Yesterday, I had my second luncheon get-together with the Montreal Book Bloggers, which was good fun. We were a small group, with maybe only ten of us in attendance, but of course we shared plenty of book talk, and most of us walked away with a bunch of ‘new to us’ books, since one of the big features of these get-togethers is to trade books among ourselves. Amanda from Tales and Treats (in the red top) listed loads of literary fiction, with many titles already on my wishlist, so I greedily reserved everything I thought might appeal to me. We got together in the same restaurant as last time, i.e. in downtown Montreal right next to Indigo book store. After lunch, many of us went over to have a look at what’s new and hot, and take advantage of their sales, though Avis (from She Reads and Reads, on my left) and I got stalled with the new titles on the ground floor and lost the others. Afterward, she and I crossed the street over to Kiehl’s so that I could pick up a free lip balm they had on promotion along with a bunch of free samples. I’m on their email list and they often have give-aways to attract clients into their stores, though there is never any pressure to buy. The staff is genuinely friendly and I always end up conversing with them. When Ashley, the young woman helping me found out we were part of a book club, she asked for some recommendations. Right off the top of my head I suggested The Night Circus and The Paris Wife as two easy and fun ‘sure bets’ and she in turn ended up giving us a bunch of great recommendations too. On LibraryThing, where we’re constantly picking up book recommendations, we have a term which is ‘getting hit by a book bullet’ when a title appeals to us and we’re prompted to add it to the wishlist or purchase it right away. Anyway, I got hit with a few of those, because of course, as every avid reader knows, one can never have too many books…
Here is my loot:
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver – I’ve heard great things about this novel, which takes us to Mexico in the world of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin – this Southern murder mystery got so much positive feedback on LT that I must discover it for myself
Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante – a literary thriller? Count me in!
The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis – Canadian Politics, set in Ottawa? Big yawn. But it’s supposed to be funny and won Canada Reads this year, so there must be something to it.
Hanna’s Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson – takes us through one hundred years of Scandinavian history
Twilight Sleep by Edith Wharton – A satire of the Jazz Age by one of the greatest American authors of the 20th century—couldn’t resist.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman – am very intrigued about this one, although (because?) it got mixed reviews and nobody seems to agree on whether it’s brilliant or bunk.
The Bastard of Istanbul Elif Şafak – I had The Flea Palace on my wishlist, but may as well start out with the more popular of the two
American Pastoral by Philip Roth – Many seem to very much dislike Roth… only one way to find out how I feel about him. It’s a Pulitzer prize winner (1998), for what it’s worth.
Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler – truth is, I got this one purely because it won the Pulitzer prize (1989) and is on the Guardian 1000 list.
All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warran – yeah sure, there’s the Pulitzer prize again (1947), but more importantly, it’s on Esquire’s 75 Books Every Man Should Read list!
The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri – an intriguing story about an elderly man called Vishnu who revisits his life in his dying moments while he slowly slips into an alcoholic coma. Was on the Booker Prize long list Longlist in 2001.
The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock – A teenage girl on the channel island of Guernsey may or may not have killed her best friend. An advance reader copy to which an LT friend of mine gave it a glowing review.
From Cat (from Beyond Books)
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld – Book 3 in the popular Leviathan young adult trilogy. Never mind that I haven’t read the first book Leviathan yet, but I’ll get there soon enough!
The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston – Avis found this one. A novel told in scrapbook form with stunning vintage 50s visuals. May or may not work, so if I don’t get into it in the first few pages, I’ll either return it or gift it. It got a very high appreciation score by readers on LibraryThing.
Book Suggestions from Ashley at Kiehl’s
Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin – set in 50s Paris, a young man at grips with his homosexuality
Italian Shoes – I think she meant the Henning Mankell novel, but it more likely to be the novel by Frank Paci.
Women, Food and God and Feeding the Hungry Heart by Geneen Roth – “I don’t like self-help books, but Geneen Roth is really different” she said.
I’ve got a huge amount of reviews I wrote for LT which I’ve been meaning to post here. The only problem is I don’t know where to start! Suggestions?