Saturday, August 29, 2009

TSS Week in Review

The Sunday Salon appears here.

I've read a great deal in the past week or so. Here are my opinions about some of them:

84.The Mysteries of Glass***** by Sue Gee (UK) 2004 (346 pages)


I loved it. A perfect Victorian novel about a young assisting minister who finds himself emotionally attached to a woman he cannot have or even show affection toward, and the crisis of faith that ensues. Very smooth writing with the natural elements so well described, it put me in mind of Hardy's Return of the Native. I must read more by this author. Highly recommended.

86.Shipwrecks***** by Akira Yoshimura (Japan) 1982 (180 pages)

Translated from the Japanese. A very good story about a small Japanese fishing village whose dangerous secret is that it takes advantage of its rocky coast to lure ships inshore to sink. They retrieve the cargo, usually foodstuffs, and it keeps them from starvation. But one day they take something from a wrecked ship that brings retribution and terror to the people of the village. Well written, an excellent story with a strong Gothic sense. Highly recommended.


87.This is How**** by M.J. Hyland (UK) 2009 (377 pages )


I read Hyland's previous novel Carry Me Down****, about a troubled boy, which was nominated for several literary prizes. I really enjoyed her psychological insights into human behaviour and wanted to read more by this author. This Is How is narrated by a man who inadvertently (so to speak) commits a crime and goes to prison. It's an odd story about a not entirely likable bloke, which I found interesting and well written, but am not certain that I actually enjoyed the experience. I suspect that the failure lies with me. I'm not very sympathetic toward young people (he's 22) who expect everything in life to go their way. Other opinions on this book will help you decide if it's for you.

88.The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly***** (France) 1997 (157 pages)

Translated from the French. A true story told by a paralyzed writer and editor who could move only one eyelid after a massive stroke. A remarkable memoir that is touching and as life-affirming as it gets. Highly recommended.


89.The Sign for Drowning****+ by Rachel Stolzman 2009 (194 pages)


Four and a half stars. About a single woman who adopts one of the deaf children she teaches. This woman saw her sister drown when she was a child and first learned sign language in order to (in a child's way of thinking) talk to her dead (silent) sister. The story steps back to show us the tragedy and the lives of her family in trying to recover from it. She wonders if she is right to adopt this child as she herself is a hearing person. Self doubt persists as she encourages the girl in her education and continues to face her own past. A very enjoyable read. Highly recommended. A fuller review will be posted soon.

90.Conceit***** by Mary Novik (Canada) 2008 (403 pages)
The best historical fiction I've read for quite a while. Highly recommended. A brief review appears here in a new feature. A fuller review will be posted soon.

Today I'm reading Silver Birches by Adrian Plass (UK) 2009, previously published as Ghosts in 2002.

How are you spending your Sunday?

Comments, questions, opinions, reading recommendations, or links to reviews are always welcomed. I'd love to read them. No Spoilers though please.

12 comments:

  1. You've just made my TBR list an extra mile long! :p

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  2. Mysteries of Glass sounds wonderful! Thanks

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  3. Gracious, Sandra! Like my TBR list isn't long enough! lol These books sound terrific.

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  4. You really have gotten a lot of reading done this week!

    I have an award for you at:
    http://litandlife.blogspot.com/2009/08/ahh-im-blushing.html

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  5. You have been doing a lot of reading. I've heard the movie version of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is pretty great as well. It's a book I'd like to read.

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  6. Hi Sandra, it's good to see you again. I want to tell you how much I am enjoying your blog here.
    The Diving-Bell and the "Butterfly" sounds like a book I have to read.
    I want to invite you to my Reading Room at OD. I don't know how to make a link but you can get there by using this URL.
    http://www.opendiary.com/entryview.asp?authorcode=D799011&entry=10020
    Thanks, for all the good help your blog is going to be to me. Foxie 2

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  7. HI! I saw your comment in "Ontario Book Bloggers" and thought that I would come by to check out your blog! I'm from Simcoe, ON, so not that far from Hamilton :)

    I loved that you reviewed "This is How" this week- that one was a surprising new favourite for me. I found myself enjoying it far more than I expected to!

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  8. I want to read the Gee book!
    I spent my Sunday running around my town doing errands and going to the bookstore, where I bought a new quilt book. :-)

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  9. I've added so many of these to my list. I love hearing about the books you read!!

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  10. Now I want to read Shipwrecks, too!

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  11. Sandra, where are you?

    Hope all is well..

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  12. You have read a lot of books (at least for me) in one week. I think it's awesome. I will have to check out The Mysteries of Glass. it sounds like something I would like.

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