Category Archives: Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon – November 24, 2013

Sunday Salon

November 24, 2013

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

The last time I posted a Salon post was way back on July 7th. This year has been one of ups and downs and lots of distractions. My reading is way down. I have been spending more time in my sewing room than curled up on the couch with a book. There are reasons, of course.

This weekend I took some time to update my blog (especially the prize lists) and caught up on some reviews that I had yet to write. I gazed at my towering to-be-read pile and felt some dismay. I don’t want to give up my blog, but I don’t want to feel the pressure of having to read and review books. So you may see some changes here come January 1st. Not huge changes, but changes nonetheless.

Today I thought I’d talk about the books I have read so far this month. The list is not long, but the books have been good.

WhatTheDogKnowsI started out the month finishing up What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren – which I loved. I rarely read nonfiction because I love, love, love fiction. BUT, this book kept me riveted. The writing is excellent and it was a subject that interested me. Check out my review.

ChasingKingofHeartsChasing the King of Hearts by Hanna Krall (and translated by Philip Boehm) is a Peirene Press novella. I love getting these beautifully crafted little books and, once again, I was not disappointed with the content (read my review). Krall survived WWII hiding in a cupboard, and in her slim book she has crafted fiction which was inspired by real life. The writing is simple, yet poetic. It is sad, but there is also humor. She gives voice to the thousands who perished at the hands of the Nazis, but also to those who survived in spite of the odds. If you love literary and translated fiction, you won’t want to miss this little gem.

QuietDellBrowsing through Barnes and Noble one rainy day earlier this month, I was drawn to Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne Phillips. I have her award winning book Lark and Termite on my stacks to be read…and I have heard such good things about her writing. Quiet Dell is based on a true story – that of serial killer Henry Powers who lured women to their deaths through lonely hearts ads during the Great Depression. Phillips spent some of her childhood in the town where the murders took place and her memories of that time are stark (even though she was only six years old). Quiet Dell is her ode to the victims – it is both fiction and nonfiction, interwoven. I found the book compelling and one of the best of the year (read my review).

AdeI finished Ade by Rebecca Walker early in the month for a TLC Book Tour which I post this Tuesday. This is another slim, but powerful book and I really loved it. You can read my review on the 26th…in the meantime, you can read what others have thought by visiting the tour page and clicking through to the reviews listed there. I am also offering a giveaway of this book. The giveaway will be open for one week, and Canadian and US readers are encouraged to enter for a chance to win. Come back here on the 26th to enter.

AfterHerMy current read is another novel based (loosely) on a true case. Those of you living in Northern California may remember the Trailside Killer who stalked the trails of Mt. Tamalpais and other parks in the 1970s. Joyce Maynard’s latest novel, After Her, centers around two sisters whose father is heading up the investigation into murders happening on Mt. Tamalpais. The girls spend a lot of time on the mountain – it is their playground…and the eldest child wants to help her father solve the case. Maynard’s writing is great and I’m nearly 100 pages into the book and should finish it soon as I can’t seem to put this one down for long!

Later today I am going for a bike ride with my husband and I’ll be sewing – working on some gifts for Christmas. I also hope to find a little time to read. What about you? What are YOU doing this lovely Sunday in November?


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!


Sunday Salon – June 30, 2013

Sunday Salon

June 30, 2013

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

ShastaLavender.PandWcloseup0001I have not posted to the Salon since June 9th! But I have a good reason. My sister arrived from New Hampshire and we had a wonderful two week visit which included short day trips and lots and lots of sewing/quilting. We are in the process of constructing medallion quilts…and they will be collaborative, which means that we will be trading them back and forth and each person adds a border before sending it back to the other. Here is what we have done so far (Paula’s quilt is on the left…she did the center and did the first border which begins with the dark blue border and works out to include the flying geese; my quilt is on the right, and I did the center and Paula did the first round which starts with the tangerine border and works out to include the trees). Click on any of the photos to enjoy a larger view:

SistersMedallion.RoundOne0001 SistersMedallion.Wendy.RoundOne0001

I also had a lot of fun stitching a bunting for my niece, Abby, to celebrate her outstanding first year of college (she made the Deans list, among other things!):

Bunting.Abby.020001 Bunting.Abby.BackReveal0001

StillMidnightI have also enjoyed some reading time since my last Salon post…some great books in my stacks and never enough time to read them all! I finished reading Still Midnight by Denise Mina (read my review) which I enjoyed, although it wasn’t perfect. There was some good discussion of this novel over at Nicole’s blog (beware of spoilers!) and I am looking forward to diving into the next book in the series titled The End of Wasp Season which will be discussed on Jenn’s blog on July 11th.

DinnerThe next book in my stacks was a real page turner – although the characters are pretty unlikable (read my review). I think The Dinner by Herman Koch is one of those “love it” or “hate it” type of books. The reviews out there have been very mixed…and I do understand why. For me the book’s positives (compelling narration, moral questions, stunning writing) outweighed its negatives (a questionable plot and unlikable characters). We discussed this book for the Bookies Too Yahoo group, and it was an interesting discussion. I really liked how one of our members broke down the actual food references as symbolic of what was going on with the characters!! Join the Bookies Too group to read our whole discussion.

yonahlossseeJust the other day I finished reading Anton DiSclafani’s debut novel The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls (read my review). This is a book which has been getting a fair amount of buzz, and I do think it deserves it. This is, at its heart, a coming of age story – and I think it is a cross over YA/Adult title (or could be), although Riverhead Books is marketing it as adult fiction. DiSclafani is a talent, atmospheric writer. I’m looking forward to more from her in the future.

Darwin's GardenerI also finished the lovely new novella published by Peirene Press this month. Mr. Darwin’s Gardener by Kristina Carlson (translated from the Finnish by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah) feels like a long poem. I really enjoy these kinds of books, although they take longer to read and absorb. This was the perfect book to enjoy on the front porch with the butterflies fluttering around my plants. I’ll have a review up on this one by Tuesday. But suffice it to say that I was not disappointed with this little book – it is a Peirene Press classic.

AlwaysWatchingI’m trying to squeeze at least one more book into my reading before the month closes. So I am starting what I hope will be a page turner and quick read. Always Watching by Chevy Stevens promises to be haunting, heart-pounding, and sinister. Just what I need to blow through in the last days of June!

My stack for July is huge. I don’t even know where to start. I will definitely be reading Handling the Truth by Beth Kephart (her non fiction book on memoir set for release in August), Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (for both my face-to-face book club AND Bookies Too Yahoo group), This is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila (for a TLC Book Tour on July 23rd), River Thieves by Michael Crummey (for Bookies Too Yahoo group on August 1st), and TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (a Library Thing Early Review book). That may be it – but perhaps these books will have me sailing right along and I might be able to cram a few more reads in before the end of July – we’ll see!

handling_the_truthFINAL lifeafterlife ThisIsParadise RiverThieves Transatlantic

I hope this Sunday finds you enjoying a beautiful day – and that it will, at some point, include a great book! Have a wonderful week!

Sunday Salon – June 9, 2013

Sunday Salon

June 9, 2013

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

hotWell, I don’t know what’s happening in the rest of the country, but out here in California we’re breaking heat records. Yesterday’s temps soared to 115 in the valley, and up here in the mountains (where it is usually beautiful and comfortable) it was 105. Yikes! Today is supposed to be 10 degrees cooler – I hope so!

I’m heading out of here shortly to do a little work in town, but will be back in the afternoon to relax and catch up on some chores, bills, reading, and maybe a little sewing too.

RiverOfDustThis past week I posted reviews on two books. One book, The River of Dust, I talked about on my last Salon post…so I won’t say much else about it except: Read it. This is the kind of book that gets stronger and stronger as the pages turn. Very smart fiction. Read my review here.

HundredSummersI found myself totally engrossed in A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams (read my review). Williams caught my eye with her debut novel Overseas (read my review), and her sophomore effort is even better. Here is an author who seamlessly blends romance with historical fiction and captivates with great characters and some twists in the plot. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil the story…but suffice it to say that A Hundred Summers is making all the “best books of summer” lists out there and it deserves the praise it has been getting – the perfect beach read.

StillMidnightMy current read is a terrific mystery/suspense novel set in Scotland. Still Midnight by Denise Mina is the BOOK CLUB read which will be discussed over on Nicole’s blog on Tuesday (the 11th). I plan on being there…and truly, if you love mysteries, this one could be read in a couple of days, so it is not too late to join us. I have long wanted to read a Mina book…and if you are new to this author this is a good one with which to start. Stay tuned for my review on Tuesday (I am more than 1/2 way done with the novel, so I should have no trouble getting a review up by then).

DinnerI next hope to crack the spine on The Dinner by Herman Koch which is the book selection for the Bookies Too Yahoo group for June 16th-30th. This novel looks intriguing – have you read it? If so, what did you think? It is a relatively short book at just over 200 pages…so I hope to have it read quickly since the discussion is not all that far off.

I hope you are enjoying your Sunday…and that whatever you are doing, it involves a great book at some point!


Sunday Salon – June 2, 2013

Sunday Salon

June 2, 2013

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

This past week has been so much fun with The Armchair BEA in full swing. Today are the wrap up posts, but earlier in the week there were giveaways and fabulous book recommendations, and thoughts about all things bloggy. Visit The Armchair BEA website to get links to all the great posts. If you missed my contributions (which are loaded with book recommendations in several different categories), you can catch them by following these links:

I’m also giving away a bunch of books. For those of you living all over the world, I’m offering up one lucky winner a copy of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (click on the book graphic to enter by June 3rd at 5:00 pm PST):


For those of you living in the US or Canada, you may enter to win a copy of The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout and/or In The Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve (click on the book graphics below to enter by June 3rd, 2013 at 5:00 pm PST):

BurgessBoys GardenOfStone

And I have two giveaways available for those living in the US only (click on graphics to go to entry forms): Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (enter by June 3rd, 2013 at 5:00 pm PST) and a collection of books by Beth Kephart (up to a $30 value) which you may select yourself … as well as one winner will get a signed copy of their choice of one of the author’s books (enter by June 5th at 5:00 pm PST):

Burial Rites Beth

Tuesday'sGOneSo last week I managed to finish two books. Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French was fabulous and I can highly recommend the series (this was the second book, and six books are planned). Check out my review to read all my thoughts – but readers who love suspense-thrillers that delve deeply into the psychological, as well as those who like their books well plotted, will definitely enjoy this book!

RiverOfDustI also really enjoyed River of Dust by Virginia Pye which was released last month by Unbridled Books. I’ll get a review up soon. It is set in 1910 and follows the lives of a married couple who are living in China as missionaries and whose son gets kidnapped by Mongolian rebels. Faced with an almost unbearable loss, the Reverend and his wife, Grace, must grapple with their faith as well as their relationship with each other. Pye takes the idea of missionaries and turns it on its head in this wry, very smart novel. I found it fascinating that the story was inspired by the author’s grandfather who founded the Oberlin College – Shansi Program. He and his wife, Gertrude, arrived in China just after the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

HundredSummersMy current read is A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. Last year I read her debut novel, Overseas, which got a four star review from me (read my review), so I am expecting to enjoy her sophomore effort as well. A Hundred Summers alternates between 1931 and 1938 and is set in Rhode Island – a place I know well!

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to read them?

Since we’re now in June, I’m rummaging through the stacks and lining up possible reads for the rest of the month. Here is what I’m considering:

  • Still Midnight by Denise Mina (for Book Club discussion on Nicole’s blog on June 11th) – I’ve been wanting to read a book by this author for awhile and now I have a good excuse to do so!
  • Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone (which was nominated for the Strega Prize)
  • Mr. Darwin’s Gardener by Kristina Carlson (Peirene Press’s latest novella)
  • What Changes Everything by Masha Hamilton (released this month through Unbridled Books)
  • Transatlantic by Colum McCann (a Library Thing early review book)
  • The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani (which has gotten great early reviews)
  • Always Watching by Chevy Stevens (a thriller which looks like a perfect summer read)

That list could change depending on my mood…but we’ll see. My sister, Paula, is coming out for a two week visit (arriving mid-month) so I have a feeling I will not be able to read ALL of these books! I am so excited to see my sister who is once again celebrating being cancer-free after undergoing surgery in February. We are planning to celebrate!!

I hope you have a wonderful week ahead of you…and that you will find some quiet time to pick up a great book!

Sunday Salon – May 26, 2013

Sunday Salon

May 26, 2013

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

I hope my US readers are enjoying their Memorial Day weekend. We’ve had beautiful weather here – sunshine and in the 70’s, although today is a little cloudy. Normally, I would be going on a hike or taking a bike ride, but my ribs are still healing from my fall a couple of weeks ago, so instead I’ll be doing more sedentary activity which will definitely include reading!

Armchair BEA 2Next week is the BEA in New York City and the Armchair BEA for those of us who could not make the trip to New York. I’ll be participating in the daily events for the Armchair Bea (see the complete schedule here). And there will be giveaways here on Caribousmom on several days…so I hope you’ll come back this week and join in the fun! Also, it is not too late to sign up to participate – go to this post to register.

seaofpoppiesWe’re getting ready to have another discussion over on the Chunkster Blog in June. Our Chunky Book Club read is Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh and discussion questions will post by June 15th and be open indefinitely. I hope you’ll consider joining us over there (learn more about the Chunky Book Club). If you have not read Sea of Poppies, I can tell you it is a fantastic, richly textured saga (read my review). Ghosh’s second book in this proposed trilogy, River of Smoke, is also an amazing piece of historical fiction (read my review). Have you read either book?

BurgessBoysLast week I talked briefly about Elizabeth Strout’s newest novel – The Burgess Boys. I ended up with very mixed feelings about this book (read my review). On the one hand, no one can fault Strout’s prose and the way she develops character. But despite those talents, something fell a little flat for me in the book plot-wise. I wasn’t completely convinced that the Somali immigrants in the novel were much more than a plot device to add conflict, and overall the novel was a bit of a downer. That said, there are plenty of glowing reviews out there for this book – so don’t take my word for it. If you’ve enjoyed Strout’s work in the past, you might want to give this one a try.

othertypistA book I can highly recommend, however, is the one I just finished this week. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell is a twisty, well-plotted page turner with a terrific unreliable narrator (read my review). I really loved this novel and I flew through the last half of the book. It should be no surprise that the publisher of Rindell’s debut is Amy Einhorn Books. I have come to really trust this publisher for some A+ reads … and The Other Typist is yet another success for them. This book would be a terrific pick for book clubs.

Tuesday'sGOneMy current read is also turning out to be really good. Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French is the second book in the Frieda Klein series. A third book, Waiting for Wednesday, is being released in the UK this month. I’m not sure of the US release date, but I would think we would not have long to wait. At any rate, Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist who gets entangled in investigating murders, kidnappings, etc… I read the first book in the series (Blue Monday) and this is what I wrote about Frieda:

Frieda is a complex character who at first left me a bit cold with her reserved and careful demeanor. But as the novel progressed, I found myself empathizing with her character and wanting to understand her psychological underpinnings. (Read my complete review).

In Tuesday’s Gone, Frieda is much more approachable for the reader. Although this novel could stand alone, I think readers would be well-served to read Blue Monday first before starting Tuesday’s Gone. Look for my review soon!

I hope I’ll be able to fit one more book into my reading schedule before the end of the month…but I’m not sure which one of the many wonderful books in my stacks I’ll pick up yet.

How about you? What will be YOUR last read for the month?


Sunday Salon – May 19, 2013

Sunday Salon

May 19, 2013

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

I hope you all had a great week of reading. I had a fall at work last week (on Wednesday) when my ankle rolled and a took a header off a curb. Luckily I did not break any bones, although I abraded my knee, tore the costo-cartilage of one of my ribs and wrenched my arm so that I was pretty bruised and sore and unable to work either Thursday or Friday. With several days of rest, I’m feeling better (although not 100%) and because I can’t do much else, I’ve been reading a lot the last couple of days.

GardenOfStoneI’ve posted my review of In The Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve which is a quiet novel about several generations of immigrant Italians living in Virginia and West Virginia. I’m giving away a copy of this book to one US reader and that contest ends on Tuesday at 5:00 pm so you still have time to enter. I enjoyed the lovely descriptions of place in this book and it reminded me of a collection of linked short stories. If you like character-driven stories, you might want to give this one a try.

WheredYouGoI also finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple which I absolutely loved (read my review)! This is such an original novel and Semple is great at writing satire. I found the characters memorable and the format witty and fun. This book made the short list for the Women’s Prize for Fiction and I am a little surprised only because it seems less literary than their usual picks. But it is smart, women’s fiction and it is great to see this kind of book getting recognized by one of the big names in awards.

Later this month, I’m meeting with my newly formed face-to-face book club to discuss Semple’s novel and I think it will be a fun book for our book club.

BurgessBoysI am less than 50 pages from finishing The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. This novel is set in Maine and centers around the Burgess family which includes brothers Jim and Bob, and their sister, Susan…along with their nephew, Zach. Strout does an amazing job with characterization – but I have to say, my feelings about this book are luke warm. Perhaps it is my mood and not the book – but it feels so bleak to me. No one seems happy. I’ll have to think about this one a bit more before writing any kind of review.

othertypistMy next read will be one that has been getting some positive buzz in blogland. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell is a debut novel published by the very popular Amy Einhorn Books. Set in 1923 the novel is about a New York City Police Department typist. Have you heard about this one? Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

Today is a beautiful, cool, sunshiney day in the Northern California mountains. I wish I could go for a bike ride. But, my poor body needs a bit more healing before climbing aboard a bicycle…so instead, I think I’ll find a comfy chair on the porch and finish my book. How about you? What are you doing this fine Sunday in May? Whatever it is, I hope at some point you find some time to turn some pages in a fantastic book!

Sunday Salon – May 12, 2013

Sunday Salon

May 12, 2013

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

Before I start talking about books…HAPPY MOTHER”S DAY to all you moms out there – and also to those of you who may not have your “own” children, but certainly have children in your life who you mentor and love…because you are mothers by my definition! I hope you are finding something lovely to do today, being kind to yourself, and getting a bit spoiled by someone who loves you!

ConstellationLast Sunday I promised you that I would be posting my review of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra and you may find that review here. I LOVED this book on so many levels. And after I wrote my own review, I went out to read what other people were saying. This book is getting universally awesome reviews. Last time  I checked, it was garnering an average of 4.86 stars on Library Thing (go to this page to check out those reviews). I have a feeling this book will be showing up on the best of the year and prize lists for 2013. I’m offering a giveaway to US and Canada mailing addresses which ends on Tuesday. Go to this post to enter.

GardenOfStoneI also finished reading another book for TLC Book Tours last week. In the Garden of Stone by by Susan Tekulve is a lovely, quiet novel about successive generations of one family living in West Virginia and Virginia. I’ve been reading some mixed reviews of Tekulve’s novel which feels a lot like a series of linked short stories. I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of place and the dreamy quality of the writing. My review for this book goes up on May 14th and I’ll be offering one book for giveaway to US mailing addresses – so I hope you’ll come back to read my thoughts and enter for your chance to win a copy.

WheredYouGoMy current read is hilarious. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple has been short listed for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction and I can see why. It is witty, original and clever. And that is all I’m going to say right now because I am only half way through the novel (although I expect to finish it soon). Bernadette claims she has trouble making friends, but I just want to go on the record and say I think we could be the best of friends! Have you read this book yet? If not, what you are waiting for?!?!? My review should post by Wednesday – hope you’ll come back to read more of my thoughts.

BurgessBoysI think my next read is going to have to be The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. I won this book as part of Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program and I adored Strout’s previous novel, Olive Kitteridge (read my review). The book came out in March and I have not read any reviews on it yet so I don’t know what other readers are thinking about this novel. Have you heard anything about this book? Have you read it?

Today promises to be beautiful here – warm and sunny with a little breeze. I’m going for a bike ride this morning (I’m loving my new bike!) and then I’ll be in my sewing room working on this quilt:


Since I took that photo, I’ve added about 5 more diagonal rows. This is a very picky quilt – everything is pieced diagonally and because I am working with bias cuts I have to be very careful about distortion. I think I’ve used about half a can of spray starch so this quilt could actually stand on its own! Anyway, I’m hoping to get the rest of this top pieced today so I can go back to working on the back of this quilt:


So you can see – I have a lot on my plate…but it is a wonderful therapy for me!

What about you? What are you doing today? Whatever it is, I hope at some point it involves a great book!


Sunday Salon – May 5, 2013

Sunday Salon

May 5, 2013

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

This weekend, my husband and I are celebrating ten years of marriage. We are having a wonderful, relaxing couple of days together doing only what we want to do. Yesterday we spent a bit of time in the afternoon shopping for bicycles. I am really excited about my new bike which is a Cannondale hybrid. We’re looking forward to getting out on some of the trails this summer as well as just being able to ride around the neighborhood.

RoundHouseAs far as reading goes, I posted two five star reviews this week. I talked about The Round House last week, and the more I think about this book, the more I love it (read my review). I have come to expect awesomeness from Louise Erdrich, and so far I have not been disappointed.

MountainsEchoedAs promised, my review of And The Mountains Echoed went up on May 1st. I hope we don’t have to wait six more years for Hosseini’s next novel. He is such an amazing story teller, and I love his characters in this latest effort. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing this book on the end of the year “bests” lists this year. I know it will be on my short list!

ConstellationThis week I finished reading A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara and I’ll be posting my review of that novel on May 7th as part of a TLC Book Tour. This was a beautifully written debut…and another five star book for me, making April one of the best months of reading so far this year. I hope you’ll come back Tuesday to read more of what I thought about the book and to enter the giveaway I’ll be posting.

GardenOfStoneMy current read is also for a TLC Book Tour this month (May 14th). In the Garden of Stone by Susan Tekulve is set in West Virginia beginning in 1924 and is a multi-generational novel. I’m about 100 pages into the book and enjoying Tekulve’s writing. She is able to create a sense of place which is very strong, and her prose feels dreamy at times. I have a feeling this is going to be a satisfying read for me.

I have some fantastic books on my stack for the rest of this month which include:

WheredYouGo othertypist RiverOfDust SwimmingToElba

BurgessBoys AboveAllThings Tuesday'sGOne

  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
  • River of Dust by Virginia Pye
  • Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone
  • The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
  • Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
  • Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning to read any? Do you think I’ll manage to get through that whole stack by the end of the month????

Today is gorgeous here in Northern California, and I will most certainly be out pedaling my new bike at some point. But I also hope to find some time to camp out on my front porch with a glass of lemonade and a great book. How about you? What is on your agenda for today?


Sunday Salon – April 28, 2013

Sunday Salon

April 28, 2013

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

Yesterday hundreds of readers hunkered down to participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon. There were prizes, mini challenges, cheerleaders and lots of tweeting while the pages turned. You can see how I did by visiting my wrap up post here. I’ve been participating in this event from its conception, and every time I do, I am reminded of what a great community of readers are here on the Internet. This event, more than any other, is a celebration of reading and community. I never make it the full 24 hours, but that is not what is important. What is important is that people are reading! So the next time someone tells you reading is “dead,” invite them to visit the Read-A-Thon blog!

MountainsEchoedSince I posted last week, I finished reading And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. This is another stellar novel by an amazing author. I’ll be posting my review on May 1st – but what I can tell you right now is that you should put this book on your must read list for 2013.

AllYouCouldAskForMy review of All You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg went up last week for a TLC Book Tour. I really liked this debut novel which captures women’s friendships well. Greenberg explores friendship within the context of the unexpected events which life throws in our path. I believe this would be a great book club read…and the best part? Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to The V Foundation for Cancer Research to combat breast cancer. Read more blogger reviews of this book by visiting the TLC Book Tour page.

RoundHouseYesterday I started and finished The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Once again, Erdrich creates fabulous characters who reside on a North Dakota Indian Reservation. The Round House is a sequel of sorts to The Plague of Doves in that it carries forward characters from that earlier novel. I read The Plague of Doves last fall (read my review) and although you don’t need to read that book to enjoy her latest book, it does put the family dynamics in perspective. I really loved The Round House. The writing is amazing, and the plot surprised me. By the time I turned the last page, I felt like I really knew the characters who people the novel. Erdrich won the 2012 National Book Award for this book and it is well deserved. I’ll be writing a review of this one soon, so I hope you’ll come back to read more of my thoughts.

ConstellationI made it half way through A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Maara yesterday. Set in Chechyna, this debut novel is a page turner. I’m touring this one for TLC Book Tours on May 7th so come back then to read my review. I also think I will be giving away a copy of the book then. Maara is a writer who we’ll definitely be hearing more about in the years to come. He’s already made his mark with shorter works by winning a Whiting Award and Pushcart Prize. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing A Constellation of Vital Phenomena on prize lists in 2013.

I hope you’re reading some stellar books this week and finding time to feed your soul.