Sunday Salon: A HUGE Week in Books

What a big book week this has been! First off there was World Book Night on Wednesday. I gave out copies of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This novel is categorized as young adult historical fiction, but its a good read for adults, too. Its the story of two young women who serve during WWII. One is from England, one is from Scotland. One is a commoner, one is an aristocrat. One flies planes, one does special missions.

Its like a classic spy novel in that you don’t know what’s going on and things eventually come together. Lots of historical detail, lots of literary references. One of my favorite details is the use of a new invention, the ball point pen, that the Royal Air Force (RAF) buys for pilots to use in the air. Prior to this invention it was pencils (with their breakable leads) and fountain pens (that leak and need to be refilled more often).

Giver box, picked up at R.J. Julia Bookstore.

For the past two years I gave out WBN books to staff and outpatients at the Hines VA Hospital in IL. Since I moved and am still getting grounded, I wasn’t sure where to go. Haven’t yet clicked with the VA Hospital nearest me, so I decided I’d simply go around town. I handed some books out on the town green, at a rest stop off I-95, and to a few to employees at the new job I just started the day before WBN.

At the town green I had a wonderful conversation with a husband (who looked like a gnarled old sea captain) and wife (who was trying to manage their rambunctious new puppy) about reading. The wife talked about how, as a child, she was dyslexic and didn’t learned to read comfortably until she was much old than the other kids. At the rest stopped I approached a guy with a USMC sticker on his pickup. As a USMC vet myself, this gave me an easy shoe-in to start a conversation. Turns out this gentleman was a retired colonel and Vietnam veteran.

Couple on the green walking way with their free book after chatting about reading. Next year I need to take along my partner who is a photographer and get more pictures! I’m too buy talking with folks to remember to take pictures.

Only two people turn me down this year, which is pretty amazing. One guy just laughed nervously, obviously didn’t want to talk, so I moved on. The other guy was rather grumpy and said he had more books than he knew what to do with, so no, he wasn’t interested in another book. I could easily sympathize with the latter. And the point of WBN is to give to folks who aren’t already big readers. Its not always easy being a giver, but you just smile and move on.

Can’t wait to see what books will be in the offering for WBN 2015! Visit the World Book Night website to learn more and see how you can get involved next year.

Then, on Saturday, it was time for Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon! This was my first time participating in this longtime event.What a great time, what a luxury to be able to clear a whole day to do nothing but focus on reading and connecting with other readers.

I learned, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that reading multiple books in a day is not my cup of tea. I already kind of knew this about myself as I’ve always been a one-story-a-day reader. I rarely start a new book on a day I finish a book, especially when it comes to novels. I need time for a story to sink in and for the mist of it to clear out of my head before I dive into something new. For the fall readathon I think I’ll chose a big, fat novel, like War and Peace or Les Miserables, and see how much of it I can read in a day.

Yesterday I read Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle and Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It. Excellent reads, very different on the surface, but both explore issues like familial relationships, gender expectations and roles, how lives are created and maintained, and–in a big way–what it means to help others. It never ceases to amaze me how even the most oddly combined books can have common themes.

While the reading was good for me yesterday, what was also great was meeting so many new bloggers and readers on Twitter and Instagram. There was also action going on through Tumblr and Facebook. Check it out and consider giving it a whirl yourself in October!

Thanks for reading! I hope you had a great week in books and have a good book in your hands for the week ahead!


  1. ~ P.S. poking around your blog, I see we have Iowa City in common! I always make it to the Iowa City Book Festival! 🙂 hearing the authors is so cool. I'm hoping to take a Writers Workshop workshop this summer. And hoping to relocate there someday. I'm only an hour away now. Go Hawks!

  2. glad you had such a great week. it was great for me too with France Book Tours 1st anniversary, a great twitter party and so many people entering the mega giveaway! so far have never participated in a readathon, though I'm close to doing a lot in winter by myself. this week-end was perfect conditions for planting our vegetables garden!

  3. I'm so sorry I missed your anniversary!! But I'm reading more books set in France thanks to you. 🙂 Good for you for getting things planted! We just bought some plants/seeds and will probably get them planted this weekend. Can't wait to have fresh tomatoes again.

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