Sunday Salon: This and That

My, my, my, what a week! Books on the Brain had it’s best day ever stat-wise on Friday (it totally blew away the last best day ever!) When my numbers had reached their all-time high by 10am, I knew something was up. Turns out Matrimony author Joshua Henkin had been interviewed about his efforts to market his novel to book clubs by Shelf Awareness, an extremely popular site in the publishing world, and included a link to his guest post on my site (Thanks, Josh!!). Not only did I see a big bump in hits, I got flooded with offers of books for review by publishers and authors. How cool is that???  I actually had to turn down a few that were not the kind of books I normally read.  Me, turning down books!!  That just never happens!  But any book with the word “pussy” in the title isn’t one I’m going to feature at my little PG rated book blog.  And I’m not much into self help stuff or mysteries, so better to have someone who IS into that sort of thing review those books, right?

We’re having another heat wave here so it’s a good day to stay inside with a fan blowing on my sweaty skin and read. Oh, I’ll probably have to take the kids down to swim at the neighbors’ house for an hour, and we have a Girl Scout meeting this afternoon too, but then I’ll hurry back into the air conditioning and get back to my book.  Currently I’m reading Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan, the Barnes and Noble First Look book for June.  Just a couple weeks ago I read O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster in preparation for this book (loved it!), but I must say that was kind of pointless- the two books are nothing alike in style, tone, rhythm, subject, themes, etc.  If I didn’t know I would never have guessed they were by the same author.  Not that I’m not enjoying Songs for the Missing- I am- a lot.  It’s just completely different.

I’m not the type of reader who can have 4 different books going at once.  I. just. can’t.  I’m a monogamous reader with very few exceptions (I am soooo not a book slut!)  And, unlike Booking Mama, I can’t spend 4 hours a day reading.  So when I received Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge this week, I passed it to a friend in my book club who was all too happy to read it before me.  She said so far she really likes it, and I’m not at all surprised.  Jennie Shortridge was the first author our book club ever did an author chat with, when we discussed her novel Eating Heaven last year (an excellent choice for a book club, by the way!) She is so warm and fun and we had a great time with her.  I’m excited to read Love and Biology after my book club bud finishes it.

With my TBR pile teetering and listing to one side, and commitments to review books piling up, I decided to pass along a few other books to another member of my book club, who agreed to review them for Books on the Brain .  They include Freestyle by Linda Nieves-Powell, A Curious Earth by Gerard Woodward, and The Space Between Before and After by Jean Reynolds-Page.  I look forward to reading them when she’s done.

I’ve been getting slightly more sucked in to Library Thing’s Early Reviewers message boards. They have a Tuesday Thingers group that I may start participating in which, if I understand it correctly, is just an excuse to post book blather on Tuesdays and then go visit all the other Thingers and read their book blather.  At least I think that’s how it works.

What else?  Hmmm.  Well my daughter finished a big 5th grade project yesterday that’s due on Wednesday. For once I convinced her she didn’t have to wait until the VERY LAST MINUTE to get her homework done (shock!)  Her written report and display on “Richard Nixon: A Man of Many Firsts” turned out great and we she better get an A on it!  I’m kidding.  She did it all by herself, which is completely apparent.  I resisted my perfectionist tendencies to “fix” things that were glued on slightly crooked.  I bit my critical tongue when I saw that she wanted to use the picture of Nixon and Elvis as the largest picture and the centerpiece of her display.  It’s her work and she did a great job.  The kids’ school has their Open House on Thursday so there’s been a big push to do projects and artsy stuff in the last couple of weeks.  They do very few projects and very little art during the year (damn budget cuts!) and then BAM it hits us all at once.  It’s not my thing but I do my best to help my kids.  It’s just sad when you go to Open House and it’s obvious there’s no way in HELL the 10 year old with the beaming engineer dad made the to-scale model of the White House and the Pentagon out of sugar cubes and toothpicks, or the 9 year old whose mom is a scientist was able to make a working model of a geothermal power plant with real steam all by his wittle self.  Well, L.’s project is nowhere near professionally done, but it’s her work.  She’s proud of it and I hope her teacher will see the effort that was put into it.

So.. what are you reading today?  Leave a note and let me know!

Happy Sunday!

21 Responses

  1. Congratulations! I’m jealous of you getting flooded with book offers. 🙂 I say this even as I’m packing and moving and wondering how in the world I’ll ever read all of the books I have. 😉

    Love your blog, though, you deserve it!

  2. Congratulations Lisa — hopefully those new readers will stick around and see what a great site you have. It’s good that you can call on some other people to help you get through your TBR pile – -that means more reviews for us!

  3. No one sends me ARCs. I live in India. I am not elgible for most First looks either! More is the pity!


  4. Congratulations! I’ve been thinking about joining the Tuesday Thingers too.

  5. I’ve just gone the other way and decided I’m not going to take up any more offers of review copies. I’ve spent too long over the past month reading books I really didn’t want to while books I did want to read were languishing on the shelves. Maybe I shouldn’t feel obliged to read all that is sent, but I’m afraid I do and so the best way for me at least is just to say no thank you and pass on this.

  6. Wow, BUSY LADY!!! Whew! Those books you mentioned in the post all sound interesting. I’m going to have to check them out. I’m almost done with Matrimony! I’ll post soon (Sunday’s almost over here).

  7. I have mixed feelings about review copies as well. They tend to crash in demanding to be read in front of all the others you had lined up. But most of them have been good reads and a couple outstanding reads. Only one was a grit your teeth and finish. And they have resulted in interesting exchanges with writers who have in turn sent me review copies. I am about to review one of these later today.

    Your blog reminded me that I do need to join some book club or circle. I saw my dream network years ago on the TV which was a man’s book club meeting weekly in a pub so books discussed over a pint…heaven. Sadly my only experience was of a women’s book club in which about 10 minutes was about the book and the rest was a how terrible was my week as galleons of red wine was knocked back.

    I have heard of cyber book clubs so may have to start there so given this is what I read last year…any ideas?

  8. Boy do I wish I was a monogamous reader – but I’m not. . . good for you though. And that’s a great reading list.
    Nixon, huh? Sounds like a great project, but I must admit surprise that she would pick him as a subject. Very intriguing.

  9. I think you got a few more offers than I did on Friday — none of mine were of an “interesting” nature either! I too am flooded with books right now, and I need to learn to say no! But what if I’m missing a really great book because I don’t give it a chance? The dilemnas of being a book blogger!! 😉

  10. Wow! what a flood of reading and readers. How lovely. I’d be curious to see that picture of Nixon and Elvis! sounds like a great project.

  11. Congratulations! You deserve all the attention for your blog ~ it’s one of my favorites.

    I could so relate to your story about the science projects ~ it’s obvious which ones are done by the kids and which ones are done by the parents. My daughter refuses to let me help in any way (other than buy supplies) which I guess, in the long run, is for the best.

  12. Way to go Lisa! I’m so happy that your blog is really taking off! I’m so jealous of all you do on yours. The books you mentioned sound very interesting and I’ll have to check them out further. You have a fantastic blog and I love checking in with you daily! You Go Girl!

  13. Hi guys, thanks for all the great comments. We are off to church in a sec but I wanted to quickly respond to a couple people.
    Andi- you wondered why my daughter picked Elvis as her subject- two reasons. He is the only president I ever saw live and in person (I went to Eisenhower HS in Michigan- Nixon was Eisenhower’s vice president and he came to dedicate the high school when it was brand new- I was not in high school yet but my whole family came to see him- Air Force One landed on the school’s track- it left a big impression on me). Now we live in California, and the Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace is about 20 minutes away. They recently had a Girl Scout event there and we took the kids. We took pictures, etc. SO when it was time for L. to pick a project for her USA report, her class was given a list of suggestions. One was “any US President” so because we’d just been to the library, she picked Nixon. What a surprise it was to her to read about Watergate and his resignation. She walks around the house now saying “I am not a crook” LOL

    Jeane: you can see the famous Nixon/Elvis picture here: I think I’ll go back and put it in the body of this post for all to see!

  14. Hi,

    You have your work cut out for you with all those books to read. That’s the kind of work you probably don’t mind though!

    I just finished The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and last night I finished Madame Bovary which is my book club’s pick for June. As you said, it is a great weekend to read with it being so hot and all. I am now looking through my stack to see what I want to open next.

    Happy Sunday!


  15. I used to be a monogamous reader, but now I have at least four, if not more, books going at the same time and these book challenges, and book blogging groups, don’t help in the least. As a man, I guess, I’m a book whoremonger, if women are book sluts, or is that book gigolo?

  16. Congrats on the extra traffic! How super exciting. I just got my copy of Matrimony on Thursday and I’m already halfway through it. Hopefully I’ll have it finished by Tomorrow.

    Also, how super cute is it that your daughter used that picture of Nixon and Elvis as the main photo?! I loved that. I’ll have my fingers crossed for an A for her. 🙂

    P.S. I’m such a book slut. I can read up to three books at the same time, but usually only if at least one of them is SUPER boring and hard to get through.

  17. I think that it is awesome that she did the project on her own. Very true that a lot of parents end up doing projects for their kids. LOL! I mean really, like the teacher can’t tell the difference.

  18. Oh, I’m getting Love and Biology too (which also happend to be on my Amazon wishlist, so yeah me)!

  19. Yours is the second Salon post to mention Matrimony. I must check this one out, especially since it brought you such fame and fortune!

    The other books you’ve talked about sound very appealing as well…I see my TBR pile growing taller by the minute 🙂

    I just finished Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. I’m not sure what’s up next…it’s so delicious to choose something from the stack!

  20. that is so cool!!! congrats!!! YAY!! I love free review books. I am so excited about all the review publicity you have gotten. I review books too, but I have NEVER been asked, I always ask for the books. I love it too…fun stuff.

    Again, CONGRATS GIRL!!

  21. LISA! You deserve the press – this is one of my favoritest blogs, ya know. Stay cool – I think of you whenever they mention the weather in CA!

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