Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Bookish Chatter

There War and Peace sits. I barely touched it this past week, sad to say. It is not for lack of interest. Or maybe it is. Just a little. It takes a bit more concentration and effort, and so I find myself gravitating towards other books, less hefty books that I can breeze through with less effort. At first I was berating myself for not spending more time on War and Peace, but I gave myself a good talking to about my attitude. I will get to it when the time is right, maybe set aside some time tonight even. Timing can be everything when it comes to enjoyment of a book: the right atmosphere and the mood being just so.

The more pressing reason, however, is that I have other reading commitments I am trying to fulfill. My energy and motivations are divided, and since War and Peace is a long term project, it is the one that ultimately gets set aside. At least for now.

I actually spent most of yesterday reading. I was quite engrossed in a thriller, playing a game of cat and mouse with a rather clever assassin. It did not take me long to get through Greg Rucka's Smoker. Today I am settling in for another round with the same assassin, although a different book, this one called Critical Space. I have been slowly working my way up to the latest book in the series, which I am very overdue in reviewing for Curled Up With A Good Book. If anything, I feel most guilty that I have fallen behind in my reviewing obligations, and so I am working to catch up as best I can.

I prefer to read series books in order, watching the progression of the characters and the back stories as they evolve from one book to the next. Sometimes it does not work out that way, however, and I find myself reading a book out of order. Usually it turns out that it is okay. Most books in the types of series I read can stand on their own when it comes right down to it. When I first requested Greg Rucka's latest novel, I had not done enough careful research. I knew it was part of a series. What I did not know, however, was that the book I selected to read and review is tied closely to the book that came before it--and if you want to get technical, the book before that one as well. Because I hate jumping into something in the middle, or even at the end, I decided to start from the beginning and work my way forward.

As a result, War and Peace and many of the books I would like to get to for the various reading challenges I am participating in this year have fallen by the wayside. I am pretty sure I can count Critical Space as a chunkster, and so I will have at least filled one reading challenge requirement this month. Even with these self-imposed obligations, I am quite enjoying the reading I have fit in so far this year. I only wish I had more time to spend actually reading.

On another note, the bookstores beckoned to me this past week, and as much as I tried to resist I was not very successful. With an entire room of my house devoted to books waiting to be read, you would think I would be satisfied with the lot I have collected. Still, the books I have yet to get my hands on call to me. On the plus side, gift cards and discounted remainders make an easy excuse to go book shopping and take away a little of the guilt I may feel towards the books I already have piling up. I spent very little of my own hard earned money this past week in book purchases, but brought home way too many books just the same. All are new-to-me authors with the exception of Elizabeth Flock.

Recent Additions to my TBR Collection:
I'm Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti - recommended by Kimbofo
March by Geraldine Brooks
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco (actually Anjin's purchase, but it still goes on my TBR list)
The Cry of the Dove by Fadir Faqir
Everything Must Go by Elizabeth Flock
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
The Mission Song by John Le Carre
The Last Life by Claire Messud
Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst
18 Seconds by George D. Shuman
Last Breath by George D. Shuman - recommended by Kris
When One Man Dies by Dave White

I hope you all have a great week. Happy reading!


  1. You're a woman after my own heart, unable to resist the call of a bookstore! :-) I've been fighting off that urge all weekend - maybe next weekend, since we have that extra day off, I'll give in.

    Looking over your latest TBR additions, I only spotted two that I've read. Lost and Found was one of my favorite books of 2007, and March was an intriguing extrapolation from Little Women. I'll look forward to reading all of your reviews...eventually!

  2. Heart-Shaped Box is fantastic! And I've heard nothing but wonders about March. I need to get it too, for the Pulitzer Project. But of course, then I'll have to read Little Women first.

  3. I know this sounds crazy, but I just have this temptation to buy something whenever I stop by a bookstore (even if I couldn't find anything interesting and will keep on searching until I have found at least one book that manages to catch my attention).

    Wow, it looks like you have bought a lot of books recently, hehe... I have never heard of those authors though, except John Le Carre. Happy reading! :)

  4. Your recent additions look great! It looks like you had fun shopping! I just got The Tea Rose a couple days ago myself. I look forward to your review on it. I have quite the wishlist on Amazon even though my husband cleared it for Christmas. They are filled with book recommendations from bloggers and I am looking forward to a spree! Hope you have fun with yours. My husband loved World War Z.

  5. Don't feel bad about War and Peace...I haven't even started it yet! *laughs*

    You really got quite a haul on your shopping trip. I'm particularly interested in the Messud book after having read The Emperor's Children in 2007. Will look forward to reading your review of that one!

  6. Florinda - The longer you wait, sometimes the more you end up coming home with, so be careful!

    I am glad to hear you really liked Lost and Found. I knew I'd seen that listed among someone's favorites and it probably was you! :-) I don't know why I got March. It sounds so good, but I really don't want to bother with reading Little Women. I hope having seen the movie is good enough background.

    Nymeth - I've heard so much about it that I couldn't resist anymore. :-)

    Melody - Me too! I can almost always find something that interests me too.

    Jaimie - I did have fun shopping. Too much fun. No more book shopping for awhile, I think.

    Wendy - Well, I'm at least glad to hear that I'm not the only one who isn't making much progress with War and Peace. :-)

    I actually chose The Last Life over The Emperor's Children while at the store. It sounded more interesting to me subject wise. If I like the one I have, I definitely plan to move on to The Emperor's Children.

  7. I just signed up to be a reviewer for Curled Up. I am looking forward to getting started!

    I don't envy your War and Peace predicament! I really don't think I have the attention span for the mother of all chunksters!

    Happy Reading!

  8. I am surprised at how well I'm doing with Great Expectations - not War & Peace length but still not too shabby. But, at the same time my mind does wander a bit and thinks of all the other books I can't wait to read.
    I added Heart-Shaped Box to my TBR list recently too. Keep hearing such great things about it!

  9. I enjoyed The Tea Rose. And, yeah, it's hard to resist when you have book cards and find great deals on remaindered books. Remainders are the main reason we're tripping over books. Enjoy your purchases!

  10. I've had The Tea Rose for literally years! I really should finally read it. Living in Japan has really helped slow down my acquisition of new books. (I was buying books like crazy in England.) I still love browsing the bookstores but the English books are quite expensive so I often find the will to resist. Course Amazon and especially The Book Depository are my weakness!

  11. I know, I know. I can't stay out of bookstores either. And I have a hard time leaving without taking one (at least) home with me.

    I too have a husband that purchases books that end up on my TBR list. Nothing like being enabled!

  12. I need to get cracking on War and Peace as well, so you're not alone!

  13. I read Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill back in October and thought it was pretty good although there were several people in my book groups who thought differently! I hope you enjoy!

    War and Peace doesn't seem like it would appeal to me and sometimes if I force myself to read stuff I'll push myself into a reading slump.

  14. Welcome to the Curled Up family, Jill! Hopefully you will be more reliable than I've been the last couple of months.

    Fortunately, I tend to like long books, it's just a matter of settling into them. War and Peace is a bit intimidating, I'm afraid. :-S

    Iliana - I think you can safely say that Great Expectations is a challenge in and of itself. I am glad to hear you are doing well with it. I just think I haven't reached that point with War and Peace yet where it takes off for me. I've been told it's coming soon so I'm hopeful. :-)

    Nancy - I am glad to hear you enjoyed Tea Rose. It seems to be the talk of town these days now that the sequel is out. I'm looking forward to reading it. Gift cards are my bane. Haha

    Tanabata - I wonder how long it will sit on my shelf before I get to it. :-) Isn't that terrible? I have too many unread books . . . Maybe I should move to Japan so I'm not so tempted.

    Terri - You either, eh? I think there must be some sort of homing chip inserted in our brains that always lead us back to the bookstores.

    And I'm glad I'm not the only one whose husband enables them! Haha

    Michelle - I don't feel so bad now. :-)

    Jen - I've heard mostly good reviews and a couple of not so good ones. I am hoping I'll like it in the end. :-)

  15. I can totally relate with you when it comes to buying books! I just simply can't resist myself... you have got some nice books on your TBR. In particular, Claire Messud's book, sacred games and March are some I've been wanting to get my hands on for a long time.
    Happy reading!!

  16. Happy Reader - It's an addiction, I think. :-)

  17. Wow look at all the books you've bought!

    I don't think Melody is crazy because that's exactly what happened to me when I was working at KLCC where Kinokuniya and Times bookshops were sooooo accessible. Believe me, I walked out of the shops with one or two books almost everyday. I had to hide them when I get home... :P

    I hope you'll be motivated to read "War and Peace"... As for me, I'm still finding the courage to begin. LOL.

  18. I almost bought Sacred Games yesterday, when I saw it in Amazon's bargain section. I decided I probably shouldn't buy any more books at the moment, since I'm out of shelf space!

  19. I agree that different books are best for certain moods. Kudos, though, for not just putting it to the wayside (like I probably would have done--I tend to shy away from "long" books).

    I haven't read of the books on your TBR, but I've heard great things about March. Happy reading!

  20. I can't resist a bookstore either. War & Peace will wait for you! With the rest of the horde. ;)

  21. Thanks for reminding me of The Tea Rose. I read A Gathering Light (A Northern Light?) last year and adored it. My bookgroup also read Heart-shaped box and 2 out of 4 loved it, including me.

  22. Alice - Too many to read anytime soon! Haha

    I have started reading War and Peace again and am enjoying it quite a bit. I'm not quite where I need to be for the group discussion, but I'll get there eventually. :-)

    Alisia - Not having enough shelf space has never stopped me, I'm afraid. ;-)

    Trish - Yes, it's definitely true that some books require a particular reading mood.

    I love long books. I just wish I didn't have such a hard time starting them. :-S

    Carrie K - Haha! You definitely are right. :-)

    Lazy Cow - I have heard great things about Jennifer Donnelly and am looking forward to reading her books. I am also glad you liked Heart-Shaped Box. I think I will too. :-)


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