Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Yes, it's that day of the week we put aside a little of our time to talk books… So, grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and relax.
My reading week had been engrossed in a book I talked about in last week's Sunday Salon - All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which takes place during WWII about a blind girl who is raised by her father in Paris and a German orphan boy who grows up to be part of the Nazi intelligence. Their two stories merge when the girl and her father flee to the port city of Saint Malo, when Paris becomes part of the German occupation, and the German boy, now a man, lands in Saint Malo. The writing is wonderful, the story is so interesting and I cannot put it down. More on that after I finish it, but I think it's going to be one of those great stories that will stay with me for a while.
There are a few books that hit my radar when I did manage to poke my head out of the pages of that book…
Yu-Jung, beautiful, wealthy, and bright, is lying in her hospital bed, recovering from her third suicide attempt, when she receives a life-changing visit. Her no-nonsense aunt, a nun, appears by her side and suggests Yu-Jung accompany her on a charitable visit to death row. At her lowest ebb, Yu-Jung is resistant. But something compels her to go to the prison. There she meets Yun-Soo, a convicted murderer who will soon be put to death. Though she is repulsed by his crimes, something about the depth of his suffering strikes a chord in her. Shaken by their encounter, she returns to visit him the next week. And the next… Through their weekly, hour-long meetings, Yu-Jung and Yun-Soo slowly reveal to each other the dark secrets of their pasts and the hidden traumas that have shaped their lives. In doing so they form a deep, unbreakable bond, helping one another overcome their demons. But Yun-Soo’s hands are always in cuffs, the prison officers are always in the background, and they can never lose sight of the fact that their happy time together is tragically brief.
This book is already a smash hit in South Korea and has gotten rave reviews. In fact, Gong Ji-young is a best selling author in South Korea and this is her first book translated into English. I have a eGalley on my Nook and can't wait to start reading to see if it's going to live up to all the hype. I did take a peek at some of the first few chapters and I loved the intro…
"I am going to tell you a story. It is a story of murder. It is a story of a family that was only capable of destruction, where screaming and yelling and whippings and chaos and curses were their daily bread…"
I'll be sinking my teeth into this book next, so stay tuned for my review!
The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh… After their mother's probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz take steps to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia—who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights—is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother's unfinished novel to lay her spirit properly to rest. Already resentful of Olivia’s foolish quest and her family’s insistence upon her involvement, Jazz is further aggravated when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper who warns he shouldn’t be trusted. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, until they are finally forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.
This is touted as a coming of age novel. I like the idea of the sisters going on this adventure together, and look forward to how the story wraps itself around these two.
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman… Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father’s “museum,” alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River. The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor’s apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.
Alice Hoffman is a great storyteller and this novel sounds like a quirky love story, with all the elements of a innocent girl being rescued from her evil captor and whisked off to mysterious other world. I look forward to reading, which was published this past February.
Other bookish things this week include my surprise box from Book Riot. Book Riot is part of a program from Quarterly Company that boxes up little surprise boxes filled with stuff you're interested in. You can subscribe yearly or try one box. Book Riot is all about readers, so they box up bookish things. This was my first "box" and I subscribed because I just love surprises, and couldn't resist a surprise box filled with bookish things. It's a bit expensive - $50 a quarter if you subscribe, $50 plus shipping if you just order one box to try. Was I impressed? Come back Monday and we'll look at what came in the box and I'll tell share my thoughts on fun versus value.
In The News… Amazon Prime members dues are going up. Yes, the fee Amazon Prime members pay for free shipping, free Kindle lending and other member only perks is going up $20 to $99. I have been a Prime Member from the beginning and have more than made my "dues" up in free shipping, but $99 is pushing it just a little. I don't think I'll be unsubscribing, but it did make me pause since I'm using the library more, downloading more eBooks and not ordering as much as I once did of "other things". If you aren't a Prime Member and were considering joining, if you join before the new price is in effect, April 17th, you'll get a whole year at the old price of $79.
How was your reading week? Reading anything you've just got to share with someone?! I'd love to hear about it! I'm always on the lookout for great reads! And what do you think about Amazon Prime? Are you a member? Worth the price?
Have a great week! And don't forget to stop back this week to see what bookish things I got in my Book Riot box!
Happy reading… Suzanne