Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Instead of birthday presents...

My birthday is coming up and I thought it might be fun to do something different and get arrested this year. Ok, maybe not really arrested but hopefully raise a little money for charity. Don't worry, I will still have Birthday Month so save January 6th for dinner out and/or January 10th for something fun and different (I hope).

See below to find out how to donate and thanks for your support.

I'm proud to tell you that I'm being locked up...that's right, I'm going behind bars to help Jerry's Kids
© and MDA. To be released on good behavior I have to raise bail and I need your help!

All you have to do is click here to make a secure, online donation before
01/14/09. Your donation will help families living in our community and help guarantee me an early release. I can't wait to add you to my list of contributors.

Thanks in advance for your help.

If the link above does not work, please cut and paste the address below into the address bar of your Internet browser.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Typos and other errors

I usually save each blog post for a day so that I can go in and proofread it before publishing it. Unfortunately, I sometimes hit the "publish post" button instead of the "save as draft" button instead.

If it wouldn't cause the post to be published in everyone's blog reader multiple times I would be tempted to go in and fix a few errors in that last post.....and maybe finish it:)


When I first started blogging couple of years ago various friends asked why on earth I would bother. I answered that my motivation was primarily to keep track of this monstrous pile of books I needed to read and, more importantly, so my out-of-town friends (most notably a good friend who moved to Switzerland) could keep up with my life and get to see a quirky side of me that my introvert side doesn't tend to let loose in public. The response at the time was that blogging sounded like a self-indulgent and narcissistic way of blathering on about myself.

Lately, I have been seeing the same kinds of arguments come up when bloggers talk about twittering. My point two years ago was, you don't have to have a blog or even read mine. Just accept that it makes me happy and gives a few friends (and my mother) pleasure.

Twitter is the same for me. I have met so many awesome Kansas City people who are not bloggers or who don't participate in the local blogger community on twitter. Unlike many of my new friends who are in the media fields, I don't treat it as a micro-blogging or marketing tool but tend to think of it as being able to text all my friends at one time with the random tidbits that pop into my mind and once again (hopefully) allow my old and new friends to get a glimpse of my quirkier side.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Books for the family

It should come as no surprise I give books as gifts. Shocking, isn't it. Luckily, the people on my gift list also like to read.

See, my whole family consists of bookworms. In case you are interested, Dad is reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and my Nephew is reading 1984 by George Orwell.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to list the books I gave to different family members this year. This will also serve as a reminder so that I don't get them the same book again next year. Not that I would ever do that.....

Dad likes American history best but I can never resist an autographed novel:
Escape by Robert K Tanenbaum (autographed)
Bob Schieffer's America by Bob Schieffer

Mom likes a little bit of everything:
Remembrance of Murders Past by Noreen Wald - mystery paperback stocking stuffer
Shifting Calder Wind by Janet Dailey - romance paperback stocking stuffer
Captive by Joan Johnston - romance paperback stocking stuffer
Dark Angel by Karen Harper - romantic suspense paperback stocking stuffer
Intern: A Doctor's Initiation by Sandeep Jauhar - because Mom used to work in the medical field
So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger (autographed)
How The States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein - this one may get filched by Dad
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski - hot literary fiction of the year
Stealing Athena by Karen Essex - historical fiction
The Soloist by Steve Lopez - uplifting and about music...both appreciated by Mom

My Sister is a mystery buff but I threw in a couple of "hot literary novels" as well:
The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
The Given Day: A Novel by Dennis Lehane
American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
Red Bird: Poems by Mary Oliver
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris

Planet Google: One Company's Audacious Plan To Organize Everything We Know by Randall Stross

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by Howard Phillips Lovecraft
Amory Wars Volume 1: The Second Stage Turbine Blade (v. 1) by Claudio Sanchez
1984 by George Orwell
An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories: Volume 2 (Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories) by Ivan Brunetti
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Top Ten for 2008

All of my favorite books from 2008 (so far) are now listed at Present Magazine. And be sure to look at my friend Kaite Stover's recommendations as well.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

This novel is inspired by an actual event during the 1992 siege of Sarajevo, a cellist watches as 22 of his neighbors are gunned down. His decision to play the cello in the square every day for 22 days to honor the dead profoundly impacts the lives of four ordinary citizens struggling not only to survive but retain their humanity.

This was the novel (so far) this year, that has most profoundly impacted me. It was an enormously touching novel and it brought back the horror of a time that I can still remember. I still remember being stunned and horrified that the entire world was sitting back and doing nothing. Sadly, most governments have not changed, as events in Darfur so vividly illustrate.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Road by Cormic McCarthy

I am a firm believer that the books people love reflect their "story". That part of their life that they need told and retold in a variety of ways, not as an instant therapy tool but just as something intimate and recognizable to them at the deepest levels. This is why being able to effectively recommend books to people will always be more of an art than a science.

What I have noticed lately is that my story has changed. Until a few years ago, the stories I loved, that touched me, all revolved about building family, not always biological, but family all the same, the quirkier the better. Lately though, the stories that have blindsided me aren't about that. Some still have elements of family but most are about solitude. The main character is learning self-reliance and self-knowledge. Consider last years favorite (and if I might brag, picked before Oprah and the Pulitzer committee discovered it) The Road. It is about family but also about endurance, solitude and ultimately, hope.

Monday, December 15, 2008

From last year...

I had to laugh. When I went to my library conference a few weeks ago, I went to a readers advisory workshop (how to help people find "the right" book) on the Gen X, Gen Y readers and how to help them find books. When I go to these they always give out a big list of authors that are proven winners with this crowd. I was at a concert a few days ago and the friend I went with started asking me if I had read any of the "new, cutting edge" authors. Right down my booklist we went. Every single author that he was named was on my list. (He did miss Dostoevsky though.)

Yesterday, I had a new staff member (who reads a lot) start. She is in her early 30's. As I listened to her recommend books to an 80-year-old, she was also recommending right off the list.

Here is the list...
Arthur Rimbaud
Bret Easton Ellis
Charles Bukowski
Chuck Palahniuk
Dave Eggers
David Foster Wallace
David Mitchell
David Sedaris
Douglas Coupland
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Haruki Murakami
Hunter S. Thompson
Kelly Link
Linda Barry
Mark Danielewski
Michelle Tea
Nick Flynn
William Burroughs

And some "Street fiction" to go along with it...
Donald Goines
Iceberg Slim
Roy Glenn
Sister Souljah
T.N. Baker
Vickie M Stringer

Friday, December 12, 2008

Naomi Novik

We are now reading nominations for the Notable Book Award (we were nominating book prior to December 1st) and I can no longer talk about what I am reading. These award committees like everything to be a "surprise". Anyway, I have pulled an older book review off of my other blog and dusted it off to keep you entertained.

I am currently up-to-date on the Naomi Novik series and I have to say, I really becoming a fan. The story, set during the Napoleonic Wars, is about a ship's captain who defeats a French ship in battle, takes possession of the ship and discovers a dragon egg on board. Since dragons will go feral if not convinced to "take the harness" early in life and the dragons are an essential part of the war arsenal, it is imperative that the dragon choose it's handler. Of course, this dragon chooses the captain of the ship, who liked his life the way it was, but who embarks on this new path for the good of the Empire.

What I like most about this series is the affection that develops between the gentleman Navel captain and an incredibly intelligent and strong willed male dragon. FYI: It is a series that works equally well for men or women readers (at least so far) and is one of the "hot" fantasy series for adults at the moment.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Plenty of Fish

I want to take this test. Not because I have any intention of online dating again but because I like taking tests about me. I wonder if I can do that without signing up?

I could do a really long, profound explanation of why I like taking personality tests but does it really matter? After all, anything that keeps me busy and out-of-trouble can't be a bad thing.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Descartes' Loneliness by Allen Grossman

(Meditation Three)

Toward evening, the natural light becomes
Intelligent and answers, without demur:
“Be assured! You are not alone. . . .”
But in fact, toward evening, I am not
Convinced there is any other except myself
To whom existence necessarily pertains.
I also interrogate myself to discover
Whether I myself possess any power
By which I can bring it about that I,
Who now am, shall exist another moment.

Because I am mostly a thinking thing
And because this precise question is
Only from that thoughtful part of myself,
If such a power did reside within me
I should, I am sure, be conscious of it. . . .
But I am conscious of no such power.
And yet, if I myself cannot be
The cause of that assurance, surely
It is necessary to conclude that
I am not alone in the world. There is

some other who is the cause of that idea.
But if, at last, no such other can be
found toward evening, do I really have
sufficient assurance of the existence
or of any other being at all? For,
after a most careful search, I have been
unable to discover the ground of that
conviction – unless it be imagined a lonely
workman on a dizzy scaffold unfolds
a sign at evening and puts his mark to it.

from http://www.bathsheba.com/ag/