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, December 31, 2017

First Book of The Year 2018... Still Me by Jojo Moyes!

How are you starting your reading year?! For the last 5 years, Sheila from Book Journey has hosted First Book Of The Year. Anyone can participate (with a blog or not), you just need to pick a book! A special book you've been waiting to read, a book maybe you received as a gift, any book you'd like to read... 
My choice this year is... Still Me by Jojo Moyes. Are you familiar with Jojo Moyes? She wrote Me Before You and had the whole reading world turning those pages faster than the speed of light (not only that, but the book was made into a great movie that honestly did the book justice) When I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes I never cried so much! But it was all good. The book was wonderful and we all came to know Louisa Clark as a quirky, intelligent and determined young lady full of heart. I'm ready to catch up with Louisa Clark as she starts life over in New York in Still Me! I'm also ready to start a new chapter in MY life... it's called retirement! So, the title of Jojo Moyes book fits right into that plan as well... even though I'm not working a 9 - 5 anymore, it's Still Me! Here's the publishers blurb...

In STILL ME, Lou arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure, and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. Taking a job as the personal assistant to a New York socialite, Lou mixes with high society where she meets a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. As Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets—not all her own—that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. When matters come to a head, she has to ask herself, Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places? STILL ME is Jojo Moyes’ quirky, touching, and empathetic writing voice at its best, reminding readers why they fell in love with Me Before You. 

I want to thank the publisher, Penguin Random House, for sending along an advanced copy of Still Me just in time for my first book of the year! On January 30th, you can find a copy of Still Me at your favorite bookstore! 

*Psst... later this month look for a special Q&A with Jojo Moyes AND possibly a giveaway!!

Monday, December 25, 2017

'Twas The Night Before Christmas...

A Visit from St. Nicholas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Monday, December 18, 2017

Memoir Monday... Traveling With Ghosts by Shannon Leone Fowler

From grief to reckoning to reflection to solace, a marine biologist shares the solo journey she took— through war-ravaged Eastern Europe, Israel, and beyond—to find peace after her fiancé suffered a fatal attack by a box jellyfish in Thailand.

In the summer of 2002, Shannon Leone Fowler, a twenty-eight-year-old marine biologist, was backpacking with her fiancé and love of her life, Sean. Sean was a tall, blue-eyed, warmhearted Australian, and he and Shannon planned to return to Australia after their excursion to Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand. Their plans, however, were devastatingly derailed when a box jellyfish—the most venomous animal in the world—wrapped around Sean’s leg, stinging and killing him in a matter of minutes as Shannon helplessly watched. Rejecting the Thai authorities attempt to label Sean’s death a “drunk drowning,” Shannon ferried his body home to his stunned family—a family to which she suddenly no longer belonged.

Shattered and untethered, Shannon’s life paused indefinitely so that she could travel around the world to find healing. Travel had forged her relationship with Sean, and she hoped it could also aid in processing his death. Though Sean wasn’t with Shannon, he was everywhere she went—among the places she visited were Oświęcim, Poland (the site of Auschwitz); war-torn Israel; shelled-out Bosnia; poverty-stricken Romania; and finally to Barcelona, where she first met Sean years before. Ultimately, Shannon had to confront the ocean after her life’s first great love took her second great love away.

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild meets Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk in this beautiful, profoundly moving memorial to those we have lost on our journeys and the unexpected ways their presence echoes in all places—and voyages—big and small.

Published by Simon & Schuster, February 2017.

For some reason the cover grabbed my attention. Maybe because it had the word "ghost" in the title and I love ghost stories. Then I read the inside jacket, which told me this was a "different" kind of ghost story and a kind of love story. The cover may have grabbed my attention, but Shannon Leone Fowler's writing hooked me. In my TBR pile... and it passed the "Joy" test. ( Not sure what the "Joy" test is? Look at Sunday's Moving Madness post!)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Sunday Salon and Moving Madness... or what to do with ALL THOSE BOOKS!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! And The Sunday Post (which is hosted by Kim at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer) It's been a while... So, why has it been a while? The simple answer that comes to mind is that I'm retiring from my day job... this is the simple answer. The not so simple answer is I'm retiring from my day job, moving 817 miles away and trying to pack all my worldly possessions! This simple act of retiring and moving has created utter havoc and chaos in what was a somewhat "normal" life.

Along with all the normal things I am packing, (dishes, glassware, cookware, clothing, pottery...), I have an amazing number of books. Paperbacks, hardcovers, galleys, comic books... I love books... I love REAL books... But what am I going to do? Too many books. Really, I understand I'm a bit obsessive about books. 

I have always donated to the local library. One of my book club members moved and donated a bookcase where we work, so I donate books to our work library. I give books away to people I know will enjoy a particular book too... but it's hard sometimes to let go... What about those books on the TBR pile that you just know you'll read "one of those days"... How about now that I'm retiring, I can read ALL of those books someday?! Enough! I need to learn to let go and now! So, I bought a book. What?! You bought a book to help you get rid of books?! Sounds like I'm still feeding that obsession, doesn't it? But no, this book is different and actually helped me let go...

The life-changing manga of tidying up, a magical story, by Marie Kondo... Yes, a manga of that
popular book that taught everyone how to tidy up their lives. I actually bought the original cute little book and opened it up, but that was about it. I like Manga and when I went to see if there was any new Manga at my local bookstore, I saw Marie Kondo's Manga version of "Tidying Up" sitting on the shelf. And it was cute... and I bought it.

So, now that I have THAT book, where do I begin... In 3 easy steps, here's the gist of what Marie Kondo tells you to do...

1. Take all your books, ALL of them, and put them on the floor. 
2.  Standing in front of ALL your books, wake them up! Yes, clap your hands and wake those books up! 
3. Pick up each book and hold it close... does it spark joy?! If it sparks joy, keep it!

I did just that... I pulled all my books from all the bookshelves and layed them on the sofa. I picked each one up and held it close. And I actually felt joy with some and nothing with others. Marie Kondo points out that you may have missed the timing on some books... those books that you bought at the time to read that you really aren't interested in reading any more. Those books are the ones it's time to let go of. So, I did. They all went into a donate pile and I felt better for it. Of course, I still have a lot of books, but I've helped weed down my pile quite a bit. I also felt good letting those books go. In a way they were a burden because I felt "obligated" to read them because I bought them, even though I may not be interested in reading them anymore. Don't we have TBR books that have been collecting dust waiting for us to read them?!

I still need to get into our storage unit and go through books. It's going to warm up a bit next week so I might be able to tackle that. Otherwise,  I may be moving more books than I need to.

What do you think about Books sparking joy? Have you ever gone through your books to see if they still spark joy?

In a nutshell, that's what I've been doing... How about you?! What new bookish things have you been doing and what new books have you found that moved you? (okay, bad joke, but seriously, I'd love to hear about the great books y'all have been reading!) I'm still reading, although not as voraciously as usual, and I'm planning to get back to more reading after "the move". I'm also still blogging and will be back to "normal" after "the move"...

Until then... Happy Reading... Suzanne
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