Daily Archives: February 5, 2012

Mailbox Monday – February 6, 2012

Welcome to this week’s edition of Mailbox Monday hosted this month by Metroreader.

Visit Metroreader 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.

A tantalizing array of books arrived at my house this week:

Jenny Lawson’s blog is on my daily must-read list. Better known as The Bloggess, she is painfully funny and outrageous. Her often inappropriate humor just makes me laugh. So when I saw she was publishing her first book, a memoir, I was eager to get my hands on it. I literally begged my contact at Penguin. I think I even offered to kill if it would help me get a copy of the book for review. So imagine my joy when Let’s Pretend This Never Happened arrived at my doorstep! Due for release in April 2012 through Amy Einhorn, the book is being described as “adorably offensive,” and “hilarious, snarky, witty, totally inappropriate.”  Lawson says out loud what most of us just think privately. I am going to try to wait until April to read Lawson’s memoir – but don’t be surprised if I break down and get to it sooner.

Jenny Lawson writes for Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle. She also writes a satirical sex column and  a parenting columnHer blog is outrageously entertaining. Lawson lives with her long-suffering husband and daughter. She also has three cats: Posey, Rolly and Ferris Mewler.

Blue Monday by Nicci French arrived through Pamela Dorman Books (due for release in early March). This novel is the first in a new series of psychological thrillers and introduces Freida Klein, a solitary, incisive brilliant psychotherapist, who spends her sleepless nights walking the streets of London. When a five-year old boy is abducted, Frieda is left troubled: “one of her patients has been relating dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew.”  Before long, Frieda is at the centre of the race to track the kidnapper. “But her race isn’t physical. She must chase down the darkest paths of a psychopath’s mind to find the answers to Matthew Farraday’s whereabouts.” I’ll be offering a giveaway of this book toward the end of February…so keep an eye on my blog if you want a chance to win a copy!

Nicci French is the nom de plume of bestselling writing partners Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Nicci Gerrard graduated with a first class honours degree in English Literature from Oxford University and taught English Literature in Sheffield, London and Los Angeles in the early 80’s. She moved into publishing in 1985 with the launch of Women’s Review, a magazine for women on art, literature and female issues. She eventually became acting literary editor at the New Statesman, before moving to the Observer, where she was deputy literary editor for five years, and then a feature writer and executive editor.

Sean French also studied English Literature at Oxford University at the same time as Nicci, but their paths didn’t cross until 1990. In 1981 he won Vogue magazine’s Writing Talent Contest, and from 1981 to 1986 he was their theatre critic. During that time he also worked at the Sunday Times as deputy literary editor and television critic, and was the film critic for Marie Claire and deputy editor of New Society. Sean and Nicci were married in 1990 and began work on their first joint novel in 1995, adopting the pseudonym of Nicci French. Learn more about the couple and their work by visiting the Nicci French website.

How The Dog Became The Dog: From Wolves to Our Best Friends by Mark Derr arrived from The Overlook Press (published October 2011). I stumbled upon an article on Brain Pickings about The Silver Fox Experiment and this book. Embedded in the article is a wonderful video excerpt from BBC’s excellent The Secret Life of the Dog. After watching the entire footage, I knew I needed to read Derr’s book as well, which explores the science and history of dogs as well as the dog-human relationship and how it has shaped our development and history.  Check out this terrific piece on NPR about the book.

Mark Derr is the author of Dog’s Best Friend and A Dog’s History of America. He is an expert on the subject of dogs and writes for The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Natural History and Smithsonian. Learn more about Derr and his work by following the author’s blog.

Hyperion Voice sent me an Advance Readers Edition of The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan (due for publication April 2012). I read Copaken Kogan’s debut novel Between Here and April which I really enjoyed (read my review), and so I was happy to receive a copy of her most recent book. The Red Book is described as a cross between “The Big Chill” and Mary McCarthy’s “The Group.” It centers around a once-close circle of Harvard alumni who meet up at their 20 year class reunion.

Deborah Copaken Kogan is the author of Shutterbabe, her best selling memoir about her years as a war photographer. She has also published one previous novel. She has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Elle, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Slate. She lives in New York with her husband and three children. Learn more about Copaken Kogan by visiting the author’s website.

The good folks over at Tor Forge sent me a finished copy of Living Proof by Kira Peikoff (being released later this month). Set in the future in 2027, this debut novel explores a current and relevant topic and adds a futuristic twist. This imagined future proposes that destroying an embryo is considered first-degree murder. A brilliant young doctor by the name of Arianna Drake seems to be thriving in the spotlight until she comes under investigation for possible illegal activity. Described as “a celebration of love and life that cuts to the core of a major cultural debate of our time,” this promises to be a thrilling debut.

Kira Peikoff has written for  New York Daily News, The Orange County Register, Newsday, and New York magazine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from NYU. Living Proof is her first novel. Learn more about Piekoff and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR home this week?

Sunday Salon – February 5, 2012

February 5, 2012

Good morning and welcome to another edition of Sunday Salon. Visit the dedicated Facebook page to get links to other readers’ posts.

My January reading was the slowest of any time over the last four years. I only finished five books – half of my goal to read ten books per month. Not a great way to start a new year. I am really hoping that I can turn things around in February!

My final book for January ended up being The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney (read my review) which I enjoyed for its twisty plot and quality of writing. The novel is set in England and centers around the mystery of a missing girl, a family of gypsies and a private investigator. Penney narrates the book from two points of view and dips back and forth in time. Readers who enjoyed The Tenderness of Wolves will most likely not be disappointed in this one – although I preferred Penney’s debut myself.

I started February with Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron (read my review). This is an amazing book, although a heartbreaking one. Benaron won the Bellwether Prize for Fiction in 2010 for this novel and I think it was well deserved. Set in Rwanda in the years leading up to the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, Running the Rift follows the life of a talented runner named Jean Patrick. Very few books actually make me cry, but this one did just that. Benaron knows how to develop characters and by the end of the book I really cared about Jean Patrick, his girlfriend Bea and their families. If you like world literature, historical fiction and literary fiction…this is the perfect book for you.

My current read is a classic. Lord of the Flies by Nobel-prize winning author William Golding was first published in 1954 and was Golding’s debut novel. The book is not without some controversy having been challenged frequently for its violent portrayals of young boys who sink into savagery after being stranded on an island together. Lord of the Flies has been adapted to film – first in 1963, then in 1990. Have any of you seen the movie? Here is a trailer from the 1990 version:

Lord of the Flies is a relatively short book (200 pages), so I hope to finish it up by tomorrow. I have no idea what I will read next. I have a huge stack of books for February, as well as several that I had hoped to read in January. I am going to let my mood guide me.

In other bookish news, the folks over at World Book Night have extended the deadline to enter to be a giver to February 6th…so you have one more day to enroll! I was really excited to get an email telling me my application was chosen. Apparently, nearly everyone who completes an application will be allowed to participate. So don’t wait!!! I think this is going to be a fabulous event to look forward to in April!

Today is a sparkling, blue-sky day in Northern California. It is nippy out there this morning, but temps are supposed to get into the 60s later today. It feels more like early spring here than the middle of winter! I’m anticipating a hike with Raven and my hubby later, some reading, and a little quilting. How about you? Whatever you are doing and wherever you are, I hope it involves a great book!