The Sunday Salon – New Books

On Friday night, the husband and I made a stop at our neighborhood bookstore and walked out carrying three new books. Yeah for me! Not so much yeah for the bookshelves already straining under a tremendous weight. Logistics of my bookshelves aside, here’s what I got.

The Likeness by Tana French — I read In The Woods recently and was wowed so of course this one needed to be bought.

A Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss — I read The Name of the Wind earlier this summer and had to buy this one when I saw it on the shelf. Rothfuss is my new fantasy writer crush.

I’ve been on a bit of a book acquiring trend lately and I need to start backing off or clearing the shelves. Since I don’t want to think of either of these things coming to pass, I simply won’t.

I’m hoping to finish up The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley in the next few days. I’ve been reading this book for weeks, six weeks is my best guess, and it’s been an enjoyable re-read but I’m ready for it to be done. I’m also reading The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay which is set in Cambodia. It’s a very interesting read so I may spend some time with this book today if I find a few moments of time to steal.

That’s all for me. I managed to schedule some posts so it won’t be so quiet around here this week and maybe now that summer is approaching its end, I may actually get back to blogging regularly.

Enjoy the day in your part of the world today.

Happy Sunday.


Confessions of a Supposed Read Along Addict or Amy’s Weird Year of Reading, So Far

 In the few years I’ve been a blogger, I’ve only participated in two or three read alongs. The reason for this — I like to read at my own pace and I usually only participate if it’s a book I really (really!) want to read. In most cases (for instance The Lord of the Rings and The Historian), the read alongs featured books I was planning to re-read anyway so I signed up. This year, two months into 2012, I’ve signed up for two. It’s like I can’t help myself.

Here’s how it went down.

Iris at Iris on Books said she was planning to read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell this year and asked if anyone would be interested in joining her. Having already decided to re-read this one, and probably early in the year, I raised my hand, yep, I would join her. And so I did. More info here if you want to join.

Then The Little Read Reviewer goes and posts this about a Lies of Locke Lamora read along. I hesitated. Two read alongs? Yes, I would do it. And yes, I would buy this book.

Seriously, it’s like I can’t so no anymore.

So, I’m two for two on the joining this year. I’m a notoriously bad joiner. I’m beginning to wonder if I’m involuntarily pushing myself to join more this year as if it were some unknown resolution only my brain knows about and is keeping from me. Yeah, that doesn’t sound totally paranoid.

I should probably not write when tired.

Anyway, there you have it.

Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – excited version

I have a habit (maybe it’s more of an unwritten rule) of not reading bestsellers. I’m always afraid I’ll fall in love with the book before I buy it only to have it disappoint me when I finally start it. I broke this rule recently. I bought 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami the day it came out. I desperately wanted to read it but I put it off for a bit not wanting to lug a 925 page book on a plane to Las Vegas. I decided to start it last week and have conquered exactly 125 of the 925 pages. Not much success for several days worth of reading. I not sure what it is but I’m having trouble getting into the story. There’s nothing wrong with it but I may have to put it aside and start it at another time. Maybe I’m craving something else…

Enter Star Trek. I have a series of Star Trek books. They’re short stories and read pretty much the same way an episode of Star Trek would play out on your TV. If you’re curious, Kirk and Spock are the same emotional wreck and cool analysis stereotypes. After staring wistfully at 1Q84 for hours yesterday, I started poking around the shelves and found Star Trek 7. I laughed my way through a few of the stories already and my reading groove seems to be slowly returning.

The last two weeks have been rather crazy in our house. I took off for a conference in Las Vegas at the end of October and as soon as I walked in the door, my husband left to board a plane for Phoenix. It’s been close to 15 days since we’ve been in the same city together. He gets home today. I’m excited. 🙂

And with that, I’m ending it here today. Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – A Day Full of Bookish Events

Yesterday was the National Book Festival in DC, and my husband being the good sport he is, agreed to make the rounds with me.  There were two authors I wanted to see — Jennifer Egan, author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, and Sarah Vowell, author of Unfamiliar Fishes.

We arrived in time to see Egan who was worth the rush and cab fare to get there.  She spoke about her writing style, writing group, and did a short reading from Goon Squad noting where the inspiration for the scene came from.  In all honesty, I’ve had A Visit from the Good Squad on my list but it wasn’t until I read a great review last week that made me want to run out and buy it.  Hearing her speak sealed it.  You’ve probably already guessed I bought the book.  And I sought out the entire chapter done in PowerPoint.   How can you not appreciate a book with a presentation as a chapter!

Sarah Vowell is an author I’ve been familiar with for a while because of her appearances on Letterman, John Stewart, and work on NPR.  She’s incredibly funny and though I’ve only read one of her books (so far), I’m a big fan.  I’m thrilled to report she’s as funny in person as she is a writer.  She’s sarcastic, biting, and even if you don’t appreciate her warped sense of humor and way of looking at the world, she can make you wonder.  That’s what I want in a non-fiction author.  Frankly, history isn’t always amusing or entertaining but she makes it that way.  I bought Unfamiliar Fishes which is her new book about the history of Hawaii.  I read The Wordy Shipmates a few years back but Assassination Vacation is probably a future purchase.

As a way to cap off the day, we made our way to Politics & Prose, one of the greatest bookstores in DC, (but really I could say anywhere because it’s that awesome) to hear Ron Suskind talk about his new book, Confidence Men.  My husband bought it when it came out last week and while I’m not sure I’ll read it, he was very interesting in person.  Thanks to an issue of parking, we got there just as the event was starting and had to stand for an hour and a half (why I wore heals I’ll never know!) but totally worth it.

It was a good book day.  🙂

I put off posting today because I’ve been deep into The Taker.  I was so excited to get this book for review!  I read so many wonderful reviews and each one said it was one of those books you don’t put down.  That’s true.  It’s actually sitting open next to me as I write.  There’s a high probability I’ll be finishing it today.  So good.

There’s another book I want to mention as well by means of wrap-up today.  It’s Fiction Noir: Thirteen Stories.  It’s an anthology of 13 short stories which I’ve been making a good attempt at reading more of this year.  I was impressed with this collection.  I tend to prefer short story collections when written by the same author so I was slightly skeptical.  I shouldn’t have been.  After coming to the end of each, I moved ahead wondering what gem the next would hold.  Really good.

I’m off and back into the pages of The Taker.  Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon

In our building we have a small community room with a TV, couches, and tables for parties.  It’s also a small library.  People take and leave books all the time so it always has an interesting assortment.

After pruning my shelves and parceling out what would go to family and friends, I still had several books left so off they went to the little library downstairs.  Since I left about 12 books, I thought borrowing three was a good trade off.

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead by Sara Gran

I started After Dark yesterday and will probably finish it this morning.  It’s so absolutely fantastic.  Set in Tokyo between midnight and dawn, it follows different encounters taking place across the city.  After struggling through Austen’s Mansfield Park this week, it’s exactly what I needed.  The Devil in the White City has been on my list for a while and while I’m not a mystery person, I’ve been seeing Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead everywhere so I guess I’m meant to read it.

Link love:

Can’t get enough Harry Potter?  How about PottedPotter?  Of course, it only applies if you live in the UK.

Books with a missing letter.  This provided me with several minutes of entertainment the other day.  OK, probably more than that but I don’t care to admit how long I spent reading this.

Unconventional bookstores that I want to go to.

Now, back to my reading.  Happy Sunday.

Sunday Salon – Why I Shouldn’t Go to Going Out of Business Sales

Yesterday, while out enjoying the lovely weather (it’s raining today so getting out yesterday was imperative) we crossed paths with the Borders that’s closing in our neighborhood.  We decided to browse a bit and that’s how I came home with six new books.  In bookstores, browsing and buying are the same thing for me.  My TBR pile is officially out of control but it’s all good because I managed to pick up several books on the mighty big list so I’m considering it a win-win.

The Gates by John Connolly – a young kid goes trick or treating a few days early and finds out his neighbors have managed to open the gates to hell.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – a writer using history as inspiration starts to wonder is she’s dealing with an ancestral memory.

Poison by Sara Poole – a young woman searching for her father’s killer finds herself in the position of poisoner for Cardinal Borgia.

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse – a man traveling in the French Pyrenees during a snowstorm crashes his car and ends up at a small tavern where he meets a woman with a tragic story to tell.

The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger – a lady’s maid finds a new life but also finds out it’s not one meant for her.

Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman – the last days of the marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Recently, these books also made it into the house:

Livia: Empress of Rome by Matthew Dennison – present from my husband who knows how much I love ancient Rome.  It’s my next non-fiction read.

Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon – LibraryThing Early Reviewers Give Away.

Twice a Spy by Keith Thomson – from the publisher.

And from the library:

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis – for the Time Travel Challenge.

The Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick – other than being fantasy, I don’t know much about it.  I found it searching but it looks interesting.

Busy the next few weeks?  I will be. 🙂

Last week I had the chance to read an ARC of The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen and if I had to describe it in one word it would be wonderful.  I’m planning to finish Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran today — another favorite author — and from there I have no idea what’s next but at least I have options.

A few fun things to share this week:

Harry Potter Quiz at The Guardian.

Life instructions, Jane Austen or JWwow (she’s on MTV’s Jersey Shore  if you don’t know who she is and since I had to Google that I wanted to share that bit of knowledge so others don’t have to look it up).  Trust me, you’ll go with Jane Austen.  Somehow this one made me feel old but smart then vindicated.

Minis Tirith out of toothpicks.

What your books do when you aren’t home.

New David Foster Wallace story to appear in The New Yorker. It’s been a few years since I’ve read one his books but I still don’t think I’m ready to tackle Infinite Jest.  I may never be but it will always be on my list.

Happy Sunday.

The Sunday Salon – Lazy with Crazy Acquisitions

Hi there.  I’m still around; I was just a lazy blogger last week.  Work always gets extremely busy this time of year — I refer to it as the Vegas Syndrome.  My company has a conference the first week of November in Las Vegas and every year around this time everything explodes and that’s pretty much the state work is in at the moment which is why I was lazy on the blog front.  I plan to remedy that in the next few days since things should calm down and return to some sort of normal before I get on a plane.

While I’ve been lazy with the writing, I haven’t been lazy in the book acquiring department.  I’ve mentioned this before — we have a book buying moratorium on at the moment in our house.  Review books are still allowed, but all other books, with the exception of ebooks since they take up no space, were not.  Somehow the moratorium failed in the month of October.  My husband and I both bought several books and said, “Oh, we’ll find space for them,” which probably means we’ll have to buy a new bookcase but so be it.  We’re planning to do that anyway.

So what did I end up with?

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton — This is a review copy I requested so it’s not falling under the rule but since it came into the house, it’s getting counted.

The Hard Way by Lee Child — A co-worker loaned this one to me (He’s got most of Child’s Reacher series and I keep borrowing them.  He’s like a personal thriller library.) and again not a true rule breaker but it will be spending time here so on the list.

Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories — We have this great local bookstore a few blocks away and each time I go there, I visit this book.  The last time I went in, it came home.

The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein — I’ve been in the mood for some good science fiction and it’s been a while since I’ve read one of Heinlein’s books.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman — More science fiction.  My husband read this one and loved it.  I don’t like to read about war but the science fiction part has me intrigued.

Rudyard Kipling’s Tales of Horror & Fantasy with an introduction by Neil Gaiman edited by Stephen Jones — My husband bought this one for me after a particularly long day.  🙂  It’s short stories and perfect for when you want something quick and creepy.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann — I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time, and when I was playing around with my Nook yesterday, decided that it was time to buy it.  Besides, I need something to read on that long plane ride to Las Vegas. (ebook)

The House on Durrow Street by Galen Beckett — I read the first book, The Magicians & Mrs. Quent, and while I can’t say I loved it, I liked it enough to get the second one.  (ebook)

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews — I’ve read the three previous books in this series and loved them all.  It’s urban fantasy and everything about these books is fantastic. (ebook)










Now, to close this up, the wrap-up for last week.  I read:

The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis, finished The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (I’m a week ahead of the read along, it’s supposed to end on Halloween, but I’m not good with reading on a schedule.), and started Corrag by Susan Fletcher.  I plan to start Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie today too.  I downloaded a free copy to my Nook weeks ago and have been meaning to read it.  I loved this book as a child and want to see what I think of it as an adult.

That’s all for me today.  Buy any good books in the last few days?

Enjoy your Sunday.

Mailbox Monday and Yes, I Know It’s Tuesday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

I’m so excited! This is the first time that I get to participate in Mailbox Monday. I get a few books here and there but not a lot on a regular basis. While I was away, I got 2! Okay, so that’s really not a lot but I also don’t ask for many either since I like to read what I want.

Here’s what I got:


Powers by John B. Olson. This a LibraryThing Early Reviewers copy and the first one I received since I started participating earlier this year. It takes place in the swamps of Louisiana and looks deliciously suspenseful.

The Taker and the Keeper

The Taker and the Keeper by Wim Coleman and Pat Perin. It’s a fantasy novel for young adults but it features King Arthur and since I can’t ever get enough of Arthur, I thought I’d try it out.

Anything interesting in your mailbox this week?