Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Salon: Spring Cleaning & Your Favorite Books So Far This Year

Do you hear that? The birds outside my window are singing on this beautiful spring day. If you listen closely, you can hear my cat Anya singing back to them in her new found bird voice. She hasn't quite mastered it as well as Parker has. He actually does sound like a bird, chirping right back at the little sparrows in the trees.

Last week seemed like the longest week of the year somehow. I have a three day weekend because of the U.S. Memorial Holiday on Monday, which makes for a nice reward. It is spring cleaning time and that's how I have spent most of the weekend so far and will continue in the same vein.

I began to tackle the TBR room Saturday, looking through my unread books to see which ones I still want to read. It's always a dangerous endeavor. I come across so many books I want to read RIGHT NOW that it can be overwhelming. One of the reasons I have to be careful when I go looking for my next book to read. I am taking my time with the project, and so it will probably take me a few more Saturdays before I am done. The books that are going are ones I no longer am interested in reading; most have been on my shelves for years. So many are books I still want to read though, and so I imagine not many will be pulled from the shelves. I think my giveaway stack is at 17 books so far.

I spent Friday night finishing John Hart's The Last Child, and what an intense read it was! I hope to organize a few of my thoughts on it today and perhaps you'll see a review before the end of the week.

I am in between books right now. Loretta Stinson's novel, Little Green, is calling to me as is Charlaine Harris' latest, Dead in the Family. Little Green sounds like it will be a heart-wrenching book, about an orphan who runs away and strikes out on her own. It is set in the late 1970's in Oregon. Dead in the Family is much lighter fare, the most recent book in the Southern Vampire series featuring Sookie Stackhouse. Two very different novels but both are ones I am eager to start. My decision may come down to the flip of a coin at this point. Choices, choices.

This past Monday, I posted the question: Of all the books you have read so far this year, what is your favorite?

Thirty of you responded, some with a favorite, a few with a list (it really is hard to chose just one, isn't it?), and then there were those of you who have yet to read that book that wow book yet. Thank you to all who participated!

I saw quite a few titles which are books already on my wish list or in my TBR stacks, ahree I have read, and others I had not yet encountered. I thought I would share the list with you:

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Kay, Iris & SmallWorld At Home)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows (Angie & Brittanie)

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees (Staci & Florinda)

The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli (Carrie K. & Me)

On Folly Beach
by Karen White (Staci & Melody)

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (Heather J. & Florinda--a reread for both)

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher (Staci)

Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (Jess)

Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker (Angie)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Kathleen)

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Vasilly)

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (Kay)

Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster (Melody)

Fences by August Wilson (Vasilly)

Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers (Nymeth)

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols (Melody)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Pam)

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (Carrie K.)

The House of Tomorrow by Peter Borgnanni (Jen)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Staci)

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman (Florinda)

In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon Brittanie)

The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald (Helen Ellis)

The Island at the End of the World by Sam Taylor (Kathy)

Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson (Geranium Cat)

The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian (Angie)

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (Ti)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Andi)

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (Dancin' Fool)

The Lunatic, The Lover, and The Poet by Myrlin A. Hermes (Zibilee)

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (Raidergirl3)

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (Amy)

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (Clover)

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (Staci)

Paper Towns by John Green (Clover)

The Passage by Justin Cronin (Carrie K.)

The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg (Staci)

The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin (Ti)

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (Heather J.)

Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James (Staci)

Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (Staci)

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (Melody)

Sounds Like Crazy by Shana Mahaffey (Staci)

South of Broad by Pat Conroy (Staci)

Testimony by Anita Shreve (Angie)

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (Melody)

Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie, & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood by Jane Yolen (Carrie K.)

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (J.C. Montgomery)

The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar (Jen)

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Vasilly)

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (Melody)

Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon (Charley)

Did one of your favorite books make the list? Have you read any of the books listed? If so, what did you think of them?

This Week In Reading Mews:

Trying to Decide Between:
Little Green by Loretta Stinson
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Reviews Posted:
The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

This Week's Upcoming Review:
The Turning: What Curiosity Kills by Helen Ellis

© 2010, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Sounds like your book weeding project is making progress Wendy; yay for you. (I need to do this soon as well).

    So many of the recommended books are ones I have enjoyed as well:

    The Help, Art of Racing in the Rain, Shutter Island, Cutting for Stone, Tipping the Velvet and currently finishing: Let the Great World Spin (great story).

    Have a great weekend Wendy.

  2. WOW - I am amazed at the number of responses and the diversity! It's a good thing you are cleaning out the TBR room, as I am sure you now have more books to add :)

    Enjoy this long weekend.

  3. So many good book recommendations to keep my TBR list tumbling over!

  4. What a great-looking list! I've only read two of those: The Book Thief and Tuck Everlasting. Both really good. I've got Racing in the Rain on my list, too.

  5. I need to sort through the TBR one of these days too. It will have a new component this time - books I accepted for review, haven't gotten to yet, and maybe shouldn't have taken. They will all have to stay. As for the rest, it's hard for me to acknowledge I've lost interest in reading something I must have once dearly wanted to read, and so, like you, most of those will probably stay too!

    You got a great list of books, Wendy! I'm about halfway through The Irresistible Henry House right now, and liking it a lot. And I'm glad someone recommended Wonder Boys - I love Michael Chabon regardless, but that's my favorite.

    Have a great week!

  6. Diane - Yes, I am definitely making progress! Hopefully I won't lose steam before I'm finished.

    The Help, Cutting for Stone and Let the Great World Spin are all books I hope to get to one of these days. And Shutter Island too. I have all four in my TBR collection waiting their turn. :-)

    Molly - It is a very diverse list, isn't it? A little something for everyone. :-)

    I'm trying not to add new books to my TBR collection right now. At least not until I'm done sorting through all the ones I have. LOL

    Kathleen - You got that right! My wish list is over a mile long.

    Jeane - I loved The Book Thief when I read it last year. It's been years since I read Tuck Everlasting, but I remember really liking it as well.

    Florinda - I went through my review books and sorted out the usolicited ones I have little interest in reading. I figure I have no obligation to read them since I didn't request or agree to review them.

    I'm looking forward to your thoughts on The Irresistible Henry House. That sounds like such an interesting book. I've yet to read anything by Chabon, but I have a book of essays of his sitting right here on my shelf I hope to get to soon.

  7. I really need to do some book organizing/clean-up as well. I have stacks and bags and boxes all over the place, and I am sure that there are some that I wouldn't mind taking down to the used bookstore for trade as well. It seems like I never pass up the opportunity to buy a new book or three, and it is getting crazy around here! Good on you for getting this done. Maybe I can soon follow your example!

  8. Bad Sandy! How did I miss that post? I think I was on mental vacation, while everyone was at BEA. Anyway, I think my favorite so far would be Let the Great World Spin. And you are making me anxious about The Last Child...perhaps I need to move it up my list!

  9. Sandy and I are on a opposite streak -- I couldn't finish Let the Great World Spin. And I loved Solitude of PRime Numbers, which she hated! Argh! We used to like the same kinds of books.

    Hummm this comment doesn't seem to have a lot in it about you! That list is great. I think I'm still in fuzzy mode from BEA.

  10. Hey Wendy, sorry I haven't been around in ages. With Buddy sick, computer time is limited. I sure wish I had some time to get to organizing my books. Maybe I should do the same and do it in bits - maybe then I'd actually get it done.

    A list of books like what you've posted is extremely dangerous to a book person such as myself although quite a few of those are on my shelf or eReader already. lol. I've read a few of those books - some favorites were On Folly Beach, Boneman's Daughters and The Weight of Heaven.

    Hope you're having a good holiday weekend.

  11. I've read a few off of that list!

    Loved Guernsey, The Book Thief, The Help, The Hunger Games.

    Liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

    Wasn't all that thrilled with The Lost Symbol.

    Other great reads for me this year included Into the Wilderness and The Endless Forest by Sara Donati. To Defy a King by Elizabeth Chadwick and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
    I am just reading the The Knife of Letting Go and I am really enjoying that, so I have high hopes for when I do get hold of Monsters of Men.

  12. Heather (Zibilee) - That's how my TBR room looks--shelves, stacks, boxes and bags full of books. The room is looking less cluttered to my eyes, but I'm sure not so much to someone else's. LOL

    Sandy - BEA did seem to consume many bloggers this past week--in a good way, I'm sure. I confess I avoided most of it, but part of that was because I wasn't online a lot.

    I really want to read Let the Great World Spin. It sounds so good.

    Beth - I'm sorry you didn't like Let the Great World Spin. It'll be interesting then to see what I think when I get to it.

    Darlene - It's okay, Darlene. I haven't been as social as I used to be either lately. It's hard to get around when so much else is going on, I know. My thoughts are with Buddy.

    Yes, lists like this can be dangerous, can't they? So many tempting titles . . .

    Marg - I've heard such wonderful things about Wilderness. I really want to read that one.

    Patrick Rothfuss' book is sitting here on my shelf. My husband loved it and added it to my wish list at my insistence. Any book that gets him as excited as that one must be good!

  13. Good for you doing your spring cleaning! You got some great responses, I wish I had visited you earlier so I could add mine. I do agree with Melody, Shutter Island was fantastic! I didn't know the ending so I was totally blown away!

  14. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott was definitely a great book. I would also have to add Eyes Like Stars, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, The Prisoner of Zenda, and Bloodfever. I also really like the book I'm reading right now, Meridian.

  15. I love the question you posted ... I'm going to have to answer it in my Question of the Week post. I was looking for something "easy" to write about and this seems perfect. It was fun to see everyone's answers ... some of them would be on my list too!!! I'll give you full credit of course!

    Happy Book Weeding!

    And I love that your cat can imitate a bird. That could be very dangerous ... for the birds!

    And I vote for Sookie!

  16. Good for you for tackling spring cleaning! We did a bit of that this weekend, too, though there is much left to do that will have to wait until we are completely finished with homeschooling and after a family reunion planned for the third week in June. I did reorganize and dust some bookshelves, which resulted in much the same thing you described - that feeling of, "I have to read this now!"

    What a wonderful list, too - a few I have read and enjoyed, and many more are on my to-read list.

    I hope you enjoy your day off tomorrow, Wendy!

  17. I've added a few titles after reading the list from other bookbloggers, Wendy!

    Speaking of spring cleaning, I haven't done so to my pile for some time. There are times I'm just scared of looking at them not because I'm feeling guilty conscious by not reading them quickly but also I'm feeling worried that those piles might end up falling on me if I'm not careful, LOL. Still, it's just a matter of time that I'll have to get to it.

    Hope you've a great week ahead! :)

  18. Let the Great World Spin is one I'd like to read.

  19. I've read The Book Thief and Going too far, both of which I loved. Most of these books are on my Wishlist and I do own a couple.

  20. I just went through my TBR pile today too - frantically looking for the next book in my current love Harry Hole mystery series, which I discovered I do not own, so am reading Miss Pettigrew LIves for A Day until I can get to Chapters tomorrow and get The Redeemer!! lol

    I missed your vote on book of the year so far, but I don't have just one book anyway.

    I have read The Guernesy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - really enjoyed it, and The Woman in Black - really good ghost story! Read it!! I have The Book Thief, Brief Wondrous LIfe of Oscar Woo and The Crossing PLaces on my TBR shelf too :-)

    What's your book of the year so far?

  21. My favorite book so far this year is The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar. All of these different favorites just go to show how many great books there are and how many different kinds of readers there are.

  22. Let's see . . . I have a lot to respond to in this post. :)

    The birds have been driving me crazy - mainly the cardinals. They have a very distinctive, repetitive sound, and they have been waking me up at 4:30 in the morning! I am so over the "singing."

    I, too, have been going through my shelves. I didn't literally pull the books off yet, but plan to once school is out. As I was adding them to my Delicious Library (iMac), I was discovering that I really didn't feel like reading a few here and there anymore, either. The good news of the chore is that we are making room for more. :)

    The audiobook of The Last Child is on hold for me at the library. I've been wanting to read/listen to that one since it came out. I love an "intense" read and can't wait! I'm considering reading it instead of listening to it though. What are your thoughts on that?

    The list of current favorites is fabulous! It was so much fun to peruse. My favorite thus far is Still Missing by Chevy Stevens.

  23. Jaimie - I haven't yet read Shutter Island although I'd hoped to earlier this year. Hopefully I will get to it soon. My boss recently read it and can't stop talking about it. :-)

    Tasha - Those all sound like great books. I especially like the title of Heiber's book. :-)

    Jenners - I can't wait to read your Question of the Week post! It really was (and continues to be) fun to see what everyone's answers are.

    Haha! Lucky for the birds my cats aren't allowed outside otherwise it would be dangerous for them indeed. :-)

    Carrie - I still have a lot to do in the way of spring cleaning too. I really need to tackle the closet in the TBR room, but right now I can't reach it. I have so many books lined up against it.

    Melody - I added a few too, Melody! Haha! I know what you mean about fearing those stacks will topple over onto you. That happened to me just this weekend when I was sorting books in the TBR room.

  24. Charley - Me too, Charley. It sounds like it will be good.

    Violet - Same here. I guess it's good we already have them on our wish list or in our TBR stacks. Otherwise our lists would be even longer now. :-)

    Susan - Oh no! I hope you were able to get your hand on a copy of The Redeemer today like planned. Hopefully Miss Pettigrew sufficed until you did.

    My book of the year so far is The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli. So good!

    Lisa - The Weight of Heaven was such a good read. I really like Umrigar's novels. She's so talented.

    I agree with your assessment about the diverse list of favorites proving just how many wonderful books are out there. A little something for everyone. :-)

    Joy - I'm unfamiliar with the sound of cardinals, I'm afraid, but anything that wakes up up too early can't be good. LOL

    I have a few boxes of books stacked one on top of the other and that bottom box has a few books I know I'm ready to part with. I just haven't worked up the energy to move all the boxes off that one yet to get to it. I should probably have my husband do it anyway since my back is still giving me trouble.

    I can't speak for the audio version of The Last Child, but I did enjoy reading the print version. It got off to a slow start but I was rewarded for hanging in there. My review will go up this Thursday.

  25. What a long list! So many good titles too. I've been trying to nail down my summer reading list but it hasn't been easy. I got completely sidetracked when I picked up The Passage. I've been reading it non-stop for the past two days. Even a trip to urgent care did not stop me!

    I still have one more furlough day left (Tuesday) which I plan to spend reading. Maybe I can finish The Passage.

  26. Ti - Good luck with that summer reading list! I don't generally make a separate list for the summer, although there are books I definitely hope to get to, depending on the month.

    I keep hearing all these great things about The Passage. I am glad you are enjoying it!

    Enjoy your furlough day (it seems so odd to say that. LOL).

  27. Thanks so much for adding my review to your list. And what a great list it is -- many of them are on my TBR list!

  28. I've had my eye on a couple of those on your list but have only listened to one, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet".
    They had it on Wisconsin Public Radio, Chapter a Day program. I learned alot about that time period and the history aspect was very interesting.

  29. I need to do some serious weeding of the shelves too but there's always one thing or another that's been keeping me from that lately. I love that you showed us all the book suggestions. Although this will only make me add more books to my list you know!

    Can't wait to read your review of the Hart book. I'm reading that with my book group in a couple of months and really am looking forward to it.

  30. Jess - You've got great taste in books. :-)

    Carla - It's such an interesting time period in the world's history.

    Iliana - I haven't been able to get back to the shelves since then and it looks like it will be awhile before I am able to again. :-S

    I really enjoyed the Hart book. I look forward to reading more by him in the future.


Thank you for taking the time to visit Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Don't be shy! I would love to hear from you. Due to a recent increase in spam, I will be moderating all comments for the foreseeable future. Please be patient with me as it may take a few hours before I am able to approve your comment.