Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Sunday Salon: So Much to Talk About

Good morning! This is my first Sunday Salon since the end of July - the leaves are changing, the morning temperatures hover around 40, and it's time to accept the fact the summer is over. My sweaters and fleece made an appearance last week... yesterday I even wore socks. All I need now is a pumpkin spice latte.

The girls have settled into their college routines. Daughter #1, a senior, seems to be involved in just about everything, while the twins, first years, are making friends and getting used to college life in general. Twin B lives at home and commutes to a nearby college, so we have at least another year before achieving 'empty nester' status.

August, packed with travel and moving kids around, was a slow reading month, but things have certainly turned around in September. I've finished five books so far (unheard of by mid-month for me), including three 5 star and one with a 4 1/2 star rating! Am I getting soft in my rating or choosing books more wisely? Definitely the latter...

As you can tell from recent reviews, I've discovered Stewart O'Nan. His quieter, character-driven novels have quickly made him a new favorite. He'd long been on my 'authors to read' list. but Nan's review of Emily, Alone convinced me the time had finally come. Since the book is a sequel, I decided to read Wish You Were Here first. That novel was a perfect end-of-summer read for Labor Day weekend, and I followed up immediately with Emily, Alone. (Listen to this NPR interview to hear O'Nan talk about Emily). After that, I couldn't resist Last Night at the Lobster. I rated that one 4 1/2 stars but, the more I think about it, it should have been 5. If you're interested in O'Nan, this short novel would be the perfect starting point.

My reviews:
Wish You Were Here
Emily, Alone
Last Night at the Lobster

My audiobook selections have veered toward mysteries this month. Friday I posted thoughts on Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin - definitely a favorite this year. Yesterday I finished What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman and loved that, too. Lippman has so many other books to choose from. Can you recommend another title?

I've started participating in Devourer of Books Friday Sound Bytes feature. Jen posts an audiobook review and invites others to link up. It's a another great source for audio reviews and an excellent community-builder, too.

I'm currently reading The House of Sevens Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Frances and Audrey are hosting a group read (in conjunction with Carl's R.I.P challenge) with posts scheduled for October 14. After two chapters, I've decided it requires my full concentration... definitely not a book to read when I'm tired!

Banned Book Week is coming up September 24. In perusing ALA's top 100 banned/challenged books list, I noticed The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison at #15. Since I've never read Morrison (collective gasp!) and own the book, it seems like the perfect time to begin. Do you plan to read a banned book next week?

Today we are celebrating my mother's birthday, so there won't be much time for reading. I need to clean the house and make lasagna now, but will be back this evening for some blog hopping. After a long summer, I look forward to catching up with everyone. It's good to get back to The Sunday Salon!


  1. Wow, you are having a great month! My reading usually picks up as the weather gets cooler but that hasn't happened yet this year. I did have a pumpkin spice latte though and it was as good as I remembered!

  2. Stewart O'Nan is now on my authors to read list because of you.
    Glad to hear your kids are settling into their new routine.

  3. Do the twins go to separate colleges? Of course, I'm biased by only movies where twins always do everything together :) It must be nice to have one child still at home.

    (This is me trying to establish some sort of commenting routine again, so glad to be back on your blog :))

  4. Welcome back! I definitely had my first pumpkin spice latte on Friday, it was just the perfect first fall day I had to complete it! And yesterday I made pumpkin creamcheese muffins. Oh yay for fall! Cooler weather definitely lends itself for curling up on the couch with coffee/tea and reading reading reading!

  5. Wow, you've been busy! I've never read Stewart O'Nan, but I'd definitely like to. As for Banned Books Week, the darned thing always sneaks up on me until it's too late to work something into my reading schedule. I might pick up something, though, as I love the event and think it's really important! (PS...I've never read Morrison EITHER!)

  6. I reviewed Laura Lippman's The Most Dangerous Thing a few days ago and can recommend it.

    Wonder who banned The Bluest Eye and why?

  7. Sounds like September is going to be a great month for you! My reading has sadly slowed but I'm hoping for better things in October :P

  8. adding a small "oh god yes" of agreement. tried to read The House of Sevens Gables last night before bed... lets just say ive since re-read those chapters.

    im glad im starting early if I'm going to make it by the post date.

  9. I will add Mr. O'Nan to my Must Investigate list.
    Amazing, isn't it, how much is involved in getting our students (back) to school--even the seniors who surely know the drill by now.
    It must be nice to have one girl still around...
    Yes, why was The Bluest Eye banned???
    Happy pumpkin spice latte!

  10. I can tell by the tone of this post that you feel good about the comfortableness of Fall. The quieter days to read and other familiar tasks. I agree. Summer things are fun and exciting but there's something great about settling down in September.

    I read your post and then went to listen to the NPR interview with Stewart O'Nan. After listening to him and thinking about your 5 stars, I decided to read something of his. I went to my library's website and was surprised by how much he has written. I put a couple of things on reserve, so we'll see how it goes. Thanks for recommending a great new-to-me author.

  11. WOw, it's really cool by you! I love this weather!

    You're on a reading tear now....I love what you're reading now, The House of the Seven Gables, the inspiration for my blog title! I've enjoyed your reviews of O'Nan's books and have listed them on my tbr list.
    Thank you for the reminder about Banned Book Week. I'm going to check out the ALA List, too.

  12. You have truly inpired me to read this author. I've been doing a lot of soul searching this past month and I think the new year will bring a different direction for my reading and one that will allow me to read whatever I want at my whims! Your life sounds busy with getting the girls all settled. It's hard to believe that fall is around the corner isn't it? I love this time of year though. Hope your week is wonderful!,,

  13. What a busy buys summer. How nice to have one of the girls still at home - eases the transition I guess!

  14. Reviewsbylola - I always think I'll read more during the summer, but never do. Hurray for fall and pumpkin spice lattes!

    Viv - Hope his books are easily available in the UK. I'm so thankful the girls have had a smooth transition this year... starting college can be hard.

    Iris - Yes, they go to separate colleges - my twins are SO different! It's good to see you... I'm trying to get back to commenting again, too.

    Victoria - Can't wait to start my fall baking... apples, pumpkin, Yum!

    Erin - I thought I was the only blogger that hasn't read Morrison! Glad to have company :-)

    Harvee - Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out. Not sure who banned The Bluest Eye or why.

    Sam - You've had a very busy month... here's to a quieter October!

    Luxehours - LOL... House of the Seven Gables is taking a little more effort than I anticipated.

    DS - It doesn't say why the books were banned... maybe I'll have a better idea when I've finished?

    Margot - I'm so happy you listened to that interview. It was fascinating for me to hear him talk about his characters, especially Emily... he still had unfinished business with her after Wish You Were Here was published. Hope you do get a chance to read one of O'Nan's books. Happy Fall!

    Amy - I wondered if that was the inspiration behind your title! O'Nan is my favorite author discovery this year - hope you do get a chance to read one of his books. Banned Book Week is the perfect opportunity to tackle some of those books already on my shelf.

    Staci - I'll be curious to see what changes you decide on - my reading has been so enjoyable this year with less commitments. Never would have gone on this little O'Nan tear if my schedule was too full.

    Verity - This gradual transition is definitely better for me. The daughter still at home spends more and more time at college with friends/activities... as it should be. Have enjoyed your recent posts about your week off. Will get back to a more consistent commenting routine soon.


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