Sunday Salon - Gifts, time, reviews and perspective.

The Sunday

Welcome to My Sunday Salon and the Sunday edition of All About Books! Or maybe should call it My Life with Books! Is it any secret I love books and reading? Silly question. I am thoroughly pleased and enthusiastic as all get out about the press release announcing Dan Brown's new novel The Lost Secret. It is being published by Doubleday and the release date is September 15, 2009. I thoroughly enjoyed "The Da Vinci Code." Read it twice as a matter of fact, when all the hoopla came out about it. I thought it was a good fictional story. Somewhere the word fiction got lost in the translation with a number of people.

I have read every single one of Dan Brown's books and enjoyed each and every one. So, I'll be the first to raise my hand and say "I would be pleased as punch to receive and review an advanced reader copy of The Lost Secret." So if anybody wants to pass that message along to Mr. Mehta, the Editor in Chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, I would appreciate it.

Speaking of advanced reader copies, I received two this week that I'm looking forward to reading. Through Bostick communications, I received Kevin J. Anderson's Enemies and Allies which is going on sale may 5th. Through Shelf Awareness, I received Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Angel's Game which is going to be released here in the U.S. on June 16th. What is really neat is that Zafon's book come in the mail on April 23rd. Included in the book was this note:

La Diada de Sant Jordi,

the great National Feast Day in Catalonia, is celebrated by giving a rose and a book to a loved one. Also know as St. George's Day around the world and celebrated on April 23rd, this feast day has been declared the International Day of the Book.

Please accept this book, The Angel's Game, as a gift from Doubleday and Carlos Ruiz Zafon.


I'm currently reading Iain Pear's Stone's Fall, another advanced reading copy which is 800 pages long and about to be released on May 5th. "It is a grand scale historical mystery set in three different time periods, told by three different narrators, and moving backward in time." (Julie Grau of Spiegel and Grau) It's all about Europe's first great age of espionage, start of the 20th century's arms race and high stakes international finance. Just reached Chapter 11 so you know what I'll be doing all this week.

I finished several reviews this week and have managed to read 52 books so far this year. Which means I've made the goal for 52 books in 52 weeks challenge, hosted by Kay from Well Trained Mind and me. I've completed 50% of the 100+ Books challenge hosted J.Kaye. I'm 1/3 of the way through the Once Upon A Time Challenge and the Spring Reading Challenge.

There has been a number of interesting conversations taking place in the blogosphere this week.

Trish of Hey Lady, Watcha Reading : When do negative reviews go too far. My take on the whole issue. I consider myself very fortunate to receive courtesy review copies of books from a variety of sources. Even though I'm not a professional reviewer, the publishers are trusting me to give advance press about their author's books. Over the years, I have worked for major corporations, lawyers, public broadcasting and independent small businesses. I learned quite a few things during that period of time and one of the things I learned is how to give constructive criticism. You never attacked the person. You didn't nit pick or debase or ridicule them.

If I don't like a book, it's generally because I didn't like the story or how the characters acted in the story. Is that poor writing on the fault of the author. No, absolutely not. They don't deserve to be told their book is crap, just because I didn't like it. One of the things publisher deserve is for the book blogger to act in a professional manner, with a modicum of civility, because after all they are representing the publisher and the author. We have to keep that in perspective.

Another reason why I feel fortunate to be receiving courtesy books, is 20 some odd years ago I had a dream of working in the publishing business. I wanted to work for a publishing house, be a proofreader, then work my way up to editor. But for whatever reason, it didn't come to fruition. And I let it go. I still dream of opening my own bookstore, publishing a book, and all those other bookish dreams you can think off. Never in my imagination, did I ever think that blogging would lead to fulfilling something I always wanted to do. Even though I'm doing it voluntarily, in essence I'm fulfilling one of those dreams by reading and reviewing and getting to network with the publishing world. I consider myself fortunate and the experience invaluable.

I came across something interesting the other day. Project Gutenberg is looking for volunteer proofreaders and it can all be done online. I'm hoping to find the time to do this.

Speaking of time, Lady Glamis of The Innocent Flower talks all about What's on Your Plate and when do you step back and re-evaluate your priorities. Great discussion and made me stop and think about what's on my plate and all I want to accomplish.

I'll leave you with this one question: If you had to give up one thing in order to accomplish your goals, what would it be?


  1. Great roundup and hard question!

    I think it would depend on what goals I was trying to accomplish... If it was to get published, I'd probably give up photography. If it was to be there for my family when the needed more than ever, I'd give up writing. Priorities are hard. We often have to weigh in and see what's on that plate. So what's your answer?

  2. It is a hard question and I've been debating with myself about what I would do.

    It does depends entirely on my goals. Those change yearly. Right now I want to finish my Liberal Arts degree. I'm already have my a.a. and paralegal certificate but want to finish bachelors just for my own personal satisfaction. I have 5 classes left. Most of the time, it takes priority over my writing. I've practically given up tv but that really doesn't count.

    Seriously...if I was trying to get published "right now" - I would give up blogging. But that is a couple years down the road. I'll be done with classes and I don't know if we are going to home school James past the 6th grade. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

  3. I'd have to give up more of my online surfing...blogging and Facebook. Great post!

  4. Oh, what a lovely note! And the synchronity is gorgeous too. ^-^ Hope you'll enjoy both books when you get to them!

    And that's a hard question indeed. You're right that it depends on one's goals, though.

  5. Robin, you have raised so many points of conversation in this post. It's quite hard to answer it all. I too am glad that Dan Brown has a new novel coming out. If you figure out how to get an advanced copy, let me know.

    I am amazed that you have managed to read 52 novels in only four months. Maybe you should do a post on what your secret is to accomplishing that.

    As to your question on what to give up to reach goals - I've reached a point in my life that I don't even contemplate it in those terms. When something big comes up I just automatically move in whatever direction is necessary. Ahhh, there are some advantages to being sixty-something.

  6. There was a lot going on wasn't there!!

  7. Thanks all.

    Margot - The secret is no TV. I basically gave up watching tv and read in the evenings. I dvr a couple shows and watch them later. I rarely watch live tv anymore - the commercials drive me crazy. Since hubby loves forensics shows, which I can't stand, it's a great time for me to curl up and read.


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