Sunday Salon: Last Sunday of Summer Vacation and a One Word Summary for Each Booker Long Listed Book Read So Far


This is the view from our front door outside of which I’m sitting. You would think it was a lot cooler by looking at the lush green plants, but it feels like a tropical jungle. It will get a lot warmer before it gets colder, but that is the theme of August in Illinois. We could never wear our Back to School clothes until the end of October.

There is a certain anticipation about the start of a new year. For all of you, perhaps, the new year is January 1, but for me it is always when school begins. I meet my new class. I receive new instructional materials. I greet old friends and colleagues, parents of former students and new. It’s good to  be back into the structure of a school day, something I will surely miss when I retire in two years: the routine, and the purpose found in a day spent teaching. So I am not entirely reluctant to say good-bye to summer.

We’re supposed to send a photograph of our summer fun for a welcome back activity. I sent in the photo of the Man Booker books I’d checked out from the library. Everyone will laugh, or groan, but that’s been some of the most fun for me: reading the long list.

And here’s a rather harsh, one word summary of each of the books I’ve read so far. Just my opinion, mind you, not that of the (Wo)Man Shadow Jury‘s as far as I know, and certainly not that of an official judge:

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh: disturbing

The Sellout by Paul Beatty: accusing

Hystopia by David Means: psychedelic

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout: gorgeous

Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reevesboring

The North Water by Ian McGuire: terrifying

I’m loving The North Water, which I began last night. Action packed and beautifully written, such that I feel I am on the whaling ship with the men, and it’s a scary place to be. Wonderful beginning. (But, as I progres, it’s getting more and more horrifying. Be warned.)

I hope your Sunday is going smoothly, that your summer was full of high points with any low, and that you have a good book at hand. Blessings on the rest of your weekend.

p.s. I have not forgotten the Japanese Literature Challenge, and neither has Booker Talk. She has featured Japanese Literature on her blog today, and I thank her for including me in it.

21 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Last Sunday of Summer Vacation and a One Word Summary for Each Booker Long Listed Book Read So Far”

  1. I am about 75% through “My Name is Lucy Barton” and am just savoring it. I tend to shy away from these award listed books unless it’s an author I am familiar with and love (Anne Tyler & Donna Tartt immediately come to mind). So, after adding this to my TBR pile, I cringed a bit when I saw it was long listed for the Booker. But, after reading your comments, faith was restored and it is turning out to be one of my favorite reads of the year….so far. Cheers and stay cool!


    1. I understand exactly what you mean about shying away from the highly touted books; I’m so often disappointed after the hype. And, I have a great fondness for Donna Tartt, myself. My Name is Lucy Barton is truly a book to savor…and reread. I think I’ll buy a hardcover edition for my shelf, as it is definitely one of my favorites for the year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your one word reviews! Less is more! I think the happiest thing for me about Tom being retired is that I can enjoy August. First I was in school, and then Tom taught school so that for most of my life August meant that school would begin soon. Shopping for supplies and school clothes, then Tom going to meetings and more meetings. August was all preparation. Now it has a wonderful summer flow to it. July becomes August and August becomes September seamlessly, peacefully with no jarring interruption.


    1. I think one word reviews may be the way to go: easy to write, easy to read. I have always tried to write short reviews, but I just might switch to this plan. 😉

      I am looking forward to the days when August won’t being angst, as you describe. xo

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is not for the faint of heart, not gentle like My Name is Lucy Barton, but not boring, either. You may not like it as much as I do, for I have a passion for thrillers and heavy duty stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am quite eager to read My Name is Lucy Barton and hope to get the chance in the next few weeks. I spent the first half of the year reading from my stacks, but now I’m looking forward to borrowing books that are high on my list. This is one of them.

    Today I worked in the yard, pulling weeds and deadheading some of my perennials. It wasn’t too terribly hot, although the humidity was high. I got in my groove and it was very relaxing. I rewarded myself afterward with a cool drink and sat on the porch, reading my current book (P.J. Tracy’s The Sixth Idea). I rarely ever sit and read on the weekend, so it felt quite decadent. I might have even nodded off for a few minutes…

    Have a good week back at school. The kiddos start back here tomorrow, too. My granddaughter doesn’t return until after Labor Day!


  4. Back to school!! Hope you have a great first week 🙂 I loved your one word reviews – definitely had me intrigued on some of those books. I concur with your assessment of the Strout 🙂 I definitely want to add The North Water and The Sellout to my TBR list. I’m getting my copy of Eileen tomorrow and I can’t wait to read it now.


  5. Bellezza, your one word summaries are a great way to succinctly express your thoughts about each of these books. What a clever idea! And of course, like others, I am now quite interested in reading My Name is Lucy Barton.

    Best of luck to you in the 2016 – 2017 school year!


  6. Your one word reviews reminded me of my 6 word reviews years ago… I have no idea why I gave that up 🙂 I still have 3 more weeks of holiday so I am taking advantage as much as I can 🙂 I hope your new school year will be a great one, not too many challenges, but not too boring either (actually, I can’t remember having a boring one in my 13 complete years of teaching :))
    I haven’t started reading any of these… but once again, you enjoying “My name is Lucy Barton” may make me start reading it … some time this year 🙂


  7. I hope your return to work went well. That last day of summer is always bittersweet. I can relate to the heat. It’s hot here (California) so no one can really dress for fall until late December.

    I love your one word summaries.


  8. What a lovely view you have from your porch. Hope you’ll have a great school year! I liked your one word reviews. I’m so behind on reviews I think maybe I should do this 🙂


  9. I love that the 2 books above on my TBR are described with strong words – gorgeous & terrifying sound intriguing.
    Your words have helped me decide what reading mood I will need to be in to start these books – thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Meredith 🙂
    I wish you a great new year in the classroom hoping the heat will not be overwelming.
    I read Lucy Barton and loved it’s easy mother-daughter exchange. I have North Water and hear so much good about it. I am happy you like this novel which I will read soon.
    Have a lovely day my friend ❤

    P.S. I think short reviews will suit me well and head my blog forward. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s