Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. Mailbox Monday has a permanent home where you can link to your MM post.
I acquired four physical books and five eBooks last week:
Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…
Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.
Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.
Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.
And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.
Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?
Author(s): Nisi Shawl
Publisher: Tor Books
Date: September 6, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Alternate History, Steampunk
An alternate history / historical fantasy / steampunk novel set in the Belgian Congo, from noted short story writer Nisi Shawl.
Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium's disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britian join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo's "owner," King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.
Shawl's speculative masterpiece manages to turn one of the worst human rights disasters on record into a marvelous and exciting exploration of the possibilities inherent in a turn of history. Everfair is told from a multiplicity of voices: Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and African Americans in complex relationships with one another, in a compelling range of voices that have historically been silenced. Everfair is not only a beautiful book but an educational and inspiring one that will give the reader new insight into an often ignored period of history.
Author(s): Rion Amilcar Scott
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Date: July 1, 2016
Genres: Short Stories
A suicidal father looks to an older neighbor -- and the Cookie Monster -- for salvation and sanctuary as his life begins to unravel. A man seeking to save his estranged, drug-addicted brother from the city's underbelly confronts his own mortality. A chess match between a girl and her father turns into a master class about life, self-realization, and pride: "Now hold on little girl.... Chess is like real life. The white pieces go first so they got an advantage over the black pieces."
These are just a few glimpses into the world of the residents of the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, a largely black settlement founded in 1807 after the only successful slave revolt in the United States. Raw, edgy, and unrelenting yet infused with forgiveness, redemption, and humor, the stories in this collection explore characters suffering the quiet tragedies of everyday life and fighting for survival.
In Insurrections, Rion Amilcar Scott's lyrical prose authentically portrays individuals growing up and growing old in an African American community. Writing with a delivery and dialect that are intense and unapologetically current, Scott presents characters who dare to make their own choices -- choices of kindness or cruelty -- in the depths of darkness and hopelessness. Although Cross River's residents may be halted or deterred in their search for fulfillment, their spirits remain resilient -- always evolving and constantly moving.
Title: Invisible Planets: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese SF in Translation
Author(s): Ken Liu
Publisher: Tor Books
Date: November 1, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction
Award-winning translator and author Ken Liu presents a collection of short speculative fiction from China. Some stories have won awards; some have been included in various 'Year's Best' anthologies; some have been well reviewed by critics and readers; and some are simply Ken's personal favorites. Many of the authors collected here (with the obvious exception of Liu Cixin) belong to the younger generation of 'rising stars'.
In addition, three essays at the end of the book explore Chinese science fiction. Liu Cixin's essay, The Worst of All Possible Universes and The Best of All Possible Earths, gives a historical overview of SF in China and situates his own rise to prominence as the premier Chinese author within that context. Chen Qiufan's The Torn Generation gives the view of a younger generation of authors trying to come to terms with the tumultuous transformations around them. Finally, Xia Jia, who holds the first Ph.D. issued for the study of Chinese SF, asks What Makes Chinese Science Fiction Chinese?.
Title: Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture: Invisible Powers
Author(s): Claudine Michel, Patrick Bellegarde-Smith
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Date: November 28th 2006
This book introduces readers to the practice of Vodou and helps deconstruct and destroy stereotypes which have survived for hundreds of years. The authors in the collection--from Karen McCarthy Brown to Gerdes Fleurant to Leslie Desmangles--are leading scholars in the rapidly growing field of Vodou Studies. Tackling a wide range of Vodou practices and images, the essays within work to introduce readers to the history and practice of this religion, and to correct the fiction of Vodou which has been circulating as fact. The book focuses specifically on the role Vodou plays in Haiti, the country in which it has its strongest following, examining the influence it has on spiritual beliefs, cultural practices, national identity, popular culture, writing and art. By looking in detail at the beliefs and practices in one country, the reader will begin to understand this unique religion and the multiple domains in which it operates.
Title: This Year You Write Your Novel
Author(s): Walter Mosley
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Date: April 1, 2007
No more excuses. "Let the lawn get shaggy and the paint peel from the walls," bestselling novelist Walter Mosley advises. Anyone can write a novel now, and in this essential book of tips, practical advice, and wisdom, Walter Mosley promises that the writer-in-waiting can finish it in one year. Intended as both inspiration and instruction, the book provides the tools to turn out a first draft painlessly and then revise it into something finer. Mosley tells how to:
- Create a daily writing regimen to fit any writer's needs--and how to stick to it.
- Determine the narrative voice that's right for every writer's style.
- Get past those first challenging sentences and into the heart of a story.
Title: Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology
Author(s): Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, Piper Huguley
Publisher: Maroon Ash Publishing
Date: January 1, 1970
The fight for suffrage was long, hard, and carried out on many fronts. In Daughters of A Nation, Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley bring you four novellas full of spirit, hope, and, most importantly: LOVE.
IN THE MORNING SUNby Lena HartWith the election of 1868 underway, Madeline Asher’s mission is clear: educate and enlist the freedmen of Nebraska to vote. After losing the man she loved to war—and a small piece of herself along the way—Madeline leaves her life in Philadelphia behind, determined to reclaim her life’s purpose by making a difference in others.With America’s Southern Rebellion at an end, so are the efforts of Union veteran James Blakemore. Tired of the injustices still plaguing the young country, he sets his sights toward his Canadian roots—until fate guides him back to the love he thought he’d lost.Vowing never to leave her side again, James joins Madeline in her cause to help the freedmen of Dunesville, despite rising threats and violence. But with the enforcement of Nebraska’s anti-miscegenation laws, Madeline is forced to choose between a life with her new husband or the chance to shape a greater nation.
THE WASHERWOMAN'S WARby Piper HuguleyAtlanta, GA – Summer 1881. When Maime Harper arrives to substitute teach for the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, she bears witness to the injustice told by some of the older students who are washerwomen. Maime’s upbringing as the daughter of the most famous Black suffragette in America means that she cannot be silent and resolves to help her students find their voice and openly protest their mistreatment. When the Black Washerwomen go on strike, summer pastor Gabriel Harmon is brought in to mediate a solution but realizes the feisty leader of the opposition is the young teacher from Milford who previously rejected his attempts to pay court to her. When these two forces collide over explosive events during a hot Atlanta summer, only one will be able to win the battle. However, as they clash, Maime and Gabriel learn that there is another war, the war for the heart, that’s well worth the fight.
A RADIANT SOULby Kianna AlexanderIn 1881, Sarah Webster is returning home to Fayetteville, NC to celebrate her mother's milestone birthday. Having spent the last two years working as a pastry chef in a Cheyenne hotel, she's a very different person than she was when she left. Her efforts towards women's suffrage, unknown to her family back home, are near and dear to her heart. Carpenter Owen Markham, charged with building the gazebo that will serve as Mrs. Webster's birthday gift, is intrigued by the middle daughter of the Webster household, whom he's never met before. Her father has decreed that he and Sarah are suited, but when he hears her unconventional stance on women's role in society, he's not so sure a love match can be made.
LET US DREAMby Alyssa ColeHarlem – 1917. After spending half her life pretending to be something she's not, performance is second nature for cabaret owner Bertha Hines. With the election drawing near and women's voting rights on the ballot, Bertha decides to use her persuasive skills to push the men of New York City in the right direction. Chef Amir Chowdhury jumped ship in New York to get a taste of the American Dream, only to discover he’s an unwanted ingredient. When ornery Amir reluctantly takes a job at The Cashmere, he thinks he's hit the bottom of the barrel; however, working at the club reignites his dream of being a force for change. His boss, Bertha, ignites something else in him. Bertha and Amir clash from the start, but her knowledge of politics and his knowledge of dance force them into a detente that blooms into desire. But Bertha has the vice squad on her tail, and news from home may end Amir’s dream before it comes to fruition. With their pasts and futures stacked against them, can Amir and Bertha hold on to their growing love?
Title: Labyrinth Lost
Author(s): Zoraida Córdova
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Date: September 6, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
"Enchanting and complex. Every page is filled with magic." —Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation...and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can't trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.
The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland...
Title: Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition
Author(s): Cedric J. Robinson, Robin D.G. Kelley
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Date: January 4, 2000
Genres: African-American Studies, Philosophy
In this ambitious work, first published in 1983, Cedric Robinson demonstrates that efforts to understand black people's history of resistance solely through the prism of Marxist theory are incomplete and inaccurate. Marxist analyses tend to presuppose European models of history and experience that downplay the significance of black people and black communities as agents of change and resistance. Black radicalism must be linked to the traditions of Africa and the unique experiences of blacks on western continents, Robinson argues, and any analyses of African American history need to acknowledge this.
To illustrate his argument, Robinson traces the emergence of Marxist ideology in Europe, the resistance by blacks in historically oppressive environments, and the influence of both of these traditions on such important twentieth-century black radical thinkers as W. E. B. Du Bois, C. L. R. James, and Richard Wright.