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 9, 2011

The Sunday Salon... It's a "Snowy Day" of Reading

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! It's that time of the week where we chat about all things bookish! Pull up a chair, grab a cup of joe and let's chat books! It's been perfect New England weather for curling up with a good book! Where I am in Connecticut, we saw 10 inches of snow fall quickly on friday, making the scene from inside a cozy home beautiful, but treacherous if you were in a car trying to get home. I was slowly trying to get home, and when I finally did make it through the door, I was very happy to have a cup of hot chocolate and a good book by my side. The snow had stopped by saturday morning, and when the sun peeked from beyond the horizon, the trees were beautiful with their branches layered with heavy white snow. The deer slowly emerged to pay us a visit too! All this white stuff made my reading thoughts turn to SNOW! Hmmm, what books go along with the theme of snow?! Do I want to take my mind off of it, or embrace the moment? I decided to embrace the moment with some "snow" books!

A book that is a classic "snow themed" book is the The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. In its simple beauty The Snowy Day tells the story of a little boy who wakes up to his world filled with snow and his adventures that follow - making footprints in the snow, knocking snow off a tree, making snow angels and trying to save a snowball for the next day. The artwork is understated and made up of collages and watercolors. And the story is really about the beauty and wonder of the winter. After a miserable ride home in the snow, this book really can change your attitude. It made me reflect back to when I was a child and LOVED playing out in the snow! Sometimes reading children's books as an adult can bring us back to a simpler time in our lives. The Snowy Day won the Caldecott Medal in 1963, AND was a trailblazer in its day, as it is the first full-color picture book to feature a small black child.

Something interesting I found while doing a little research on The Snowy Day, was an interesting program called We Give Books...

We Give Books was created by the Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation and helps support literacy programs by donating books through our sharing our love of reading. The program We Give Books is a FREE website that lets anyone with internet access read a book to a child. There are a variety of children's picture books available to read, appropriate for children up to age 10. There's a mix of fiction and nonfiction. AND for every book read online, We Give Books donates a book to one of the charity literacy programs that they support. You are suppose to be able to choose which charity you want to read for, but when I signed up and read my book for charity, the donation went to one of the charities, just not the one I picked. I emailed the program to clarify this and will let you know. In any case ANY of the charities are worthwhile if they get books into the hands of children who otherwise may not have the opportunity! What book did I read? The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats of course! Learn more about the program, the charities and how to sign up, ALL FOR FREE, at And a big Hurrah! for the Penguin Group for their charity!

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson... I have wanted to read this since discovering it on the Banned Book List this year, and writing about it for Banned Books Week. It's an interracial love story and a murder trial set during WW II. On San Piedro, in Puget Sound, a Japanese-American fisherman stands trial for murder. It's a "beautifully crafted courtroom drama, interracial love story, and war novel, illuminating the psychology of a community, the ambiguities of justice, the racism that persists even between neighbors, and the necessity of individual moral action despite the indifference of nature and circumstance. Snow Falling on Cedars has also won the prestigious Pen/Faulkner award.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See... OK, this is a bit of a stretch on the "snow theme", because it's not really a "snowy" tale, BUT this book is one of my all time favorite books! Have you read it yet?! If you are a woman, if you've ever had a BFF, if you love stories set in far away places, if historical fiction is your reading of choice, this is a book you've got to read! This book takes place in 19th-century China and is the story of two little girls, Lily and Snow Flower, who were matched as lifelong friends or laotong. This story follows the two little girls through their lives, through the trials each girl must go through as a young lady living in China - foot binding, ceremonies, their duties- tests of their friendship, their endurance as they marry, war breaks out, and secrets are revealed. Lisa See did in-depth research for this book, and her prose is beautiful! I laughed and I cried hard as I read this book. If you haven't read it, READ IT! I just happen to come across it in my local bookstore when it first was published, picked it up and never regreted it since. I read it back in 2005, and it still is one of my favorite books!

Other bookish things in the news this week... Huck Finn is getting a make-over next month. Twain scholar Alan Gribben is working on publishing a new edition of Huck Finn replacing the "N" word, which appears 219 times, with the word "slave". What do you think? Next week I'll be posting about this controversial change in Huck Finn, but in one short sentence, I say leave it alone. Huck Finn and the controversial "N" word, should be used to teach us about racism and introduce a dialogue about how wrong racism is. The book will actually be a reprinting of both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and called Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and will be published by NewSouth Books.

Here's a Recap of this past weeks blog... I finished and reviewed a GREAT YA book, Delirium by Lauren Oliver! Already gaining a following with her recently published first book, Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver captured my heart with Delirium. I could not put it down, and now I'm going to have to wait for the second book in this trilogy to be published! Read my Review of Delirium if you missed it. It's a dystopian love story in a world where loved is outlawed!... Memoir Monday featured A Widow's Story by Joyce Carol Oates. It's the intimate story of the sudden loss of the author's husband. It's also a "every woman's" story, as Joyce Carol Oates writes a story that can be imagined by any woman losing a spouse. Follow the link above to read more about this amazing book... Did you catch the Reading Challenges I joined this week? If you enjoy reading, but sometimes want to "find something new" to read, reading challenges are a good way to go. Not only does it challenge you to read something new, but you'll always find suggestions and reviews of books at the challenge site. I joined the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge and the Graphics Novel Reading. Challenge. Follow the links to find out more about them, or do a google search under "reading challenges 2011" to find others to whet your appetite with!

What are you reading this week?! Share what you've been caught up with! And let me know what you think of the transformation of Huck Finn! Yes? No? Next week, I'll be posting all about it! In the meantime... hope you found something new to read!

Happy Reading... Suzanne


Nan said...

I love The Snowy Day. I read this every year with my first graders. Wonderful book!

Suzanne Yester said...

Oh Nan! That is so sweet! It is such a wonderful book, and I enjoyed reading it after the awful commute home that day in the snow!

jenna said...

I've always really loved Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It was so good!


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

just a lovely snowy photo! I forgot to post the ones I took yesterday, so I think I will save them for wordless Wednesday....we only got about 3-4".

Alyce said...

We Give Books looks great - I haven't heard of it before, so I'm going to check it out now.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Jenna!
It's nice to know someone else has read that book! The ending just left me crying so hard! And I couldn't start another book for a week because it was still haunting me.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Diane!
I'm looking forward to seeing your photos! I would have thought you would have gotten so much more than us, but this was a really strange weather system. It started coming down so hard for about 2 hours and then it was just calmed down.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Alyce!
Yes, I just found out about We Give Books too. Seems like a worthwhile organization. I like that Penguin Books is behind it, and that there are quite a few charities that benefit from it all. I only wish that I would have been able to designate my own charity like I was suppose to be able to, but like I said, all the charities seem worthy.

Darlene said...

Great photo Suzanne! We ended up getting even more snow here - ended up with a couple of feet. Different from you I'm just trying to forget about it but it's impossible when you're taking out a puppy every hour or so. lol. Stay safe there - our roads are really scary here right now too.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Dar!
Yikes! I can't imagine 2 feet of snow! Loved the photos of Sammy in the snow! The first winter is so much fun with our fur babies!

Esme said...

Both of those books are good choices. I hope you do not have to shovel out.

Mason Canyon said...

All of your books sound interesting. I did not know about We Give Books. I'll have to check that out. Thanks for sharing.

Hope your snow melts soon. We are suppose to get anywhere from 1 to 5 inches tonight and tomorrow. So far, it has started and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't. Happy reading.

Thoughts in Progress

Hannah said...

What a wonderful theme for a post! Snowy Day was a family favorite in my household growing up--even though (or perhaps because) we lived in the South where we very rarely saw in snow at all. (Now I live in DC and saw enough snow last winter to make up for my childhood.)

Helen Ginger said...

I already have a stack of TBR books, and here you go adding to it! I've not read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, but it sounds wonderful and I'm going to look for it.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

We did enjoy watching all that snow fall, and the nice part about condo living is that they even shoveled our steps.

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