Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Sunday Salon... Signs of Spring: Birds AND Great "Bird" Books with Buzz!

It's another wonderful Sunday! Even though we received another gift of snow last night in Connecticut, it wasn't enough to have to dig out the snow shovel again. As I look at the extended forecast for the area, it looks like we'll be alternating between rain and snow for the better part of March. BUT Spring will come, as it always does! Yesterday afternoon, though, I heard a familiar sound - the sound of the song birds that nest in one of our windows. I wonder if the brief warm weather we had during the week didn't fool them into coming out and enjoying themselves. But that is a sure sign of spring - the return of the birds! My favorite visitors are the Hummingbirds. I'll have to wait a few months for them to show up, because they usually start coming in late April, but all this "Spring" talk has gotten birds on my mind, so today our Sunday Salon is about books with Birds in the Title! Don't let the titles fool you though - these books aren't really about our feathered friends!

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen... When a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds’ heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can’t, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who’ve brought them. The two sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health. But back in the summer of 1947, they knew nothing about trying to mend what had been accidentally broken. Milly was known as a great beauty with emerald eyes and Twiss was a brazen wild child who never wore a dress or did what she was told. That was the summer their golf pro father got into an accident that cost him both his swing and his charm, and their mother, the daughter of a wealthy jeweler, finally admitted their hardscrabble lives wouldn’t change. It was the summer their priest, Father Rice, announced that God didn’t exist and ran off to Mexico, and a boy named Asa finally caught Milly’s eye. And, most unforgettably, it was the summer their cousin Bett came down from a town called Deadwater and changed the course of their lives forever.

I love stories with sisters - their interpay, their differences, and ultimately the bond between them. Add the era & place that Rebecca Rasmussen puts sisters Milly and Twiss in and I'm sure to enjoy it. The prepublication buzz on this book has been great for this novel! Just reading the excerpt on the authors website made me want more, but we'll all have to wait until it's released on April 12th, 2011! *P.S. This Book will be Kindle Ready! *P.S.S. I also love that cover!

The B
rd House by Kelly Simmon... About Kelly's book from TLC Book Tours:
Every family h
as its secrets. But when you are suddenly the matriarch, tending the dark fires of memory, and your own mind is fading, who do you dare to share them with? Your dia
ry, or your eight-year-old granddaughter?
Interweaving diaries penned forty years apart, Kelly Simmons’s captivating second novel, The Bird House, blends the fierce voice of Ann Biddle, a woman struggling to bond with her only grandchild, Ellie, while railing against the ravages of early dementia, with her point-of-view as a young wife and mother. We witness the secrets of Ann’s family and her grand-daughter and daughter-in-law’s through every len
s— from the clarity of the rearview mirror to the haze of Alzheimer’s. And we see her grappling through the ‘60’s with sleep deprivation, breast cancer, her own mother’s death, a passionate affair, and a tragedy that leaves her stunned until, four decades later, her whip-smart granddaughter unwittingly sheds a burst of light on the family’s shadowy history.
A subtly tense, darkly psychological tug of war between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, present and past, The Bird House is a moving treatise on family, love, and memories—both lost and found.

This book looks to have it all! A strong female lead character, great story with a layer of family secrets that we are promised to have revealed, and great writing. I read the first chapter of this and was hooke
d. It's gotten great reviews too! This book was recently released (Feb. 1st) and isKindle Ready! It's also on my wish list!

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres... Set on the eve of World War I, Birds Without Wings tells the story of Eskibahçe, a charming and vibrant ethnically mixed town in present-day Turkey, and how it is irrevocably changed by the ravages of nationalism, war, and religious fervor. Before the war, Eskibahçe is filled with a wild assortment of characters, Christian and Muslim, Turkish and Armenian, the mad and the sane, the rich and the poor, living side by side in remarkable harmony. There is Ali the Snowbringer, who lives with his family and his donkey inside a hollowed-out tree; Iskander the Potter, who supplies the town with proverbial wisdom along with his pots; Karatavuk—Iskander’s son—and Mehmetçik, whose deep friendship reaches across religious barriers; Father Kristoforos and Abdulhamid Hodja, priest and imam, who hail each other playfully as “infidels”; Rustem Bey, the landlord and protector of the town, who finds happiness with a Circassian mistress after his wife is nearly stoned to death for adultery. There are lunatics as well—a crazy Sufi known as “the Dog,” who lives in a tomb and terrifies everyone with his smile, and a man known as “the Blasphemer,” who flies into cursing fits at the sight of any holy man. There is Philothei, a girl of such disquieting beauty that she must be veiled, and her besotted lover, Ibrahim the Goatherd, who will be driven mad by the horrors of war. And there is Mustafa Kemal, whose military daring will lead him to many stunning victories against the invading Western European forces and to a reshaping of the whole region. What happens to these characters—and their beloved town—because of the war is the great tragedy that Birds Without Wings describes with such unforgettable vividness.

Louis de Bernieres is also the author of the well known book (and film), Corelli's Mandolin. He is known to create wonderful in depth characters, which it seems he's accomplished here. But for us historical fiction fans, this book looks to be a wonderful treat as we are immersed in a small town during WWI, and can experience through de Bernieres writing how war impacts the humble people far away from the front lines. This is a nice fat book (576 pages) and has gotten great reviews. It's an oldie (published in 2005) but one you may not be familiar with. This has been on my TBR list for a while, and I think would make a great book club selection because of all the vivid characters and their circumstances.

Weekly Recap... This past week we celebrated my 2nd Blogiversary! Last Sunday Salon I celebrated my Blogiversary and my Sunday Salon posts with a giveaway! On Sunday's I usually highlight some great Books with Buzz, and last Sunday's Salon was all about those books from the past year I highlighted! There's still time to enter the Sunday Salon Blogiversary Giveaway! Follow the link to last Sunday's Salon to get all the details! I also celebrated my Blogiversary with a giveaway highlighting the last years Monday Memoir posts! I found so many wonderful memoirs coming into my hands that I started highlighting them on mondays, with the meme, Monday Memoirs. So, as part of my Blogiversary I'm giving away a copy of any of those Monday Memoir books I highlighted! That giveaway ends midnight Feb. 28th, so if you haven't entered yet, follow the link Monday Memoir Giveaway and get all the details!

There also was a great giveaway courtesy of author Michelle Moran for a signed copy of her newest release, Madame Tussaud, that ended last week! Congrats to Cheryl (CherylS22) who won not only the signed copy of Madame Tussaud, but also a pair of "let them eat cake" earrings! Earlier in the month Michelle stopped by for a guest post on the real Madame Tussaud, if you missed follow this link: Madame Tussaud: The Woman.

I also reviewed Laura Lippman's newest Tess Monaghan novel, The Girl in the Green Raincoat. It really is a novella that was previously serialized on The New York Times Magazine section, and finally published all together last month by Harper Collins. It's a great murder mystery that stands fine on its own, but if you're a Tess Monaghan fan you'll be in for a treat!

AND, friday's First Lines highlighted The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. The first lines were a tease, but a friend of the author handed me a copy to read, so I'll be opening up the pages for a better taste. Look for a review next month.

How was your week? What books have you got on your nightstand? Share what great books you're reading right here, because I'd love to hear about them! And Bird Books? Do you know any great books with Birds in the title?

Happy Reading... Suzanne

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