Monday, March 22, 2010

Mailbox Monday -- March 22nd

Thanks to host Marcia at The Printed Page I'm participating in the Mailbox Monday round up. This week I received the following review copies:

1) Forest Gate by Peter Akinti. Publisher's Summary. A shattering, poetic and raw first novel set among young Somalian refugees in the slums of London -- beginning with a double suicide and ending with a rebirth.

In a community where poverty is kept close and passed from one generation to the next, two teenage boys, best friends, stand on top of twin tower blocks. Facing each other across the abyss of London's urban sprawl, they say their good-byes and jump. One dies. The other, alternating with the sister of the deceased, narrates this novel.

James gives us a window into the inner city -- his mom is a crack addict, his gang "brothers" force him to kill another black boy. Meina describes with feeling her family history in Somalia: after her parents are killed before her eyes, her village aunt sells her to six husbands -- before she is even a teenager. Desperate to rebuild their lives, James and Meina set out to find the place for which every child longs -- home.

Brutal and shockingly violent in places, rambunctious and lively in others and slyly, dryly witty in yet others, Meina and James's journey toward life through their past is ultimately a powerful story of redemptive love and the debut of an extraordinary literary talent.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster.

2) Reporting at Wit's End by St. Clair McKelway. Amazon Product Description. The best of St. Clair McKelway, a longtime New Yorker writer, whose astonishing career and work have been overlooked for too long.

Named for his great-uncle, a prominent newspaperman, St. Clair McKelway was born with journalism in his blood. And in thirty-six years at the New Yorker, he made “fact-writing” his career. His prolific output for the magazine was defined by its incomparable wit and a love of New York’s rough edges. He had a deep affection for the city’s “rascals”: the junkmen, con men, counterfeiters, priests, beat cops, and fire marshals who colored life in old New York. And he wrote with levity and insight about his own life as well, a life marked by a strict Presbyterian childhood, a limited formal education, five marriages and divorces, and sometimes debilitating mental illness.

Like Joseph Mitchell and A. J. Liebling, McKelway combined the unflagging curiosity of a great reporter with the narrative flair of a master storyteller, and he helped establish the New Yorker’s unique brand of journalism in its most storied years. William Shawn, who began as McKelway’s assistant and became the magazine’s revered editor, described McKelway as a writer with the “lightest of light touches,” his striking style “too odd to be imitated.”

Reporting at Wit’s End collects McKelway’s most memorable work from the 1930s through the 1960s, creating a portrait of a long-forgotten New York and of one of its consummate chroniclers.

Thanks to Bloomsbury USA & Walker Books.

3) This One is Mine by Maria Semple. Publisher's Summary. Violet Parry is living the quintessential life of luxury in the Hollywood Hills with David, her rock-and-roll manager husband, and her darling toddler, Dot. She has the perfect life--except that she's deeply unhappy. David expects the world of Violet but gives little of himself in return. When she meets Teddy, a roguish small-time bass player, Violet comes alive, and soon she's risking everything for the chance to find herself again. Also in the picture are David's hilariously high-strung sister, Sally, on the prowl for a successful husband, and Jeremy, the ESPN sportscaster savant who falls into her trap. For all their recklessness, Violet and Sally will discover that David and Jeremy have a few surprises of their own. THIS ONE IS MINE is a compassionate and wickedly funny satire about our need for more--and the often disastrous choices we make in the name of happiness.

Thanks to the publicist.

4) The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor Mc Nees. Amazon Product Description. In the bestselling tradition of Loving Frank and March comes a novel for anyone who loves Little Women.

Millions of readers have fallen in love with Little Women. But how could Louisa May Alcott-who never had a romance-write so convincingly of love and heart-break without experiencing it herself?

Deftly mixing fact and fiction, Kelly O'Connor McNees imagines a love affair that would threaten Louisa's writing career-and inspire the story of Jo and Laurie in Little Women. Stuck in small-town New Hampshire in 1855, Louisa finds herself torn between a love that takes her by surprise and her dream of independence as a writer in Boston. The choice she must make comes with a steep price that she will pay for the rest of her life.

Thanks to the Publisher.


  1. Nice mailbox! You need to listen to Maria Semple's Blog Talk Radio interview before you read This One is Mine - I appreciated the book so much more after I heard her interview.

  2. The Lost Summer of LMA appeals to me. I hope you enjoy all of them!

    And I'm noting Kathy's advice because, honestly, the description This One Is Mine hasn't grabbed me (I've seen it on a lot of blogs).

  3. I'm reading Lost Summer.....too. I like the historical backdrop. I would love, love to read Forest Gates. What a powerful novel! I must have it and read it.


  4. Nice mailbox. This One Is Mine was an interesting read.

  5. I enjoyed The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott. Happy reading! My mailbox is at The Crowded Leaf.

  6. Such a great mailbox this week. I'll be looking forward to your review of LMA book. Have a great week, enjoy all your new reads!

  7. I have The Lost Summer here too. This One Is Mine sounds good too. Enjoy all your new reads!

  8. That last one sounds intriguing

  9. You've got a lot of great looking books this week!

    Here's mine for this week.

  10. Enjoy your books. Thanks for stopping by my post.

  11. Nice collection, hope you enjoy them all!

  12. Wow, Forest Gate sounds intense but I want to read it!

  13. Great mailbox! I really want to read The Lost Summer! Enjoy!

    Here is mine:

  14. Great mailbox! I have some of these as well. I'm trying to prepare my mind to read FOREST GATE - I think it might take an emotional toll.

  15. I will be reading Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott next month - I am looking forward to it!

  16. I hope you enjoy This One is Mine...I sure did!

  17. I got the Louisa May Alcott book last week. Looking forward to your thoughts. Happy reading!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  18. I'm interested in Reporting at Wit's End. Enjoy your books!

  19. I have The Lost Summer and hope to be getting This One Is Mine as well. Reporting at Wit's End looks like a good read.