Sunday Salon

Ahhhhh it’s Sunday, and today in Southern California we are expecting record breaking high temperatures for the 2nd day in a row (93 degrees).  It feels like summer.  The kids are in their bathing suits and I’m trying to talk them into washing my car after breakfast.  Later they have a cosmic bowling party with their school, and after that I’m off to my book club meeting to discuss Eat, Pray, Love.  I’ll be leading the discussion tonight, and I know we’ve got people on both sides of the love/hate fence, so I’m a little anxious about it.  It’s funny.. I’ve done a couple blog posts about E,P,L but I have no desire to review it, I guess because I have such mixed emotions about it.  

Last night my neighbor Kierstin set up an outdoor movie theater in her backyard and invited us for a viewing of Star Wars with her kids.  My kids had never seen it so they were really excited.  My husband took them in their pjs, loaded down with chairs, popcorn, blankets, and drinks.  This gave me 2 solid hours by myself to read!! What a gift! (Thanks, Kierstin!)  Having just finished Loose Girl, I was between books, so I spent about half an hour paging through last month’s Oprah magazine, because I just had to know if “my medicine was making me fat” (it’s not-whew!) and what “Oprah’s New Passion” was (a new tv show-whoopee).  I used to subscribe to several mags, but found I wasn’t reading them anymore, so I let the subscriptions lapse.  I must have a lifetime subscription to “O” because it just keeps coming.  

Finally I hesitantly picked up a book I started a couple weeks ago, The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood.  I’d put it aside the first time because it made me cry really early on (page 19!)  It’s about how a woman manages her grief the year after her only daughter dies from meningitis at age 5.  I’d been thinking about the story ever since I put it down, and felt compelled to go back to it.  I’m really glad I did.  It’s not the kind of book that’s sappy and manipulative, trying to get the big emotional reaction.  It’s quiet and gentle and moving.  The mom is going through the motions, just existing, putting one foot in front of the other (barely).  Her mother encourages her to knit as a way to take her mind off her grief.  She meets some people through a knitting store who have their own troubles they are working through.  She joins a knitting circle and starts to care about these people.  I don’t want to give too much away, but it seems to be a tale of how friendship helps her get her life back after her devastating loss.  I flew through the first 100 pages last night and am looking forward to sitting down with this book again later today.

What are you reading this weekend?  Is it something you’d recommend to others? Please leave a note and let me know!


24 Responses

  1. Well, I just started reading The Secret Scroll, which isn’t great writing but is a very compelling story.

    I had to put that aside for a bit though since my classes are starting to discuss Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, which is a wonderful book about the way cultural clashes can be both horrifying and lovely experiences. I highly recommend it.

  2. I haven’t read The Knitting Circle yet, but know that the author writes from experience, having lost her five year old and somehow dealt with her grief. Having a five year old myself, I just think that the book might be a little too hard for me to read.

    I love the idea of an outdoor theater! Does your neighbor have their own projector?

  3. It’s expected to get up to 97F in my tiny part of California today. Not too much different from yesterday. It does feel a bit like summer, doesn’t it?

    I hope your book discussion goes well. It’s always most interesting when there are a wide range of viewpoints on a book, I think.

    My next door neighbors sometimes set up an outdoor theater. Usually it’s for big games like the Superbowl or a big soccer match, so I’m not sure that really counts. 🙂

    I hope you have a great week. I’m soon going to settle back into my current book.

  4. It hasn’t got much above 50F here in the UK today, so don’t expect me to feel sorry for you. Actually I would just like it if it would stop raining (not to mention sleeting and hailing and snowing) so that I could get out into the garden, which is beginning to look like some primordial swamp! I’m reading Sara Paretsky’s ‘Bleeding Kansas’ – superb.

  5. I’m slowly making my way through The Memory Keeper’s Daughter as I eye the next 3 books I can’t wait to get to. It feels like the author is deliberately taking me on a slow ride… and I doubt it has a happy ending. (do I recall this wasn’t a favorite with you?)

    Enjoy the heat! Wear your sunscreen. 🙂

  6. I read The Knitting Circle a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy such a sad book! I was even sadder when I discovered that the author based this on her own exeperience…

  7. I’m reading Keeper and the Kid thanks to your recommendation! I read THE KNITTING CIRCLE a few weeks ago — here’s my review:

  8. The outdoor movie sounded so fun! We’re not quite ready for that in Minnesota, but maybe by June — wish I had watched Star Wars instead of The Memory Keeper’s Daughter on Lifetime last night — ugh, what a dud! (Didn’t like the book that much either, though).

    By the way, Andi, the Spirit Catches You is just wonderful, isn’t it…!? Many of my students were Hmong (from St. Paul) and that work was a very powerful read.

    I’m slogging through Man Gone Down… slowly… needed a serious editor!

  9. Enjoy your warm weather. Love it! We are getting ready for a cold front (as much as the south can get one this time of year) tomorrow. We might be forced to wear long pants. 🙂

    I’m reading Lisa Lutz’s newest book about the Spellman family and a new (for me) thriller by CJ Box called BLUE HEAVEN. Both are excellent!

  10. I just finished The Cleft, by Doris Lessing. It is a nightmarish view about human creation. Sort of like “the birds and the bees” but add genital mutilation, giant eagles that kill babies and then later decide to save them..and you have The Cleft. It is, by far, one of the most disturbing books that I have ever read. The first page intrigued me and then it went downhill from there.

    I just cannot get into her work. BTW.. the I am in So. Cal too and it is HOT outside but I still had my kid wash my car. OK…I paid him but still.


  11. Hi Lisamm I am rereading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo
    Ishiguru ….we read it at our book club last year and wanted to reread it. Sheer genius still. Which Star Wars movie? My son is a huge fan and has a lot of memorabilia. We are finally getting into cooler weather, at least at night, in Sydney so am getting into more of my hand quilting, at last! Glad you had an evening of reading, would have done you the world of good and hope both the sparks and laughter fly at the bookclub meeting.

  12. Hey L! Star Wars is one of my Favorites!!! Empire Strikes Back to be specific. I finished Picoult’s CHANGE OF HEART on Saturday morning and then started Christopher Buckley’s BOOMSDAY Saturday evening. We have one more year over seas and I am taking advantage of not working and being able to read read read!!! Next spring it will be back to the real world and a job. I’m looking forward to it but will miss sleeping in till whenever and doing whatever. It’s been blissful!!!

  13. I’m curious about why you’re conflicted about Eat, Pray, Love and how moderating the book club went.

    I loved the book but was amazed at the hype. I thought it said a lot about where mainstream women are spiritually – cut off – and what it takes to get them back.

    I was disappointed that Elizabeth only took 9 months by her self. She begins the book by being honest about changing her self and defining herself by her boyfriends and husbands, even looking like them. But, the second she finds her true self, she hops right back to another man. I think exploring her new self alone – back in the real world – would have been a better idea.

  14. I’m reading Love Walked In and liking it so far, not reading as much as I’d like to this past week though.

  15. Hi, thanks for all the great comments.

    Andi, I received The Secret Scroll from the publisher too but haven’t started it. I’ve heard great things about The Spirit Catches You.. You make it sound really good.

    Steph.. I know.. it is really sad. Yes, my neighbor has a projector and a big screen. It’s almost like being at a drive in movie.

    Lit Feline.. It ended up being 103 here yesterday-crazy!! The discussion was really good, and the person who was most passionate about it wasn’t there, so I worried for nothing.

    Ann.. I don’t want sympathy for all this sunshine!! That’s why I moved here from a colder wetter climate! I haven’t heard of Bleeding Kansas and will look it up today.

    Care.. Yes, you recall correctly. I did not like TMKD at all. Well, I take that back.. the first chapter (maybe 2) was interesting. The middle draggggggged.

    Sarah, I know, it’s almost harder to read now that I know it’s semi autobiographical.

    Julie.. how do you like K & K? Can’t wait to read your thoughts on it.

    Kristen-I thought the movie might actually be better than the book (which I did NOT care for). I didn’t bother to watch it. Dang, I am definitely putting The Spirit Catches You on my TBR list!!

    J. Kaye- Long Pants (gasp!!) Oh no! Thanks for the book recommendations. I’ll be looking them up later.

    Ti- The Cleft sounds intense!! I think I’ll pass on that! Can you believe this heatwave?? I heard it will be 25 degrees cooler tomorrow, though.

    Magik- I’ve heard good things about Never Let Me Go. It was on a lot of “best of 2007” lists I saw on various blogs. I’m not sure which Star Wars they saw.. I assumed the original one, but I could be wrong. Sparks, laughter–yep, we had lots of that yesterday! It was fun.

    Planet (Karen)- How lovely to sleep in and do anything you want all day. I’m guessing you don’t have kids?? Enjoy this time of relaxation! I have seen mixed reviews for Change of Heart but in general I like Jodi Picoult (having only read 2 of her books). I haven’t heard anything about Boomsday.. do you like it?

    Bookbabie- is life getting in the way of your reading? I hate when that happens 🙂

  16. wouldn’t you know if your medicine (or something else) was making you “fat”? 🙂 You don’t have to review EPL – I would love to just hear a random unstructured post about what those mixed feelings are!

  17. The Knitting Circle sounds beautiful – I am going to add it to my TBR list. Thanks!

  18. I just finished reading That Night by Alice McDermott, and it was really very good. It’s a very slim novel, but very powerful and evocative. =)

  19. Yeah.. no kids but a beautiful Cocker Spaniel named Rocky who lays on the couch next to me and naps while I read and the hubby is at work. Spoiled, I know but loving and appreciating every moment of it.
    I am enjoying BOOMSDAY. It takes place in D.C. so it’s making me a bit homesick. I miss the days of working in an office three blocks from The White House and taking the Metro in to work. Lucnhing at all the different restaurants and going to Borders before work, at lunch and after work with everyone else. But soon I will be back there (a year flies when you live on a tropical island… literally) and I will be missing Okinawa.

  20. Glad you made it through the heat! It was sweltering here, too. Kids were running through the sprinklers all weekend. I had mixed feelings about EPL, too–interested to hear how your book club went. My book club read it, too, and it provoked a lively discussion. Hope it went well!

  21. I just finished Chronicles by Bob Dylan. It was so good. I didn’t know much about him, but he’s such an artist and poet and it’s beautifully written. It starts when he gets to NYC to try and make it making music and he’s playing all these little bitty clubs and just struggling so much. I loved hearing about the times and all the famous people he met on his way up. It was awesome.

  22. Danica, I have a post like that in the works.. I’m waiting to hear back from some of my book club buds so that I can include their thoughts in the post.

    April.. it really was.

    Cheyenne, I like a slim novel. Love that sense of quick completion! That one sounds good.

    Planet (Karen).. I used to always answer that way before my kids were born-that I didn’t have kids but I had two great dogs! Rocky sounds like he’s living a nice life, on the couch napping with “mom” 🙂

    Gentle, the discussion went very well. I will post about it soon.

    crystal- that sounds good. I’m not a big biography reader but I’ve heard about that one and the Eric Clapton biography.. they both sound interesting.

    Thanks everyone for stopping by The Salon!!

  23. I just finished EPL today and am very interested to see my book club’s reaction to it. I’d also love to hear about your own discussion. 93 degrees? That’s too hot for me. I’ll take 60 over that any day.

  24. […] including Danica, Gentle Reader, Tara, and others, some of whom left comments HERE and HERE and HERE,asked if I would post about the Eat, Pray, Love discussion at my book club meeting.  We had an […]

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