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, May 23, 2010

The Sunday Salon... Week in review, Treats in the Mail, & Books with Buzz!

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....

It's that time of the week again where we sleep in late (wishful thinking), slow down a bit (hopefully), and chat about all the bookish things we enjoyed this past week and any bookish things coming up the week ahead. And there is plenty to talk about this week...

And the Winner is... Troubles by T.G. Farrell won the long overdue The Lost Man Booker Prize! In April I talked about The Lost Man Booker Prize, which is the prize created 40 years later to honor those Booker Prize nominees that fell through the cracks because in 1971 they changed the literary prize from a retrospective award to a best novel in the year of publication award, and moved the award given from April of that year to November. The longlist consisted of 22 books, the shortlist 6 and out of the six, Troubles has won! If you missed my blurb about it...

Troubles by J G Farrell... Major Brendan Archer returns from the Great War to claim his fiancee, whose family owns the Majestic Hotel in Kilnalough, Ireland. She is strangely altered, however, along with the hotel, which is in spectacular decline — cats roam its upper stories, the Palm Court is a jungle, and the last guests are little old ladies with nowhere else to go. Outside the formerly grand hotel, the British Empire also totters. There is unrest in the East, and Ireland itself senses the mounting violence of its "troubles."

If you'd like to read a sample, here's an excerpt of Troubles that Sophie from Orion Publishing was nice enough to send along AND last week I also received a copy of Troubles from Sophie! So, you can look forward to a review coming soon! Thanks Sophie!

For Sci-Fi & Fantasy readers, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalup won the 2009 Nebula Award for best novel, which is presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and which is awarded to the best sci-fi & fantasy. What's it About? The Windup Girl... Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct,hoping to reap the bounty of history's lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko. Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. One of the New People, Emiko is not human; instead, she is an engineered being, creche-grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in a chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bio-engineered plagues run rampant across the globe. Paolo Bacigalup has a great website to learn more about the book and his other writing. PLUS, he shares a website that Kindle owners might be interested in... is a Kindle friendly ebook retailer. You can download The Windup Girl there for $6.00! There's a easy to understand primer for getting those books on your Kindle there too.

Two other great books I received in the mail this week were...

Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon... Henry, Tess, Winnie and Suz banded together in college to form the Compassionate Dismantlers. Following the first rule of their manifesto – “To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart” – these daring misfits spend the summer after graduation in a remote cabin in the Vermont woods committing acts of meaningful vandalism, and plotting elaborate, sometimes dangerous, pranks. But everything changes when one particularly twisted experiment ends in Suz’s death and the others decide to cover it up. Jennifer McMahon is going on a virtual book tour in June to promote dismantled and I'll be reviewing it for TLC Book Tours. You might remember Jennifer McMahon from another great book she wrote, The Island of Lost Girls, which my reading group read together. Dismantled is available now, and it was just released in paperback.* P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone... Back of the Book, On a sunny day in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, eight-year-old Becca Burke was struck by lightning. No one believed her—not her philandering father or her drunk, love-sick mother—not even when her watch kept losing time and a spooky halo of light appeared overhead in photographs. Becca was struck again when she was sixteen. She survived, but over time she would learn that outsmarting lightning was the least of her concerns... In rural Arkansas, Buckley R. Pitank’s world seemed plagued by disaster. Ashamed but protective of his obese mother, fearful of his scathing grandmother, and always running from bullies (including his pseudo-evangelical stepfather), he needed a miracle to set him free. At thirteen years old, Buckley witnessed a lightning strike that would change everything... Now an art student in New York City, Becca Burke is a gifted but tortured painter who strives to recapture the intensity of her lightning-strike memories on canvas. On the night of her first gallery opening, a stranger appears and is captivated by her art. Who is this odd young man with whom she shares a mysterious connection? I want to thank Read It Forward for sending this to me for review! And you can look forward to a review soon too!

This week I also received in the mail the Unbridled Books Fall 2010 catalogue! What a treat! And filled with books to put on your Wish List! Here are a few that caught my eye...

Taroko Gorge by Jacob Ritari... A disillusioned and raggedy American reporter and his drunken photojournalist partner are the last to see three Japanese schoolgirls who disappear into Taroko Gorge, Taiwan’s largest national park. The journalists—who are themselves suspects—investigate the disappearance along with the girls’ homeroom teacher, their bickering classmates, and a seasoned and wary Taiwanese detective. The conflicts between them—complicated by the outrageousness of the photographer and the raging hormones of the young—raise questions of personal responsibility, truthfulness, and guarded self-interest. The world and its dangers—both natural and interpersonal—are real, changing, and violently pressing. And the emotions that churn in dark rooms overnight as the players gather in the park visitors’ center are as intense as in any closet drama. There’s enough action and furor here to keep readers turning the pages, and the cultural revelations of the story suggest that the human need for mystery outweighs the desire for answers. This sounds like such a great story! The cover is striking too! This book is coming July...

Stranger Here Below by Joyce Hinnefeld... In 1961, when Amazing Grace Jansen, a firecracker from Appalachia, meets Mary Elizabeth Cox, the daughter of a Black southern preacher, at Kentucky’s Berea College, they already carry the scars and traces of their mothers’ troubles. Poor and single, Maze’s mother has had to raise her daughter alone and fight to keep a roof over their heads. Mary Elizabeth’s mother has carried a shattering grief throughout her life, a loss so great that it has disabled her and isolated her stern husband and her brilliant, talented daughter. The caution this has scored into Mary Elizabeth has made her defensive and too private and limited her ambitions, despite her gifts as a musician. But Maze’s earthy fearlessness might be enough to carry them both forward toward lives lived bravely in an angry world that changes by the day. Both of them are drawn to the enigmatic Georginea Ward, an aging idealist who taught at Berea sixty years ago, fell in love with a black man, and suddenly found herself renamed as a sister in a tiny Shaker community. Sister Georgia believes in discipline and simplicity, yes. But, more important, her faith is rooted in fairness and the long reach of unconditional love. I love Joyce Hinnefeld's writing. I reviewed her last book, In Hovering Flight, last August and am thrilled that she's coming out with another book rooted in women's relationships. In Hovering flight we read about mothers & daughters, and now in Stranger Here Below we have 3 generations of women. We'll have to wait a little longer for this one, it's release date is Oct!

Blog Happenings?! Remember to enter GIVEAWAY's for The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith! And for Ravished by a Highlander by Paula Quinn! And the Reviews this week included Play Dead by Ryan Brown, zombies & football come together for an amazing first down! And the audiobook of The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, which was such a wonderful listen! Monday's Memoir highlighted the book Alone: Orphaned at Sea about the murders of Terry Duperault's family while sailing on a family vacation and how 11 year old Terry survived the ordeal 4 days on the open sea! I finally did get my copy and am almost finished reading. The review should be up this week!

What are you reading!? What have you spotted on the shelf? Are you going to BEA? Share it all here! Have a great week! Suzanne


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I will be attending BEA but only via my armchair. I truly hope I get a little time to stop in during this busy week.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi readerbuzz,
I plan on going on Thursday! I came down with bronchitis and have been fighting it for the past 10 days! Fortunately I'm better,but my better half is suffering and he's driving! :) Will have to give him some extra chicken soup or I'll be hopping on a train!
Wish you could make it! This will be my first time.

Aisle B said...

love the cover for Windup Girl.
Will put it on my TBR list.
look forward to reading it too.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Dismantled sounds fabulous...and Stranger Here Below caught my attention.

Here's my salon:

Harvee said...

ice to see some of the new books coming out. Happy reading!

gautami tripathy said...

I see intriguing titles here.

Here is my Sunday Salon post!

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