The Sunday Salon: February Overview.

The Sunday
Good Sunday morning Saloners! And Happy Autumn to Australia (yes, they start calling it autumn on March 1 rather than on the Equinox). I hope the fall weather eases the heat and fire danger down there.

I've missed a couple of Salons again. And been a terrible blog neighbor since I've hardly visited anyone else's Salon entry either. Mea culpa!

Well, it's a new month again so here's a little review of what I was up to, book-wise, in February. It started out on a mediocre note, with several books in a row earning just 3.5 out of 5 stars from me. Not quite a meh rating, but just slightly above average. The books I rated 3.5:

  • Testimony by Anita Shreve. I've loved all of Shreve's books thus far; this one fell short for me.
  • Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett. Some excellent stories and some just average.
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. I loved this book for about 3/4 of it, then I thought it got a bit repetitive and silly. The satire is wonderful.
  • The Vigorous Mind: Cross-train Your Brain to Break Through Mental, Emotional, and Professional Boundaries by Ingrid Cummings. Good, not great.
  • The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa. I would probably have gotten more out of this had I been more familiar with Italian history.
And then I ended the month with a huge splash! 3 of my favorites for 2009 so far:

  • The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent. I love historical fiction, and especially women's stories. This was about the witch trials in Salem in the late 17th century. Very well written, just a gem.
  • A Mercy by Toni Morrison. What can I say? It's Toni Morrison.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Everything you've heard about this book is true. It's stunning and sad and nearly flawless. I gave this one the full Monty: 5 stars.
My first read for March is The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry, which is promising to be a very good book. It was shortlisted for the Booker prize, so I'll get another X in that column for my reading challenges.

And speaking of those challenges: Not too bad. I've actually completed one, except for the reviews, which I am loathe to do, if you haven't noticed. I am just not a book reviewer. Maybe too many book reports in my youth.

Here's the tally so far:

What's in a Name: completed 6/6 DONE!
Decades Challenge: completed 4/10.
The Orange Prize and Booker Prize challenges are perpetual, but I've set a personal goal to read 12 of each this year (some are crossovers). Orange Prize: 5/12; Booker Prize: 2/12.
Dewey's Books: 1/5
Pub Challenge: 1/9
Short Stories: 9/25
Essays: 0/20
Jane Austen: 0/1
Classics (other than Austen): 0/4
These last two are personal challenges. By my definition, Classic is any book older than me that has a high level of notoriety. There are a few exceptions (e.g. To Kill A Mockingbird).

This month I'm hosting another stop on the book blog tour - March 12. This one is for Zig-zagging: Loving Madly, Losing Badly How Ziggy Saved My Life by Tom Wilson, the creator of the cartoon Ziggy. It sounds like a very interesting read.

AND! my one year blogiversary is in 4 days! Be sure to check back for the big celebration on March 5th! Cash gifts gladly accepted!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and happy reading!

Join the Sunday Salon!


Wendy said...

SOOOOO glad you loved The Book Thief. It is just so brilliant. Sorry the Shreve novel fell short for you - I liked it more than you, but it still doesn't match up to The Pilot's Wife. I hope you enjoy the Barry novel - I really liked it a lot. You are doing quite well with challenges, Terri - I knew we'd eventually reel you in :)

Priscilla said...

Another good review for The Book Thief! This is good to know, as I've put this on a challenge list.

I love Ship Fever. I had to read it a few times before it really hit me. Have you read any of her others?

Margot said...

Even though you had so many 3.5s it looks like a good book month to me. That's a lot of books - ah, the beauty of retirement. I'm also on the Ziggy book tour but mine is not until the 24th. Hope you're enjoying the book.

Gattina said...

It's strange to me that automn starts in your part of the world and we here are longing for spring,lol!
Thanks for your comment on my Ruby Tuesday !