Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Sunday Salon

The majority of my reading this Sunday will likely be reading signs at the Philadelphia Zoo, which happens to be America's first zoo and is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

Betty is pretty passionate about animals, especially tigers. One of her favorite activities is to visit the Siberian tiger at the small zoo near us. She even sleeps with a oil painting picture of that very tiger right next to her bed. She's been asking to go see the tigers at the Philadelphia Zoo, so, we'll likely be reading about all kinds of species by the time you're reading this.

Most regular readers of mine know I have a long commute to work (nearly 2 hours each way ... don't even ask, and no, I only wish I made a six-figure salary to justify such insanity). I've really gotten into audiobooks to help stave off the doldrums. This week, I started and quickly abandoned Gilead, the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Marilynne Robinson.

Have you read this? I just couldn't get into it. I picked up the print version at the library, because I don't think it is entirely fair to judge a book by the audio. There are so many variables involved with audiobooks - the narrator, the type of day you've had when you're listening, the plot, the language. Some books translate well to audio and some simply do not. That's why I try go to the print version if the audio isn't working for me, but I'm not sure that's going to help with this. If you've read Gilead, let me know if I should give the print version a try instead.

I switched to Clyde Edgerton's The Bible Salesman, which I finished on Saturday and liked. It did start a bit on the slow side, but quickly picked up pace; when it did, it had my full attention. The ending scenes are incredibly tension-filled and T.Ryder Smith is probably among the best narrators I've heard yet. I'll have a review up soon (perhaps as a pre-scheduled post while I'm on vacation.) I'll say this in the meantime: this may not be a book for everyone, but if you're a fan of Southern fiction, as I am, this is a good read (and a better listen).

On the print side of things, I finished There's No Place Like Here by Cecelia Ahern. I really enjoy her novels, and find them to be a light, but still thought-provoking, read. I also read Ballistics, Billy Collins' eighth volume of poetry, in one sitting on Friday evening. Found it a bit deeper and darker than the other works of his I've read, but still good. (It is Billy Collins, after all.)

And thanks to several book bloggers who have raved about The Red Leather Diary by Lily Koppel, I knew to pick this one up when I saw it at the library, and oh my - this girl can write. I am really enjoying this.

Speaking of book bloggers, have you heard about the plans for the 2nd annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week? I was too new to the blogging scene last year to participate fully (I didn't even know what a book blog was), but I am really looking forward to it this year. From all the buzz, it should be a lot of fun.

Would love to see you there!


Amanda said...

I love the zoo. We haven't been in nearly a year because of school and then because it's been far hotter than it normally is this summer. :(

JoAnn said...

Enjoy the zoo! We visited several years ago when staying with my brother outside of Philly. I enjoyed Robinson's Housekeeping very much but, for some reason, have been reluctant to try Gilead. You're right, though, that some books just don't work very well in audio. I loved The Red Leather Diary!

Wendy said...

Well, I know a lot of readers who gush over Robinson's book, but I for one was bored to tears by it (and I read the entire book) I can't encourage you to try the print version.

On the other hand, glad you are enjoying The Red Leather Diary which I read and loved! Such a fun book, isn't it?

Maya Ganesan said...

Oh, I really love your new header! :)

damnedconjuror said...

tigers = legends.

Domesticated cats are quite dull, luring you into a false sense of security and then, when you're not expecting it, pounce on you. Although kittens are adorable. On the other hand, wild cats are majestic; I'm a leopard man myself.

Frances said...

Lucky you at the Philly Zoo. Such a great place!

I did like Gilead but maybe it is not the book so much as just not the right time for it for you. Try later. And read whatever strikes you for now.

Happy reading!

Betty and Boo's Mommy said...

Amanda - we're having a glorious spate of weather here lately (so unlikely July). Hope some of it comes your way soon.

JoAnn - you'll have to email me, as I'm curious where your brother lives outside of Philly. That's good to know about Housekeeping (which I bought awhile back at a book sale) and TRLD.

Wendy - glad it isn't just me feeling that way about Gilead! Yay, another thumbs-up for Red Leather Diary.

Maya - thanks! It was taken the night of the crab feast. It doesn't make the blog load too slowly, does it?

damnedconjuror - Thanks for stopping by! I like what I glanced at from your blog, and will add it in my Google Reader. You have some interesting books on there that I will be adding to my TBR list. Glad to have you participating in BBAW, too.

Frances - I might come back to Gilead at some point ... that has been known to happen!

So nice to come home to so many comments, y'all! Thanks so very much!

Lori said...

We get a zoo memebership every year! I love our zoo! The bird santuary had a complete renovation so we are dying to go see it. I just need to make the time one of these days!

Betty and Boo's Mommy said...

Lori, the McNeil Avian Center at the Philadelphia Zoo is really neat. We were starting to wilt by that time, so we only saw the migration show - which was cute and educational at the same time.

JoAnn said...

I couldn't find an e-mail address on your profile page, but my brother lives in Royersford. We try to visit at least once a year, but haven't made it yet this summer.

Betty and Boo's Mommy said...

JoAnn - Oh, I know where that is! And my email is peanutboo2 AT gmail DOT com ...