Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Sunday Salon... "Books with Buzz" and a peek at a new eReader!

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake.

Summer finally came in Connecticut and by the end of the week the rain came back! But rainy days just give us an excuse to stay inside and crack open a book- without too much guilt...

This week I finished a "spicy" read by Allyson Roy called Babydoll. This wednesday, the husband & wife team of Alice and Roy, who make up the author "team" Allyson Roy, will visit Chick with Books and talk a little about their working relationship. I'll have a review of Babydoll, which they call Madcap Noir, where crime, comedy and romance meet- and such a fun read! Think of it as a Stephanie Plum novel with a bit more "heat"- you see Saylor Oz, our "detective", is a sex therapist who handles the occasional murder... this is the second novel starring Saylor Oz and I'm sure there will be more in this series. Then we can take the fun little quiz Alice & Roy wrote up especially for us here! Wednesday will be a fun guest post to promote the recent release of Babydoll and is part of their virtual book tour!

Gregory Maguire is well known for his adult books, Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister and A Lion Among Men, where he re-imagines the stories of well known fictional characters. But he is also a children's author. And recently he published a YA book, Missing Sisters, which I picked up for my Kindle this week. The story of a young 12-year old girl living in an orphanage, not being adopted because of hearing and speech problems, but with a lot of spunk touched me... "Set in 1968, Alice, a 12-year-old beset by hearing and speech impediments, lives in an orphanage run by nuns in upstate New York. After Sister Vincent de Paul, Alice's closest friend and supporter, is severely injured in a fire, no one explains to Alice that the sister has been sent for a long stay in a nursing home. Alice, worrying that Sister Vincent has died, makes a pact with God: until she knows that Sister Vincent will recover, she won't even consider an offer of adoption that has been extended to her--her first. A girl Alice despises gets her place, but Alice has a drama of her own, inadvertently learning that she may have a twin sister. With a mixture of cunning and courage, Alice finds her." I haven't seen too much publicity for this book, but sounds like a wonderful read! Look for a review this coming week...

Last sunday, Marie of The Burton Review recommended Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie. She called it one of her most engrossing reads! She also pointed out that Burnt Shadows is shortlisted for the 2009 Orange Prize... The Orange Prize for Fiction is awarded to the woman who, in the opinion of the judges, has written the best, eligible full-length novel in English and first published in the United Kingdom. Burnt Shadows starts on that fateful day in 1945, when the bomb dropped in Nagasaki and ends in a prison cell in the United Stateds in 2002. "Hiroko Tanaka is 21 and in love with the man she is to marry, Konrad Weiss. As she steps onto her veranda, wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across her back, her world is suddenly and irrevocably altered. In the numbing aftermath of the atomic bomb that obliterates everything she has known, all that remains are the bird-shaped burns on her back, an indelible reminder of the world that she has lost. From here she starts her search for new beginnings..." An epic tale that touches on a tragedy and the way our own histories can be transformed by one... I picked it up this week and opened it up to find Kamila Shamsies writing to be simply wonderful. Not only is the writing beautiful, but so it the cover! This is a book that should not disappoint! Thanks Marie for the recommendation!

And now a peek at a new eReader that just came out this week... Sony just released 2 new eReaders- The Sony Reader Touch, and the Sony Reader Pocket Edition. I had the opportunity to look at both this week and was impressed with the Pocket Edition that Sony released. It's just shy of being the size of a mass market paperback. It's easily held in one hand, although you need to click the wheel to turn the pages with the other hand, and it's slim. The text has a nice contrast- one of the problems Sony has been dealing with in it's development of their eReaders. There is no wireless connection with this eReader, but it's easy enough to download books from your computer. The Sony eReaders also work with ePub format, which Google just announced that it was going to use with it's book downloads and also quite a few text book publishers announced that it was going to use. Although I'm still a Kindle girl, this eReader is a temptation. And it might tempt other people as well because the Pocket Edition is about $100 less expensive than the Kindle 2.

Ok, that's what I've been reading and reading about this week, what about you?! What books have you read?! Don't be shy, share what you've been reading this week! Or let me know what you think of this week's "Books with Buzz"!

Happy Reading.... Suzanne


BurtonReview said...

Thank you so much for the reiteration on Burnt Shadows. It was one of the best reads for me this year,and although a depressing topic the writing was indeed a wonderful thing to partake. I love books that touch my soul, and that was one of them.

I still am not a E-book reader, I don't want to get on that bandwagon as I am already addicted to the laptop at home,the computer at work, the iPhone all the other time; having another Electronic device might burn out my eyeballs. And with a library of 250 books that I have NOT yet read at home, I don't think my husband would approve of another expenditure.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Marie!
You are most welcome for the "props" for recommending Burnt Shadows! It looks like a wonderful read. And our tastes usually run the same, so I'm sure I'll love it! :D

As far as electronics... I know what you mean! I resisted the iPhone until my DH brought me to the store to 'look' at them and then showed me my blog on it! I also resisted the Kindle... hmmm, I think my DH is a bad influence when it comes to these things! :D Of course books were my bad influence!

Take care,

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I checked Burnt Shadows out of my library a few weeks back and then got too busy to read it. Okay. I'm heading back to the library website to request it again.

Thank you for the heads up.

Suzanne Yester said...

Oh debnance,
You will have to let me know what you thought after you read it! I think I may make this my next read! Thanks for the extra push! :D

PaulGuy said...

In fairness to Sony eReaders their struggles with screen contrast are limited to their touch screen models. Many still feel the prs-505 is the gold standard in e-ink sharpness and contrast. The 300 seems to be just as good. Their first touch screen attempt the prs-700 was a real failure being discontinued after a few months. The new touch 600 seems better than the 700 but it still is not as sharp (as the 505/300) and still suffers some glare issues. However many will feel it is worth it to give up some sharpness and live with the glare to enjoy the slick interface and note taking tools.

JoAnn said...

Thanks for the Sony still considering a Kindle for travel. At home, I prefer to hold a book in my hands.

Kristen said...

I really loved Burnt Shadows by Shamsie as well when I read it months ago. I will say that I loved her earlier novel called Salt and Saffron even more years ago. It's mostly out of print now but maybe if Burnt Shadows is a huge success the powers that be will reprint it. It's on my all time favorites list.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi PaulGuy,
Thanks for all the info on the Sony readers! You're right that most of the contrast/sharpness problems are with the touch screen models. That extra layer for the touch screen just isn't working well yet. And that's why I didn't like the new Sony Reader Touch model 600. But I do like that cute Sony Reader Pocket edition!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi JoAnn,
I love the feel of a book in my hands too! But love my Kindle 2 for reading in bed and traveling with! And what's nice about traveling with the Kindle is all the books you can fit in that thin piece of plastic! :D

Let me know if you finally decide to go with a Kindle!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Kristen!
Thank you for mentioning Salt and Saffron! You're right, with Shamsie's popularity growing, especially making the shortlist for the Orange, they will probably reprint her other titles. I'm going to see about getting a copy though. And Burnt Shadows is going to be my next pleasure read!

Literary Feline said...

Rain would feel so good right about now . . . It was another 107F degree day out my way. Another excuse to stay indoors and read though--heat and rain. :-)

I'd only recently heard that Gregory Maguire writes young adult books too. Missing Sisters sounds interesting.

Burnt Shadows is one of the many books in my TBR collection. It sounds like something I will really enjoy.

I'm just starting a book called A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman. I've barely made a dent in it, so can't say whether I'll like it or not just yet.

I hope you have a great week, Suzanne!

bks2plz said...

I see you like to read and I wanted to tell you that my book, Gateway to DreamWorld was released on Wednesday August 12, 2009.

Synopsis: On their way home from baseball tryouts, Brad Colby and his two sons are involved in a terrible car accident that leaves six-year-old Pete in a coma. When Pete awakens, the family is crushed to learn that he is paralyzed.

Meanwhile, Pete’s eight-year-old brother, Jason, has been having powerful dreams that lead him to a mysterious realm known as DreamWorld. Jason discovers that all of his desires can come true in DreamWorld, but the time is fast approaching when he will have to choose between his two worlds.

And when more devastating news strikes at the heart of the Colby family, Jason and Pete set out on a desperate attempt to find the Gateway to DreamWorld and save their family. With time running out on their dangerous path, will Jason and Pete’s fear of the Unknown keep them from reaching the paradise of their dreams?

I invite you to order your copy now from or Barnes& at a discounted price.

Please help by spreading the word to your friends who enjoy reading a good book and be one of the firsts to pick up your copy of Gateway to DreamWorld.

Thanks for your time and I hope you enjoy the fantasy.

Brenda Estacio

Lisa said...

Must get caught up on reading so I can get "Burnt Shadows!"

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