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 22, 2010

The Sunday Salon... What's it All About Alfie?... Or Modern Day Love Stories

Have you heard of that song What's It All About Alfie? Burt Bacharach wrote that song about love and life. It is meant to have us look inside ourselves and our hearts and question... What's it All About? "Is it just for the moment we live?" Today's Sunday Salon is just about that- Books with Buzz that deal with love. They're modern in their own right, and definitely show us the different paths to love people take.

One Day by David Nicholls... From the Publishers, It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. As the years go by Dex and Em begin to lead separate lives-lives very different from the people they once dreamed they's become. And yet unable to let go of that special something that grabbed onto them that first night, an extraordinary relationship develops between the two. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

I love the idea of following a love story over the course of 20 years on just one particular day. It's like fast forwarding through the commercials. We are able to take a peek at how two people fall in love as idealistic college kids, grow up as adults and move on, but yet hold on to that idealistic love they felt for each other. Will they find each other again? And can the spark that ignited their love still burn outside of their heads as it has inside? Lots of great buzz about this book! AND I just had to pick up a copy of this to read! *P.S. This book is Kindle Ready!

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart... Here's what the publishers write: In a very near future—oh, let’s say next Tuesday—a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don’t that tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, the thirty-nine-year-old son of an angry Russian immigrant janitor, proud author of what may well be the world’s last diary, and less-proud owner of a bald spot shaped like the great state of Ohio. Despite his job at an outfit called Post-Human Services, which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn’t it? Lenny’s from a different century—he totally loves books (or“printed, bound media artifacts,” as they’re now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel twenty-four-year-old Korean American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in Images and a minor in Assertiveness.

After meeting Lenny on an extended Roman holiday, blistering Eunice puts that Assertiveness minor to work, teaching our “ancient dork” effective new ways to brush his teeth and making him buy a cottony nonflammable wardrobe. But America proves less flame-resistant than Lenny’s new threads. The country is crushed by a credit crisis, riots break out in New York’s Central Park, the city’s streets are lined with National Guard tanks on every corner, the dollar is so over, and our patient Chinese creditors may just be ready to foreclose on the whole mess. Undeterred, Lenny vows to love both Eunice and his homeland. He’s going to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, in a world where single people can determine a dating prospect’s “hotness” and “sustainability” with the click of a button, in a society where the privileged may live forever but the unfortunate will die all too soon, there is still value in being a real human being.

There has been such a great marketing campaign for the release of this book. Lots of great buzz to go along with it too! So, I decided to get a sample chapter to read on the Kindle. That's all it took- Gary Shteyngart is funny. His writing drew me right in and I know I'm in for a fun ride with this book. Gary Shteyngart made the top "20 under 40" fiction writers as chosen by The New Yorker magazine. These are writers The New Yorker believes will be the "It" writers of their generation, and their writing will endure over time. Irony and Satire are Shteyngart's tools and I look forward to reading Super Sad True Love Story. It's on my Kindle right now! *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti... Benny's a Swedish farmer, a country boy in his 30's with 24 milk cows and followers (followers are the babies...) plus a few sheep. He orders his clothes from a catalog...

Shrimp's a widowed Swedish librarian, in her 30's living in a sterile apartment with a white sofa. She eats vegetarian and dresses in beige...

He wants a farmers wife... She wants someone to go to the opera with...

They meet in a cemetery and fall in love... Benny mourning the loss of his mother; Shrimp mourning her husband. Detesting each other at first because they are forced to share what they feel should be a private moment alone on a bench in the cemetery where their loved ones are buried. Every day they make the same trip... Loneliness hangs off them like the morning dew, but a chance smile between them one day starts to melt their mistrust... Benny & Shrimp is an offbeat, fun, romp in the hay love story! I absolutely loved this book! In alternating chapters Benny and Shrimp each take turns telling their story from their own perspective. And it is a hoot at times...

This is part of what I wrote about Benny & Shrimp when I read & reviewed it back in July of last year. Here's the LINK to my review if you missed it. This book immediately came to mind as I was thinking about today's post on Relationships. It is charming and at 224 pages a quick, but enjoyable read. And if you haven't read it I would definitely put it on your TBR list! *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

Speaking of love... Are you ready for the much anticipated release of Mockingjay?! Suzanne Collins' final book in the Hunger Games trilogy will be released this coming tuesday (Aug. 24th). Plenty of midnight release parties too! Have you read The Hunger Games & Catching Fire? It's the YA dystopian world created by Suzanne Collins, where in the first book, The Hunger Games, "every year one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected at random and forced to participate in the Hunger Games, a televised event where the participants must fight to the death." The I have both of those books in my TBR pile, so I guess I better get to them!

Recap of the week... Barnes & Noble is offering a selection of free classic eBooks every week until Sept. 14th. These eBooks can be read using any of the Barnes & Noble eReader Apps, and of course on your Nook! Here's the Link to my post on it. Plus get ready for your communities Big Read! My Community will be reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, check the NEA BIG READ Website to find a participating community near you and see what you could be reading! Small town murder came to Chick with Books last week when Irene Ziegler stopped by on her book tour to promote Ashes to Water! If you love reading novels in small town settings, where everyone's life is practically an open book, and great writing, check out Ashes to Water! Annie Bartlett is the girl with guts in Ashes to Water and makes for a great heroine. Irene Ziegler's previous book of short stories , Rules of the Lake, follows Annie Bartlett as she grows up in "Florida before Disney". Irene just sent a copy of Rules of the Lake my way and I can't wait to read more about Annie Bartlett and experience more of Irene Ziegler's fine writing! Read my review of Ashes to Water.

Hope you found something here to grab your attention! What are you reading this week?! And what modern day relationships have you been reading about?! You can share it all here! I would love to hear!

Have a great week! And don't forget Memoir Monday is back tomorrow! Bring a box of tissues... Suzanne


Helen Ginger said...

Thanks for all the recommendations.

Right now, I'm reading Dead Air by Mary Kennedy.

Suzanne said...

Hi Helen!
Thanks for sharing your reading. I've never read any Mary Kennedy, but Dead Air sounds interesting!

carla said...

Looks like some good titles there to check out! Especially Benny and Shrimp and then the Irene Ziegler books.

I'm rereading The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks before I read the next book in the trilogy.
I also have an audio copy from the library of The Grapes of Wrath. It has been on the waiting list for a month or more and I finally got my chance.

Have a good week!

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