The Sunday Salon: Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!  Mine is a double whammy-it is both Mother’s Day and my birthday, which is a little like having your birthday on Christmas-you get a lot of 2 for 1 presents.  But I’m not complaining-  next to the lilacs my mother brought over for me I see a vase filled with tissue paper flowers my 3rd grader made in school, a hand painted mug she made in Brownies, and assorted gifts wrapped in bright green paper.  Once everyone wakes up we’ll have cake and ice cream for breakfast, a sweet birthday tradition at our house.  We will be celebrating later with extended family at The Chart House for brunch. 

It was a good week for reading.  I finished Matrimony and worried that my review might upset the author, who I’ve been emailing with since his guest post.  It’s a really good book, but there were things that bothered me, and I almost didn’t post the review at all for fear he might be offended by some of my comments.  To my relief he was fine and did not take offense.  I’d never been in a situation like that before and it made me think about reviews; why we do them, how important it is to be honest and what we should be concerned about when we’re writing them.  Matrimony will be discussed on May 22nd at Every Day I Write the Book and at the end of June at Planet Books.  

Speaking of planets, I received an amazing little collection of short stories from Blog Stop Book Tours called Springtime on Mars by Susan Woodring.  These stories are pitch-perfect and I absolutely loved them; I laughed, I cried, I emailed the author and gushed like a schoolgirl!  The author is doing a virtual book tour and will be stopping by on June 6th.  She is also planning a guest post for Books on the Brain about why a short story collection is a great pick for a book club.  I can’t wait to read her thoughts on that.  My copy doesn’t have discussion questions for reading groups, but later versions do. 

My mailman is going to be busy the next couple of weeks, loaded down with the books I’ve acquired all over the internet.  I’m waiting on a bunch of ARCs and free books from various places:  Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan from B&N’s First Look program, The Wishing Year by Noelle Oxenhandler from Library Thing’s Early Reviewer Program, Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs from the publisher, The Safety of Secrets by DeLaune Michel and The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds Page from Avon A-the contemporary Women’s Fiction division of Harper Collins, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge (I LOVED her book, Eating Heaven), and Netochka Nezvanova from Penguin Classics.  I think there are a couple more but I’ve started losing track.  I’d put all the links in, but it’s my birthday and I just don’t feel like tracking them all down!  

My book club is reading Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks for our June 8th meeting, and it is also the May choice for the online book club at The Inside Cover.  Year of Wonders is about the decimation of a British village by the bubonic plague in a single year 1665-1666.  I haven’t started it yet, but I’m going to tonight.  If you’ve read the book and want to join in to the online discussion, be sure to head over to The Inside Cover for details. 

Don’t forget about my giveaways:  The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski and Matrimony by Joshua Henkin.  Leave a comment on the above posts by Thursday, May 15th for a chance to win a copy.

Have a great Sunday, and Big Hugs to all you moms on Mother’s Day!  

18 Responses

  1. Happy Birthday & Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

  2. Oooo!! Wowwee! 🙂 Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day to you!!

  3. Happy birthday!
    (The cover of that short story collection looks a little freaky to me)

  4. Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks for the rec on this book, I do enjoy short stories but always forget about them. 🙂

  5. Happy birthday! Birthday cake and ice cream for breakfast! Yum!

    One of the authors’ blogs I follow recently encouraged authors to post their one star reviews on the site. It was quite amusing to read. It got me thinking though about the reviews I right, in particular when being critical, no matter how nice we go about it. It can be especially difficult when you know the author will read our reviews, I think. I always feel a little guilty–even though I shouldn’t. Honesty is the best policy.

  6. Happy Birthday to you! I love the idea of cake and ice cream for your birthday breakfast.

  7. Year of Wonders is sitting on my book shelf at the moment and I’ve so loved her other work that I really must get round to this. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Have a great day! Happy Mother’s Day/Birthday!

  9. Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day — at least they aren’t the same day every year! 🙂

    I loved the YEAR OF WONDERS. It was my first Geraldine Brooks novel. I’m now a huge fan of hers. I’m looking forward to hearing your opinion.

  10. Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Birthday. I thought that Year of Wonders was an interesting book. It did a good job of intertwining the personal with the global.


  12. Happy Birthday and Happy Mother’s Day! I really liked Year of Wonders and reviewed it awhile back. Let me know what you think! Also, I’m thinking of starting my own ice cream and cake for breakfast tradition around here–great idea 🙂

  13. I’ve posted a few negative reviews and gotten mixed responses from authors. But as I’ve noted many times, until I get paid, I am writing for me, then maybe for other readers, and then maybe for authors. It pains me when I hear of bloggers who hold back criticism, particularly in the situation you describe. If it’s a mixed review, I want even more to know what it is that is problematic than if the book is just completely trashed.

  14. First, Happy Birthday! I know exactly how you feel about the 2 for 1 gifts, although I was surprised to hear that it happens on holidays other than Christmas. I guess I’m just more sensitive to the Christmas dilemma being as it’s the one my birthday falls by (I was born a few days before but it doesn’t keep people from doing a twofer).

    Also, I’ve heard a ton about Matrimony lately. It seems like everybody is reading it. I just read a review about how amazing it was so now I’m going to go read yours and see what maybe wasn’t so great about it. I’m planning on reading it in the next couple of weeks myself because I want to participate in the online book club discussion about it.

    OK then, I’m off to find your review.

  15. hope your big day was happy! 🙂

  16. Happy Birthday! My birthday falls on Father’s Day every few years so that is a bit tough to figure out who gets spoiled when. I appreciate your thoughts on writing honest reviews. I read Year of Wonders years ago and remember really liking it. Will look forward to hearing what your group thinks.

  17. Happy B-Day & Mother’s Day, Lisa!

    Now, about negative reviews for books that are sent to you via publishers or authors. It is quite a dilemma, but I think your solution was a good one. It says a lot about the author of “Matrimony” that he was okay with your posting a mixed review.

    I had a similar situation — I recently read part of a soon-to-be-published work of historical fiction which I felt kind of “meh” about. I quickly typed out a few of my thoughts about it and e-mailed them to the publisher. They got back to me and said that they absolutely did not want me to post my opinion about the novel. They even thanked me for my time!

    So, if you are torn in any way about an unpublished work you have been asked to review, let the interested parties know. This covers your butt, and it allows you to be honest in your opinions about the novels you are reviewing.

    Rock On!

  18. Lisa, happy birthday and also happy mother’s day!

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