Mailbox Monday – November 25, 2013

AutumnMailboxWelcome to this week’s Mailbox Monday and which is hosted by Crystal at I Totally Paused. Visit the dedicated blog for the meme to see the complete tour schedule in the right sidebar. Also please note: Marcia is looking for someone to take over the running of this meme – see her most recent post on the dedicated blog for more information.

I have been really remiss at posting weekly Mailboxes – and I am sorry for that, but life seems to be getting in the way of blogging these days. This Mailbox includes all the books I’ve received since the last time I post on November 4th.

PossibleLifeA Possible Life: A Novel in Five Love Stories by Sebastian Faulks (November 2013) arrived from Picador. I really enjoy connected short stories and this one looks particularly good. From the publisher:

Throughout this masterpiece of fiction, exquisitely drawn and unforgettable characters risk their bodies, hearts, and minds in pursuit of the manna of human connection. Between soldier and lover, parent and child, servant and master, and artist and muse, important pleasures and pains are born out of love, separations, and missed opportunities…

Listen to the author talk about the novel:

Sebastian Faulks is the author of  ten novels. They include the UK number one bestseller A Week in December; Human Traces; On Green Dolphin Street; Charlotte Gray, which was made into a film starring Cate Blanchett; and the classic Birdsong, which has sold more than three million copies and was recently adapted for television. In 2008, he was invited to write a James Bond novel, Devil May Care, to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming. In between books he wrote and presented the four-part television series Faulks on Fiction for the BBC. He lives in London with his wife and their three children. Learn more about Faulks and his work by visiting the author’s website.

TracksAuthor Genni Gunn had her publicist send me a copy of her book Tracks: Journeys in Time and Place (Signature Editions, October 2013) which is a collection of personal travel essays. Some of you may remember my review of Gunn’s novel Solitaria. The essays in Tracksrange across three continents, from Italy, where Genni Gunn was born and spent her early years, to Canada, Mexico and through Asia, where she has traveled many times, both reconnecting with her sister and witnessing the emergence of new political realities in Myanmar. Journeys into the new and unknown also trigger the inner journey to the realm of memory. These pieces dig deep into personal territory, exploring the ties of an unusually peripatetic family.

Genni Gunn is an author, musician and translator. Born in Trieste, she came to Canada when she was eleven. She has published nine books: three novels—Solitaria, Tracing Iris and Thrice Upon a Time; two short story collections—Hungers and On The Road; two poetry collections— Faceless and Mating in Captivity. As well, she has translated from Italian two collections of poems—Devour Me Too andTraveling in the Gait of a Fox by renowned Italian author, Dacia Maraini. Gunn has a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the University of British Columbia, and teaches Creative Writing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She lives in Vancouver. Learn more about Gunn and her work by visiting the author’s website.

GoodKingsBadKingsAlgonquin Books sent me a copy of Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum (November 2013) as part of the Library Thing Early Review Program. Nussbaum won the Bellwether Award for this novel which centers around a group of teenagers living in an institution for juveniles with disabilities.

This unfamiliar, isolated landscape is much the same as the world outside: friendships are forged, trust is built, love affairs are kindled, and rules are broken. But those who call it home have little or no control over their fate. Good Kings Bad Kings challenges our definitions of what it means to be disabled in a story told with remarkable authenticity and in voices that resound with humor and spirit.

Susan Nussbaum’s plays have been widely produced. Her play Mishuganismo is included in the anthology Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out. In 2008 she was cited by the Utne Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” for her work with girls with disabilities. This is her first novel.

ThirtyGirlsThe folks from Alfred A. Knopf sent me an Advance Readers Edition of Thirty Girls by Susan Minot ((February 2014). Set in war-torn Africa, Minot’s highly anticipated novel centers around Esther who is a Ugandan teenager abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and forced to witness and commit unspeakable atrocities. Jane, an American journalist, travels to Africa, hoping to give a voice to children like Esther. Minot interweaves their stories, “giving us razor-sharp portraits of two extraordinary young women confronting displacement, heartbreak, and the struggle to wrest meaning from events that test them both in unimaginable ways.

Susan Minot’s first novel, Monkeys, was published in a dozen countries and received the Prix Femina Étranger in France. She is the author of Rapture, Lust & Other Stories, Folly, Evening, and Poems 4 A.M., and wrote the screenplay for Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty. View a complete list of titles available by Susan Minot from Random House here. Minot lives on an island in Maine.

ImpossibleExileOther Press sent me an Advance Readers Edition of The Impossible Exile by George Prochnik ((May 2014). From the publisher:

By the 1930s, Stefan Zweig had become the most widely translated living author in the world. His novels, short stories, and biographies were so compelling that they became instant best sellers. Zweig was also an intellectual and a lover of all the arts, high and low. Yet after Hitler’s rise to power, this celebrated writer who had dedicated so much energy to promoting international humanism plummeted, in a matter of a few years, into an increasingly isolated exile—from London to Bath to New York City, then Ossining, Rio, and finally Petrópolis—where, in 1942, in a cramped bungalow, he killed himself.

The Impossible Exile tells the tragic story of Zweig’s extraordinary rise and fall while it also depicts, with great acumen, the gulf between the world of ideas in Europe and in America, and the consuming struggle of those forced to forsake one for the other. It also reveals how Zweig embodied, through his work, thoughts, and behavior, the end of an era—the implosion of Europe as an ideal of Western civilization.

George Prochnik’s essays, poetry, and fiction have appeared in numerous journals. He taught English and American literature at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and has also worked as a therapist for the chronically mentally ill. He lives in New York City.

AshendenFinally, Simon & Schuster sent me a copy of Ashenden by Elizabeth Wilhide (November 2013). “When brother and sister Charlie and Ros discover that they have inherited Ashenden, the beautiful eighteenth-century English country house steeped in their family history, they face an important decision: Do they try to keep it or do they sell it?” The novel spans two and a half centuries, and the reader is introduced to the characters who have built the house, lived in it, loved it, and those who would subvert it to their own ends. Wilhide utilizes “upstairs and downstairs storylines intertwining to form a rich tapestry” to create “an evocative portrait of a house that is a character as compelling as the people who inhabit it.

Elizabeth Wilhide is the author of more than twenty books on interior design, decoration, and architecture and a coauthor and contributor of many more. Born in the United States, she moved to Britain in 1967, where she lives with her husband. Learn more about Wilhide and her work by visiting the author’s website.

Did any wonderful books arrive at YOUR house this week?

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    • Kailana on November 25, 2013 at 08:01

    Looks like you were spoiled with lots of good sounding books. enjoy!

    • Serena on November 25, 2013 at 08:11

    Looks like a lot of great books. I wonder where MM will end up. I’d be happy to be permanent host but not sure how that decision will be made as Marcia wants it left up to the blogging world.

  1. I got Thirty Girls last week and think it sounds wonderful. Now we need to find the time to read it.

    • Amy on November 25, 2013 at 11:50

    You received some really interesting books. I haven’t read anything by Sebastian Faulks yet and I love British books and shows so I’ve written his name down and saved his website…thank you!

    Susan Nussbaum and her book Good Kings Bad Kings interests me the most, of course, because of the disability issue. I’m going to look her up and check out this book. Being disabled I’m always interested in fiction & nonfiction on disabilities. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of Susan Nussbaum but I can’t wait to find out more about her.

    Enjoy your books! Happy Reading!

    • Mary on November 25, 2013 at 16:43

    I like connected short stories as well. Have a great week!

  2. You definitely picked up some interesting books this week! There’s several I think I’d enjoy, but my top 3 would have to be Ashenden, A Possible Life, and Thirty Girls. Happy reading!

  3. Nice Mailbox.

    Ashenden has a great cover…hope it is good.

    A Possible Life looks good too.

    ENJOY your week and your books.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Mailbox Monday

    Another giveaway on my blog if you want stop by that post too.


    • susan on December 1, 2013 at 15:01

    Yay! Susan Minot is always very good — will have to check out her new one. thanks

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