Mailbox Monday – August 1, 2011

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday. This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Staci at Life in the Thumb.

Make sure to visit Staci’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.

Last week I got some amazing books at my house:

Picador sent me a copy of By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham which will be discussed on Nicole’s blog on August 23rd as part of BOOK CLUB. You might remember that I featured this book as part of my Book Buzz series, so I was excited to snag a copy and then to learn that this was also a BOOK CLUB pick for August! Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Cunningham has written a “poetic and compelling masterpiece” and “a heartbreaking look at a marriage and the way we live now.” Set in Manhattan the novel centers around Peter and Rebecca Harris: mid-forties, denizens of Manhattan’s SoHo, nearing the apogee of committee careers in the arts—he a dealer, she an editor. Everything seems to be fine, until Rebecca’s brother comes to visit.

Michael Cunningham’s s novel The Hours won both the Pulitzer Prize and a PEN/Faulkner Award, and became an Academy Award-winning film, starring Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep. His other novels include A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood and Specimen Days. He lives in New York. Read more about Cunningham and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Also from Picador, Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed arrived on my doorstep. This novel, which was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and won the Betty Trask Prize for Debut Fiction, will be hitting bookstores tomorrow. Set in 1935, this book centers around a market boy named Jama. He is half feral and scavenges the streets of Yemen. But when his mother dies, Jama decides to find his never seen father – a decision that takes him on a thousand-mile journey by foot across an Africa “torn asunder by the horrors of World War II.” Described as powerful and brutal, this is debut novel I am eager to read.

Nadifa Mohamed was inspired to write her first novel by the life of her father. Mohamed was born in Hargeisa, Somalia, in 1981 to a merchant marine father and a mother from a politically active family. She was trapped in exile when civil war erupted. She studied history and politics at Oxford, and has worked as a film researcher and scriptwriter. Watch this wonderful video interview with the author where she discusses her inspiration for the novel:

Libby with Unbridled Books sent me an Advance Readers Edition of  Touch and Go by Thad Nodine (due for release at the end of September). This debut novel centers around Kevin, a blind, recovering addict, who travels with his sponsors and their foster family from California to Florida in order to deliver a handmade casket to a dying grandfather. The publisher describes the book as “a rich, rangy story about how we can never really know anyone” and “a multicultural portait of what just might be the ‘true’ America.” Nodine’s writing is being compared to Jon Irving (an author I absolutely adore).

Thad Nodine grew up in Florida and now lives in Santa Cruz, California. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many magazines. Touch and Go, his debut novel, won the Dana Award for the Novel.

Shannon from Viking sent me two books which look perfect for summertime reading:

Mice by Gordon Reece is due for release August 22nd. This is a fast-paced psychological thriller about a mother and daughter who are pushed to their limits. Shelley is shy and fearful and is eager to escape her high school after a trio of “frenemies” nearly kill her. She and her mother, recovering from a humiliating divorce, settle into a new quiet life in an isolated house. But when an intruder breaks into their sanctuary on the eve of Shelley’s sixteenth birthday, Shelley makes a chilling decision which will forever change their lives. The publisher describes the novel as “a twisted psychological thriller and a family narrative of strength, sheer nerve and the secrets that bind.

Gordon Reece studied English literature at Keble College, Oxford, before emigrating to Spain and then Australia where he has lived since 2005. He is the author-illustrator of fourteen children’s books and graphic novels. Mice is his American debut and first adult novel. Learn more about Reece and his work by visiting the author’s website.

In Malice, Quite Close by Brandi Lynn Ryder is due for release on August 8th. This novel is described as a “lush and sophisticated mystery about a kidnapped girl, her folie a deux with a wealthy art collector – and her untimely and mysterious death.” The novel revolves around Karen Miller and Tristan Mouault, a French ex-pat who becomes obsessed with Karen. When she agrees to fake her death and run away with Tristan to a sheltered town in Washington, Karen changes her name to Giselle and enters into a convoluted relationship with her new lover. Giselle’s life is cut short on the evening of an art exhibition, and the mystery of who killed her and why promises to “transport readers to an intimate, intricately composed world buoyed by fragile artifice and dangerous manipulation.

Brandi Lynn Ryder was a finalist for the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She graduated summa cum laude from San Jose State University, with Honors in English, and now lives in the heart of Napa Valley. In Malice, Quite Close is her first novel. Learn more about Brandi Lynn Ryder by visiting the author’s website.

Finally, Two Friends by Alberto Moravia arrived from Other Press (due for release later this month). In the spring of 1996, the text of this book was unearthed in a suitcase in Moravia’s former home in Italy. The manuscript, written around 1950, was unfinished, but offered a glimpse into the author’s compositional methods and literary craftsmanship. Two Friends comprises three attempts to tell the story of a friendship between two young men: Sergio, a Marxist intellectual striving for political self-definition, and Maurizio, a lothario of old Roman money and entitlement. The book is set in Rome between 1938 and the years following WWII. Two Friends has been translated from the Italian by Marina Harss.

Alberto Moravia was born in Rome in 1907 and was considered one of the great Italian writers of the twentieth century. He began his career as a journalist for several major Italian newspapers and magazines. His novels include The Woman of Rome, The Conformist, Contempt, Two Women, and Conjugal Love. Several of his books have been made into films. Moravia won Italy’s most prestigious literary award, the Strega prize, in 1952. He also received the Viareggio Prize in 1960. From 1984 until his death in 1990, Moravia was involved in politics and represented Italy in the European Parliament.

Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR house this week?


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  1. Oh my! Some of the books you got are great! I am particularly interested in Mice and have already added that one to my list. I hope you have a great time with all of them!

  2. Wonderful mailbox. Have a great reading week. I did not received anything in my mailbox!!

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

    • Pam on August 1, 2011 at 08:39

    Wow! REALLY good stuff, this week! I’m really interested in By Nightfall. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on it for the discussion. Enjoy!

  3. Some of these look good to me, great mailbox.

    • Staci on August 1, 2011 at 10:43

    Wow! Your mailbox always seems to have gems in it!! I’m seriously anxious to read your thoughts about Cunningham’s book. And Black Mamba boy has me very curious to see how his story will all turn out!!! Enjoy!

  4. You always have new and interesting books in your mailbox! By Nightfall looks very good. Black Mambo Boy sounds like a powerful read!

  5. Great mailbox! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on By Nightfall. It’s one of the books I’ve been looking forward to the most this year. Hopefully it won’t disappoint!

  6. They all look so good, I wouldn’t know which one to read first.

    • Wendy on August 2, 2011 at 06:16

    Heather: I think Mice looks creepily good!

    Gautami: I’ve had weeks like that – but never fear…the books will keep on coming!

    Pam: I am really looking forward to the By Nightfall discussion – hope you can join us!

    Mary Ann: Me too 🙂

    Staci: I agree – Black Mamba Boy looks intriguing!

    Beth: I am eager to read both of those too.

    Kathy: That is always my #1 problem!

  7. I love Michael Cunningham! I have read all of his books but this one.

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