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 7, 2016

The Sunday Salon and... Runaway Girls

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post! It's that day of the week bloggers from all over the internet get together virtually in a large gathering place called The Sunday Salon and talk books!  And at The Sunday Post, which is a weekly meme hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer, in which more bloggers share their bookish news!

And the news this week includes Harry Potter and Oprah. First, have you heard about the new Harry Potter book? Of course you have, but is it really a "Harry Potter" book? Actually, yes and no. I am a huge Harry Potter fan! I loved that first book as soon as I picked it up at the bookstore, way before the Harry Potter craze. And I would love more! The new book is actually the screen play for the London production of the play, written by the playwright Jack Thorne "(and based on an original story by Ms. Rowling, Mr. Thorne and the director John Tiffany)". I've heard a lot of mixed reviews. The negative being that it doesn't have the depth and imagination that J.K. Rowling created in the original series. Can a screen play compare to an actual novel? The positive is that fans get to read more about Harry. I would love to see the play, because it is suppose to be amazing visually( and a good play), and I will probably eventually check out the screen play, but I didn't go to a midnight release party because it's just not the same "Harry" for me. What do you think?

How do YOU feel about the NEW Harry Potter book? Yes or No?

Now for Oprah... Oprah's newest Book Club selection explodes on the seen. And it's such a cool secretive mission for bookstores to order and have the selection ready when the announcement is made. Basically, bookstores "blind purchase"the book...

"Under the long-standing protocol for Oprah’s Book Club, a publisher solicits orders from booksellers without divulging the title, the author or even the imprint. To conceal the book’s identity, the publisher creates an ISBN labeled “Untitled by Anonymous.”" jennifer maloney, wall street journal

Lot's of guessing among book sellers, but ultimately we all found out it was The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Originally scheduled for a Sept. 6th release, Oprah asked to publisher to release it in August, which Doubleday did, along with increasing the print run from 75,000 first run copies to 200,000. 

Oprah's Book Club does not have any schedule for picking a book. Basically, when Oprah finds a book that she enjoys and wants to share, she'll make an "official" selection. When I previewed the book, I thought that Colson Whitehead's writing was good and it captured my attention, so I ordered a copy. The story is about Cora, a young slave, who runs away and starts an adventure to freedom. But the underground railroad is not just a metaphor in this book, it is a reality... Sounds like such a great story with a nice twist. But, Colson Whitehead isn't the only author to write about a runaway girl. In my TBR pile I have two other books that deal with girls running away from slavery, that have their own interesting twists...

Grace by Natashia Deon.. For a runaway slave in the 1840s south, life on the run can be just as dangerous as life under a sadistic Massa. That’s what fifteen-year-old Naomi learns after she escapes the brutal confines of life on an Alabama plantation. Striking out on her own, she must leave behind her beloved Momma and sister Hazel and takes refuge in a Georgia brothel run by a freewheeling, gun-toting Jewish madam named Cynthia. There, amidst a revolving door of gamblers, prostitutes, and drunks, Naomi falls into a star-crossed love affair with a smooth-talking white man named Jeremy who frequents the brothel’s dice tables all too often.

The product of Naomi and Jeremy’s union is Josey, whose white skin and blonde hair mark her as different from the other slave children on the plantation. Having been taken in as an infant by a free slave named Charles, Josey has never known her mother, who was murdered at her birth. Josey soon becomes caught in the tide of history when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaches the declining estate and a day of supposed freedom quickly turns into a day of unfathomable violence that will define Josey—and her lost mother—for years to come.

Deftly weaving together the stories of Josey and Naomi—who narrates the entire novel unable to leave her daughter alone in the land of the living—Grace is a sweeping, intergenerational saga featuring a group of outcast women during one of the most compelling eras in American history. It is a universal story of freedom, love, and motherhood, told in a dazzling and original voice set against a rich and transporting historical backdrop.

I read the beginning of this book and loved the fact that Naomi was narrating the book. Even though she was dead, they couldn't kill her spirit and she was going to watch out for her baby no matter what.  This novel received many praises for Deon's writing and the story itself. Natashia Deon is interesting herself. She's a insurance defense attorney, a writer, founder of Dirty Laundry Lit and a mother of two, one of which is disabled. She's won a few awards for her writing too. Check out Grace... here's the link for Kindle version , and the Nook version.

The House Girl by Tara Conklin... The historical fiction debut by Tara Conklin, is an unforgettable story of love, history, and a search for justice, set in modern-day New York and 1852 Virginia.

Weaving together the story of an escaped slave in the pre–Civil War South and a determined junior lawyer, The House Girl follows Lina Sparrow as she looks for an appropriate lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking compensation for families of slaves. In her research, she learns about Lu Anne Bell, a renowned prewar artist whose famous works might have actually been painted by her slave, Josephine. Featuring two remarkable, unforgettable heroines.

This is a book published in 2013, and already on my Kindle. I love stories that travel back and forth in time. When I read a bit of The House Girl, I enjoyed Tara Conklin's writing style too. Right now, the eBook versions of this book are at a bargain price of $1.99! So if this sounds like something up your reading alley, now's the time to put it on your eReader! Here's a link to the Kindle version, and the Nook version.

And finally about that Oprah book... 
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead... Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all slaves, but Cora is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is coming into womanhood; even greater pain awaits. Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her of the Underground Railroad and they plot their escape. Like Gulliver, Cora encounters different worlds on each leg of her journey. 

Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors of black life in pre-Civil War America. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

Here's a link to a reading sample of The Underground. Right now the Hardcover is 40% off at Amazon, and I think that Barnes and Noble will be featuring it next week for 30% off in stores and if you're a member there, you'll get an additional 10% off discount. 

If you're interested in Oprah's Book Club, there is an official Goodreads group . There you can join in discussions and look to see what all the books are that Oprah has chosen.

I don't specifically seek out the Oprah Book Club selection, but how can you not hear about it if you are anywhere within 100 miles of a bookstore...

Do you follow Oprah's Book Club picks?

Weekly Wrap-up...
I finished a few books last week and I've started a new one (before reading The Underground Railroad).

Review for ... Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman. It took me a while to finish this book because of its' slow pace, but when I finally hit some traction, I couldn't put it down. Quirky characters and a heartwarming story. Fans of Fredrik Backman will not be disappointed. I really enjoyed it after finally finishing it, so click on my review to decide for yourself.   

I spent a few weeks with Allen Eskens... literally that is. My reading group selection for August was The Life We Bury by Eskens and I enjoyed that so much I read his next book, The Guise of Another. If you enjoy police procedurals with a literary bend, pick up either of these books. Great stories with great twists at the end. I'll be reviewing both of these books next week.

Now reading.. Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee. I had read so much buzz about this YA coming of age book about,  "Twins Clara and Hailey, 17, are as close as it gets—conjoined at the lower back, entangled internally, sharing lower body sensations—but each harbors different dreams." that I had to check it out. The first two paragraphs of the book made me want a little more...

About four years ago, when I was thirteen and still prone to crying spells, my mother liked to show off her so-called wisdom by telling me that every teenage girl sometimes feels like a freak of nature. She claimed that every adolescent worries that everyone’s staring at her, and every girl at some point has believed that no one likes her and that she’ll never belong.

Ans sometimes I would just listen and try to believe her, but then this one time (I guess it was the last time she gave the speech) I said, “And does every teenage girl sometimes feel like she has a super-ugly ninety-pound tumor sticking out of her butt?”

A little snarky, huh? Well, I'm halfway through Gemini and love it. Sonya Mukherjee does a great job creating an authentic coming-of-age story while dealing with Clara and Hailey as individuals, as conjoined twins without being... "freaky"? It's hard to put it in words, but what I thought might be a story revolving primarily around the girls being conjoined and maybe them being kind of a "side show" turns out to be a story of two 17 year olds trying to navigate those "feelings" about boys and growing up just like any normal teenagers, their disabilty there, but you sometimes forget about it as you're reading. Hailey and Clara are great characters. I'll probably be finishing Gemini this next week and reviewing the following week, but right now it's at least a 4 star book for me. 

What have you been reading this week?! Hope you found something here today that you found interesting! Stop by next week for those reviews, including one on a poetry collections!

Happy reading... Suzanne



Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I am eager to read Britt-Marie Was Here. I enjoyed A Man Called Ove, and also found it slow-going, but loved it anyway.

Thanks for sharing...and the new Oprah pick does look tempting.


Suzanne Yester said...

Yes, Laurel, even though Britt-Marie was slow-going, I did love it. I have had A Man Called Ove for a long time, I think I'll finally put it towards the top of the pile now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Literary Feline said...

I just saw mention of the Oprah pick this morning on Facebook. That's so interesting, the process bookstores go through with her selections . . . No one else has that kind of power when recommending a book, do they? I hope you enjoy The Underground Railroad!

I think I have a copy of The House Girl on my kindle. It's been there awhile. I'm so bad about keeping up with the books I buy.

My husband is really wanting to read the new Potter book, and I'm curious about it. I think it's unfair to expect a screenplay to carry the same depth and allure of a novel, but that's just me. I have never been a huge fan of reading plays--I'd much prefer to watch them. And really, it isn't written by J.K. Rowling. It's just based on her story.

I am looking forward to reading Britt-Marie. I loved Ove. I am glad you are enjoying Gemini!

I hope you have a wonderful week, Suzanne!

Greg said...

I've always though the Underground Railroad was fascinating since hearing stories as a kid. I would be interested in that. And I wsn't aware of Oprah's book club (except maybe peripherally) but it is interesting.

I hope you have great reading week.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Oprah brought many good books to my attention. I thank her. I hope to read this book soon.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Literary Feline!
I totally agree with you that you cannot compare a novel to a screen play. AND, I don't enjoy reading screen plays either (unless it's my Brother Ernie's screen plays). But, I may relent and read this eventually and I would definitelty be up for going to Broadway and seeing it, which may be a reality next year! Oh how I miss that feeling you got when a new Harry Potter book was going to be released! I may have to read them all again after I retire!

OK... Ove definitely moving up on the TBR list! And I have had The House Girl on my Kindle since it came out!

Thanks for sharing and stopping by!

Suzanne Yester said...

yes, Greg, I think this new twist on the underground railroad will be interesting. Kind of reminds me of steampunk in a way.

Thanks for stopping by!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Deb! Oprah makes good picks. And if it weren't for her, I may have not taken a look at this book! I have to thank her too!

Laura @ The Shabby Rabbit said...

I don't always follow Oprah book club suggestions, but I always feels smugly accomplished when she pics a book I've already read :) lol!!

It's like I was FINALLY first to the band wagon..even before the band!

I would like to read Underground Railroad.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Laura!
Yes, I know that smugly feeling! ;-) And I like it!

Thanks for stopping by!

thecuecard said...

I dont usually follow Oprah's book picks, but I'll likely read Colson Whitehead's book which I picked up at BEA in May. It sounds like a new kind of take on the Underground Railroad.

Blogger said...

I have to recommend reading the book The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel.
I finished reading it today, and I think its a really good book.

I ordered mine from Amazon and I got it in just 2 days.
Here is the link for the book on Amazon:
The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel

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