The Sunday Salon – August 20, 2011 , or:

I'm warning you; it's long (That's what she said.)

 

Sundaysalon

Good morning, my lovelies! Err… Afternoon, actually.

 

056-1

Route 66 Museum


Here's a photo from our 2011 summer vacation, for no other reason than I haven't posted a whole lot of pictures yet. Time is the culprit. Time is my nemesis. Also, the wasting of time I could be doing something useful, due to my addiction to Angry Birds and Zombie Farmer.

I am such an iPhone whore. There's no time of day or night I'm unwilling to answer its call. The other night Zombie Farmers beeped at 1:00 a.m. to tell me one of my crops was ready to harvest. Did I turn it off and ignore it? What do you think?

But I needed tomatoes!

Know what I'm thinking? When our family plan phone contract is up next summer I may not get another iPhone. I know! Crazy, right? But I don't like this feeling of being chained to my phone, Googling every little thing I wonder about, like: who was that one actor in that one film, the one with the barking dogs? Google it! Who wrote that book I've been wanting to buy? Amazon! Buy it!

This cannot continue. All this tempting technology is teaching me the evils inherent with constant instant gratification, encouraging my ADD via dangling temptations in my face. Do I really need this? Come to think of it, does anyone?

Know how many books I have on my iPhone Kindle app? I don't want to know, so I'm not going to check and tell you. But trust me, it's obscene. I download a lot of free first chapters, to the tune of maybe 50  or so to date. Yesterday I accidentally bought a book instead of downloading the free chapter. Oopsies. Nine dollars worth of oopsies. Plus, it wasn't even one I thought I would wind up buying.

This confession is my segue back into books, the intention of the Sunday Salon. Smooth, no?

I know. No.

We're already familiar with the fact I've been reading through as many books on the Booker Longlist as possible before the September 6 Shortlist announcement (because I am insane impatient and cannot just wait for the shortlist and read those books).

So far I've completed:

Sebastian Barry's On Canaan's Side

Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending

I'm roughly halfway through Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child and bored senseless (apologies to Emma Straub!)

I've started Patrick DeWitt's uproariously funny The Sisters Brothers, and next up plan to read Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie.

The thinking behind my choices was I needed to read the biggies (Barry, Barnes and Hollinghurst), regardless of what it took to get them, including spending the money to have them shipped here from Amazon.co.uk. Next, I'm reading the books available here in the colonies.

Once the Shortlist comes out I will compare my guess educated opinion re: which of the biggies should have, and did, make it through, as well as thoughts on which of the other, lesser known survived. At that point (bear with me; this is a highly complicated process) I will behold those books left unread from the Shortlist, determine how many I am able to lay hands on, read those, and declare my choice prior to the announcement of the winner.

Et voilà! Bob's your uncle!

So far, I say Barnes will make it through. That's all I'm willing to conjecture; there are miles to go before I sleep.

But the Booker contenders are not all I've been reading. For the classics group at the library I re-read Voltaire's Candide, discovering how irritatingly unfamiliar I am  with the philosophies Voltaire was lampooning, determining I need to read a book about him and/or the enlightenment to offset my ignorance.

So, at Half Price Books (how I love thee!) I lucked upon:

 

Voltaireexile

From Booklist

A probing and careful biographer, Davidson recognizes that the transforming event of Voltaire's life came when he was banished from France. Losing his place in a country that idolized him as a poet and dramatist awakened Voltaire to political issues transcending national boundaries. In this chronicle of Voltaire's deep involvement in a series of post-exile campaigns to reverse barbaric court rulings, Davidson limns the great writer's remarkable transformation from a literary celebrity into an international champion of human rights. That metamorphosis generated scores of spirited letters initially appealing simply for the lives and liberty–or posthumous reputations–of specific individuals but finally demanding the radical reforms needed to free judicial proceedings from ecclesiastical tyranny. Davidson piquantly details Voltaire's real and unrelenting fight against the church hierarchy but also explodes the mythical image of Voltaire as an atheist and an egalitarian revolutionary. The brilliant writer of Candide knew all too well that this is far from "the best of all possible worlds"; this valuable study shows how resolutely he labored to make it a better one. Bryce Christensen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

 

Nice!

 

I also re-read portions of Kate Christensen's The Astral, in order to write my review for BookBrowse.com (which won't be up 'til next month). On audio I'm listening to DFW's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, wanting to cry hearing his voice, yet so glad it's been preserved.

Coming up, loads and loads of reviews I'm VERY behind in writing.

And:

A work of zombie fiction for the R(eaders)A(dvisory)I(nterest)G(roup)

Zola's Germinal for the classics group at the library

Colson Whitehead's Zone One, for review

One ARC title I was excited to receive: Bogeywoman by Jaimy Gordon

Plus, NetGalley eBooks – loads of those.

As usual, there's more. Always more.

 

As always, have a lovely reading week. Please support your local library and indie booksellers!

 

Books mentioned in this post:

Sebastian Barry's On Canaan's Side

Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending

Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child

Patrick DeWitt's The Sisters Brothers

Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie

Voltaire's Candide

Ian Davidson's Voltaire in Exile

Kate Christensen's The Astral

DFWallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

Zola's Germinal

Colson Whitehead's Zone One

Jaimy Gordon's The Bogeywoman

 

  Powells

www.powells.com

 

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3 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon – August 20, 2011 , or:

  1. You are like my own personal version of Books for Dummies. I love it! And Half-Price Book Stores – I practically swoon when I walk through the door.

    Like

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