Sunday Salon – January 31, 2010

January 31, 2010

10:00 AM

Good morning, fellow readers and bloggers! I have been delinquent in posting a Sunday Salon for a few weeks now (my last post for this event was way back on January 3rd). I made an unplanned trip back east and was there for much of January…but now I’m home and have no more excuses!

So what have I been reading in January?

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (read my review) was just a tad disappointing to me.  I read and loved Oryx and Crake (in fact that was my first Atwood novel and made me an instant fan) so I had hoped to be blown away by Atwood’s latest companion novel. Although I still find her writing beyond brilliant, The Year of the Flood just didn’t live up to my expectations.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (read my review) is a rich, historical fiction about two sisters. Of See’s three historical novels (Snowflower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls) this one falls right in the middle in terms of my favorite, with Snowflower and the Secret Fan being in the #1 slot. This book was toured for TLC Book Tours and almost universally enjoyed.

Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant (read my review) was another historical fiction novel. I really liked this one, although it has a slow start. Have you read anything by Dunant before? From what I understand from other bloggers, Sacred Hearts is a bit different from her other novels. I am eager to read more by this author.

The Writing of Fiction (read my review) AND The House of Mirth (read my review), both by Edith Wharton were books I read as part of The Classics Circuit. Have you checked out their site yet? They’ve already done tours for Wilkie Collins and Elizabeth Gaskell, and beginning in February they’ll be hosting The Harlem Renaissance tour, then in March there will be a tour of Georgette Heyer. In 2010, I’d like to read more classics – I have a ton on my shelves!

Keeping the Feast by Paula Butturini was a quick read – and I loved it. You’ll have to wait from my review as it is part of a tour for TLC Book Tours on February 4th – but I will tell you that if you are a foodie, love to travel, and enjoy an engrossing memoir from time to time…you will want to read this book. Along with my review on the 4th will be a guest post by the author – hope you’ll come back then to read it!

I am currently reading The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer – this one is a medical thriller and it is good genre fiction (my sister read this when I was visiting her and knocked it off in less than 3 days). Palmer’s writing is quite accessible and although there are some gory parts (what thriller doesn’t have those?), those readers who enjoy a compelling suspense-thriller will most likely gush over this one. I should have a review up by tomorrow or Tuesday (I expect to finish it today).

Next up is the much anticipated Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. I am very eager to read this novel (which won the Booker Prize). Have you read it yet? What did you think?

Finally, the last thing I want to talk about is the Book Expo of America (BEA) and The Book Blogger Convention coming up at the end of May. Last year I sulked at not being at the BEA and vowed I’d go this year. Those plans were almost derailed when I had to travel back east this month…but, Kip and I have worked out the financial puzzle, and we’ll be there! The Book Blogger Convention is OFFICIALLY linked to the BEA (yay!) and will be held at the same venue on the 28th (the day after the BEA wraps up). Registering for that event will automatically get you your pass to the BEA (so you don’t have to register separately). I’m so excited…hope I’ll get to see some of you there!

What are your plans for today? Whatever they are, I hope they involve a good book!!

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    • Molly on January 31, 2010 at 11:03

    Oh – I do hope that I can attend the Book Blogger Convention. I have registered for BEA but need to ensure finances can provide airfare and lodging. I would love to meet you in person!

    You have read some wonderful books in January, and it looks February will off to a fine start as well!

    • Verbatim on January 31, 2010 at 11:31

    Delighted to hear you’ll be reading Wolf Hall next, as I’m in the midst. It’s all a bit disjointed for me so far (and I’m fairly knowledgeable about the Tudors, so it’s not confusion over the history aspect) but then I’m only 100 pages into it. I’ll look forward to your thoughts.

    • Verbatim on January 31, 2010 at 11:33

    Oh, and thanks for drawing my attention to the Classics Circuit. I’m definitely going to make an effort to check them out and read along. That darn quilting is getting in the way of my reading time, though . . .

  1. Keeping the Feast sounds great – I will look out for your review!

    • Staci on January 31, 2010 at 15:51

    Your books that you just finished all sound great. I’ve only read one Atwood-Handmaid’s Tale- and it scared me to death!! I’m a huge fan of Lisa See!!

    • Jenners on January 31, 2010 at 17:15

    That is neat about BEA and the BBC being linked. Does that mean you don’t have to pay for the BEA to enter??? If so, that might be my angle to sell it to hubby.

    • Kathy on January 31, 2010 at 17:39

    I’m so glad you’ll be at BEA! I’m also excited to see Keeping the Feast is so good, because I’ll be reading it soon.

    • Wendy on January 31, 2010 at 18:14

    Molly: I really hope you’ll be there – I’d love to meet you in person!

    Verbatim: I hope I love Wolf Hall since it is so long *laughs* My pleasure pointing you toward the Classics Circuit…it is terrific.

    Colleen: Keeping the Feast is fabulous!

    Staci: LOL – Not all of Atwood’s books are dystopic…personally I loved Handmaid’s Tale, but I know it is not for everyone 🙂

    Jenners: DO NOT pay for the BEA! Go to this page (which is for press) and enter as a book blogger – you will get a three day FREE Press pass (you also can avoid registering at the BEA at all if you register for the BBC which will automatically get you hooked up with a three day pass for the BEA)

    Kathy: Yay – I can’t wait to meet you in person 🙂 Oh, I think you will LOVE Keeping the Feast.

  2. I finished Wolf Hall this morning. It was dense and dark, but wonderfully written. I hope you enjoy it!

    • Ali on January 31, 2010 at 22:55

    So glad you were able to work out the finances to attend BEA and the Book Blogger event, even with your unexpected trip this month.

  3. BEA sounds like so much fun–I wish I could make it!

  4. Ooh, I really want to read Year of the Flood! I read Keeping the Feast and liked it, but didn’t love it.

    • Wendy on February 6, 2010 at 12:16

    Ravenous Reader: I’m midway through Wolf Hall – like it, but a little put off by her style of using “he” so ungrammatically….

    Ali: I was glad we could work out the finances…a little bit of a stretch, but I’m willing to give up some stuff in the next few months in order to attend 🙂

    Stephanie: Oh, I wish you could go too!

    Swapna: Sorry to hear you didn’t love Keeping the Feast – it really resonated with me.

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