Sunday Salon: Bach and Books

Goings On:I'm writing this late Saturday night (technically, early Sunday morning). Just got home from playing flute in a performance of J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor. Loved the incredibly live acoustics of the stunning church where the concert was held. This is such a massive piece, lengthy with few breaks. Physically exhausting, but hey, it's Bach. Totally worth it. Recently Finished:Countdown City by Ben Winters (review)Problems with People by David GutersonRecently DNF:Blossoms and Bayonets by Jana McBurney-Lin and Hi-Dong Chai So bummed about this! The setting and storyline, fantastic. I have a review drafted that talks about why it didn't work for me.I know. Normally I don't review books I didn't finish, but this one has made me reconsider that approach…

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The Last Policeman & Countdown City by Ben Winters

A deadly asteroid is bound for earth. There's no hope left: People are abandoning their jobs, their responsibilities, fulfilling bucket lists, committing suicide. Hank Palace is the only policeman left who considers the possibility of murder when 99% of crime scenes are suicides; the only policemen left who cares enough to bother solving the case. I can't believe I almost passed on the opportunity to read and review these two books. I'm kind of picky about mysteries, and crime fiction is usually not my thing, but the pre-apocalyptic angle intrigued me. I'm glad I took a chance, because I raced through these two books, reading them back-to-back. There are 6 months until impact in The Last Policeman, and only 2½ months left in Countdown City. As…

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The Happiest Days of Our Lives by Wil Wheaton

  I love reading Wil Wheaton's stories about his life. I can't remember which book I read first, Just a Geek or Dancing Barefoot (which I wrote a bit about a couple months ago in a Sunday Salon post), but I always find myself connecting with what he has to say. The Happiest Days of Our Lives was no exception. Admittedly, a former teen crush on Wesley Crusher sparked my interest in Wheaton's books, wanting to know more about the actual person behind the character; but the Star Trek connection isn't what keeps me reading his books (or his blog, or his Twitter feed). Wheaton isn't much older than I am and we have similar geeky interests, so there's plenty of "coming of…

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Sunday Salon: After the Storm

Goings-On: This week... yeah. Had a huge storm with flooding here. We have severe thunderstorms fairly often here, but wow. I've never seen damage like this unless it was due to a tropical storm or hurricane. My neighborhood is fine, but many of those around me suffered major damage. Want to help a bookish non-profit get back on its feet? Please see my post about Open Books, a completely volunteer-run bookstore that sends books free of charge to prisoners throughout Florida. The sun came out Thursday and we enjoyed beautiful, cool temperatures. The schools were closed, so C had plenty of neighborhood kids to play with during the day. I sat on my porch and read and read and read:…

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Tino and the Pomodori by Tonya Russo Hamilton

  In Tino and the Pomodori, Tonya Russo Hamilton tells the story of her father as a young boy in Italy, anticipating his favorite time of the year: the tomato (pomodori) harvest. This book has everything I look for in a great children's title, and some of you may remember from last year's Armchair BEA... I'm terribly picky. The watercolor illustrations are stunning and keep the reader's attention. The story is simple, sweet, and reads easily. Children will pick up Italian words and phrases, learn about Italian culture, and have a subtle science lesson in the life cycle of the tomato plant. Charlotte Mason would have certainly approved of this as a "living science" book. C, who is almost 5, connected with the story right…

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Pensacola Flood Damage: Let’s Help Open Books

Most of you probably heard on the news that we had a huge storm Tuesday night here in Pensacola, with flooding in many areas of the city. Last week I posted about a wonderful not-for-profit bookstore in town, Open Books, a prison book project. They are completely volunteer; no one there gets paid. 100% of their proceeds go to sending books free of charge to prisoners throughout the state of Florida.Open Books had extensive damage to the store. They lost close to 3,000 books. The photos below were shared on their Facebook page:Right now they are cleaning up and drying things out. What they really need right now is money. They will be needing to replace bookshelves, their computer, making…

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