Daily Archives: December 11, 2011

Mailbox Monday – December 12, 2011

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday.

This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Jenny Q at Let Them Read Books. Check out her blog today to get links to other readers’ mailboxes.

Go to the dedicated blog for the meme to see the complete tour schedule in the left hand sidebar.

It must be almost Christmas, because I got a ton of books in my mailbox this week – some I expected, some were unsolicited.

Texas Review Press sent me a copy of In The Time of the Feast of Flowers by Tina Egnoski (January 2012). This novella opens in small-town Florida in 1976 where life is “squeaky-clean.” When seventeen-year-old Abby Newman and her best friend Dana push the boundaries, including sexual exploration and breaking into homes, teenager pranks turn criminal. The coming of age story explores loyalty, betrayal, and the power of forgiveness. Egnoski’s writing has been described as poetic and compared to such authors as Annie Proulx and Philip Roth.

Tina Egnoski was born in Melbourne, Florida and attended the University of Florida and Emerson College, where she earned her MFA in 1997.  In the Time of the Feast of Flowers won the 2010 Clay Reynolds Novella Prize, while her previous collection of short stories, Perishables, won the 2008  Black River Chapbook Competition. Egnoski has received literature fellowships from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and the Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities. Her work, both fiction and poetry, has appeared in a number of literary journals, including The Carolina Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Folio and Hawaii Pacific Review. She lives in Barrington, Rhode Island. Read more about Egnoski and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Two books arrived through Library Thing’s Early Reviewer Program:

Hougton Mifflin Harcourt sent me an Advance Readers Edition of The Artist of Disappearanceby Anita Desai (December 2011). This book is a collection of three novellas which are set in India in the not-too-distant past. The stories ruminate on “art and memory, illusion and disillusion, and the sharp divide between life’s expectations and its realities.” The publisher description reads:Overwhelmed by their own lack of purpose, the men and women who populate these tales set out on unexpected journeys that present them with a fresh sense hope and opportunity. Like so many flies in a spider’s web, however, they cannot escape their surroundings—as none of us can.” Check out this piece on NPR about the book.

Anita Desai was born and educated in India who is especially noted for her sensitive portrayal of the inner life of her female characters. She is the award-winning author of over a dozen novels and collection. Desai has been short-listed three times for the prestigious Man Booker Prize (in 1980, 1984, and 1999) and won the Alberto Moravia Prize for Literature in 2000. She lives in New York.

Bloomsbury USA sent me a hardcover edition of Hand Me Down Worldby Lloyd Jones (December 2011). In his ninth novel, Jones examines a young African mother’s journey to reclaim the infant son heartlessly stolen from her. Beginning in Tunisia, where she is employed as a hotel maid, the mother makes an illegal, near-death crossing of the Mediterranean, then up the length of Italy, across the Alps, and on to Berlin, where her child has been given a new home. Her story is narrated through the voices of the people she meets along the way, and then is retold in her own words. Described as compelling, vivid, and intense with an original story structure,  Hand Me Down World has gotten a lot of buzz.

Lloyd Jones is the author of eight previous novels. His novel, Mister Pip, won the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize and was short listed for the Man Book Prize in 2007. Born in New Zealand, he attended Victoria University of Wellington but was denied his degree due to library fines owing at the time he completed his course of study. He was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Victoria University in May 2009.

FSB Associates sent me three crime novels published by Tyrus Books:

El Gavilan by Craig McDonald (December 2011) is a crime novel ripped from the headlines. Set in Ohio in a town grappling with waves of undocumented workers, three very different kinds of cops scramble to maintain control and impose order. When a Mexican-American woman is raped and murdered, a brutal chain of events is triggered. Described as “a novel of shifting alliances and whiplash switchbacks,” El Gavilan examines families divided, careers and lives threatened, and the loyalties of friends and lovers.

Edgar-nominee Craig McDonald is an award-winning journalist, editor and fiction writer. His short fiction has appeared in literary magazines, anthologies and several online crime fiction sites. His debut novel, Head Games, was nominated for an Edgar Best First Novel and a finalist for the Anthony Prize in 2008. He recently won national awards for his profiles of crime novelists James Crumley, Daniel Woodrell, James Sallis and Elmore Leonard. Learn more about McDonald and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Getting Lucky by D.C. Brod (December 2011) centers around a freelance writer named Robyn Guthrie who agrees to finish a story by a young reporter who has been killed in a hit and run accident. But nothing is as simple as it seems as Robyn uncovers shady land deals and an old high school nemesis.

D.C. Brod grew up in LaGrange, Illinois. She has penned several novels including five books featuring the fictional investigator Quint McCauley. Getting Lucky is the second novel in the Getting Even series featuring protagonist Robyn Guthrie. Learn more about Brod and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Hurt Machineby Reed Farrel Coleman (December 2011) is the seventh book in the Noe Prager Mystery series. Moe Prager is approached by his ex-wife and former PI partner Carmella Melendez at a pre-wedding party for his daughter, Sarah. Apparently Carmella’s estranged sister, Alta, has been brutally murdered and no one seems motivated to solve the crime. As Moe attempts to solve the mystery, he “discovers a cancer roiling just below the surface, a cancer whose symptoms include bureaucratic greed, sexual harassment, and blackmail. But is any of it connected to Alta’s brutal murder?

Edgar Award nominee Reed Farrel Coleman has been called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan. He is the former executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and has published twelve novels in three series—the Moe Prager Mystery series (7), Joe Serpe/Bob Healy series (2), and Dylan Klein series (3)—and two stand-alones. Reed’s novels have been translated into seven languages. He is a three-time recipient of the Shamus Award for Best Detective Novel of the Year and is a two-time Edgar Award nominee. His short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in The Long Island Quarterly, Wall Street Noir, Brooklyn Noir 3, The Darker Mask, These Guns For Hire, Crimespree Magazine, and several other publications. Reed is an adjunct professor at Hofstra University and an instructor for MWA U. He lives with his family on Long Island. Learn more about Reed and his work by visiting the author’s website.

Finally, an Advance Readers Edition of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes arrived via Penguin UK (January 2012 UK Publication). The novel revolves around Lou Clark who is questioning her relationship with her boyfriend and is about to lose her job, and Will Traynor whose desire to live ended with a motorcycle accident. When Lou bursts into Will’s live “in a riot of color,” their lives will change for all time.

Jojo Moyes was raised in London. She received a degree from Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, London University. Moyes worked at The Independent for ten years, including stints as Assistant news editor and Arts and Media Correspondent. She writes for the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Red and Woman & Home, and has been a full time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain, was published. She lives with her husband and their three children on a farm in Essex, England.  Learn more about Moyes and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Did any books arrive at YOUR house this week?

Jesmyn Ward on NPR

Readers to my blog will know by now that I loved Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, a book which won the 2011 National Book Award (read my review). This is not an easy book to read, but it was so incredibly written, so honest, and so powerful that I have continued to want to share it with other readers who love literary fiction.

When I saw that NPR was interviewing Ward about the novel, I was excited to listen to her speak. This interview gives terrific insight into Ward’s work on the book, and so I wanted to share it. A transcript of the interview may be found on NPR’s site here.

Sunday Salon – December 11, 2011

December 11, 2011

Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of The Sunday Salon – grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and lets talk about books. Join the discussion on Facebook to get more links to Sunday Salon posts.

This week I finished reading The Devil’s Ribbon by D.E. Meredith which I thoroughly enjoyed (read my review). If you like Victorian mysteries with a lot of twists and turns and a good dose of historical fiction, you will like this one. I breezed through it.

My next book in the stacks was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins which I read for a book club read. I think I am one of the last people in the world to pick up this young adult novel. I loved the fast pace and excellent plotting of this book (read my review). And I am excited that the movie will be released in the Spring of 2012. After I finished reading The Hunger Games, I went out and bought the next two books in the trilogy. I know some readers were disappointed with books 2 and 3, but I’m going into them with an open mind.

I finished reading Maman’s Homesick Pie, a memoir by Donia Bijan which will be discussed on Nicole’s blog this Tuesday. I found Bijan’s writing to be wonderful – and I especially liked that she included recipes in her memoir (read my review).

My current read is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which I am thoroughly enjoying. This is a really magical book. Morgenstern jumps back and forth in time, which I initially found a bit confusing (although she clearly marks her chapters with dates). Now that I am half way through the book, that is no longer bothering me. Instead, I am just loving the mood and feel of the book…and the story which is a bit twisty and mysterious. My yahoo book group will begin discussion on the book on December 16th and it looks like quite a few people will be joining in on that. Watch for my review of The Night Circus by Tuesday.

The next book up in my stacks, I think, will be The Puppy that Came for Christmas by Megan Rix which will finish up The Memorable Memoir Challenge for me. It looks like a quick, fun read. And then I am going to delve into some really great looking literary fiction for the remainder of the year!

I have some planned posts coming up in the next few weeks which include a special project I will be starting in January to read more books from the literary prize lists, as well as my Best Books of 2011 post that I hope to publish the last day in December. I also like to do a recap of my reading at the end of the year…and it looks like I will easily reach my goal to read 96 books this year!

REMINDER: Don’t forget to enter my giveaway of the 10th Anniversary edition of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Entries close on December 12th (tomorrow) at 5:00 pm PST.

What are you doing this fine day, only a couple of weeks before Christmas? Whatever you are up to, I hope you find some time to sit with a good book! Have a wonderful week ahead.