Sunday Salon: Suggestions, Please

Forgive the shadowed darkness of this photograph which shows my favorite reading chair. The day is dark, although it’s only 2:30 in the afternoon, and you can’t quite capture the glorious feeling I have nestled within it comforted by the pillow from my friend Lesley, the book upon the table, and the spectacular view outside. When I’m teaching all day, this is where Minou, our Norwegian forest cat who looks like Gandalf, resides most comfortably.
So, what’s the big deal about a chair? It will be where I plan on residing all day Thursday, my birthday, and I’m planning my celebration with the utmost of care. 
Starbucks has promised a free “handcrafted beverage of your choice” in return for being a gold card member for about a thousand years, and so I know I’ll be sitting here with a Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte when I normally have a tall cappuccino to save some calories. But, the question really lies in this, “What book shall I be reading?” 
This, as any reader knows, is a very important question. Because no body wants to take a day off work  to sit in one’s favorite chair with just any old book. I’m debating…should I choose a beloved favorite to reread, assured of the treasure within? Or, should I daringly choose something new, taking a chance on the possibility of finding something great? 
If you were me, celebrating the day with the book of your choice, what title would you give me to read? I’d love your suggestions, friends, and if I don’t get to them this year think of the gift you will have given me in the plethora of titles from which to choose in years to come.

53 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Suggestions, Please

  1. What an awesome chair!!!! And you're right, that is a gorgeous view.

    I think I would go with an old favorite that it's been years since I tackled.
    But I would make sure to have some new back ups just in case.

    Happy early birthday sugar!

  2. I say choose something new. Hit up the library and get 5 titles from all those “best of lists” that have run wild on the internet for the last month. With 5 – there should be at least 1 that you like. And make them all new to you authors too. Go big or go home I say :-)

  3. That's a good idea, Tanya, to scour the recent “best of” lists that everyone wrote for the end of 2014. Still, I'm hoping for one or two all time favorites from those with whom I blog. I went back to bold that request in my post as it seems a bit unclear.

  4. I would read the American Classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and spend the day with Francie. I reread that book every so many years and it never ages or dates. Alternative to that I really like the idea of a big pile of books from the library of unknowns. Go down the shelves and check out books that start with the initial (author) of your first or last name and see what you get.

  5. I love Francie!! What a wonderful idea! Isn't it great how the books that deeply effect us never get old? I like your other idea, too, to live on the wild side by choosing an author with “my” initial. xo

  6. hm… I am reading WAKE by Anna Hope right now and it is really quite good. It is out February 14, I think, so a book for the future. It takes place in 5 days following WWI and is about women, the effects of the war, and the Unknown Warrior.

  7. Is it cheating to suggest that you run your fingers across a bookshelf and stop at the first book that appeals to you? I think I sometimes suffer from too many choices… stay warm, my friend!

  8. I have two books sitting on my shelf that I am really just waiting for the right moment to read. A whole day in that lovely chair with a delicious latte and I'd be reaching for The Elegance of the Hedgehog or for Middlemarch. The depiction of an apartment full of introverts has me curious about the first, and I think an extended amount of time would be a benefit in immersing in the second. Whatever you choose I predict a delightful day!

  9. Perfect for the Historical Fiction challenge, Kailana, thanks for the heads up! Plus, I have a friend in our neighborhood who is crazy about WWI so I'll pass it on to her.

  10. My mother, while vacationing in Florida, just told me how much she is loving Silva's Portrait of a Spy, so that's moved up the list for me. I'll be sure to let you know what it is I read on Thursday. :)

  11. Oh, Lee-Ann, I loved The Elegance of The Hedgehog! We'll have to talk when you get around to it. As for Middlemarch, I've never tried it. I wonder if it's on my nook? Off to check…thanks for your ideas.

  12. Happy birthday! It sounds like your birthday is going to be a fantastic day! Please don't apologize for that picture. The view and the chair are lovely. :-) What about a reread of Love that Dog? If not, what about God got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant? It's a book of poems.

  13. Have you read Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh? I listened to the audio several years ago and keep meaning to read it again. That and The Shell Seekers by Rosamune Pilcher. Oh, and Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons. Another wonderful book, if it's still in print is Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson.

    I love your reading “nook” and am pleased to see the pillow on your chair. :)

    Have a lovely birthday, dear Bellezza.


  14. How about some poetry by Edward Thomas or Robert Frost? Have you read Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear? I love the character of Maisie. She makes me feel hopeful. Enjoy your birthday :)

  15. What an inviting spot for a day of reading! I like the idea of selecting several books and seeing which one appeals to you on your special day. Two books I've loved this month – The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes and The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman (slow start, but excellent debut novel). Happy Birthday!

  16. I love Love That Dog! And Dog Heaven! And now you tell me about God Got a Dog which I'll have to find. Those titles not ony thrill me, they are such good reads for my class. Thanks, Vasilly.

  17. You know, I usually save A Gift From The Sea for summertime, but wouldn't a bit of her wisdom be a lovely way to start a new year? She has such a good perspective on life.

    I lOVE Colony, and The Shell Seekers; I just put Colony on my nook to have for “always”. We loved the same books, Les., and it reminds me of how we reread The Thorn Birds together last year. Would we feel the same way about them now, I wonder? Thanks for the title of Bachelor Brother's Bed and Breakfast, that's totally new to me.

    As for my pillow I read with it Every Single Day: pillow on my lap, book on that, coffee or tea at my left hand. I am blessed. xo

  18. I don't know Edward Thomas, and Robert Frost is one of he few poets I think I actually understand so that's a great recommendation. I've give a dear friend the first Maisie Dobbs, and she loved it so much she's read the whole series while I have yet to read one! Thanks, Terri, for good ideas.

  19. I've got The Girl you Left Behind, but I haven't read it yet which surprises me because I sown joyed Me Before You. I don't know of The Gravity of Birds, and I thank you for that suggestion, too, JoAnn, (I suspect we're both girls who love a beautiful view. The pictures from your lake take my breath.)

  20. I'm all for rereading a favorite, if it is guaranteed to keep you as engrossed as reading it first time. Otherwise, I would go for a book category/genre that has always worked for me.

  21. There's something about going to a guaranteed source of satisfaction. There are certain restaurants to which I go where I always order the same thing. I know no one else can replicate the dish, and I know I'll never be disappointed.

  22. I think your chair is wonderful and the window it sits next and the view are beautiful! I also love your birthday plan. I would suggest Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner or September by Rosamunde Pilcher, both are great birthday reads! I cannot wait to see what book you choose.

  23. Ah, such a tender story full of wisdom. I remember the days I could read it in French, while I was in High School but still could understand the concept of something being beautiful at the same time that it carried thorns.

  24. Since you've read A Gift From the Sea, I'm wondering if you've read Junonia by Kevin Henkes. My granddaughter and I read it this summer and I as I read, it reminded me of AGFtS. It's a lovely little book and possibly something your students would enjoy. Shay is in 6th grade and enjoyed the lyrical writing. I would love to take her to Captiva or Sanibel Island someday…

    I think I'd still love Colony and The Shell Seekers. I read them in my 30s rather than my 20s (when I read The Thorn Birds) and remember much more about them than McCullough's novel. Oh, if you can find a copy of Bachelor Brother's, I think you'd love it. If you can't, I'd be more than happy to loan you mine.

    We are both blessed.

  25. A belated birthday wish to you, Bellezza! May your new year be a blessed and rewarding one. I'm presently listening to Walker Percy's The Moviegoer (1961 National Book Award Winner) It's a thought-provoking read/listen. ;)

  26. Article, you are the girl I turn to not only for great books but films. You know so very much more than I on that “score”. I'm finding great fulfillment in reading the books which have won an award, be it Man Booker, Pulitzer, National Book Award Winner. You name it, they rarely disappoint.

  27. Oh, Stegner! He is a favorite, and Crossing to Safety is probably my favorite book ever… so, so good! Just had to comment on the earlier mention of Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson, too. I loved that one and have kept a copy on my shelf for years in anticipation of an eventual reread.

  28. I just finished The a Goldfinch last month, but I have The Hen Who Dreams She Could Fly, and I remember your effusive review. Plus, it's not long..,sounds like the perfect read for tomorrow!

  29. Well, for your birthday I think you should choose whatever speaks to you at that moment… But since you asked for recommendations, well, I think that had I the luxury of a whole day's reading, I'd choose something big and absorbing, but at the same time perhaps a little unusual as you have read so much and have such wide-ranging tastes. So, maybe A.S. Byatt's 'Possession', 'Little, Big' by John Crowley, 'A Suitable Boy' by Vikram Seth, 'The Manuscript Found at Saragossa' by Jan Potocki, 'The Fountain Overflows' by Rebecca West or Robertson Davies' Cornish Trilogy. I hope that you would enjoy at least one of these books. Maybe not!

    Have a very happy and peaceful birthday. I think that photograph is gorgeous.

  30. Helen, Possession is one of my top three books of all time ever! I've read it several times over, and loved it each time.

    I read half of A Suitable Boy before it was due back at the library, and I though it quite excellent. I'd like to finish it someday. Same with Little, Big. You are the only person I know who's even mentioned that book, which I happen to own after being intrigued by its description.

    As for the others you left they are totally new to me, and I'm so glad you've left me fresh, exciting titles. You can be sure I will get to them. Thank you so much.

  31. Ooh, cinnamon dolce latte is also my drink for when I want a special treat! And, what a view you have! I think I'd go with a classic just because for me classics tend to require more time. Anyway, can't wait to hear what you'll pick up. Happy Birthday a little early :)

  32. Why am I not surprised it's your favorite drink as well? :) You're so right, classics rarely (if ever) disappoint. My mother has suggested Edna Ferber's So Big which is not only about our 'hometown' of Chicago but won a Pulitzer as well. I'm so glad for everyone's suggestions!

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