Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Sunday Salon: March 13, 2011

It seems so trivial to be talking books this morning, doesn't it, with the devastation half a world away in Japan?  To my knowledge I don't know anyone personally affected by the tragedy, but this blogging thing has a way of bringing the world ever so closer and connected.  Needless to say, my heart and my prayers go out to the people of Japan and everyone affected by recent events. 

Books have always been an escape - from the news, from life - and this week has been no exception.  In fact, dare I say that I think my book slump (again, an insignificant matter, considering ... ) officially ended when I started Room right before bedtime on Friday evening. 

What was I thinking, starting this before bedtime?!  I cannot put this one down. I know I am the last person to read this, for bloggers everywhere have been singing Room's praises for almost a year now, ever since it made its debut at BEA 2010.  I saw it on the library's shelf and now someone else wants it, but I'm not giving it back until I'm finished.  I'm only 61 pages or so into this, but I'm pretty sure it will be one of my best books read in 2011.  I'm hoping to spend a little time with this today, although probably not until later this evening.

Another one that will likely make that list (and that I started and finished this week) is Paolo Giordano's debut novel, The Solitude of Prime Numbers. I absolutely loved this novel, which is much more of a love story (albeit a heartbreaking one) than one filled with facts and figures. Giordano brilliantly uses the mathematical concept of prime numbers and twin primes as a symbol of the relationship between Alice Della Rocca and Mattia Balossino, as well as Mattia and his twin sister Michela.

In last week's Salon, I told you about a wonderful short story collection, Everybody Loves Somebody, by Joanna Scott. There are 10 stories in this book, and I liked all but two of them (a pretty good ratio, in my opinion). I think this is a great collection to try for those who don't think they like short stories (and especially those who do!) 

There was - as seems to be my pattern lately - a DNF that fell into this week.  I'm not sure I can really consider this one a DNF, because I didn't last too long with The Ask.  As many of you know, I'm a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization, and was especially excited about this one because the main character is also in the development field.  There aren't too many novels featuring the glamorous world of fundraising, but this one just struck me as overly (and unnecessarily) crass.  I'm hard to offend, but this one kind of managed to do exactly that within a few pages.  

Finally, my current audiobook is The Box: Tales from the Darkroom by Gunter Grass, an author who I've never read.  I'm on the fence with this one (it's described as an ambitious literary experiment, in some reviews I've seen, kind of a cross between fiction and memoir).  Grass writes in the voices of his eight children, who gather together on regular occasions to reflect on and record their childhood memories.  The Box is the Agfa camera belonging to their family friend, Marie, who uses it to document almost everything about the children's lives, right down to the crumbs left behind from their meals.  It's a bit strange, truth be told, but it is also relatively short. I have the printed version out from the library also, so I might just finish this in the print version.   

All in all, it was a pretty good reading week.  Other than that, I'm spending today just relaxing from a busier-than-usual Saturday evening. One of my oldest and dearest friends came down for the weekend with her daughter and we took the girls to an American Girl Fashion Show that was a fundraiser for our local Ronald McDonald House, and then out to breakfast this morning.  We had a really good time, despite my waking up this morning with a bit of a head cold/sinus infection (and losing an hour of sleep certainly isn't helping).   I think the cure is a nap, followed by a little reading on the sofa. 

Hope you're having a good Sunday!

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Wendy said...

Melissa: I know what you mean about things feeling trivial in light of the Japan disaster - so horrible. Glad you are escaping into ROOM - one of my top books of brilliant!

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

You're not the last person to read Room...I am :(

My daughters and I had decided to read the YA novel Sea by Heidi Kling...and then the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. Sea is about a young woman who goes with her father to Indonesia to help with the relief efforts there after the devastating tsunami of 2004. I'm hoping for some deep conversation about all of these events and particularly loving and caring for our neighbors. My heart pours out for the people of Japan.

A world away we can remind ourselves to love those most precious to us every. single. day.

Jenna said...

I read ROOm pretty much straight through... it completely engulfs you.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

I'm just watching the news again about more tragedy. It's hard to focus on much but reading gives us peace!

I look forward to your review of Room.

Elizabeth said...

I loved Room and am curious about the Prime Numbers book -- downloaded on my Kindle for months, but I haven't tapped into it. I'm curious how you go about your reading -- do you set aside certain time each day to go through all these books? What do you "give up" in order to read so much? I am a voracious reader, but I read very fast and have slowed down of late with all this blogging and reading of blogs.