Sunday Salon – July 8, 2012

July 8, 2012

Good morning! I hope you are all enjoying your summer. It has been very hot here the last few days with humidity at less than 10% which makes the fire danger extreme. I always feel a little nervous this time of year.

Before I start talking about my reading, I want to let you all know about the terrific book giveaway we are hosting over on the Chunkster Challenge blog. You do NOT need to be a challenge participant to enter, but you do need to have a US mailing address. Check out this post to learn about the book, and this post to enter for a chance to win one of five copies of the book.

I’m in the middle of the novel right now and it is mesmerizing. The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg is a WWII book set in the Lodz Jewish ghetto in Poland. The book centers around Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski who essentially ran the ghetto and collaborated with the Nazis. He is a controversial historical figure, and Sem-Sandberg’s exploration of him in the novel is in depth and riveting. I hope to get this book reviewed in the next week or so – it is a big book (almost 700 pages) so it is taking a little time to get through it.

I am also reading The Absolutist by John Boyne for BOOK CLUB. We’ll be discussing the novel over at Nicole’s blog on Tuesday, July 10th. This is a very interesting book which is set just after WWI in England. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I will say that Boyne is a talented author who knows how to create tension. This is the first book by this author that I’ve read, but I have a feeling it will not be the last. Have you read anything by John Boyne before? He is probably best known for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which was also made into a major motion picture (I’ve not read the book or seen the movie…yet).

I guess I should also re-cap some of my other reading since the last time I posted in the Sunday Salon was way back on June 17th. Since then, I finished reading The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (read my review) which was stunningly beautiful, With My Body by Nikki Gemmell (read my review) which started strong but ultimately fell flat for me, and The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani (read my review) which was also a bit of a disappointment.

I have an interesting pile of books on my nightstand for this month and hope I can manage to get to all of them. They include:

  • Sutree by Cormac McCarthy (for the Bookies Too Yahoo group)
  • In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Hatner
  • Gold by Chris Cleave (which seems appropriate given that the Summer Olympics begin this month)
  • The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, by Ann Weisgarber (for Orange July – this book made the short list for the New Writers Award in 2009)

I would also love to get to In One Person by John Irving…but we’ll see. My reading continues to be VERY slow these days (I only read three books in June).

Today I am heading out soon for a walk before it gets too hot. I hope to spend a little time with The Absolutist later and I also have some great quilting projects in the works which I may dabble with later.

What are YOU doing today? Whatever it is, I hope it will involve a great book at some point!

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  1. I’m sorry that The Shoemaker’s Wife was a disappointment for you! I really enjoyed it, but I know some people felt it dragged in places.

    The Absolutist intrigues me – I’ve never read any Boyne before.

    Speaking of Chunksters, I am still making my way through 11/22/63. It’s a complete page-turner, but reading it has me wishing for an e-reader for the first time. It’s so huge, my hands hurt from holding it after a while!

    • Alyce on July 8, 2012 at 08:56

    I have one of John Boyne’s other books, The Thief of Time, that I haven’t read yet. I saw The Boy in Striped Pajamas movie and it wasn’t my favorite. I get why people like it – it was heartbreaking. But it seemed a little bit unrealistic and manipulative of the reader. I think it probably was more effective as a book.

  2. The heat and the humidity have been awful, but we should get a break soon. I hope you do too. I have so many books I want to read right now – finding the time is difficult these days.

    • Deb Nance at Readerbuzz on July 8, 2012 at 10:41

    I’m off to start my bookgroup’s pick for July, Wild Swans.

    • Jill on July 8, 2012 at 10:45

    I really liked The Personal History of Rachel DuPree – hope you do too! Happy Orange July!

    • Ryan on July 8, 2012 at 16:29

    I finished The Absolutitst the other day and it broke my heart

    • Claudia on July 8, 2012 at 19:42

    How can a book break your heart & make your heart soar all at once? How can certain passages be of a horrific nature & yet be written in such a beautiful way that you must go back & re-read them? I don’t know how, but “In the shadow of the banyan” does that.

  3. I will be really interested to get your thoughts on Suttree. McCarthy’s writing can be soooo so so brutal, and therefore polarizing. Haven’t read this one myself, but a buddy of mine is working through his body of novels now. Enjoy!

    • Serena on July 10, 2012 at 08:21

    The Emperor of Lies by Steve Sem-Sandberg sounds like a good read for Anna. I haven’t read John Boyne before, but a lot of the WWI reading challenge participants are reading that one…I may have to check it out.

  4. I adored The Personal History of Rachel DuPree.I hope you like it as much as I did! I’m also eager to read Gold this month. Happy reading!

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