Category Archives: Blogging

November Recap

November has been a busy month for me. Lots of random selections too I might add. 10 books completed in total. I’ve been busy reading a slew of children’s books for my blog @ Librarians Crossing (shameless plug, I know). Sometimes a person just needs a good picture book as a reminder for why reading is fun.

At least this month I am not behind or ahead on my reviews. What I’ve read is basically what you’ve seen, minus 1 title. Go me!

Books read and reviewed

 Adult

The most beautiful woman in town & other stories The kitchen counter cooking school : how a few simple lessons transformed nine culinary novices into fearless home cooks Aftertaste : a novel in five courses

The final solution : a story of detection Nine Stories All you need to be impossibly French : a witty investigation into the lives, lusts, and little secrets of French women

Falling together

  1. The Most Beautiful Woman in Town by Charles Bukowski
  2. Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn
  3. Aftertaste by Meredith Mileti
  4. The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
  5. Nine Stories by JD Salinger
  6. All You Need to be Impossibly French by Helena Frith Powell
  7. Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos

Audio Books

Fragile things : short fictions and wonders

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

Kids

The apothecary

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy 

Finished in November but not reviewed

Why we buy : the science of shopping

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill

World Book Capital 2012

Thanks to Jen Robinson’s Book Page, I recently became aware that Yerevan, Armenia has been named the World Book Capital for 2012 by UNESCO.

As an Armenian, I am incredibly proud of this news. Armenia has a rich and troubled history, but it also has a beautiful culture deeply rooted in the arts and sciences.

UNESCO Press Release:

Yerevan is the twelfth city to be designated World Book Capital after Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montreal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogota (2007), Amsterdam (2008), Beirut (2009), Ljubljana (2010) and Buenos Aires (2011).

The city of Yerevan was chosen for the quality and variety of its programme, which is “very detailed, realistic and rooted in the social fabric of the city, focused on the universal and involving all the stakeholders involved in the book industry”, according to the members of the selection committee.

“I congratulate the city of Yerevan, which has presented a particularly interesting programme with many different themes, including the freedom of expression, as well as several activities for children, who will be the readers and authors of tomorrow”, said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. “Mobilizing the entire world of books and reading, from authors to printers and publishers, will undoubtedly help to make the Yerevan programme a major success, with a sustainable impact,” she added.

Every year, UNESCO and the three major international professional organizations from the world of books – the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Booksellers Federation (IBF) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) – designate a city as World Book Capital for one year, between two consecutive celebrations of World Book and Copyright Day (23 April). This initiative is a collaborative effort between representatives of the main stakeholders in the book industry, as well as a commitment by cities to promote books and reading.

Evil Plans (Hugh McLeod) – Review

Evil plans : having fun on the road to world dominationEvil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination by Hugh McLeod
Age: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction /Business-self help
Publisher: Penguin, 2011
ISBN: 9781591843849
179 pages

Successful entrepreneur and cartoonist Hugh McLeod writes this simple guide for escaping the cubicle claustrophobia of everyday work and promoting the branching out and making a success out of home-grown interests, hobbies and activities.

Had this not been a selection for my book club, I would probably not have picked up this book. I’m not really not the target audience for Evil Plans. I believe the target audience is anyone working in a stereotypical rat-race workforce and hates their current job. The audience is someone needing a little encouragement and nod towards starting their own company.  The audience also includes fans of McLeod’s cartoons and website gapingvoid.com. I didn’t really find much useful information in this book, and many of McLeod’s work ethics and habit differ sharply from my own. I don’t like to work on 10 individual projects at a time, I like to work on 2 maybe 3, all of which are related and overlap.

Although McLeod offers some clever tips and includes a number of his own illustrations throughout the book, I just found this book to be lacking in applicable advice. McLeod wrote over 2 dozen chapters, each of which is roughly 1 – 5 pages. Short and full of quips and personal anecdotes, I think current fans of McLeod and his work will get a real kick out of this book. For me, I didn’t know his website or his work, so I never really understood why I should care.

Despite my reservations about the book, I have been reading his blog/website GapingVoid and I find myself really enjoying his writing. I think maybe because it’s not as condensed and bullet-pointy as the book? He’s an active member of the art community and is the CEO of Stormhoek USA, which markets South African wine in the States.

Find this book at your local library 

B00k 52 of 2011

Heist Society (Ally Carter) – Review

Heist societyHeist Society by Ally Carter
Age: Teen
Genre: Fiction, Heist
Format: Audio Book
Publisher: Brilliance Audio, 2009
5 discs

Find this book at your local library

Having escaped a life of crime and conning, fifteen year old Katerina Bishop’s final goodbye to the “family business” was to scam her way into one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country. At the school only a short while, Kat learns that leaving her former life is harder than she’d thought, especially when she’s framed for a school prank that has her expelled from the Colgan School. Reunited with her friend and co-conspirator, Hale, Kat learns that her con-man father has fallen into big trouble, accused of stealing a set of portraits only a master thief could pull off. Now Kat has two weeks to retrieve the paintings and save her father, putting together a crew of her own and creating her own little heist society.

First, I want to say that Angela Dawe is an amazing reader for this audio book. Her youthful voice gave life to the characters, and she was able to alter her tone and accent enough to really infuse each character with their own separate personality and voice. Sometimes, all the characters seem to blur together with certain narrators, but Dawe managed to keep them all unique and apart in this Ocean’s Eleven for Teenagers.

I listened to this book on audio, which was a really fun way to get into the story. I think this is an audio book that the whole family can really enjoy during long road-trips. There is a lot of globe-trotting: Paris to London, to Austria to Paris. There is a lot of wealth, and bling and talk of wealth and bling and pretty people to round it out. Despite all the wealth in this book, Kat remained a character that is strong yet vulnerable, insecure, but clever. I found her to be a fantastic lead character, able to put together one of the youngest heist crews to attempt to pull off one of the greatest heist of their generation.

As a teen novel, there is the pre-requisite love triangle, and unrequited love plot-line, as well as the make-up of Kat’s crew. The pretty one (cousin Gabrielle), the dashing billionaire (Hale), the nerdy techie (cousin Simon) the loose cannons (the Bradshaw brothers), and the new addition (Nick).

The story was easy to follow, very quick-paced. The dialogue is sharp, witty, although sometimes the kids sounded much older than their fifteen years. But then again, when you’ve been casing the Louvre at age three, and stealing the crown jewels of Austria at age seven, there isn’t much room to idly chew gum and flip through fashion magazines.

Overall, I found this to be a really enjoyable book, Carter’s writing is witty, youthful and brilliantly composed.

Book 51 of 2011

soundbytes picture

Gennifer Choldenko Bay Area Visit

Gennifer CholdenkoFor anyone and everyone living in the Bay Area, Gennifer Choldenko will be making the rounds in the Peninsula. If you’re as much of a fan of her work as I am, definitely try to make it to one of these events.

The author of Al Capone Does My Laundry, Al Capone Shines My Shoes, & If A Tree Falls as Lunch Period will be making the following appearances starting Monday Oct 3rd:

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period   Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko: Book Cover

  • Monday Oct 3rd – Menlo Park Public Library 7pm
  • Tuesday Oct 4th – Daly City Public Library 3:30pm
  • Tuesday Oct 4th – Redwood City Public Library 7pm
  • Thursday Oct 6th – South San Francisco Public Library 4:00pm

Happy Birthday Charles Dickens!

One of England’s most celebrated (and wordy) authors would be celebrating his 200th’s birthday today.

The Guardian is celebrating this occasion with a really cool interactive Wallchart of Dickens and some of his most famous characters. Miss Havisham is my standout favorite. Who is yours?

She had a long white veil dependent from her hair, and she had bridal flowers in her hair, but her hair was white. Some bright jewels sparkled on her neck and on her hands, and some other jewels lay sparkling on the table. Dresses, less splendid than the dress she wore, and half-packed trunks, were scattered about.

 

 

                                                             The Guardian is working with The Observer to promote a 6-week celebration called Book Season:

Here on the books desk the season of reading never ends, but we’ll be running our Books Season for six weeks. Inspired by the folks atBookcrossingReadItSwapIt and Book Swaps for Londonwe’re planting 15,000 books around the country between now and mid-October as part of a nationwide Book Swap. The first drop happened on Saturday, and as the weekend went on news spread around the world, with tweeters from as far apart as NigeriaCanada and Hanoi wondering how to get involved.

The Bookswap mentioned in the quote above is referring to a nation-wide book drop off program that took began last weekend on Saturday. The Guardian acquired 15,000 books from various publishers and authors and will be leaving the books all over the place in parks, restaurants, subway stations, for anyone to pick up and peruse.

Also, check out the Guardian’s Book Power 100 list to see who’s-who’s in the influential world of literacy, publishing, and bookselling. JK Rowling is the #2 most influential person in the book industry, who is number one? The answer might not really surprise you…but it should.

The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill (Heather Brewer) – Review

First killThe Slayer Chronicles: First Kill by Heather Brewer
Age: YA
Genre: Vampire/Supernatural
Publication Date: Sept. 20th, 2011
Publisher: Dial Books, (Penguin Groups)
Source: Publisher

Although lonely and friendless at school, 10-year-old Joss McMillan was looking forward to spending his entire summer with his cousin Henry, his best friend. The night before Joss’s departure, he witnesses the brutal death of his beloved 6-year-old sister at the hands of a vampire. When his slayer-uncle recruits Joss to join the Slayer Society, Joss does not hesitate, ready to avenge his sister’s death. Called to boot camp years later, and 5 year before his 18th birthday, Joss learns to fight his demons, literal, mental and emotional.

This book is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Supernatural. It’s very action packed and violent, although the violence is not very graphic. At only 13 years of age, Joss goes through a tremendous amount of beatings that are normally reserved for the 18-year-old slayer recruits. His uncle Abraham is the leader of their troupe, and is determined to scare Joss into going back home, believing that Joss’s empathetic nature will lead to his downfall. As he trains, Joss discovers abilities within himself that could make his the strongest and youngest Slayer in history.

Although I haven’t read them, Brewer’s earlier series, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod is an incredibly popular series at the library, especially among boys. I was very excited to find this book in my mailbox and it did not disappoint.

Find this book at your local library 

Book 39 of 2011

 

 

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Today is Day 2 of the 4th annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I remember when the first one began in 2008, only 9 months after I first started blogging. Now look at it. Its grown up into a highly anticipated aspect of the blogging community. I’m proud to have seen many of the blogs nominated grow and change over time. Many of the bloggers rightfully deserve these awards for all the time and effort they have put not only into their own blogs, but into the community as a whole.

Current Winners

September Southern Belle Challenge

Well, I’m only 1 week into September and I finally figured out the books I want to read this month & movies I want to watch for the September Southern Belle Challenge.

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Books I have previously read that fit the challenge (turns out I’ve read more Southern books than I had thought…curious how that always happens…)

  1. The Help
  2. The Secret Life of Bees
  3. A Confederacy of Dunces (New Orleans counts right??)
  4. A Mercy
  5. Sookie Stackhouse series – Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead

Books I want to read this month

  1. Collected Works – Flannery O’Conner (I LOVED A Good Man is Hard To Find…time to read more of her short stories!)
  2. Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man – Fannie Flagg
  3. Fannie Flagg’s Original Whiste Stop Cafe Cookbook -Fannie Flagg
  4. My Summer of Southern Discomfort – Stephanie Gayle

Movies to Watch

  1. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (I LOVE this movie)
  2. The Help
  3. Southern Belles

August Recap

I honestly cannot believe that August is over already. This just floated by in the blink of an eye. I didn’t do too much reading this month. I spent a good deal of my focus on children’s picture books and easy readers for my other blog Library Crossing. I was also quite oddly music obsessed this month, cycling through the same three cds over and over again. I find it an interesting overlap of how some of the most ardent music fans are avid readers, and vice versa. Music and literature are not exclusive as one would think.

My August:

READ & REVIEWED

1. French Lessons by Ellen Sussman 

Parisians : an adventure history of Paris 2. Parisians by Grahan Robb

The lantern : a novel 3. The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson

Ms. Hempel chronicles 4. Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum

The help 5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

READ & UNREVIEWED
Sin in the Second City : madams, ministers, playboys, and the battle for America's soul Sin in the Second City by Karen Abbott
First kill The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill by Heather Brewer
Maman's homesick pie : a Persian heart in an American kitchen Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan
French women for all seasons : a year of secrets, recipes & pleasure French Women for All Seasons: Mirelle Guiliano
MUSIC

 Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix 

 Walk The Moon: I Want! I Want!