Quantcast

Mailbox Monday #481

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

It now has it’s 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.

Leslie, 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.

Here’s what I received this week:

What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine, who I heard speak about the book at Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.

But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.

Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel by Gareth Hind, who was at the same book festival.

It is true that I am nervous. But why will you say that I am mad?

In “The Cask of Amontillado,” a man exacts revenge on a disloyal friend at carnival, luring him into catacombs below the city. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” a prince shielding himself from plague hosts a doomed party inside his abbey stronghold. A prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, faced with a swinging blade and swarming rats, can’t see his tormentors in “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a milky eye and a deafening heartbeat reveal the effects of conscience and creeping madness. Alongside these tales are visual interpretations of three poems — “The Raven,” “The Bells,” and Poe’s poignant elegy to lost love, “Annabel Lee.” The seven concise graphic narratives, keyed to thematic icons, amplify and honor the timeless legacy of a master of gothic horror.

Punishment by Nancy Miller Gomez, which I received from Rattle magazine.

Nancy Miller Gomez entered Salinas Valley State Prison with a backpack of poems and a fear of being caught in a lockdown. What she discovered was compassion and human connection. The poems and essays in this collection, Gomez’s first, were inspired by her experience teaching writing workshops in jails and prisons. Punishment explores the stories of people serving time in the criminal justice system. It demonstrates the ways creative expression can mend emotional wounds, bridge differences, and reconnect us to our humanity. Punishment is a moving tribute to the redemptive power of poetry.

Freedom City by Philip Becnel, which my dad who never reads bought at the book festival.

After President Trump unceremoniously dies from natural causes, four misfits from Washington, D.C. who call themselves the Fearless Vampire Killers sever the heads of Confederate statues and wage a comedic guerrilla war on post-Trump America. When President Pence enlists droves of fascist volunteers to crush the “alt-left” uprising, the rebels must risk their lives to run the fascists out of D.C.

What follows is not only a battle for survival—but a desperate search for remnants of what once made America great.

Chrysalis: Collected Poems of Joe LoBell by Joe Lobell, which was free on lulu.com.

A collection of thirty-nine poems spanning 1986 through 2016. PRAISE FOR THE POETRY AND PERFORMANCE OF JOE LOBELL: “Lobell is a true original and turns a mean phrase…. His work casts a spell like Lou Reed’s early work or the early readings of Jim Carroll or Patti Smith.” — THE HERALD “With a hipster’s cool detachment Joe Lobell prowls through the mean streets underbelly of New York City speaking words as vivid as a flashing neon light.” —DOWNTOWN EXPRESS “This stuff is excellent.” —ERIC BOGOSIAN “Lobell’s readings contain some of the elements present in the celebrated Beat Generation jazz renderings…. His recitations lock into the rhythms of free-flow rock music and fasten on gritty situations from storytellers loom.” —DAILY FREEMAN

What did you receive?

Gaithersburg Book Festival 2018

Like every year, I plan out my time at the Gaithersburg Book Festival. I try to get in a good mix of poets, fiction writers, and children’s authors, as well as some time blocked out for eating and the children’s village of activities.

Unlike previous years, I was not moderating or volunteering, which was disappointing to me but with how hectic my daughter’s schedule has been I just had to cut something out this year. That will change for 2019.

Even as I made plans, life has a way of running us off track, which is exactly what happened this year. I missed all of the poetry and children’s authors I planned to introduce my daughter to. As my daughter was the one in rare form on Saturday, making everything difficult, including getting dressed and eating breakfast. Kids are a struggle.

It was a battle for the ages, and I set the plans aside and just let her be for more than half the day. I was in no mood for battles; I wanted fun and books.

Thankfully, as the rain burned off and the sun emerged, my daughter was in a better mood, and I didn’t have to miss Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger. Her Thrills and Chills panel with Julia Fine, author of What Should Be Wild, was all it was billed to be with a how-to on cutting up bodies, talk of Stephen King endorsements, female desire and myth rewriting and, of course, cannibalism.

Both books incorporate elements of horror and the supernatural, and both deal with some dark issues. I was thrilled to see a debut author paired with an author of four books because it often helps an audience see different perspectives on the writing and publishing processes. Fine says her book defies traditional genre descriptions, which Katsu saw as familiar given her Taker series was also a mesh of various genres. I’m looking forward to finishing The Hunger and reading What Should Be Wild.

Here’s a bit of a sidenote, my daughter was with me when I first met Alma Katsu, here’s a side by side look at the difference seven years makes:

 

 

 

 

Books and Stories by Alma Katsu:

I’d love to hear about what books and authors you discovered at the festival or a festival near you! Please share in the comments.