Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Another Read-a-Thon For the Books

"I can't believe the Read-a-Thon is already over," Betty said to me, greeting me as I stumbled to the breakfast table.

For something that lasts 24 years (whoa, there's a wishful, not-caffeinated-enough typo!) it really amazes me how fast time can go when one is Read-a-Thoning.  (Not to mention how fast these WEEKS go.  Is it just me, or does it seem that I was just writing last week's Sunday Salon a few minutes ago?)

Anyway, both my reading week and the Read-a-Thon gone by were good ones.  Let us start with the week just past, which was another one filled with lotsa travel (i.e., time in the car) for me.  That translates into two audiobooks started and completed.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson was my first audiobook of the week, and I enjoyed this much more than I expected to. I'll admit, I'm not much of a young adult/dystopian fiction fan, which puts me in somewhat of a minority grouping sometimes in this book blogging world, but this novel proved to me that there are always exceptions.

Seventeen year old Jenna Fox has survived a terrible accident that claimed the lives of her two best friends.  While in a coma for more than a year, her parents turned to what some seem as desperate measures in order to save her life. As Jenna pieces her memories back together while simultaneously discovering the truth about who she is now, this becomes a story about identity, about perfection, and the lengths a parent will go to in order to save their child.

After spending time with Jenna Fox, I turned my audiobook attention to The Maytrees by Annie Dillard, which was my first introduction to Dillard's work. (She has always seemed to be one of those authors who I've felt I should read.) I own this one, and I'm very glad that I do, because I'm now highlighting passages throughout this novel. I rarely do this, but I was compelled to do with The Maytrees because of the "spare, elegant" words that Dillard gives her reader, almost as a gift.

"Falling in love, like having a baby, rubs against the current of our lives: separation, loss, and death. That is the joy of them." (pg. 2)

The themes of love, separation and loss that were so much a part of The Maytrees segued perfectly into my first Read-a-Thon book, Beth Kephart's You Are My Only.  Beth's writing is so unique, so very different with her evocations of mood and imagery and color, and with the four novels of hers that I've read, she has not disappointed me as a reader. I think every new novel is her best, but I believe You Are My Only seems to be the strongest of her works I've read yet.  Publication date is this Tuesday, October 25 and I was fortunate to have received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

By the time I was finished with You Are My Only, I was emotionally spent - but didn't want my participation in the Read-a-Thon to come to an end.  So I chose to end it with the 23 poems in the chapbook that is Jennifer Hill-Kaucher's collection, Questioning Walls Open.  I'm terrible at reviewing poetry (something I need to improve on) but I know what I like.  And I liked many of these poems (especially "For Joan," about a discovering the contents of an undeveloped roll of film and "Letter," about the longing for one).

Before I return you to your Sunday, some final Read-a-Thon stats:

Total Number of Pages Read: 284

Total Hours Read: 6.25 hours

Books Started and Finished: 
You Are My Only, by Beth Kephart 
Questioning Walls Open, by Jennifer Hill Kaucher 

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.


Peppermint Ph.D. said...

Whew! I love Annie Dillard and Beth Kephart...can't wait to read Beth'd new one :) Take a nap, will ya? :)

Anonymous said...

I remember trying Annie Dillard's work a few years ago and it not grabbing me, but maybe some day I'll have to try it again -- and see if it...well..."grabs" me this time around.