[Sunday Salon] – Me Being Cheesy and a Fraction of The Whole

Has it really been a week since the last Sunday Salon already? I remember sitting here roughly this same time last weekend wondering what to write about, and here I am a one-week veteran of the Sunday Salon and……err……I’m still wondering what to write about. Well that’s not exactly true. There is one thing I wanted to do through the medium of words, and that’s to extend my gratitude for the incredibly warm and friendly welcome I’ve received from the Sunday Salon membership over the past week. Since my inaugural post last Sunday I’ve been blown away by just how nice you guys really are. As cheesy as it sounds, I think I’ve found a great community here, which in a world that’s getting more and more self-centred each day, is such a difficult thing to find.

I’d also like to say that I’m equally blown away by the support that’s been shown for my 100 Shots of Short Challenge and I’d like to thank everyone who has decided to take up this challenge. Just as importantly I’d also like to thank ‘angel hearts’ like Wendy (CaribousMum) who have tried, and succeeded, to give the challenge (and my Chekhov one) a little more exposure.

Moving on, and with little of anything specific to write about, I guess it would be of some value, even just for personal archive, just to give a brief run-down on my ‘reading life’ over the past 7 days. It’s been a fairly quiet and uneventful week reading-wise but there are a few ‘notables’:

  • My ‘50 Novel’ reading challenge is still ongoing. I’ve not been concentrating on my current read (Sara Gruen’s Water For Elephants) as intently as I should be, but I’m steadily working my way through it and enjoying it immensely. I would never have thought a novel about a Depression-era circus could hold my interest, but it really is enthralling.
  • Keeping on the theme of my ‘50 Novel’ challenge and I’ve now removed Great Short Stories of the English-speaking World from the ‘50 list’ (on account of me wishing to stick fully to the ‘novel’ aspect of the challenge), and replaced it with A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Tolz, one of this year’s Man Booker shortlist titles. I purposely chose this title because I wanted to add a novel that was a bit more bang-up-to-date for a change. As good as my 50 Novel challenge is, I’m always feeling a bit ‘behind the times’ with my novel reading, and inclusion of A Fraction of the Whole addresses this somewhat. As the copy I have in my hands is a library copy, and therefore in great demand, I’m reading it just as soon as I’ve finished Water for Elephants. Unfortunately the overall Booker Prize winner gets announced this Tuesday (14th October), so no chance of me finishing the novel before the announcement, but it’s still nice to read a ‘hot topic’ book for a change; and who knows it may well win that coveted prize.
  • I’m progressing nicely through both of my ‘short story’ challenges. Both are incredibly fun and I’m finding the short story format easy to accommodate into my schedule (especially when there’s no time limit imposed on these challenges). I’m finding them so much fun that I’m even contemplating adding a third short story challenge to my schedule. Right now I’m resisting with every bone in my body (because everyone will think I’m nuts! :o)), but I don’t think I can hold off much longer, because it’s such an exciting challenge to be involved in. The upshot is you’ll probably see a new challenge being launched by me some time during the next week. It just depends on how long I can last out……groan :o).
  • Chekhov continues to enthrall and delight me with his short stories, but it looks like my original 201 story challenge total is going to swell somewhat, after I gleefully discovered a few days ago, a new (to me) anthology of 51 new Chekhov stories in The Undiscovered Chekhov translated by Peter Constantine. Can you imagine how happy I was to discover these? :o)

Anyway that’s all from me for Sunday Salon this week. See you all next week, when hopefully I’ll finally have a Sunday Salon post of substance and value. Until then – Happy Reading!

**This post has been specifically written for Sunday Salon participation**

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. Sunday Salon is a great place to be in. One gets to meet people from all over the world. And read about books one might never hear otherwise.

    SS is where the action is

  2. I’m glad you are feeling so welcomed here, Rob…I think book bloggers are some of the nicest (and most generous) people around; it is a fabulous community in which to belong!

    Glad to hear you are like the Gruen novel – I read it last year and also enjoyed the story. I have to tell you, I have been tempted to join you in the Checkov challenge, but I’m resisting because I have so many review books in my stacks, and am trying to finish some of the challenges I’ve already committed to…but since the Checkov challenge is perpetual, you just might see me jumping on board in 2009!

    By the way, thanks for the link to my blog – I’m always happy to help enable other readers to get obsessed about reading challenges 🙂

  3. Isn’t the Sunday Salon great? This is my sixth week, and so far I’ve met so many great people and discovered so many wonderful blogs!

  4. Being behind the times depends on the circle you are traveling in at the moment. In my real off-line life, my friends either aren’t big readers or they only read Christian devotional books. They’ve never heard of the Man Booker prize or the books that get it. Heck, I didn’t know about the Booker prize until a month ago! My online circles are different. My podcasting friends mostly read sci fi and fantasy. My knitting friends tend to read Jane Austen and her ilk. Still, I know how you feel because no matter what group I’m talking to, I seem to behind on what is deemed essential reading.

  5. Now I have even more reason to root for FRACTION OF THE WHOLE to win the Booker. It was my favorite book of 2008. Hope you love it as much as I do.

  6. I liked Water For Elephants, too. Glad you are enjoying Sunday Salon. I feel the same way, but you articulated it perfectly.

  7. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    @Gautami – Best thing I’ve joined in ages. Thanks for re-affirming my belief.
    @Wendy – Water for Elephant is finished. What an ending – OMG!!! No worries about the Chekhov challenge. Better not to commit to too much because I know things can stack up fast!! Like you say – it’s a perpetual challenge so it’s always going to be there.
    @Ann – Well the Booker winner’s now known so it’s a shame Fraction of the Whole didn’t win, although I think anything that can get in the last 6 is still a winner.
    @Karen – How nice of you to say so – my wife would call it ‘talking too much’ though :o) Yep Water for Elephants is something pretty special!

  8. Maupassant’s stories are worthy of a challenge all of their own, too! I can’t say whose I liked better — Chekhov or Maupassant — but Maupassant’s are certainly funnier in general! Maybe Chekhov’s are better written, but even that’s a toss-up in my mind.

  9. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    @Rebecca – I both love you AND hate you at the same time. I love you for highlighting another classic short story writer I haven’t given much thought to before, and I hate you because you’ve given a great reason to begin yet another short-story challenge :o) [whispers: if the truth be known I love you on both accounts – so thank you! :o) ]

  10. I read about 25 of Chekhov’s (reviewed here ) and about 80 of Maupassant’s (thoughts here and here) so I can’t say I’m an expert or anything. But I feel they are certainly writers to pick up, even if in small doses.

  11. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    Thanks for the links Rebecca. I’m definitely going to check out Maupassant. Nice to compare him against Chekhov


  1. […] (a ‘flavour’ that’s closely linked to the pending challenge I alluded to in my own Sunday Salon post this week), I’m definitely jumping on to this challenge. I have zero interest in any prize […]