Sunday Salon – August 21, 2011

August 21, 2011

Welcome to The Sunday Salon. I hope you’ll visit the Facebook page for this meme and visit other bloggers who want to talk about books!

I started my vacation (really a “stay-cation” as I am not going anywhere!) on Friday and hope to have lots of reading time in the next week. Before I start talking about books, I just want to remind those readers who also are interested in the art of quilting to check out the Sew You Wanna Quilt? series which is posting each Friday (and some Saturdays). So far I have covered Tools of the Trade, Creating a Quilting Space, Fabric Obsession and Books and Inspiration. This Friday I will be talking about choosing your first project.

Okay, so on to books!

I finished reading Steinbeck: A Life in Letters and posted my review here. Wow, this was really an amazing book on many levels. It is not a “fast read” but it is a compelling read which surprised me because it is solely made up of letters which John Steinbeck wrote over the course of his life. The letters are insightful, funny, and deeply personal…the result of which is a profound look inside the mind and life of a great writer. As you can probably tell from this gushing paragraph – I highly recommend this one. Many thanks to the Classics Circuit who motivated me to finally read this one after more than two years of it sitting on my shelf collecting dust!

I blew through By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham (read my review) and found myself with some mixed feelings about the book. On the one hand, Cunningham can write. His prose is so observant and current, and he quickly pulls the reader into the lives of his characters. On the other hand, I really did not like any of the characters – they are largely self-absorbed and superficial people, and I wanted to throttle Peter. But, even with my dislike of the characters, I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen. I can recommend this book with some reservations. Sensitive readers may not like some of the sexual undertones, but if you can look past that you will find an intriguing human study of marriage, love, and identity. I am really looking forward to the discussion on this book which is happening over at Nicole’s blog this Tuesday as part of BOOK CLUB.

My current read is a thriller by Gordon Reece. Mice is a book where the predator becomes the prey. Does that not intrigue you? I expect to read this very quickly – so watch for a review soon! I am also eager to begin reading Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger – another thriller that looks like a fun ride.

Other books in the queue for this week are:

  • The River of Forgetting by Jane Rowan
  • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

What about you? What is in YOUR stacks this week. Whatever it is, I hope it is something that carries you away and delights you!


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    • Robyn on August 21, 2011 at 09:35

    Great mini-reviews. Hope you enjoy your stay-cation. I read Mice back in the spring. I thought it was a really great idea which seemed to kind of fall flat in the ending. I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

    • Alyce on August 21, 2011 at 09:56

    I’m glad the Steinbeck book ended up being so good!

    Usually I read a few books each week, but every once in a while I start a bunch of books and skip back and forth between them. That’s what I’ve been doing this week. I’ve got nonfiction, fiction, short stories, essays and sci-fi. Stuff for all moods. 🙂

  1. Interesting books. Your description of Mice does intrigue me. I’ll have to look it out. I have never read anything by Michael Cunningham, either, though I have watched the film The Hours and enjoyed his commentary on the DVD ‘extras’ that came with it.

    I very much like the sound of the Steinbeck letters, too, so I’ll put that on my list.

    I’m reading Hitch-22 and Granta 116 as well as a hilarious ‘bonkbuster’ by a friend of mine, Rebecca Chance, called Bad Sisters. I’m also dipping into The Last Fling by Sue Gee – an anthology of short stories.

    Enjoy your week.

  2. I am a mystery lover myself. Those thrillers look good, especially the plot with the predator becoming the prey. Enjoy the week!

    • Deb Nance at Readerbuzz on August 21, 2011 at 11:10

    I’m trying to decide what to read next. It’s always difficult to choose something after finishing a book that is fantastic.

    Glad to read your review of the new Cunningham novel. Glad to see you took something from it despite the unappealing characters.

  3. Looks like a great week! I think I’ve commented or at least stopped by your other posts this week so I just had to say that Mice looks really neat and I’ll be very interested to see what you think of it when your review goes up. Enjoy your coming week!

    • Judith on August 21, 2011 at 11:42

    I very much appreciated your review of Michael Cunningham’s novel. Your description of this particular book reminded me, in detail, what I find disappointing in all of his books. A very insightful review.

    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

  4. I don’t think By Nightfall is my kind of read, but the cover is gorgeous!

  5. I have heard from others that the Cunningham is…difficult. I don’t always have to have characters I like, but this one sounds a little dark. Hope you have a great reading week!

    • Wendy on August 25, 2011 at 07:52

    Robyn: I actually really liked Mice – some unusual twists which I found a bit humorous in a black comedy sort of way!

    Alyce: I am more of a monogamous reader! I get confused if I have too many going at one time.

    Helen: Your reading sound great! Thanks for sharing!

    Harvee: If you like thrillers – do check out Mice. It is a fun ride 🙂

    Deb: I know what you mean – after a really awesome book, I am always worried the next one will disappoint me!

    Pam: Thanks for being such a faithful reader of my blog!

    Judith: Thanks for your kind words about my review…I must admit, I was disappointed with this latest Cunningham book 🙁

    Carrie K: Yes, beautiful cover art! LOL!

    Heather: *nods* Dark is a good way to describe it.

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