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Mailbox Monday #313

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Mendeleev’s Mandala by Jessica Goodfellow from the poet for review.

Mendeleev’s Mandala begins in pilgrimage and ends in pilgrimage, but nowhere in-between does it find a home. Logic is the lodestar, as these poems struggle to make sense out of chaos. Jessica Goodfellow reimagines stories from the Old Testament, Greek mythology, and family history by invoking muses as diverse as Wittgenstein, Newton, the Wright Brothers, and an ancient Japanese monk. In the title poem, Mendeleev’s periodic table, sparked by fire and by trains, sees the elements of the world come into focus as a geometric pattern that recalls the ancient mandalas, also blueprints of an expanding universe as a whole.

2.  Bright Dead Things by Asa Limon from Milkweed Editions for review.

After the loss of her stepmother to cancer, Ada Limón chose to quit her job with a major travel magazine in New York, move to the mountains of Kentucky, and disappear. Yet, in the wake of death and massive transition, she found unexpected love, both for a man and for a place, all the while uncovering the core unity between death and beauty that drives our world. “I am beautiful. I am full of love. I am dying,” the author writes. It’s this narrative of transformation and acceptance that suffuses these poems. Unflinching and unafraid, Limón takes her reader on a journey into the most complex and dynamic realms of existence and identity, all while tracing a clear narrative of renewal.

3.  Lives of Crime and Other Stories by L. Shapley Bassen, an unexpected second review copy, which I will pass along to someone else.

These are great noir stories, with a very intelligent self-awareness that makes them existentially perplexing and entertaining at the same time. Kind of a guilty pleasure. Love the wry darkness.” -Susan Smith Nash, author of “The Adventures of Tinguely Querer

4.  The Year My Mother Came Back by Alice Eve Cohen, an unexpected surprise from Algonquin Books.

Thirty years after her death, Alice Eve Cohen’s mother appears to her, seemingly in the flesh, and continues to do so during the hardest year Alice has had to face: the year her youngest daughter needs a harrowing surgery, her eldest daughter decides to reunite with her birth mother, and Alice herself receives a daunting diagnosis. As it turns out, it’s entirely possible for the people we’ve lost to come back to us when we need them the most.

Although letting her mother back into her life is not an easy thing, Alice approaches it with humor, intelligence, and honesty. What she learns is that she must revisit her childhood and allow herself to be a daughter once more in order to take care of her own girls. Understanding and forgiving her mother’s parenting transgressions leads her to accept her own and to realize that she doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good mother.

5.  The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War illustrated by Jim Kay from Candlewick Press for review.

A toy soldier. A butter dish. A compass. Mundane objects, perhaps, but to the remarkable authors in this collection, artifacts such as these have inspired stories that go to the heart of the human experience of World War I. Each author was invited to choose an object that had a connection to the war— a writing kit for David Almond, a helmet for Michael Morpurgo—and use it as the inspiration for an original short story. What results is an extraordinary collection, illustrated throughout by award-winning Jim Kay and featuring photographs of the objects with accounts of their history and the authors’ reasons for selecting them. This unique anthology provides young readers with a personal window into the Great War and the people affected by it, and serves as an invaluable resource for families and teachers alike.

6.  Strange Theater by John Amen from the poet for review.

John Amen’s STRANGE THEATER takes the reader on a multifaceted journey, each poem a puzzle piece in a mysterious drama, a view onto a stage where dialogues and narratives shuffle and rotate, where characters improvise insights that blur the boundary between horror and the absurd. Offering a unique vision of contemporary life, Amen is a Virgil of sorts, navigating the unknown, plumbing the conscious and unconscious alike. Replete with compelling imagery and frequently shocking proclamations, STRANGE THEATER imprints itself on the psyche, Amen’s voice continuing to resound long after the final poem is read.

What did you receive this week?

  • Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

    The Great War book looks really good. Enjoy!

  • Cheryl Malandrinos

    Would love to read so many of these, especially Lives of Crime and Other Stories and The Year My Mother Came Back. Thanks for visiting me last week.

  • Laurel-Rain Snow

    I love the look of The Year My Mother Came Back…enjoy your books…and thanks for visiting my blog.

  • Suko

    The Year My Mother Came Back does have an interesting premise! Happy Reading this week, Serena!

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    I got The Year My Mother Came Back as well – it looks good to me. Happy reading!

  • Looks like a nice variety. Enjoy!

  • Wow, a great variety of reads there. Enjoy!