Monday, January 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday (January 17)

Mailbox Monday buttonMailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books they received during the previous week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists! Mailbox Monday, which was started by Marcia at The Printed Page, is on blog tour—this month, it’s hosted by Rose City Reader.

I received three books in the mail this week, one for review and two that were gifts from my dad. The one for review is Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide by Linda Gray Sexton, which was sent to me by the author for a TLC Book Tour in February. The two gifts are Unfinished Desires and The Making of a Writer: Journals, 1961-1963, both by Gail Godwin. I’m very much looking forward to reading all three of these!

From the front flap of Half in Love:

After the agony of witnessing her mother’s multiple—and ultimately successful— suicide attempts, Linda Gray Sexton, daughter of the acclaimed poet Anne Sexton, struggles with an engulfing undertow of depression. Here, with powerful, unsparing prose, Sexton conveys her urgent need to escape the legacy of suicide that consumed her family—a topic rarely explored, even today, in such poignant depth.

Linda Gray Sexton tries multiple times to kill herself
—even though as a daughter, sister, wife, and most importantly, a mother, she knows the pain her act would cause. But unlike her mother's story, Lindas is ultimately one of triumph. Through the help of family, therapy, and medicine, she confronts deep-seated issues and curbs the haunting cycle of suicide she once seemed destined to inherit.

From the back cover of Unfinished Desires:

It is the fall of 1951 at Mount St. Gabriel’s, an all-girls school tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina. Tildy Stratton, the undisputed queen bee of her class, befriends Chloe Starnes, a new student recently orphaned by the untimely and mysterious death of her mother. Their friendship fills a void for both girls but also set in motion a chain of events that will profoundly affect the course of many lives, including those of the girls’ young teacher and of the school’s matriarch, Mother Suzanne Ravenel.

Fifty years on, the headmistress relives one pivotal night, trying to reconcile past and present, reaching back even further to her own senior year at the school, where the roots of a tragedy are buried.

From the back cover of The Making of a Writer:

Gail Godwin was twenty-four years old when she wrote: “I want to be everybody who is great; I want to create everything that has ever been created.” It is a declaration that only a wildly ambitious young writer would make in the privacy of her journal. Now, in The Making of a Writer, Godwin has distilled her early journals, which run from 1961 to 1963, to their brilliant and charming essence. She conveys the feverish period following the breakup of her first marriage; the fateful decision to move to Europe and the shock of her first encounters with Danish customs (and Danish men); the pleasures of soaking in the human drama on long rambles through the London streets and the torment of lonely Sundays spend wrestling these impression into prose; and the determination to create despite rejection and a growing stack of debts. “I do not feel like a failure,” Godwin insists. “I will keep writing, harder than ever.”

Brimming with urgency and with, Godwin
’s inspiring tome opens a shining window into the life and craft of a great writer just coming into her own.

What did you find in your mailbox this past week? For other Mailbox Monday posts, head over to Rose City Reader.


  1. Don't you just love getting books as gifts? It looks like your dad has good taste. Happy Reading.

  2. They all look good to me. I hope you enjoy them!

  3. I hadn't heard of any of those, but they sound interesting. Books as gifts are always a good thing!

  4. Unfinished Desires sounds really good and I also like the cover. Enjoy all your books!

  5. Wow; what wonderful books you have this week! I think that every single one of them will make for an all-absorbing read! Enjoy!

  6. Great mailbox this week, Avis. I've also received Half in Love for the TLC tour.

  7. I have long wanted to read a Gail Goodwin book - these both look great.

  8. Half in Love sounds very powerful and intense. Coming after Lonely that's a lot of heavy but interesting reding.

    I'm very interested in Unfinished Desires, which I very much want to read and Making of a Writer, the first I'm hearing of it, because Gail Godwin was one of my mom's favorite authors and I've liked many of her books.

    How nice of your dad to send you these books by Gail Godwin!
    Happy reading!
    ~ Amy

  9. Fee Fie Fo me likes what I see.

    Enjoy these and let me know how I can get your Dad to talk to my Dad about getting books too ;)

    Bonne lectures :)

  10. A nice mailbox for you. Enjoy.

  11. All three look like they will be good! Enjoy!

  12. That Half in Love book sounds very good. Sad, but good.

    Thanks for participating in Mailbox Monday!

    Rose City Reader

  13. I am doing the Half in Love tour also. I look forward to reading what you think of it.