Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Sunday Salon... Books with Buzz & a Look at an exciting week ahead!

What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake...

It was a busy week last week with the announcement of the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal & the Printz Awards, my joining the Short Story Reading Challenge, going to the library and checking out some short story collections ( and reading a few), finishing one more book for The Japanese Literature Challenge (Strangers by Taichi Yamada) and making my reading group selection for the month of January (a bit late). Next week is going to be just as busy with a stop of Denise Austen's Book Tour for her newest book Denise's Daily Dozen, which is her new exercise and weigh loss book. Great recipes & easy exercises! Plus I'll be having a giveaway! It's the perfect start to some of our "get in shape" resolutions for the new year! THEN, I'm going to be reviewing a great french cookbook! It's I Know How To Cook by Ginette Mathiot! Her cookbook is the French version of The Joy of Cooking, and it is wonderful! AND I have permission to reprint a few recipes! So I'm going to review the book and share some photos of what I cooked and share the recipes for some great food!!! I have a few book reviews lined up too, so stop by next week! In the meantime, I've heard a lot of great buzz on some books this week and here they are...

Bloodroot by Amy Greene... Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legacies—of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss—that haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today. The novel is told in a kaleidoscope of seamlessly woven voices and centers around an incendiary romance that consumes everyone in its path: Myra Lamb, a wild young girl with mysterious, haint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain; her grandmother Byrdie Lamb, who protects Myra fiercely and passes down “the touch” that bewitches people and animals alike; the neighbor boy who longs for Myra yet is destined never to have her; the twin children Myra is forced to abandon but who never forget their mother’s deep love; and John Odom, the man who tries to tame Myra and meets with shocking, violent disaster. Against the backdrop of a beautiful but often unforgiving country, these lives come together—only to be torn apart—as a dark, riveting mystery unfolds. With grace and unflinching verisimilitude, Amy Greene brings her native Appalachia—and the faith and fury of its people—to rich and vivid life. Here is a spellbinding tour de force that announces a dazzlingly fresh, natural-born storyteller in our midst. I looked through this at the bookstore this week and it captured my attention. The writing is wonderful and the story seems to be not only a great setting, but a good story involving the relationships of generations of women. I heard a bit of comparision to Wuthering Heights. So I'm looking forward to cracking the spine on this one and diving into the story! Sounds like this may be a great book club selection too! *This Book is Kindle Ready!

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier... From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has "the eye"—and finds what no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with unusual interests she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter, cold storms and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man. Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile from London, who also loves scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally. Remarkable Creatures is a stunning novel of how one woman's gift transcends class and social prejudice to lead to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century. Above all, is it a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship. I like reading stories with interesting friendships. This book has gotten so much press due to its author, Tracy Chevalier, but there has been a lot of positive buzz about the story too. This is on my TBR list! *This Book is Kindle Ready!

Twilight: the graphic novel. Written by Stephanie Meyer, Illustrated by Korean artist Young Kim... With input from Meyer on every panel, the first volume of Twilight: the Graphic Novel will be published on 16 March. Its publisher said the black and white title, with colour interspersed throughout, would combine "a rare fusion of Asian and western comic techniques". The cover shows human teenager Bella Swan sprawled on the grass – an image from the dream that first inspired Meyer to write the novel. "In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods. One of these people was just your average girl. The other person was fantastically beautiful, sparkly, and a vampire," she has said. "I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. I was so intrigued by the nameless couple's story that I hated the idea of forgetting it; it was the kind of dream that makes you want to call your friend and bore her with a detailed description." The American author said yesterday that Kim's graphic interpretation of her characters and settings was "very close" to what she was imagining while writing the series. OK, I loved Twilight... it was fun, made me feel like a teenager again, and I thought the writing was good, so how could I not just mention this! There has been a lot of anticipation for this graphic novel since the rumors started this summer... made the official announcement this week (plus they have exclusive images of some of the actual pages this week in their magazine) that March 16th is the day the graphic novel will be released. From what I saw the illustrations were nice. This is suppose to be released in 2 parts. This first part is going to have an initial release of 350,000 copies!

So, how was your week? Have you read any of these books with buzz? And what books did you spot in your literary wanderings? Don't forget to stop by next week! And in the meantime....

Happy reading... Suzanne

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