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The Sunday Salon – October 14, 2012

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October 14, 2012

Good morning and welcome to The Sunday Salon – a place where readers gather to talk about books! Check out the Facebook page for more links and to play along.

I have been absent from the Salon since September 2nd – my dad passed away on September 17th after a long illness and I found myself back in New Hampshire for an extended stay…so my blogging life really slowed down. But, I’m back now and thought I would share some of the books I read over the last month.

I read Home by Toni Morrison for a book club discussion and found it to be a sparse book (less than 150 pages) which packs a big punch (read my review). I have not read a lot of books by this author, but what I have read I have appreciated. Morrison is a gifted writer whose prose is poetic, rich, and character-driven. If you have not had a chance to pick up one of her books, Home would be a good first choice.

My next read was a chunkster which I read for the Chunkster Challenge and the Chunky Book Club (read my review). Fall of Giants by Ken Follett is the first book in a proposed trilogy (the second book, Winter of the World, was released in September). Ken Follett is known for his novels based in the spy genre, as well as for his well-researched historical fiction. Fall of Giants does not disappoint with dozens of characters (both real and imagined) and a look at the historical events between 1911 and 1924. Follett uncovers the lives of five interrelated families from America, Germany, Russia, England and Wales, and explores such historical events as WWI, the Russian Revolution, and Women’s Suffrage. After finishing this book, I ran out and purchased Winter of the World which I hope to read sooner rather than later.

Next up in my reading pile was The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman – a debut novel which has been getting a little buzz (read my review). I read it for a book club discussion where it got mixed reviews. Despite its slow start, I enjoyed the novel for its alluring imagery and the lyrical cadence of Stedman’s prose. Stedman ultimately creates memorable characters and a story which reminds readers that life is complicated and the decisions we make can have devastating consequences not only for ourselves, but for others.

I then turned to some genre fiction (suspense-thriller) and picked up The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan (read my review). This novel is the first in a series and centers around an investigative reporter, a homicide detective and a political senate race. Fast paced, tightly plotted and introducing a likable female character, the book will appeal to readers who like their novels suspenseful and twisty. I am interested in reading book two when it is released.

I’m heading down to Santa Cruz next weekend for Booktopia, so I will be trying to read some of the books for that event in the next week or so. My current read is The Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones which I hope to finish today. This is a beautiful novel about two teenage girls who share the same father…the twist is that the father is a bigamist – married to both mothers and one of those marriages is a secret. Narrated from both girls’ perspectives, this is a novel which looks at love, jealousy, and the impact of secret lives. I am really enjoying the book. Jones is a talented writer who keeps the tension balanced and creates believable characters.

Other books on my Booktopia reading list include:

  • Swim Back to Me by Ann Packer
  • The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
  • Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
  • Murder at the Lanterne Rouge by Cara Black
  • The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy

What about you? What is on your to-be-read pile?

Today I hope to read and have a little time to work on a Christmas quilt I started in August…it just needs to be pinned and quilted. It also looks like it is going to be a gorgeous fall day here in Northern California so a walk may be in order. What are you doing today? Whatever it is, I hope it involves a great book!

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12 Comments

  1. Carrie K. says:

    I have had The Baker’s Daughter on my to-read shelf for a while now, but I have a feeling it’s going to have to wait until next year.

    I’m currently in the middle of The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister, which is very good so far. I should catch up on laundry and do some packing today, but I’m tempted to just sit and read until I finish it.

  2. Vasilly says:

    I’m so sorry about your dad, Wendy. I hope the rest of the year brings you comfort and joy.

    Silver Sparrow is a really surprising book. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on the ending. Have a good week.

  3. I’ve been wanting to read something by Toni Morrison…so Home is going on my list.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. pburt says:

    I just started The Gift of Rain and it has proven to be a good read so far.

  5. Rachel says:

    Sorry to hear about your dad! I sending good wishes your way. :)

  6. I’m going to start The Casual Vacancy but since reviews haven’t been great, I think I’m going to read it at a slow pace so I can read more engaging books at the same time.

  7. Alyce says:

    I enjoyed The Light Between Oceans, and have heard very good things about the Silver Sparrow book. I’ve only read one Toni Morrison book and that was Song of Solomon, which I thought was very good, but I know that I am going to have to be in just the right mood to tackle her books.

    I have The Orphan Master’s Son on my shelf, but I’ve been in such a sci-fi mood lately that in these next few weeks I might just dive into some unread time travel stories I’ve been saving for a rainy day.

  8. Laurie C says:

    It’s nice to have you back! I plan on reading Home, too, although I’ve only read a couple of others by Toni Morrison so far. I’m in the middle of What the Nanny Saw by Fiona Neill, which I’m reading because Slummy Mummy made me laugh. This new one is pretty funny so far, but is from the nanny’s perspective instead of a mother’s perspective, so I’m feeling a little old.

  9. Sorry about the loss of your dad Wendy:( Hope your sister’s treatments are going well. It’s so mentally draining when loved ones are sick. Wishing you a peaceful week.

  10. Laura says:

    I’m excited to see you’re going to Booktopia! I’m a regular BOTNS listener and it always sounds like such a great event. I would love to hear more about it — enjoy!

  11. First, I’m sorry to hear about your father.

    Second, I’m glad, though, that you’re back and that you stopped by my blog today too.

    Third, I have no third right now, but maybe next week, I will. :)

  12. Susan says:

    It’s nice you are back. Have fun at Booktopia, seems interesting. I finally got to Book Thief over at http://www.thecuecard.com/ cheers