Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page; you can look over at her site to find links to other readers’ mailboxes.
I’ve had four books come into my hands this week, and none of those were via the mailbox
Three of these were all added to my library on Wednesday of last week, which was a busy and fun bookish day for me.
I met with Stona Fitch, founder of the Concord Free Press, the publisher that is inspiring charitable donations by giving away their books. I wrote a bit about the Concord Free Press when I attended the launch event for their latest release, Gregory Maguire’s The Next Queen of Heaven. I understood what they are doing, but wanted to know more about how they came to be … and where they hope to go. I’ll share Stona’s thoughts in an upcoming post; in the meantime, he shared the Concord Free Press’ debut novel with me, his Give + Take. His generosity means I’ll have another give away after I’ve read and reviewed it.
I took full advantage of the fact that I had a babysitter for the afternoon and evening! From my meeting with Stona I took the T into Harvard Square and spent about an hour shopping before meeting up with Marie, aka the Boston Bibliophile.
Marie is exactly how I imagined the person behind the Boston Bibliophile to be (and if you’re not yet reading her blog, hop on over – great literary fiction reviews, graphic novels, and Jewish-interest fiction; honest commentary). We had a nice dinner of Vietnamese noodle soup. I had never eaten this type of food before, and was a little unsure of the “rare beef” described in the menu. Marie told me not to worry, by the time it sits in the hot broth for a while it’s fully cooked – she was right! The soup was tasty, warm, and filling; the perfect recipe for a cold and rainy evening.
From Le’s we walked around a bit, then went to the Harvard Bookstore for their December Winedown. Each month the store has a relaxing event where the buyers and booksellers share their favorite books with patrons. November featured cookbooks, and one of the booksellers made eclairs; I can’t speak for Marie, but you can bet I won’t be missing the next cooking demo!
The December Winedown invited us to the store as “Harvard Book Store General Manager Carole Horne, Head Buyer Megan Sullivan, Backlist Buyer Churchill Pitts, and Children’s Buyer Kari Patch highlight the best and most beautiful books of the year.” Also on tap was an assortment of cookies and wine – a tasty after dinner treat. Everyone who pre-registered received a gift bag with a list of the books that were highlighted by the store’s buyers, a Harvard Books magnet, and a book! That’s right, the store shared their books – I got an Advanced Reading Copy of Chang-Rae Lee’s The Surrendered! Coming in March from Riverhead Books, it’s a story of love and war, spanning thirty years.
Each buyer spoke for about ten minutes about the books they wanted to draw our attention to (and when I say “our” attention, I mean the 100+ people who attended the event). They had conveniently stocked a table with the books they were highlighting, and were available for Q&A and further discussion after the event. I purchased Carmen Agra Deedy’s children’s picture book 14 Cows for America (available now from Peachtree Publishers). This is the story of people in a Kenyan village, who, heartsick over the 9/11 attacks in America, offer “sacred, healing cows [which] can never be slaughtered.” I’ve read fantastic reviews of this across the blogosphere, and will now add my praise of this heartwarming story.
Lastly, I purchased a cookbook to support Gaining Ground, a local organization that farms on the Thoreau Birthplace in Concord and donates all produce to food pantries and hunger relief programs. The cookbook is beautiful, and is organized according to New England’s seasonal produce calendar. I love these community cookbooks, they always seem to have the best tried-and-true recipes. The Gaining Ground cookbook, of gift-giving quality, is available to order.
What’s new on your bookcase this week?