Chicken with Plums, by Marjane Satrapi, is one I've had my eye on for a long time. I just read Embroideries recently after having loved the two Persepolis books several years ago. In this book Satrapi tells the story of her uncle, a celebrated Iranian musician (tar player), who gives up music and his life after breaking his instrument and not being able to find a suitable replacement.
Sounds a bit extreme (and cracked) to me, but maybe there's more to this story than the blurb lets on. I always enjoy Satrapi's style and humor, so I can't wait to dive into this one. And I don't think it ever takes me more than an hour or so to read her books, so it's just the thing for a slump.
I also picked up Mr. Punch: The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. I so love Gaiman and McKean together (think Coraline, The Wolves in the Walls) so I snatched this one right up knowing absolutely nothing about it. The blurb at Powell's is decidedly boring, so let's go with the one from the back of the book:
In his grandfather's failing seaside arcade, a young boy encounters a mysterious Punch and Judy Man with a dark past, and a woman who makes her living playing a mermaid.
As their lives intertwine and their stories unfold, the boy is forced to confront family secrets, strange puppets and a nightmarish world of violence and betrayal, in a dark fable of childhood innocence and adult pain.
Sounds good, right? I could use something dark, nightmarish, and Gaimanesque right about now!
Next up, Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrated by Nathan Hale (no relation). I've never read a bit of Shannon Hale's work, but I hear so many good things about it, I just couldn't pass this book up. Melissa reviewed it for Estella's Revenge a while back, and it's been on my radar ever since.
Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother...or the woman she thought was her mother. Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall...a rather enormous garden wall. And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond.
Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you've never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.
Moving right along, the only novel I ventured to check out right now is Jose Saramago's Death with Interruptions. I always admire the premises of Saramago's novels, but I've never actually had the gumption to pick one up and complete it. In fact, I have Blindness and All the Names on my stacks as we speak. However, I think this may be the best premise yet:
On the first day of the new year, no one dies. This of course causes consternation among politicians, religious leaders, morticians, and doctors. Among the general public, on the other hand, there is initially celebration& — flags are hung out on balconies, people dance in the streets. They have achieved the great goal of humanity: eternal life. Then reality hits home — families are left to care for the permanently dying, life-insurance policies become meaningless, and funeral parlors are reduced to arranging burials for pet dogs, cats, hamsters, and parrots.
Death sits in her chilly apartment, where she lives alone with scythe and filing cabinets, and contemplates her experiment: What if no one ever died again? What if she, death with a small d, became human and were to fall in love?
And last but certainly not least, the only book I've actually started at this point: Between the Covers: The Book Babes' Guide to a Woman's Reading Pleasures by Ellen Heltzel and Margo Hammond. It's basically a book of book lists, and what's not to love about that? I've only just begun to dive in, but the first section is all about ballsy women--memoirs, fictional characters, historical women and their biographies, etc. Looking over at my shelves, I don't really think I need any more recommendations, but isn't that the plight of all book
Oh, and silly me for forgetting: I re-checked my copy of Castle Waiting. I really want to read it! Now I just need to finish up the books I have on the go and I can dive into these yummies with zero guilt (not that it's ever stopped me before).
Have a great weekend! I'll see you all with an update for the Sunday Salon.