July 31, 2011
Welcome to The Sunday Salon, an event that unites readers each week. Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee or your beverage of choice and join the discussion!
It is hard to believe this is the last Sunday in July. The days are flying by. We’ve been working hard to put a back deck on our house before the end of summer. I’ve also been crazy busy at work…and I have joined a couple of quilt-a-longs here and here which are eating up vast amounts of time on the weekends (although I am not complaining – I love my quilting time!). All of this has interfered with my reading and July has been my slowest reading month of the year.
Thanks to Jill, July was filled with Orange prize books:
The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht (read my review)
Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch (read my review)
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin (read my review)
The Long Song by Andrea Levy (my current read)
Despite knocking off four books from my Orange stacks – there were many I hoped to read but didn’t get to. I’m going to try to squeeze in at least three more Orange books before January rolls around and we celebrate Orange January.
I also read two other books this month (one for a TLC Book Tour and one for a BOOK CLUB read):
Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy was everything I hoped it would be (read my review): gorgeous writing, wonderful sense of place and characters who felt like living, breathing people. I am really glad that Van Booy has started writing novels. Although I love short stories (and Van Booy’s are some of the best out there) my heart really belongs to the novel. There is something about the more extensive character development that happens in a novel which delights me. I want to spend extended time with a story and always feel a little disappointed when a short story’s characters pull me in, only to leave me too soon. What about you? What is your favorite: short stories, novels, nonfiction, novellas, poetry?
I finished reading The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson this week (read my review) and I really liked this book, although it started a bit slow for me. I like fictionalized true crime, and Thompson did an admirable job of pulling together the psychological aspects of a crime committed more than 100 years ago. The novel leaves much unsolved and up to the reader’s imagination as to what actually happened. For readers who like their mysteries tied up in a neat bow, this may not be their cup of tea. But it makes for great discussion…and I think The Reservoir could be a good book club choice.
I should finish The Long Song by Andrea Levy today. This Orange Prize nominated novel features one of the most memorable characters in fiction. July is a black slave living on a sugar plantation in Jamaica in the early 1800’s. The book opens with her as an old woman who is writing down her memoir for her son. July’s voice is engaging, opinionated and surprisingly funny given the subject matter. This is my first book by this talented author, and I am loving it. I should have a review posted by Tuesday at the latest.
The other day I sat down and sorted books, re-stacking and organizing, and trying to figure out how I am going to read everything on my list. I have been turning down 95% of review offers these days, and still my shelves are practically toppling over. But I do have a plan for August!
There are three must read books: The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield for a TLC Book Tour on August 9th (the author has also provided a terrific guest post for that day), By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham for BOOK CLUB’s next discussion (to take place on Nicole’s blog on August 23rd), and Steinbeck: A Life in Letters edited by Elaine Steinbeck and Robert Wallsten for The Classics Circuit on August 17th.
Other books I would love to read in August include three books sent to me by authors which are already overdue for a review:
Broken: A Love Story by Lisa Jones
The Good Side of Bad by Beverly Olevin
The River of Forgetting by Jane Rowan
So we’ll see what happens. I am taking a 10 day vacation in the latter part of August and if all goes well, I hope to spend a large part of that reading! What about you? Have you looked ahead and started planning your August reading?
Thanks for stopping by – have a wonderful week!