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, November 14, 2010

The Sunday Salon with "Books with Buzz", Upcoming Events and a Man Booker Bargain!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! This week just flew by me! How about you?! Now it's time to relax, grab a cup of joe and chat about some books! This week I picked up The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, which I was eagerly awaiting the release of & talked about in a Sunday Salon last month. With a crumbling old castle, spinster sisters and the appearance of a mysterious letter 51 years after it was mailed, how could this book be bad?! I can't wait to crack the spine on this one! I'll let you know what I think. (I actually did read a little of it and loved what I read!) This week I saw some other interesting reads that should be added to our TBR pile! First, The Bells is historical fiction, and one of my favorite genres! Think Vienna and Opera and a long kept secret. Second up is Under Fishbone Clouds, a love story with elements of folklore as the story is told through the voice of the Kitchen God who was challenged by the Jade Emperor to unravel the secrets of the human heart, and finally The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey which looks to be a story to tug at our heartstrings with the friendship between a 91 year old man, Ptolemy, and a 17 year-old girl that renews Ptolemy's will to live... Here's how the publishers describe them...

The Bells by Richard Harvell... The celebrated opera singer Lo Svizzero was born in a belfry high in the Swiss Alps where his mother served as the keeper of the loudest and most beautiful bells in the land. Shaped by the bells´ glorious music, as a boy he possessed an extraordinary gift for sound. But when his preternatural hearing was discovered–along with its power to expose the sins of the church–young Moses Froben was cast out of his village with only his ears to guide him in a world fraught with danger. Rescued from certain death by two traveling monks, he finds refuge at the vast and powerful Abbey of St. Gall. There, his ears lead him through the ancient stone hallways and past the monks´ cells into the choir, where he aches to join the singers in their strange and enchanting song. Suddenly Moses knows his true gift, his purpose. Like his mother´s bells, he rings with sound and soon, he becomes the protégé of the Abbey´s brilliant yet repulsive choirmaster, Ulrich. But it is this gift that will cause Moses´ greatest misfortune: determined to preserve his brilliant pupil´s voice, Ulrich has Moses castrated. Now a young man, he will forever sing with the exquisite voice of an angel–a musico–yet castration is an abomination in the Swiss Confederation, and so he must hide his shameful condition from his friends and even from the girl he has come to love...

I resisted this book for a few months before picking it up at my local bookstore. When I did finally open it up and started reading it, I fell in love with Richard Harvells writing. I was immediately swept back in time and loving every moment of it. It was so hard to put this book down, but I'll be starting this right after my reading obligations later this month! *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

Under Fishbone Clouds by Sam Meekings... a universal love story, a family saga, and a journey through Chinese history, myth, and culture. Following a young Chinese couple as their love grows, and is tested, during Mao's Cultural Revolution, this elegant debut novel provides a rare and personal glimpse into the birth modern China. When the Kitchen God is challenged by the Jade Emperor to fathom the workings of the human heart, he chooses to follow the life of Jinyi and his wife Yuying, from their blossoming love until their old age, in hope of finding an answer. The Kitchen God watches as the new government strictures split their family in two, living inside their hearts as they they endure the loss of two children, homesickness, and isolation, all while keeping alive a love that survives famine, forced labor, and even death. Weaving together the story of their life with China’s recent political history, as well as traditional folktales and myths, the Kitchen God illuminates the most impenetrable aspects the human condition.

I just love the idea of the Kitchen God being challenged by the Jade Emperor, and having the love story of this young couple unfold before our eyes. I also love this time period. Under Fishbone Clouds will be released Dec. 7th!

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley... At ninety-one years old, Ptolemy Grey is one of the world’s forgotten: by his family, by his friends, by even himself. Marooned in a cluttered Los Angeles apartment overflowing with mementos from his past, Ptolemy sinks deeper into lonely dementia and into a past that’s best left buried. He’s determined to pass the rest of his days with only his memories for company. Until, at his grandnephew’s funeral, he meets Robyn and experiences a seismic shift, in his head, his heart, and his life. Seventeen
and without a family of her own, Robyn is unlike anyone Ptolemy has ever known. She and Ptolemy form an unexpected bond that reinvigorates his world. Robyn will not tolerate the way he has allowed himself to live, skulking in and out of awareness barely long enough to cash his small pension checks, living in fear of his neighbors and the memories that threaten to swallow him. With Robyn’s help, Ptolemy moves from isolation back into the brightness of friendship and desire. But Robyn’s challenges also push Ptolemy to make a life-changing decision that will affect both of them: to recapture the clarity and vigor of his fading mind and unlock the secrets he has carried for decades.

For all my mystery reading, I have never read Walter Mosley. This definitely isn't one of his mystery books, but the premise of the story drew me in. How the elderly are often times forgotten, and how the friendship of a young girl breathes new life into an old man just grabbed me. Lots of early praise for this book too! I'm looking forward to reading this too! *P.S. This Book is Kindle Ready!

Coming up this week on Chick with Books are two Virtual Book Tours! First, The Book of Eli by Sam Moffie makes a stop monday... Cheating husband meets sudden demise via hex from gypsy hired by wife. Husband makes trip to heaven for redemption. Author Sam Moffie has an ascerbic sense of humor, and it shows in The Book of Eli. Ready for the Holidays?! Well, author Sheila Roberts brings readers a heartwarming story of family, friendships and love in The Snow Globe! The Snow Globe by Sheila Roberts is the second Virtual Book Tour this week, also on monday. I loved this book! It's a perfect little book to escape into during the hectic holidays! My reading group is also going to read it in December and have a live chat with Sheila! I'll let you all know how that goes too!

What have I got my nose into these days? Right now I'm reading Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro! I love watching Cake Boss on the TLC network! If you aren't familiar with the show, it's a cake making reality show at its' best! Buddy Valastro runs the family bake shop, Carlo's Bake Shop, in Hoboken, NJ. with his mother, sisters and brother-in-laws. The show is a blast and the book is too! This book lets us know a little more about Buddy and his family with stories and recipes! And you know I love a good cook book, and the recipe's in this book are dee-lish! I'll be reviewing this book the week of Thanksgiving!

Book Bargain Alert! If you are interested in reading this years Man Booker Prize winner, The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson, you can pick up the paperback for $5.99 right now at Amazon, and the Kindle Ready version for $5.69! And Nook owners, you too can pick up the NOOKbook for $5.69!

So that's what I've been reading, how 'bout you?! What books have you put on your wishlist? Share what books you've found this week, because I'd love to hear about them!


Mary (Bookfan) said...

I heard about The Bells several weeks ago and was immediately intrigued. I bought the Kindle edition and plan to read it as soon as a few review obligations are met. Can't wait!

Mason Canyon said...

You definitely have some great reads in store. I love the cover of Under Fishbone Clouds. It grabs your attention. But, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey would be my pick to begin with. I agree the premise of the story is what really draws you in. Looking forward to your review of this one and putting it on my wish list.

Thoughts in Progress

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I hope you love The Bells as much as I did. Looking forward to Distant Hours as well. Have a good week!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I've been wanting to read The Distant really sounds like a book I'd enjoy.

The Bells has me curious, too.

Thanks for visiting my blog and checking out my new one. Believe me, the first WP blog I started (a little over a year ago) was not that easy. But neither was Blogger when I first began there. And Sheila, over at Book Journey, was very helpful in answering questions.

Also...I'd be happy to answer any questions, too, but I'm not yet an expert!

When I moved my Blogger sites over, I didn't export the posts. I just copied and pasted a few of my favorites. I know...lazy way. But I just wanted to make the move.

Now I only have two Blogger sites, which I'll probably keep there.

Hope you have a great week.

Harvee said...

Two or three books I'd love to read. Under Fishbone Clouds sounds promising.

My Sunday Salon

Esme said...

I have The Distant Hours to read-I read The Forgotten Garden in January and loved it. I am hoping The Distant Hours is just as good.

Alyce said...

I'd heard of The Bells, but haven't read any reviews yet. It's nice to read that you had such a hard time putting it down.

I've seen the cover of the Ptolemy Grey book, but didn't know what it was about. It sounds like something I would like too.

FSB Media Book Blogger Directory
my read shelf:
Suzanne's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)
First To Read
Reviews Published
Professional Reader
Challenge Participant