Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Sunday Salon... Starting the year off with some Books with Buzz!

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's always exciting when a new year begins. Even though books are published all through the year and new releases are coming out every week, a new year seems to be the start of a fresh reading year. Last Sunday we looked at some of the best of the past year, today let's look at some of the new books that have a lot of buzz or caught my eye...

Blacklands by Belinda Bauer... (A Psychological Thriller) EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO, Billy Peters disappeared. Everyone in town believes Billy was murdered -- after all, serial killer Arnold Avery later admitted killing six other children and burying them on the same desolate moor that surrounds their small English village. Only Billy's mother is convinced he is alive. She still stands lonely guard at the front window of her home, waiting for her son to return, while her remaining family fragments around her. But her twelve-year-old grandson Steven is determined to heal the cracks that gape between his nan, his mother, his brother, and himself. Steven desperately wants to bring his family closure, and if that means personally finding his uncle's corpse, he'll do it. Spending his spare time digging holes all over the moor in the hope of turning up a body is a long shot, but at least it gives his life purpose. Then at school, when the lesson turns to letter writing, Steven has a flash of inspiration...Careful to hide his identity, he secretly pens a letter to Avery in jail asking for help in finding the body of "W.P." -- William "Billy" Peters. So begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game. Just as Steven tries to use Avery to pinpoint the gravesite, so Avery misdirects and teases his mysterious correspondent in order to relive his heinous crimes. And when Avery finally realizes that the letters he's receiving are from a twelve-year-old boy, suddenly his life has purpose too.... Although his is far more dangerous... What is interesting about this book and it's author, Belinda Bauer, is how this novel came to be. Belinda sent out her novel to a few publishers without any luck. So she decided to enter the Debut Daggar awards, an award given by the Crime Writers Association, a writers association of the United Kingdom. She didn't win the competition, but she got plenty of offers following the exposure she got being short listed for the award. Here's an excerpt of Blacklands from the publisher, Simon & Schuster. *This Book is Kindle Ready!

The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming... A story set against New York City at the dawn of the mechanical age, featuring Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and J. P. Morgan. After discovering an old photograph, an elderly antiques dealer living in present-day Los Angeles is forced to revisit the history he has struggled to deny. The photograph depicts a man and a woman. The man is Peter Force, a young frontier adventurer who comes to New York City in 1901 and quickly lands a job digging the first subway tunnels beneath the metropolis. The woman is Cheri- Anne Toledo, a beautiful mathematical prodigy whose memories appear to come from another world. They meet seemingly by chance, and initially Peter dismisses her as crazy. But as they are drawn into a tangle of overlapping intrigues, Peter must reexamine Cheri-Anne’s fantastic story. Could it be that she is telling the truth and that she has stumbled onto the most dangerous secret imaginable: the key to traveling through time? Set against the mazelike streets of New York at the dawn of the mechanical age, Peter and Cheri-Anne find themselves wrestling with the nature of history, technology, and the unfolding of time itself. I'm just a sucker for stories that involve time travel and I'm hoping that this will not disappoint. I am also curious as to how the author, Matthew Flaming, adds Tesla, Edison and J.P. Morgan into the story... Here's a look at the very cool website of The Kingdom of Ohio, where you can find an excerpt of Chapter One. *This Book is Kindle Ready!

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler... A wise, gently humorous, and deeply compassionate novel about a schoolteacher, who has been forced to retire at sixty-one, coming to terms with the final phase of his life. Liam Pennywell, who set out to be a philosopher and ended up teaching fifth grade, never much liked the job at that run-down private school, so early retirement doesn’t bother him. But he is troubled by his inability to remember anything about the first night that he moved into his new, spare, and efficient condominium on the outskirts of Baltimore. All he knows when he wakes up the next day in the hospital is that his head is sore and bandaged. His effort to recover the moments of his life that have been stolen from him leads him on an unexpected detour. What he needs is someone who can do the remembering for him. What he gets is—well, something quite different. Anne Tyler, who has given us Breathing Lessons and The Accidental Tourist, is a wonderful writer and the expectations are high for this book as well. There is so much positive buzz for this book! Here's an excerpt of Noah's Compass from the Random House website. *This Book is Kindle Ready! And as of today, Amazon has Noah's Compass priced at 50% off!

What are you reading!? Have you read any of these books yet?! If so, share what you think! Does a new year signify anything in your reading? Hope you found something that peeked your interest today!

Happy reading... Suzanne

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