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, March 27, 2011

The Sunday Salon... Treasure Hunting in a Book Sale

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Grab a cup of joe, relax, and let's talk about books! Yes, after a hectic week of "this and that", it's time to sit back and reflect on what we've been able to squeeze in this week, the far off places we've visited as we immersed ourselves into the written page...

This week I went to my local Borders and its' "Going out of Business Sale". It is utter chaos on the shelves there. If you are looking for anything in particular you are virtually out of luck as the shelves are filled with books that people thought twice about, condensing book sections, and shrinking inventory... But it's also fun. It's like a treasure hunt, trying to find the little gems that are buried beneath all that chaos. It also makes me look... really look at all those titles and I've actually learned a thing or two about some authors.

Did you know? That the Alfred Hitchcock movie Strangers on a Train was written by Patricia Highsmith? Do you know who Patricia Highsmith is? I am a bit embarrassed to admit I hadn't read her before. But I will rectify that situation with Selected Novels and Short Stories by Patricia Highsmith, which includes Strangers on a Train and The Price of Salt, her other very well known novel. But Patricia Highsmith also wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley! Do you remember that movie?! I am amazed that she wrote both of these psychological "chillers". Strangers on the Train was her debut novel which she wrote in the 50's, and The Talented Mr. Ripley she wrote in the late 80's.

Some books were screaming for me to save them, or at least hand them to another customer looking to purchase some books... Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See was sitting there on a shelf (one of my favorite reads) and so was a copy of Little Bee by Chris Cleave. There was a copy of Stitches by David Small in the Biographies, along with Maus by Art Spiegelman, which I own but haven't read yet. Both of which are graphic novels. Stitches was an amazing book for its' subtle artwork, and Maus is amazing for other reasons as it's the story of the Holocaust, with the main characters depicted by mice and cats. I did pick up a graphic novel though... I brought home with me Forget Sorrow by Belle Yang, which is her ancestral tale, and her graphic memoir. We learn about Belle and China as we travel back to Belle's father's era as he recounts tales of growing up and the world as it was back then. The illustrations appear to be woodcuts and are beautiful.

What other books came home with me?

Illustrado by Miguel Syjuco... This won the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2008, even before it was in book form. "It begins with a body. On a clear day in winter, the battered corpse of Crispin Salvador is pulled from the Hudson River—taken from the world is the controve
rsial lion of Philippine literature. Gone, too, is the only manuscript of his final book, a work meant to rescue him from obscurity by exposing the crimes of the Filipino ruling families. Miguel, his student and only remaining friend, sets out for Manila to investigate. To understand
the death, Miguel scours the life, piecing together Salvador’s story through his poetry, interviews, novels, polemics, and memoirs. The result is a rich and dramatic family saga of four generations, tracing 150 years of Philippine history forged under the Spanish, the Americans, and the Filipinos themselves." And the book is filled with bits and pieces of interviews and novels, etc. Not really an epistolary novel, but similar in thought.

The Elephants Journey by Jose Saramago... Based on the actual event of King Joao III of Portugal in 1551 giving Archduke Maximilian a elephant named Solomon as a wedding gift. The elephant traveled from Lisbon to Vienna... all on foot! "The Enchanting Tale of an elephant, his keeper, and their journey through sixteenth-century Europe, based on a true story."What Jose Saramago does is take this amazing tale and with wit, humor and an underlying seriousness gives us a gift to read. The elephant is our hero in the story and from the bit I've read, the writing is wonderful. But of course, Jose Saramago has won the Nobel Prize for Literature! The book itself is slim and about the size of a trade paperback even though my copy is hardcover, and the size and design of the cover gives the impression that you are opening the book to a wonderful fairytale.

Of course these are only some of the highlights of my treasure hunt. I wander first through literature, then through mysteries, memoirs and then history. I always take a peek at romance and YA novels. Sci-fi gets a brief look, but isn't my norm for reading. How do you travel through a book sale? Do you have fun looking through the chaos? Share some of your great finds!

Weekly Recap... Memoir Monday was a stop for Lisa Napoli and her TLC Virtual Book Tour for her memoir Radio Shangri-La. I loved it, and felt like I was traveling right along with Lisa as she left her fast-paced life in The States to the "Happiest Place on Earth". Tuesday,
I gave a heads-up to Haruki Murakami fans, and wrote about the recent issue of The New Yorker Magazine that includes his short story U.F.O. in Kushiro. It's a rare treat to have Murakami publish something in an American magazine, so if you are a fan, don't forget to grab a copy! Friday's First Lines was an excerpt from the newly released book about "girl and dog", Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee. And yes, the dog does save the day! The cover is wonderful and the story should be too! Lots of great buzz on this one! And I have a copy waiting for me to read. Saturday I reviewed the graphic novel iZombies: Dead to the World by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred. A fabulous start to a new series of Zombie - Vampire - "Were-Terrier" adventures! There are elements of mystery and romance, and I have hopes that the story will continue as well as the first five issues that are found in iZombie: Dead to the World. If you are new to graphic novels, but enjoy complex stories with vampires and a zombie or two, give this a try! I don't think you'll be disappointed!

That's how my week was... how was yours?! Share all that great reading you have on your plate this week!

Happy reading... Suzanne


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

LOVED Strangers on a Train. One I need to revisit. I also like Saramago, and was saddened by his passing.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

what a great way to look at it! i am headed to my nearest borders tomorrow on a last chance trip!

Hillary said...

I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan years ago and loved it.

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