Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sunday Salon: Binging and Purging

When I get a little money, I buy books;
and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
~ Desiderius Erasmus 1466-1536 ~

My reading this past month was dismal, to say the least. I do not believe in reading slumps; lulls in reading are merely a shift in priorities, a chance to dive into other interests long neglected for the book. Or so I tell myself, sometimes even convincingly. I do not remember doing much at all of those other hobbies either. I have been working a lot. Although, I am not sure that is the reason either. Whatever the reason, it did not quell my interest in books. I had a blast last weekend at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, was energized and became excited about trying several new authors and reading more books by familiar ones. It spurred on a book buying binge I told myself I would refrain from for the next several months. I suppose I should be glad I did not go on an eating binge, adding on the pounds as opposed to books to my house.

I gave away quite a few books this past week, finding a home for the books I no longer need to keep around. Saying goodbye was difficult but necessary. It might be more meaningful if there were not books already to take their places.

I rediscovered a used bookstore I had not visited in a while and wondered why I had stayed away so long. The staff were busy collecting books on the shelf to take to a friend in the hospital, making everyone who came in sign the get well card. It was a homey sort of atmosphere where everyone knew everyone and returning was like visiting an old friend.

My reading plan for May is to make up for lost time in April. I guess that means I should get started! Happy Reading!

Recent Book Acquisitions:
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Skylark Farm by Antonia Arslan
The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender
Sweet Dreams, Irene by Jan Burke
Dear Irene, by Jan Burke
Still Water Saints by Alex Espinoza
As If Love Were Enough by Anne Taylor Fleming
The Runes of the Earth: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Goodwin
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Jigs and Reels by Joanne Harris
The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay
In the Pond by Ha Jin
The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle
After Dark by Haruki Murakami
The Conquest by Yxta Maya Murray
Piece of Heart by Peter Robinson
Aftermath by Peter Robinson
Close to Home by Peter Robinson
Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
The Clovis Incident by Pari Niskin Taichert

The worst thing about new books is that
they keep us from reading the old ones.
~ Joseph Joubert ~


  1. I hadn't been reading much either for a while. I don't even like to say that out loud, lol. I suppose it's the ebb and flow of nature, right? I'm starting to find my rhythm again though. I finished two books last week and bought two more last night. Yay!

  2. I've been occupied with photography in the first week of May and have been delayed in my reading. Am trying to get back into it now. :)

    And gosh, look at the list of books you bought!! *fainted*

  3. I'm not reading as much as I'd like at the moment either, though I am reading After Dark which I'm quite enjoying (I'm a huge Murakami fan) and I loved House of Sand and Fog..

  4. I hope you'll enjoy CLOVIS. It's pretty darn quirky . . .


  5. You aren't the first to comment about being in a slump...okay - you don't!

    I think the weather plays a huge roll and the minute we smell spring, I brain tells us to get out and play - no more reading!

    That's my excuse and I am sticking with it! :-D

  6. Trisha - I know what you mean! If we don't admit it, it can't be true. ;-) I am glad you are getting back into reading again too.

    Alice - Trying out your new camera is a good excuse for not reading as much as you'd like. I have enjoyed your photos very much!

    Michelle - I am so glad to hear you are enjoying After Dark. I've heard good things about it. I have yet to read a book by Murakami, but I seem to be collecting the author's books.

    I am also glad to learn you loved The House of Sand and Fog. That was sort of an impulse buy. I saw it on the shelf and it sounded good.

    Pari - Thank you so much for stopping by! I came across a brief review of your most recent book in a magazine not long ago and decided I had to add you to my must-read authors' list. I like quirky and am looking forward to reading CLOVIS.

    J. Kaye - I figure if I deny it, it can't be true. ;-)

    I think you are right about the spring weather playing a part in the reading slowdown. It definitely does play a part in it, I'm sure.

  7. Maybe it's just the month of April...I have been in a slump to, I think I picked up the pace. At least I like the book I am reading even so most reviewers at amazon did not "The Emperor's Children" by Claire Messud.

    Interesting books you aquired, I reconize some.

    Again have a nice Sunday...reading :D

    I haven't yet posted my Sunday Salon hello, will read a little first

  8. Is peter Robinson a new find or an old enthusiasm? If the former then you're in for a treat. if the latter then you don't need me to tell you that.

  9. Although I'm trying to get back on my reading, I've been in reading slumps lately. Sure I do read books, but it is less reading then it used to be. I'm avid reader for many years but this be the first time I ever been in slump.....

    I'm catching up on my reading now, and hope to be able to read faster and more books thenthe last few months. I used to be able to read 5 to 7 books a months. Now it less then 3 books...*sigh*

    Gosh, you brought so many books. I hope you enjoy them all and can't wait to read your reviews :)

  10. I've found four reviews that we have in common for the Weekly Geeks:

    The Maltese Falcon
    The Memory Keeper's Daughter
    Forgive Me
    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

    I couldn't find your reviews for this year so let me know if I've missed any. I will be linking to your reviews later tonight.

  11. I love that Erasmus quote. And what a great list of books! I haven't read any of them, but some are on the good old wishlist. I look forward to your reviews!

  12. Great list of books there! I'm interested to hear what you think of Murakami. I like his stuff. Got After Dark sitting in one of piles. Thanks for reminding me -- I really want to read it sooner rather than later.

  13. My reading speed has been notoriously dismal this year thus far with a slight improvement last month that looks to continue into this month. I miss public transportation - all that time I used to spend reading I now spend driving! :-/

    Looks like you've got a nice pile of new acquisitions, I've heard of several but haven't read any of them except for The House of Sand and Fog which is a well written but, I thought, ultimately frustrating book!

    And that last quote you included - how very true!

  14. Looks like you've a stack there, Wendy! ;)

    I love the quote! How true!

    Happy reading! :D

  15. Great new stash! Ihear you on the reading slump. Sounds like my month too!

  16. I think you're right about it being a shift in priorities as opposed to a true reading slump. In my case, reading and writing on my computer - this whole "blogging" thing, what's up with that? :-) - has cut into the time I'm spending on books.

    Well, with Book Binge this month, maybe you'll get a chance to consume some of your new acquisitions! Have a great week, Wendy!

  17. Sylvie - So far for the month of May I'm doing okay reading wise. I am so glad to hear you are enjoying The Emperor's Children. I have that one on my TBR shelf. I had heard some mixed reviews about it, but it sounded like something I should try for myself. I hope you are having a nice Sunday too!

    Ann - I've only had the chance to read one of Peter Robinson's books so far, but I liked it quite a bit and am anxious to read more by him.

    Julia - That's pretty much my story too--I've been reading, but not nearly as much as I usually do.

    I kind of went crazy there on my book buying binge, I know. The ones I bought new were mostly on sale and then I bought several used, so it wasn't so bad cost wise. That's what I'm telling myself anyway. :-)

    Pussreboots - Thanks for letting me know. I will post the links of your reviews to mine shortly.

    I haven't posted a running list of this year's reading yet, I'm afraid. I have one, but it's not yet linked. I'll work on getting that done.

    Nymeth - I thought it was a great quote too. :-) I am looking forward to reading all my books. I just wish I could read them all right now!

    Terri - I've heard such great things about Murakami and am looking forward to giving him a try. He's one of those authors I just know I'll like. Does that every happen to you? I'm usually right in my hunches, thankfully. But I guess I'll have to put that theory to the test soon. :-)

    Megan - I imagine you got quite a bit of reading done while taking public transportation. I wish that was a more realistic plan for me right now, especially with the gas prices the way they are these days. If my drive was a little longer I'd try audio books, but then I couldn't listen to music and I do like to drive to music . . .

    Would it be too much of a spoiler for you to tell me what was frustrating about The House of Sand and Fog? Sometimes I like to know the negatives ahead of time so I'm prepared. :-)

    Melody - It's definitely a big stack. I hadn't realized how many until I started listing them all.

    Jaimie - From the sounds of it, we aren't the only ones who's reading has suffered.

    Florinda - I think you've hit the nail on the head. It's been more time consuming this year than it was last year for me.

    I'm definitely looking forward to the Book Binge this month. I hope you have a great week too.

  18. That's quite the list of books you've acquired this week. But you're right a book binge is still healthier than an eating binge! I just picked up 'After Dark' at the bookstore yesterday. Now that it's out in paperback it was actually quite cheap for here.
    I hope you have a more productive month of reading in May. I agree with Florinda though, book bloggin sure takes away a lot of time from book reading!

  19. Tanabata - As long as I don't spend my mortgage payment on books, anyway. ;-) I was happy to see After Dark in paperback too. I'm predicting a better reading month this month even if it means cutting back on my blogging.

  20. Sometimes I get very anxious if I can't read as much as I would like to. I'm feeling that way right now with holidays that will take us out of town, work flowing over into the weekend, and just plain life. Hope May turns out to be a great month for you--looks like you got some great books!

  21. I get the feeling May will be a major reading slump for me what with my house move. Ah well...
    You got some great book acquisitions! I hope you love Chocolat... It is one of my all time favorites. Oh and I see lots of Peter Robinsons there :)

  22. Hmmm...what's frustrating about The House of Sand and Fog without a big old spoiler. Well, let's just say the characters are very stubborn (realistically so, unfortunately). It's frustrating seeing their inability to relate to each other/compromise and what results from it. I think that's what bothered me the most about it - especially since that type of thing seems to happen all too often in reality, so maybe I'm more frustrated by the weaknesses of human nature and by intolerance than by the book which renders it perhaps too well....if you see what I'm saying. =/

    Hopefully that isn't saying too much - I tried to come at it pretty vaguely!

  23. Trish - I am the same way. Then I get cranky. I hope you are able to get back to a comfortable reading level soon too!

    Iliana - I imagine so what with moving and then your trip to Germany. :-) I do hope everything goes smoothly for you.

    I've heard mixed reviews of Chocolat, but it sure sounds like it will be good.

    Megan - Thank you for getting back to me on The House of Sand and Fog. I don't think you said too much at all. And what you said makes sense. I feel that way sometimes about characters and situations they get into as well.

  24. Wheee!! That recent acquisitions stack looks delicious! Cheers to a better month of reading in May.

  25. Wow, it sounds like lots of folks were in a reading slump last month. I thought something was wrong with me. I only read 4 books last month. Late Spring Fever maybe. I not doing so great in May so far either but am hoping to pick up. That's a great stack of books you picked up, Wendy. Happy reading.

  26. I love seeing a big stack of books sitting on my desk, waiting to be logged into LibraryThing (all books coming in go through the process). :-) Can you hear my big sigh of contentment?

    Susan - I noticed that too and am glad I was not alone--although it would have been better had none of us gone through it at all. My May got off to a decent start, but not so much now. :-(


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