Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Salon - September 23

Happy fall! I am, for the first time in a long time, thoroughly enjoying fall. I know, I know, it did just officially begin the other day, but it's felt like fall for a while now. I've fluffed the house to change out the decor for fall, football is on the tv almost constantly, I've pulled out the crockpot for something other than steelcut oats, and sweaters are moving back into the clothing rotation.

Friday night the Omaha Bookworms met to discuss Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Having some of our parents there to talk about the book with us was wonderful. If nothing else, it meant that people had made a real effort to read the book so they were ready to discuss it. As always, we did find plenty of time to talk about other things but we also spent more time talking about the book than we have in years. We'll definitely be looking for another book for 2013 that will allow for us to include multiple generations and men. I'll be reviewing the book later this week and will include some of the topics we discussed. Do you have any suggestions that would make good choices for this kind of group? Has your book club ever tried doing something like this?

I found this interesting article at about the effects of different kinds of reading on the brain. I'm delighted to see the Jane Austen's Mansfield Park was selected to test brain activity when two different types of reading are being done. The researchers were looking at the difference between pleasure reading and what they call "close" reading (reading for analytical purposed). It just goes to prove what I've known for years, Austen writes books that are fun to read but have great depth.

For all of you audiobook fans, Laura Miller, also at, calls Eduardo Bellarini's narration of Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins the best narration of 2012. Of the narration, Miller says "Ballerini’s handling of this fantastically complex narration is so accomplished you keep forgetting that it’s a performance." Incidentally, Miller also happens to like the book quite a lot, maybe even more than I did.

This week I'll also have a review of The Headmaster's Wager (which, thanks to falling behind on reading last week, I'll be racing to finish in the next couple of days). I've given up on The Little Stranger, for the time being, but will get back to that in a couple of week. Meanwhile, I'll be reading Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue and, hopefully working in Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber for R.I.P. VII. What are you reading this week?


  1. Sounds like you have been having reading some great books. I really like Unbroken. I was going to recommend The Henrietta Lacks story for your book group. I loved it,and there is plenty to discuss.

    Looking forward to finally reading Beautiful Ruins soon.

    Have a great week.

  2. I've heard the Beautiful Ruins is even better as an audiobook - hope to get to it eventually. I finally started Maine this weekend and absolutely love it!

  3. You gave up on The Little Stranger for now? Why? I will be curious what you think of Telegraph Avenue. I have it to read and am a little hesitant to get to it because I know other bloggers struggled with it.

  4. Unbroken was a little longer than I expected, but soooo worth it. Having a dad who was a WWII Veteran, I found myself wishing he was still alive so I could discuss it with him. Truly, being a strong-willed youth has to be what kept him mentally intact through his experience.

  5. Yay! I have Beautiful Ruins on hold, so now I really can't wait!

  6. A reading group session which involves different generations and genders sound like a good idea and I imagine would produce a lively discussion with the right choice of book. I'm still in my comfort zone reading as I've started the last of the Donna Leon
    Venetian crime series, but I'm also re-reading a non fiction to help me with facts I can use for blogging posts about a local land owning dynasty - Black Diamonds written by Catherine Bailey. Hopefully, reading for pleasure and for analysis will do something for my brain and be satisfying at the same time.

  7. I always find book groups more rewarding when the members are a mix of men and women, it gives a very different vibe to the conversation. Never tried a group with different generations present but it sounds great. :)

  8. I don't know much about audio books so I'm surprised about a best narration. I like the idea of forgetting it's a performance, though. Trying to include more generations in your book club sounds an idea, it can be difficult to find books to please different ages so it's good you're going to keep it up somewhat.

  9. I so want to read Beautiful Ruins, and perhaps I will get to it on audio when I can. I have loved Jess Walter since his first book. Good to hear that fall is headed your way! I can't wait for the sweaters and boots to come my way!

  10. I am still waiting for Fall to come to my town. Maybe if the temperatures were cooperating, I'd feel more in the mood. I did break out the Halloween decorations this weekend in hopes that would help. So far, no luck. Fall is my favorite season, so I'm kind of bummed I'm not feeling the spirit of it yet.

    I've heard wonderful things about Unbroken. It's been ages since I last attended my book group. It's made up of a variety of aged women (it's women only--something I wish could change) and so there's always that element there.

    My husband is considering reading Telegraph for an online book group he's joined. I hope he does! As of right now, I'm listening to Storm Front by Jim Butcher (I read the book ages ago--one of my favorite series) and am reading Blankets, a graphic novel. I am also reading A Killer Read by Erika Chase, although I seem to have misplaced the book at the moment . . .

    Have a great week!

  11. I think Fall came and went! We're supposed to hit 85 today and there's no rain in sight. This is getting old...

    I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version of Unbroken and am off to check my library's website for Beautiful Ruins. I've been on a roll with great audio books and want to keep the momentum going!