Skip to main content

The Sunday Salon


It recently occurred to me that I haven’t written one of these Sunday Salon posts in a while! I thought, therefore, that it might be a good idea to organize my reading and do some sort of mid-year roundup. So far this year, I’ve read much less than I did last year or in 2009; right now I’ve finished reading 52 books, with Deanna Raybourn’s The Dark Enquiry currently in progress (a nice bit of escapist summer reading).

This year I’ve been reading more nonfiction; 11 books this year. I’m still going strong with reading Virago Modern Classics and Persephones; 26 and 7 books, respectively. I’ve had the good luck of enjoying most of the books I’ve read this year; the best read so far is F Tennyson Jesse’s A Pin to See the Peepshow, sadly out of print but a really interesting fictional take on a famous 1920s murder trial. F Tennyson Jesse was a crime journalist, and this novel reads like sensationalist fiction sometimes, but I absolutely loved it. Review TC. Other good reads for the first half of the year were a re-read of Jane Eyre, Diary of a Provincial Lady (why haven’t I read this book before now?) by EM Delafield, Few Eggs and No Oranges, by Vere Hodgson, Anderby Wold, by Winifred Holtby, and The Three Sister, by May Sinclair.

I’m trying, surprisingly successfully, to cut down on the number of books I acquire. When I moved in to my new apartment in January, I culled a number of unwanted books from my collection; but space is still limited around here. In Mary, April, and May I really went overboard on book buying, so I’m pleased to say that I only acquired four books in June—and two of them were review copies. Speaking of which, by the way, I’m not accepting quite as many any more—not because I’m being more discriminating but because I simply don’t have much interest in modern fiction any more, especially since I’ve been going back to the classics.

It occurred to me that I think anyone looking at my library on LibraryThing would think I’m absolutely nuts! I have almost a mania for organizing my books on there through tags. It’s especially important for organizing my to be read list—books I own, books I’m interested in and might check out later. It sounds weird, but I also keep an excel spreadsheet on my computer of the books I own—just so that I can remember when and where I got the book, and how I heard about it in the first place. I’ve probably talked about this before, but I go a little overboard when organizing my books electronically—not so much the physical books! How do you organize your books?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is an old dotard, her third locks her up in the house for days and won't let her out; and the last is a fop who a…

Review: This Rough Magic, by Mary Stewart

Pages: 254Original date of publication: 1964My edition: 1964 (William Morrow)Why I decided to read: it was 90 degrees outside at the time and I decided it was time to read another book by a favorite authorHow I acquired my copy: from Susanna Kearsley, December 2009Sometimes, whether or not I decide to read a book depends on the weather. Mary Stewart’s books are best read on either very hot or very cold days; and since it was 90 degrees out one weekend a couple of weeks ago, I decided that this one would be perfect. And it was.This Rough Magic takes its title from The Tempest, a play from which this novel takes off. Lucy Waring is a struggling actress who comes to visit her sister on Corfu. One of her neighbors is a renowned actor who’s taken a bit of a sabbatical and his son, a musician with whom Lucy comes to blows at first. This Rough Magic is vintage Mary Stewart, with a murder or two, a mystery, romance, suspense, and lots of magic thrown in. Lucy is your typical Mary Stewart hero…

Review: Joy in the Morning, by Betty Smith

Pages: 294
Original date of publication: 1963
My edition: 2010 (Harper Perennial)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: Barnes and Noble, Phoenix, January 2011


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my all-time favorite books and I’ve read it, oh, half a dozen times, so I was interested to see how Joy in the Morning would compare.

Set in the late 1920s, Joy in the Morning begins when Annie, aged 18, comes to a small Midwestern college town where her fiancée, Carl, is in law school. The novel opens with their marriage in the county courthouse, and follows the couple through their first year or so of marriage. It’s a struggle, because Carl and Annie are basically children themselves, for all the ways in which Carl tries to appear more adult-like.

Annie is endearing; she’s ignorant but a voracious reader, reading everything from Babbitt to War and Peace. Betty Smith’s novels are pretty autobiographical; Joy in the Morning is (unofficially) a kind of sequel to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn—cert…