The Sunday Salon: Orange July Wrap-up

The Sunday Salon.comI was almost sorry to see July come to an end, I so enjoyed the Orange Prize reads for the month. Not that I can't continue reading great contemporary women writers; but it was fun to dedicate a whole month to it. Thanks to Jill for coming up with the great idea and for hosting it.

I started with a list of twelve books to pick from; the titles in orange are the books I read:
  • A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
  • Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  • Property by Valerie Martin
  • Sorry by Gail Jones (my review)
  • The Girls by Lori Lansens
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville (my review)
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
  • What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt
  • When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka (my review)
Only two of these I rated below a 4 (out of 5), and those were both 3.5s, still pretty good books (...Tractors in Ukrainian and The Namesake). It would be hard to pick a favorite from these eight. They're all so different - writing styles, emotional impact, character and narrative styles - which says a lot for the Orange Prize selections; there is variety! If I were forced to pick a favorite, it would be When the Emperor Was Divine, for its uniqueness, its sparse, poetic narrative and its emotional punch.

I'll be reading at least one more book from my list this month - The Girls is the first book picked for my new face-to-face book group, and we'll be discussing it the end of August (which is why I didn't read it in July, given my memory...or lack of). I'm intrigued by this story of conjoined twins.

Jill is adding Orange January to the mix, so this will become a semi-annual tradition; it's a great way to focus on some really outstanding books.



John's comments said...

When the Emperor Was Divine got me curious and so its on the wish-list
many thanks
My Sunday Salon Post

debnance said...

I'm trying to focus each month on reading award winners. I'm rarely disappointed with an award winner.

Jill said...

You really read up a storm this July. Congrats! And thanks again for playing along. It was a load of fun!

=) Jill

Irish said...

Congrats on all the books read this month. Looks like you had a lot of great reads there. =)

I miss being part of a real face to face book group. I hope that yours. 12 is a good number for a group. You should have some pretty great discussions!

One thing I really liked in one of the book clubs that was part of was that whenever possible we'd try to have theme snacks for the book we were reading (ie middle eastern for a book about Iran, fajitas and margaritas for a book that took place in Mexico.)

Anonymous said...

I was sad to see the books you gave the 3.5s to as they're the ones on the list I'm most interested in!

Terri said...

3.5 is still a pretty good rating in my book! I'd recommend them. I rated the Lahiri a little lower because my expectations were so high for her novel after reading her short stories. I thought it was just too long! Tractors was a good read, but got a little repetitive.

Andi said...

I do hope you'll give What I Loved a go at some point. It's probably one of my top five books of all time. In fact, I think I feel a re-read coming on!

Terri said...

Andi - definitely! It's still near the top of Mount TBR. I'll probably read it before 2008 ends.

Tara said...

I really liked The Girls, though I know not everyone agrees. Hope you do!

LisaMM said...

What a great list! I've read several of those titles.

Would you be interested in writing a guest post about your book club for my IN Praise of Book Clubs series? Let me know!