The Sunday Salon: A Rollercoaster Reading Week

The Sunday Salon

Oh, I was on such a roll there with my reading, friends. We’re talking three 5-star reads in a row, which is unusual to begin with, but is somehow even more delicious when it happens during these months, isn’t it? 

I mean, when you fall into this kind of literary luck, you’re unstoppable. You feel like you can take on every book in your house, on your Kindle, in the largest library in western Pennsylvania. Everything’s a potential 5 star hit so bring it all; you can handle it; you’re reading into the night, nonstop, a book a day almost, becoming a literary junkie in search of just one more 5 star fix to support your habit.

Or … maybe that’s just me?

I do tend to overdo things sometimes.

Anyway, that certainly described me recently with these:

In Persuasion Nation The Virgin Cure The Grievers

My 5-star reads were In Persuasion Nation, by George Saunders; The Virgin Cure, by Ami McKay (reviewed here), and The Grievers, by Philadelphia-based author Marc Schuster. Amazing, all of them.

Like I said, I was on a roll.

Until I wasn’t.

Suddenly, like a rollercoaster ride, came the plummet this week with two DNFs in a row.


Like the temperatures outside, Dirt  by David Vann was a little too hot to handle. I mean, I’m no prude and I don’t offend easily in the least, but there was something about this one that was … too much. I can’t quite categorize it, but day-umn, THIS is one dysfunctional, screwed up family. Get thee into some therapy, stat.

The Silver StarSo what do I do? Go onto another dysfunctional family, of course. This time, it was the Holloways, in The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls.

Now, I have the utmost respect for Ms. Walls and her courage in sharing her personal family story through her memoir, The Glass Castle and novel-based-on-a-true-story, Half Broke Horses. I loved both books. (See my review of Half Broke Horses here.) The problem with The Silver Star (at least for me) is that the characters felt like I already knew them, right down to the names. The main character’s name is even JEAN, but is called Bean because she’s tall and thin. The plot felt predictable, too.

I’m happy to report that the rollercoaster is headed back up – at least as far as my reading goes.

The Illusion of Separateness Love Is the Cure The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets

The Illusion of Separateness has been getting a lot of buzz on the blogs, and with good reason. I was lucky to get a copy of this one for a potential freelance review with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, so I spent some time this weekend reading this and working on the review. (A preview: I really liked this one a lot!) The idea that we’re all interconnected isn’t a new one, but I love how Simon Van Booy brings this theme to life in this novel.

I’m currently reading Elton John’s memoir, Love Is the Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS. This isn’t so much a memoir of Elton’s life, but rather more of a reflection and a statement of what it’s going to take to end the AIDS epidemic worldwide. He talks in detail about his life-changing friendship with Ryan White and how his ordeal helped inspire the Elton John AIDS Foundation as well as help Elton himself beat his drug and food addictions. It’s also a sobering look at how much work there is still to do.

And The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets is a new addition to the lineup, as the audiobook that replaces The Silver Star. I have a little more driving than usual in my future this week – my boy JUST got into a hard-to-get into special needs bicycle-riding camp at the very last minute! so excited for this! – so between that and the school camp he and Betty are in during the mornings, I’ll be driving up and down Pittsburgh’s famed rollercoaster-like hills quite a bit this week.

So, final tally of books for this past week: 4 winners (and soon to be a 5th, with the Elton book) and two DNFs. 

Not a bad ride at all.

Thanks for sharing this post!

4 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: A Rollercoaster Reading Week

  1. Pingback: The Sunday Salon: July 29 | melissa firman

  2. Barbara Bartels

    I often feel this way and don’t quite trust myself. I go through a period where I love everything and then one where nothing satisfies. I think it’s me. Moody me. Usually it’s not. It’s the roller coaster. I love the way you have written this. Fun to read.

  3. Jennifer

    Three 5 star books in a row is AMAZING! The only bad thing is that afterwards other books can suffer in comparison. 😉

    I’d very much like to read that Elton John and the Van Booy is one I’m dying to get my hands on.

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