Sunday Salon – December 2, 2012

December 2, 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 realized this morning that it has been a whole month since I last posted a Sunday Salon.  How did December get here so quickly?! November flew by and I actually read some wonderful books last month. Here is a round-up of the books I’ve read since my last Salon post:

I read Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver for a TLC Book Tour and loved it (read my review). Kingsolver is one of those authors who I adore. She is the consummate story-teller, and even if you don’t agree with her “message,” it is hard to deny her skill at stringing words together. Flight Behavior is set in the Appalachians and deals with the theme of global warming and weather change…but it also takes a hard look at choices the we face in our personal lives.  How do we determine truth? What factors influence our decisions and beliefs?

I enjoyed a trip to Santa Cruz in October for Booktopia, and while there got to meet author Adam Johnson and listen to him talk about his extraordinary novel The Orphan Master’s Son. I finished the book last month and found it to be a dense and complex novel which is an unforgettable portrait of a country and the people who survive under the most difficult of circumstances (read my review). Not an easy read, this novel is rich in political satire and filled with memorable characters. I have a feeling this is a book which will generate much discussion in book clubs.

The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets by Kathleen Alcott is an unusual coming of age story that explores forbidden love, family dynamics, the search for identity, and recovery from loss (read my review). I found this debut novel to be sad and bittersweet, but also lyrical and original. Alcott establishes herself as an author to watch with this compelling book…I hope you’ll pick up a copy.

It is no secret that I love Peirene Press and their lovely works in translation. Sea of Ink by Richard Weihe is another successful novella which brings to life an artist and poet from 17th century China (read my review). Translated from the German, the book includes eleven of the author’s works of art. Although less than 200 pages in length, the novella captures the life of Zhu Da, a descendent of the royalty making up the Ming Dynasty which ruled China for 276 years (1368–1644). Do yourself a favor and read Sea of Ink – for that matter, pick up all the previous books published by Peirene Press…they are magnificent!

Another of my favorite publishers is Unbridled Books – so I was not surprised to fully enjoy Love Slave by Jennifer Speigel (read my review). Set in contemporary New York City, Love Slave features a wonderful protagonist by the name of Sybil Weatherfield. Sybil is completely flawed, and so she is also completely believable. I found myself rooting for her to find the meaning in her life she so craved. Delightful and quirky, Love Slave was well worth my time.

My current read is The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer which has been collecting dust on my TBR pile for far too long. This book is due for discussion in the Chunky Book Club mid-month (over on the Chunkster Challenge blog), so I hope you’ll consider joining us. Orringer was long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2011 for this book. It takes place during WWII and centers around three brothers from Hungary. I’m not too far into this chunkster (about 50 pages), but I’m already hooked. Look for my review sometime later this month.

I also want to mention a book giveaway I am hosting. City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte was  released just this month through Penguin and although I have not yet read it, it looks fantastic. The giveaway is open to US mailing addresses through December 7th and the book (along with a set of themed buttons) will make FIVE WINNERS very happy, I’m sure. Go to this post to enter.

So that pretty much wraps up my book round-up! I’m hoping to dip into Julie Orringer’s lovely book a little later, and perhaps work on a quilt which I am hoping to complete in the next 2 weeks. What about you? What are you doing on this first Sunday in December? Whatever it is, I hope at some point it involves a great book!

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    • Susan on December 2, 2012 at 14:00

    Sounds like you had a heady reading month. Nov. went by quickly and I’m sure Dec. will fly by as well. Look forward to what you think of Invisible Bridge. Cheers

  1. The Invisible Bridge is one that has been on my TBR list for a while now – looking forward to your review.

  2. I worked today but have managed to squeeze in a little time to read The Future of Us.

    • Gavin on December 3, 2012 at 17:03

    Wonderful books, Wendy! I have several of these on my TBR list. My November flew by and I am hoping to have a better handle on my reading in December.

    • Serena on December 4, 2012 at 06:46

    Sounds like you were busy last month, and Love Slave sounds like a book I need to add to the tbr list.

    • Ti on December 5, 2012 at 08:43

    I really liked The Orphan Master’s Son. It was very different and complex, as you said. I don’t think it got the recognition it deserved though.

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