Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Salon: May's Accomplishments, June's Goals

So I ended up having a really good month of reading in May; my goal was to read only/mostly 2011 releases and I managed to restrict myself in all but one case, and that was to read a Booker winner (it was Bernice Ruben's The Elected Member, the second book to win, I think).
The list:
  • If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, by Robin Black
  • The Year We Left Home, by Jean Thompson
  • French Leave, by Anna Gavalda
  • The Storm at the Door, by Stefan Merrill Block
  • Fatale, by Jean-Patrick Manchette
  • To Be With Her, by Syed Afzal Haider
  • The Dry Grass of August, by Anna Jean Mayhew
  • The Elected Member, by Bernice Rubens
  • Ghost Light, by Joseph O'Connor
  • The Last Brother, by Nathacha Appanah
Technically, Robin Black's book came out last year but I got a hot-off-the-presses 2011 paperback so I say it counts. I'll be reviewing all of them eventually! I'm starting on Tuesday with The Last Brother, which as far as I'm concerned should be the next book you pick up!

For June, I'm reading backlist books- or trying to. I read Election, by Tom Perrotta, first; it took me a day. Then I moved on to Assaf Gavron's Almost Dead, a black comedy about a man who keeps almost being killed in suicide bombing attacks in Israel, until he becomes a minor celebrity and an actual target. So far it's really good; it's told from the perspective of the erstwhile victim and from that of a potential bomber languishing in a coma. Then I'll pick a Booker to read, then go on from there with something else off the shelf.

Speaking of the Booker pick, I was going to read V.S. Naipaul's In A Free State, which won in 1971, but I'm thinking I'll choose something else for now. Maybe Heat and Dust, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's 1975 winner? Or The Conservationist, by Nadine Gordimer, which won in 1974? Or maybe The Bone People, by Kerri Hulme, which won in 1985. So many choices. What do you think?

But for today I'm going to keep going with Almost Dead, although with the gym and my improv class it promises to be a busy day. What are you up to today? Have a great Sunday no matter what!

EDIT: It looks like the verdict is unanimous from the comments and Twitter: The Bone People it shall be, and soon! Thanks to everyone for your input!

More Sunday Salon here.


Anonymous said...

I'd say the Bone People, but mostly because I'm planning to start on my copy soon and I'd love to see what someone else thinks of it as I'm reading. I've seen it mentioned on a few blogs, but no in-depth posts on the book.

-- Ellen

Laura said...

Naipaul ... *shudder*
I liked all three of the books you're considering, so whatever you choose I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts.

Beth F said...

Naipaul may be a jerk but he wrote one of my all-time favorite books and I've loved everything of his I've read. But each of us must make her own choices.

Anonymous said...

I feel so sheltered when I read your posts...I've only heard of one of the books you mentioned: Election and of course, have heard of Naipaul. Otherwise, I'm in the dark. I guess it just goes to show we all can't read the same kinds of books, huh? :)

bibliophiliac said...

The Bone People: this is a book I've been meaning to reread, to see whether is is really as good as I remember it being. I stumbled across it *many* years ago and was gobsmacked. I still have the same copy. So if you decided to read, give me a shout-out and I'll read-along if you like!

Zibilee said...

I can totally see why you might not want to read any Naipaul for now, and I totally feel the same way. The comments he made the other day were just supremely disrespectful. If you are taking votes for alternates, I would definitely go with The Bone People. I read it jointly with Aarti last year, I think, and it was an amazing and complex book. Very disturbing at times, but also very interesting. I hope you have a great Sunday!

Kathleen said...

Sounds like you had a good May and have some good reads in your queue for this month. I agree that reading Naipaul right now is not something I can do either. His remarks were so ignorant and condescending. That being said, he won't be banned from my shelves forever. I don't have to like an author to enjoy his or her work.

Sandra said...

I have to agree that The Bone People is what you should read next. I loved that book. It's probably time I reread it.

Vasilly said...

If you think The Last Brother should be the next book I read, then I'm adding it to my tbr pile for this week. I would love to know your thoughts on The Bone People. It seems like a book people either love or hate. Happy reading.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

You had a great month in books for May. Looking forward to the Jean Thompson book.

Mij said...

Okay, I guess the Bone People won. Down the road someday, you might want to try A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry. Published in 1995, it was a Booker finalist. It won the commonwealth Writers Prize for the Best Book, the Giller Prize, and the LA Times Book Prize in Fiction. I am reading this now, and cannot put this down. Several characters, and I get caught up in each of their stories. Set in India pre and post independence. Deals with caste system.