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, January 4, 2015

Best Books and New Books…

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's the day of the week we devote to talking books! So, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of Joe and get comfy! Let's talk books……

It's the beginning of a new reading year! I'm looking forward to some great books coming our way and I'm looking forward to some great books I missed during the year too! At the end of the year there are many, many "best of…" lists, and on those many lists I hunted down, there were three books I saw over and over. So, today let's take a peek at those books that stood out among all those lists, a few books I think should have made those lists, and a couple of books you're going to want to read that are new for 2015…

On those lists…

All The Light We Cannont See by Anthony Doerr… a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.  Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

I talked about this way back in a March Sunday Salon  and it is clearly the stand out hit of 2014. A book club favorite as well as a great book for people who love that WWII time frame. I didn't get a chance to read this one yet, but it is going to the top of the list.

The Martian by Andy WeirSix days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first... Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Another book that has gotten rave reviews and is slated for the big screen this year. Adventure and survival at the harshest odds.
This One Summer by Mariko TamakiEvery summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. One of the local teens - just a couple of years older than Rose and Windy - is caught up in something bad... Something life threatening. It's a summer of secrets, and sorrow, and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

I LOVED THIS BOOK! One of my favorite reads this year and I am so glad it's gotten the praise it deserves. Beautifully drawn, tender writing, just a great BFF book. Here's my REVIEW.

Where are THESE books on those lists?! 2 of my favorites...

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan… The improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny. At the age of thirty-five, Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne has left her philandering husband in San Francisco to set sail for Belgium—with her three children and nanny in tow—to study art. It is a chance for this adventurous woman to start over, to make a better life for all of them, and to pursue her own desires.  Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her children repair to a quiet artists’ colony in France where she can recuperate. Emerging from a deep sorrow, she meets a lively Scot, Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who falls instantly in love with the earthy, independent, and opinionated “belle Americaine.” 

I LOVED THIS BOOK too! The romance between Robert and Fanny was so special and Nancy Horan is the writer who knows how to whisk you away into the pages of one of her books without you ever wanting to leave. Here's my REVIEW. Read this Book!

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein… In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after. But as Trevor explores the house’s secret stairways and hidden rooms, he discovers a spirit lingering in Riddell House whose agenda is at odds with the family plan. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future.

Garth Stein is a master storyteller! He captured my attention and I couldn't read this fast enough. Here's my REVIEW. Another book for your TBR pile if you missed it!

Books to Look Forward to This Year…

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion… The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Rosie Project, starring the same extraordinary couple now living in New York and unexpectedly expecting their first child. Get ready to fall in love all over again. Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because— surprise!—Rosie is pregnant.  Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie.  As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most. 

Another charming story of Don and Rosie. This actually was published Dec. 30th, but I'm counting it as a 2015 reading selection. Their friends are back, their love is being tested, and if you enjoyed the first book, The Rosie Effect, you're going to want to read the sequel of Don and Rosie make three! I started reading a sample of this and felt right at home.
The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins… Intersecting, overlapping, not-quite-what-they-seem lives. Jealousies and betrayals and wounded hearts. A haunting unease that clutches and won’t let go. All this and more helps propel Paula Hawkins’s addictive debut into a new stratum of the psychological thriller genre. At times, I couldn’t help but think: Hitchcockian. From the opening line, the reader knows what they’re in for: “She’s buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks…” But Hawkins teases out the mystery with a veteran’s finesse. The “girl on the train” is Rachel, who commutes into London and back each day, rolling past the backyard of a happy-looking couple she names Jess and Jason. Then one day Rachel sees “Jess” kissing another man. The day after that, Jess goes missing. The story is told from three character’s not-to-be-trusted perspectives: Rachel, who mourns the loss of her former life with the help of canned gin and tonics; Megan (aka Jess); and Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s wife, who happens to be Jess/Megan’s neighbor. Rachel’s voyeuristic yearning for the seemingly idyllic life of Jess and Jason lures her closer and closer to the investigation into Jess/Megan’s disappearance, and closer to a deeper understanding of who she really is. And who she isn’t.

Oh, this sounds so intriguing! Lots of great reviews for this already! Let's see if the story lives up to the hype and hop on the train! On my wish list!

What were you're favorite reads in 2014?! And what are you looking forward to reading this year? Hope you found a couple of great reads here today, and next week back to the basics… great books with buzz!

Happy reading… Suzanne


Harvee said...

I have put 3 of your books on my to read list!

Bryan G. Robinson said...

The Martian. I don't think I've heard of that one in any other lists this year. ;)

Seriously, though, I have it on my TBR. I just hope it lives up to the hype.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Harvee!
I'm glad you found some interesting reads! I did the same when I visited your blog!

Thanks for stopping by!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Bryan!
I was a little surprised that The Martian was on the lists I was perusing, but it's been on my TBR list since it came out too. Maybe we'll both read it this year! And yes, I hope it does live up to the hype, too.

Thanks for coming by!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

You are the second person today to recommend Martian. I must seek that one out. Thanks, Suzanne!

Barbara said...

The Girl on the Train appeals to me as you describe it. I loved All The Light We Cannot See

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Deb!
Glad I could share a recommendation your way!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Barbara!
Yes, I loved the "Hitchcockian" reference with The Girl on The Train. I guess I better move a little faster with All The Light We Cannot See, because you are the hundredth person to tell me how much you loved it!

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

This One Summer and Under the Wide and Starry Sky both sound wonderful. I am hoping to read more novels this year and these will be added to my list of possibilities.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Molly!
Both of those books are wonderful! And if graphic novels are new to you, This One Summer is a perfect start!

Thanks for stopping by!

thecuecard said...

I received the Doerr novel for Christmas so I'll have to get to that. Also I want to read the Garth Stein book as I loved his other book. This one looks like a winner too. Nice post.

Blogger said...

I would like to recommend reading the book The Girl on the Train: A Novel.
I just finished reading it today, and I think its a very interesting book.

I got mine from Amazon and they delivered it in only TWO days.
Here's the link for the book on Amazon:
The Girl on the Train: A Novel

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