Mailbox Monday – October 31, 2011

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday. This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit.

In November Mailbox Monday moves to the dedicated blog for the meme. You can check that blog to see the complete tour schedule in the left hand sidebar.

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

I got a ton of books this week…and they all look amazing.

Schoolgirl by Osamu Dazai (translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell) arrived from One Peace Books, an independent publisher working to bring interesting Japanese manga and literature to the English-speaking market. Less than 100 pages, this slim novella is the work which propelled its author into the literary elite of post-war Japan. Noted for its ironic and original use of language, the book centers on a precocious adolescent and her search for self-discovery.

Osamu Dazai (1909-1948) is considered one of the most highly respected authors of modern Japan. He was widely known for his eclectic lifestyle, inventive use of language and troubled psyche (he attempted suicide multiple times, his last attempt being successful and ending his life in 1948). His two novels, No Longer Human and The Setting Sun, continue to be widely read.

Allison Markin Powell is a literary translator and editor in New York City. She has translated works by Hiromi Kawakami, Motoyuki Shibata, and Kaho Nakayama. She was the guest editor for Words Without Borders Japan issue.

I was really excited to get an Advance Readers Edition of Midsummer Night in the Workhouse by Diana Athill through House of Anansi Press (released this month). This collection of literary short stories is written in “unsentimental though often touching prose” and includes stories about young women who anticipate, enjoy, or just miss out on brief sexual encounters with men met on trains, at parties — just about anywhere they can. These stories are described as “wry,” “feisty,” and “mischievous.” I feel I should mention, that I am predisposed to love this author based solely on her wonderful response to V.S. Naipaul’s condemnation of women writers earlier this year.

Diana Athill Diana Athill was born in 1917. She helped Andre Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name and worked as an editor for Deutsch for four decades. Athil has had a distinguished career as an editor and authored six memoirs which include: Stet, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe, and Somewhere Towards the End (winner of the Costa Biography Award). She also published the novel  Don’t Look at Me Like That. Her short fiction was first published between the 1950s to the 1970s in Observer, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, and Gentleman’s Quarterly. In January 2009 she was awarded an OBE. She lives in London, U.K.

Milena from Penguin sent me a copy of The Puppy That Came for Christmas: How a Dog Brought One Family the Gift of Joy by Megan Rix. Megan Rix and her husband Ian longed for a baby for Christmas – instead an unexpected gift in the form of a puppy arrived. In this memoir, Rix shares the devastation of infertility and how her involvement with a charity which provides service dogs to people with disabilities would open a door to happiness. Described as “endearing and inspirational,” this memoir promises to “captivate animal lovers.

Megan Rix was born in London and lived in America, New Zealand, and Singapore before marrying her husband, Ian, and setting in England. Published in November 2010 in the UK, Rix’s memoir, The Puppy That Came For Christmas... quickly became a Sunday Times Best-Seller. It has since been published in Portugese and was released in the US this month. In addition to her memoir, Rix also writes children’s books as Ruth Symes. Learn more about Rix and her work by visiting the author’s website.

St. Martin’s Press sent me an Advance Readers Edition of The Devil’s Ribbon by D. E. Meredith (released this month). This suspense thriller is set in London in 1858 during the hottest summer on record. As the morgue fills up with cholera victims (mostly poor Irish immigrants), Forensic scientist Professor Adolphus Hatton and his assistant, Albert Roumande, are also tasked with investigating a series of violent murders. The victims seem unrelated except for a bright Fenian green ribbon placed strategically about their corpses. This novel is called a “nail-biting race against time” and is written in the style of a Victorian mystery.

D.E. Meredith read English at Cambridge, then ran the press office and the land mines campaign for the Red Cross, travelling extensively to Bosnia, Afghanistan and Rwanda during the conflicts. She worked as a consultant on media relations for Greenpeace and other worthy causes before embarking on “The Hatton and Roumande Mysteries” series for St Martin’s Press (the first is the series is Devoured which was released in October 2010). She lives in London. Learn more about Meredith and her work by visiting the author’s website.

And finally, the incomparable Lydia from Penguin sent me a whole raft of amazing books due out in 2012 (watch for reviews of all of these closer to their publication dates):

The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman is due for release in January 2012 through Riverhead Books. This sprawling novel takes readers from the American civil rights struggles through Chicago labor history, New York City racial politics to the Nazi crimes against humanity and beyond. Featuring two men whose path unexpectedly cross (an African-American probationary janitor working in a Manhattan hospital and an untenured historian at Columbia University), the novel is about memory, love, the extremes of racism, unremitting guilt, astonishing heroism, and unexpected kindness.

Elliot Perlman is a a prizewinning, internationally acclaimed author and has been lauded as “one of the 50 most important writers in the world” (Lire, France). He is the son of second-generation Jewish Australians of East European descent. Perlman studied law at Monash University in Melbourne. He is perhaps best known for his book Seven Types of Ambiguity (2003) which was shortlisted for the 2004  Commonwealth Writers Prize (South East Asia and South Pacific Region, Best Book), the 2004 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards (Best Fiction Book), and the 2004 Miles Franklin Award.

The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney is also due out in January 2012 through G.P. Putnam’s Sons. I am so excited about this book since I loved The Tenderness of Wolves (read my review). Small-time private investigator Ray Lovell has been hired to find Rose Janko, the wife of a charismatic son of a traveling Gypsy family, who went missing seven years earlier. The Jankos are surprisingly hostile towards Ray, who shares their Romany blood.”Touched by tragedy, they’re either cursed or hiding a terrible secret-whose discovery Ray can’t help suspecting is connected to Rose’s disappearance. . . .” Described as an “irresistible page-turner with an ending that will blow you away,” Penney’s newest novel is sure to get some attention from readers this winter.

Watch Penney talk about the book here:

Stef Penney was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves, was an international bestseller and received the prestigious Costa Award. She is also a screenwriter.

No One Is Here Except All Of Us by Ramona Ausubel is due for release in February 2012 through Riverhead Books. Set in 1939 in a remote Jewish village in Romania, the novel centers around a tribe of villagers who are facing imminent danger as the war closes in on them. At the suggestion of an eleven year old girl and a mysterious stranger washed up on the riverbank, the villagers decide to reinvent the world where time and history are forgotten and jobs, husbands, and a child are reassigned. But as the young girl grows into a adulthood and becomes a mother, she flee the village to find her husband, save her children and find a hopeful future. This novel explores the use of storytelling to survive and shape our own truths.

Ramona Ausubel is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of California, Irvine. Her short fiction has been published in The New Yorker, One Story, The Paris Review Daily, Best American Fantasy, and she has received special mentions in The Best American Short Stories of 2009 and 2010, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009. She is a recipient of the Glenn Schaeffer Award in fiction and was a finalist for the Pushcart Prize. No One Is Here Except All Of Us is her debut novel. Read more about Ausubel and her work by visiting the author’s website.

A Good American by Alex George is due to be published in February 2012 through Amy Einhorn Books. I always get very excited about snagging an Amy Einhorn book because I almost always love books published through this imprint. This novel is described as “an uplifting novel about the families we create and the places we call home.” Frederick and Jette decide to go to America in 1904 and find themselves in Beatrice, Missouri. They are immigrants who speak no English, but the strike out in their new life together. The book is peopled with “unforgettable characters,” and moves from “bare-knuckle prizefighting and Prohibition to sweet barbershop harmonies, the Kennedy assassination, and beyond.” This is “a novel about being an outsider-in your country, in your hometown, and sometimes even in your own family. It is a universal story about our search for home.

Alex George is a writer and a lawyer who was born in England. Named as one of Britain’s top ten “thirtysomething” novelists by the Times of London, George is an author to watch.  A Good American is his debut novel. George read law at Oxford University and worked for eight years as a corporate lawyer in London and Paris.  He moved to the United States in 2003, and re-qualified as a US attorney.  He now runs his own law firm in Columbia. Married with two children he currently lives in Columbia, Missouri. Learn more about George and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son by Anne Lamott (with Sam Lamott) will hit stores in March 2012 through Riverhead Books. I have long been a fan of Lamott’s (her book Bird By Bird is one of my favorite “go-to” tomes about writing). In her newest memoir, Anne must face that her son is about to become a father at the age of nineteen. She journals about the first year of her grandson Jax’s life as she and Sam struggle to balance the changing roles with the demands of college, work and parenthood. “By turns poignant and funny, honest and touching, Some Assembly Required is the true story of how the birth of a baby changes a family.

Anne Lamott is a best-selling author of several novels and nonfiction books. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she resides in Northern California.

Sam Lamott is an inventor and a student at an art academy in San Francisco.

When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man by Nick Dybek is due to be released in April 2012 through Riverhead Books. Centered around the men of Loyalty Island north to the Olympic Peninsula in the Bering Sea, this debut novel sets readers down in the world of king crab fishermen. Cal’s father depends on the crab to support his family. Cal, too young to go out on the water, observes the tension between his parents and wonders about his mother’s relationship with John Gaunt, owner of the fleet. When Gaunt unexpectedly dies, Cal uncovers evidence that his father may have gone to extremes to salvage their way of life. With his moral compass shattered, Cal must make a terrible choice.

Nick Dybek is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. HE is the recipient of a Hopwood Award for Short Fiction, a Maytag Fellowship, and a 2010 Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award. He lives in New York City.

The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch is also due to be released in April 2012, this time through G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Nell Slattery is only one of two survivors of a plane crash. When she wakes in the hospital, she discovers her memory has vanished. As Nell struggles to put together the pieces of her life, she begins to question the stories  presented by her mother, sister, and husband. In this latest novel from Winn Scotch, come the questions: Who are we without our memories? And how much of our current self is defined by our former self?

Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, Allison Winn Scotch is the New York Times best-selling author of Time of My Life. She has also published two previous novels: The One That I Want, and The Department of Lost and Found. Winn Scotch graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Honors History and Concentration in Marketing from the Wharton School of Business. A former freelance magazine writer, Winn Scotch’s work has appeared in Glamour, Parents, and Men’s Health among others. Learn more about Allison Winn Scotch by visiting the author’s website.

Did any terrific books arrive at YOUR house this week?

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    • Mystica on October 30, 2011 at 21:26

    What a beautiful mixed mailbox. Enjoy them all.

    • Serena on October 31, 2011 at 01:00

    You got some great books. Enjoy. btw, the meme is moving to the MM tour blog in November.

    • Harvee on October 31, 2011 at 01:05

    Wow! I’m impressed by the books you got from a variety of reviewers! Schoolgirl and the Puppy that Came for Christmas look especially good! Enjoy!

    • Anne on October 31, 2011 at 02:34

    That is a lot of books this week. The puppy on the cover of The Puppy that Came for Christmas is so cute!

    • RAnn on October 31, 2011 at 04:01

    Those book really look interesting. No One is Here catches my eye.

  1. Great books. Enjoy!

  2. Lots of great books this week. I love the tag “Some Assembly Required.” The Christmas book with the dog looks good to me as well. Have a great reading week!

  3. You had a fabulous week! Penguin really has some great looking titles coming out.

  4. Oh, wow, I see several that call to me! The new Allison Winn Scotch book, for one…and then The Invisible Ones and The Street Sweeper. Awesome looking reads. Enjoy!


    • Mary on October 31, 2011 at 06:23

    The Ann Lamott book intrigues me.

  5. All these titles are new to me. The Anne Lamott book sounds interesting. I will have to keep an eye out for it.

  6. A great variety of books, enjoy!

    • zibilee on October 31, 2011 at 07:23

    I also got Schoolgirl, and it looks like a really good and brief read that I can get to between other things. Lots of really great books here today. I hope that you enjoy them! Happy Halloween!

  7. You got some great books. Enjoy!

  8. Wow! You have quite a haul of books there. Several are up on my upcoming 2012 TBR list, so I’ll look forward to reviews. Enjoy!

    • Kailana on October 31, 2011 at 18:09

    Great haul! Enjoy! That is such a cute puppy on the cover of that book. 🙂

    • Darlene on November 3, 2011 at 16:11

    That is quite the mailbox Wendy. I can’t wait to read Allison Winn Scotch’s newest.

    • Colleen on November 5, 2011 at 16:26

    The Good American is definitely on my list for next year – it is perfect for my immigrant stories challenge! Enjoy all your lovely books!

  9. I’ve read all of Anne Lamott’s nonfiction and this new one sounds interesting! Thanks for the heads-up.

    • Wendy on November 8, 2011 at 13:56

    Thanks everyone for stopping by!!!

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