Sunday Salon – May 31, 2009

Sunday Salon

May 31, 2009

Good morning, fellow readers. Summer has really arrived here in Northern California with triple digits and bright blue skies. It makes me want to break out the books for summertime reading.

Since last Sunday, I’ve managed to slog through Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (read my review). It was a lot of work, and definitely not enjoyable. I know this is a favorite of many readers – and it won the Booker Prize in 1981 – but I have to admit I mostly did not “get it.” I think I should steer clear of magical realism in my reading … I never seem to enjoy those kinds of books.

Luckily, I also read a wonderful book this week. The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks (read my review and a guest post by the author) was a perfect summer read in every way: great characters, beautiful setting, and a plot that kept me interested. Have you read anything by this author? This was my first book by her, but it certainly will not be my last.

Yesterday I finished a book which has been on my shelf for a few months. It came to me as a review book from the lovely Lisa Roe. The Scent of Oranges by Joan Zawatzky (read my review) is set in South Africa and features a character named Linda who returns to the farm she grew up on after her father dies. Waiting for her are shadowy memories of her brother’s murder and a letter from her father asking her to investigate the crime as he is convinced the wrong men were convicted. This is a slowly unfolding book which appealed to me more for its historical content than for the mystery.

My current read is Last Night In Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel (watch for my tour of this book in the next week). This novel explores the themes of love, amnesia, obsession, and family bonds. I am almost 75 pages into it, and am appreciating Mandel’s gorgeous writing. Here’s a teaser from Eli’s point of view when he realizes Lilia has left him:

He was hunting just then, hot on the trail of something obscure, tracking a rare butterfly-like quotation as it fluttered through thickets of dense tropical paragraphs. The chase seemed to require the utmost concentration; still, he couldn’t help but think later on that if he’d only glanced up from the work, he might’ve seen something: a look in her eyes, a foreshadowing of doom, perhaps a train ticket in her hand or the words I’m Leaving You Forever stitched on the front of her coat. – from Last Night In Montreal, page 3 –

I have a number of books on my bedside table for June, and I hope I can get to them all before the end of the month. They include:

  • The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
  • Beach Trip by Cathy Holton (look for my tour of this book on June 15th)
  • A Thousand Veils by D.J. Murphy
  • What The Dead Know by Laura Lippman
  • Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris
  • Between Here and April by Deborah Kogan
  • The Lost Hours by Karen White

I’m also planning on dipping into some short stories in June – specifically those written by Willa Cather and Simon Van Booy.

What about you? What’s on your June reading schedule?

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday, and whatever you have planned, I hope it involves a great book!

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  1. Oh I’ve got The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher on my list of books to try to get from the library soon. I’ve got to clear out some of the library books I currently have checked out first. Will be looking forward to hearing what you think of that one.

    • Lu on May 31, 2009 at 08:06

    Nooooooo. Don’t give up on magical realism yet! It’s one of my favorite genres 😉

  2. You’re in the triple digits?!? I’m in SoCal and it’s freezing out here! Not the typical summer weather at all.

    I have a ton of books on my reading schedule for June that I cannot wait to get to.The passage from Last Night in Montreal sounds great. I can’t wait to read what you think of Van Booy’s short stories.

    Happy reading.

    • Laura on May 31, 2009 at 11:16

    I think I should steer clear of magical realism in my reading Yes, yes, yes.
    (Sorry Lu, it’s not one of my favorites!!)

    • Karen on May 31, 2009 at 14:15

    I have to say I am a little jealous of your warm weather as we move into winter down here! I also completely agree with you on Midnight’s Children – I think you deserve a medal for finishing it as I was not able to do that! I really wanted to just be able to let go and read without necessarily understanding everything but I just couldn’t do it!!

    • Wendy on May 31, 2009 at 14:21

    Suzi: I’ve had Mr. Whicher on my stack for months now…it is about time I read it!

    Lu: I understand that a lot of readers love magical realism…but I have yet to enjoy one of the many books of this genre which I’ve read. *sighs*

    Vasilly: Yup – it has been HOT here for about a week (we’re supposed to get a little break beginning tomorrow with temps dropping in the 80s)

    Laura: *laughing* Once again, my dear, we are on exactly the same page 🙂

    Karen: Don’t be too jealous! These high temps also bring fires…and it is too early for fire season! Re: Midnight’s Children…there were big swatches of that book that I read which I cannot even recall now (it was like I got in a zone and kept reading even though none of the words were making sense).

  3. Enjoyed Finding Nouf when I read it last fall. Looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

    • Kim L on May 31, 2009 at 17:41

    Sounds like you have some great books on tap for the next month. I was just thinking I’m kind of down to the bottom of my pile… time to get some new books from the library!

  4. Ah, I remember those triple digits in Red Bluff all too well. 118 one summer day. Ugh!!

    If you enjoyed The Laws of Harmony, give Bread Alone and Isabel’s Daughter a read. I loved both!

    • Wendy on June 3, 2009 at 06:30

    Betty and Boo’s Mommy: I am looking forward to reading Finding Nouf – glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    Kim: I don’t think I’ll ever get to the bottom of my pile (not that I’m complaining!!)

    Les: It seems a little early for these high temps – but July will be here before we know it!

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