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 1, 2009

The Sunday Salon... Reading Adventures and "Books with Buzz"

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake...

All week long I've lived inside a dystopian world. First I took this strange elevator to this place called The Glade avoiding these mechanical blobs that were trying to kill me and everyone else there and finally entered the maze surrounding the Glade in an attempt to escape... Then once I was out of there I wound up in another futuristic world where I had to think fast as I approached age 5o without children to avoid "Paradise" and the use of my vital body parts... Watch for my reviews for the places I've been this week... The Maze Runner by James Dashner and The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist. The Maze Runner was part of my reading for The DystopYA reading challenge. The Unit is another Dystopian selection, but it's not YA, and it's one of the Reading Group Selections for National Reading Group Month... But I didn't just have my head in books this week, I was also on the lookout for Books with Buzz and here's what I found...

An fun release this week was Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris. Charlaine Harris is well known for her Sookie Stackhouse southern vampire books, but Charlaine Harris has a few other series going on too! One of those other series is the Harper Connelly mysteries. This past tuesday Grave Secret, the fourth book in that series, was released. Grave Secret is the continued story of Harper Connelly and her stepbrother Tolliver as they venture out of their normal story line of hunting dead people for a bit of a family reunion. In the first book in the series, Grave Sight, we are introduced to Harper Connelly who has the uncanny ability to find dead people and live the last moments of the dead person's life. Tolliver is her manager and bodyguard. This series is a fun enjoyable series, with likeable characters. If you're looking for something a little less serious to read try Harper on for size. And if you like her, there are 3 more books to read!

Another book that grabbed my attention because it's gotten some interesting buzz is Waiting For Columbus by Thomas Trofimuk. A man arrives at an insane asylum in contemporary Spain claiming to be the legendary navigator Christopher Columbus. Who he really is, and the events that led him to break with reality, lie at the center of this captivating, romantic, and stunningly written novel. Found in the treacherous Strait of Gibraltar, the mysterious man who calls himself Columbus appears to be just another delirious mental patient, until he begins to tell the “true” story of how he famously obtained three ships from Spanish royalty. Time shifts back and forth between modern day and the time of Columbus, which some people may not like, but I find stories like that fascinating. Described as part adventure, romance and tragedy, I bought this book this weekend after glancing thru the pages to read some of Thomas Trofimuk's writing and enjoyed what I read. Another book I thoroughly enjoyed that shifted in time similar to this book, in the telling of "stories", was The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Here's my review of The Gargoyle from this past summer. If you haven't read The Gargoyle yet, put that on your TBR list!

Finally for this weeks Books with Buzz, a book that was shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers and helped the author win a Whiting Award, Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun. In Mun's debut novel, we read the electrifying and heartbreaking story of a teenage runaway on the streets of 1980s New York. Teenage Joon is a Korean immigrant living in the Bronx of the 1980s. Her parents have crumbled under the weight of her father’s infidelity; he has left the family, and mental illness has rendered her mother nearly catatonic. So Joon, at the age of thirteen, decides she would be better off on her own, a choice that commences a harrowing and often tragic journey that exposes the painful difficulties of a life lived on the margins. Joon’s adolescent years take her from a homeless shelter to an escort club, through struggles with addiction, to jobs selling newspapers and cosmetics, committing petty crimes, and, finally, toward something resembling hope. In raw and beautiful prose, Nami Mun delivers the story of a young woman who is at once tough and vulnerable, world-weary and naive, faced with insurmountable odds and yet fiercely determined to survive. Nami Mun's writing is sparse and direct, but there is a kind of beauty in her writing that has gotten a lot of attention. It is a odd size book, not quite a trade paperback and a bit larger than a mass market pb, with large margins surrounding the text on all 4 sides that seem to draw your attention into the words and what you are reading...

Hope you've found something to put on your reading list! Have anything I should put on mine?! What books have you been reading?! Share the books that kept you up all night turning pages!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Harvee said...

Impressive list of books! Here's my weekly wrap up at Sunday Salon

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Waiting for Columbus looks interesting...

Sharon said...

You have some great books listed. I can't wait to read the new Harris book. Waiting for Columbus is one I think I'll look up - thanks!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

Wow--I had no idea that Miles from Nowhere had been nominated for those awards! I actually tried to read the book earlier this year for book club and abandoned it after reading 2/3 of it. It's the only book in a long time that I've put down with NO intention of picking back up. Hope you fair better than I did!!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Sharon!
Yes, Waiting for Columbus really intrigued me and is now sitting on my nightstand waiting... And I've never read any of the Charlaine Harris books, so I have to do a little catching up, but that should be fun! :D

Hi Trish!
It's funny how some books that are nominated for these awards can be so reader unfriendly... I hate not finishing a book and especially one for book club! But sometimes you just can't help it! Thanks for letting us know you didn't like it! Maybe I'll have to check this one out of the library to give it a try!

Anonymous said...

I've gotten hooked on the Sookie Stackhouse series and I only have two books in it left to read, so I've been thinking about the Harper series. Are they similar in terms of writing style and romantic content?

Waiting for Columbus sounds great too!

Esme said...

I have this one on my bedside table.

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