Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Getting Back Into the Groove, Post Book Blogger Con

It's no secret that my reading life has been a bit stuck in neutral of late, but I have discovered the sure-fire cure for that: spend a day immersed in the bookish goodness that was this year's Book Blogger Convention and you'll be on literary fire.

You'll also be rendered temporarily immobile, as your shins and feet continue to ache more than 48 hours after your return home.  I honestly don't know how you people who attended BEA for a week or several days are still standing because after one day, I was parked on the couch in my PJs for the majority of Saturday.  If it wasn't for the need to retrieve my children from their grandparents (who watched them while I was at BBC - whooot!)  then I would remain RIGHT. HERE.

(And if I could get someone to do my grocery shopping and prepare my meals while I sit here and read blogs and write a bunch o' post-BBC posts, and finish up two great books, I would be in heaven.  I have my first post-BBC post ready for you and will probably start posting them later tonight and throughout this upcoming week.)

I'm thisclose to finishing Breaking Night, a memoir that wasn't on my radar until I saw it on the New Books shelf at the library.  This one has been compared to The Glass Castle (which I loved) and indeed, there are some similarities in both Jeannette Walls' story and Liz Murray's.  The subtitle of Breaking Night is A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard. 

Liz was raised by parents who blew the family's only source of income (her mother's monthly social security check, due to being legally blind) on cocaine instead of food, leaving Liz and her sister Lisa to barely exist (sometimes) on rotten mayonnaise sandwiches and eggs.  Growing up the Bronx, Liz would eventually become a homeless teenager, honing her survival instincts as she lived on the streets or occasionally with friends or in seedy motels.  Obviously, Liz survives this rough hard-knock life of hers, but getting there is a journey that is compelling and one keeping me turning the pages of Breaking Night into the night. 

While Amtraking it to and from New York on Friday, I was reading my friend Rachel Simon's new novel, The Story of Beautiful Girl. I've been talking about this one forever, I know, and it is living up to all my expectations.  Can't say much more about this one until I get further into it (I'm only on page 50), but trust me ... you'll be hearing more about this one.  It's getting a lot of accolades and is currently #30 on The New York Times Bestseller list.  Deservedly so, I might add. 

And finally, in the car I'm listening to Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books, by William Kuhn.  The premise of this one is that, since Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis never wrote her memoirs, we can learn all we need to know about her life, passions, and interests through the more than 100 books she acquired and worked on in her role as editor for Viking and later, Doubleday.  I'm enjoying this one, too - and I think it is a book that helps to shatter the misconception of Jackie as "rich woman who is pretending to be an editor" that some may still hold, even 17 years after her passing. (Creepily, I started listening to this audiobook on the very anniversary of her May 19, 1994 death.  Kinda freaked me out.)  

Anyway, I'm off to try and finish Breaking Night over breakfast followed by a quick trip to the farmer's market in desperate search of a side dish to bring to our friends' cookout this afternoon. 

Whether you are spending this Memorial Day weekend (here in the United States) remembering and honoring those who served and sacrificed, or doing something else entirely, I hope yours is 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.


Beth Kephart said...

very interested to find out your thoughts on all of this. I loved the story of Breaking Night but felt its execution a bit flat — did you experience that? And because Rachel Simon and I are treading slightly similar ground in her new novel and the one I have coming out in YAMO (utterly unwittingingly, of course), I am waiting for just the right time to read what I knew will be a great book.

Ash said...

Reading Jackie is on my list of books to read over the next couple of months. I could not wait to get my hands on a copy and planned on reading it much sooner but then I decided to read short books in the month of May instead. Glad you're reading so many great books!

Melissa said...

Beth, yes ... I have the same thoughts. A bit flat describes it perfectly. There is something missing, a detachment of sorts, and a bit repetitive in places. Like you, I am loving the story itself.

You know, you're right ... the two novels do sound similar. But they will both be wonderful. This I know.

@Ash - I can definitely understand the desire to read short books in May! :)

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Breaking Night sounds fabulous...and going on my wish list. Plus...the Jackie book! I have thoroughly enjoyed all things Jackie ever since the sixties.

Now I can't wait to read both of these books!


Heather J. said...

I'm glad I got to see you even if it was only for a few minutes. :) Hope you're all recovered by now!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I deeply want to find someone to do my laundry and go grocery shopping for me so I can just watch more television. I'm so tired!

Joy Weese Moll said...

It was great meeting you and getting to talk with you a couple of times on Friday! Hope you are recovering from the event.

Cindy said...

I can't wait to hear all about BBC. Sorry that I missed you this year but I am for sure going next year and hopefully we will meet.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

Melissa, I've got Breaking Night and Reading Jackie both on my Wishlist...The Glass Castle was one of my all time favorite reads so that's an incredible comparison you made :)
I've not heard of the other novel you mentioned but am looking forward to hearing what you think :)

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

It was so lovely to see you on Friday. I am so sorry Ididn't get a chance to say goodbye. I had to rush back to my hotel to check on my roomie who wasn't feeling well. I wasn't able to get back in time to say any goodbyes :(

Florinda said...

I think I had a chance to pick up a copy of Breaking Night and passed - sounds like that wasn't a good call. (Unless I DID get it and it's in the box that's shipping back from NYC - I kind of forget what's in there.) Oh well.

I'm SO glad you made it up to New York for BBC! Since you have yet to get to BEA proper, let's say "next year" on that :-D.

K A B L O O E Y said...

Sad that our paths didn't cross in NYC, but sounds like you were way too busy. Thanks for the good suggestions for future reading. (And man, you sure know a lot of excellent writers.)