Monday, August 20, 2007
Today I am off to Hawaii, Maui to be specific, with my boyfriend and family. (Wish us luck.) I plan on swimming, laying out in the sun and packing along some of the exciting new books I have been sent from publishers in the last couple of weeks.
The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall, PB (June,2007) $15.00
This book was inspired by the experiences of Furnivall's mother who was a white Russian in China during the 1920s. Things get crazy in the life of the main character, Lydia Ivanova, when she falls in love with a Communist freedom fighter. This time period is marked by the rise of China's Communist regime, a period when no one was safe especially foreigners subsiding off of petty thievery to stay afloat, which Lydia is forced to do in order to support her mother Valentina.
I traveled to China a few years ago and was able to really immerse myself in the history of the nation. Since then I have been enamored by the writings of great Chinese historical authors like Anchee Min and Pearl Buck. So when it was time to pack (and yes I waited till the last possible minute) this book was most certainly included.
If I am Missing OR Dead by Janine Latus CL (April, 2007) $25.00
The subtitle of this book is "A Sister's Story of Love, Murder and Liberation" and it begins with the disappearance of the author's 37-year-old sister Amy. It turns out that Amy, who is a graduate student and a corporate employee has been living a "tough guy" that no body in her family had met. After a little prodding Amy finally divulges the fact that this guy is an ex-con. So when Amy goes missing, Janine has a pretty good idea that this no good boyfriend is involved. What follows is an investigation into Amy's disappearance and a reexamination of both girl's childhood and subsequent poor self images.
One need look no further than the blurb inside the cover to see that this memoir certainly packs a punch. I wanted to know the story the moment I discovered the book. Janine Latus, the author and sister, has spoken out nationally against domestic violence and with this book she has an important story to tell.
The Bestiary by Nicholas Christopher, CL (June, 2007) $25.00
Nicholas Christopher is a book lover. He spent five years traveling around the world, searching through universities, visiting libraries, talking with rare book collectors in order to write his fifth novel, The Bestiary. This is the story of a young man's search for a book that has been missing for 800 years. This missing book contains drawings of animals real and imaginary.
I have already cracked this book open and my first opinion is that Christopher is really a beautiful writer. The first five or so chapters are two to three pages in length, detailing the strange nature of the main character, Xeno Atlas, and his quiet, often divided, family. I haven't read any of Christopher's previous books but if The Bestiary is any indication of his style, I will be picking up the others any day now.
All three of these books are different. A tale of the rise of Chinese Communism through the eyes of two Russian immigrants, a memoir of heart-aching loss and personal discovery, and the story of a young man who sets out to find what could be one of the most important books in human history.
The most exciting thing?
I have scheduled interviews will all three authors. Not only am I ready to spend my beach days reading and relaxing, I will be thinking of questions and observations from these three authors.
So I am off to the islands with all three books packed away. Will I read them all? Probably not. But it's every book addicts dream to spend an entire vacation on the beach reading and I am gonna do my best to see how far I can make it.
August has been a good month for finding new and exciting books and authors. In addition to the three listed above I will be sitting down to talk with the following authors:
Karen Abbot author of Sin in the Second City. What do you get when you study a lot of whores, a couple of pimps, three senators, and a priest or two? This non fictional account of Chicago during some pretty naughty times.
Camille Deangelis author of Mary Modern. Okay so here's the deal: Girl finds grandmother's DNA, girl brings grandmother back to life. Grandmother want's grandfather and so they bring him back to life too. Sound like a pretty sticky situation? Sure is.
Peter Behrens author of The Law of Dreams. The paperback version of this highly acclaimed novel finally hits the stands on August 28th. A helpless young fellow from the ruined potato fields of Ireland is followed on his way to a New England horse ranch.
John Robison author of Look Me in the Eye and brother of Augusten Burroughs. Readers of Burroughs know that he has an older brother who as Asperger's Disorde. This is the elder brother Robison's account of growing up.
David Blixt author of The Master of Verona. A mix of Italian history and Shakespeare's Italian characters go head to head in this exciting debut novel by Blixt, a professional Shakespearian actor who credits his trade for helping him to write great dialouge.
Christina Baker Kline author of The Way Life Should Be. Angela Russo realizes one day that she's been gliding along in her career with little or no challenge involved. She's tired of failed blind dates and decides to place a personal ad. We've all known someone in this position, yeah? Angela meets a guy who's living in Mount Desert Island, Main -- a far cry from Angela's location in New York City. Suddenly the job goes kaput and without anything holding her down Angela heads for Maine. Crazy? Maybe. But it looks like Angela Russo won't be in danger of becoming the next crazy cat lady.
And about a dozen more! Stay tuned for more great interviews and book news.