Tag Archives: Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon

sunday salon

Time: // 8: 00 a.m. Damn Daylight Savings time. I’m exhausted. At least I have some coffee.

The scene: // Sitting in my living room, most of the kids are asleep. The sun is shining and there are some awesome clouds in the sky.

Listening to: // “Out of My League” by Fitz and the Tantrums. Thanks to Bryan for the suggestion. Thanks to everyone for their music suggestions last week.

Listing: // my Memoir March list of books. I finally figured out what I’m going to read this month.

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  • Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend by Bill Russell – audio
  • Around the House and In the Garden by Dominique Browning
  • The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
  • Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
  • Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding by Lynn Darling
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman – (Maybe I’ll finally get to this one)
  • Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story by Peter Bagge
  • The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle, and The Quest to Cure Tuberculosis by Thomas Goetz
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (recommended by Olduvai)
  • The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
  • L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by Roy Choi

I tried to pick some diverse reads, ranging from format (Woman Rebel and Maus are graphic novels) to experience.  I’m currently reading L.A. Son, a foodie memoir, and Out of the Woods. I’m really enjoying both of them.

Blogging about: // everything! I had one of those rare urges to write my ass off this week. I wrote graphic novels reviews, a review of The Perfect Score by Debbie Steir, and a wrap-up of my February reading.

Promoting: // Andi’s Book Nook guest post over on Relentless Reader. Since rearranging my apartment, I no longer have a book nook but it’s nice to look at everyone else’s.

Also promoting: // When the Universe Ain’t Talking by QuinnCreative. I’ve been in a rut for a while now and this post came at a perfect time.  It’s about when you have to wait for an answer from the Universe and you just.can’t.wait.

You should also read: // Buried in Print’s Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi.

Now I’m off to: // relax a bit before I spend the day doing homework.

What are you up to today? Any suggestions on how to get out of a rut?

Sunday Salon: Bookish Panic, Read-a-thons, and Read-Ins

sunday salonGood morning! It’s a rainy day here in Southern California, a perfect excuse to stay in the house and curl up with a book or two. On Friday, I realized that I only have ten days before the next semester starts. Talk about bookish panic. There are still so many books that I want to read, I realized that the only way for me to read them all is to have my own little read-a-thon. So that’s what I’m doing. From now until February 4th, I’m going to read as much as I possibly can.

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Yesterday I read The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook by Shaun Tan. It was really nice to look at the creative process of an artist. Today I’m finishing up The Procrastination Equation: How To Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done by Piers Steel. I’m finding the book to be very insightful. A few weeks ago, Evelyn from Librarian’s Dreams recommended Carlos Maria Dominguez’s The House of Paper, a book about well, books. Evelyn pretty much recommended it to everyone she knows which piqued my interested in this otherwise unknown book.

savage firmin

If you’ve seen my profile so far this year on Goodreads, you would swear I’ve forgotten about the tbr challenges I’ve signed up for. Not exactly. I’ve been reading so many of the library books I’ve checked out back in 2012 or even books I’ve just bought instead. Firmin: Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife by Sam Savage will be my first official tbr read. So many bloggers have recommended this book about a rat that lives in a bookstore and learns to read.

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Two three more books that I’m hoping to read includes: Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco’s Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt whose format I can only describe as a graphic novel hybrid, Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers by Kwame Anthony Appiah after seeing him speak in the documentary Examined Life.

The results are in for next month’s African American Read-In!

poll results

Click to enlarge.

The winner is Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones.

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Excerpt:

My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist. He was already married ten years when he first clamped eyes on my mother. In 1968, she was working at the gift-wrap counter at Davison’s downtown when my father asked her to wrap the carving knife he had bought his wife for their wedding anniversary. Mother said she knew that something wasn’t right between a man and a woman when the gift was a blade. I said that maybe it means there was a kind of trust between them. I love my mother, but we tend to see things a little bit differently. The point is that James’s marriage was never hidden from us. James is what I call him. His other daughter, Chaurisse, the one who grew up in the house with him, she calls him Daddy, even now.

Isn’t that a great opening? The book discussion will start Monday, February 25th.  Now I’m off to read. What are you reading today?

Sunday Salon: What’s on my nightstand

sunday salonGood morning! Today is the last day of the kids’ holiday break and then it’s back to school tomorrow. It’s been fun having them at home all day but I know they’re looking forward to seeing their friends. Our break has been filled with trips to the park, trying new meals, baking, and just having fun.

solomonI’m currently reading a book that I’ve been dying to share with you guys. It’s called Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon.  It’s been sitting on my shelves for a weeks. It’s due back at the library on Tuesday so I’m trying to finish this 900+ tome by then. I don’t think I will since I’ve been marking passages on almost every page with post-its.

In Far From the Tree, Solomon interviews parents who face the challenge of raising children who have very different identities from their own. These are parents raising a child who is transgender or deaf, mentally or physically disabled, schizophrenic or gifted. The author explores the question of identity versus illness while examining how society views these identities and how that can affect how parents themselves view their own children.

I’m finding this to be a powerful and moving book. I think if you are a parent or may one day become one, you should read this.

“To look deep into your child’s eyes and see in him both yourself and something utterly strange, and then to develop a zealous attachment to every aspect of him, is to achieve parenthood’s self-regarding, yet unselfish, abandon. It is astonishing how often such mutuality had been realized – how frequently parents who had supposed that they couldn’t care for an exceptional child discover that they can. The parental predisposition to love prevails in the most harrowing of circumstances. There is more imagination in the world than one might think.”

The book trailer:

I’m off to try and make a dent in this book. What are you reading?

Sunday Salon

Good morning. Bloggiesta is in full effect all over the blogisphere. I’m doing pretty well on my goals but I need to finish up since I still have homework to do. I don’t know about you, but I’m noticing that Bloggiesta has inspired me to start spring cleaning. I spent most of last night cleaning out closets. To my surprise, I “found” another box of books. I had already found an underbed organizer stuffed with books last weekend. I think it’s time for me to go on a book-buying ban, buy a new bookcase, and lay off of library holds for awhile.

March was a pretty good reading month. I read 31 books, mostly children’s. The books that stood out:

  • There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff
  • Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung
  • Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim

It’s April 1st which means that not only is the TBR Dare over (which I did very badly with), but it’s the start of National Poetry Month. I plan on sharing my love of poetry throughout the month with videos, poems, and poetry reviews. I’m pretty excited.

This week I’m least grateful for:

  • Nothing at all.

This week I’m most grateful for:

  • Bloggiesta and all that I’m getting done.
  • The start of National Poetry Month
  • That spring break starts on Friday.

So I’m off. How did March go for you?

Sunday Salon: Books, books, books

sunday salon

Good morning. Right now it’s early morning and the sun is starting to rise. It’s pretty quiet over here with only a few of the kids up. The only sounds that can be heard are the keyboard as I type, the heater, and my coffee pot. The second my coffee’s ready, I plan on sitting at the kitchen table reading Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it For Life. In the book, Tharp explains how creativity is really a habit that you have to foster. She also includes great ways to become more creative and exercises to get you going at the end of every chapter. I’m halfway through it and it’s a book I would recommend to anyone doing NaNoWriMo.

I’m also in the middle of a graphic novel, a memoir, a collection of essays, and some fiction. I have my hands full. Which is why Marie from The Boston Bibliophile and I are planning on doing a 12-hour mini-readathon this Wednesday. The plan is to read as many of our short paperbacks as possible. I have a ton of unread books on my shelf that have been sitting around for years. I hope to knock out as least five books since so many of them are less than 200 pages long.

My coffee’s ready and so I’m off to read. Have a great Sunday. What are you reading today?

Sunday Salon: Thoughts

24readathonRight now it’s early morning here in Southern California and the sun is not up yet. Sitting on my desk is a hot cup of coffee and today’s read, August: Osage County by Tracy Letts. I received it through PaperbackSwap for the read-a-thon but I’ve decided to read it now. Today will be spent visiting family, reading, and getting the kids ready for school tomorrow.

Last night on Twitter, Kailana stated that she’s only read 16 books so far this month. That made me check my calendar reading log to see how many books I’ve read this month. 3. That’s how many books I’ve read so far this month. Compare that to the 38 read in August or the 18 read in September, it makes October the worst reading month I’ve had in a long time. I’m hoping to get back into the reading groove by reading my butt off this week and during the read-a-thon.

If you’re on the fence about signing up for Dewey’s read-a-thon, you still have time. Even if you can’t participate for that many hours, it’s still a fun event to join. There’s games and prizes plus you find new blogging buddies too.

I have my strategy down for the big event. I have tons of short books and fast reads, waiting to be read. I’m planning a mini read-a-thon for my kids on Saturday to keep them busy. I also plan on snacking on fruits and quick foods so not to get bogged down cooking. At all. Pizza will probably be lunch and dinner on Saturday.

My goals:

To finish at least six books.
To cheer on each of the 200+ participants at least once.

To read the majority of the books in my pile even if it takes months

I don’t know which goal is going to be harder. I’ve already starting visiting participant’s read-a-thon pile posts to cheer them on a little. I have so many great books in my pile that I really want to read, so I’m going to try my best to read them before they’re due back at the library.  If you’re participating in the event, do you bother setting goals?

Last week’s reads

Last week I read two of October’s three read books: Sea Change by Aimee Freedman and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Both were engaging books. I reviewed Sea Change but not Catching Fire. There’s no point when all my review is going to say is: Go read it now! Catching Fire was a great book but I love Hunger Games more. Either way I will be buying book three when it’s published next year.

So that’s it for this post. Are you participating in next week’s read-a-thon? If so, what book are you really looking forward to reading?

Sunday Salon: Short Works Sunday

sunday salon

This week my reading has been all over the place. Since last Sunday I’ve read essays, short stories, graphic novels, and children’s books but no novels. For the last couple of years I’ve been primarily a novel reader, forgoing short stories, poetry, and essays for longer works. Though I have many novels I need to read before they have to be returned to the library, I’m happy just picking up a book, opening up to an unread story or essay, and digging in. Because of this I’ve been on a plane with Barbara Kingsolver as she tried to fit reading short stories into her busy life in “What Good is a Story?”, watched a family sing during a family member’s execution in Margo Lanagan’s “Singing My Sister Down”, and listened as silence takes over a big city in Kevin Brockmeir’s “The Year of Silence”.

I’m falling in love again with short works.

So now I’m off to read more of the stories I’ve been missing. Below is a list of the collections I’ve been reading from. Take care and have a great week.

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Do you read short stories? Who are some of your favorite short story writers? What are some of your favorite collections?

It’s the Sunday Salon! What are you reading?

sunday salon

I know. I know. My title is wrong. It’s really supposed to say “It’s Monday” but because I have so many things I have to blog about this week,  I thought it was best if I blogged about what I plan on reading this week today. Last week was so hectic that I  only read one book, The Screwed-Up Life of Charlie the Second by Drew Ferguson, for the Nerds Heart YA tournament. You can count on Trish from Hey Lady and I writing our reviews this week. We already made a decision and passed it on to the next judge.

Because I only read one book last week, I really want to make up for it. The plan is to read between five and seven books this week.

This week I plan on reading

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Company of Liars by Karen Maitland. I read the funniest review of this book at Book Gazing and had to put this on hold at the library. Company of Liars is a novel set in during the Plague. The description kind of reminds me of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Thanks again to Kailana at The Written World for putting this on my radar. This week Heather at High and Hidden Place and I are reading this together. Then there will be a three-way chat with Kailana about it.

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Petersen. I checked this out from the library months ago and really want to cross this off my list.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Nymeth, Kailana, Carrie, and many other bloggers have all stated that I’m missing out since I haven’t read this yet. The trailer for the movie pushed this up my TBR pile to the very top.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. This is leftover from the Once Upon a Time challenge.

I know that’s only five books but I’m a moody reader so I’m going to leave the rest of my choices open. So that’s what I’m reading this week. Have a great week.

What are you reading? Do you usually plan your reading ahead of time or let your mood dictate what books you read?

Sunday Salon: Reading events

sunday salonIt’s amazing that May is almost over with. It’s been a forgettable month. I can barely remember what I’ve accomplished. Book-wise I didn’t accomplish much, reading only three adult, four young adult, and fourteen children’s books.

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I couldn’t give you just one book as my favorite this month, so I’m going to give you my top two. Sarah Stewart’s The Friend, a children’s book about unconditional love and the short story collection/graphic novel Tales of Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan. Both books are amazing and highly recommended.

Shauna at Reading and Ruminations has been in a reading funk and came up with a great personal challenge. called the Summer Reading Blitz. She wants to read 30 books in 30 days for the month of June. I think it’s such a great idea that I’m joining her. I have a stack of books lined up, ready and waiting.

Also joining the challenge are fellow bloggers

Becky at Becky’s Book Reviews

Brittanie at A Book Lover

Ruth at BookishRuth

Shauna and Brittanie will be hosting giveaways throughout June. Make sure you’re subscribed to their blogs so you don’t miss out.

June is also the start of

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a young adult reading tournament that is the brainchild of the bold Renay. From June 1st through August 2nd, twenty bloggers will be judging sixteen young adult novels, published in 2008, that should’ve received more attention. If you click on the above icon, you can see the books that are being judged.

The judges are:

Valentina, Valentina’s Room
Jodie, Book Gazing
Natasha, Maw Books Blog
Ali, Worducopia and Lenore, Presenting Lenore
Mary Ann, Libr*fiti
Trish, Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’ and Vasilly, 1330v
Kelly, YAnnabe
Becky, Becky’s Book Reviews, and Kailana, The Written World
Heather, A High and Hidden Place
Amy, My Friend Amy
Laza, Gimme More Books!
Stephanie, Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-Holic
Nicole, Linus’s Blanket
Renay, YA Fabulous and Susan, She’s Too Fond Of Books And It’s Turned Her Brain
Chris, Stuff As Dreams Are Made On and Nymeth, Things Mean A Lot

Look out for reviews and updates on the tournament from the judges. Nerdsheartya is also on Twitter. I’m so excited, I’m hoping to read all the shortlisted books.

If you didn’t know already, next weekend is the start of Mother Reader‘s 48 Hour Challenge. For 48 hours bloggers all over the blogisphere will be reading as much as they can. You don’t have to read for 48 hours straight, but within a 48 hour period of time. Of course I’m in.

Posts from this week:

500 Great Books by Women
10 Fiction Books for Summer

What are you reading this week? Have you signed up for the 48 hour challenge?

Sunday Salon:Book Coveting

This week has been a great week for books though horrible for reading. I was assigned Moby Dick to read this week and it nearly did me in. It’s a great book to read aloud from but with only a little bit more than a week to read it, I had to set aside other books to read it. Thankfully this week’s required reading is only a few poems by Emily Dickinson.

For this week’s Book Coveting post, I’m going to show you the books I’m most excited about, got my hands on, and in most cases was unable to start reading. I’m so excited to read them this week.

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Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. I’ve been wanting to read this for so long and Maggie’s Southern Reading Challenge gave me the perfect excuse to pick it up.

The Music Teacher by Barbara Hall. Hall is the creator of Joan of Arcadia, one of my favorite series. When I found out she was publishing a novel, I had to put it on hold at the library. Here’s the first paragraph:

I am the mean music teacher. I am that cranky woman you remember from your youth, the one whose face you dreaded seeing, whose breath you dreaded smelling as I leaned over you, tugging at your fingers. You made jokes about me, drew caricatures of me in your notebooks, made puns out of my name, swore never to be me.

Well, listen. I swore never to be me, too.

Bicycles: Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni. Earlier this month Frances at Nonsuchbook wrote a great post about a reading she attended for Giovanni’s newest book, Bicycles: Love Poems. It’s such a great post for a few days afterwards, I kept going back to read it.

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The fantastic Renay, from YA Fabulous, asked for volunteer judges for her upcoming young adult book tournament, Nerds Heart YA. I signed up and Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers is one of two books I need to read and judge within the next couple of weeks. I’m so excited!

The Song is You by Arthur Phillips. I first heard about this book from Michele at Read and Breathe. Michele recommended Kate Christensen’s The Epicure’s Lament, which I had a chance to read a little of and enjoyed before having to return it to the library. Christensen wrote a review for The Song is You. The first sentences of the review:

If novelists were labeled zoologically, Arthur Phillips would fall naturally into the dolphin family: his writing is playful, cerebral, likable, wide-ranging and inventive.

Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter by Seth Lerer. This book combines two of my favorite reading subjects: children’s literature and books about reading. Lerer won the 2008 National Book Critics Award for Criticism for this book, so it’s the perfect book for the end of the Book Awards Challenge 2.

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Tales of Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan. I have been waiting months for this book from my local library. Tales of Outer Suburbia is a collection of short stories that as Heather said a few days ago, is the “perfect marriage between words and illustrations.” I have to agree with her. At 94 pages, this is a short read but one that will have you rereading it to catch everything you might have missed the first time you read it.

Last but not least is Everyday Matters by Danny Gregory. While I’ve waited months for Tan’s book, I’ve waited years for Gregory’s from paperbackswap. Everyday Matters is a illustrated memoir about Gregory and his family’s life after his wife is paralyzed from the waist down. Another short read that I cannot wait to dig into.

So that’s this week’s list. What books are you coveting?

Sunday Salon: Mother’s Day Giveaway

wilson mamaMama Always Comes Home
Karma Wilson(2005)
Illustrated by Brooke Dyer

Mama Always Comes Home is the story of Mama Cat, Mama Mole, and other mamas who have to briefly leave their little ones to take care of home but promises their children they will always be back soon. I had to pry a copy of this book out of my mother’s hands, she loved it that much. It’s a great book for mothers and mothers-to-be and perfect to help reassure children with separation anxiety that at the end of the day, Mama always come back.

wilson animalsAnimal Strike at the Zoo. It’s True! (2006)
Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Margaret Spengler

The animals at the zoo go on strike. They’re tired of working for peanuts and make all sorts of demands to the zookeeper. He tries to keep them happy by meeting them but it’s little Sue on her very first trip to the zoo who show the animals how great their job really is. My children loved this book and we all laughed as we read it aloud.

There’s an animal strike at the zoo. It’s true!
The headlines are telling it all.
The animals quit. “That’s it!” “We’re through!”
Say all critters from biggest to small.

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The author, Karma Wilson, kindly sent me a signed copy of both books to give away to my readers. To enter, leave me a comment including your email address. One winner will be randomly chosen this Thursday, May 14th. Good luck.

More on the author

Karma Wilson is the author of more than 30 books including Bear Snores On, How to Bake an American Pie, and Moose Tracks. You can visit her on her website, www.KarmaWilson.com