Sunday, January 11, 2009

TSS Books Read This Week

Today's Sunday Salon includes books read in the first 10 days of 2009, I have given them what I call tag reviews.

1.The Madonnas of Leningrad***** by Debra Dean

I loved it. Russia, 1941, siege of Leningrad, WW II, Hermitage Museum (Catherine the Great's Palace), I've been there; museum workers, evacution of artworks, lots of description of real art pieces, many paintings, conditions of cold, starvation, Germans bombing; Marina (main character), fiance is a soldier at the front; she tries to memorize details of missing paintings; parallel story of them in old age, grown children don't know details of the war, their mother Marina slowly succumbing to Alzheimers and says confusing things that make sense to reader because we know her past, but not to family. Great story, highly recommended.

2.What We All Long**** For by Dionne Brand (full review and giveaway upcoming)

3.The Gravedigger's Daughter**** by Joyce Carol Oates 592 pgs.

A Jewish family escapes Germany to America, 1930's, father beomes town's gravedigger, poverty, anti-Semitism, war, immigrants, Germans, murder leaves youngest child orphaned, town unforgiving, she marries and has a child who is musically talented, dicovers unsavory things about husband and makes her escape, new identity, constant fear and mistrust, until she meets some decent people. She tries to re-establish contacts with Jewish relatives who may have survived the war. A very good story.

4.The Museum Guard**** by Howard Norman

Canada, Nova Scotia, Halifax, 1939, nephew and his colourful uncle are both museum guards, art, paintings, radio broadcasts re Europe gearing up for war, anti-Semitism, nephew's girlfriend beomes obsessed by a Dutch painter and takes on personna of the painter's Jewish wife, insisting on going to Europe. Unusual but very interesting story, recommended.

5.Letters Between Us**** by Linda Rader Overman (full review and giveaway upcoming)

Some weeks won't be this good but it was a nice start to the new year. Any opinions or comments are welcomed. What are you reading today?


  1. Hi, Sandra - Here's the link you're looking for to sign up for the Sunday Salon:

  2. As Carrie says, you gotta sign up first!

    And your post will come up.

    I gotta read that Norman book.

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed Madonnas of Leningrad, since it's on my TBR shelf. :)

  4. You've been doing a lot of reading so far this year. I'm glad they've all been good, too. What a great way to start the year!

  5. It looks like you have fit in quite a few great titles so far this year. And here I've been so proud of myself for reading the three I've gotten in this year. LOL

    I hope to read The Madonnas of Leningrad one day. The Gravedigger's Daughter is another one in my TBR collection waiting it's turn.

    Have a great week, Sandra!

  6. I love the idea of tag reviews. These were fun to read.

  7. I look forward to reading your reviews and seeing the giveaways too!

  8. I loved The Maddonas of Leningrad. It was so... what's the word...visual. I looked up all of the art pieces mentioned in the book and they looked exactly as I had pictured them in my mind. That's good writing.

  9. I loved Madonnas too!
    I gave you an award. Go to my blog to see!

  10. I have Madonnas on my TBR shelf -- I am looking forward to it.

    You read a lot in 10 days! I am jealous, since I am still dragging through Mists of Avalon and Sometimes a Great Notion.

    I really stopped by to say that I named you for the Premios Dardo Award! See here for details.

  11. You've had a great start to the year! I've had The Madonnas of Leningrad and The Gravedigger's Daughter on my wishlist for a while and I'm glad to hear more positive things about them.

  12. Some Nova Scotian I am, haven't even heard of The Museum Guard...

    Wow, looks like you're off to a great start for all those 2009challenges. Happy reading!

  13. It's great that you finished the LONG challenge for 9 for '09! I haven't even started my own long book yet :}

    Consider writing to the Anna at

    for the Madonna review.

    They are looking for reviews of works about WWII to give their readers an idea of what is out there!

  14. I can't believe you're almost finished with the challenge! I'm glad you enjoyed these books. The Madonnas of Leningrad is on my to-read list for the challenge.

    I've posted links to these reviews here on War Through the Generations, and I added them to the book reviews page.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  15. I am working on THE RIDE by Jane Kennedy Sutton and just finished a paranormal romance that isn't worth remembering...sad, but true.

  16. Madonnas in Leningrad sounds fascinating. I'm not a fan of Russian novelists, but I do like book set in Russia. I'll have to check that out.

  17. We've posted a link to your review on the war blog. Thanks for participating and we hope that you will consider the 2010 Vietnam War Reading challenge.

  18. Wow The Gravedigger's Daughter sounds really interesting! I think I'll give it a try :)



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