Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Sunday Salon - May 20

It's a spectacularly gorgeous weekend here, and I have two days of errands and gardening to catch up on (thanks to losing most of yesterday to being in bed yesterday with a migraine). No time for idle chit chat this morning; let's get right to the books update, shall we?

Much to tell you about, as most of this week was spent in my car. It's another one of our busy seasons for work, which meant that this week was one where I drove up, down and around the state of Pennsylvania (and parts of Ohio). The good part about all that driving? Audiobooks.

This week I've been listening to The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, which I am enjoying very much. (Part of that is due to Jim Dale's narration, which is wonderful and perfect for this story.) The Night Circus has been met with much acclaim from book bloggers. If you're not familiar with this book, allow me to take the lazy way out today and offer up the publisher's description:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

As I said, I'm really enjoying this. I'm loving Morganstern's details of the circus and her ability to transport me to a magical world, which - HELLO! - when you're listening to this while driving for 6 freakin' hours throughout the most backwoods lands of Pennsylvania, is quite a most welcome thing indeed. I am, however, kind of confused a bit on this "challenge" between Celia and Marco, and I'm finding myself rewinding the CD at times, but after reading a few other reviews, this seems to be a common issue with others who have read The Night Circus. 

I'll probably finish this by the middle of this week.

This week, I also read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, which was also highlighted and raved about on many a blog back in the fall - also with good reason.  Anybody who has ever lost a parent (or watched a loved one die) will absolutely relate to 13 year old Conor's heartbreak on losing his mother and having his life uprooted. He's already dealing with so much - the divorce of his parents and his father moving to America to have a new life with his new family there; bullying at school; the betrayal of his best friend Lily; the possibility of living with his strict grandmother or being shipped off to boarding school, and worst of all, the impending death of his beloved mother. No wonder the kid is having nightmares.

From the publisher's description:

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

Finally, and this is HUGE for me - I also read an entire issue (practically cover to cover!) of "The New Yorker."  I subscribe to it via my Kindle, but I rarely get a chance to read it and never in its entirely. Psychologically, it's more soothing to have the digital editions pile up in my Kindle than the paper ones around the house. I like knowing that they're there when I want them - but I don't see them (hence, no clutter) and this week, between books and waiting in line and eating alone, "The New Yorker" was exactly what I wanted.

In the May 21 issue is a short story ("The Proxy Marriage") by Maile Meloy. I am positive I've read Meloy before, but I'll be damned if I can remember what, exactly, it was. (It had to have been one of her short stories, probably in a Best Of anthology or in something like "The New Yorker" or whatever.) This sounds awful, I know. BUT, as a fan of short stories, I really liked "The Proxy Marriage" and this just made me want to read more of Ms. Meloy's work. (And tell you about it, so I don't forget.)

OK. Back to your regularly scheduled Sunday. As you were.

copyright 2012, 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.


Amy said...

Yay, I'm glad you read and liked A Monster Calls! :) Also impressive on reading the New Yorker cover to cover.

JoAnn said...

Congratulations on reading an ENTIRE issue of The New Yorker. I have months of them piled up now...maybe I should go digital, too. The unread stack is depressing me.

Sue Jackson said...

I just finished The Night Circus this morning! I really enjoyed it. I bet it is great on audio, especially with Jim Dale narrating, but I can definitely see how it could be confusing at times. While reading, I often had to go back and reread earlier sections. But I bet the descriptions are great on audio. Hang in there - Celia and Marco's challenge will become more clear as the story goes on.

Enjoy the rest of it!


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jenclair said...

I'm reading (and enjoying!)The Night Circus now. Adding A Monster Calls to my list!