Tunnel Vision is an enthralling page-turner that will captivate and thrill readers.

Gary Braver is a best selling author of eight critically acclaimed suspense novels: three under his own name (Gary Goshgarian) – Atlantis Fire, Rough Beast and The Stone Circle–and five under his pen name – Elixir, Gray Matter, Flashback, Skin Deep, and Tunnel Vision. Braver is also the author of six popular college writing textbooks. His articles on travel and scuba diving have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, Today’s Education, among others. His novel Flashback won the Massachusetts Book Award. Braver is a professor of English at Northeastern University where he teaches course in popular literature and fiction writing. He live with is family in Arlington, Massachusetts. Read more about Braver and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Also this week, I celebrated my anniversary with a special Library Thing book group of like-minded women. Each year we exchange gifts and have a virtual party to honor our connections with each other. I was thrilled to receive two wonderful books from my “solsister” Pam:

Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado

A Fortunate Life by A. B. Facey

Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR house this week??

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    • Kay on June 20, 2011 at 11:47

    What a great bunch of books! I especially am interested in the one about E.B. White. I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts and I hope you enjoy them all.

    • Serena on June 20, 2011 at 11:48

    I hope you enjoy all of your books. We’re going to have to compare notes on The Great Lenore! I snagged that one from Dan at the Atticus booth at our local book festival. I’m hoping to start reading it at the end of this week after I finish up a couple of other books.

    • Aths on June 20, 2011 at 12:10

    I’ve been hearing great things about Great Lenore! Esp in the same sentence as Great Gatsby. Can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

  1. I’m really curious about The Story of Charlotte’s Web and look forward to hearing what you think!

  2. Another great week for you. The Story of Charlotte’s Web sounds fascinating to me.

  3. I also got Rules of Civility last week. I’m so interested to see some reviews of it!

    • Anna on June 20, 2011 at 14:48

    The Charlotte’s Web book looks good. I’ll keep an eye out for your review. Happy reading!

  4. I’m looking forward to reading that new biography of E. B. White, too.

  5. The book about Charlotte’s Web sounds interesting. E.B White wrote such great books. It would be interesting to know how he came to write the books he did.

    • Amused on June 20, 2011 at 18:50

    Rules of Civility looks great and I’ve had my eye on that Charlotte Web book for awhile so I can’t wait to see what you think of it!

  6. I loved Charlotte’s Web, so I look forward to your review of White’s biography. And The Great Lenore sounds promising. Enjoy!

    • Wendy on June 21, 2011 at 05:49

    Kay: The EB White book looks really wonderful.

    Serena: I definitely want to hear your thoughts on The Great Lenore – it isn’t that long of a book, and I might pick it up soon because it intrigues me!

    Aths: Funny, I hadn’t heard anything about it until I started looking for it on the blogs/etc… But, it does look really good!

    Amy: I agree – the EB White book looks good!

    Kathy: I’m seeing a trend here – a lot of people are fascinated by EB White!

    Jill (Rhapsody): The Rules of Civility is one of those books, I think, that we are going to be hearing a lot about…will look forward to sharing thoughts on it with you 🙂

    Anna: I hope to get EB White’s biography read before summer fades 🙂

    Dawn: And yet another person who likes the EB White book!! LOL

    Beth: I’m interested in White’s motivation and inspiration for his books too.

    Amused: *nods* Both look worth the read.

    Avis: I am really excited to read them all – but the Great Lenore has me intrigued.

    • Serena on June 21, 2011 at 05:52

    I got another book from Atticus as well that is similar to Moby Dick.

    • Wendy on June 21, 2011 at 05:55

    Serena: Really? What’s the title?

    • Serena on June 21, 2011 at 06:00

    The Snow Whale by John Minichillo

  7. Ooh, I am really excited about The Great Lenore and hope to get the chance to read it soon. Lots of good stuff in that mailbox today. Enjoy it!

    • Wendy on June 21, 2011 at 06:16

    Serena: Okay, I went to their site and looked it up – it looks very interesting! Ever since I read Galore earlier this year, I keep wanting to read more whale stories. I’ll look forward to reading your thoughts on the book.

    Heather: The Great Lenore looks great, doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Wonderful mailbox! I look forward to seeing your thoughts on “The Great Lenore”! Enjoy the reads!

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