Sunday Salon – February 6, 2011

February 6, 2011

Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of Sunday Salon. I had a good week in reading that I can’t wait to share with you. I posted two reviews about books I discussed on last week’s Salon post:

The Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska which I read for The Wolves Read-A-Long (read my review) which was just a so-so read for me. I appreciated Yezierska’s somewhat autobiographical take on the immigrant experience in the 1920s, but the characters fell a bit flat for me. Even so, I felt the book was worthy for a book discussion, especially for young adults.

Muslim Women Reformers by Ida Lichter has a wealth of information for those interested in womens’ issues within the Muslim religion (read my review). I don’t recommend reading this cover to cover over a few short days…instead this is a book which lends itself to jumping around from section to section and letting the ideas percolate over a period of weeks. This is an excellent reference book and one I plan on keeping for just that reason.

I blew through Caribou Island by David Vann in a 24 hour period (read my review) bringing my total books read in January to ten. Dark, bleak, and psychologically disturbing, this is a book which will probably not appeal to every reader. But for those who are interested in haunting novels that are exceptionally well written, Vann’s book is a must read. I loved how he used the Alaskan wilderness as a backdrop for the isolation of the characters. This book is getting a plethora of great reviews and lots of buzz. Don’t be surprised if you see Vann capturing a literary award or two for this novel.

Next I picked up a book I have been wanting to read ever since it was first released. Small Wars by Sadie Jones garnered a lot of praise by bloggers and print reviewers alike, and the praise is well deserved. I read Jones’ debut novel The Outcast back in February 2008 (read my review) and thoroughly enjoyed it, as well. That book captured the Costa Award for First Novel and earned Jones a place on the Orange Prize short list. I don’t want to talk too much about Small Wars right now because I’ll be posting my review for TLC Book Tours on Thursday this week (February 10th), but if you are curious about what other readers are thinking, visit the TLC Book Tours page for Small Wars and follow the links to reviews.

My current read is going to be a quick one. A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer is the author’s latest medical thriller…and I’ll be posting a book giveaway later this week for those readers who want a chance to win a signed, finished edition of the book. The contest will be open to those readers who have a US mailing address. Palmer writes good genre fiction. I enjoyed his novel The Last Surgeon a year ago (read my review). I’m only 20 pages into the book right now, so I don’t have a lot to say about it…but usually I enjoy Palmer’s work.

I am very anxious to read the next book up on my TBR pile. James from Picador kindly sent me not only an Advance Readers Edition, but a finished copy of Charles Jessold, Considered a Murderer by Wesley Stace…so I am planning to give away my ARE. Watch for the details of that contest in the next week or so (and because I am feeling badly that the last two giveaways here have been restricted to US readers, this one will be an International give).  And just so you understand why exactly I love James and his staff over at Picador, enjoy this very funny interview with Wesley Stace:

I’m having trouble deciding which books I want to read – there are so many good ones. After Stace’s novel I am considering one of these:

The Sweet Relief of Missing Children by Sarah Braunstein
The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse
Little Princes by Conor Grennan

Which one would YOU pick?

Later today Kip and I are going into town to look for a laundry sink and buy paint for the new laundry room. I hope to get some time to read, too. And I am putting the finishing touches on a quilt for someone special. What are YOU doing today? Whatever it is, I hope it involves a great book!

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  1. I won’t have much time to read today between book club and the Super Bowl party. If I were you, I’d pick up Little Princes next.

  2. Sounds like no one was really knocked out by The Bread Givers, but it was very illuminating to read all the discussions!

    • Laura on February 6, 2011 at 11:18

    Wendy, I just finished The Winter Ghosts and it did NOTHING for me. Zip. Hope to publish my review today. I will be interested to see what you think of it though!

    • Alyce on February 6, 2011 at 11:38

    I agree with you about the Muslim Women Reformers book. It was so informative, but I read it a small section at a time over 6 weeks or so. I have Little Princes and intend to read it in the next week or two.

    • gavin on February 6, 2011 at 14:02

    You did have a great reading week! I’ve been thinking about reading the David Vann novel but am not in the mood for dark and disturbing right now. Thanks for the video link and I have no idea which book you should read next!

    • Kailana on February 6, 2011 at 16:31

    All the books in this post look good!

    • Staci on February 6, 2011 at 16:32

    I’m currently watch the Super Bowl and reading blogs 😀

    I would read Little Princes next..loved it!

    • Kath on February 6, 2011 at 17:11

    I’m really keen to read Caribou Island now! Thanks! As for next read, I’d personally pick Little Princes. I like the cover and I’ve read some good things about it 🙂

    • zibilee on February 6, 2011 at 17:13

    The Little Princes was a great read, but I think you should start with The Sweet Relief of Missing Children, as I am about to read that one soon, and it would be lovely to hear what you have to think about it!

    • Wendy on February 6, 2011 at 18:00

    Kathy: Thanks for the recommendation. Hope you had a great day!

    Jill: Yup, it was lukewarm for almost everyone…but I do think it was fun to talk about 🙂

    Laura: Just read your review – I’m bumming!

    Alyce: Glad you enjoyed Muslim Women Reformers too…and I am looking forward to your thoughts on Little Princes…I keep seeing good things about it.

    Gavin: You have to be in the right mindset for the Vann novel! Glad you enjoyed the video 🙂

    Kailana: They mostly were…and I’m looking forward to the ones coming up too!

    Staci: Good to know you enjoyed Little Princes!

    Kath: Hope you’ll appreciate Caribou Island! Thanks for weighing in on my next read!

    Heather: LOL! Okay – I’d like to talk about it with you!

  3. Ooooh, Caribou Island sounds intriguing! I’m behind on reading because I’ve been caught up in all the Super Bowl fervor around here (I CAN’T believe the Packers won. I mean, I can believe it, I’m just so giddy I can’t see straight, yet.)

    but I am finishing a Kate Atkinson right now, as well as a ‘Bizarro’ book I picked up titled ‘Help! A Bear is Eating Me!’ in which the main character is indeed being eaten by a bear. As he narrates. Interesting stuff. But I would like to get to Caribou next if I can! 😉

    • Wendy on February 9, 2011 at 10:00

    Lisa: Congrats on your Packers success 🙂 I really need to pick up a Kate Atkinson book one of these days! Hope you’ll get a chance to pick up Caribou Island – very well done!!!

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