Monday, December 31, 2007

Books I've Read: 2007

Books in bold are ones I've especially enjoyed.
  1. The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, Daniel Mendelsohn
  2. The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
  3. Digging to America, Anne Tyler
  4. Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Markus Zusak
  5. Looking For Alaska, John Green
  6. The Rules of Survival, Nancy Werlin
  7. The Case of the Missing Books: A Mobile Library Mystery, Ian Sansom
  8. Suite Fran├žaise, Irene Nemirovsky
  9. Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, Patricia C. Wrede
  10. Valiant, Holly Black
  11. An Abundance of Katherines, John Green
  12. The Peterkin Papers, Lucretia P. Hale
  13. The Tale of Despereaux, Kate Dicamillo
  14. The Dark Hills Divide, Patrick Carman
  15. Mr. Popper's Penguins, Richard Atwater
  16. Tithe, Holly Black
  17. Victory, Susan Cooper
  18. Bad Kitty, Michele Jaffe
  19. A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, Dana Reinhardt
  20. Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
  21. The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan
  22. This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn, Aidan Chambers
  23. The Book of Story Beginnings, Kristin Kladstrup
  24. The Blood Stone, Jamila Gavin
  25. Behind the Curtain, Peter Abrahams
  26. Y: The Last Man Vol. 4: Safeword, Brian K. Vaughan
  27. Y: The Last Man Vol. 5: Ring of Truth, Brian K. Vaughan
  28. Beyond The Valley Of Thorns, Patrick Carman
  29. Sir Thursday, Garth Nix
  30. A Certain Slant of Light, Laura Whitcomb
  31. Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, Julie Powell
  32. Tenth City, Patrick Carman
  33. Dairy Queen, Catherine Murdock
  34. King Dork, Frank Portman
  35. How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
  36. The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
  37. Golden , Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  38. If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?, Melissa Kantor
  39. The Boyfriend List, E. Lockhart
  40. Fairest, Gail Carson Levine
  41. The Book as Art: Artists' Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Krystyna Wasserman
  42. Bras & Broomsticks, Sarah Mlynowski
  43. The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime, Jasper Fforde
  44. Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything, E. Lockhart
  45. I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, Ally Carter
  46. Criss Cross, Lynne Rae Perkins
  47. Incantation, Alice Hoffman
  48. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, Carolyn Mackler
  49. Magic or Madness, Justine Larbalestier
  50. Magic Lessons, Justine Larbalestier
  51. Flyte, Angie Sage
  52. The White Darkness, Geraldine McCaughrean
  53. Peter and the Starcatchers, Dave Barry
  54. Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Dave Barry
  55. Magic's Child, Justine Larbalestier
  56. The Ruins, Scott Smith
  57. 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Maureen Johnson
  58. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean-Dominique Bauby
  59. The New Policeman, Kate Thompson
  60. Fat Kid Rules the World, K. L. Going
  61. Snow, Orhan Pamuk
  62. The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After, Patricia C. Wrede
  63. The Naming, Alison Croggon
  64. The Riddle, Alison Croggon
  65. The Grand Tour, Patricia C. Wrede
  66. They Call Me Naughty Lola
  67. Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine
  68. Feed, M.T. Anderson
  69. The Brief History of the Dead, Kevin Brockmeier
  70. The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde
  71. Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
  72. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, Gary D. Schmidt
  73. Night Watch, Sergei Lukyanenko
  74. Lost in a Good Book, Jasper Fforde
  75. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  76. Weaveworld, Clive Barker
  77. The Well of Lost Plots, Jasper Fforde
  78. Austenland, Shannon Hale
  79. Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You, Dorian Cirrone
  80. Snow Apples, Mary Razzell
  81. Blue Bloods, Melissa De La Cruz
  82. Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, Jordan Sonnenblick
  83. The World to Come, Dara Horn
  84. Shadow and Claw, Gene Wolfe
  85. Charlotte Sometimes, Penelope Farmer
  86. Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson
  87. Stardust, Neil Gaiman
  88. A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
  89. Emma, Vol. 1-4, Kaoru Mori
  90. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst
  91. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J. K. Rowling
  92. Skellig, David Almond
  93. The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner
  94. The Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner
  95. The King of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner
  96. Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr
  97. Clay, David Almond
  98. Masquerade, Melissa De La Cruz
  99. Devilish, Maureen Johnson
  100. Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure, P. B. Kerr
  101. American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang
  102. Soon I Will Be Invincible, Austin Grossman
  103. The Uses of Enchantment, Heidi Julavits
  104. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
  105. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians Book 1), Rick Riordan
  106. Death Note, Volume 1, Tsugumi Ohba
  107. The Fetch, Chris Humphreys
  108. The Alchemyst, Michael Scott
  109. Gifts, Ursula K. Le Guin
  110. Voices, Ursula K. Le Guin
  111. Russian Fairy Tales, Gillian Avery
  112. Intuition, Allegra Goodman
  113. The Foretelling, Alice Hoffman
  114. The Norse Myths, Kevin Crossley-Holland
  115. What Happened to Cass McBride?, Gail Giles
  116. Peony in Love, Lisa See
  117. Gertrude and Claudius, John Updike
  118. The Headmaster, Taylor Antrim
  119. The World According to Mimi Smartypants, Mimi Smartypants
  120. Book of A Thousand Days, Shannon Hale
  121. Three Bags Full, Leonie Swann
  122. The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber
  123. The Last Summer (of You & Me), Ann Brashares
  124. Platinum, Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  125. The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson & the Olympians Book 2), Rick Riordan
  126. The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson & the Olympians Book 3), Rick Riordan
  127. Kabul Beauty School, Deborah Rodriguez and Kristin Ohlson
  128. The Crow, Alison Croggon
  129. Service Included, Phoebe Damrosch
  130. Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City, Kirsten Miller
  131. Peter and the Secret of Randoon, Dave Barry
  132. Darkness at Pemberley, T. H. White
  133. Dialogue with Trypho, St. Justin the Martyr
  134. On Pascha, Melito of Sardis
  135. The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman (REREAD)
  136. Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman
  137. Extras, Scott Westerfeld
  138. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, Ally Carter
  139. I Am America (And So Can You), Stephen Colbert
  140. Jesus in the Talmud, Peter Schafer
  141. The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story, Lemoney Snicket
  142. The Book of Air and Shadows, Michael Gruber
  143. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel, Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
  144. The Off Season, Catherine Murdock
  145. Skin Hunger, Kathleen Duey
  146. Story of a Girl, Sara Zarr
  147. Emma, Vol. 5, Kaoru Mori
  148. Emma, Vol. 6, Kaoru Mori
  149. H.I.V.E, Mark Walden
  150. Bloom, Elizabeth Scott
  151. The Bermudez Triangle, Maureen Johnson
  152. The Pull of the Ocean, Jean-Claude Mourlevat
  153. Black Dossier, Alan Moore
  154. The Sweet Far Thing, Libba Bray
  155. Dramarama, E. Lockhart
  156. Infinite Variety: Exploring the Folger Shakespeare Library, Ester Ferington

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thanksgivnukkah Extravaganz[nukk]a[h] 2007

I'm sitting here in my warm apartment listening to the wintry mix pelting my windows, and I'm thinking that sometime in the next couple of hours I'm going to have to go outside and shovel just to get the snow up before the freezing rain really starts up in earnest. This is the only thing keeping me from curling up on my couch under a blanket with a nice, big mug of tea steaming next to me; I don't want to get too comfortable too soon or I won't be able to drag myself outside in a little while. It is beautiful outside, though, white and stormy and there's no one out there and wouldn't today be perfect if I didn't have to shovel?

A car just drove by my house with an engine that sounded like horses hooves clopping on a cobblestone street. Weird.

But I didn't begin this post to write about the glorious winter weather we've been missing for the past few years here in New England. No, I wanted to post about the birth of what I hope to be a new Holiday Season tradition: Thanksgivnukkah. You see, for the past several years my family has had Thanksgiving with this one particular other family, very close friends of ours, but since my family went elsewhere this year and part of their family went elsewhere this year, we decided that we needed to hold an after-the-fact Thanksgiving feast, and while we were at it why not celebrate Hanukkah after the fact as well? The Thanksginukkah Extravaganza of 2007 was born.

Just to give you a sense of what you're dealing with, Thanksgivings with this family have always been a day-long event. Everyone gathers at about noon to begin preparing the meal and the fixings, and this is when the snacking and the drinking also begin. Five hours of eating and drinking later, we're ready to begin the actually Thanksgiving meal. Etc. Etc.

Seeing as we were celebrating Thanksgivnukkah and not Thanksgiving, the menu may appear to be missing a few things, but I assure you it was quite sufficient:
  • Fresh smoked turkey (a particular specialty of this family, so glorious, so tasty; the stuff dreams are made of)
  • Latkes
  • Applesauce (made by yours truly)
  • Stollen
  • Salad (how did something health get in there?)
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Donuts
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Pecan pie
Everyone was especially excited about my brother's donuts, but something went tragically wrong with this little guy:

All he wanted was to be a delicious donut

For whatever reason, the dough didn't rise and as a result didn't cook through during frying. Let's take a moment to mourn.

RIP. You looked delicious, but weren't cooked through.

The food was followed by a rousing game of Dictionary (my favorite new word: krukolibidinous. I will use it every chance I get) and a showing of The Sting. Could the day have been any more perfect?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Did somebody say snow?

Yeah yeah, "I can do everything you can do better" and all that jazz. It's days like today I really miss having a man around. Why? Because snow's been falling at about the rate of THREE INCHES PER HOUR since about 1 PM this afternoon, and my arms are so, so tired.

I've put in about three hours of solid shoveling so far this afternoon and evening, and I'm predicting another 2 or so necessary tonight so that I can actually get my car out of the driveway tomorrow morning and get to work.

Idea of the month: leaving work at 12:30 today to avoid traffic

I'm just saying. From what I hear, it's taking some people about 4 hours to get home from work. Me? I spent that same time shoveling. And working on the report that's due tomorrow...

And listen, I know the snow plows are just trying to be helpful, but do you think they could stop SNOWING IN MY DRIVEWAY? That takes a lot of work to get rid of, you know.

I also wouldn't complain if my upstairs neighbors helped with the snow removal.

I think I'm going to increase my hours-of-shoveling-remaining estimate to 3.

OK, 'nough complaining for now, I need to get back to my carbo-loading.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

God has a gold tooth



And apparently this is just the first episode...I can't wait to see what they do with the other holidays!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Part trois

My next two gift ideas for your beloved bibliophile are ones that I can neither condemn nor condone. They need to be labeled:

WARNING: Some books were harmed during the making of this gift

If that's something you can stomach, look no farther than here and here. If you cannot, please, for the love of god, avert your eyes.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The holiday season is upon us, part deux

Second in my series of holiday gifts for that special bibliophile in your life.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The holiday season is upon us

Here's "the perfect gift" for the bibliophile who has everything:
And since the label is pretty much illegible in this picture, it's a perfume called "In the Library" and is described on its website as "English novel taken from a Signed First Edition of one of my very favorite novels, Russion & Moroccan leather bindings, worn cloth and a hint of wood polish."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The aftermath

In the end, the journey to Buffalo was easier than I had thought. Too easy. There was no rush hour traffic going to the airport, we had no trouble finding parking, and we sailed through security. It was eerie, to say the least. See? This is what happens when you obsess about how painful something will be: it isn't painful. Gotta love it.

My trip to Buffalo also served as a last-ditch effort to get through Watership Down, by Richard Adams. My friend, T, lent me this book about three years ago as it was one of her favorites growing up, but I couldn't get past the first ten pages. Well, folks, after two days and three nights, I'm only on page 175. For a person who routinely reads several books per weekend, this is an extremely slow pace.

So why the trouble? I think maybe because the plot (or what there is of one) hasn't grabbed me. Sure, there are a group of rabbits who leave a warren they deem unsafe to start a new one elsewhere. And there's danger. And they have adventures. But what's the story? I was discussing this with a high school friend of mine over brunch today, and he said, "This sounds like one of those books that's really an allegory. I bet the book is really about evil WWII-era companies. I'm not saying that for any reason, it's just what I think." Well, according to Wikipedia, he's scarily close: Watership Down is apparently about "fascism and appeasement." I'm fairly certain I hadn't reached the F&A storyline yet, but it isn't quite enough to make me read on. It isn't often that I can't bulldoze my way through a book, even if I'm not enjoying it. But I think three years is long enough to try, especially considering the teetering stack of books I have here next to me, waiting to be loved. And anyway, my book-as-allegory muscle has atrophied.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

By the numbers

Number of projects I'm on at work: 5
Number of scheduled hours of work this week: 24
Number of hours I need at work this week: 80
Cost of machine parts I ruined over the past two days: $500 (and counting)
Number of times I fantasized about tearing said machine apart over the course of the day: TMTC (too many to count)

Projected number of travelers at my airport tomorrow: ~100,000
Projected number of hours to be spent waiting to go through security tomorrow: 2.5
Project flight time: 1.5 hours (one way)
Projected driving time to destination if bumped off flight: 8 hours (assuming no traffic)

Current estimated blood pressure: 140/90

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Judging a book by its cover

Have you guys seen the new Penguin Classics covers? They're absolutely *gorgeous*, and I want to snatch up every last one of them (you can read more about the new "graphic classics" covers here). Here are just a couple of examples:












I'm thrilled that Penguin is putting so much energy into designing these new book covers. In fact, I was just as thrilled when Knopf put put a new edition of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series:
The content of a book is clearly most important, but the reading experience is really enhanced for me when the book is printed on nice paper and the cover's attractive as well. Am I alone in this?

In other news, I just found out that the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair was this weekend. How much of a nerd am I that I'm bummed I didn't get a chance to go?!

Friday, November 9, 2007

People think I'm crazy

People who know me well know that I have certain completely irrational and random fears: swimming in deep water when I don't know what's under me; throwing up; grating my skin with a cheese grater; being in a plane crash; insects; insects feasting on my flesh; me being inside my house when it explodes from a massive gas leak; somehow cutting my eyeballs...I'll stop here to keep from further embarrassment.

Well, one of these fears has been realized: tonight my grip on the Parmesan cheese slipped and I grated my thumb and pinky on my right hand.

I have a few things to say about the matter:
  1. Ow.
  2. It won't stop bleeding.
  3. Ewwwww.
  4. OW.
  5. It wasn't quite as awful as I had imagined, though it is pretty awful if I stop and think about it for too long.
  6. See numbers 1, 2 and 4.
And since you were wondering, I was using the "extra coarse" grater.

Seriously, though, I should just sit quietly on my couch not touching anything for a few days. Last night, after finally finding the time to get my humidifier ready for use, the (full) water tank slipped out of my hands, fell to the floor and shattered, flooding my bedroom with about 4 gallons of water. The sound of water pouring down into my heat vent (and realizing that my feet were soaked) pulled me out of my did-what-I-think-just-happened-happen reverie, and I spent the next half hour using every extra bed sheet and towel I own mopping up the mess.

Please add "bed falling through rotted-out hardwood floor into basement while I sleep" to my list of irrational fears.

So it's no surprise that all of my equipment only started working today as soon as I left the lab, and that when I came home tonight I made like the Romans did with Rabbi Akiva. The pinky is oh-so much worse off than the thumb. I actually have ice on it trying to get it to stop bleeding.

Apparently the universe thinks that getting a PROMOTION and an excellent raise is adequate to balance out all of the above insanity, and I have to say that I'm inclined to agree.

Please excuse me while I wrap myself up in padding and sit in the middle of my couch watching TV. I can't even risk finishing my book for fear of unnatural papercuts or freak spontaneous combustion of ink.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

New camera edition

How I love you, November, with your cool, crisp days and your extra hour of sleep! To celebrate, I headed out this morning to get myself a special breakfast treat at my favorite local bakery, Bread and Chocolate:

Now doesn't that look delicious? Especially since it was taken on my new camera, to be referred to hereafter as The Best Birthday Present Ever. I've been having a great time getting myself acquainted with all of TBBPE's features and exploring the limits of its 12x optical zoom.

This afternoon I'm going to see my favorite opera, La Boheme, with my family, and will finally have the opportunity to use the opera glasses I inherited from my grandmother. They were not originally hers, but as she had been the recipient of almost all of her family's things, I'm not sure who they belonged to originally. They are beautifully inlaid with mother of pearl, and from my pokings-around on the internets, it appears that they date back to sometime in the second half of the 19th century and are French.

I'll let you all know it goes! This will be my first time going to the opera State-side, so I'm excited to finally be able to read an understand the subtitles accompanying the performance (the majority of my other opera experiences were in German and Czech speaking countries).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

But can I wait a year?!

This is possibly the best TV news I've heard in ages! I may implode from all of the excitement! Must! Use! More! Exclamation! Points!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm back, baby!

I think it's safe to say that the Great Reading Funk of 2007 is officially over. I'm back, baby! It's about time, too, because this great big stack of books in front of me isn't going to read itself. If truth be told, my average has slipped from 0.47 to 0.43 books/day (due entirely to The Funk). What is the world coming to?

Am I particularly excited by any of the eight books I've read since The Abolishment of the Funk? (Am I starting to sound like Donald Rumsfeld with all these self-directed questions?) Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series continues to amuse, and Ann Brashare's latest book for grown-ups (B won't let me call them "adult" books anymore, can't imagine why) was sap-alicious. But the book pictured at left was fabulous, and if you're the sort who enjoys fantasy (and this is book does fall into the "young adult" genre), please, go to your library and borrow the Pellinor Series by Alison Croggon. It continues to be one of my current book obsessions.

In any case, tonight I'm baking Friendiversary cookies for B (maybe if she brings her camera over tomorrow night I can post pictures of them for you all. HINT HINT, B), and hiding in my apartment with all the lights off because I'm that scrooge on your block who can't bring herself to buy candy for the kids.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fresh from the "Hallelujah" department

Shannon Hale has been posting a three-part interview she did with Megan Whalen Turner over at her blog. Part three was posted today, including two extremely exciting pieces of news:
  1. MWT is working on a fourth book in her Thief/Queen/King series! Yipee!!
  2. SH is also writing a fourth Bayern book! Yipee again!
Granted, as neither of these books is apparently even close to being done, it'll be a while before they arrive on my front porch. But if this type of news doesn't get me out of my Reading Funk, I don't know what will!

Dancing bird

No, really, this bird dances! I'm not saying he has the best taste in music, but he's certainly a better dancer than I am.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Not-so-terrible twos

I went on the most fabulous dinner date tonight with The Tot (and his Mom, T, and about a gazillion of his wee classmates and their parents. It was total chaos!). I'm in love. For the first time in our two-and-a-half years together he kept reaching up for me to hold him (happy to oblige!). But don't worry, he's too rambunctious to stay in those arms for long! We also had a great time running and playing tag, and he told me who all the kids' parents' were like a good little host. And when I had him up in my arms he put his little hands on my neck and my heart grew three sizes. And then when I told him how sweet he was he turned to me, smiled, grabbed my face, and gave me a kiss. My heart is desperately trying to fit back into my body. I think it's unbelievable how wonderful spending time with a little Tot can make me feel. Ah, the beauty of Surrogate Auntyhood: all the fun, non of the tantrums.

On another note, a conversation with J this afternoon helped me realize exactly what I think is wrong with Three Bags Full: it's too long. That's right, folks, I think this would have made a fabulous 100-200 page book, but that's about it. There would have been plenty of room to enjoy everything that's fun and clever without feeling like you're reading the same thing over and over. Way to pin the problem down, J!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Oh, my Pushing Daisies. It's so wonderful, so fantastical, so sweet. It's even better than I had been led to believe! I love the bright color palette, I love the dialog and I love the rhythm (and people, the main character owns and bakes for "The Pie Hole." Pie! PIE!). Lee Pace and Anna Friel are breath-taking, and I can't wait until next week!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

For those of you who care about these sorts of thing (I know only one of you who would from my regular readership, but please, let me know if I'm wrong!), go here to nominate your favorite 2007 Children's and YA books for a Cybils Award.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I'm still in my reading funk. I'm averaging one book a week. Maybe. I think it's that, while I've liked most of what I've read recently, none of it has really sparked a Reading Frenzy. Even Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days, which I loved (and just knew I would love), didn't do this because I had cheated and picked it up before I had finished Three Bags Full, and I knew what I would be going back to. And I'm not particularly looking forward to anything else on my To Read pile (except for our book, B, of course!) either.

Three Bags Full is a murder mystery told from the perspective of the sheep whose shepherd has been killed. A "Sheep Detective Story," if you will. Interesting, right? How could you go wrong? While the book *is* good and entertaining, it just hasn't managed to capture my attention -- or my imagination -- in the way I had hoped. Yes, the sheep's perspective of the world is just what you would hope it to be: new and different and a little off-kilter, but not necessarily in the ways you would hope. This is especially sad given then adorable flip-book pictures next to every page number!

Book of a Thousand Days, on the other hand...I've said it before and I'll say it again: Shannon Hale is a great re-teller of fairy tales. My only complaint is that I have to wait until early 2008 to read her next book, Rapunzel's Revenge, a graphic novel she's written with her husband.

Now, if my other favorite authors could just go ahead and publish their new books as well....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Something very strange happened on Friday morning as I was getting ready for work. I heard my upstairs neighbor creeping down her stairs to the front door carrying a recycling bin. She then proceeded to replace the recycling bin on the curb (that had recently been emptied by the trash people) with the one in her hand, and creep back up to the second floor. Seriously. I watched the entire thing from my dining room. This is strange for several reasons, and not just the ones you may be thinking of:
  1. My upstairs neighbors don't recycle. They have never recycled. They've been here almost a year and not once have they put any plastic or glass bottles on the curb, no food containers, no paper goods. Nothing.
  2. The bin marked "apartment 2" is sitting outside with all of the trashcans. They are in apartment 2, therefor I just assumed (wrongly) that if the mood ever struck them, their bin was sitting there waiting for them.
  3. Apparently we have had three recycling bins all this time and I didn't know it: one I've been using that stays in my apartment (unless it's out being emptied like it was on Friday), one that sits outside, and apparently the one they've been storing upstairs for god-knows-what purpose. Three bins for three people! But only one of us actually recycles.
  4. It begs the question, what are they using the bin for? And why did they feel the need to switch? Is there something wrong with the one they left out there for me? Is the plastic laced with mouse poop? Were they using it for some sort of science experiment? Is it safe to bring into my home?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Check under the cushions

You may not have noticed, but I have gone missing. Well, I was missing. I'm back now. Maybe. You see, I've been doing my best couch potato impersonation. Rather, I've been thoroughly documenting the most comfortable spots and positions on my new sofa. OK, I've gotten sucked into TV land. It's just that I needed to get caught up on Heroes before season 2 starts. And while I was waiting for Heroes season 1 to come out on DVD, I thought I would re-watch Alias season 3 for the first time since it was actually on (and boy, I hated that season at the time, but it's really, really good). And then I just had to re-watch season 4 because maybe it wasn't as much of a train wreck as I remembered (and if you skip the vampire episode -- don't ask -- it actually isn't. So far).

Insert assembling various meals, sleeping, shuffling off to the supermarket and seeing various friends, as appropriate. Oh, and work.

It's possible you now understand the nature of my fixations. Nothing -- nothing! -- can stop me. Except possibly the need to not get fired, which is why these "episodes" are spread out over multiple weeks, instead of concentrated into a few short days.

But really, it's quite problematic this time as I am very, very behind on my book reading. There's really quite a backlog. Literally, there's a stack 10 books high (4,421 pages worth) on my desk, three of which need to get back to the library, one of which I've been waiting and waiting for for ages, and one of which I'm supposed to be reading with B. Not to mention the one that I was supposed to have read for my book group in August. And I'm not counting the 30 other books I told myself I had to read before I was allowed to buy any new books. So there is actually pressure. I even have magazines and mail piling up as well. I'm trapped by paper!

That being said, I have three disks down and three more to go before I've made my final decision on A3, and I have two more H disks to get through as well.

Why no, my life hasn't suddenly taken a turn for the uninteresting, thank you.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Bibliophile needs...

Taking a page from my friend J's livejournal, I googled "[The Bibliophile] needs" and came up with these helpful suggestions:
  • [The Bibliophile] needs to have blush that is very bright and colorful
  • [The Bibliophile] needs Some Good Thoughts
  • [The Bibliophile] needs to refer to Web sites, manuals, and a variety of documentation
  • [The Bibliophile] needs more caffeine
  • [The Bibliophile] needs help when she enters Manhattan's meat-packing district to help three transvestite hookers find out who murdered one of their friends-- and whether one of them might be the next victim
  • [The Bibliophile] needs your prayers
  • [The Bibliophile] needs Netflix friends
  • [The Bibliophile] needs to set her sights a little higher
  • [The Bibliophile] needs to choose between two guys
  • [The Bibliophile] needs more time for herself and more attention at home
  • [The Bibliophile] needs your help
Well now. I think that pretty much says it all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Books and ephemera

Everyone should have a favorite used book store. Mine is Nancy L. Dole's Books and Ephemera in Shelburne Falls, MA. I've found the following gems there thus far:
  • The Lady's Book of Flowers and Poetry (1842)
  • The Earth: Its Physical Condition and Most Remarkable Phenomena (1854)
  • A Popular Zoology (1887)
  • Alden's Handy Atlas of the World (1888)
They all contain stunning illustrations, some carefully painted by hand. These four are books that I picked up and fell in love with instantaneously, all for different reasons. Can you imagine how fun it is to look at maps from 1888? A a 150+ year old science book? You can see where I'm going with this.

But back to the store. It's not so much the piles and piles of used books that attract me, but the range of funky, random things you can get there; the store also contains a mind-boggling amount of stuff that has most likely been cleaned out of pack-rat grandparents' attics. Sixty year-old books of postcards, hundred-plus year-old store receipts, salvaged propaganda, pamphlets, out-of-date maps, clothing patterns, old recipe cards, and on, and on. It would be fair to call any of these items junk, worthless. Although now, fifty or one hundred years later, the items have aged enough rendering the junk useful anthropological data, peculiar remembrances, ephemera.

Where are your favorite used bookstores? What makes them so great?

Monday, September 3, 2007

My latest literary kick

I've been on a sort of mythology/folklore kick lately. I'm currently inhaling English Fairy Tales, The Norse Myths and Russian Fairy Tales. I think what got me on this was reading The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan (or this or this), but really, I've always loved reading fairy tales, folklore, mythology and re-tellings of all of these. When I was a much smaller Bibliophile, I would consume large volume after large volume of Jewish stories (these for example) and watch TV series that had their basis in Greek mythology. I guess it's completely normal to rediscover, or reignite old literary loves. (I fell in love with the Russian Literary Giants when I was in high school, and so recently acquired Anna Karenina, but I have yet to get down to the book in my To Read pile)

What were some of your favorite genres, books or series growing up? Have you come back to any of them recently? Or did you never really leave?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Oh, joy!

I wasn't planning on watching the new show Big Shots this fall, but then I saw that Michael Vartan has a lead role! Who could pass up a chance to watch him every week? Not me. Oh, sweet Alias, why did you have to go away?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pity Party: Check

It's very nearly too hot to blog again. I'm practicing the ancient Yoga tradition of stilling one's entire body save the typing fingers.

Pity parties = wild amounts of fun. I'm thinking of making this an annual or semiannual event. So cleansing! Getting all that anger and frustration off of one's chest, defacing inflatable men, burning things, torturing the Homer Simpson voodoo doll...

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Give the people a sharpie and a wall to write on, and look at the wonderful gems they produce:

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Hopefully my SIL will email me the rest of the pictures from the party soon, so I can show you all the lovely play doh figurines T and I sculpted for the center-pieces, and so you can see the all of the yummy chocolate desserts we enjoyed.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Internet roundup

Just a few neat-o articles/websites to tickle your fancy on this Thursday night:
  1. Great/poignant comic/social commentary
  2. Extra emptiness in space
  3. Diamonds nearly as old as the earth
  4. More new creatures discovered in the ocean
And I have a new blogging idea. It has recently come to my attention that I take the stories a friend of mine tells me of her life and consistently embellish them wildly in my mind, only to regurgitate them to her later in some sort of uncrecognizable form. I'm thinking of actually writing out a biography of her life as I have remembered it (ok, and possibly with the addition of some blatant and vastly-more-conscious-embellishments) as a serial. Let me know what you guys think. I can already tell you what the first line of the biography would be, if it helps sway you in either direction:

"X was born on March 11th, the 15th child of a 15th child, already an aunt and already a grandmother."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pity Party check list

Black balloons? CHECK!
Black streamers? CHECK!
Dried out gummy heart? CHECK!
Little Homer Simpson voodoo doll? CHECK!
Pins for said voodoo doll? CHECK!
Play Doh? CHECK!
Massive amounts of chocolate desserts? CHECK!
Booze? CHECK!
Nifty door prize? CHECK!

We are all systems go, people! Two days until the Wall of Woe is covered in angry graffiti and we can lose ourselves in mood enhancing chocolate and alcohol. And even some chocolate alcohol. Repeat after me: BOYS ARE STUPID, THROW ROCKS AT THEM.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

First (and last?) peach pie of the season

This is the glory that awaits me after dinner tonight. Behold, the before:

Peach pie before baking

Notice how lovingly the lattice crust has been woven together, full of tasty potential! And the after picture:

Peach pie close up

I can't wait! And now you know how it will be eaten.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Burned

Reasons to love the new USA show Burn Notice:
  1. It's MacGyver sans the ookie mullet.
  2. The main character's an ex-spy. I love TV shows about spies. And movies about spies. And books about spies.
  3. You get to see Miami without having to experience the pesky weather (*shudder*).
  4. Jeffrey Donovan's cute little grins really grow on you.
  5. Reminders of Gabrielle Anwar's prior career ("Sonora, you have to face reality!").
  6. All the main and recurring characters have great comedic timing.
  7. Fun improvised gadgets.
  8. It's already been renewed for a second season, so there's no reason not to get attached!
I'm sure I'm missing some reasons, but you'll hear about them as the season goes on!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I need a hobby

It make shock you to learn that I have a great deal of time on my hands. This will shock you because, as J so kindly pointed out to me today, I've been pretty bad about posting lately. I blame the llamas.

For those of you "out of the know," llamas are those pesky little dramas that creep up on you from time to time. Or more frequently, depending on how "lucky" you are. I am currently very "lucky." I'm officially one Book short of a full bookcase. And so I've found myself....well, vacuuming the ceilings, really.

Don't worry, I've already staged an intervention with myself.

"Self!" I said. "Look here! Stop vacuuming. PUT THE DUSTER DOWN. Your place is already spotless, and scientists have proven that children who live in dirtier homes are healthier overall. Yes, yes, I know you're not a child. Yes, I know they were talking about pets, but--I! SAID! STOP! Ahem. Now that I've gotten your attention...don't you think it's time to find something else to do with your time? Something new and exciting?"

You see, I can be very stern with myself when it's warranted.

But what will I do with my time? What new obsession awaits me? What is there for me to discover? I have some thoughts. I can:
  1. read the encyclopedia
  2. become a correspondent on the Daily Show
  3. learn how to become a trapeze artist
  4. volunteer at the local library and pretend I'm a librarian
  5. take up ballroom dancing
  6. finally take one of those ITT Tech courses that have been advertised on TV since I was a Wee Bibliophile
  7. make the state's largest tin foil ball
  8. create my own new book award
  9. become an amazon.com Top 25 reviewer
And...And....I need suggestions, but please stay away from things like "knitting" or "running." And anything you suggest should be a relatively inexpensive activity. If you actually suggest something that I take up, you'll have done a very good deed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cookbooks

Just a quick post on two cookbooks that focus on making sound, ethical choices when you're standing in line to buy meat and fish wherever it is you buy them:
Happy eating!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Sweet Far Thing outtakes!

Check out Libba Bray's most recent livejournal entry with outtakes from her upcoming book! It should be in stores this December. I! Can't! Wait!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

TTTB (too tired to blog)

Had another insanely early morning at work today, so I think I'll just leave you guys with some interesting news items:
  • I blogged a little while ago about a new "species" of chimp that was found deep in the forests of the Congo. Well, it seems the scientists have had a chance to do a little more exploring (I'm only guessing it's in the same area), and look at all the exciting things they've found!
  • There's ground-breaking news from the anthropology community about our ancestry. Little known fact about the Bibliophile: I almost became an Anthropologist instead of a Chemist! Who knew?!
  • And on a sadder note, more news in line with what I blogged about yesterday on L.O.N.T.E.D.
Hopefully you'll get a more coherent post from me tomorrow. I'll leave you with what I'm reading now:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Food for thought

The New York Times has an eye-opening Op-Ed today about "food miles," or the distance a piece of food travels to reach your plate, be it beef, avocados or zucchini. With eating locally becoming all the rage for environmentally conscious folk, it's important to keep in mind that the energy cost of a given food is more than the sum of it's plane rides; one must consider the energy that goes into producing the food as well. How much fertilizer did that plant need to grow? Did the tomato need to be kept in a greenhouse, or did it grow outside?

I'm loving how much people have started thinking about their food, but clearly there's more work to be done. Is there some way to label fruits, vegetables and meats to give an indication of the amount of energy required to produce the food, taking all of these factors into account? Some mass database that will spit the number out for each food item at a given grocery store? Such a database would certainly require the cooperation of the farmers, but maybe these farmers will be more and more willing to participate as people's awareness continues to grow.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

100 books!

I knew the milestone was creeping up on me, I just didn't realize that, as I stayed up to finish the mediocre Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure by P. B. Kerr, it was the hundredth book I've read since January 1 of this year. Holy guacamole! If I had realized maybe I would have read Soon I Will Be Invincible, American Born Chinese, Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch, or The Lightening Thief instead, all happily awaiting me in my To Read pile. I guess it doesn't *really* matter what my hundredth book is, just that I have one.

Today is the 215th day of 2007, which means I've been averaging 0.47 books per day. If I can sustain this level of productivity (which I'm skeptical that I can, but you never know), I should be able to read another 70 or 71 books by the start of 2008. Holy crap.

In any case, I wasn't so impressed with Children of the Lamp. Ex-Book once asked me how I find new books to read and I told him from a number of places: book reviews of various newspapers and magazines, blogs, Amazon, ALA websites, etc. I wish for the life of me I could remember who/what recommended CotL, though, so I could take future recommendations with a grain of salt. Or at least be a bit more careful. Maybe in my nifty Books I Want to Read journal I should indicate who/what recommended the book in parenthesis so that I can track which sources I can trust. For example:

Amazon has a nifty feature called "Grown Up School: Expert recommendations from your favorite authors." Where is the bad in this, I ask you? Well, as I've come to realize, just because you absolutely LOVE something a particular author has written, it doesn't mean you necessarily like their taste in books. I love Neil Gaiman, so I took his recommended Shadow and Claw with me on my vacation last month. He describes the book as "The best SF novel of the last century." I mean, wow, that's quite the endorsement! Too bad I really, really didn't like it. Or maybe I would have liked it if it didn't seem way over my head, or if I felt like there was a plot. On the other hand, I've tried a few of the recommendations Justine Larbalestier has given out on her blog, and have liked them all so far. Like I said, we must track, track, track! Reading is a serious business, people, and not for the faint of heart.

I'm curious about where you all find recommendations for new books to read, so if you don't mind, will you respond to the poll I've posted on the right hand side of this page?

UPDATE: As the nifty new "poll" feature on blogger isn't working right now, why don't you guys tell me in the comments how you find new books to read, and where you get your recommendations from.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

From the mouths of fortune cookies

"When the moment comes, take the first one from the right."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"I am the poodle," she said.

Some writers are gifted in their ability to create the most delightful fluff. It's light, it's easy, it slips down past your brain without requiring any thought. It's funny. Tonight, Maureen Johnson has proven to me that she does brain candy like no one else. If a meteor crashed through my roof and destroyed all my worldly possessions, I might find myself walking to the library to re-read her book Devilish *just* for a laugh from lines like:
  • "A cat had jumped on his back once and ridden him like a camel, digging its claws in for support."
  • "I don't normally like to collect other people's vomit, but this seemed like a good time to make an exception to that rule."
Is it Great Literature? No. Did it take less than three hours to read through? Yes. But it was oh-so entertaining, and exactly what I needed to read tonight.

Monday, July 30, 2007

In a name

Many of you already know where I got the name for my blog, but for the rest of you...

This past winter I finally took E's suggestion and read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. This book is one of a small number of (non-fiction) books to change the way I think about the world. Pollan traces the food we eat back to the industrial farms it comes from and opens our eyes to what it is we're really consuming. He discusses the history of agribusiness, explains how corn has come to be in almost every processed food we buy in the grocery store, describes the life of a cow that is being raised to provide meat, and tells the disturbing tale of where our eggs come from. He isn't promoting stores like Whole Foods, rather, he is encouraging us to reaquaint ourselves with the food we put in our bodies and, if at all possible, to develop a relationship with the farmer who grows our fruits and vegetables.

Pollan's thesis made so much sense to me, but what could I do about it? I don't live in California or in another state or country with a long growing season. I live in a heavily populated state where one city flows into another. Where was I supposed to find these farmers? Where was I supposed to find grass fed beef? Or chickens that were free to roam and peck and eat grubs and grass?

It took a lot of work, but I did finally find a local farm to provide me with these things, and this past Saturday I drove the hour and a half to pick up my broilers. The farmer had offered to get them to me a different way, but I was interested in visiting the farm; I wanted to see the chickens and the cows for myself. Well, here is one of my future meals:

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And another:

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I'm thrilled that I've been able to track down a farmer who raises my food humanely. I know my chickens aren't packed a dozen into a tiny cage, I know the hens who lay my eggs aren't tortured to do so, I know my cows aren't standing knee deep in excrement. I know they don't need to be shot up with antibiotics.

I'm sorry this post has been a bit preachy, but please, read The Omnivore's Dilemma when you have the chance, or another book like it, and educate yourselves so you can make informed decisions at the grocery store.

Um??

I don't think the quiz worked so well this time...

Your Superpower Should Be Manipulating Electricity

You're highly reactive, energetic, and super charged.
If the occasion calls for it, you can go from 0 to 60 in a split second.
But you don't harness your energy unless you truly need to.
And because of this, people are often surprised by what you are capable of.

Why you would be a good superhero: You have the stamina to fight enemies for days

Your biggest problem as a superhero: As with your normal life, people would continue to underestimate you

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Post Harry Potter

For those of you who, unlike me, wanted to know more about what happens in Harry Potter land post Book 7 and its epilogue, look no further than this interview on MSNBC.

How to eat pie

You all may *think* you know how to eat pie. "Bibliophile," you'll say, "there's really nothing to it. You just take one bite, and then another, and then another, until there's nothing left on your plate!" "Ha!" I'll say. "This show's you really know nothing about how to eat pie."

No worries, I'm here to educate you.

Step 1: Get your hands on some really good pie. This is not as easy as you may think. I would have to say that 99.9% of the pie out there is what I would classify as Bad Pie. Bad Pie has many guises. The filling may be too sweet, the crust not delicate and flaky enough...Let's face it: Good Pie is not easy to make. I suggest you stay away from the store bought stuff (there's rarely anything good there), and either find a friend or family member who has real Pie Making Talent or practice yourself. I'm lucky enough to have a family member who falls into the former category, and several times a year makes pie. Last night, for my sister-in-law's birthday, he made her favorite (and my third favorite): sour cherry pie. Behold:

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Step 2: Gaze lovingly at your pie. Please, don't rush past this important step. Remember, Good Pie is exceedingly hard to find, so cherish it while it's on the plate in front of you!

Step 3: If the slice in front of you has a lattice-top crust (as my slice does), delicately remove those pieces of the crust and set them aside.

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Step 4: Eat the pie filling, reserving ALL PIE CRUST. I know how difficult this is to do, especially if you happen to know that the pie crust in front of you is top rate. If you find saving the crust for later to be too difficult for you, feel free to snack on the lattice crust as necessary, but reserve the bottom and edge crusts at all costs.

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Step 5: Once all of the filling has been eaten, scrape the remaining filling goo from the remainder of the crust.

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Step 6: Eat the crust, starting with the remaining lattice pieces, moving on to the bottom crust, and finishing, finally, with the best part: the edge crust.

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Class dismissed.

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Oh, and in case you're wondering, here is the order in which I like different pie flavors:
1. Pumpkin
1. Peach
3. Sour cherry
4. Everything else

Mug shot

I had been searching for this mug EVERYWHERE after C showed me her's almost a year ago. Behold, my latest prize:

I swear, coffee tastes better when it's drunk out of this mug.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Things to be happy about

1. The radio station in my home town with its "All A Cappella" programming on Saturday afternoons: "Rockapella, Five O' Clock Shadow, m-pact, Ball in the House, and college groups from all over the country."

2. Violent summer rainstorms. Specifically, being outside in them.

3. Buying chickens direct from the farmer who raises them (more on that tomorrow).

4. Cherry pie.

5. The thought that I'll be getting a puppy soon. Puppies!

Any additions?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Book pet peeves

As of late, I've had "opportunities" to think about some of my pet peeves as they relate to the books that I'm reading. Specifically, what makes me want to chuck a book across the room. So far I have two items on this list:

1. Books that seem to have more advertising in them than a big glossy magazine
2. Extraneous information, extraneous epilogues and leaving nothing to the imagination.

What really ticks you guys off?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Deathly Hallows

Time line of my yesterday afternoon
1:30 PM: Deathly Hallows arrives on my doorstep
2:15 PM: I begin Deathly Hallows
11:24 PM: I finish Deathly Hallows

While I'm not actually going to be discussing the plot of the book at all, as I'm sure there are at least a few of you that haven't begun or finished the book yet, I am listing things I really enjoyed about the book, so if you are worried that this list may ruin your Reading Experience, STOP READING THIS ENTRY.

No one is perfect. I know this seems a strange thing to like about a book, but I like my heroes flawed, dammit, and we see this not only with Harry but with Dumbledore. And it's their awareness of their own limitations, and their willingness to act accordingly, that really make them heroes.

The worst of humanity brings out the best of humanity, or, people are willing to sacrifice themselves for a truly worthy cause. There's nothing I need to add to that!

Neville comes into his own. In the seventh HP book we see Neville truly becoming a hero and a leader in his own right, and this is oh-so-gratifying.

And one thing that I didn't really like about the last book (the following paragraph is SPOILER HEAVY): the epilogue. In my opinion, this could have been left out to make a much stronger ending to the story. Do we really need to learn what happens 19 years in the future to know that everything Turns Out Alright? No. For the purposes of the narrative, we already knew that to be the case when everyone continued to fight despite thinking Harry had been killed, when Voldemort was finally killed, and when Harry was able to let two of the Hallows go.

In any case, Deathly Hallows has definitely been my favorite HP book. I'm so glad, too, because the last few, while enjoyable, have definitely been lacking something. And what better way to end a series than on a high note? I'm very curious to see what J. K. Rowling will do next.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bookus inhalerensii

I've been accumulating interesting things to tell you guys about, but haven't had the time, so you're all just going to get them in one unorganized heap.

1) Apparently my hero, David Attenborough, has an animal named after him (Zaglossus attenboroughi)! How neat is that? This creature is one of the four species of echidna that are still extant (though the one pictured at right is NOT the species named after Sir David). I first learned about echidnas from his Life of Mammals series, and thought they were one of the most interesting animals I had learned about in a very long time. Z. attenboroughi was recently in the news.

2) Scientists have finally succeeded in studying the legendary Congolese chimpanzees that apparently hunt large carnivores (leopards, lions, etc.). The population is deep in the jungle, very large and exhibits many unusual and unique behaviors.

3) Joss Whedon's rant against misogynism has resulted in a wonderful-sounding new project, mentioned here (subscription, or willingness to watch a 30 second advertisement, required).

4) Two nights ago I read (and actually loved) my first manga. I heard about it from Justine Larbalestier's blog, thought it sounded interesting, and decide to give it a shot. I have to say, it manages to be just about as romantic and compelling as I was led to believe. I'm not saying that I'm going to start reading a lot of this stuff, but I think I've grown a little. You know, as a person.

5) My upstairs neighbor just pounded across the floor to the beat of "fee-fie-foe-fum," at exactly the tempo you would use to get little kids to run away shrieking. Also, the only thing more annoying than hearing the same movie every night through my ceiling is, apparently, listening to a documentary through my ceiling. Whywhywhywhywhy?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Vacation detritus

I just picked up my mail from the post office and there were LITERALLY 20 lbs of it. Good thing I'm a super-fast Mail Sorter Througher (see how many exciting new things you all are learning about me?), and I dispatched with it all in about 2 minutes.

On a related note, I get a shocking amount of junk mail.

This is exciting, though: for the first time ever I've received a Chefwear catalog. Who the hell sold my name to them?! They have all sorts of bizzare pants. I think the same people who come up with nurses' scrub patterns come up with chef scrub patters. These things are seriously wacky! Maybe I can bring E back to comment on this phenomenon (she worked as a pastry chef in her previous life).

And I'll leave you all for now with my favorite sign from the trip. This one was spotted on the fence of the saddest looking zoo just outside Bar Harbor:

Best. Sign. Ever.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Quick author news

Scott Westerfeld has posted the first chapter of his upcoming book, Extras, here. For those of you who liked his Uglies trilogy, this book is getting my attention. I think it'll be a nice glimpse of the Uglies world post-Specials.

Also, Libba Bray wrote a hilarious piece on her live journal recently about *her* upcoming book, The Sweet Far Thing. Sounds to me like she's still having trouble finishing it up.

Days till next vacation: too many to count

Days on vacation: 15
Pictures taken: 1,444
Miles driven: 1,840
Books read: 5
Approximate number of different types of animals seen (that can be readily identified -- I'm not so good with birds): 35*

FAQ

1. So, are you tired of eating seafood yet? No, no I'm not. In fact, I feel like I'm going through seafood withdrawal. Must! Eat! More! Seafood! Now!

2. Can you look back ont your pre-trip anxieties about not being able to find food and laugh? No, no I cannot. There were a few days where we had a hard time finding a restaurant or even a store that sold food. There are some seriously unpopulated areas of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia! I guess that isn't surprising given that there are more people in California than in the entire country of Canada. Let this be a lesson to you all: sometimes my craziness is prophetic AND well-founded.

3. What books did you manage to read? I'm so glad you asked. Here is the list. The ones I liked in particular are in bold. I'm also happy to say that Book and I were generally exhausted enough at the end of each day that I didn't get much reading done. I consider this evidence of a successful vacation.
  • Stardust, Neil Gaiman
  • Shadow and Claw, Gene Wolfe
  • Einstein: His Life and Universe, Walter Isaacson
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
  • Charlotte Sometimes, Penelope Farmer
4. Will you be writing about your vacation on this blog? Um? Maybe? I guess I'm not sure. Do you guys really want to hear about it? Probably not in a huge amount of detail, but maybe I'll give you the highlights from each day with an accompanying picture or two. Or seven. Did I mention how many pictures I took?

5. What didn't you get to do that you wish you had? It would have been nice to have time to go on a kayaking trip in the Bay of Fundy to see some of the 15 species of whale that are there this time of year, and it would have been nice to have more time for hiking in Nova Scotia. But that's why this was a whirl-wind, fact-finding tour of the Maritimes: now we know where we want to visit in the future and to see in more depth.

6. Wait, so you have to go to work tomorrow? *quiet sobbing*


I'll leave you all with something you may not know about me. I'm a giant!**

I'm a giant!


*Birds: turkey vulture, osprey, seagull, ducks, chickens, crow, bald eagle, loon, yellow warbler, crow, a heron of some kind, canada goose, double crested cormorant, white-winged scoter, scarf scoter, ruby-throated hummingbird
Sea creatures: starfish, muscles, snails, harbor seals, grey seals
Misc: squirrels, chipmunks, horeses, goats, sheep, llamas, alpacas, dogs, cats, deer, frogs, cows, porcupines

**And also that pictures of me from below are hugely unflattering. As are pictures of me from the front. And pictures of me from the side...

Monday, July 9, 2007

Baby Animals from Around the World

I just came across this gallery of baby animals from around the world, and I know that if The Bibliophile were here she'd be crooning over it.

Another thing I know is that she would be swooning over the weirdos, like this squirrel/rat/bunny looking thing, desperately trying to convince me that they are cute.

The reality is that I am set on tiger cubs as the cutest baby animals alive. Even though they likely will tear these baby chicks to pieces....and that's not so cute.

posted by EyreAffair

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Turkish street food

One of Mr. Food's favorite newly found authors, Orhan Pamuk, wrote a piece in the New Yorker this week (July 9 & 16) on page 48. "Forbidden Fare: When Street Food Came to Istanbul" is a nice personal history piece on the author's illicit street food forays as a boy in Istanbul. Check it out before it leaves the shelves! Or, go to your local library... (not that The Bibliophile would condone that, she uses libraries only under duress, she likes to own her books! Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

-- E of ismellfood.com

Friday, July 6, 2007

As if we needed more ideas

The Bibliophile has this adorable little reader's journal where she keeps a list of everything she wants to read. It's amazing how long her list is, and she is constantly crossing things off.

As if everyone's "to read" list wasn't long enough, people have sent me these two links in the past week, so I thought I'd post them here:

The Amelia Bloomer Project: children's and YA lit with strong female characters

NPR Summer Books: all kinds of lists of recommended books

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Foodie lit



First off, I have to stop reading this book. Kafka's Soup is a riot -- recipes written in the style of, say, Jane Austen (Tarragon Eggs) or Marcel Proust (Tiramisu) -- but I got two books out of the library on my way home today and they're both due back in a week! Unlike the Bibliophile-an-obsessive-book-reader-with-lots-of-time-on-her-hands I don't have time to while away reading books all the time. I have a real job. Oh, and a second "real" freelance job. And a husband to feed. So... I need to get onto reading these: Kabul Beauty School and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. So forgive me for setting Kafka aside, a book I found (after months of searching) at Powells, the best bookstore ever. And, I went in person. And yes, the Bibliophile is jealous. She hasn't said as much but I know these things. Here's a picture from my visit, taken from the trolley stop across the street.

signed,
E of ismellfood.com