Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Bookish Ramblings

A chapter here and a chapter there is about all I managed today. Anjin and I did take in a movie (27 Dresses), but that was about the extent of our creative intake today. I will make up for it tonight by crawling into bed with Richard Montanari's Merciless. It has not quite grabbed me the way his previous book, The Skin Gods, did, but I am still hopeful. I am not that far into it yet.

I do love a good thriller, the kind that take me on a fast paced roller coaster ride. The best of writers, regardless of book type, can sweep me into their fantasy and suspend my disbelief with hardly any effort at all. Richard Montanari is one of those authors.

I have found over the years that the longer I can devote to a book in the beginning, the more likely I am to immerse myself in the story and lives of the characters sooner and more completely. That is not to say it doesn't happen otherwise. It certainly does, but it takes longer for me to lose myself in a book if I am only am able to read in short spurts. Life, such that it is, does not always allow for leisurely hours of reading all in one breath, especially during the week. I make do with the reading time I can get and treasure every moment of it.

David Peace's Tokyo Year Zero is sitting right here on my desk. I have been eying it occasionally and am looking forward to finally diving in. I am not sure it is a good thing to be looking forward to the next book while in the middle of another (or at the beginning of, as the case may be). Still, it is something I do periodically and not necessarily because I am not enjoying what I am reading. With so many books surrounding me, all books I want to read, each one proves to be quite the temptation. I have to remind myself sometimes to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Each book will have its day. And each book deserves to be savored and enjoyed, not rushed through just to get on to the next book. The authors put a lot of hard work into writing, and I want to give them their due time for their effort and talent.

No new books acquired this past week. Probably for the best. That, however, is not to say that my wish list did not grow a bit.

Finished Reading: Critical Space and Patriot Acts by Greg Rucka
Currently Reading: Merciless by Richard Montanari & War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Where Am I? Philadelphia. I am revisiting a crime scene, getting the lay of the land, and hoping to find some clue to a grisly winter murder.


  1. I sometimes forget to stop and enjoy the book I'm reading, being so eager to move on to the next one.
    I looked up Tokyo Year Zero on Amazon and it sounds interesting. I look forward to your review of it.

  2. I have the same experience with beginning a book which is why, when I have something substantial I want to read I try to begin it on a Sunday when I know I can devote at least a couple of hours to getting in to it. Glad I'm not alone in my strange habits.

  3. I think your comment about having a bit of extended time to really immerse yourself in a book is quite true. I had not thought about it like that but I believe I am like that as well. does not always allow for immersion with a book, much as we would like that. Maybe that's why I get what I would call "really good reading" done when I am confined to home by sickness or weather or whatnot.

    I agree that each book deserves its "day".

  4. I often find it difficult not to let the next possible read interfere with my enjoyment of my current one. I keep having to remind myself that the next book isn't going anywhere, and I'll have plenty of time to enjoy it when the time comes (as long as I'm not too busy looking forward to the next, next read! LOL).

  5. I also enjoy a good thriller from time to time...and typically I like to sit down and read them in one big gulp! I haven't heard of Richard Montanari - will need to check him out!

  6. I'm much the same about needing to devote time to a book early on in order to form a relationship with it, so to speak. If I'm lucky, the book starts out strong and makes it easy. :-)

  7. Tanabata - It's even worse since I started participating in challenges. There's something to be said about checking a book off a list, but I really try and not let it be about that.

    I can't wait to read Tokyo Year Zero, although I have heard there are mixed reviews about it. I am trying not to get my hopes up too high just in case.

    Table Talk - Starting on Sunday when you have the time to linger over a book is a good idea. I tend to finish books on Sundays more often than I actually start them. Or if I do start one on Sunday, it's late, and I end up falling asleep before I get too far. I think I'll experiment a little and see what comes of it.

    Kay - I treasure those long stretches of time when I can read and immerse myself in a book. I have noticed that my reading goes up during the times I am on holiday (unless I'm traveling) or confined to bed because of illness too.

    Megan - It's especially hard with so many books out there that you want to read right this very second. I can get so impatient. Haha

    Wendy - Thrillers seem to work best that way, I think. Too many interruptions can take away from the suspense build up.

    Florinda - That's it exactly--time to form a relationship with it.

  8. I have a problem with tne next book tempting me from finishing what I'm reading sometimes. Then in a way, it's a good problem to have.

  9. My wish list keeps getting bigger too! There are so many good books coming out over the next few months.

  10. I keep picking up Tokyo Year Zero at the bookstore and then putting it down again, uncertain. I'm curious about your reaction to it.

    I'm reading The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri right now. I just saw the movie and found the book, and I love it even more than the film, if that's possible. A story beautifully told.

  11. I like to read thrillers in big chunks too. They make great weekend reads for this reason. I never heard of 27 dresses. What was that about?

  12. Most of the times I try not to let other books distract from my current reading, but I have a difficult time doing so if I'm faced with a story that drags or the plot doesn't interest me. And if the story doesn't capture my attention at all, I will stop reading it altogether but that will be the last resort.

  13. You're so right about the time it takes to become immersed in a book. I find with classics especially it helps to devote larger chunks of reading time. With Great Expectations I'm finding I need longer stretches of time to stay interest. Reading in fits and starts just doesn't cut it!

  14. Kristy - At least you know you'll never run out of reading material. :-)

    Jen - I'm trying not to think about all the new books coming out, but it's not working.

    Karen - What a coincidence! I read The Namesake last year and had been looking forward to finally seeing the film for some time now. I watched it today. It was so beautifully done. I am glad you are enjoying the book.

    Jaimie - 27 Dresses is a romantic comedy starring James Marsden and Kathrine Heigl. We enjoyed it, although the premise was not completely original.

    Melody - Yes, that happens to me sometimes too. And in those moments, I'm wishing the book I'm reading would hurry up the pace. Like you, I tend to only give up if the book isn't holding my attention at all and I find I do not care what happens next.

    Andi - That is so true. I think that is part of my problem with War and Peace right now. I need to just sit down with it and devote a day or even just half a day to it.

  15. No new books? How long do you think you can keep that up? ;)

    I cannot believe you described your flashlight. lol!

    Movies. I really have to get to them. Did you hear about Heath Ledger? What a tragedy.

  16. I'm doomed---four new cookbooks!

    Sometimes books with a slow start pick up for me (like Tan Twan Eng's "The Gift of Rain"), but it can be tough in the meantime to concentrate on them!

    I love your cats-and-umbrella photo, by the way. :)

  17. The lure of the next read makes it difficult for me to focus, too, sometimes. Just picked up Kurt Anderson's "Heyday," fiction set in 1848 NY, and was so entranced I actually had problems getting back into Laurie R. King's "Touchstone." But I made the effort and was swept away - completely recommend "Touchstone." And once you get to the final 75 pages you'll be lucky to be able to breathe.

  18. Heather (LL) - It was. I really enjoyed the movie. :-)

    Carrie K - No new books last week. Hard to believe, isn't it? I don't think that will happen this week. Ho hum.

    I did hear about Heath Ledger--it came as quite a shock. He was entering the prime of his career and had a lot more to look forward to. It is a tragedy.

    Heather (ED) - I'm always afraid that if I don't take the plunge now, the books might not be there later. You'll get lots of good use out of your new cookbooks, I'm sure. :-)

    Clea - That's probably the reason I have such a hard time reading more than one book at a time. I get so involved with what I'm reading that I hate to pick up another book. Not being able to breathe for the last 75 pages is quite an endorsement! I'll have to be sure and add Touchstone to my wish list. And Heydey too! Thanks for the recommendations.

  19. Totally unrelated to your post -- do you know of a book challenge for professional book reading? I LOVE to read my fiction/literature books so much and that preference keeps me from reading the professional books that I should read (and at some level want to read). I was thinking of starting this challenge if only for myself but didn't want to duplicate something already out there. Any that you know of? Is there a directory I should be checking that you know of?

  20. Terri - I don't believe I've seen a professional book challenge mentioned at all. You might check out A Novel Challenge blog, which offers a listing of all the reading challenges out there. At least the ones the blog owner has been made aware of. I hope that helps!

  21. Interesting thought, that the amount spent at the beginning of a book affects how deeply you become immersed in a book. I just finished The Inheritance of Loss, and I had a really difficult time getting into it. I'm going to try paying more attention to that first day or two for awhile, and see if it helps. :)

  22. Oh! I'm looking at your TBR challenge, and you have two of my absolute favorites there! I loved both The Red Tent, and Bel Canto. I hope you enjoy them! Also The Time Traveler's Wife...loved it. Couldn't get into Never Let Me Go, though perhaps I'll give it another try....

  23. Thanks! I'll go over to A Novel Challenge and look around.

  24. Kathrin - I saw that! Thanks, Kathrin. :-)

    J - Sometimes no amount of dedication to a book in the beginning helps, sad to say.

    I'm really looking forward to reading all of the books you mentioned liking. I've heard great things about them.


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