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Sunday Salon – July 13, 2008

July 13, 2008

9:30AM

Good morning! The heat in Northern California is finally dropping and we are in a “cooling” trend, which means that instead of temperatures nearing 120 degrees, they will be closer to 100 degrees. I hope for the sake of the firefighters that the weather predictions are correct. But, I won’t bore you with the weather. We’re here to talk books, right?

I have had a delightful week of reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (read my review). I’m almost embarrassed to say that this was my first Kingsolver novel. And not only that, but I’ve had the book waiting to be read for more than four years.  Why I never picked it up before, I can’t say. But once I did, I was hooked immediately. This one will make my top ten for 2008, without a doubt. Have you read Kingsolver before? What other novels by her can you recommend?

My current read is The White Mary, by Kira Salak – set in Papua New Guinea, it tells the story of Marika Vecera who is a journalist searching for a man thought to be dead, but recently seen in the jungle. So far I’m liking this book which is due to be released next month by Henry Holt and Company. Salak is herself a journalist who has traveled all over the world and written several non-fiction books (although this is her first novel). Here is a very interesting article about her which ran in National Geographic. In the past, I’ve discovered that journalists sometimes make the best fiction writers, so I’m not surprised that this novel is capturing my interest. Do you pick novels whose authors seem fascinating?

On a completely different subject, Julie from Bookworm honored me with the Excellent Blog award this week. Thank you, Julie!

And I also won a book at Musings of a Bookish Kitty in honor of Wendy’s tenth year wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary and thank you, Wendy!

So where is your reading and blogging taking you this week? Wherever it is, I hope you enjoy the ride.

See you next week, Sunday Saloners!

19 Comments

  1. July 13, 2008    

    My wife is reading The Poisonwood Bible and can’t stop gushing over it. I’ll be sure to point out your review of it when she’s finished (which could be later today, for all I know). I think I’ll have to read it next, but for today, I’m working through Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe.

  2. July 13, 2008    

    I’ve never read The Poisonwood Bible, or anything else by Kingslover, but it’s buried somewhere on Mt. TBR. I’m also reading The White Mary, and am about half-way through. I’m learning about what happened to Marika’s parents and family in Czechoslovakia.

  3. July 13, 2008    

    I have only read Kingsolver’s non-fiction (so far), but I would recommend them to you: “High Tide in Tucson” and “Small Wonders.” They are both a collection of essays, but I really think you’ll like them. Lots of environmental themes too.

    Happy Sunday!
    Jill

  4. July 13, 2008    

    I must give Poisonwood Bible another try sometime. It’s one of my book club’s books that I did not make it through the first time.

    Meanwhile, an a similar note actually, I’m reading The Last Expedition a non-fiction account of Stanley’s last trip up the Congo.

  5. July 13, 2008    

    I haven’t yet read anything by Kingsolver, however Poisonwood Bible has been sitting on my TBR stack for a few years and I am determined to read it by the end of this year.

  6. July 13, 2008    

    I wasn’t able to finish The Poisonwood Bible. It didn’t grab me, but I’ve heard so many raves about it that I think I might give it another try.

    I finished The White Mary this week. I’m interested to hear what you think after you’ve finished it. It is definitely well-written.

  7. July 13, 2008    

    I’ve read all of Kingsolver’s novels and both of her collection of essays. She has a cultural anthropology book that I have no interest in reading, however. I’ve enjoyed all her books, although The Poisonwood Bible could’ve have lost the last few chapters. Her essays in High Tide in Tuscon are wonderful, but I didn’t fall in love with Small Wonders. The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven are great.

  8. July 13, 2008    

    I haven’t read any of Kingsolver’s works yet, but from all the good things I’m hearing, The Poisonwood Bible is definitely going on my list.

    This week I finished Bill Seaton’s memoir, My Seven Years in Captivity this week. It’s a light-hearted look at his years as PR director of the San Diego Zoo. Other than that, it’s been so nice here I’ve spent a lot of time outside golfing, and not as much inside reading.

  9. July 13, 2008    

    unfinished person: Oh, I’d definitely like to read her review of it! I haven’t heard of the Wolfe book – are you enjoying it?

    KoolAid Mom: I’m closing in on page 100 in The White Mary. How are you liking it?

    Jill: I added them to my Amazon wish list today 🙂

    cbjames: That sounds like a fascinating book! I don’t read a ton of non-fiction, but when I do it tends to be either adventure themed, or crime.

    Joanne: I’ll look forward to your review!

    Carrie: Well, not every book is for everyone. How far did you get in it the last time? I’ll hopefully be posting a review on The White Mary by Tuesday.

    Les: I agree the last few chapters of the novel could maybe have been edited…BUT, I loved it anyway! I’ve heard her essays are fantastic.

    Ruth: Do you have a blog where you review books? Your link took me to the website for Seaton’s memoir…I’d love to read your review on this one.

  10. July 13, 2008    

    I am glad your weather is cooling down a bit. It’s been a bit muggy down in Southern California the last few days. I wish I could send you some of the humidity to help with the fires.

    I am looking forward to reading White Mary. I do sometimes pick up books because I find the authors fascinating. In fact, there are a couple of authors whose first books I read I wasn’t sure about, but once I learned more about the authors, I was willing to give them another chance and ended up really liking their later work.

    Thank you for the anniversary wishes! And congratulations on winning the book. I hope you will enjoy it. 🙂

  11. July 14, 2008    

    I, too, loved Poisonwood Bible, although not quite as much as you did, I think – but it is great.

    I tagged you for a meme – http://www.andilit.com/?p=215

  12. July 14, 2008    

    Wendy, glad to hear you enjoyed Kingsolver’s book. I’ve read all her books and the only one I didn’t care for was Prodigal Summer; but I’ll be re-reading it this year to see if I feel differently. I think you’d love her nonfiction too – Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is amazing, and her books of essays are stunning.

    Favorite novels, besides Poisonwood (which arguably is her masterpiece): The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, Pigs in Heaven. I loved them all.

  13. July 14, 2008    

    My other favorite Kingsolver book is The Prodigal Summer, and I’m happily immersed in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle right now. I did not like The Bean Trees or Animal Dreams, though- could not even finish them.

  14. Ti Ti
    July 14, 2008    

    I didn’t love Poisonwood that much, but I LOVED Prodigal Summer.

  15. July 14, 2008    

    WendyCat: We could definitely use some moisture up here! I’ll be interested to see what you think of The White Mary – it is good, but the writing is uneven at times (in my opinion!).

    Andi: Thanks for the tag – I’ve been terrible lately at keeping up with meme tags…but I’ll try to get to this one 🙂

    Terri: I’m definitely going to read her essays. And I went on Amazon and added most of her novels to my wish list. Thanks for the recommendations!

    Jeane: So far Animal, Vegetable… seems to be getting all thumbs up. thanks for the recommendations!

    Ti: Mixed comments on Prodigal Summer – but I think I’ll give it a try 🙂 Thanks!

  16. July 14, 2008    

    I loved the Poisonwood Bible when I read it 7 or 8 years ago in high school, and I’ve been meaning to reread it ever since. My next Kingsolver favorite is Prodigal Summer, which has an entirely different feel but was quite delightful. I also enjoyed The Bean Trees and have Animal, Vegetable, Miracle currently on TBR.

  17. July 14, 2008    

    Rebecca: Thanks for weighing in on Kingsolver’s books. It is pretty clear to me that I will have to read ALL of her novels and books of essays, and nonfiction 🙂

  18. July 18, 2008    

    After Poisonwood Bible, I really loved Prodigal Summer. But honestly, everything I’ve read by her is great.

  19. July 22, 2008    

    Alisia: So far many people are pointing me toward the Prodigal Summer…as well as just about everything Kingsolver has written! Clearly I need to start buying her books and reading them! Thanks for the recommendation.

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