Sunday Salon ~ May 2nd, 2010

Well, HELLO Stranger!  Man, it has been awhile since I did a Sunday Salon post.  Sorry about that!  It seems that the weekends here fly by so quickly that it’s almost mid-week before I remember that I should have written a Sunday Salon post. 

Okay, enough of the excuses.  I haven’t been lagging to badly when it comes to my reading lately.  Though it took a long two weeks, I finally finished reading Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.  This book is my book club’s May selection.  My club’s meeting is going to be pretty cool because we are (weather permitting) going to have a picnic lunch on the grounds of The National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  I will be posting my review here on Planet Books closer to the date of our meeting which is scheduled towards the end of this month. 

In The Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a TimeThe good thing about finishing The Lost Symbol is that I can now read In The Neighborhood – The Search For Community On An American Street, Once Sleepover At A Time by Peter Lovenheim. 

What an interesting book!  This sociology project of sorts was executed and written by an author, who with his family, moved into his childhood home on a picturesque street outside of Rochester, NY.  After a shocking murder-suicide occurred in a house down the street, Peter wondered who his neighbors really were and why there was no sense of community and neighborhood.  His way of getting to know his neighbors is a common practice but usually among America’s youth, not their parents.  He decided to get to know his neighbors by sleeping over in their homes and observing them during a “typical day.” 

I think my interest in reading this book stems from being a first-time homeowner in a brand new and beautiful neighborhood in Northern Virginia.  It’s a very quite place most of the time, what with adults working days, children in school and busy social and television watching schedules keeping most neighbors inside or away from home.  Sure, we all wave at each other when neighbors drive by and others are checking the mail or doing yard work but I only know the names of my immediate neighbors.  I have built some kind of a relationship with the neighbors we share fence lines with and have even had our lovely neighbors on the left over for dinner and I occasionally go over and pop a squat on their couch and catch up with them, but others, as we have, have fallen between the cracks. 

I can’t wait to see what Peter Lovenheim concludes about his neighborhood at the end of his book and I’ll be curious to see if he inspires me (the daughter of very private parents who have lived in their house for 33 years this summer and still only know their immediate neighbors) to branch out and get to know the people who live in floor plans just like mine. (80% of the houses in my neighborhood are the same model as ours.)

And The July/August Book Is…

                                   The Great Man

THE GREAT MAN by Kate Christensen winning with 64% of the vote!  Thank you to everyone who voted this time around.  Just to remind you what this PEN/Faulkner Award winning novel is about here is the summary:

THE GREAT MAN~ “Oscar Feldman, the renowned figurative painter, has passed away. As his obituary notes, Oscar is survived by his wife, Abigail, their son, Ethan, and his sister, the well-known abstract painter Maxine Feldman. What the obituary does not note, however, is that Oscar is also survived by his longtime mistress, Teddy St. Cloud, and their daughters.
As two biographers interview the women in an attempt to set the record straight, the open secret of his affair reaches a boiling point and a devastating skeleton threatens to come to light. From the acclaimed author of The Epicure’s Lament, a scintillating novel of secrets, love, and legacy in the New York art world.”

What did you vote for this time around?  Was it the winning title or another?  Will you read The Great Man after voting?  Will you read it if it even though it wasn’t the book you voted for?  What other challenges or book club selections will you be reading this summer?  Please let us know!