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, November 5, 2023

The Sunday Salon... and Storytellers

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's the place where Book Bloggers from around the world share their bookish finds with one another in a virtual place called The Sunday Salon. Thank you to Deb at ReaderBuzz for keeping us all together on Sundays and hosting The Sunday Salon now! I also visited with Kim at The Caffeinated Reader, another Sunday gathering place for us bookish people called The Sunday Post . 

All books tell stories. Some better than others. When we look to fiction we generally want to be entertained, so this week I'm sharing three books I picked up to entertain me, from 3 great storytellers..

Absolution by Alice McDermott...

You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women, I mean. The wives.American women—

American wives—have been mostly minor characters in the literature of the Vietnam War, but in Absolution they take center stage. Tricia is a shy newlywed, married to a rising attorney on loan to navy intelligence. Charlene is a practiced corporate spouse and mother of three, a beauty and a bully. In Saigon in 1963, the two women form a wary alliance as they balance the era’s mandate to be “helpmeets” to their ambitious husbands with their own inchoate impulse to “do good” for the people of Vietnam.

Sixty years later, Charlene’s daughter, spurred by an encounter with an aging Vietnam vet, reaches out to Tricia. Together, they look back at their time in Saigon, taking wry account of that pivotal year and of Charlene’s altruistic machinations, and discovering how their own lives as women on the periphery—of politics, of history, of war, of their husbands’ convictions—have been shaped and burdened by the same sort of unintended consequences that followed America’s tragic interference in Southeast Asia.

A virtuosic new novel from Alice McDermott, one of our most observant, most affecting writers, about folly and grace, obligation, sacrifice, and, finally, the quest for absolution in a broken world.

With that simple line, "You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women..." I was hooked.  Alice McDermott is a storyteller and I'm looking forward to reading her latest novel, Absolution. 


These Precious Days by Ann Patchett...

At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a surprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores “what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self.” When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks’ short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman—Tom’s brilliant assistant Sooki—with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both. 

A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer’s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be. 

From the enchantments of Kate DiCamillo’s children’s books (author of The Beatryce Prophecy) to youthful memories of Paris; the cherished life gifts given by her three fathers to the unexpected influence of Charles Schultz’s Snoopy; the expansive vision of Eudora Welty to the importance of knitting, Patchett connects life and art as she illuminates what matters most. Infused with the author’s grace, wit, and warmth, the pieces in These Precious Days resonate deep in the soul, leaving an indelible mark—and demonstrate why Ann Patchett is one of the most celebrated writers of our time.

Ann Patchett is another great storyteller and even though this is not a book of fiction, these are stories. Her writing is wonderful and after reading just the one story in this collection, I wanted to read more. 

Published by Harper in 2021, and "if you've never read it, it's new to you", which is a favorite Ann Patchettism during her Instagram posts for Parnassus Books every week. 


Making It So by Patrick Stewart...

From his acclaimed stage triumphs to his legendary onscreen work in the Star Trek and X-Men franchises, Sir Patrick Stewart has captivated audiences around the world and across multiple generations with his indelible command of stage and screen. Now, he presents his long-awaited memoir, Making It So, a revealing portrait of an artist whose astonishing life—from his humble beginnings in Yorkshire, England, to the heights of Hollywood and worldwide acclaim—proves a story as exuberant, definitive, and enduring as the author himself

I enjoy reading biographies & memoirs, but I do get tired seeing every celebrity publish a memoir. Patrick Stewart is one of my exceptions. I just loved him on Star Trek NG, I loved seeing him in The Caretaker on Broadway a few years back, and I am so looking forward to reading his book, Making It So. I am rethinking that though. I heard him read an excerpt from his book and found his voice so soothing, I think I am going to listen to the audio book first. Another storyteller, like listening to your Father, Uncle, or Grandfather tell stories from a lifetime ago.

Published by Gallery Books this past October 3rd. 

Do YOU have a favorite storyteller?

Week in Review...

Friday, Nov. 3rd... Author Sheila Roberts makes a stop at Chick with Books during her Virtual Book Tour in November! Check out the post all about Sheila and her newest Holiday story, The Twelve Months of Christmas!

I hope you found something interesting here today. And please feel free to share your interesting finds this week here too!

Happy reading... Suzanne


Mae Travels said...

Nice selection of authors. I’ve been thinking of reading that one by Patchett — I have enjoyed her fiction from first to most recent.
best, mae at

JoAnn said...

I loved These Precious Days and look forward to reading Absolution. Have a great week!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Ann Patchett is one of those auto-read authors for me. I think I have now read everything she has published.

I am very interested in the Patrick Stewart book. Thanks for sharing a little about the audiobook. I would love to hear him read his own story.

Heather G. said...

I'm excited to listen to Patrick Stewart's memoir! I just downloaded it and hope to start it this week.

Sarah said...

What a great list. I also have The Twelve Months of Christmas of my December TBR!

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