Friday, May 28, 2010

This One is Mine

"Tuesdays in Los Angeles made Violet sad. It always caught her by surprise, the sadness, like today, as she was driving, safe and alone in her car after another revolting morning with David. Then she'd see the open-house signs and would remember: Tuesday, open-house day."
~This One is Mine, Maria Semple

Maria Semple, a former TV writer for shows such as Saturday Night Live, Mad About You, Ellen, and Arrested Development, is the author of the novel This One is Mine, published in 2008, a sharp, tragicomical depiction of the lifestyle and culture of Los Angeles, complete with cameos by Adam Sandler and other celebrities. This One is Mine is the story of Violet, her husband, David, her sister-in-law, Sally--and Teddy. David, a successful music executive, is having a hard time understanding and living with his wife, who has become distraught and distant. Sally, David's sister, is a former ballerina determined to find a rich man to marry. She sets her sights on Jeremy White, who may be socially awkward but otherwise fits the bill. Violet, on the other hand, seeks escape from her marriage, and although she loves her very young daughter, Dot, she's uncertain in her new role as a stay-at-home mother. She feels out of shape physically and emotionally. In this state she finds herself attracted to an unlikely candidate, ex-junkie Teddy Reyes, a bass player who is barely able to make ends meet. Although Violet is rich and pampered, money doesn't buy happiness, and she is miserable in her marriage. Teddy is somehow thrilling to her, and after sixteen years of marriage, she feels a spark and is drawn to the bassist.

Gradually and skillfully, the author reveals more about the main characters, who seem shallow and self-absorbed initially, and I could understand them better. Full of humor, the novel pokes fun at many things, including New Age parenting techniques and "sweat lodges". I raced through this book and it held my attention from the first page until the last, although I found the vulgar language and graphic sex disturbing (at times I even wondered if I were reading a pornographic novel). I understand that the foul language was supposed to be shocking, was intended to show what a "dirty" mouth Teddy has, how unsuitable he really is for Violet, but after a certain point it seemed superfluous, and detracted from the book for me. Although the language fit the character, I thought it was taken to an extreme and that it should have been lessened--a little bit would have been enough.

Special thanks to Gigi for sending me this book.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Power Dolls

I am terribly behind in some of my reading challenges, and as if to mock me I stumbled upon this quick video today on Lit and Life.  As a participant in Laura's All About the Brontë Sisters reading challenge, I plan on posting a review (relatively) soon, so please stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Winner of The Life O'Reilly

No more lawyer jokes--I promise (well, not for a while, anyway). But it's good to know that the author, Brian Cohen, and my readers have a sense of humor and didn't object to the lawyer joke I included in my review for The Life O'Reilly.  I enjoyed hosting this book giveaway, especially reading your comments and ideas about what the expression 'the life of Riley' means. There are different ways of spelling 'Riley' (Reilly, Reiley), but however you spell it, it means living an easy and pleasant life. Obviously, the title is a play on words, as lawyer Nick O'Reilly is the central character in this novel.
Special thanks to Brian Cohen, who will be sending an autographed copy of his book to India! Priya from uniquely priya, an outstanding blog that I visit often, is the winner of The Life O'Reilly. Congratulations, Priya!

As always, thanks for reading. If you didn't win this time, remember that I have other book giveaways posted here, and others on the way, as well as reviews, interviews, and more--so please return again soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Conversation with Fiona Place

Having just read and reviewed Cardboard: A Woman Left for Dead by Fiona Place, I am excited to now present an interview with the author.

1) Welcome, Fiona! I am curious about your background and the motivation for your book, Cardboard: A Woman Left for Dead, which won the 1990 National Book Council Qantas Award for New Writers, and has recently been released in North America. Please tell us about the inspiration for Cardboard.

FP: I wrote Cardboard in response to a friend (who was a poet) asking me if I was ever going to write anything longer than a one page poem! Seriously, it was that straightforward--I went up to my attic (yes it was the writer in the attic) and began writing Cardboard--using both poetry and prose. I wanted to remain faithful to my poet status--too many poets it is said move on to other forms--and to my delight soon realised the narrative needed the poetry, that without the space the poetic voice provides the book would implode and be too one dimensional. So I sat and wrote five drafts in six weeks. Then I spent five years working on the manuscript to get it right. In the meantime I was studying and working and so from my perspective it was an easy book to write. I had the structure fairly early on and I only had to work on refining and refining each sentence!

2) I've never read a book quite like Cardboard, in which you creatively mix prose and poetry. I felt as if the poems added another layer, of strong feeling, to the narrative. It's interesting that the story is told in the first person by Lucy, but that the poems are written in the third person, as if Lucy is viewing herself from a distance.
"she misled them
down garden paths
far from her tree of hope"
What was your idea behind mixing prose and poetry, of giving these "two perspectives"?

FP: That was both luck and determination to write a prose/poetry novel. Luck in that I hit upon the idea early (in part as I have said at the suggestion of another poet) and determination in that I worked at it long enough to make it a full-length text. I soon realised the reader would need to see Lucy from different perspectives, that they needed to see an older and a wiser Lucy--right from the beginning of the novel--or else it would be too heavy and too dense. It then made sense to write the poetry in the third person--to flesh out Lucy so to speak. And allow the reader to understand that even when Lucy's world view was extremely narrow there were parts of her that could see out or think about her situation. It was also a sheer love of poetry--of believing Lucy's state of mind needed the complexity and mystery that only a poetic voice can capture.

3) In the book the main character, Lucy, is being treated for anorexia nervosa. She refuses to eat for complex reasons. She doesn't really think she's fat, but wants control over one aspect of her life, eating or not eating. Lucy is very worried about the future and specifically about getting (and keeping) a job. What is the role of anxiety in this disorder?

FP: I think the role of anxiety is far more important than is often talked about. In part this is because anxiety is far harder to articulate--it is far easier for someone to present or understand an eating disorder in terms of a "desire to be thin". It requires time, patience, and individualised therapy to understand and assist someone with anxiety. And unfortunately in today's world where the medical profession's focus is mainly on understanding the underlying biology and genetics of the illness, individualised psychotherapy is rarely presented or even thought of as a viable treatment option. Instead governments and insurance companies are only willing to fund cost-controlled pre-packaged treatment programs which may or may not suit the person who has an eating disorder.

4) Your book suggests that anorexia may be a language based disorder in which subtexts are misunderstood. Tell us more about this. Also, does your frequent use of slashes in the book signify something in that realm? For example:

"They had seen/caught me in the midst of a giddy spell and I knew my pathology report had shown an electrolyte imbalance."

FP: The use of slashes is about many things--perhaps in Cardboard's case about showing a character who is constantly trying to understand the world, to map it, and furiously intent on capturing exactly what it is she is trying to impart. It is also part of my writing style, the poet in me. At another level though I do think anorexia and other eating disorders are related to an inability to express and articulate emotions, that the person gives up on trying to understand the complex array of emotions swimming through them and ends up defining themselves through what they eat and weigh because these are measurable and simple understandings and give order to an inner chaos. I also believe that part of the recovery process is about learning to express yourself in your own words, learning to shape a self through language. And that this often involves appreciating how 'lived' experience is storied. How can there be hidden meanings, hidden agendas, and how we all have to navigate our way through the maze of language, and the stories others tell about us and about the world at large.

5) Lucy's struggle is not just about food; it's about obtaining independence and autonomy and identity, and I rooted for her every step of the way. How much of you is in Lucy, the protagonist and heroine of this story?

FP: Some I guess, it is hard to say--what I do know is when I tried to read the book before it was republished this year I was taken aback--it was a completely different book to the one I remembered. Neither better or worse--just different. Then again most writers say this about books they have written. And many advise never reread a book. That said I do understand the struggle Lucy endured, do understand how hard life can be at times. And how fortunate I am--as was Lucy--to have made a complete recovery.

6) Cardboard was first published in 1989 in Australia. What do you think about the effectiveness of modern day treatments for eating disorders, in Australia or elsewhere?

FP: The majority of today's research studies and treatment protocols are focused on trying to understand the biology and genetics of the disorder rather than the context in which the illness occurs. And to my way of thinking this line of inquiry has de-skilled the medical profession, causing them to be less capable and less aware that eating disorders occur within a context (families, peer groups, communities) and that that context matters.

7) Are you working on another book, and if so, can you tell us something about it?

FP: I am working on another book. Based on my essay
Motherhood and genetic screening: a personal perspective, it is in the early draft stages. And unsurprisingly once again it is medical in nature! Of interest to me this time is how recent advances in medicine, genetics, and technology are significantly altering our perceptions of what it means to have a disability. Take for example, deafness. Only fifty years ago it was seen as a 'life sentence' requiring institutionalization, whereas today it is considered a 'treatable' condition and something that can be lived with, tolerated. (This is however not without its controversies, with some in the deaf community choosing to remain deaf.) Unfortunately, however, not all 'disabilities' have gained from these advances. Not all lives have become as acceptable/accepted. Witness the advances in prenatal screening. In this domain the ever-increasing capacity to detect disabilities in utero seems to be making us less tolerant of disability, less tolerant of any kind of difference.

If all goes according to plan I wish to explore these contradictory changes and examine the possible consequences of the current drive towards only wanting the 'able', the perfect. Ending up I hope with a readable book!

Fiona, thank you very much for doing this interview with me. It gave me additional insight into Cardboard. I look forward to reading your next book!

For my review of Cardboard, or to enter the giveaway, please visit Cardboard: Review and Giveaway.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cardboard: Review and Giveaway

"From the Safety of not eating I finally began to hear the double echoes, to scratch at the polite surfaces of words. I knew nothing deeper than what was visible. Or if I could see it I was unable to use any words to describe it."
~Cardboard, Fiona Place

First published in Australia in 1989, Cardboard: A Woman Left for Dead by Fiona Place is the story of Lucy, a young woman who has been suffering from anorexia nervosa for about eight years. Told by Lucy, Cardboard presents her inner world, an intimate a portrait of a woman with an eating disorder who's undergoing treatments that include hospitalization, drugs, and psychotherapy.

In conjunction with her eating disorder, Lucy suffers from anxiety and fears, concerning her future and employment (that dreadful, ever present 'e'). Having grown up in family that did not outwardly demonstrate affection, she craves physical closeness and a love relationship but is afraid of men, fearful of getting too close to or trusting someone. Lucy knows what she wants and needs but is not yet able to articulate her needs. And that seems to be at the heart of the matter.

"I knew there was more to life than the expression You are what you eat but I felt compelled to take it to its literal extreme."
~Cardboard, Fiona Place

The author believes that this eating disorder is closely related to an inability to understand subtexts of language, or to take things too literally. She believes that anorexia nervosa may really be a ‘communication disorder’, and that trained therapists can help patients decode the ‘subtexts’ of language and conversation.

Developed during the 1970's and 1980's by Australian Michael White and New Zealander David Epston, narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy using narrative. The basic premise of this form of treatment is that a patient will benefit by telling his or her own narrative, under the guidance of a psychotherapist. This is what happens in Cardboard. Under Tim's care, Lucy begins her narrative. But she takes this one step further. Lucy incorporates poetry into her narrative, which adds another dimension to it.

she had been
imagined real

hurt, knowing
she couldn't
be real"
~Cardboard, Fiona Place

By using poetry, a less "literal" language than prose, Lucy starts to allow more ambiguity in her interpretation of language, in her life. In fact, she is the very creator of this ambiguity! Slowly but certainly, through the actual process of writing the prose and poetry, Lucy starts to help herself, and to better comprehend language, with it's subtleties and subtexts.

"Writing didn't have to come up with a practical solution to anything, only an understanding, and as I penned, the words seemed to appear before my eyes, from somewhere unknown. An unknown that I hadn't explored."
~Cardboard, Fiona Place

To be honest, I wasn't sure how I'd be affected by a book about a young woman who is suffering from anorexia nervosa. I thought I might find it depressing or unpleasant. Fortunately, this book is a triumphant story of recovery and success. While Lucy does receive treatment and help from Dr. E. and Tim, it is through her very narrative, told in prose and poetry, that she is able to take control and responsibility for herself in many areas of life, and eventually recover from her eating disorder. Cardboard is a brilliant fictionalized account that illustrates the restorative powers of narrative psychotherapy. It's a unique combination of prose and poetry that shows the integration of logical, literal "left brain" language with creative, intuitive "right brain" language. Lucy writes herself into well-being.

Exciting news! To celebrate the recent release of Cardboard in North America, the author generously sent me a copy to review, and two additional copies to give away. This giveaway is open worldwide.
  • To enter the giveaway for this book, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
Enter by 5 PM PDT on Thursday, June 10. Two winners will be selected randomly and announced on Friday, June 11. Good luck!

Please return on May 20 for an interview with Fiona Place. For another review of this book visit The Reading Life. Cardboard counts toward the Aussie Author Challenge and the Women Unbound Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Winner of Raven Stole the Moon Giveaway

Congratulations to Kathy from Bermudaonion's Weblog, the winner of Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein and a red "Raven" umbrella. Kathy's well-written blog is one of my favorite book blogs. Her "Southern hospitality" and graciousness shine through and I feel welcomed and at home on her blog.

Please don't be discouraged if you didn't win this time. I have other book giveaways posted here, and more on the way.

Happy reading to all!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Mailbox Monday: Just a Few

One of the perks of being a book blogger is being privy to a multitude of book giveaways.   Recently I won two books, South of Broad by Pat Conroy on Heather's blog, Raging Bibliomania, and A Twist of Orchids by Michelle Wan on Becky's blog, No More Grumpy Bookseller.  Heather and Becky both have terrific book blogs that I enjoy visiting.

Last week I ventured into Barnes & Noble to look for a couple of gifts, and I couldn't resist getting one book for myself, How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster.  I didn't intend to get myself any books, but when I picked this one up and skimmed a few pages it was too interesting to leave behind. This book may nudge my reviews into some new directions, and although it may take me a while to get to it I'm certain that I will.

Hosted by Marcia from The Printed Page, Mailbox Monday is one of my favorite memes, where readers share the books they've recently acquired. What books arrived in your home recently, by mail or from elsewhere?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Hop and More

It's Friday, time for another Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer from Crazy-for-Books. So don't be a wallflower, take your nose out of that book, and join the fun at this weekly BOOK PARTY! The basic idea of the Hop is to visit new book blogs and make some new friends. Welcome to all of my visitors and followers, new and old. Please take a look around and enjoy your stay here.

Today's also the day to announce another giveaway winner. Beachreader has won a copy of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker. Congratulations!

If you didn't win this time, why not try your luck at some of the other book giveaways posted here?

Happy Friday!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Letter to My Daughter: Review and Giveaway

Think about the letters you've saved over the years. Are they love letters? Are they the letters you got from home during your first summer away at camp? Do you have a box full of letters from best friends, full of events and compliments, or acceptances to schools or for jobs? You probably saved these letters because they touched your emotions when you first read them. Chances are good that they still affect you when you reread them.

An epistolary novel is a fictional book written as a series of documents, usually letters, although diary or journal entries, newspaper clippings, and other documents are sometimes used. In recent times, electronic "documents" such as email and even blogs have also come into use. The word 'epistolary' comes from the Latin word epistola, meaning a letter. The very first epistolary novel may have been the Spanish Prison of Love (Cárcel de amor) (c.1485) by Diego de San Pedro. Throughout the years, there have been countless books written in epistolary form, which became popular as a genre in the 18th century, fell largely out of use in the late part of that century, and then became popular again. Even Jane Austen tried her hand at epistolary writing, with her novella, Lady Susan, and Pride and Prejudice, which contains many letters, may have originally been intended as an epistolary novel called "First Impressions". Recently I read two epistolary books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows (which I reviewed in epistolary form), and West From Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder (which I also reviewed). Epistolary novels often feel a bit more intimate, more revealing, and more passionate to me than regular novels, and I looked forward to reading a new book in this genre, Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop, published in 2010.

Letter to My Daughter is written as a letter from a distraught mother, Laura, to her daughter, Liz, on the eve of her fifteenth birthday. Liz has left home in the middle of the night in her mother's car after a fight with her. As Laura anxiously awaits her daughter's return, she writes a letter to Liz about her own past and the secrets she has kept hidden. In it, she reveals how at fifteen she fell in love with a Cajun boy, Tim Prejean, who was two years older than her. Her parents strongly disapproved of her relationship with Tim, and sent Laura away to a boarding school run by nuns, the Sacred Heart Academy in Baton Rogue. Tim has enlisted in the army during the era of the Vietnam War, and he and Laura continue their forbidden romance through letters in this coming-of-age story.

Imaginative and affecting, I was transfixed and transported by descriptions in Letter to My Daughter of rural Louisiana and could easily envision "the sticks" where "small houses stood scattered here and there among the trees" in a place with "dirt roads, dirt yards, and dirt gardens". The beauty of this book is in the details and the way the author captures feelings on paper (Tim's father, who lives in a camping trailer in the woods, is described as "desperately hospitable", offering can after can of RC Cola to Liz). Although it's short, the story is full of power and emotion. Like a treasured letter, this is a book to read and reread. It would be a very good choice for mother/daughter book clubs, and may even inspire some mothers to write letters to their own children--about things that are important but difficult to express face-to-face.

After reading Letter to My Daughter, I was curious about something and asked the author a couple of questions:

Why did you write Letter to My Daughter from the point of view of a woman, Liz's mother? What "advantages" and/or "disadvantages" did this give you as a writer?

Here is his reply:

Dear Suko's Notebook,

Thanks for hosting me here on your blog. Lots of readers have wondered about the female point of view in my novel Letter to My Daughter.

A few years ago I was working in India, and at the end of my job, I took a camel safari in the desert. I went to sleep in my tent one night, and I dreamed this whole novel, beginning to end. In my dream, the story was clearly told from the point of view of the mother. I heard the woman's voice, even. The odd thing is that I don't know anyone quite like Laura, the narrator in the story. She's not based on anyone in real life.

So I went into the novel with a strong sense of the voice and the story. Still, it took some time to overcome my doubts about writing from a woman's point of view. But eventually I realized that it wasn't all that different from a man's point of view. The big emotions--fear, love, hate, jealousy--are all the same no matter who you are. The challenge is in getting the details right--what a teenage girl sees when she looks at a boy she admires, for example. Things like this took some imagining. Happily, women who've read the novel seem to think I got it right.

~George Bishop

Fascinating! George, I enjoyed reading your answer in epistolary form.

Wonderful news! Random House is offering one copy of Letter to My Daughter as a giveaway (U.S./Canada).
  • To enter the giveaway for this book, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • For yet another chance, mention an epistolary book that you've enjoyed reading.
Enter by 5 PM PDT on Wednesday, June 2. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Thursday, June 3. Good luck!

Special thanks to Lisa from TLC and Random House for sending me this book. For more reviews of this book, please visit the other stops on TLC's blog tour for Letter to My Daughter.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Fun: Book Blogger Hop and Giveaway Winner

Happy Friday! It's time to party, it's time to have some fun. I really enjoy the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer from Crazy-for-Books. I've hopped to many wonderful, new blogs that I am now following, and expect to discover even more this week.

Congratulations to Natalie W.! Natalie has won a copy of The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women & a Forty-Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow. I really enjoyed reading all the comments for this giveaway (I wish I had the time to respond to each one), and thank you for your responses. If you didn't win this time, don't despair! I have other book giveaways posted here, including a new, international giveaway for The Life O'Reilly, a novel by Brian Cohen. Why not try your luck again?

Now excuse me, I have some hoppin' to do!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Life O'Reilly: Review and Giveaway

A man phones a lawyer and asks, "How much would you charge for just answering three simple questions?"
The lawyer replies, "A thousand dollars."

"A thousand dollars!" exclaims the man. "That's very expensive, isn't it?"

"It certainly is," says the lawyer. "Now, what's your third question?"

Although I'm not a lawyer, I can get away with telling a lawyer joke because my husband is an attorney. He often tells lawyer jokes at the beginning of speaking engagements, to loosen up the crowd. His sense of humor extends to his profession, and since he's hard-working and dedicated, his jokes are well received.

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Because I'm familiar with the legal profession through association, I thought it might be interesting to read a novel written by a lawyer about a lawyer. Published in 2009, The Life O'Reillyis the first novel by lawyer Brian Cohen. It's the story of Nick O'Reilly, an attorney at Williams Gardner and Schmidt, a prestigious law firm on Wall St. in NYC. In an attempt to help bolster their image, Will, the managing partner, has decided that the firm needs to devote some time to pro bono cases, and Nick is assigned the first case. He's asked to represent a domestic violence victim, Dawn Nelson, who's fighting to gain custody of her three-year-old son, Jordan. Soon after their initial meeting, Nick begins to develop strong romantic feelings for Dawn (uh-oh!), and also starts to question what he's doing with his life.

"What was I doing with myself? I couldn't help but think about my unsavory corporate clients, off in their weekend cottages and vacation homes, water-skiing behind yachts and diving in Grand Cayman, basking in comfort by directors and officers liability insurance, boasting about how royally they screwed their own shareholders.
Ha, ha, ha, fraud, schmaud!
And then I thought about Dawn and drifted off on my office couch for a while until the phone rang."
~The Life O'Reilly, Brian Cohen

As Nick's story unfolds, unexpected twists and turns keep it exciting. The Life O'Reilly is written with the precision and clarity of a lawyer, but it also has heart. This novel exudes warmth (his mother is called "Mom", as if that's her name)--and humor. In Chapter 9, Nick and Dawn meet to review an affidavit and go to a "Chinese restaurant" in the village, and what occurs there is absolutely hilarious. Having grown up in NYC, I could imagine such a scenario really happening.

What's the verdict on this novel? I enjoyed reading this book, which is a modern day love story and more. It made me smile, laugh, and cry. Emotionally moving, The Life O'Reilly is about what makes life worth living, about love and sacrifice and commitment, about being at peace with yourself. It makes you think about what you will leave behind, about your legacy. Last night, I recommended this book to my husband. And now I recommend it to you.

Terrific news! The author is offering an autographed copy of The Life O'Reilly as a giveaway--worldwide!
  • To enter the giveaway for this book, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower, or that you subscribe in Google Reader.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • For an extra bonus chance, define the expression 'the life of Riley' briefly in your comment.
Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, May 24. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, May 25. Good luck!

Special thanks to Brian Cohen for sending me his book and for sponsoring this generous giveaway.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Continuation: Garth Stein Interview and Giveaway

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I also have something else to celebrate this month--May 2 was my two-year blogiversary! Special thanks to all of my followers and visitors who have been so supportive. To show my appreciation, I'll be posting many wonderful book giveaways--some of them open worldwide--so please stay tuned.

Today I'm posting a follow-up video interview with Garth Stein, which is a continuation of the interview I posted on April 30 (I may also add another video to this post soon). Even if you've already entered this giveaway, you'll get an additional chance to win a copy of Raven Stole the Moon and the red umbrella if you comment on this post (U.S./Canada only). (I already have the book but I'd love a Raven umbrella!)

  • To enter the giveaway for the book and umbrella, simply leave a comment.
  • For another entry, watch this short video, then leave a comment related to the interview.

Enter by 5 PM on Monday, May 17. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, May 18. Good luck!

Please visit the Garth Stein YouTube Channel to find out more about this author and his novels.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Just Another Mailbox Monday

My mailbox pales in comparison to certain book bloggers out there (you know who you are), but I'm not complaining. I already have more than my share of books, and countless books to be read. (I'd also go a little crazy if I had to add more links or book covers to this post!)

Four tempting books arrived recently in the mail. Secret Daughterby Shilpi Somaya Gowda arrived compliments of HarperCollins. "Dr. Bill", William L. Smith, sent me his new book, Back to the Homeplace. Dead End Gene Pool: A Memoirby Wendy Burden arrived from Lisa from TLC, for an online discussion group I'm participating in later this month. I couldn't resist getting The Likenessby Tana French. After reading about the book on Stephanie's Written Word, I ordered it from an marketplace seller, who sent it to me very promptly.

Hosted by Marcia from The Printed Page, Mailbox Monday is one of my favorite memes, where readers share the books they've recently acquired. Feel free to join in the fun, but be forewarned: "Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists". What books arrived in your home recently, by mail or from elsewhere?

Some of the books featured here were given to me free of charge by authors, publishers, and agents. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


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