Sunday Salon ~ May 31st, 2009

Long time no see!  Sorry about that.  Hubby, Rocky and I have been back in the good ‘ole U.S. of A. for almost three weeks and have been very busy, as you can imagine.  We’ve been buying a car, getting phones, reconnecting with old friends, getting familiar with the area again and house hunting.  We found a house but have to wait for it to be built so we will be staying with my in-laws through the end of the summer till the house is ready.  It will be lovely though and so worth the wait. 

Olive Kitteridge: FictionOf course with all the distractions and things-to-do my reading and blogging have fallen to the way side.  I have missed blogging and decided that a Sunday Salon post was the best way to get back on the blogging wagon and start June the right way.  I just started reading the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Olive Kitteridge last night on my Kindle and though I’ve only read a few screens worth of it, I like it and am reminded of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County

This Wednesday evening Hubby and I will be attending a reading/book signing event with George Pelecanos at a local Borders Books.  Hubby is a big fan of Pelecanos and he is resides in my hometown of Silver Spring, MD.  It should be a great evening.  We missed Michael Connelly’s event at the same Borders last Tuesday but Hubby had just started his new gig that day and going out for the evening would have been a little much. 

Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux KingI’m also excited about two new releases this week.  Dave Matthews Band will be releasing their latest studio album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King this Tuesday and I plan on driving around with the volume all the way up and listening to it from beginning to end that day.  (UPDATE: I just got our tix to see DMB at Nissan Pavilion on August 8th!!!) 



Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite TreatThe second thing that I will be picking up this week is Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.  I can’t wait to be in our new gourmet kitchen so I can make cupcakes and cookies till my heart and stomach’s content. 




Book Review ~ The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

Summary ~ The Little Giant of Aberdeen CountyFrom Publishers Weekly~Starred Review.  Baker’s bangup debut mixes the exuberant eccentricities of John Irving’s Garp, Anne Tyler’s relationship savvy and the plangent voice of Margaret Atwood. In an upstate New York backwater, Truly, massive from birth, has a bleak existence with her depressed father and her china-doll–like sister, Serena Jane. Truly grows at an astonishing rate—her girth the result of a pituitary gland problem—and after her father dies when Truly is 12, Truly is sloughed off to the Dyersons, a hapless farming family. Her outsize kindness surfaces as she befriends the Dyersons’ outcast daughter, Amelia, and later leaves her beloved Dyerson farm to take care of Serena Jane’s husband and son after Serena Jane leaves them. Haunting the margins of Truly’s story is that of Tabitha Dyerson, a rumored witch whose secrets afford a breathtaking role reversal for Truly. It’s got all the earmarks of a hit—infectious and lovable narrator, a dash of magic, an impressive sweep and a heartrending but not treacly family drama. It’ll be a shame if this doesn’t race up the bestseller lists.

What an absolutely enthralling, exciting, depressing, uplifting, tear inducing, story-telling book we have in Tiffany Baker’s debut novel, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.  Truly Plaice is a larger than life character in every sense of the phrase.  She is physically enormous and continues to grow and grow but not only in body but in character, soul and heart.  Truly is not dealt the best hand in life.  Her birth ends her mother’s life (she was huge from the beginning) and when her father passes away and leaves her sister Serena Jane and Truly at the hands of townspeople, the two are forever separated from each other.  They were separated from each other from the very beginning of life though.  Where Truly is large, sturdy, loyal and ugly (on the outside), Serena Jane is petite, beautiful, fragile, flighty and interested in helping herself and not others. 

Truly’s story takes us through her life and there we meet the people who imprint themselves on her soul and in our minds forever.  The doctor/brother-in-law who torments Truly his whole days through and is the most evil character I’ve read in a long while.  The boy who stole Truly’sheart through letters while he was in the jungles of Southeast Asia, fighting for our country.  The teacher who was the first to call Truly by the name she feared to hear the most at a young age; Giant.  The pseudo-sister she finds in Amelia and Amelia’s family who took Truly in when she had no where else to go, and taught her to take life’s punches as they come but to watch out for yourself at all times.  The story that comes about through the relationships that Truly has with these folks is one I won’t soon forget. 

In The Little Giant of Aberdeen County there are representatives of good and evil and then there are moments of grey that can’t be placed in a specific category.  Tiffany Baker has an All-American story that will no doubt hold your attention and imagination past the last page. 

{Rating ~ 5 out of 5}

You can also check out The Washington Post’s review of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County HERE.

Sunday Salon ~ January 4th, 2009

2009!?!?!?  When did that happen?  I must have been strapped to a rocket pack because 2008 sure flew by at warp speed.  What did I accomplish in 2008?  Well, I had given myself a personal challenge of reading 33 books for the 33 years I have been alive and I did it.  I read 33 books!  I am very proud of myself and have decided to do 34 for 34 in 2009.  New Year’s Day marked my 34th birthday.  Having a birthday on the first day of the year is very cool and allows me to easily start resolutions and challenges as a way to mark getting older and the years passing all at once.  I really think that even though we will be moving back to the states from Okinawa this year, I will be able to accomplish reading 34 books. 

Hubby got me the Amazon Kindle for my birthday but because Amazon is currently sold out of the Kindle (thanks Oprah!) it won’t ship until March.  😦  I hope that they ship it out earlier but I do have enough books on my TBR shelves to keep me busy till the Kindle’s arrival.  I already have a list started of the books I will buy and download to the Kindle. 

Thanks to my parents and my in-laws birthday checks I was able to buy a Wii on Friday.  Hubby and I have been having fun bowling, playing tennis, boxing, playing golf and hitting and pitching baseballs all weekend.  He thinks I’m pretty pathetic because I have a bad case of “Wii Arm” due to the intensity that I play those games.  I’m feeling better today for the first time in two days, but I love my Wii. 

This week there are some things I have to work on for this blog, including a Top 10 list of books I read in 2008.  What were some of your favorite reads last year?  Are there any books you are looking forward to picking up when they are released in 2009?  I’m about three quarters of the way done with Tiffany Baker’s upcoming release of her debut novel, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County.  It will be available in stores this week.  You can check out updates on Tiffany Baker’s release week over at The Debutante Ball.

That Wagon Is Slippery!

Yeah, I did it again.  I fell off the blogging wagon.  I don’t have much of an excuse this time though.  Yeah, Christmas was last week and New Years Eve and my 34th birthday are this week but all in all I haven’t been that busy.  I am having a nice holiday though, and I hope you are too. 

guernseyliterary1I finished reading 33 books this year which was the goal I had set for myself back in January.  Book number 33 turned out to be one of my favorite books of all time, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  I still have to write and post my review and will hopefully get to that before Wednesday.  I know, I could be writing that right now instead but I’m not.  Instead I’m doing what I do and talking/writing about what I’m going to do.  I’m terrible!  Maybe that should be one of my new year resolutions?  JUST DO IT KAREN!! 




51lu7ktla1l__sl500_aa240_Anyway, right now I’m reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker and I’m enjoying it very much.  It will be available in stores on January 8th and I must say it’s pretty good so far.  I have really enjoyed reading stories.  Not just stories but complete works of fiction.  I think I burned out on chick lit this year and my imagination is really enjoying the trips these books are taking it on. 

What about you?  What style of writing did you read too much of this year?  Do you have any reading resolutions you are making in the new year?  Mine is to read less chick lit and more fiction/literature, be it historical fiction, plain fiction or fantasy even.  I think it’s doing good things for my brain and soul.