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The Sunday Salon – July 10, 2011

July 10, 2011

Good morning and welcome to the Sunday Salon. I’ve had a slow week of reading because of work obligations. But, despite that, I did finish one terrific book this week as part of Orange July. First let me take you back to last week.

I talked a little about Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann – a book I looked forward to reading, but ended up disappointing me. I finally posted my review which was difficult to write. I hate writing reviews of books I did not like, especially when I read them for a book tour. But, ultimately, I have to be honest about my reaction. This seems to be a book which has polarized readers. People seem to either love it or hate it. Normally, I love thick books which span decades, but I just could not relate to the protagonist in Hamann’s novel – a girl growing into womanhood who largely annoyed me. What about you? Do you find yourself more drawn to books with characters you love, or is it the plot that pulls you in?

It was with a great deal of relief that I found myself loving my next read. The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht has also gotten a few mixed reviews – but it won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction and I was optimistic that I would connect to this one…and I did (read my review)! Obreht got it all right for me: terrific characters, lush descriptions of place and the ability to weave a story which enthralled me. I did not want this one to end. I understand Obreht is working on her next novel, and I can’t wait to read it. The Tiger’s Wife was her debut book, and I think she has a lot to live up to in her sophomore effort.

My current read is Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch which also has a tiger in it. So far I am enjoying this book set in the nineteenth century and featuring a street urchin named Jaffy who ends up in a tiger’s mouth just pages into the novel. I hope to have more reading time this week to get through this one and get a review posted before the end of the week.

What about you? Have you read any great books this past week? Do you have some books coming up in the stacks that you cannot wait to get to?

Oh, before I let you go…just a reminder that I have a giveaway for A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron open to U.S. readers through 5:00 pm PST tomorrow.  Even if you don’t want to enter, check out the giveaway post to see some fun photos of Raven. There are not a lot of entries, so your chances are pretty good right now – and all you have to do is tell me a funny dog story. I’ll be announcing the winner on Tuesday.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and a wonderful week ahead of you. Happy reading!


  1. July 10, 2011    

    I do tend to enjoy a book more if I like the characters. Sometimes I can still love it if only one or two characters annoy me…like in The Little Women letters, the youngest sister annoys me as much as Amy did in Little Women. Spoiled, bratty…although Amy did redeem herself in the end.


  2. July 10, 2011    

    I’ve been enjoying reading everyone’s fun dog stories. YES, I’ve been checking back in to read them. I’m just that much of a dog geek. ;O)

  3. July 10, 2011    

    I am seeing Anthropology of an American Girl all over the place. It sounds interesting, but I am not sure it is really for me… Hope you have a great week!

  4. July 10, 2011    

    I was so excited to see that you enjoyed The Tiger’s Wife. There have been so many mixed reviews and I was pretty excited to read it. I really hope I like it to.

  5. July 10, 2011    

    Laurel: I have that one in my stacks 🙂

    Pam: LOL – they are fun to read, aren’t they?

    Kailana: It is being toured right now which is probably why you’re seeing it 🙂 Hope you have a good week as well!

    Laura: I hope you love it!!

  6. July 11, 2011    

    I have The Tiger’s Wife and I’m looking forward to reading it – glad you enjoyed it.

  7. July 11, 2011    

    A coworker is reading Anthropology and she’s not sure if she likes it well enough to continue with it. I think I’ll pass on that but I may have to give The Tiger’s Wife a try.

    I’ve got a couple of pages left in Turn of Mind and I’m loving it! I’ll be very sad to finish it. It’s just a good as Still Alice. Quite possibly even better…

  8. July 11, 2011    

    That’s too bad about Anthropology of an American Girl – I was looking forward to it. I can never seem to make myself finish a book in which the main character is annoying or unlikable.

  9. July 18, 2011    

    Helen: Hope you love The Tiger’s Wife!

    Les: I need to check out Turn of Mind…I usually love the books you do 🙂

    Carrie: You might like Anthropology – many readers did…just not my cup-o-tea!

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