Sunday Salon – February 3, 2008

February 3, 2008

7:45 AMWelcome to another Sunday Salon at my house. The snow is four feet deep outside the windows, the fire is toasty, the coffee is brewed and filling the house with the comforting smell of roasted beans. Why not grab the rocking chair (if you can push the cats off it) and read with me?

I finished reading David Mitchell’s debut Ghostwritten (read my review) this week. What a ride. Here is an author that knows how to tell a story. He’s been criticized for telling “crowded” stories … too much going on, too many disparate characters. But although there is a lot going on and there are a lot of characters, Mitchell knows about pacing and symbolism and connection; he knows about humanity. Reading a Mitchell story is full immersion. I highly recommend it.

My current read is an early review from Harper Collins – another debut novel; this one by Sadie Jones, a Londoner. The Outcast is a deliberately written, slowly paced novel about a young boy growing up in a small English town after losing his mother in a tragic accident. It is written in an omniscient voice – a point of view which I typically don’t enjoy, but works here. The story is about family and identity and secrets and redemption…it is a bit depressing, but quite readable. I’m nearly finished with it – about 50 pages to go – and I’m eager to see how Jones will wrap things up.

I hope to finish The Outcast this morning and start my next book (Theft of the Master, by Edwin Alexander) this afternoon.

More later…

1:45 PM

Earlier today I turned the last page of The Outcast and it left me feeling just a tad bit empty inside. This is not a feel good novel, but it is well written. To read more of my thoughts, check out my review.

I feel in the mood for something completely different now – and I think I’ve found it with my next book: Theft of the Master, by Edwin Alexander. This book was published in 2007 in the UK and first published in the US in 2008. Its opening prologue is set in the year 1493 and deals with the commission of a wooden carving of Christ, seated and preaching.

And so this masterpiece, itself commemorating an ancient slaughter, five centuries later will become the trigger for bloodshed and betrayal… -From Theft of the Master, page 4-

Alexander apparently based his thriller on the real life events surrounding Hitler’s orders to steal valuable German cultural artifacts…which is what first piqued my interest in reading the book. Visit Alexander’s official website
related to the novel to read more about the author and his research in writing the book.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress and thoughts later…

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    • Anonymous on February 3, 2008 at 12:08

    Four feet! I got paranoid about a couple of inches on Friday. You make me feel ashamed. But I would love to join you for the day. Wouldn’t we have a wonderful time swapping bookish tales? Have you read Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’? I would love to hear your views about that. I haven’t read his latest, but I picked up a good as new hardback copy in a second-hand shop the other day and can’t wait to start it.

    • Anonymous on February 3, 2008 at 12:54

    Four feet of snow?!?!
    It’s 78 degrees in Florida today. We have the windows and doors open, and my lazy cats are sunning themselves by the pool.
    That may sound like heaven right now, but I do wish it was a tad bit cooler. This is March/April weather, and warm winters mean HOT, HOT, HOT summers.
    =) Jill

    • Anonymous on February 3, 2008 at 13:45

    Yes Anne and Jill – FOUR feet! It is nuts 🙂 But I live in the Northern California mountains, so this is what happens. Jill, I envy your sunny weather right about now!
    Anne: I read Cloud Atlas last year…here is my review of that one. I love, love, love Mitchell. Are you talking about Black Swan Green as his latest? I read that one too – wonderful writing, but very different from Cloud Atlas. I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    • Anonymous on February 3, 2008 at 20:40

    Your Sunday Salon helped inspire my own today. Nothing really related to your post, mind you, but I was about to make a comment and decided it would be better said on my blog. 🙂 Ideas come from many places, don’t they? Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Anonymous on February 4, 2008 at 00:04

    David Mitchell is great, isn’t he? I’ve only read Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas but have a couple others here to read. I’d also like to go back and read Ghostwritten again sometime as I read it several years ago now. Too many books vying for attention.

    • Anonymous on February 4, 2008 at 04:12

    Yes, “Black Swan Green’. Somehow I missed it when it first came out.

    • Anonymous on February 4, 2008 at 18:41

    WendyCat: Glad I helped inspire you today 🙂
    Tanabata: I know what you mean about the too many books! *laughs*

    • Anonymous on February 5, 2008 at 10:01

    I’ve given you the “you make my day award” 🙂

    • Anonymous on February 5, 2008 at 18:07

    I can’t figure out how to respond to you on my blog….so I’ll respond to you here. 🙂 Yes, we deifinitely have a reading connection. A Prayer For Owen Meany is my favorite as well. I love that book so much my heart feels like it’s going to burst. Crazy, huh?

    • Anonymous on February 6, 2008 at 15:09

    I like David Mitchell, too. I had never heard that he told “crowded” stories before–I think that fits, but it doesn’t bother me! Thanks for the Sunday Salon 🙂

    • Anonymous on February 6, 2008 at 17:58

    I have been keeping up with various Sunday Salons and think they are such a fun idea–even if it makes me feel really unproductive. Let me turn that phrase around…I admire how productive all of you Sunday Saloners are. 🙂

    • Anonymous on February 8, 2008 at 15:48

    Awwww, Alisia – THANK YOU! *smiles*

    • Anonymous on February 8, 2008 at 15:51

    Jenna – I know EXACTLY what you mean about A Prayer for Owen Meany! If you want to post a comment to your own blog, simply go to the post as it appears to your readers (not through Blogger Admin) and click on post a comment 🙂
    Gentle Reader: You are welcome!
    Trish: It is loads of fun to do these Sunday Salon posts 🙂 Glad you’re enjoying them!

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