Quantcast

Mailbox Monday #654

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Kaddish by Jane Yolen for Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, is recited in a time of deep sorrow. In it, the sacredness of the Almighty One is affirmed. In her new gathering of sixty poems, award-winning author Jane Yolen gives us a feminist view of Biblical themes and personalities such as Eve, Sarah, David and Goliath. The poems then morph into those about the Holocaust and after. Yolen’s unflinching and stark record of the many death camp horrors serve as reminders of that era’s brutality and the unrelenting suffering visited upon an innocent people. “Knowing means remembrance,” Yolen writes–as each poem becomes a memorial, a teaching, a warning for our and future generations. Her book concludes: “… no Jew truly escapes/that time, those places,/unscarred, unscathed./I have no numbers on my arms,/But I have studied the charts,/the cities, the deaths,/till I know them by heart.”

Inheritance of Aging Self by Lucinda Marshall, which I purchased.

Lucinda Marshall’s debut poetry collection, Inheritance Of Aging Self, explores our inherited understanding and experience of illness, death, grief, and sense of place.

In poems that she began to write during the final years of her parents’ lives, Lucinda Marshall’s debut poetry collection, Inheritance Of Aging Self, is an exploration of aging, illness, and death, as we witness them in the lives of our elders and loved ones, of grieving and ultimately the impact this heritage has on our sense of identity and place as we in turn age.

The title poem of the collection was included in the Maryland State Arts Council’s “Identity” exhibit in 2021 and “Winter Beach” was the first-place winner in Montgomery Magazine’s 2019 “Montgomery Writes” contest.

When Your Wife has Tommy John Surgery by E. Ethelbert Miller for Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Much-honored Washington, D.C. poet activist E. Ethelbert Miller delights and surprises us with his deft imaginings and portraits. Ethelbert’s poems play out in baseball rhythm and express the joy of living, despite the bitter challenges in today’s world. These poems define our time and allow us to see ourselves as human through the lens of baseball, family and music.

When Your Wife Has Tommy John Surgery and Other Baseball Stories is Miller’s second book of baseball poems. Here he touches new bases. There are poems about Marcel Duchamp and Ornette Coleman as well as Whitey Ford and Don Larsen. Miller’s poems move the outdoor game indoors where there are moments of disappointment and despair. Baseball can be a blues game. Tommy John surgery is a way of holding onto hope. Many of these poems were written during the Covid pandemic. They beckon fans back to the ballpark. They remind us to enjoy a game that is precious  and maybe even essential to our wellness. Coming after If God Invented Baseball, Miller seems to emerge from a literary dugout after a brief rain delay, ready to celebrate the American pastime again.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #653

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

The Storyteller by Dave Grohl, which my mom bought me the hardcover of since I couldn’t find it. I’ll take Halloween gifts any day.

So, I’ve written a book.

Having entertained the idea for years, and even offered a few questionable opportunities (“It’s a piece of cake! Just do four hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!”) I have decided to tell these stories just as I have always done, in my own voice. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child.

This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.

In Essentials by Helen Williams from Meryton Press.

Five months after Fitzwilliam Darcy’s disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, he discovers that the woman he ardently loves is suffering from a grave illness.

Despite an affliction that has left her altered, Elizabeth is still the same person in essentials: witty, sanguine, and obstinate. However, her future is uncertain, and she struggles to maintain her equanimity—especially when Mr. Darcy returns to Netherfield and seems determined to improve her opinion of him. Now she must decide whether she is brave enough to trust him and embrace happiness—however fleeting it might prove to be.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #652

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Riffs and Improvisations by Gregory Luce, which I purchased and is possible candidate for Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Music’s ineffable power has never been so lyrically rendered as in Gregory Luce’s new collection. Erik Satie, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, Charles Mingus, Richard Strauss, Nick Cave—such masters and many more appear here. Luce’s carefully crafted poems are as elegant as the songs which they so deftly capture. – Nathan Leslie, Author of Hurry Up and Relax, Sibs, and Best Small Fictions Series Editor

“That torpedo had our names / on it from the start,” Gregory Luce writes at the end of “Improvisation: Sunk,” one of many urgent and poignant poems navigating to the tune of destiny and knowing loss in Riffs & Improvisations. This wondrous collection gifts us inspired poetic “riffs” infused with musical sensibility, “cascading like / notes,” off the page “like Trane / soloing filigrees.” He paints vivid internal and external lyric landscapes: hospital waiting rooms, dance floors, and transports us to Paris 1920 with a breeze that “wafts over the piano.” Luce plunges into language with an arsenal of truths composing a score from the muses of lived experience—a luminous book propelling a voice we crave. -Ava C. Cipri, Author of Leaving the Burdened Ground and Queen of Swords

The stunning poems in Gregory Luce’s Riffs & Improvisations know ecstasy. They pulse, ache, and rejoice. These poems live in kitchens, juke joints, symphony halls, and most importantly, the human heart. Luce conducts masterfully. We feel the beat in a crowded Metro Station, we dance, mistaking our breathing for another’s. These poems take us into the marrow of music, where rhythm recognizes its relatives in our bones. These poems take us into cold purgatory and a river of bourbon. Luce gives us Coltrane, and much more, which means, his poems save us. – Joseph Ross, Author of Ache and Raising King

The Storyteller by Dave Grohl, purchased on Audible, though I still want the actual hardcover. I couldn’t find the book at the local Target, which said they would have it.

So, I’ve written a book.

Having entertained the idea for years, and even offered a few questionable opportunities (“It’s a piece of cake! Just do four hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!”) I have decided to tell these stories just as I have always done, in my own voice. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child.

This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #651

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine, which I purchased.

In an endless winter, she carries seeds of hope

Wylodine comes from a world of paranoia and poverty—her family grows marijuana illegally, and life has always been a battle. Now she’s been left behind to tend the crop alone. Then spring doesn’t return for the second year in a row, bringing unprecedented, extreme winter.

With grow lights stashed in her truck and a pouch of precious seeds, she begins a journey, determined to start over away from Appalachian Ohio. But the icy roads and strangers hidden in the hills are treacherous. After a harrowing encounter with a violent cult, Wil and her small group of exiles become a target for the cult’s volatile leader. Because she has the most valuable skill in the climate chaos: she can make things grow.

Urgent and poignant, Road Out of Winter is a glimpse of an all-too-possible near future, with a chosen family forged in the face of dystopian collapse. With the gripping suspense of The Road and the lyricism of Station Eleven, Stine’s vision is of a changing world where an unexpected hero searches for where hope might take root.

Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Drowning in the Floating World by Meg Eden immerses us into the Japanese natural disaster known as 3/11: the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Relentless as the disaster itself, Eden seizes control of our deepest emotional centers, and, through insightful perspective, holds us in consideration of loss, helplessness, upheaval, and, perhaps most stirring, what do make of, and do with, survival. This poetry collection is also a cultural education, sure to encourage further reading and research. Drowning in the Floating World is, itself, a tsunami stone—a warning beacon to remind us to learn from disaster and, in doing so, honor all that’s lost.

For Her Name’s Sake by Monica Leak for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Poetry? Seriously? Who reads poetry these days, right?

With so much happening in our world with political and racial unrest, economic downturn, high unemployment, and a full-blown pandemic, why read poetry?

We read poetry because it gives us a frame for the events happening in our world and times. Words paint pictures. Words create our world. This collection of poetry is designed to bring awareness to stories of marginalized, criminalized, and brutalized women of color that deserve more than a thirty-second sound bite on local or national news.

The blood and mistreatment of women of color cries from the ground. Their voices have often gone unheard, silenced in death by systems of police brutality and the “isms” that are the result of race, poverty, and gender. This collection of poetry is an effort to give a voice to those women who were unable to share the stories. Through my words, I share their stories to ensure that we honor their memory through a commitment to advocacy and change until freedom for all is realized.

As you read, I challenge you to identify ways in which they can live out the words of the prophet Micah who said, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NKJV)?

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #650

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

The Parisian Dancer by Doron Darmon, a Kindle freebie.

Based on a true story, this is an unforgettable novel about a brave woman and her heroic actions, which provided pure hope in a world of darkness.

Paris, 1939: Marek and Annette, who escaped from Poland following the pogroms against the Jews, lead a simple and happy life in France’s capital, together with their two young children. Their Christian neighbor, Helena, an immigrant from Italy who dances at the Folies Bergère nightclub for a living, develops a close relationship with the couple, at the center of which is a secret affair with Marek.

When the Nazis enter Paris, the family’s life, as well as Helena’s, is about to change. Marek embarks on a mission to arrange for his family’s escape but soon disappears without a trace. Annette realizes that time is not on her side, and surrenders her children to the protection of the Dubois family, owners of the neighborhood bakery.

As the Nazis strengthen their hold on the city of Paris, aided by French collaborators, the Dubois family becomes exceedingly more anxious of their situation, until finally, they turn to Helena and beg her to provide a safe home for the children. Bravely, and without hesitation, Helena fulfills her promise to protect her friends’ children at any cost.

But will the beautiful dancer be enough to save them from a terrible fate?

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman, illustrated by Loren Long, which I pre-ordered and am very excited to read.

A lyrical picture book debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long

“I can hear change humming
In its loudest, proudest song.
I don’t fear change coming,
And so I sing along.”

In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves.

With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations that build to a dazzling crescendo by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference.

Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie for review.

Sarah Macmillan always puts her family first, but as she ages, she can’t quite stretch her arms wide enough to hold on to everyone: her career-minded and inattentive younger sister, Glennie; their grandparents, who are slowly fading; or the late-in-life pregnancy Sarah desperately wanted. But it’s her tumultuous relationship with Glennie that gives Sarah the greatest worry. She’d always believed that their relationship was foundational, even unbreakable. Though blessed with a happy marriage to Al, whose compassion and humor she admires, Sarah grows increasingly bitter about Glennie’s absences, until one decision forces them all to decide what family means, and who family is. Narrated by the chorus of their three voices, this elegantly told and deeply moving novel examines the pull of tradition, the power of legacies, and the fertile but fragile ground that is family, the first geography to shape our hearts.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #649

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Crooked Smiling Light by Alan King for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Alan King’s 3rd collection is both a departure from his previous books and a continuation of his observations and experiences living in the United States as a Black man.

“To read Alan King’s Crooked Smiling Light is to get an honest take on what it means to be a grown ass Black man in a world with little love, or even use, for grown ass Black men. In this latest collection, King riffs on such varied themes as fatherhood and family, poetry and ambition, sex and sacrifice, with the same insight and style, the same blue candor, longtime readers have come to expect. Fans of Drift and Point Blank will find in this volume a wonderful addition to the King cannon. New readers will wonder why nobody has pulled their coat until now.” –John Murillo, author of Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry.

“Poetry is a context for our wounds. And what if a wound becomes courage; and what if that courage becomes language, and then language starts shining — vindicating everything, making our lives clear and beautiful in the telling. A favorite poet, Alan King, shows us how to do it —in his stunning new book.”

Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laureate

I find myself rewarded for a patient reading. The poems are never far from the themes of family, parenting, and legacy.

—Steven Leyva, Washington Independent Review of Books,

“King’s third collection is multi-faceted and multi-layered in its themes and within the questions it asks of itself, of the speaker, and of the reader. King references mythic Jedi temples, suicidal bees, and the perpetually liminal late-night diner in a collection that serves as reflection on what it means to be a Black husband, father, protector, provider, and survivor in this world.”

Auburn Avenue

Check out the intro video:

The Death of a Migrant Worker by Gil Arzola from Rattle.

Gil Arzola’s father was a migrant worker raised in Bustamante, Mexico, who crossed like so many others when he was fifteen. His mother was born and raised in Robstown, Texas, to a cobbler father and a mother who died when she was eleven. Together they found their way to Northwest Indiana and a migrant camp, working their way north in the back of trucks and old cars. One day they stopped. And stayed. The poems are drawn from Gil’s memory, not necessarily the most important days but the ordinary days where we spend most of our lives. They are about people like so many others who carve out lives without applause and hope to leave their children a better life. The Death of a Migrant Worker is a gift and monument of words to Gil’s parents. It is a way of saying “these people passed through this way, and here’s what they did.”

A Mother’s Tale & Other Stories by Khanh Ha for review in November.

A Mother’s Tale is a tale of salvaging one’s soul from received and inherited war-related trauma. Within the titular beautiful story of a mother’s love for her son is the cruelty and senselessness of the Vietnam War, the poignant human connection, and a haunting narrative whose set ting and atmosphere appear at times otherworldly through their land scape and inhabitants.

Captured in the vivid descriptions of Vietnam’s country and culture are a host of characters, tortured and maimed and generous and still empathetic despite many obstacles, including a culture wrecked by losses. Somewhere in this chaos readers will find a tender link between the present-day survivors and those already gone. Rich and yet buoyant with a vision-like quality, this collection shares a common theme of love and loneliness, longing and compassion, where beauty is discovered in the moments of brutality, and agony is felt in ecstasy.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #648

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Lord Harpenden’s Daughter by Elin Eriksen, free on Kindle.

*Thou, to whose eyes I bend…

Rumours about the imminent arrival of the beautiful daughters of the reclusive Earl of Harpenden had reached the superior society of London. It was the talk of the town; not even Mr Darcy could avoid hearing about it, with his best friend’s loquacious sister in tow.

The sisters, dressed in their mourning garb, do not quite meet the expectations of the fastidious Mr Darcy, who soon finds himself in the unenviable position of trying to rectify a poor first impression. But then a dramatic event forces them to unite against a common enemy—a master of deception—to save their sisters.

A chaste Pride and Prejudice variation of approximately 63 000 words, appropriate for adults due to graphic descriptions of nonsexual violence. A forced marriage scenario with no compromise.

*Henry and Emma, a poem by Matthew Prior (1664-1721)

The Gentlemen Are Detained by Heather Moll, a Kindle freebie.

“Will Elizabeth welcome the renewal of our acquaintance or will she draw back from me?”

This Pride and Prejudice short story imagines what could happen if Mrs. Bennet kept Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy to supper after an evening party at Longbourn. Following the gentlemen’s return to Hertfordshire after Lydia’s marriage, both Elizabeth and Darcy wonder if they have reason to hope the other loves them.

Elizabeth is eager to hint to Darcy that her feelings for him have changed, but how can they have a private conversation at a crowded party? Will Darcy learn if Elizabeth can ever love him or will he leave Meryton and return to London brokenhearted?

More Than He Seems: Reinventing P&P’s George Wickham by Renata McMann and Summer Hanford, a Kindle freebie.

Could George Wickham, Jane Austen’s most notorious villain, be a hero?

Faced with the choice of keeping his good name or serving King and Country, George Wickham puts aside love, acceptance and family in service of the Crown. Never does he dream he will prove so adept at deceit that one act of service will turn into years of falsehood. Or that the lie he perpetuates for the good of all will drive a wedge between him and everyone he values.

More Than He Seems runs parallel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with a portrayal of George Wickham as you never dreamed to see him. Join him through trials of fidelity and love, and through danger and redemption. Discover if this famous villain can truly be more than he seems.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #647

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

The Attic on Queen Street by Karen White for review.

After the devastating events of the past few months, the last thing Melanie Trenholm wants is to think about the future.  Why, when her husband, Jack, has asked for a separation—a separation that might have been her fault?  Nevertheless, with twin toddlers, a stepdaughter leaving for college soon, a real estate career to resume and a historic home that is still being restored, Melanie doesn’t have much time to wonder where it all went wrong—but that doesn’t stop her from trying to win her husband back.

Their relationship issues are pushed aside, however, when longtime nemesis, Marc Longo, comes to them with a proposition:  allow their Tradd Street house to be used as the filming location for the movie adaptation of Marc’s bestselling book, and he will help Jack re-establish his stalled writing career. Despite Melanie’s hesitation, Jack jumps at the chance.  But Melanie’s doubts soon prove to be well founded when she uncovers ulterior reasons for Marc wanting to be back in their house—reasons that include a hidden gem so brilliant that legend links it to the most infamous jewel of all, the Hope Diamond.

But Melanie has an unexpected ally in protecting the house and its inhabitants—the ghost of a Civil War era girl warns her of increasing threats to her family. But she’s not the only spirit who is haunting Melanie.  A malevolent ghost seems determined to stop Melanie from investigating the decades-old murder of a friend’s sister, and this spirit will stop at nothing to protect its secrets—even from beyond the grave.

Melanie and Jack must work together to find the answers before evil spirits of past and present destroy everything they love.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #646

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Dialogues with Rising Tides by Kelli Russell Agodon, a lovely gift wrapped poetry book from the poet.

In Kelli Russell Agodon’s fourth collection, each poem facilitates a humane and honest conversation with the forces that threaten to take us under. The anxieties and heartbreaks of life―including environmental collapse, cruel politics, and the persistent specter of suicide―are met with emotional vulnerability and darkly sparkling humor. Dialogues with Rising Tides does not answer, This or that? It passionately exclaims, And also! Even in the midst of great difficulty, radiant wonders are illuminated at every turn.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #645

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Billy Summers by Stephen King, which I purchased on Audible.

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He’s a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

This novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features on of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It’s about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.

More Anon: Selected Poems by Maureen N. McLane from the publisher for review.

More Anon gathers a selection of poems from Maureen N. McLane’s critically acclaimed first five books of poetry.

McLane, whose 2014 collection This Blue was a finalist for the National Book Award, is a poet of wit and play, of romanticism and intellect, of song and polemic. More Anon presents her work anew. The poems spark with life, and the concentrated selection showcases her energy and style.

As Parul Seghal wrote in Bookforum, “To read McLane is to be reminded that the brain may be an organ, but the mind is a muscle. Hers is a roving, amphibious intelligence; she’s at home in the essay and the fragment, the polemic and the elegy.” In More Anon, McLane―a poet, scholar, and prizewinning critic―displays the full range of her vertiginous mind and daring experimentation.

Blue Window by Indran Amirthanayagam for review.

Blue Window/Ventana Azul captures modern love in all of its contradictory emotions, expressed online, face to face, and in memory. The poems speak to all of our love entanglements and any reader can identify with the love and loss poured into these pages. Acclaimed Chilean poet laureate Raul Zurita stated that: “Indran Amirthanayagam as an immigrant of the language, has not only rendered that language a magisterial book, Blue Window, but also a poem, “Illusion”, that is amongst the most moving love poems in the history of Spanish.” In these times of the pandemic, where all over the world we have developed a new relationship to the window, among windows, on a Zoom screen with Cyrano moved from the street outside to every windowsill, wherever the internet has travelled, on fiber optic cables set deep into the oceans, on internet balloons flying over large swatches of jungle and brush, bringing people the world over to hear poems of love and loss and love renewed, we give you Blue Window/Ventana Azul.

The Murderous Sky by Rosemary Daniell for review.

Poetry. Women’s Studies. In THE MURDEROUS SKY Rosemary Daniell confronts with searing honesty and stunning poetry the pain of her daughter’s addiction and her son’s schizophrenia. Since giving us A Sexual Tour of the Deep South in 1975, Rosemary Daniell has published numerous other volumes of poetry, fiction and memoir, as well as shepherding the famous Zona Rosa writing workshops. She returns to poetry with what is perhaps her most personal and haunting book; winner of the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Poetry Award, THE MURDUROUS SKY: POEMS OF MADNESS & MERCY is a work that will resonate for decades to come. As Gordon Walmsley says, “It took courage to write these poems, and it takes courage to read them.”

The Book of Labrinths and Mazes by Silke Vry and Finn Dean for review from Media Masters Publicity.

This brilliant book on mazes and labyrinths in history and the modern world encourages young readers to really think about why these puzzles are so appealing. Filled with photographs, drawings, artwork, illustrations, and puzzles, it takes a thematic approach to these enigmatic works. Why are we sometimes afraid to get lost—and why does the idea excite us? How do mazes and labyrinths figure in history and mythology? What can nature tell us about humankind’s obsession with lines, spirals, and patterns? Along the way children will learn about the labyrinth designed by Daedalus for King Minos in the ancient city of Crete; the mystery of the Hemet Maze Stone in southern California; and the magnificent labyrinth at the Cathedral of Chartres. They are encouraged to trace their fingers along a labyrinth to experience its soothing effect, to solve maze-related number puzzles, and to create their own mazes and labyrinths. Packed with fun facts and engaging ideas, this book will help children understand why mazes and labyrinths are so popular, while inspiring them to identify and create these fascinating puzzles in their own world.

The Weather Pop-up Book by Maike Biederstaedt for review from Media Masters Publicity.

In her hugely successful books Creatures of the Deep and What’s in the Egg, as well as her enormously popular series of greeting cards for the Museum of Modern Art, Maike Biederstaedt has established herself as one of the preeminent paper artists working today. Now Biederstaedt takes book engineering to new heights as she immerses readers in five electrifying weather scenarios. As each spread unfolds, a meticulously designed landscape emerges–a freighter balances like a nutshell between high waves in the sea; a tornado takes terrifying aim at a truck trying to outrun it; a rain-spewing storm cloud towers like a skyscraper over a farm house. Nature’s delicate beauty emerges in the intricate shapes of a snowflake and in the luminous arc of a rainbow. Each page features an informative description of its weather event and the book closes with sobering commentary on the effects of climate change. A wondrous introduction to weather for budding climatologists, this is also an artistic tour de force that collectors will treasure.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #644

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart by Courtney LeBlanc from the poet/publisher for the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

This collection takes the reader on a journey through the injustices women face – in their careers, their daily lives, in the way they walk to their cars late at night; to smashing the patriarchy and claiming their rights over their bodies and their ideas; to a love better left remembered; to eventually finding a balance with a love that stands up and fights beside the poet.

Courtney LeBlanc’s Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart understands that the body “is a war / zone,” especially, the female body, which LeBlanc explores through the lens of fairy tales, the story of Eve, her own journey through girlhood, womanhood, destruction, rebirth, and self-discovery. Each word in each poem is as necessary and life-giving as a heartbeat.  — Shaindel Beers, author of Secure Your Own Mask, Finalist for the Oregon Book Award

In her latest collection, Courtney LeBlanc bravely and fiercely examines the burdens women carry, the societal pressures, the cultural expectations: “the heavy world / digging into our shoulders and slumping our backs.” In many of her poems, she takes back agency – that others tried to take away – and never lets us forget the pluck that endures: “ready to bite” and “guns ablaze” and “I’m read / to burn” and “This body / is a weapon.” This collection is one that never flinches from hard truths, always insist on strength by revealing vulnerability, and even in its exploration of our human darkness, offers flames of hope.  — Shuly Xóchitl Cawood, author of Trouble Can Be So Beautiful at the Beginning

Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart traces the path from snake to survival to highlight the complex and often conflicted experiences of womanhood. LeBlanc’s voice, both skillfully intimate and starkly blunt, speaks in blood, beauty and burden to show the many hungers and rips in the framework of femininity. With a close examination of the body, from vibrators to “belly gowls,” this collection asks us to consider the dichotomy of punishment and pleasure. “I did not have a map to the body” LeBlanc writes and allows this collection to be its own cartography, a new country of strength where every woman can [grow] the fruit. [Be] the vine and the rain and the light. [Be] the dirt.” This book is an anthem of urging and unlearning, reminding women to “be the key to her own opening, her becoming.” — Kelly Grace Thomas, author of Boat Burned

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #643

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Billy Summers by Stephen King, which I purchased on Audible.

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He’s a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

This spectacular can’t-put-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It’s about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.

You won’t put this story down, and you won’t forget Billy.

What did you receive?