March 28, 2010
Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of Sunday Salon:
Imagine some university library’s vast reading room. It’s filled with people–students and faculty and strangers who’ve wandered in. They’re seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they’re all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they’ll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon’s literary intake….
We are waiting for the next big storm to strike – this is truly what springtime is like in the mountains. This storm is set to drop up to two feet of snow on us, along with hail, thunder, lightening, and probably a bucketful of cold rain. I suppose the good thing about that is it makes me want to stay inside and read!
Despite continuing to feel ill (and having a bunch of medical tests which indicate I am completely okay even though my body is telling me otherwise), I have managed to get in a lot of reading this week.
I posted my review of The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli along with a guest post by the author. This is a fantastic debut novel with complex characterizations and a plot which is quite different from most “war-based” novels. In fact, this novel is really less about the Vietnam War and more about the people and the country impacted by it. I love books like that – ones that surprise you by taking a different perspective and making one see a situation in a different light.
I read An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor (read my review) in a few short days. This was my first exposure to Taylor’s Irish Country series and I enjoyed the lighthearted foray into Irish lore and magic. The book requires the reader to let loose their imagination (there is a magical realism element but it is firmly embedded in the legends of the Irish which made it easier for me to accept). I have the first three books in the series to read, and I will eventually get to them. In the meantime, if you want an opportunity to win those first three books, consider joining Reading for a Cure or sponsoring someone who has joined or making a donation to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. You can read more on this post – but hurry, the contest ends on March 30th!
Next up on my reading stack was Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons (read my review). I had read Gibbons’ novel A Virtuous Woman a few years back (before I started reviewing books on my blog) and remembered really loving her style. So when this month’s Social Justice Challenge theme was child abuse and domestic violence, I decided to give Ellen Foster a read. Wow. This is a really intense book for its size (126 pages). It is told from the point of view of a ten year old girl (Ellen) who is abused by her father and must face the death of her mother and rejection by her blood relatives. Set in the south, it also takes a hard look at racism. I was really moved by this book, although I will be the first to admit, it was not always easy to read because of the subject matter.
Also for The Social Justice Challenge, I read I Never Told Anyone: Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, edited by Ellen Bass and Louise Thornton. This is not the kind of book you read when you are feeling down. It is wrenching, sad, disturbing, and graphic…but it is important too. Giving a voice to the thousands of women survivors of sexual abuse, this book reveals the strength of women in the face of unspeakable crimes. It also shows how destructive the crime of sexual abuse is in our society. I should have a review of the book posted sometime today.
Because I Never Told Anyone was so dark, I needed to balance my reading with a light, chick-lit by one of my favorite authors. Get Lucky by Katherine Center will be in stores in April, and as with her previous novels, this one is not to be missed. I love well written women’s fiction and Katherine Center has quickly become an author whose books I don’t want to miss. I loved her first novel The Bright Side of Disaster (read my review) as well as her second novel Everyone is Beautiful (read my review), so it is no surprise I am loving Get Lucky too. Center is laugh-out-loud funny and develops characters who could be your best friend, your sister or your co-worker. You’ll have to wait until April 8th to read my review – that’s when I am touring the book for TLC Book Tours…but I can already tell you this is my favorite Center novel to date and I will be highly recommending it!
Up next on my stack is One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and then The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I also still intend to read The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and The Glass Room by Simon Mawer even though I didn’t get to them in time to discuss them in book groups (look for reviews of those books sometime in April).
Also in April, here are some of the books that have a high priority in my reading:
- Impatient with Desire by Gabrielle Burton (watch for a giveaway of a signed copy sometime after the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon which is the April 10th)
- Europa by Tim Parks
- Therese Raquin by Emile Zola (I’ll be touring this book as part of The Classics Circuit on April 21st)
- Chow Hounds by Ernie Ward, DVM (this is also for a TLC Book Tour on April 27th)
- The Threadbare Heart by Jennie Nash (watch for a very cool Mother’s Day contest associated with this book in early May)
- The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight by Gina Ochsner
- Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan
I am also excited to pull out some of my suspense-thrillers and mysteries for the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.
Whew – that’s a lot of books, isn’t it?
What are your plans today? Do they involve reading a great book?