The Sunday Salon: 1/16/2011

Happy Sunday fellow Saloners! I have not been awake for very long (it’s Sunday, after all!), but my plans for the day consist of laundry, cleaning and reading.  The perfect Sunday, in my opinion.

My reading week was kind of fast paced, at least for me.  I read three books–The Polski Affair, by Leon Gildin, What I Thought I Knew, by Alice Eve Cohen and A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear, by Atiq Rahimi. They were all three enjoyable but all seemed kind of fleeting.  I think I need to find a longer book to sink my teeth into.

I did try to read Ken and Thelma, by Joel Fletcher, which is a biography about John Kennedy Toole, the author of A Confederacy of Dunces, and his relationship with his mother.  Dunces is one of my top two favorite books (Gone with the Wind being my other fave) and my book club is reading it this month, so I thought the biography would add a bit more to my experience of the book, but it was so boring.  Fletcher just kept focusing on Thelma and what a kook she was.  I felt like Ken was not a focus.  I put it down after about 50 pages–my first DNF of 2011!

I think this week I am going to reread Dunces.  It has been two years since I originally read it and I know, being my favorite book, it deserves a reread.  I confess though, I suck at rereading.  I did it all the time in high school.  You can bet if I liked a book then, I was going to read it at least 3-4 times, but I have fallen out of that and I don’t know how to fix it.  So we’ll see if I make it all the way through Dunces or if I move on to something else.

I hope you all enjoy your Sunday and make sure to let me know what you’ll be reading today!

The Sunday Salon

Once again, I feel like my week in reading was pretty weak.  That seems to be my mantra for February.  I finished one book this week–Passing, by Nella Larsen–and I am close to finishing the third part of East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.  I also read fifty pages of The Shack and decided it just wasn’t worth it.  The writing was so contrived and I just didn’t want to read it.  So I didn’t.

The good news is that there are really no plans for today.  I have some general housework to do, but other than that my day will be devoted to reading.

Despite the fact that my reading has been lagging, I decided to aquire some more books this week.  Firstly, I bought Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese.  The reviews I read for it portrayed it as a phenomenal book, so I purchased it. 

I also got two review copies this week from Hatchette.  The first, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, by Tiffany Baker, is a book I have had on my list for over a year.  It will also count towards the Deb challenge I am currently signed up for.  The other book I am super excited about!

I love Chelsea Handler.  I think she is absolutely hysterical.  When her last book was published, I was lucky enough to get to meet her.  As soon as the book arrived in the mail, I immediately texted my family members because I knew they would be insanely jealous!

I also got quite a few library books.

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher (this is a re-check out)

Secondand Smoke, by Patti Friedmann (for my trip to New Orleans)

The Last Madame: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld, by Christine Wiltz (also for my trip to New Orleans)

Forever, by Judy Blume (for the Shelf Discovery challenge)

Murder of a Medici Princess, by Caroline P Murphy (for my trip to Florence)

Signora da Vinci, by Robin Maxwell (also for my trip to Florence)

Have you read any of these?  If so, what are your thoughts?

Have a great Sunday everyone!



Sunday Salon

I’m sure I am not the only one snowed in right now.  So much for spring coming early this year!  We got an absolute ridiculous amount of snow over the course of Friday and Saturday.  So much so that my boss sent me home from work at noon Friday.  I decided that was the perfect opportunity to lay in bed and read.  I kid you not when I say I read all afternoon Friday and pretty much all day yesterday.  It was heavenly!

So this week I read the following:

-finished The Gathering, by Anne Enright

-read the second portion of East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

Eating the Dinosaur, by Chuck Klosterman

Wifey, by Judy Blume

-half of Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts, by Penny Colman

Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts is my first DNF in awhile.  I liked it at first–it is a history of burial.  After reading a book on New Orleans cemeteries, I decided I wanted to delve deeper into the topic of cemeteries, burials, etc.  So I checked this book out of my library.  And there was some good stuff in there!  It talked about being buried alive (can you imagine?!).  One man even had his tomb rigged with a buzzer to the caretaker’s cottage in the event that he woke up after being buried.  The buzzer never rang (except for one false alarm) and has since been disconnected.

So what happened, you may ask?  Two things.

-The book went off on too many tangents.  I am not interested in burial since the beginning of time.  This is my problem, not that of the author really, but I think it could have been organized a bit better.

-It wasn’t very well researched.  There were no resources noted and the author included a lot of things she heard from other people.  Meaning she would describe a burial place that her friend saw.  It just didn’t seem viable.  Which leads me to my biggest problem . . . I actually found an instance where the author was dead wrong.  It had to do with New Orleans cemeteries.  Twice, she noted that burials in New Orleans take place above ground because of flooding (this is a common fallacy, and it may be partially true, so I could have forgiven that) and she went on to say that all burials in New Orleans take place above ground. This is completely false.  There are quite a few cemeteries in New Orleans that are almost 100% underground burials.  At that point, I decided, since I know little about burials, that the author could be bamboozling me on some other points as well.  So I gave up.

I am very happy to say, however, that I finished books for two separate challenges this week!  I finished The Gathering towards the beginning of the week, which counts towards The Complete Man Booker Challenge.  And then I read Wifey, for the Shelf Discovery challenge.  I finally feel like I am making the tiniest bit of headway towards my current challenges!

I don’t know how much reading I’ll get done today, since all my household chores fell by the wayside the past two days as I read myself into a stupor, but I hope to start The Women, by TC Boyle, before the day is through.  I hope everyone else has a wonderful Sunday!

Sunday Salon

This week I read two books.

A Convenient Marriage, Georgette Heyer

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery

Both were fantastic in their own ways.

On another note, I had my first DNF in a loooong time.  And I read about half of it because I just wanted to like it so badly.  The title I am referring to is . . .

Honestly, I am not sure why I was so excited to read this, because my reaction to Uglies was not much better.  I read it about a year and a half ago and since then I have really gotten into YA dystopian fiction, so I thought Pretties would be great.  Unfortunately I found it too juvenile and simplistic, which is unfortunate because the plotline is a good one!

On another note, I guess it is becoming standard for me to join at least one challenge a week.  Because that is the rate at which I am performing right now.  So which challenge is it this week?  The Debutante Ball Challenge.  There are two parts to the challenge.  The first portion, which spotlights the debs in 2010 is hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.  The second portion of the challenge deals with debs from past years and that is hosted by Swapna at S Krishna’s Books.

Here is all the information about the challenge, which can be found on the official blog for this challenge.

The Debutante Ball is a group blog for debut authors, all women.  The blog is currently in its fourth year and has a track record of debuting some really great authors.  Swapna and I are both big fans, so we thought we would create this challenge in order to introduce the Debutante Ball and the fantastic Debs to more people.

There are two basic parts to this challenge, each of which I will describe only briefly (I’ll link you over to the FAQs for each, if you want more information).

The Current Debs Challenge

Host: Jen – Devourer of Books

Basically, the idea here is to read books by the 2010 Debs.  A list of all books by all members of The Debutante Ball can be found on the Debutante Ball books page.  We would love for you to read all five books by these five lovely ladies, but as we know that this may not be possible, so you can join at the 1, 3, or 5 book level.

For more information, check out the FAQs.  Or, go ahead and sign up!

The Previous Debs Challenge

Host: Swapna – S. Krishna’s Books

I’m sure you can all guess, but the idea here is to read books from the PREVIOUS Debs.  Again, ALL books by these ladies can be found on the Debutante Ball books page.  You’ll notice on that page that the author’s debut book is followed by (Deb 20xx), indicating which year they were originally part of the Debutante Ball.  We would strongly encourage those of you signing up for this portion of the challenge to make at least some of the books you read the author’s actual debut book.  You can sign up to read 2, 4, 6, or 8 books.

For more information, check out the FAQs.  Or, go ahead and sign up!

For Everyone

Yes you can:

  • Overlap with other challenges (although you can’t count books by the 2010 Debs in the Previous Debs Challenge if you are doing both)
  • Change your level of commitment – in fact, we hope you’ll love these books so much that you’ll decide you want to read all of them!

This challenge runs from January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010.  Anyone who is signed up for either challenge by January 11th will be entered to win one Debutante Ball book.  If you’re signed up for both you’ll have two chances of winning!  We may also have a prize for one person who completes the challenge.

Please note:

  • If you sign up for both challenges, you can do so with a single post on your blog, but you must include it on both Mr. Linkys.
  • We are also asking that, as part of this challenge, you commit to reading and commenting on the Debutante Ball blog.  Obviously this is on your honor, but we would encourage you to set a goal for commenting as well, either a certain number of comments per week, or a certain number of comments for each Deb between now and August (the 2011 Deb class will begin blogging in September).

So, as is my usual style, I plan to aim low in the hopes that I may even exceed my expectations.  So I will be commiting to read one book from the 2010 debs and two books from the other group of debs.  Hopefully I will read more, but you never know.

I am not going to make a list right off the bat because I don’t know any of the books, with the exception of one--The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, by Tiffany Baker.  I have been wanting to read it for months now so it will be a good choice for the second part of the challenge.
I am also going to join this challenge.
Reason being I am intimidated by large books, so this will be a good motivation for me to pick up some larger books.  Anna Karenina, I am talking about you!

To find out more about this challenge, here is the official chunkster blog.

I will be signing up for the chubby chunkster level, which is 3 books.

So now I am off to brunch.  Later on today I hope to get some reading done.  I am currently reading The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, by Rebecca Wells.  How is your Sunday going?