Monday, June 28, 2010

Mailbox Monday/IMM - June 28, 2010

Story Siren hosts In My Mailbox where book bloggers offer a peek into the books that arrived in their homes over the past week. Mailbox Monday hosted by Marcia at the Printed Page has the same objective. These memes are great in that they offer us a chance to see what others are reading- it's like candy for book addicts!

I had a flying visit to the UK this week for work (literally flying - I was there for a total of about 36 hours) and I fell victim to the bookstores in London Heathrow.  Every time I travel through LHR, I come home with books no matter how much I insist that I will not purchase any more books!  I hit WH Smith in Terminal 4 and picked up:

Men from the Boys  by Tony Parsons - this is a sequel to Man and Boy: A Novel which I read a number of years ago and enjoyed

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Vintage) by Steig Larsson - I may be the last person alive not to have read this book.  My book club is reading it next month so I needed it (that was the excuse that got me into the bookstore to begin with!)

The Making of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr - when in Rome . . . I mean London!  I am an anglophile so this one appealed to me

Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell - I love Brit Chick Lit and I hear wonderful things about this author so I indulged and picked up one of her books

What came into your home this week?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Sunday Salon - June 27, 2010

The Sunday

With 90 degree heat this week in NYC, Summer has arrived!  I long to be able to hit the beach with a stack of books but I may need to resort to my buidling's roof until I can take some vacation time!  What is your reading destination this summer?

 The first day of Summer was June 21st and that also brought and end to the Spring Reading Thing hosted by Callapidder Days.  For this "challenge" participants set out their reading plans for the Spring season - I posted my list here and this how I did:


 Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail Very Valentine: A NovelBrava, Valentine: A NovelThe Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

The Season of Second Chances: A NovelBrooklyn: A NovelProspect Park West: A Novel
 Not on the list, But Finished
As much as I wanted to read every book on my list, I also got distracted by other books which took me off plan . . . 
Alexandra, GoneMountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Paperback)Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home
Did Not Finish
Spring was tough for me - I had 6 horrible weeks at work which left me with limited time for reading so I didn't accomplish everything I had hoped - here is what I didn't read.  These will be moving to my list for summer ...
What and where will you be reading this summer?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audiobook Review: In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

I am a big fan of Bill Bryson’s books and I recently started listening to him on audio – he reads his own books and his dry, sardonic humor delivered in his mid-Atlantic accent is perfect and actually adds to my experience of his stories.  I posted a review earlier this year of the audiobook, Notes from a Small Island and I had a lot of comments from fellow Bryson followers.  Many commenters, including Cori from Let's Eat Grandpa!, Amy from Black Sheep Dances and Becky from Page Turners   recommended In a Sunburned Country so I promptly downloaded it and began to listen.    Now I want to go to Australia  . . .

In a Sunburned Country is Bryson’s ode to Australia and recounts his multiple trips to the “land down under”.  Bryson combines witty anecdotes of his adventures in travel, including a near drowning incident, with a review of Australia’s history, people and flora/fauna.  The balance seems just about right – as soon as I found myself getting bored with a description of yet another animal that is unique to Australia, Bryson would start a comic story about one of his adventures down under.  One of my favorites occurred during his trip to Alice Springs (which I am pretty sure I visited at least twice when I re-started the audiobook at the wrong point!) where he found himself with no hotel reservation in a spot with limited room availability.  After one unlucky attempt to secure a room, he moved on to the next hotel only to wait in line behind  an American couple and listen to their incessant line of questioning of the desk clerk about everything from the cost of a stamp for their postcards, whether there was an ironing board in the room to the location, to the hotel restaurant's hours and their best dishes.  When the couple finally moves on, the desk clerk informs Bryson that they got the last available room in the hotel!  Bryson's description of the scene was perfect- I could totally imagine standing behind this couple!

Bryson covers a lot of ground in the book - he travels all throughout the country and the fact that the Australia is such a large country is one that came up frequently - to the point when I began to wonder "When is he just going to accept that the country is big - things are far apart from each other?" His griping about the size of the country aside, however, Bryson's fondness for Australia is clear.  His descriptions of the many natural wonders certainly make me yearn for a trip down under -  I have added it to an already burgeoning list of countries I must visit.  In the meantime, however, maybe I will re-listen to the audiobook and take my third trip to Alice Springs!