The last time I posted a mailbox was way back on September 23rd. I’ve been out of the country on a fabulous trip to Italy (we were gone 18 days), and hope to be posting some updates on that trip soon – but today I get to share some books with you which arrived while I’ve been gone.
Just a day before leaving on my trip, Lydia from Riverhead Books sent me a signed copy of Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave by Patty Chang Anker (October 2013) which is a designated a memoir. From the publisher:
Patty Chang Anker grew up eager to please and afraid to fail. But after thirty-nine years, she decided it was time to stop being a chicken. Motivated initially to become a better role model for her two young daughters, she vowed to face the fears that had taken root like weeds, choking the fun and spontaneity out of life. She learned to dive into a swimming pool, ride a bike, do a handstand, and surf. As she shared her experiences, she discovered that most people suffer from their own secret terrors—of driving, flying, heights, public speaking, and more. It became her mission to help others do what they thought they couldn’t, and to feel for themselves the powerful sense of being alive that is the true reward of becoming brave.
Patty Chang Anker blogs for PsychologyToday.com‘s Anxiety section and her own award-winning blog Facing Forty Upside Down. Her work has appeared in O Magazine, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, iVillage, The Huffington Post and in numerous other publications and websites. She has been named a Good Housekeeping ”Blogger We Love” and a “Top 25 Funny Mom” on Circle of Moms. Some Nerve is Anker’s first book. She is a former Director of Media Relations for The New York Times and veteran book publicist for W.W. Norton, Taunton Press and Basic Books. Her campaigns include the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times series “How Race is Lived in America.” She lives in a village north of New York City with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about Anker and her work by visiting the author’s website.
I was really excited to receive a finished copy of What the Dog Knows: The Science and Wonder of Working Dogs by Cat Warren published by Simon & Schuster October 2013. Most people who read my blog know that its name comes from my working dog, Caribou – and when I read about Cat Warren and her cadaver dog Solo, I knew I would want to read this book. From the publisher:
In What the Dog Knows, Warren uses her ongoing work with Solo as a way to explore a captivating field that includes cadaver dogs, drug- and bomb-detecting K9s, tracking and apprehension dogs—even dogs who can locate unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers and help find drowning victims more than two hundred feet below the surface of a lake. Working dogs’ abilities may seem magical or mysterious, but Warren shows the multifaceted science, the rigorous training, and the skilled handling that underlie the amazing abilities of dogs who work with their noses.
Warren interviews cognitive psychologists, historians, medical examiners, epidemiologists, and forensic anthropologists, as well as the breeders, trainers, and handlers who work with and rely on these remarkable and adaptable animals daily. Along the way, she discovers story after story that proves the impressive capabilities—as well as the very real limits—of working dogs and their human partners. Clear-eyed and unsentimental, Warren explains why our partnership with dogs is woven into the fabric of society and why we keep finding new uses for their wonderful noses.
Check out the book trailer:
Cat Warren is an associate professor at North Carolina State University, where she teaches science journalism, editing, and reporting courses. She lives with her German shepherd, Solo, and new puppy, Coda, in Durham, North Carolina. Learn more about Warren and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Ade: A Love Story by Rebecca Walker (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2013) is a debut novella about the power of love and the limitations of the human heart. From the publisher:
When Farida, a sophisticated college student, falls in love with Adé, a young Swahili man living on an idyllic island off the coast of Kenya, the two plan to marry and envision a simple life together—free of worldly possessions and concerns. But when Farida contracts malaria and finds herself caught in the middle of a civil war, reality crashes in around them. The lovers’ solitude is interrupted by a world in the throes of massive upheaval that threatens to tear them apart, along with all they cherish.
Rebecca Walker is the author of the best-selling memoirs Black, White and Jewish and Baby Love, and editor of the anthology Black Cool. Learn more about Walker and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Three books arrived from Other Press:
All Russians Love Birch Trees by Olga Grjasnowa, translated from the German by Eva Bacon (January 2014) is the winner of the Kuhne Prize, the Anna Seghers Prize, and long-listed for the German Book Prize 2012. This debut novel is set in Frankfurt, and follows a young immigrant named Masha. From the publisher:
Fluent in five languages and able to get by in several others, Masha lives with her boyfriend, Elias. Her best friends are Muslims struggling to obtain residence permits, and her parents rarely leave the house except to compare gas prices. Masha has nearly completed her studies to become an interpreter, when suddenly Elias is hospitalized after a serious soccer injury and dies, forcing her to question a past that has haunted her for years.
[This novel]… tells the story of a headstrong young woman for whom the issue of origin and nationality is immaterial—her Jewish background has taught her she can survive anywhere. Yet Masha isn’t equipped to deal with grief, and this all-too-normal shortcoming gives a particularly bittersweet quality to her adventures.
Olga Grjasnowa was born in 1984 in Baku, Azerbaijan, grew up in the Caucasus, and has spent extended periods in Poland, Russia, and Israel. She moved to Germany at the age of twelve and is a graduate of the German institute for Literature/Creative Writing in Leipzig. In 2010 she was awarded the Dramatist Prize of the Wiener Wortstätten for her debut play, Mitfühlende Deutsche (Compassionate Germans). She is currently studying dance science at the Berlin Free University.
I’ll Be Right There by Kyung-Sook Shin, translated from the Korean by Sora Kim-Russell (April 2014) is a somber and reflective look at how nostalgia can be both a dagger and a balm in times of personal and social crisis. Set in 1980s South Korea, the novel follows Jung Yoon, a highly literate twenty-something woman, as she recounts her own tragic personal history, as well as those of her three intimate college friends. Love, friendship and solitude are the same everywhere, and this book promises to make this “poignantly clear.”
Kyung-Sook Shin is the author of seventeen works of fiction and is one of South Korea’s most widely read and acclaimed novelists. Her best seller, Please Look After Mom, has been translated into more than thirty languages. She has been honored with the Man Asian Literary Prize, the Manhae Prize, the Dong-in Literary Award, the Yi Sang Literary Prize, adn France’s Prix de l’Inapercu as well as the Ho-Am Prize which recognized her body of work for general achievement in Korean culture and arts.
A Curse on Dostoevsky by Atiq Rahimi, translated from the French by Polly McLean (March 2014) is a novel which “flirts with literature” and “ponders the roles of rin, guilt, and redemption in the Muslim world.” When Rassoul, a student of Russian literature in Leningrad, kills the wealthy old lady who prostitutes his beloved, Sophia, he recalls reading Crime and Punishment. Out of principle, he gives himself up to the police. But his country, after years of civil war, has fallen into chaos and in Kabul there is only violence, absurdity, and deafness. Rassoul’s desperate attempt for redemption turns into a farce. The novel is being described as “a nostalgic ode to the magic of Perssian tales and a satire on the dire reality of now.” It also promises to “portray the resilience and wit of Afghani women.”
Atiq Rahimi was born in Afghanistan in 1962, and fled to France in 1984. There he has become renowned as a maker of documentary and feature films, and as a writer. The film of his novel Earth and Ashes was in the Official Selection at Cannes in 2004 and has won a number of prizes. A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear has also been adapted for the screen. His adaptation of The Patience Stone, which he co-wrote and directed, was also recently made into a feature film. Since 2001 Rahimi has returned to Afghanistan to set up a Writers’ House in Kabul and to offer support and training to young Afghan writers and filmmakers. He lives in Paris.
From Plume, two books with the central focus on dogs arrived:
The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods (October 2013) promises to be “a tale of revolutionary research, funny and moving adventures in the field, and useful insights into what your dog is actually thinking.” From the publisher:
In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom. Brian Hare’s stunning discovery is that when dogs domesticated themselves as early as 40,000 years ago they became far more like human infants than their wolf ancestors. Domestication gave dogs a whole new kind of social intelligence. This finding will change the way we think about dogs and dog training—indeed, the revolution has already begun.
Vanessa Woods is a research assistant, journalist, and author of children’s books. A member of the Hominoid Psychology Research Group, she works with Duke University as well as Lola Ya Bonobo in Congo. She is also a feature writer for the Discovery Channel, and her writing has appeared in publications such as BBC Wildlife and Travel Africa. Her first book, It’s Every Monkey for Themselves, was published in Australia in 2007. Woods lives in North Carolina with her husband, scientist Brian Hare.
Dr. Brian Hare is associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University in North Carolina and a member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, which is a division of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, founded the Hominoid Psychology Research Group while at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and subsequently founded the Duke Canine Cognition Center when arriving at Duke University. His research has consistently received national and international media coverage over the last decade and has been featured in the Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Economist, The New York Times, The New Yorker, National Geographic, Time, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Nature, Wired, Science magazine, CNN and ABC (Australia). In 2004 the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation named him a recipient of the Sofja Kovalevskaja Award, Germany’s most prestigious award for scientists under age 40. In 2007 Smithsonian magazine named him one of the top 37 U.S. scientists under 36. Learn more about Hare and his work by visiting the author’s website.
Throw the Damn Ball: Classic Poetry by Dogs by R.D. Rosen, Harry Prichett, and Rob Battles (October 2013) is an anthology of timeless and humorous poetry from the authors of the bestselling books Bad Dog, Bad Cat and Bad President. The book borrows heavily from classic poets including Yeats, Dickinson and Frost and reflects on “dog’s concerns” such as: love, loss, friendship and mealtime.
R.D. Rosen is the Edgar Award winning author of Strike Three You’re Dead and other Harvey Blissberg mysteries, plus several nonfiction books. He once wrote for Saturday Night Live and starred in comedy specials for PBS and HBO. Learn more about Rosen and his work by visiting the author’s website.
Harry Prichett has written and performed for the improv comedy group Chicago City Limits, created the off-off-Broadway show Work=Pain=Success, and is a voice of television commercials. Learn more about Prichett and his work by visiting the author’s website.
Rob Battles has written and produced for public radio stations and NPR, and is a senior vice president for a large, forward-looking media company.
Finally, two books arrived Random House imprints:
The Drowning House by Elizabeth Black (Anchor Books, October 2013) is a debut novel set in Glaveston, Texas. Mourning for her daughter and her crumbling marriage, photographer Clare Porterfield returns to her childhood home hoping to find distraction in mounting an exhibition featuring the island’s vivid history. From the publisher:
Things haven’t changed much during her decade away: her relationship with her mother and older sister is still fraught and competitive, and their neighbors, the Carradays, wield the same moneyed influence they have for generations. But Clare finds that she is now an outsider, out of step with the unique rhythms of Galveston life. As she copes with her grief by digging deeper into the past, she discovers secrets that have grown and multiplied like the wildflowers that climb up Island walls and fences—secrets that will give her a new understanding of her own history.
Elizabeth Black was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island and now lives in Houston, Texas. The Drowning House is her first novel.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis (Vintage Books, October 2013) is set in 1923, and centers around fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd who is swept up by the tides of the Great Migration. From the publisher:
Full of hope, she settles in Philadelphia to build a better life. Instead she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment, and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins are lost to an illness that a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children, whom she raises with grit, mettle, and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them to meet a world that will not be kind. Their lives, captured here in twelve luminous threads, tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage—and a nation’s tumultuous journey.
Ayana Mathis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. Her first novel, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, was a New York Times Bestseller and was selected by Oprah Winfrey as the second pick for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. Originally from Philadelphia, she lives in Brooklyn. Learn more about Mathis and her work by visiting the author’s website.
Whew – that’s it for now (I still need to pick up mail at the post office, so I don’t know if there are more books waiting for me there!).
Did any amazing books arrive at YOUR house this week?