I awoke to the pleasant sound of raindrops pattering on the awning outside my bedroom, a most welcome sound, since the ground has been dry and parched for most of the past month. However, my plans for the morning were spoiled…dog walking followed by a morning on the patio of our local coffeeshop with pastry and papers. Never mind…I can curl up on the sofa just as well.
Welcome to The Sunday Salon.
I won’t mention Bridge of Sighs again, other than to say I’ve finished it and have the audio book on order at the library. I’ve only ever done this once – listened to the audio book in close proximity to reading the print, and that was with Julia Glass’ The Whole World Over. In that case, I listened to the book first, and loved it so much I felt the need to see those delicious words on paper…so I bought the book and read it right over again! Have you ever done that? Been so in love with a story, and with the music and cadence of the writing, that you need to hear/read it again? Julia Glass is one of my writing hero’s, and I believe she has a new book forthcoming this fall, which I await with bated breath.
I received two books in the mail this week, and I’m excited about both of them. The first was an autographed copy of Josh Henkin’s novel Matrimony, which I won in Gautami’s giveaway. Choosing one’s next read after finishing a much loved book like Bridge of Sighs is always a bit risky, but Matrimony has so far been a very satisfying successor. The other was The Writer’s Idea Book, by Jack Heffron, which offers some tantalizing writing prompts (“write an alternate story of your life,” “write about your relationship with anger,” and 398 others!) as well as practical writing advice.
In my perusal of various and sundry book blogs this summer, I’ve noticed discussion regarding the role of bloggers in the book review process, a topic that I think was initiated by an article in the NYT’s Book Review pages which deplored the demise of print reviews in favor of book bloggers, and implied that bloggers were somehow not qualified to provide the kind of reviews good literature deserved. As ususal, I find myself taking a moderate stance on this topic, feeling that there is definitely a need for the erudite, literary reviews we find in publications such as the Times, but also believing there is value in the opinions of “ordinary readers,” who after all probably make up a good portion of the book buying public.
What I look for among the book blogs I read, and what I try to convey in my own writing, is a sense of what the book means to me, how the author has touched me in some way, or made me think about myself or my circumstances differently, or sparked some insights about people or life in general. The book bloggers that I read on a regular basis have become a coterie of trusted companions whose reactions to books are often similar to my own, and whose recommendations I therefore value. True, I don’t always feel myself qualified to judge a book on its “literary merit,” but I can tell you with absolute sincerity whether the characters and story were meaningful to me, whether I was moved by events in the book and entertained by the writing. The reader’s personal response to a book is what interests me, and that’s the niche I think book blogging can fill quite nicely. Judging from the number of author’s who participate in the book blogging world, with guest posts and interviews and book giveaways, it seems they’ve also found this to be a good avenue for communicating with readers.
And now, as the rain continues, I believe I’ll pour another cup of coffee and come ’round to see what you’re all up to on this Sunday morning.