Sunday Salon – October 30, 2011

October 30, 2011

Is it really the end of October? Wow, this month flew by and I have missed two Salons in a row. My sister was here from New Hampshire and we had a wonderful visit which included a whirlwind of visits to various quilt shops in Northern California and Southern Oregon…and together we pieced two lap size quilts using blocks we made ahead of time. I promise to show you the finished quilts when they are completely quilted and bound. But for now, here is just a “glimpse” of the one that I kept (which is pinned and ready to quilt):

I have also been fitting in some time to read during this busy month. Here is what I have read since the last time I posted in the Salon…

Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos was a very enjoyable read for me (read my review). I’ve read de los Santos’s previous novels and loved them…and I really liked this one too (even though it seems that several readers have not liked this one as much as her other work).  I appreciate de los Santos’s lyrical writing and character development. Have you read anything by this author?

Me Again by Keith Cronin was a disappointment for me. I actually did not finish this one (read my thoughts) although I was scheduled for a tour. That almost never happens. But, ultimately I am satisfied with my choice to stop reading. Many other readers have liked this book, but I think that my profession as a physical therapist made me a little more critical of the author’s research into rehabilitation of stroke victims.

I thoroughly enjoyed State of Wonder by Ann Patchett which I read for a book group, although I did have some complaints about the ending (read my review).  This was my first Patchett novel and I was not disappointed with the beautiful writing.  Patchett brings the Amazon to the reader in lush and stunning prose which kept me reading. Have you read anything by Ann Patchett? I plan on reading more work by this author in the future.

Solitaria by Genni Gunn is a very literary novel set in Italy which is an interesting read (read my review). Gunn brings to life a complex Italian family following the murder of one of its members. Moving back and forth from present time to the 1940s, the book is slow moving at times, but ultimately solves the mystery.

The Marriage Artist by Andrew Winer has (so far) been my favorite read this month (read my review). I loved Winer’s writing, but I really was drawn into and captivated by the story of the characters which people the novel. I read this book during the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon and it says a lot about the book that I was completely enraptured and never lost interest, even as my physical energy wavered. I’m giving away a copy of this novel – visit the review post to enter to win by October 31st at 5:00 pm PST.

I also blew through Love at First Bark by Julie Klam during the read-a-thon (read my review). This memoir is light, fun, and poignant. Julie Klam is a true dog lover…and readers who also are drawn to dogs will find this one irresistible. This is a very quick read – perfect to squeeze in between the holidays.

I finished Love at Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks this week (read my review). Although I have loved Meeks’s books, this one did not resonate as strongly with me. Meeks once again gives readers a sympathetic character in nerdy Gunnar Gunderson, but for me the character was not as relatable as I wished he would have been. Despite my reservations, this novel is getting some stellar reviews by other bloggers…so if you have enjoyed Meeks in the past, you might want to give this one a try.

I should finish my current read – Little America by Diane Simmons – later today. This slim book is a collection of literary short stories. There are some common themes throughout the collection (the urge to “hit the road,” individuals struggling to survive, and parental abandonment to name a few). Simmons writing is very good and so far, I am finding this to be a good read.

Thanks to the generosity of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, I am also giving away a book/DVD bundle of Water for Elephants. This giveaway is open for US and Canada mailing addresses through November 1st at 5:00 pm – check out the giveaway post to enter (and read my review of the movie).

I am thinking of those living in the Northeast this morning – it is much, much too early to get slammed with a blizzard. Hope you are digging out and have a good book today to keep your attention.

How about the rest of you…have you been reading some great books? I hope you will have time today to devote to reading something wonderful! Have a terrific week as we head into November!

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    • Megan on October 30, 2011 at 10:13

    I don’t claim many favorite authors (I’m more of a “favorite books” kind of girl), but Ann Patchett is definitely one of mine. I haven’t read State of Wonder yet, but you can bet it’s going on my Christmas list. 🙂

    I know a lot of people love Bel Canto, but my favorites of hers so far are Truth and Beauty, which is more of a memoir, and The Magician’s Assistant.

    • zibilee on October 30, 2011 at 10:27

    I loved the picture of the quilt, and am always just amazed at the great designs and color combinations that you come up with. Have a great reading week!

    • Deb Nance at Readerbuzz on October 30, 2011 at 11:06

    I wanted to let you know that Homecoming of Samuel Lake finally arrived last week. Thank you again for the giveaway. I’m about ninety pages from the end….It’s a nice read.

  1. How wonderful that you and your sister have the shared interest of quilting! I know how much that visit must have meant to you – my three (younger) sisters are all spread out from me, either across the state or across the country, and I miss them like crazy.

    I’ve been fighting a nasty cold bug, so have been going for comfort reads. I picked up The Watershed Year at the beginning of the week for a TLC tour, and read it in three days, which is amazing for a homeschooling week! It was fantastic. Right now, I’m halfway through Beautiful Chaos by Garcia & Stohl – I love that series, and it’s perfect for Halloween.

    Hope you have a great Sunday, Wendy!

  2. What a fun visit with your sister! It looks to me like you’ve gotten a lot of reading done.

  3. I read and loved Marisa de los Santos’s first book, Love Walked In…and I’m looking forward to reading her others.

    I enjoy Ann Patchett’s books, too, and State of Wonder is on my wish list.

    This past week, I thoroughly enjoyed The Language of Flowers. My review is linked on MY SUNDAY SALON POST and

    • Kailana on October 30, 2011 at 15:34

    Lots of great looking books! Have a great week!

    • JoAnn on October 31, 2011 at 11:50

    I’ve read all of Patchett’s books except for State of Wonder (hope it won’t be long before I get to it). Most people rave about Bel Canto, but that’s actually my least favorite…I think The Magician’s Assistant is her best.

    • Wendy on November 8, 2011 at 14:07

    Gah! I am so far behind on responding to comments. First of all, thanks to all of you who gave me such nice feedback on the quilt!

    I also appreciate the recommendations re: Ann Patchett’s books – I have Bel Canto (unread) on my shelves, but I am thinking I should next read The Magician’s Assistant since so many people think that one is her best.

    Deb: Glad to hear the book arrived (finally!)…sorry you had to wait so long!

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