The Sunday Salon – Sharing Books

Every so often, I exchange books with some of my co-workers.  This week, I shared a few new favorites (The Girl Who Chased the Moon and The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen) and an old favorite (Good Omens by Neil Gaiman).  The person I loaned Good Omens to had never heard of Neil Gaiman.  It took every last bit of restraint I had to not say what was in my head — “What?!  How have you never heard of the most wonderful writer who goes by the name of Neil Gaiman?  What?!”  I thought everyone knew of Neil Gaiman.  Ah, the book bubble I live in some days.

My mother will also be the recipient of several books I liked and re-discovered while doing my semi-regular clean of the shelves.  She cracked me up when I was telling her about the books though and as it turns out, a good friend of her’s will also be getting some books because she said, “Ooo, that sounds like something Peggy would read.”  Guess what Peggy, you’re getting’ some books!

I know some of these books may not make it back to me, some many take months before I see them again, and I’m good with that.  I’ve read them all and enjoyed them and it makes me happy to be able to share with friends and family stories I liked.  I’m also interested to hear what people think of the books.  A small part of me wonders if they will love them as much as I do.  That’s what sharing is all about and I’m sure my mom is glad to hear I’ve retained my skills.  🙂

And now for some link love…

Want to read reviews of the worst book ever?  This made me giggle it was so strange.

Fictional character quiz.

I don’t belong to a book club but this profile has me intrigued. I think one of the reasons I never enjoyed book clubs was because they always turned to gossip, nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to talk about the book and that never happened.  Do you belong to any book clubs?  How does it work for your group?

This is completely unrelated to books but I can’t help sharing.  SHARK WEEK starts today! I can’t tell you how excited I am.

Happy Sunday.  I’m off to spend another day indoors hiding from the heat.


The Sunday Salon – Summer Books to Read or Not to Read

My local newspaper (although I should admit we no longer have a subscription for a number of reasons even though that has nothing to do with anything but I felt I should mention it) puts out each summer a best of list.  About two years ago, they canned the books section.  It wasn’t something new; a lot of papers were doing it for budget reasons and I guess they mistakenly believed people had stopped reading.  Anyway, rant for another time…  In the last few months, the paper has brought back a semi-book section which is published several times a year.  I read the book section online and found this year’s summer recommendations list and thought it would be fun to take a look and possibly add more books to my list.  Because, let’s face it, that’s what it’s really about it — it’s the books.

I found that once again I still don’t have much in common with my local paper’s picks.  There are a few on here which are on my TBR and I’m looking forward to reading, but I also feel as if the paper has to always pick something that feels DC-like as if we all sit around thinking, breathing, and eating policy.  I can assure you that’s not the case.  At least I do not and I only speak for myself.  There may be some individuals that do — I’m just not one of those individuals.  Anyway, the list isn’t too policy heavy this year but still not enough to fully impress me.

Here’s the list of new summer arrivals.

A zombie book (Zone One by Colson Whitehead) sounds somewhat interesting but I’ve had a bit too much of these characters this year which means there will be a wait to read this one. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman is one that will make it on my list though.  She’s an author I’ve been meaning to read.

The editorial picks are here.

The Magnetic North by Sara Wheeler does sound interesting and I feel I am lacking in my knowledge about the arctic and it would fulfill my non-fiction reading craving.  Unfortunately, that’s probably it for me.

It’s not as if I need to add more to the already crowded and overwhelming list of books but sometimes I want to feel as if I’m getting something out of the paper.  Guess that’s why I’m reading blogs for book recommendations instead.  Although, maybe I need to explore this thought in another post someday…

Before I leave off for the day, a few links for your enjoyment:

Top 10 fairy tales picked by the author of the Inkheart trilogy, Cornelia Fluke.  I will admit to not recognizing any of these stories.

Need a summer adventure but don’t want to leave the house? Travel by book! Turn Right at Machu Picchu is on my list.

The Telegraph has literary home tours.

Happy Sunday.

Book Blues

I’ve been in a slight reading slump the last week.  It could be the weather which has been nice for DC this time of year and has put me in a summer mood or it could be my picks.  I’m not sure and I’m struggling with what to write about which is part of the reason why I haven’t posted anything the last few days.  Looking back over my list, I’ve read some great books in 2011 but the last week has been lacking.  I wanted to go back to some classics, something I’ve been meaning to do all year, but several books failed to interest me — some for size, some for content.  By week’s end, I decided to abandon the book I was reading, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, for something else.  That something else turned out to be Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith.  Not a classic by any means but highly readable for someone who seemed to want nothing more than brain candy on a Saturday afternoon.  It happens to us all sometimes…

For a change of pace (I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy which I love but I need a break from vampires and other such creatures) and a way to keep my classics intake up, my next choice was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  It’s been years since I’ve read it and I thought it would be a good re-read.  Somehow I’m finding myself annoyed by the March girls.  How did this happen?!  All of them are whiners, yes you too Beth, and Marmee is too perfect.  Way too perfect I tell you!  This makes me sad.  I’m going to push on to the end though because this book has always been a comfort read for me and I can’t leave it feeling the way I am.  I believe it’s a general reflection on the state of my hectic life right now and I’m guessing that when work calms down, projects come to a close, and I can breathe again, that all this foolishness will pass.

So for sticking that out with me, I’m passing on some links which amused me and kept me in love with books even though I didn’t have one to read.

Alan Rickman’s goodbye to Harry Potter letter.

Tony Blair would take Tolkien to a desert isle? Yes, yes he would.

The Hollywood Reporter put together a list of the five best beach books.  I don’t know how this happened, as it hardly ever does, but I want to read all of these books.

2011 Locus Winners. Several books are on my list and several more will be added.  I’ve read more science fiction this year than last but I still feel woefully behind when it comes to this genre.  I was thrilled to see Kraken by China Mieville win best Fantasy novel.  I loved that book!  Two Connie Willis books, Black Out and All Clear will be read this year too.  And A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Shades of Milk and Honey are also high on the TBR but, let’s face it, they’ve been there since 2011 started so who knows when I’ll get to them but I will.  I make no promises but considering the sorry state of my reading, these two may jump the list.

Why do we love Jane Austen?  It’s because of tough love.  And she’s an excellent architect too.

Game of Thrones adds new people to the cast for season two.

And since we’ve already mentioned the Lord of the Rings, some pictures from The Hobbit movie.

Writers dish on titles.

Independent bookstores charging for author signings.  This one made me sad even though I understand why it’s happening.

The Sunday Salon

All this week I kept hearing about BEA, and once more, I’ll be missing it.  It’s been years since I’ve been there and I would love to go again but unfortunately for BEA, it lands around the same time as my anniversary.  Each year we try to get away and spend a few quiet days and this year is no different.  If you’re going, I look forward to your posts and the books you’ve found.  Don’t skimp on the descriptions please.  How else will my already unmanageable list get any longer?! 🙂

Thanks to the necessity of having to buy bug spray and pack all that I can in a suitcase, it will be a rather short post so on with the links.

Critics vs. reviewers.  This is a topic that’s come up on blogs and one I’m sure will never be resolved.  I planned to do a longer post about this today and then started and stopped it several times.  I need to sit down and finish soon.  Here are some thoughts to ponder.

Literary terms you should know.

And grammatical errors to go with the literary terms.

Women and why we love fantasy.  This is another topic I have several thoughts on that I plan to write about in the future.

The book club I want to be part of.

JK Rowling admits favorites.  And, you can vote for your favorite too.

Ahhh, books.  I could sit here all day looking at these pics.

Books covers that spark thoughts.

Happy Sunday.

Making It Up Monday Night

My husband had to be on a plane very early this morning and while I was planning to put together a Sunday Salon yesterday, I decided instead to spend the day with my husband and it was a good choice.  So, here I am today with a few links because I’m trying to get myself back on a blogging schedule and I thought the only way to do that would be to actually put together a post.  I’m also making a valiant attempt at catching up on reviews and watching TV which means the writing is going slower than anticipated but it’s going.


OK, I swear I don’t actually go looking for Harry Potter links but I feel I’ve got loads of them lately.  This one, a proposal.  The best part of this post — the comment — “couldn’t you spring for the hardcover?”  He he.  And just to make sure you get more than enough of dear ol’ Harry and his friends, this one too.

Book purging, something I need to do.  But sadly, I don’t have the heart for it lately.

Want to be a punster?  Go at it.

What do your favorite books say about you?  Me, apparently I steal ex-boyfriends, drink a lot of tea, and have a preference for walk in closets.  The tea and walk in closets are accurate anyway…  You?

A Game of Thrones series premiered last night on HBO.  (Excited?  YES!  YES!  YES!)  If you don’t have HBO and are curious or need a fix until you can get to a friend’s house, go here.  I got to watch it last night and it was fabulous.  I’ll be watching it once more on demand before the next episode to make sure I caught everything.

Fabulous bookshelves.

Do you find yourself wanting to literally curl up in your books and sleep there?  Now you can.

Don’t you wish you could find something like this in your attic?

Sunday Salon – Cookbooks

I took a cooking class with some friends this week and had a really good time — thanks to my friends but not the instructor who wasn’t all that good but I learned a few things anyway.  It got me thinking — I love to cook and own a number of cookbooks which I frequently look at to browse ingredient lists and sometimes to see what my dinner should have looked like.  I’m not a recipe person though.  I’d rather cobble together ingredients and have at it.  My mother cooks like this and so did both grandmothers so I’m used to it.  I have a cookbook that used to belong to one grandmother (not really a cookbook so much as a notebook full of recipes) and true to her nature, she left out instructions on most of the recipes.  She was a little weird like that.  I once called her to ask her for her potato pancake recipe and this was the conversation.

“Hi Gram.  I was wondering if you could give me your potato pancake recipe.  I think I’m going to try and make some this weekend.”

“What do you mean give it to you? You’re Polish, you should know how to make potato pancakes,” said my grandmother in her ever so pleasing way of not saying anything helpful.  Years later, I’m still confused as to how my being Polish (I’m also Italian and Welsh) had anything to do with me knowing the recipe but anyway.

“OK then.  So, potatoes, onion, egg, flour, and salt.  Sound about right?”

“See I told you that you knew it,” she said.

“Uh, huh.  Got to go.  Call ya soon.”

My mother who I relayed this conversation to very shortly after I talked to my grandmother (it was her mother so I knew she’d appreciate the story) found it funny because she would never tell her what was in recipes either.  Years later in the hopes of finding her chicken cattiatore recipe (it rocked when she made it) we scoured her house but couldn’t find it.  When we finally found the little notebook with her recipes that I now own, we both freaked hoping it would be there.  It wasn’t.  There was, however, a decoy recipe that we know for a fact wasn’t her’s because there were ingredients listed she didn’t use.  She took it to her grave.

Oh well, you now might be asking where this is going.  Yes, back to cookbooks.  I don’t review them but I’m thinking I might start taking a look at recipes, testing them out, and reviewing them individually.  Also, I’ll warn you all up front that I don’t, and will not start now, following the recipes exactly.  I’m apparently genetically incapable.

And now, more sharing!  A few good links I found this week while perusing the internets.  Have at it fellow readers.

Books that rocked your world at 16 and fall flat now thanks to Flavorwire

Also from Flavorwire, cult books that need to be adapted to the big screen

Readers block thoughts on Work In Progress

From GalleyCat, an unreadable manuscript gets a date

To end on a book note, I’ve been reading Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier this week and loving it.  I wonder why it took me so long to read her.  Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – Sharing is Fun

While browsing the internets this week, I came across a few things that made me want to share.  My mom is probably bursting with pride to know I’m using my sharing skills.  🙂

The first is an article that appeared in The Washington Post earlier this week – ‘Tolkien Professor’ Corey Olsen Brings Middle-Earth to iTunes Via Podcast.  His website, The Tolkien Professor, is even more interesting and I’ve already found a few books on Tolkien criticism that will be added to my list.  I haven’t downloaded any of the lectures from iTunes, only because I’m hopeless when it comes to that and somehow always mess something up that confuzzles my husband, so I’m holding off but it will happen at some point.

This I found on BBC News – Divided Attention Disorder? Log off and read a book.  I laughed while reading it (it’s written by a comedian so it was intended) because this is something I do.  Feel overwhelmed?  Read.  The part about googling the plot though is something I’ve done, but I won’t hang my head in shame.  I like to know the end.

I had a good week of reading too.  I finished Spook by Mary Roach, Autumn: The City by David Moody, and started A Conspiracy of Kings by Meghan Whalen Turner.  I even managed to sneak in the writing of a few reviews this week too so I’m feeling very accomplished on the book front.

I’m planning to make a four course meal tonight for Valentine’s Day.  We’re celebrating a day early thanks to crazy Monday schedules so I’m off to start cooking.  Happy Sunday.