Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sunday Salon: Decisions, Decisions

It is hard to believe the year is nearly half over. June is the month my husband becomes a year older than me (well, only when considering the actual age--we're actually 3 months apart birth date wise). My husband's grandmother also officially turns a year older this month. It is also the month my parents will celebrate their wedding anniversary. My brother and his wife too for that matter. I already have the Father's Day presents (they're both getting books) wrapped and ready to go in the mail. I have a promising stack of books sitting here on my desk, and I am hopeful that June will prove to be a worthwhile reading month. Just look at all those glorious books! No, I suppose you can't really see them, can you? I won't get to all of them but what I do get to, I expect will be good.

I spent a good part of the morning lost in Bob Avey's Beneath a Buried House, added the finishing touches to my review of Killing Rommel by Steven Pressfield, which I will post later in the week, played with the animals, and now am turning my thoughts to what I want for lunch. I love a lazy Sunday.

Bob Avey's novel pulled me in immediately, which is always a good way to start off a book. It's a mystery set in Tulsa, Oklahoma with the usual components: murder, a missing suspect, and a police detective determined to uncover the truth. The author is giving little away as his detective follows the leads, connecting the dots. This one may just surprise me at the end, something that is not always easy to do.

I have two books sitting in my shopping cart at right now. I have been good about not selecting that buy option. One of the books is the first in a series by Boris Akunin, called Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog. I came across a later book in the series while browsing through the local Borders store a couple of weeks ago and decided it was an author I wanted to further explore.

I read an article recently about Chuck Palahniuk's novel, Haunted: A Novel, which made me morbidly curious. It now sits in my shopping cart awaiting my decision. I actually wanted to read the book when it first came out, but I got my hands on another of the author's books first and ended up changing my mind about Haunted. I was not too impressed with Diary. I did not hate it, mind you. I just did not especially care for it.

I was mentioning my hesitation in taking on another Palahniuk book to a few fellow readers, and a couple of them advised me not to bother. It isn't that they have read anything by this particular author--they haven't. In their experience, however, if a person has bad luck with one book by an author, a person shouldn't waste his or her time on that author again. A lot can depend on why a person did not like the book he or she read by the author. I imagine there are certain qualities in a book that are an immediate turn off, not to mention are a good predictor of what the author's other books will be like. And yet, aren't there also times when you read one book by an author, love it and then aren't so bowled over by the next? In some cases there's an obvious distinction between the two scenarios, but not so much in others.

I confess that I stopped typing just now to read a little further in my book. I couldn't help it. Detective Elliot just got an e-mail warning him off the case or else. Why do the villians bother? Don't they realize that their attempts to stall a case will only increase the protagonist's resolved to get to the bottom of the mystery? Sheesh.

I guess this means I should go back to my book. Lunch can wait.


  1. LOL at the "shopping cart" statement. I do that too. I also use the save for later option. :)

  2. No, I can't see all the glorious books, but I believe that they are there :P

    I've yet to read Palahniuk, but from what I hear others saying he seems to be the kind of author that people either really love or don't care much about.

    But yes, there are definitely cases in which I've read a book by an author and loved it and then wasn't very impressed with the next, or the opposite.

    Enjoy your reading!

  3. I recently came across the Sister Pelagia series too, the second in the trilogy at our library -- which for some reason didn't have the first -- and am looking forwarding to reading Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog after ordering it through interlibrary loan.

  4. I am always placing books in my Amazon cart and then thinking about whether or not I actually want them or need them right now. Usually the answer is yes!

    I have never really heard much positive about Palahniuk and have never read anything by him. I've read plenty of authors with some fantastic and some not so fantastic books, though.

    Sounds like a good Sunday, anyway!

  5. I do that when browsing through some online bookstores too... the temptation is just too great! Haunted sounds like the book I'd want to read...maybe I'll add it to my wishlist! ;)

  6. Of course those books are there. You're the Literary Feline, after all.

    As for one book turning you off an author, I'm not so sure that's true. Maybe it depends on how familiar you are with the author. I mean, I've been less than impressed by a couple of Dean Koontz's books in the past but that's never kept me from reading his next one. However, after reading Lambert Square recently and being left with a bad taste in my mouth, I won't be trying anything new by Rosina Lippi.


  7. I've read one Palahniuk and it was good, if a bit bizarre, right till the end. At the end, it was totally gruesome. I've heard Haunted is his most revolting book -- a friend who loves scary, gory things that I can't stomach said she read part of it and put it back on the shelf. I won't touch it, so that's the only input I can give you! :)

    I will have to look for that mystery set in Tulsa, just for the joy of reading something set in Tulsa. My husband is a Tulsan. Actually, I was going to head that way tomorrow, but the in-laws lost their power in a big storm and then my brother-in-law hit a hole in a water pipe in my mother's house and I'm thinking, "Goodness, someone was watching over me." I would have driven into a storm, ended up at a house with no power and then driven to a house with no water if I hadn't decided to postpone for a day.

    I'm not sure why I just said all that. Oh, yeah -- Tulsa. Tulsa's nice. I'd move back to Tulsa.

  8. My parents and my great-grandparents share the same wedding anniversary date, June 29. The funny thing is that no one realized it until a few years ago. I’m in the middle of Relic by Preston and Child right now. If a few of the characters were trimmed out this would be a wonderful story but right now it’s just mildly interesting. I did pick up some more books from the library and bought two more at the book store so I need to finish it up soon.

  9. I'm planning on checking out that Akunin from the library at some point; it sounds interesting, and I enjoyed the first book of his other series.

    As far as authors go, if I felt 'meh' about a book I'll give them another chance to wow me. But if I actively detested the book, I'm unlikely to read another book by them; for me, most of the books I actively detest are non-fiction anyway! It also depends on if bloggers and/or rl friends who have similar tastes to mine like the author-then I'm more willing to try again.

  10. J. Kaye - I also use the save for later option sometimes. Lately I've been in a hurry though and will put something in the shopping cart--I was surprised the first time I did it and my cart didn't clear out when I logged out and back in again another day. That's a great feature. Although dangerous too for those of us who are quick to hit that buy button.

    Nymeth - I took photos of my bookshelves several months ago hoping to post them, but they're still on the camera. I never got around to downloading them. I really should do that . . .

    Yes, I've heard that too about Palahniuk. He seems to be an acquired taste.

    Reading Fool - It sounds like a good series. I'll be curious to know what you think of the first book when you get to it.

    Meghan - Haha Yes, that's usually what I end up deciding too. I've actually waited on these two books for a couple of days now. It's a record for me. :-)

    I know a couple of people who love Palahniuk, but also a few who don't care for him. He certainly has interesting ideas.

    Melody - I try not to spend too much time browsing online because it's too easy to spend money--but I give in to the urge occasionally. :-)

    CJ - I finally put away the old desk top monitor and was telling my husband I have more room on my desk for books. He just gave me one of his looks. Haha

    I prefer not to judge an author by just one book, although there are a couple of authors who I decided against reading again after trying one book because the style of writing didn't appeal to me at all. And the books themselves weren't exactly my cup of tea. That isn't the norm though.

    Nancy - Which Palahniuk book did you read? He seems to write bizarre books from the sounds of it. I saw a preview for his latest book and it was quite amusing. I don't know that I will read it though. I've heard that about Haunted too which is one of the reasons I'm so curious about it. Morbid, I know, but true.

    I finished the Tulsa mystery this afternoon and enjoyed it. I don't think you'll get much of a taste of Tulsa from it, honestly.

    It's a good think you held off going to Tulsa! Hopefully your in-laws will have everything sorted for when you do visit.

    Jen - What a great coincidence about the anniversaries! My mother-in-law got married on her birthday (in August). She didn't realize until after the wedding date had been set that it was also her birthday.

    I read the Relic years ago and enjoyed it. I really like Pendergast's character. I think I liked The Cabinet of Curiosities better though. Have you seen the movie The Relic? It's not very good.

    Eva - You've read Akunin! I am glad to hear you enjoyed the book you've read by him. I will probably end up getting the first in his nun series. It sounds really good.

    When it comes down to it, I'm like that too--willing to give certain authors a second chance unless I really hated a book. And sometimes a friend or blogger can sway me to try something I might have avoided otherwise.

  11. Your post made me chuckle, Wendy! Right now, I'm staring at my glorious books, right here on the table, and the shelves at the back. I'm waiting for another 2 shipments from and There are some titles sitting in's shopping cart now, like yours, awaiting decision. LOL.

  12. Well, I'm not sure if I'm being helpful or not, but ... my husband picked up the Sister Palagia book you mentioned and liked it enough to go buy more of Akunin's books. I've got them sitting on my TBR tower and they do look interesting!

    I just finished reading a book by an author I love and I didn't really care for it. I'm so glad it wasn't the first one of hers I read since I might not have ever read any of her other wonderful works. You just never know sometimes.

  13. My sister has really liked several Palahniuk books, although personally I could never get into them! Lol. Her favorite is "Fight Club" if you want to check it out.

  14. I'm the author of Beneath a Buried House,one of the books you mentioned. Thank you so much for blogging about the book. I just want to let everyone know that Beneath a Buried House is scheduled for release June 15. I was originally told that it would be June 1st. It might show up before the 15th. However, I'm working with my publisher to set the book up for pre-order on Amazon. A long rambling post, I know, but I just wanted to let everyone know. If you look for the book before June 15 you might not find it, but please check again. Thanks again.

    Bob Avey

  15. I still haven't read Akunin even though I've had the first two books in his other series for quite a while now. One of these days..

    There has been the odd instance when I really really disliked a book and have never read the author again and have no plans to do so. But usually I'll give them another chance, to see if I like their next book better.

  16. Alice - Aren't books wonderful? I will never grow tired of them. :-)

    Terri - I am glad to hear your husband enjoyed the Sister Palagia book. I'll probably give in to temptation too. :-)

    There definitely is no guarantee that we will live every book our favorite author writes.

    Kathleen - I have heard The Fight Club is one of his best. I saw the movie awhile ago. I may give the book a try and see where I end up on the Palahniuk spectrum.

    Bob - Thank you for taking the time to comment! I finished reading your upcoming book yesterday and will probably post my review of it here next week. Thank you too for letting us know the release date.

    Nat - Hurry up and read the Akunin books so I know if I need to read his other series too! ;-) I imagine if I like the Sister Palagia series, I will end up reading his other one too.

  17. Everyone keeps telling me that the movie Relic is really bad. I'm kind of afraid to watch it now! I rented it when we went to the movie store Friday.

  18. Jen - You might end up enjoying it going in with low expectations. :-)

  19. So this is my question as an author: What if you read a book in a series and you don't like it, but the author writes another series? Something very different. Will you try that series or have you written the author off altogether.

    In full disclosure, I must say I'm writing the first of a new mystery series featuring a tattoo shop owner in Las Vegas. Can't get any further from a police reporter in Connecticut that that. The protagonists are both strong women but very different.

  20. A book you're sneaking reading while posting is my kind of a "got me" book.

    I'd generally give an author I was meh about a second chance if the second book sounded good. But if I didn't like that one much either? Pretty much a done deal.

    Boris Akunin has a new series out? Sweet! I love his stuff.

    I LOVE The Relic! I did go in with super low expectations though.

    And just to answer Karen myself - if the premise is interesting, I'll pick up a book by an author whose previous books I didn't much care for. But a lot of authors write the exact same character, they just change the gender, geography and sidekicks.

  21. I'll be curious to hear what you think about "Sister Pelagia," Wendy. I loved some of the other Akunins but couldn't get into this one - a little more densely written, or a little more precious. or maybe it was just my mood. Just DEVOURED the new Alan Furst ("Spies of Warsaw") however, and HIGHLY recommend!!

  22. Karen - Like Carrie, I would be willing to try the new series if it sounded like something I would enjoy despite not caring for the first series.

    I'm very much looking forward to your new series. I loaned my mom my copy of Sacred Cows and she really liked it--she's now passed it on to my dad.

    Carrie K - Yes, Avey's book did have a good hold on me. :-) I'm thinking I'll give Palahniuk another chance, although maybe not with that book.

    I always find it funny when I come across a new-to-me author I seem to be one of the last people on earth to have heard of him. :-)

    Clea - It seems that more people are familiar with Akunin's other series, so maybe I'll start there first.

    I am glad you liked the new Alan Furst book. I keep meaning to read something by him. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Oh, and my mom enjoyed Mew if for Murder quite a bit. I knew she would. :-)

  23. I tend to give an new-to-me author a second chance if the first book didn't impressed me enough. Normally the second chance work. However I have come a cross by some second chance books that just was "meh" to me and never given the author another look. I've come across a funny situation where after three chances, I thought to never look back on that author again. Well...the author had find a way to come back to me, when one of my friend recommend me the author's series book. Since then, I would never doubt the author again. I end up loving the series book and continue to read few of her stand alone titles that I like. This is why I go with "words of the mouth" or recommendation from people who I trust and know have same reading taste as mine.

    I have some books that is sitting in my "save to buy later" option or Wish list. It been there for long time now. Funny thing is, I have habit of putting books there and then later in a week or month - I end up buying the books at brick bookstore instead and deleting the books from wish list or "save to buy later" option online LOL! I know..bad me *grin*

  24. I have been having such trouble connecting to your blog. It keeps coming up the white screen of death. But I finally made it so here goes.
    I have been good too about not buying books but my wishlist is getting looong.
    If I have been reading an author for a while and they turn out a dog I am more than willing to give them another chance. If it is a new author, I usually can't muster it up. Not good I know but there is is.

  25. I skimmed through Haunted, when it first came out and wasn't thrilled with it - I skimmed through it in Barnes, so never actually bought it. It is very graphic and a bit on the "ick" side. I think that if you enjoy reading a book for the shock factor, it would be fine, but as far as getting into it for an actually story enjoyment, it's best to skip it.
    I LOVE doing the shopping cart thing, lol. I am horrible at Amazon - my cart has so many items in it (mostly I save the things for later and watch when they go on sale, which is actually quite often.It's much easier to keep track on items that way, lol)

  26. Once I put so many books on my Amazon cart that it simply fell down with sheer weight!


    It seems to be a very hectic June for you!

  27. Julia - And you may end up loving the second book you try by an author whose first book you didn't care for. It's hard to know.

    I do that sometimes do--add books to my Amazon wishlist or buy later list and then end up buying them at the store here in town. :-)

    Jaimie - I am glad you were finally able to get through! I wonder what's causing the problem. I hope not something on my site. LibraryThing sometimes does create a little drag time, unfortunately.

    I need to be better about not adding so many new books to my TBR collection. I'm drowning in books!

    April - That's a good idea--skimming through the book at the store. I may do that today if my husband lets me near the bookstore. Give it my test page test.

    I do that too--watch for the books to go on sale as they sit in my shopping cart. :-)

    Gautami - LOL I can just imagine!

  28. Following up on last week's Sunday Salon post here, I did finish reading Sister Pelagia and The White Bulldog. My review, sans spoilers, can be found here.

  29. Thank you so much for the link to your review of Akunin's book! I did end up ordering it and am expecting it in the mail this week.


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