Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Salon: Themed Reading

Autumn has blown in with a vengeance here. One day we were suffering hideous humidity and wearing shorts and t-shirts and the following day we were bundled up in sweatshirts and long pants looking at a flat grey sky. Up until this sudden weather flip-flop, it was hard to believe that fall was upon us, despite having pushed all three of the kids out the door for their waiting buses. Now there's no doubt though. And in my life, fall means the resumption of Women's National Book Association meetings.

I am the secretary of our local chapter so every fall, in preparation for October's National Reading Group Month, I am asked to compile a themed list of books good for reading groups. Last year I wrote up a list of foodie books. This year, my friend C., past president and she who is in charge of the list compilation, suggested that I do something centered around water given my known weakness for any book that even hints of a connection to water. The lists should contain mostly paperbacks and a mix of fiction and non-fiction. And because I have always been a teacher's pet, I not only scour my past reads for inclusion, but I pull titles I have sitting around and try to read as many of them as I can to see if they too should be on the list. So far, the list as it stands now (subject to change, of course):

Safe From the Sea by Peter Geye
The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker
Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel
Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger
The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer
River House by Sarahlee Lawrence
The Sea Captain’s Wife by Beth Powning

As you can see, I am not doing so very well on non-fiction titles this year. It's hard because the book can't just be one that appeals to me (a long and quite honestly easy list to make) but also be appropriate for a sustained book club discussion. So I'm still reading and deciding. I have bookmarks in Saved by the Sea by David Helvarg and The Last River Child by Lori Ann Bloomfield. I also have a stack pulled from my shelves to potentially read as well: The Marriage of the Sea by Jane Alison, Ocean Sea by Alessandro Baricco, River by Colin Fletcher, Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson, The Last Dive by Bernie Chowdhury, and Underwater to Get Out of the Rain by Trevor Norton. I am certain there are many others in my collection that fit the theme as well so please let me know if I am missing one for consideration. And if you have any suggestions for pithy list titles, send 'em along. So far I've heard The Old Book and the Sea (but some of the books are river or lake focused) or Drowning in Books (but that might be a bit negative even though some of the books do indeed have drownings in them).

It should probably go without saying that this past week, most of my reading has taken me to sea, down rivers, and underwater. It feels like my home element. If someone would just develop a truly waterproof book, I would strap on a scuba tank and only resurface for more air! Reading and water, my world. Where do you love to have your reading take you?


  1. Glad to know you're working away at this! Too bad it isn't raining just yet, as that would be even more appropriate for your watery reading.

  2. Fall weather has hit my area too and I am loving it!

  3. I would offer up my daughter's bath books which are waterproof but somehow I don't think they are what you are looking for. ;-)

    You have some great titles to start with!

  4. I've never been one for non-fic. but you're doing great.

  5. Sea of Slaughter (Non-fiction) by Farley Mowat is highly recommended and has lots to talk about.

    Amazon description:
    The northeastern seaboard of the United States and Canada, from Cape Cod to Labrador, was the first region in North America to suffer from human exploitation. In this timeless narrative, Farley Mowat describes in harrowing detail the devastation inflicted upon the birds, whales, fish, and mammals of this icy coast -- from polar bears and otters to cod, seals, and ducks. Since its first publication some 20 years ago, this powerful work has served as both a warning to humanity and an inspiration for change.

    Comment from Roger Tory Peterson:
    In this masterpiece, Canada's most beloved naturalist-author is as angry about the assult on the living sea as Rachel Carson was about the land in Silent Spring."


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