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Sunday Salon – June 20, 2010

June 20, 2010

Good morning, loyal readers! What a great week I’ve had in reading…but I haven’t JUST been reading, I’ve been enjoying the warm spring weather, too (and Raven has been helping).

Here is what I read and reviewed this week:

  1. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood (read my review) is an unusual book which turns the myth of Odysseus on its head. I didn’t love the book, but I do appreciate the brilliance of its author.
  2. Cool Water by Dianne Warren (read my review) blew me away. I loved this book about ordinary people living in a small town in Canada. Warren is an amazing writer who knows how to capture a reader’s heart. If you haven’t done so already, I recommend you run (not walk) to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of Cool Water. I promise you’ll love it.
  3. Beside the Sea by Veronique Olmi (read my review) which has been translated from the French and is available for English speaking readers through Peirene Press. This is a stunning and disturbing novella. The writing is exquisite. I am so happy I learned of this book and read it. Have you seen this one around?

I am currently reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Believe it or not, I do not think I have ever read this book before. I thought I MUST have read it in high school, but I don’t remember it. Neither does my sister who attended the same high school. I asked my mother if she knew whether Concord High ever banned books…she wasn’t sure, but she did mention that the head of our school board was ultra conservative at the time…so I am thinking it is a good possibility that it was scratched from our reading lists way back in the late 1970’s. At any rate, this book is just okay for me. It reads pretty quickly for a classic, but I am finding myself not really enjoying the main character (Holden Caulfield). Have you read The Catcher in the Rye? If so, what did you think of the book?

I also started reading The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummings. I’m only about 50 pages into this one, so I don’t know how I feel about it yet. Stay tuned for my review later this week.

Next up in my TBR pile are some awesome looking books:

  • The Secret Lives of People in Love, by Simon Van Booy
  • The Quickening by Michelle Hoover
  • Promises to Keep by Jane Green
  • Whiter Than Snow by Sandra Dalla
  • Stay by Allie Larkin

I’d love to get through all of these before the month ends…but we’ll see. I also have some books I should have read in May sitting on my shelf:

  • Guest House by Barbara K. Richardson
  • Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky
  • Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda
  • The Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser

So don’t be surprised if you see me talking about these books soon.

Oh, and in case you are interested, I finished up my series Post BEA Book Buzz. You can catch the last two articles in the series here:

What is in your TBR pile? Have you made a summer reading list, or do you just like to fly by the seat of your pants when it comes to your reading?

I hope you are having a wonderful day, and that whatever you are doing it involves a great book!


  1. June 20, 2010    

    I read Catcher in the Rye as an adult (not on school reading lists in the UK) and no I didnt like Caulfield but Im not even sure your meant to. As soon as I ‘got’ that he was terrified of growing up and joining the adult world then I understood him a little better.

  2. June 20, 2010    

    I read Catcher in the Rye for the first time last summer. I don’t think it was ‘banned’ from my high school (which was pretty liberal in the 70s), but for some reason my English teachers chose to study other works.

    I must confess that as I was reading the book I kept thinking, “what is the big deal?” — I really wasn’t that impressed. But then I thought that I was probably not the target audience (indeed, about three decades older than the target audience) and perhaps Salinger paved the way for the voice of the adolescent using his/her vernacular (?) Anyway, those were my thoughts and now that I have read it once, I do not feel the need to re-read.

    I hope you, Kip, and Raven continue to enjoy the nice summer weather. We are to have 100+ degree heat index today 🙁

  3. Kay Kay
    June 20, 2010    

    I did read CATCHER IN THE RYE in high school and didn’t like it. Between that one and a bunch of William Faulkner, I was turned off of classics for pretty much all time. I have THE OUTSIDE BOY as well and need to get it read, but other things seem to be slipping in. Have a good week, Wendy!

  4. June 20, 2010    

    I did read Catcher in the Rye in high school and thought it was great – I think maybe it was because it seemed so “adult.” I re-read the book as an adult and wondered what I had liked about it as a teen.

  5. June 20, 2010    

    I read Catcher in the Rye in high school and don’t remember much except that I liked but didn’t love it.

    Glad to hear you and Raven are enjoying the spring weather!

  6. June 20, 2010    

    I haven’t read The Catcher in the Rye, either, and I’m afraid that I would have the same reaction as Molly. I was, however, slightly intrigued when I read Joyce Maynard’s memoir, At Home in the World, in which she describes her love affair with J. D. Salinger when she was very young. I’ve always enjoyed her books, and she has a new one coming out.

    I’m very curious about the Margaret Atwood book…I usually really enjoy her work.

    Here’s my salon:


  7. June 20, 2010    

    Jessica: *nods* I agree – Caulfield is a boy who wants to be a man, but is scared to go there. I wanted to empathize with him…but he was a hard character for me to relate to.

    Molly: I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with Catcher in the Rye…I was just meh about it, but as you point out, I’m not the target audience … teens are; and I can see where this book would appeal to teenagers. Wow, 100+ degrees?!??!? Yikes! We get those temps, but not until July or August. We’re in the 70s and 80s right now, so it is nice to go outside!

    Kay: You know, I don’t think I’ve read Falkner either *laughs*, but it he is like Salinger, I have a feeling I won’t enjoy his work that much. Outside Boy is a pretty easy read…I hope to finish it in the next day or so. Have a great week too, Kay!

    Kathy: You should read Molly’s comment – she essentially says the same thing you are saying. And I think it is a good point. The book was written to appeal to teenage angst…thank God we’ve come through that period in our lives and am in another place now!! *laughs*

    Amy: I wonder if Catcher in the Rye would appeal more to boys than girls? It really deals with a lot of boy-type issues, I think. Thanks for the good wishes 🙂

    Laurel: That’s right! I had forgotten that Maynard had that relationship with Salinger (and wasn’t it pretty controversial because of the difference in their ages and she was still very young?). I also love her writing…didn’t know another book by her was due for release. Thanks for letting me know. I normally love Atwood’s books…so I was surprised at my neutral feeling about The Penelopiad…but if you’re an Atwood fan, you’d probably find it interesting!

  8. June 20, 2010    

    So glad you mention “Cool Water” – I agree with you wholeheartedly on its fabulousness.

    I had to read Catcher in the Rye in high school – didn’t like it then and I still don’t. I’m not a big fan of Salinger in general, anyhow.

    I also agree the The Penelopiad is quite clever (very Atwood) but as it is a brief assignment rather than her own novel it isn’t quite the same. I find that I really, really like some of the books in the Canongate Myths series and find others unreadable. This one was a “Like” but Atwood has even talked about how tough it was to write.

  9. June 20, 2010    

    Melwyk: I am trying to write the review of Salinger’s book which I finished this morning. It is a hard review to write because the book was just really “meh” for me…and yet I know it is a “classic.” Interesting take on The Penelopiad…I think you’re right that it is not as good as some of her other books because it is not really HER story…but a retelling of someone else’s work. I haven’t read any of the other books in the Canongate Myth series…maybe I should.

  10. June 20, 2010    

    I wonder if The Catcher in the Rye is one of those books that is time- and experience-dependent for enjoyment. I liked it, even though I didn’t read it till my 20’s, but I think it was partly because it was, to me, totally unique and seemed so honest, at least at the time. Now, it’s really not such an unusual book. There are loads of YA novels written in a similar fashion which touch on the kind of emotions Holden experienced. He’s definitely not a likable character, but I agree that may not be the point.

    As to your forthcoming reads . . . SIMON’s book!!!! Nat told me you met Simon Van Booy — yay! Isn’t he awesome? His writing is amazing. You should definitely read Secret Lives, right away. I’m hoping to get my review of the new edition up, tomorrow. Today has been blog-hopping day, but I’m off to read for a bit. Happy Sunday!

  11. June 20, 2010    

    I have to admit, I never have read Catcher in the Rye! I don’t know why we didn’t read it in my high school – I remember reading Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird, but this one wasn’t assigned. I definitely plan to at some point.

    I hope you had a great weekend! I’m off to read your review of Cool Water – I missed it with all the excitement of our week.

  12. June 21, 2010    

    I liked Catcher in the Rye. I even read it several times- but the last was at least ten years ago, so not sure how I’d feel about it now. I remember thinking how authentic his voice sounded, for a rebellious teen, and I also (at the time) agreed with some of his views, so it had that appeal to me.

  13. June 23, 2010    

    Nancy: I was SO excited to meet Simon Van Booy in NYC…and he is a really, really nice guy too! I loved his stories in Love Begins in Winter…and have now started Secret Lives – also wonderful!

    Carrie: Hope you’ll read Cool Water – such a great book.

    Jeane: I do think Salinger captured the teenage voice well…maybe too well *laughing*

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