Sunday Salon – July 7, 2013

Sunday Salon

July 7, 2013

Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of The Sunday Salon. Visit the Facebook Page for links to other bloggers’ posts.

We have been roasting here in Northern California this past week with record breaking temperatures into the triple digits. Luckily, the hot spell has broken a bit in the last couple of days and we are enjoying more seasonable weather. This morning actually felt chilly!

Darwin's GardenerSince my last Salon post, I’ve written my review of Mr. Darwin’s Gardener by Kristina Carlson (read my review). I really, really loved this slim little book which is rich and profound and sparkles with writing that feels like one long poem about what it means to be a human and struggling to understand the greater question of life. If you have not read a Peirene Press novella yet, this is a great one to start with…especially if you are a reader of poetry or literary fiction. Just wonderful.

AlwaysWatchingI also finished the latest thriller by Chevy Stevens. Always Watching is Steven’s third novel featuring psychiatrist Dr. Nadine Lavoie – and this time, the plot unfolds around Nadine’s own dark past (read my review). I didn’t love the book – there were some plot issues, in my opinion, which made the whole thing feel a little contrived. But I did think Steven’s created tension…and that kept me reading despite some plot flaws. Readers who have enjoyed previous work by this author will probably want to read this one as it is the first in the series of books where Nadine takes center stage and reveals her own dark past.

Flat Water TuesdayI’m doing something now which I rarely ever do … I’m reading more than one book at a time. I received the audio book of Flat Water Tuesday by Ron Irwin (read by Holter Graham) from MacMillan Audio via Armchair BEA and it is in my car to listen to during my commute hours. I’m early into the book (the sixth chapter now), but am really enjoying this novel about rowing, class, and coming to terms with tragedy. I’ve not done a lot of listening to audio books, but Holter Graham is spectacular. Have you listened to anything with this narrator before?

ThisIsParadiseI’m also reading a collection of short stories for a TLC Book Tour later this month. This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila is a great little collection and centers around the interesting culture of Hawaii. Kahakauwila explores themes of tension between locals and tourists, the importance of our family roots, and the definition of home. I’ll be posting my review on July 23rd and I hope you’ll come back then to read my thoughts.

handling_the_truthFINALAnd finally, I am deeply immersed in and loving Beth Kephart’s newest book which is a non fiction book about the writing of memoir (to be released in August). Handling the Truth is not a how-to book on the writing of memoir – instead it is a profound examination of voice, honesty, and form. I’ll be reviewing this one soon…but for now, I just want to tell you to go read this one (especially if you are a writer).

Speaking of Beth, recently I was very honored to receive an early draft of a future novel set in Florence. Beth and I have become good friends over the last couple of years, and when she heard I was going to Italy this fall and was also dying to read the early words of her new novel, she sent me a PDF of it. I can’t say much about this book – but, I will say, nothing Beth writes is ever a disappointment: her words, always beautiful, her observations profound, her characters lovingly developed…you’ll be hearing more about this one down the road, and when you see it finally completed, I hope you’ll run out and buy it for yourself.

What are you doing this lovely Sunday in July? Whatever it is, I hope that you can enjoy a wonderful book at some point in the day! Have a great week!


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  1. I’m reading multiple books too and I hate that I’m doing it! It feels very weird, but it just sort of happened. Generally I like to be “monogamous”! :–)

    • Serena on July 7, 2013 at 09:07

    I cannot wait to read Beth’s memoir book about voice, etc. I am looking forward to her book on Florence.

  2. I have several Chevy Stevens patiently waiting on TBR shelf.

    Have a great week!!

  3. The weather is so strange. We have been drowning in rain so our temperatures are way below normal.

  4. Good luck reading two book at a time. I’ve recently discovered that I can’t do that 🙂

    Handling the Truth sounds incredibly interesting and I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. I want to go buy it right now, lol.

  5. Sounds like you have some great reads going! I am not a monogamous reader – I always have a few going. I’m about 2/3 of the way through Middlemarch, and I just started The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan and Paradigm by Helen Stringer. Plus, I’m listening to Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter on audio, and it is excellent. I hope your cooler weather lasts! We had 105 degree days twice in a row at the beginning of last week, and I thought I was going to die. It’s a much more comfortable 85 today.

  6. I saved your Darwin review for later as it’s my next book, but I’m glad to hear it’s just as good as the others. I used to read one book too, and it took a couple of years of blogging to start adding to it. I was never good at keeping to two as a child, but as long as you make time for both it’s a good idea.

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