Sunday Salon

Well would you look at that..  it’s been a whole week since I’ve posted anything!  So sorry.


Goldengrove-PB-199x300I was about halfway through A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents when I accidentally left it in my husband’s car, leaving me without an ‘in progress’ book.  Thankfully Goldengrove arrived that day.

Actually, Goldengrove TRIED to arrive twice before but the UPS man wouldn’t leave it without a signature.  That just burns my shorts.  Who can be home all day, waiting for books to arrive??  I wrote a note asking UPS to please leave it on the porch, or with a neighbor, so they finally did that on the 3rd day. My neighbor ran it over to me as I was leaving to pick up the kids at school, so I started it in the school parking lot and haven’t put it down since.  The writing is achingly beautiful, and I’m blown away by the author’s ability to paint such vivid mental images with her words.  I’ve inhabited the Goldengrove world entirely and I’m going to finish the book before going back to A Field Guide.. because I just can’t bear to put it aside.

The UPS man had another surprise for me this week.  Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving is a chunkster at 576 pages.  On the back cover it says, “In Northern New Hampshire, an anxious 12 year old boy mistakes the local constable’s girlfriend for a bear.  Both the 12 year old and his father become fugitives…”  An unsolicited book of that size might have ended up on the bottom of my TBR pile, but I’m intrigued.. plus, well.. it’s John Irving.

imageDB-3.cgiMy book club meets today to discuss Lottery by Patricia Wood.  Lottery is about a mentally challenged young man who wins 12 million dollars in the Washington State Lottery.  Ms. Wood is working toward her doctorate in a disability and diversity program, and she is also the daughter of a lottery winner, making her uniquely qualified to tell this story!  She lives with her husband on a boat in Hawaii but will take time out of her busy ‘aloha’ schedule to chat with us this afternoon.

My kids have been reading quite a bit.  My youngest, the reluctant reader, found a book she likes.  Dork Diaries: Tales from a NOT-SO Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell has captured her imagination.  It’s subtitle is “The Secret Diary of Nikki Maxwell” and it’s set up as the diary of a middle school girl.  It’s kind of the female version of the Wimpy ugliesKid books.  My daughter has to read 20 minutes per day and this book has her reading a little longer, even after the timer goes off.

My oldest is a reading machine.  Her latest obsession is the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.  She plowed through Uglies in a day and a half and begged me to get in the car and drive to the book store for Pretties, the next in the series.  There are four books in the Uglies trilogy (isn’t a trilogy, by definition, 3 things?  Did he get to three and just decide to keep going??)  She’ll probably have them all finished by the end of the week.  Any suggestions on what to feed the raging reading inferno that is my 11 year old?

Kids and Home:

1st day of 5th grade!

1st day of 5th grade!

My 5th grader went back to school on Tuesday.  On Wednesday she tried out for basketball, and on Thursday she found out she made the team!  Which is great, but also adds another layer of chaos to our already hectic lives.  She’ll practice twice a week and have games through mid November.  It’s a travel team with games as far as 30 miles away, mid-week.  I’ll have to use my magical powers to be in two places at once, or rely on other parents at times to drive one of my kids around.

My 7th grader, who has played the trumpet for the last two years, announced this week that she was switching instruments.  She wants to play the baritone.  Having never been in band, I wasn’t even sure what that is.. but I know now that it’s sort of a small tuba.

Her band director thinks that’s great and is totally encouraging the switch, but I’m a little unhappy about it.  Maybe because I’m the one who has been renting the stupid trumpet for two years and paying for lessons all summer!  On the plus side, the fingering is the same on both instruments, so she should pick up the baritone very quickly.  Plus, she can use a school-owned instrument in junior high and high school (if she sticks with it) because not that many kids go out for baritone, and bands need them, so the schools have plenty to lend out.  That means no more instrument rental fees for me.  I should be happy, right?

Football season has started so the hub has checked out of family interaction on weekends in favor of a perpetual tv trance.  He’ll be “watching” the kids today during book club.  Hopefully they won’t burn the house down.

I signed on to chair the Scholastic Book Fair at the junior high, which starts this Friday and runs for a week.  There are a ba-zillion details to attend to in advance of the fair, so if anyone wondered why I haven’t been around the blog-o-sphere much lately, that is why.  It’s a big job, but I love being a book pusher.

Thanks for stopping by Books on the Brain!  Leave me a comment and let me know what’s new with you.  What are you reading this week?


27 Responses

  1. UPS just leaves all of our packages on the front porch – I’m surprised you have to sign for them.

    My son played the baritone from the 5th grade to the 12th grade & it is nice not to have to rent an instrument, but that thing is big to haul around! The baritone section was small, so they were a tight knit group, though and that was a good thing. In all those years there was only 1 female in the section, and she ruled with an iron fist!

    • They usually will leave stuff but sometimes a signature is required. I think the sender decides on that (?)

      The BIGNESS is one of my biggest concerns!! My daughter is tiny! But the band director is so enthusiastic about it, so anything I say goes in one ear and out the other. I like the idea of it being a small, tight knit group though.

  2. Pure chaos your life is, Lisa! I stand in awe of your abilities to handle it all.

    I’ve only read Blue Angel by Prose, but I LOVED IT. I’ll have to give this one a go, too.

  3. I can only imagine the job that chairing that committee is going to be. Good luck with that!

    It irritates me when UPS won’t leave things without someone here. Luckily our UPS guy has given up on that unless the sender requires it. I’m looking forward to reading Goldengrove, too! 🙂

    • I’ve chaired book fair several times in grade school but never junior high. It’s just a much bigger school. Plus I’m new to the school, so I didn’t know how things were done in the past, or even where the copier is, but I’m learning!

      I look forward to reading your thoughts on Goldengrove!

  4. My parents were annoyed, too, when I quit the flute after 10 years and 3 instruments. Being in the band for so long was a great experience, though, so I think it’s well worth it. Her trumpet lessons should still serve her well on the baritone, so your money wasn’t wasted. =)

  5. Ever since I had a box of checks stolen from my mailbox, I’ve been a little hesitant about leaving boxes on my porch. I’ve never had a box stolen off the porch (that I know about!) but having been a victim leaves one a little nervous.

  6. Hurray for you in taking care of the book fair!! As a retired teacher, I can happily attest to the importance of parents like you who are willing to support learning in such a meaningful way. Keep those jr. high kids reading!!

  7. I listened to Goldengrove on audio last year and liked it very much, though my favorite Prose is still Reading Like a Writer.

    Have fun at book club!

  8. I am on PTO and we use Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair. They do a lot of the work for us, we just show up to work it. We went with Scholastic in the past but we were not happy with them, nor were the parents.

    I haven’t started Goldengrove yet. I just got it the other day too but I am in the middle of The Last Dickens so it will be a week or so before I get to it.

  9. I’m dying to know how the Lottery discussion went! Please share. Did the author participate?

  10. Lisa, I stopped by earlier today but didn’t have time to leave a comment.

    I’m not surprised your children like to read. You set a great example. : )

    The nice thing about chairing a book fair, besides helping the school, is that you get to see all those wonderful books, and interact with young readers.

  11. I liked Uglies but I haven’t read the rest of those in that series. I finished Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Laura Lipton but haven’t started anything else yet.

  12. Sometimes I have to sign for packages, sometimes I don’t. There was 1 or 2 weeks where I got several books in the mail. By the 3rd or 4th day he was here, the UPS guy just waved to me and jotted my name down himself!
    The Lottery sounds like a really interesting story. What an intersting life Patricia Wood has! I’m looking forward to her interview here!
    I’m not familiar with Goldengrove but I love Francine Prose’s writing. I think you described it perfectly when you called it “Achingly beautiful”.
    I’m very interested in your Book club’s pick “Olive Kitteridge”. I very much want to read this book!
    Congratulations to your daughter on making the basketball team! Fantastic!
    It sounds like your 7th grader is quite talented at musical instruments. I understand the hassle for you after supporting the trumpet playing for a while but it’s great that she wants to try a different instrument.

    I came to visited after reading wonderful things about you and your blog written by Sheri at A Novel Menagerie. This post of yours is great, I really like your clear, vibrant writing. I also want to thank you for your advice to new bloggers. As a new blogger still trying to understand everything and being in awe of the book community I didn’t expect to find when I started my blog and am beyond thrilled to have found, your advice is so on point. My tendency is to try to impress and please but that causes me undue stress and mental confusion and fatigue. I plan to follow your advice closely and keep it close to me!
    Thank you!

  13. I’ve had a slow reading month so far. But this weekend I did manage to finish Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner which was pretty good and The Master Butcher’s Singing Club by Louise Erdrich for my f2f book club tomorrow. Still need the finish The Help.

  14. It sounds as though you’ve had a very eventful week! I think Lottery sounds like a fantastic book, and I think I am going to put it on my wish list. Sounds like a unique story.

  15. I imagine you’re the perfect chair for the Scholastic Book Fair!

  16. Oh, those band directors are always trying to get those middle school kids to switch to the baritone when they find one with the skill to do it. No rental fees is a very good thing and at least she is still wanting to play an instrument and you hadn’t bought one. Which we did. Four times.

  17. Oooh. Now I’m intrigued. I’ll have to pick up Goldengrove ASAP.

  18. I read Goldengrove about a year ago and loved it–beautiful.

    I have the same problem with UPS–most f my stuff is Amazon and they seem to pick and choose, Ups USPS and UPS will sometimes leave it at the door, and sometimes need signature! Frustrating!

  19. I came through another’s blog. Interesting write. You kept me reading through to the end. I enjoyed your write. Okay…I have switched to reading only African writers so presently I am reading ‘The Joys of Motherhood’ by Buchi Emecheta (a Nigerian). I am a Ghanaian. I do blog about the books I read, plus other interesting postings. You can pass by to have a view for yourself, that is if you are able to engineer some time.

  20. Lisa, you make my head spin with all you have going on.

  21. Prose is a wonderful writer. Thanks for the recommendations. I’m about to read “The Prince of the Marshes – and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq.”

  22. UPS dumps books on my porch. Even if I’m home, they ditch the parcel, ring the doorbell and by the time I open the door whoever brought a package is back in his big brown truck. They always honk and wave.

    I loved Lottery and adore Pat Wood. I’ll bet that was a fun book club chat!

  23. Oh, I loved Lottery! Such a gem of a book. I’m reading Wade Rouse right now (“At Least In the City …”)

  24. You can tell the state of my life by adding up the amount of days it took me to respond to this post *laughing* So glad to see you loved Goldengrove since I’m touring it on the 13th of October 🙂 My UPS man is awesome…even despite Raven barking her fool head off at him, he comes right up on the porch and hands me my books…and he leaves them if I’m not home. Re: Irvings latest…I also got that one and am looking forward to reading it SOON!

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