Sunday Salon – January 30, 2011

January 30, 2011

Here we are, the last Sunday in January, a twelfth of the way through 2011. How did that happen? I have a had a great reading month so far…it looks like I will manage to complete nine books this month and most of a tenth. So far none most have earned four stars or greater, and two of them have made it onto my best of 2011 list on Library Thing by garnering five stars. Not a bad way to start out the year!

Last week I mentioned that I was enjoying Wherever You Go by Joan Leegant (read my review). This was a fascinating book which takes a hard look at radical religious issues, specifically those impacting the West Bank region. I am glad I read this book for many reasons: I discovered a new author whose writing is very, very good; it made me think about some of the tough issues in the world today; and I learned something about a part of the world I do not know a whole lot about. If you are looking for a haunting book, this one may be the one for you.

If you missed my review of The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, you can find it here. The author also visiting my blog last week with a terrific guest post. I gushed a lot about this book last week, and I’m still talking about it this week. In case you haven’t figured it out…this was one of my five star books which goes right to the top of my best of 2011 list for now. I’m squirreling away my copy and I am thinking this may be one of those rare books which deserves a re-read down the road. Yup, I loved it!

Next up on my stacks was The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine (read my review). I have been wanting to read a book by Schine for quite some time, and this was the perfect choice. Schine found her novel on the New York Times Most Notable List in 2010, and I think it is a well deserved honor. Funny, poignant, quirky, and well written…this is the type of book which is perfect for a cold winter evening or a hot summer beach read – take your pick! Picador is releasing the trade paperback version of the book on Tuesday and you could win a copy by visiting my giveaway and leaving me a comment before 5:00 pm (PST) on Friday, February 4th (sorry, contest is restricted to U.S. postal addresses only).

My current read (I should finish it today) is really a classic. Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska is set on New York City’s east side in the 1920s and features a young, Russian Jewish immigrant named Sara. As the book opens, ten year old Sara shares a cramped tenement with her Orthodox rabbi father, her hardworking mother, and her three sisters (all older than she). The writing is a little odd in this book, but I think that is partly because it is narrated from Sara’s point of view…and so there are awkward word choices and sentence structure. I plan on dropping over to El Fay’s blog later today where she talks about this book as part of The Wolves Read-a-Long. I’m interested to get other readers’ perspectives on this one…so if you’ve read it, please leave me a comment or a link to your review! I’ll be posting my review hopefully later today or (at the latest) on Monday evening.

I am also getting ready to post a review of a book I have been dipping in and out of for over a month. Muslim Women Reformers by Ida Lichter is non fiction and looks at women’s rights and the effort at reform in the Muslim religion. She covers a lot of ground in this book and looks at several countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Turkey and even the United States. There is a wealth of information in this book and students who are interested in Muslim Women’s issues specifically will want to pick up this book. More later when I craft my review…

I still hope to make a dent in Caribou Island by David Vann before the month closes. February looks to be a busy reading month for me – lots of great books on my TBR shelf including:

  • Small Wars by Sadie Jones (TLC Book Tour)
  • Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich (TLC Book Tour)
  • The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse
  • A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer (watch for a giveaway of this one)
  • The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein
  • Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris
  • Charles Jessop a Murderer by Wesley Stace
  • The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah (BOOK CLUB read)
  • Little Princes by Conor Greenan

And there are more…but, we’ll see how I do!

Today I hope to have some solid reading time in between loads of laundry. How about you? What are your plans for the day? Whatever they are, I hope they involve a great book!

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    • gavin on January 30, 2011 at 12:18

    It is hard to believe it is the end of January already! I keep seeing positive reviews for The Weird Sisters and have added it to my library list. Will get to it after the TBR Dare.

    I tried reading Bread Givers but just could not get into it so put it down. I do have a copy of Our Horses in Egypt for February. Have a lovely week, Wendy.

  1. I feel like such a slacker! I only read ONE book this month. I read about 100+ pages in another, but decided to give up since it was holding my attention. I’m almost finished with another, but we’ll see if I can actually squeeze in those final chapters before the end of the day tomorrow!

    I’ve been busy catching up around the house with the usual chores (laundry, ironing, paying bills, vacuuming, etc.). Now I’m off to walk on the treadmill for an hour. It’s getting cold and snowing — again. Maybe I’ll curl up with my book (Jodi Picoult’s new book) and a glass of wine after my walk. By then, it’ll be after 5:00 and I refuse to do any chores after 5:00. 🙂

    Have a great week, Wendy!

  2. *wasn’t holding my attention

    • Julie on January 30, 2011 at 13:55

    Bread Givers looks a good book. A good contender for the Immigrant Stories Challenge

    • Bailey on January 30, 2011 at 14:34

    I finished A Heartbeat Away last week and am about halfway through Little Princes right now. It looks like you had a great reading month!

    • Staci on January 30, 2011 at 15:42

    I’m working on my 10th book but it won’t be done for January..and in fact, I’m reading The Weird Sisters!!!

    Your description of Wherever You Go has me very intrigued!!

    • Wendy on January 30, 2011 at 16:37

    Gavin: I had to go look up Our Horses in Egypt – looks fascinating! I’ll look forward to your review.

    Les: Definitely NO chores after 5:00pm! A glass of wine sounds perfect, along with a good book. Hope you have a better reading month in February!

    Julie: Oh yes, Bread Givers would be perfect for your challenge!

    Bailey: Looks like we are sharing a couple of books 🙂

    Staci: Yay for 10 books in a month (or almost 10!!). Are you loving The Weird Sisters?!??! Hope so!!! I think you’d like Wherever You Go!

    • Melissa on January 30, 2011 at 18:00

    You had a wonderful reading month! I’ll be interested to see what you think of Shadow Tag. (It was one of my favorite reads of 2010. 🙂

    • Wendy on January 31, 2011 at 08:20

    Melissa: Oh, good to hear about Shadow Tag! I’ve not been reading reviews of it because I don’t want them to “taint” my view of the book before I’ve read it…I’ll have to drop by your blog and read your review once mine goes up!

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