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 8, 2012

The Sunday Salon... Reading Resolutions 2012

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that day of the week where we get to kick back, relax and talk about... Books!
It's also a brand new year and there are plenty of resolutions that us readers make. Maybe you'll resolve to try a genre that you've never read before, or maybe resolve to actually read more. Whatever your choice,
it's the start of a new reading year!

But before we look ahead, let's take a look back at some of the books I am so glad to have made the acquaintance of this past year. Of course there were many pages turned this year, but if I had to pick out just a few that shined a little brighter, these would be the ones...

READING RECAP for 2011... Some of the books I enjoyed this year were...

Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt. This was a quirky fun read!

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruku Murakami. It's amazing that Haruku Murakami could turn running into something interesting and philosophical, but he did!

The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman. Laura Lippman never disappoints and this novella was quite a page turner.

Song of The Silk Road by Mingmei Yip. This book took me a little while to digest and realize that I enjoyed it. Funny how that is sometimes, but after I finished it I realized that I did really enjoy it.

When We Danced on Water by Evan Fallenberg. This was a nice surprise. A love story and a war story. Evan's writing was spot on and I couldn't put this down.

FAVORITE read of the year... Delirium by Lauren Oliver. This YA book just resonated with me. It was a wonderful love story set in a dystopian world that seemed so believable. But what was even more believable was the emotions that just dripped off the page between the two teenagers. Falling in love the first time is special, frightening, and confusing. Lauren Oliver captures all these emotions and puts them all down on the page. My only wish is that the second book in the series (it's a trilogy) will be as good.

Some of the challenges that I did test the waters with were Manga and Graphic Novels. Of course I have read and enjoyed Graphic Novels, but Manga was new to me. I did meet a sweet little kitten in Chi's Sweet Home by Konami Kanata and I do have a few more Manga set aside to crack the spines on, but Manga still is a bit of a mystery. Any suggestions out there to sample a little more? I'm still open to reading a bit more.

Looking a bit farther back, there are still books that I read that I still think about. I looked to see when I read and reviewed some of these gems and was surprised to find that years had gone by on a few of them. I still recommend these great reads when talking books! Here are a handful of those DON"T MISS titles!

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist... At the time I reviewed it, 2009, I called it compelling and disturbing. It was and still is. The story still haunts me. I have recommended this to anyone who will listen. It's dystopian, it's a love story, it's a novel that will have you thinking late into the night. And if you're over 50, it'll scare the heck out of you!

True Grit by Charles Portis... Mattie Ross is the perfect heroine and she will have you loving this story! This was one of the last books I read in 2010 and simply stated, I LOVED it! "It's adventure, it's revenge, it's redemption" is part of what I wrote about True Grit, and it is so much more. A story that will have you wanting more... much more! Wonderful memorable characters! READ THIS if you haven't!

The Favorites by Mary Yukari Waters... Another great read in 2010 that I still think about today. A wonderful, powerful story of 3 generations of women with the beautiful background of Japan.

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex... Another great book that I read in 2010 that made me swoon to the affections of The Count! What a love story! Sexy, Sensuous, and a timeless love story all wrapped up in one. Ladies, this is a read for you! Karen Essex re-imagines Mina's point of view in the classic tale of Dracula and brings the characters to life, especially Dracula!

Sugar by Bernice McFadden... This was the first book I read by Bernice and it introduced me to a writer who can capture my heart with the drop of her pen on the page. Her women characters are so real and wonderful, but her writing is even better. I've been a fan of hers ever since.

So, now that we've looked to the past, recent and not-so-recent, what will the future hold for reading this year? I'm not taking up any official "challenges" this year. I'll be looking in the mailbox for some wonderful ARC's from the very generous publishers and authors out there, and I'll be perusing the bookshelves of the 2 independent bookstores that are not so near me, as well as the big bookstore that still stands proud that it didn't file for bankruptcy. And I'll be looking for recommendations from Y'ALL of course! I've already been "challenged" to read Cannery Row and Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck! And as always I've got my reading group to discover new books. It use to be me picking out the books for us, but now everyone takes a turn and it's a great way for me to discover books I normally would not pick up.

So, what's your reading year ahead going to be like? What were some of your favorite reads from 2011? After a crazy later part of this year, I'm looking forward to wrapping up some things that took time away from my reading and sitting in a comfy chair with a cup of java and many great books in my hand!

Happy reading... Suzanne

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