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 15, 2017

The Sunday Salon and... Wandering around an Indie Bookstore

Welcome to Chick with BooksThe Sunday Salon and The Sunday Post (which is hosted by Kim at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer)!  It's the day of the week we sit back, relax and talk books! The new year has started and as a reader I am so excited to see what books are coming our way! So, pull up a chair, grab a cup of Java and let's explore some great reading!

Last week my local Indie Bookstore was having an amazing end of the year sale, right before they had to take inventory. I wandered in to see what books could tempt me, which is always fun. There is always so much debate about Independent bookstores versus that giant online monster or your box store bookstores, but when it comes right down to it, there is no comparison. How would it be NEVER to be able to physically leaf through a book before you bought it? Or to wander and look over the books that are casually laid out on a table? At Barnes and Noble, some publisher pay them to have a big display near the front door, but at your Indie bookstore, it's the eclectic tastes of the people working at the bookstore that await your arrival. Books are lovingly displayed because they mean something to someone there! I wander the store to find little treasures I would not have found otherwise. And as usual I found some great books. Here's what I took home with me...

History of Wolves by Emily Frilund... Linda has an idiosyncratic home life: her parents live in abandoned commune cabins in northern Minnesota and are hanging on to the last vestiges of a faded counter-culture world. The kids at school call her 'Freak', or 'Commie'. She is an outsider in all things. Her understanding of the world comes from her observations at school, where her teacher is accused of possessing child pornography, and from watching the seemingly ordinary life of a family she babysits for. Yet while the accusation against the teacher is perhaps more innocent than it seemed at first, the ordinary family turns out to be more complicated. As Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit, she realises they are hiding something. If she tells the truth, she will lose the normal family life she is beginning to enjoy with them; but if she doesn't, their son may die.

This is the January Indie Next pick and it sounds like a great read!

Help For The Haunted by John Searles... It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter. As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family's past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years. 

I love a good ghost story (and horror film) and when I read the title of this book on its spine I had to pull it out and take a better look. This sounds so interesting!

South Towards Home, Travels in Southern Literature by Margaret Eby... What is it about the South that has inspired so much of America's greatest literature? And why, when we think of Flannery O'Connor or William Faulkner or Harper Lee, do we think of them not just as writers, but as Southern writers? In South Toward Home, Margaret Eby—herself a Southerner—travels through the South in search of answers to these questions, visiting the hometowns and stomping grounds of some of our most beloved authors. From Mississippi (William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright) to Alabama (Harper Lee, Truman Capote) to Georgia (Flannery O'Connor, Harry Crews) and beyond, Eby looks deeply at the places that these authors lived in and wrote about. South Toward Home reveals how these authors took the people and places they knew best and transmuted them into lasting literature.

Side by side with Eby, we meet the man who feeds the peacocks at Andalusia, the Georgia farm where Flannery O'Connor wrote her most powerful stories; we peek into William Faulkner's liquor cabinet to better understand the man who claimed civilization began with distillation and the "postage stamp of native soil" that inspired him; and we go in search of one of New Orleans's iconic hot dog vendors, a job held by Ignatius J. Reilly in John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. From the library that showed Richard Wright that there was a way out to the courtroom at the heart of To Kill a Mockingbird, Eby grapples with a land fraught with history and mythology, for, as Eudora Welty wrote, "One place understood helps us understand all places better."

I love these kinds of books - books that delve a little deeper into an author and their influences growing up or the influences surrounding them. I can't wait to dive in.

Books for Living by Will Schwalbe... Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape from reality? For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions. In each chapter, he discusses a particular book—what brought him to it (or vice versa), the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world.  These books span centuries and genres (from classic works of adult and children’s literature to contemporary thrillers and even cookbooks), and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share. Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honor those we’ve loved and lost, and also figure out how to live each day more fully. Rich with stories and recommendations, Books for Living is a treasure for everyone who loves books and loves to hear the answer to the question: “What are you reading?”

If you love to talk books, this is probably a book for you too. I love the premise.

Vincent's Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children's History of Art by Michael Bird.. An enthralling journey through the story of world art, from early cave paintings right up to the present day. Discover artists and their art around the world, in 68 exciting and imaginative tales about artists and the way they created their work. 

Written by educator and art historian Michael Bird, and beautifully illustrated by Kate Evans, the book also features reproductions of the famous artworks discussed, a comprehensive timeline of events, and extra feature spreads on places connected with art.

As someone who loves art history ( I was an art major in college), this book just warmed my heart. It's meant for children, specifically 8 - 12 year olds, but adults can appreciate the stories behind the artists that Michael Bird talks about within these pages. He really brings art through the ages alive with his stories and insights. Get this for some young artist in your life or just for yourself to enjoy.

Do You Like Independent Bookstores?

Weekly Update...

Monday, I had some great books come my way and talked about them in In My Mailbox.

Wednesday, I REVIEWED The Dogs of Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron. Need a heartwarming book? Check out my review and then buy this book!

Friday was First Lines Friday, and I shared the first paragraph of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Read the book before the movie comes out!

Friday I also posted what I was reading this weekend! Check it out HERE! And then tell me what you are reading this weekend!

Well, that about does it for this week. Hope you found something interesting to crack a spine on! Enjoy your weekend and come back for more next week!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

If Books for Living hadn't come in for me when it did at the library, I'd have gone out and bought it.

I wish I had an independent bookstore nearby. There are a couple in Houston which is not more than an hour away, but I don't patronize them like I should.

Molly said...

Oh goodness... thanks to you, I've just added two books to my "must read" pile: Vincent's Starry Night, and Help for the Haunted!

We only have one independent bookstore close to me, but I have vowed to visit the shop once a month and purchase at least one book. Then after I finish the book, I plan to donate to the local library book sale. It is just one small step I can take to help support the industry I love so much.

Reading Away The Days said...

You got some great books. I love independent book stores I wish there was more in my area. Have a great week.

Megan @reading away the days

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

Yes, I like Indie book stores but don't visit them as often as I'd like. It's fun to discover great books when wandering through a book store and chatting with the salespeople who love to read too, I agree. Enjoy your new books!

Greg said...

I love indie bookstores! I have a favorite one in the town where I vacation and it's always a joy to stroll in there and see what books have been displayed or are recommended. I totally agree with you on that! And it feels good to support one too, and that they are still around in this age of Amazon and big box stores.

History of Wolves sounds good!

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