Sunday, January 25, 2009

TSS Books Read This Week

A very bad week for me in all regards but one-reading. I couldn't even put a sentence together, thus the lack of posts. But here's what I read:

Sunday Salon can be found here.

We Need to Talk About Kevin***** by Lionel Shriver

Fiction, HC 400 pgs.

The best thing I've read this year. Before you scoff, I've read fifteen books so far and all but two are four or five star reads. I expect this story to be among my top three of the year. I resisted reading it because of the subject matter but I was mistaken. A woman whose son has killed schoolmates in a shooting spree writes to her husband after the trial is over. Her feelings as a mother and about their marriage as well as everyone's reactions toward her are discussed in those letters. This story is one of a kind and should not be missed. Don't read full reviews of it or talk about it with those who've read it until after you have yourself. Trust me and get thee to a library.

And I now want to read more of this author's work. Lionel Shriver is a woman by the way.

The Seamstress****+ by Frances de Pontes Peebles

Historical fiction, HC 646 pgs.
This was recommended to me by Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals as a very good read and she was right. It's a terrific story, set in Brazil in the 1920s and 1930s. Women lives in many different situations are dealt with; poor, orphaned, disabled, marriageable or unmarriageable and why, widows, seamstresses, rich, or rebels, they are all here and so are the societal restrictions and demands put upon them in this culture and time. Richly detailed, the writing is good and the characters as real as they get. Highly recommended. Thank you Kaye.

I really have to join the chunkster challenge now, as this is the second 600 page book I've read this year.

The Bird of Night**** by Susan Hill

Fiction, HC 186 pgs.

This is the author who wrote such books as Mrs. De Winter, the sequel to Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca; I'm The King of The Castle, studied in UK schools, The Woman in Black, and the Simon Serailler mystery series, of which I've read the current four novels. I've also followed her lit blog since reading the first one. The Bird of Night tells the story of a poet who has serious bouts of mental illness and the man he meets who takes care of him through it all, and tries to protect him from others. The close relationship between intense creativity and insanity are never easy to describe but Hill does a very good job of it. Told with intensity but also with empathy it is a story you won't soon forget.

Full reviews with giveaways to come:

A Mercy by Toni Morrison HC 167pgs.
Jenford: A Short History of Upland by Henrik E. Sadi

Winner of Letters Between Us by Linda Rader Overman announced tomorrow.
I have several books I am willing to give to anyone who will write a guest review for me when you are finished reading it, preferrably within six weeks of receiving it. Just name the book you're willing to read and review in the comments (so people know it's taken) and email me your mailing address. Just a few sentences on your opinion of the book, as long or short as you like. First come, first served.

From A to X by John Berger PB (TAKEN)
Ex-Cottagers in Love by J.M. Kearns PB (TAKEN)
Pursuit of Light by Sandra Brewer non-fiction HC
The Magician's Notebook by Laura Miller HC (TAKEN)
The Museum Guard by Howard Norman PB (TAKEN)


  1. I will watch out for the first one...
    It sure sounds good. I have read 14 boks till date, reviewed 10.

    BTW, can I have

    From A to X by John Berger.

    Love to guest review it!

  2. From A to X is your Gautami*, I'm glad it's going to someone with your experience. Ten reviews written-wow.

  3. I must read quicker. I am only up to 8 this year.

  4. I have We Need to Talk About Kevin on my shelf - another book that is a "must read soon". And, The Seamstress looks like a good one.

  5. I'm glad you read such good books. What a wonderful week for you!

  6. Like you, I had no intention of picking up "Kevin" but am glad to hear you were pleasantly surprised. Maybe I should give it a try as well. Need to read outside my comfort zone more. Also, I have a copy of The Seamstress I received as a gift. Thanks for the opinion - will have to be moved up that tbr list a little faster now. Can't wait to see your review of A Mercy.

  7. I agree with We Need to Talk About Kevin. I chose it for my book club a year ago and while it's not an easy read it is very well-written and thought provoking. I am looking forward to reading more by Lionel Shriver.

  8. What a great week you've had in reading! I just finished Susan Hill's The Man in the Picture and loves it. Have you read it?

    Can I have The Magician's Book by Laura Miller?

  9. N.Vasillis* The Magician's Book is yours. Just email me your address please.

  10. I loved/hated Kevin. I think this would be an excellent book for discussion. It certainly set my brain to thinking. What makes a person do bad things?

  11. I thought We Need to Talk About Kevin was wonderfully thought-provoking too. I'm looking forward to reading The Post-Birthday World by her now that I have a copy waiting in the stacks.

    The Museum Guard sounds quite interesting, but if shipping to Japan isn't possible, I completely understand.

  12. I am sorry to hear your week was such a bad one. At least your reading was a bright spot! I am really looking forward to reading We Need to Talk About Kevin. I am glad you enjoyed it!

    Have a great week!

  13. I'm very sorry to hear you had a bad week. At least the books were good! You know, I've read nothing but rave reviews of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, but I never realized it was written by a woman.

  14. Sorry you are having a bad week. Thanks for reminding me that I put down Kevin about halfway through because I was having a bad week, and never got back to it- must go scour shelves for book.

    I would love to read The Museum Guard if it is still available. Hope this week is better for you!

  15. Tanabata* I don't mind mailing to Japan by the cheaper rate. The book is yours.

  16. I'm so glad to hear that about We Need to Talk About Kevin...I'm reading it for the Book Awards Challenge in the next couple months.

  17. Hi Sandra.. Sorry to hear about your week. I hope this week is better.

    Wow you've read a lot and it's not even the end of the month yet! Thanks for the Kevin review.. I wouldn't have thought about it.

    Looking forward to your A Mercy review..

    I would be interested to review Ex-Cottagers in Love.. fits with our Canadian Book Challenge. If I reviewed it, though, would I still be eligible to join your Toni Morrison giveaway??? :D

  18. claire* Sure you qualify for my other giveaways, you're working for this one. :)Just email me your mailing address please.

  19. Here's hoping this new week is better!

    I really enjoyed Shriver's Post-Birthday World - very uniquely told.

    I bought The Seamstress simply because I loved the cover. Glad to hear it's also a good read!

  20. Thanks Sandra! I've emailed you my address.. :)

  21. Sandra,
    I am so sorry that you have had a bad week. Reading is the most soothing, uplifting, escape from reality that there is. I am thinking of you and sending warm hugs your way. Feel better soon.

  22. Phew, sigh of relief! I am so so glad to hear that you enjoyed The Seamstress. It is hard to recommend a book to another person unless you personally know their taste in books. Do you have Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet on your tbr list or have you read it? Another wonderful book.
    Take care and I really hope you have a better week.

  23. We Need To Talk About Kevin has been a book I have wondered about--reading the jacket always made me a little nervous to try it. Your review has convinced me to give it a go! The Seamstress looks intriguing also.
    Great reviews--and thanks for your lovely comments on my blog.

  24. I read We Need to Talk About Kevin a couple of months ago. It was a very disturbing book. I never got around to reviewing it, unfortunately. It took me about 100 pages to really get into the story...normally I would've stopped reading but this was for an online book club so I kept going. I'm glad I did because I was hooked. What a sad, sad story.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  25. The Seamstress sounds like a wonderful book to delve into. Thanks for the recommendation.

  26. We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of my favourite books - it describes some of the emotions of motherhood perfectly. My review is here:

  27. Is Pursuit of Light still available? If so, I'm intested.

  28. Great review. It really was an incredibly powerful book.



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