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

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Sunday Salon... Books with Buzz, a new Sony eReader, and Recap of the Week

Welcome to Sunday! And the Sunday Salon! I was "literally" feeling under the weather last week and missed Sunday, but I'm back on the mend and chomping at the bit to talk books! This week's big buzz was the "Oprah" Book Club selection. Of course like all good secrets, her Book Club choice leaked out a little early and we found out that her 64th choice was Freedom by Jonathan Franzen! There was a bit of animosity between the author and Oprah after she picked The Corrections by Franzen to be one of her Book Club picks. Franzen thought that her choosing the book would limit its being read by a broader audience (aka MEN) and didn't want the endorsement. He also called some of her picks "shmaltzy" and didn't want to be included for that reason as well. But all seems forgiven and Jonathan Franzen will appear on Oprah sometime in November. I'm not usually one to follow the Oprah selections, but there was so much hype about this one, I couldn't resist tuning in. And Freedom by Jonathan Franzen has gotten so much hype without Oprah's endorsement, it's been on my TBR list for a while. So, are you an Oprah Book Club fan?

Well, if you're an eReader fan, Sony's much anticipated updated eReaders were shipping and in the hands of readers this week. I've been trying out the updated Sony Pocket Edition eReader and like it, but am not blown out of the park by it. It's design is beautiful. Slim, small and nice controls (no keyboard, which helps in keeping the size so petite), but size isn't everything! The new eInk display is nice. More contrast than the old screen... but not that significant. The Kindle or Nook Screen is definitely better. And the font size choices of the Sony (there are no font choices period) could use some help. The "small" font is a bit too small, and the "medium" font is a bit too large. In this updated version, the screen is a touch screen, nice, but not really necessary, and you have a stylus to be able to draw right on the screen for notes etc. I'd have to say that the new Pocket Edition is an improvement in size and a slightly better screen, but for the price, the Nook would have to be my choice for ePub books. And that's what I've always had my Sony Pocket reader for- ePub books. (love my Kindle, but no ePub capability!)

Books with Buzz this week... There was plenty of talk on books, but these three books stood out from the crowd. A little of everything here today...

The Wave by Susan Casey... an astonishing book about colossal, ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out. For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis missed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet. As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of people as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100 foot wave. In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

Lot's of Buzz for this book! I saw Susan Casey in an interview and this book sounded so interesting. Not just the people who seek these monster waves out, but the waves themselves. Incidentally, while Susan was researching the book, one of the surfers was killed in one of these terrifying waves. This seems to be the perfect fit for anyone who enjoys surfing the waves or paddling the water! *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass... In a historic farmhouse outside Boston, seventy-year-old Percy Darling is settling happily into retirement: reading novels, watching old movies, and swimming naked in his pond. His routines are disrupted, however, when he is persuaded to let a locally beloved preschool take over his barn. As Percy sees his rural refuge overrun by children, parents, and teachers, he must reexamine the solitary life he has made in the three decades since the sudden death of his wife. No longer can he remain aloof from his community, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love. One relationship Percy treasures is the bond with his oldest grandchild, Robert, a premed student at Harvard. Robert has long assumed he will follow in the footsteps of his mother, a prominent physician, but he begins to question his ambitions when confronted by a charismatic roommate who preaches—and begins to practice—an extreme form of ecological activism, targeting Boston’s most affluent suburbs. Meanwhile, two other men become fatefully involved with Percy and Robert: Ira, a gay teacher at the preschool, and Celestino, a Guatemalan gardener who works for Percy’s neighbor, each one striving to overcome a sense of personal exile. Choices made by all four men, as well as by the women around them, collide forcefully on one lovely spring evening, upending everyone’s lives, but none more radically than Percy’s.

This is one of those books with lots of meat for a good book club discussion. Lots of press promoting it too. Glass is known for her books with good family drama. *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

Reckless by Cornelia Funke... Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, Funke twists fairy lore into a dark incarnation. A prologue introduces Jacob Reckless, 12, heartsick over his father's disappearance. The story then jumps ahead 12 years; Jacob, having figured out how to follow his father through a mirror, has made a name as a finder of magical items--seven-league boots, locks of "Rapunzel-hair"--in war-torn Mirrorworld, ruled by fairies and "Goyl," humans whose skin has turned to stone. Jacob's brother, Will, however, is mauled by a Goyl, and his skin begins to turn to jade; the plot is a race for a cure.

I really enjoyed Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and I'm willing to always give her YA titles a try. This is book #1 in what appears to be a fun new series. This has gotten rave reviews from early adult reviews. Although, it seems a little knowledge of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales is in order to fully appreciate the value of this book. *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

Recap of the past week... Memoir Monday started out with a little black kitten named Cleo. Cleo: The Cat Who Healed a Family by Helen Brown is a heartfelt book of loss, love and healing, here's the REVIEW if you missed it. Shobhan Bantwal stopped by this week to guest post! She is an amazing writer with stories set in India. Her post, Going Commercial or Literary? lets us sneak a peek at her writing process. I reviewed her latest book, The Unexpected Son, this week and loved it! "The story is rich with Indian culture, the voice of a young girls heart, and a mothers sense of duty..." I also reviewed the charming book, GoD and DoG by Wendy Francisco. If you missed it, along with the review I've included the very popular YouTube video that preceded the actual book, that will bring tears to any animal lovers eyes!

And how could I not mention the very successful "New Blog Look, New Giveaway!" Giveaway. Thank you so much for helping test out all the links, tweets features and tags! And Congrats to Debbie (dasuzuki) who won the $15 Amazon eGift card when I randomly selected the winner out of 91 helpers!!

Next week... I'm listening to a new audiobook this weekend, will have a review and giveaway! Plus, it's not too early for holiday shopping is it?! Well, book publishers don't think so and Dewey, The Library Cat is coming out with a special holiday cover and I'l be having a giveaway for a few books for that!

What books are you reading this week?! Share what's kept you up at night... reading! To test out that new Sony eReader, I've been re-reading Pride and Prejudice! What a great classic! I don't think you can ever tire of Elizabeth Bennett!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Michelle said...

I had completely forgotten the Franzen controversy with Oprah many years ago. The man likes stirring up trouble, doesn't he?

I'm not a huge Oprah Book Club fan. Her choices are excellent but almost always depressing and heavy. Still, we should celebrate that she knows how to sell a book and get an entire group of people reading.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

If I were Oprah, I would not have selected his new book this time (even though I plan to read it). The snub would have been enough to eliminate him this round.

gautami tripathy said...

The Julia Glass sounds good!

I am undergoing a reading slump!
Here is my Sunday Salon: Do Twitter and Facebook work?!

carla said...

Very neat Buzz!

My pics this week have been audio, Terrier by Tamora Pierce, Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer, and Danger in the Shadows by Dee Henderson.
Coming up are Bride Collector by Ted Dekkor, and I think Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce.
Have a great week!

lisa :) said...

I got to see Cornelia Funke at my local bookstore and she did a reading of the first chapter of Reckless (which of course I bought and got signed!!) - it looks to be a really intriguing book!

M said...

I love love love my Nook. But I would probably love any ereader as long as it was full of ebooks to read. I just finished reading "The Girl Who Played with Fire". Awesome book, awesome character in Lisbeth Salander. I saw the movie of book one (Girl w/ the Dragon Tattoo) in the Millenium trilogy but am thinking of reading book one before moving onto book 3. I read somewhere that there might be a fourth book that Stieg Larsson's widow might be in possession of. Have you heard anything to that effect?

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