Mailbox Monday – July 4, 2011

Welcome to the 4th of July edition of Mailbox Monday!

This month Mailbox Monday is hosted by Gwendolyn at A Sea of Books.

Make sure you visit Gwendolyn’s blog today and add your link … you’ll also find links to other readers’ mailboxes there.

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

A plethora of books arrived at MY house this week…and they all look wonderful. Here they are:

I was thrilled to receive a copy of Simon Van Booy’s first novel: Everything Beautiful Began After (released by Harper Perennial this month). I’ll be touring this book for TLC Book Tours on July 26th. The novel introduces Rebecca (a gifted artist seeking solace and inspiration in Athens), George (who has arrived in Athens to learn ancient languages), and Henry (a young archaeologist devoted to uncovering Athen’s past as a way to escape his own). All three characters will encounter each other through a series of chance meetings over a summer which will “forever define them in the decades to come.” I have been captivated by Van Booy’s short story collections (reviewed here and here), and I am very much looking forward to reading this novel.

Simon Van Booy grew up in rural Wales. He is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love and Love Begins in Winter, which won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. He is the editor of three philosophy books, titled Why We Fight, Why We Need Love, and Why Our Decisions Don’t Matter, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian, and on NPR. He lives in New York City, where he teaches at the School of Visual Arts and is involved in the Rutgers Early College Humanities program for young adults living in under-served communities. He was a finalist for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and his work has been translated into thirteen different languages. Learn more about Van Booy and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Atria Books once again offered books to bloggers who were unable to attend this year’s BEA in New York and sent me Best Kept Secret by Amy Hatvany (released in June). Cadence is a  recently divorced mother with a five year old son. When she begins to drink to cover her pain, her life begins to spiral out of control. Only when she risks losing her son, Charlie, does she understand the depth of her problem. The blurb on the book reads: ” Heartbreaking, haunting and ultimately life-affirming, Best Kept Secret is more than just the story of Cadence – its the story of how the secrets we hold closest are the ones that can tear us apart.

Amy Hatvany was born in Seattle, WA in 1972, the youngest of three children. She graduated from Western Washington University in 1994 with a degree in Sociology. She began writing full time in 1998.  Bantam Doubleday published her first novel, The Kind of Love That Saves You, in 2000; and The Language of Sisters was picked up by NAL in 2002. (Both were published under her previous last name, Yurk.) She currently lives in Seattle with her husband and three children. Read more about Hutvany and her work by visiting the author’s website.

I was thrilled to receive an Advance Readers Edition of The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson from the good people over at Harper Collins. This debut novel is due for release in September. The Lantern is a modern Gothic novel, inspired by a crumbling hamlet in Provence – just the kind of book I love! Author Garth Stein writes: “Deborah Lawrenson delivers a feast of sights, sounds and smells that grow and change and linger, like a wonderfully complex perfume. I was captivated by this marvelous, haunting book—at times vivid and lush, at times provocative and chilling.” Read an excerpt from the book.

Deborah Lawrenson moved around the world as a child, living at various times in Kuwait, China, Belgium, Luxembourg and Singapore. She attended Trinity College, Cambridge, and trained as a journalist on a weekly South London newspaper. She also worked on several national newspapers and magazines. Previous novels include Hot Gossip (1994), Idol Chatter (1995), The Moonbathers (1998) and The Art of Falling (originally self-published in 2003 and later re-published in 2005 through Arrow). The Lantern has been chosen for The TV Book Club Summer Reads 2011 on Channel 4 and More 4. Lawrenson currently divides her time between rural Kent and Provence. Read more about Lawrenson and her work by visiting the author’s website.

American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar arrived from Hachette via a Shelf Awareness offer (due for release January 2012). From the publisher: “Hayat Shah was captivated by Mina long before he met her: his mother’s beautiful, brilliant, and soulfully devout friend is a family legend. When he learns that Mina is leaving Pakistan to live with the Shahs in America, Hayat is thrilled. Hayat’s father is less enthusiastic. He left the fundamentalist world behind with reason. What no one expects is that when Mina shows Hayat the beauty and power of the Quran, it will utterly transform the boy. Mina’s real magic may be that the Shah household, always contentious and sad, becomes a happy one. But when Mina finds her own path to happiness, the ember of jealousy in Hayat’s heart is inflamed by the community’s anti-Semitism – and he acts with catastrophic consequences for those he loves most.” The author writes about his novel: “I wanted to share my sense of Islam in America. To render for the reader Islam’s beauty, its simplicity, and vivid spirituality. All of which I wanted to express in an American setting, in an American idiom.

Ayad Akhtar earned a degree in Theater from Brown University and, after graduating, moved to Tuscany to work with world-renowned acting theorist and pioneer, Jerzy Grotowski. He has been a New York City resident since the late nineties where he has taught acting on his own and alongside Andre Gregory. He is an alumnus of the Graduate Film Program at Columbia University and earned a degree in directing and won multiple awards for his work. He is the author of numerous screenplays. He co-wrote and played the lead role in The War Within, which premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award (Best Screenplay) and an International Press Academy Satellite Award (Best Picture – Drama). The American Dervish is his first novel. Read more about Akhtar and his work by visiting the author’s website.

As part of BOOK CLUB, Other Press sent me a copy of The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson. Although originally scheduled for June, this book club read will now occur in July. Visit Jen’s blog on July 26th to join the discussion. Based on a true story, The Reservoir centers on a guilty and passionate love triangle composed of two very different brothers and one young, naive girl hiding an unspeakable secret. “A novel of lust, betrayal, justice, and revenge, The Reservoir ultimately probes the question of whether we can really know the hearts and minds of others, even of those closest to us.

Read an excerpt from the book.

John Milliken Thompson is the author of America’s Historic Trails and Wildlands of the Upper South, and coauthor of The Almanac of American History. His articles have appeared in Smithsonian, the Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler, and other publications, and his short stories have been published in Louisiana Literature, South Dakota Review, and many other literary journals. He has lived in the South all his life. The Reservoir is his first novel. Read more about Thompson and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Doubleday sent me an Advance Readers Edition of In The Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (due for release August 2011). This novel is based on the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari. From the publisher: “When ten-year-old Enaiatollah Akbari’s small village in Afghanistan falls prey to Taliban rule in early 2000, his mother shepherds the boy across the border into Pakistan but has to leave him there all alone to fend for himself. Thus begins Enaiat’s remarkable and often punish­ing five-year ordeal, which takes him through Iran, Turkey, and Greece before he seeks political asylum in Italy at the age of fifteen.” Based on Enaiat’s close collaboration with Italian novelist, Fabio Geda, and rendered in English by an award- winning translator, this novel reconstructs a young boy’s memories.

Fabio Geda is an Italian novelist who writes for several Italian magazines and newspapers. This is his first book to be translated into English. Howard Curtis is a London-based translator of Italian and French texts, for which he has won numerous awards. Learn more about Geda and his work by visiting the author’s website (the link I have provided is a translation).

Tor/Forge sent me an unsolicited finished hardcover of Monument to Murder by Margaret Truman. Named as a “Summer-page-turner” by the Los Angeles Times, this latest installment in Truman’s classic Capital Crimes series follows a gripping political mystery that takes readers from the corrupt underbelly of Savannah, Georgia’s power elite to the darkest corridors of Washington D.C.’s privilege and power. Publisher description: “When struggling Savannah PI Robert Brixton agrees to take a twenty-year-old case, he figures he has nothing to lose. But it’s not long before the trail leads him from Savannah to a secret government organization that has been offing “troublesome” politicians for decades. With help of former attorneys MacKensie and Annabel Lee Smith, Brixton attempts to outwit the furtive organization that is hell-bent on keeping its secrets—secrets that go all the way back to the assassinations of Jack and Bobby Kennedy.

Margaret Truman won faithful readers with her works of biography and fiction, particularly her ongoing series of Capital Crimes mysteries. Her novels allowed readers into the corridors of power and privilege, and poverty and pageantry, in the nation’s capital. She was the author of many nonfiction books, including The President’s House, in which she shares some of the secrets and history of the White House where she once resided. She lived in Manhattan and passed away in 2008.

And finally – many thanks to Marissa with JKS Communications who sent me a lovely beach towel to help me with my giveaway of A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron (the book is due for release this week). The giveaway is open until July 11th – please make sure to read the instructions on how to enter as this one is a little different than the one’s I usually do.

Hope you are having a terrific 4th of July – I know Raven is!!!

Did any terrific books find their way into YOUR home this week?

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    • Mary on July 4, 2011 at 09:46

    Great list of books and I LOVE the pic of your dog 🙂

    • Bonnie on July 4, 2011 at 10:04

    I received The Lantern last week. American Dervish looks very interesting. Enjoy your books. What a cute picture of Raven!

  1. Wow, they all look so good, I don’t know which one to comment on! I got In the Sea There are Crocodiles too, and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

  2. I’m pumped to be in on The Reservoir discussion. Fun stuff!

    • Aths on July 4, 2011 at 13:19

    I’m so excited about American Dervish and In the Sea… I was disappointed to see a 2012 release date for American Dervish. I think I’m going to read that next month still.

  3. I love the cover of The Lantern and it sounds interesting. I also received The Reservoir and In the Sea There are Crocodiles, I hope we both enjoy them!

  4. Oh, Wendy, what a great selection of books came into your house this week!

    I’m looking forward to reading Simon Von Booy’s novel – I’ve always enjoyed his short fiction.

    • Amused on July 4, 2011 at 19:15

    I received the Lantern too. I think it looks really good! I’m looking forward to comparing notes with you.

  5. In the Sea there are Crocodiles is a great little book – an amazing story that is beautifully written. I also have American Dervish in my pile.

  6. I just finished a short story collection by Van Booy and was blown away. He really is an excellent author, and I can’t wait to see what you think of his book!

    • Andi on July 5, 2011 at 07:30

    I hope you enjoy Everything Beautiful Began After as much as I did! It was really something special for me.

  7. Enjoy! your week ahead of reading, great mailbox.

  8. All of your new books look really good! I hope you enjoy them!!

  9. You got some good ones! I see several here that I’d like to get my hands on. Enjoy them. 🙂

    • Wendy on July 7, 2011 at 05:36

    Mary: Thanks – Raven is a bit of a ham when it comes to photographs!

    Bonnie: Thanks – I can’t look at that photo and resist laughing.

    Kathy: For some reason that book (In the Sea there Are Crocodiles) reminds me of the Beasts of No Nation by Iweala Uzodinma – the covers are similar, but I think it is also setting. Anyway, I am looking forward to reading it!

    Pam: The Reservoir looks great – I am also excited about that one and the discussion to follow 🙂

    Aths: I probably will wait to read American Dervish – one of the reasons I accepted it was that it had a later release date – my months are fast filling up through the end of the year!!! I’ll look forward to your thoughts on that one.

    Jess: Looks like we are sharing a few books LOL! Looking forward to your thoughts on those!

    • Wendy on July 7, 2011 at 05:39

    Dawn: I am hoping I love Van Booy’s book!!!

    Amused: I just can’t resist a good Gothic novel – and they are comparing this to other books I’ve read and loved, so I couldn’t say no!

    Melanie: Oh, good to know about In the Sea – it looks wonderful. Can’t wait to read it!

    Heather: I adore Van Booy’s writing – so glad you do as well!

    Andi: I have a feeling I will be in total agreement with you!

    Mary Ann: Thank you – you too!

    Kailana: thanks!

    Michelle: Thank you!

  10. I am very interested in American Dervish too – sounds like a great immigrant story!

    • Wendy on July 10, 2011 at 19:45

    Colleen: I agree!

  11. These all look great. And while I’m jealous of all your ARCs, I’m happy to say I received The Lantern as well. It will be my next read. I’d love to see your review when it’s posted 🙂

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