Monday, April 30, 2012

BOOLEAN: Purple Peppers

It seems that Mother Nature is having a hard time making up her mind this spring. I thought Friday would be the last day I could wear BOOLEAN awesomeness.

So, I decided to debut a new pair of tights. Ta da!


That's right, purple patterned tights. They're pretty badass.

To my surprise, the long term forecast calls for cooler days. Methinks I'll get a few more days of tights-wearing yet.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What I Read This Week: April 29, 2012

My week has been full of random reads, bocce, and talking The Boyfriend into watching Mad Men. (I've seen the first two seasons and he's seen none... so we started watching from the pilot this week. Woot!) To make the past few days extra special, my boys, The Washington Capitals, decided to beat the Boston Bruins in Game 7 overtime. Huzzah! I guess it's time to let my heart start beating again.

Now back to the reading. All in all, it was a rather decent week. I thought I might suffer from read-a-thon burnout, but this summary suggest otherwise.
  • Whilst on the elliptical this week, I started in on the May 2012 issue of The Atlantic. I haven't made it to the feature stories yet, but I enjoyed the short pages on free diving ("Waiting to Exhale") and the Uber cab service in DC ("Why You Can't Get a Taxi"). Both of those articles were very interesting, which leads me to believe that this issue could be stellar.
  • I finished another book. Woot! I managed to flip through the rest of my professional read - Performance Management and Appraisal. I'll have a review later - after I get through all my read-a-thon reviews.
  • I also started a new professional book - The Challenge of Library Management. I'm just a few pages in, so I have not formed an opinion yet.
  • Call me one to cave to media saturation. I've had The Hunger Games on the brain for weeks now. I decided to give in and re-read this book. So far, it holds up to my memories, but I'm only a few pages in.

Friday, April 27, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Swirly

I'm feeling a bit whimsical today.

I chose to feature these tights for two reasons: 1. The pattern and 2. the model's pose


These tights are available from Wolford.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Variations on a Theme: Contemplate

Sometimes, you just need to step back and think about things. Not everything in life has to be go Go GO! This month's variations on a theme is about books that make you think, that make you calm down, that make you sit back and contemplate before you act.

As per usual, the reviews/summaries are from Barnes and Noble.


In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed
Carl Honore

Living on the edge of exhaustion, we are constantly reminded by our bodies and minds that the pace of life is spinning out of control. In Praise of Slowness traces the history of our increasingly breathless relationship with time and tackles the consequences of living in this accelerated culture of our own creation. Why are we always in such a rush? What is the cure for time sickness? Is it possible, or even desirable, to slow down? Realizing the price we pay for unrelenting speed, people all over the world are reclaiming their time and slowing down the pace — and living happier, healthier, and more productive lives as a result. A Slow revolution is taking place. [My Review]

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking
Susan Cain

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Leisure: The Basis of Culture
Josef Pieper

In Leisure the Basis of Culture, Pieper destroys common misconceptions about the idea of leisure and its relation to work. Leisure is not idleness, but an attitude of the mind and a condition of the soul that fosters receptivity to both physical and spiritual realities. The author points out that sound philosophy and authentic religion can be born only in leisure-a leisure that allows time for the contemplation of things, including the nature of God. Leisure has been, and always will be, the foundation of any culture. [My Review]

Imagine: How Creativity Works
Jonah Lehrer

Lehrer reveals the importance of embracing the rut, thinking like a child, daydreaming productively, and adopting an outsider’s perspective (travel helps). He unveils the optimal mix of old and new partners in any creative collaboration and explains why criticism is essential to the process. Then he zooms out to show how we can make our neighborhoods more vibrant, our companies more productive, and our schools more effective.

Walden
Henry David Thoreau

A cornerstone of American letters, Walden is Henry David Thoreau’s chronicle of the two years he spent living by himself at Walden Pond, contemplating the individual’s relationship to society. Thoreau first published this book in 1854, and its themes of self-reliance, independence, individuality, and integration with nature still resonate with readers today. 

Are We There Yet?: The Golden Age of American Family Vacations
Susan Sessions Rugh

The first in-depth look at post-World War II family travel, Rugh's study recounts how postwar prosperity and mass consumption—abetted by paid vacation leave, car ownership, and the new interstate highway system—forged the ritual of the family road trip and how that ritual became entwined with what it meant to be an American. With each car a safe haven from the Cold War, vacations became a means of strengthening family bonds and educating children in parental values, national heritage, and citizenship.


Other Contemplative Titles
Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge - B. Alan Wallace
Escape: In Search of the Natural Soul of Canada - Roy Macgregor
Home by Another Way: Notes from the Caribbean - Robert Benson
Imaginative Horizons: An Essay in Literary-Philosophical Anthropology - Vincent Crapanzano
Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism and Christianity - B. Alan Wallace

Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman

BOOLEAN: Rainy Day

On this dreary, rainy day, I decided to wear stripedy tights under my boots. I love a bit of whimsy when the weather is icky.

At work, I tossed the boot aside when the rubber made my legs to hot. I have a set of collapsible flats for such occasions. They don't work perfectly with the tights - but I think the awesomeness of the tights wins out.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Links and Stuff: April 26, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seen on the Metro: Matching

When an unexpected pop of bright color walks by during your morning commute, you tend to notice.

In this case, I should have noticed this commuter's coat first. It was orange - but more of a pumpkin orange. The book he was carrying, on the other hand, was and eye-popping bright yellow and orange.

It took a few more surreptitious stares for me to decipher the title: Eclipse Three.

It seems we have a sci-fi fan on the train. I wonder if the stories were any good...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Read-a-thon: Wrap-Up

The final completed pile.
Wow, that was a fun and, surprisingly, productive read-a-thon. I read for just over 19 hours, and finished all the books in my pre-selected pile. That's right - all. of. them.

I, frankly, didn't think that I would come anywhere near reading all of my books. Most of them were graphic novels, but I don't read particularly fast.

In the end, I finished 11 books for a grand total of 1,769 pages. Woot!

I pledged to donate $10 for every I completed to First Book. I will be making that donation later today.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful read-a-thon. See you again in October!

Before I go, here are my answers to the end of read-a-thon survey:

  • Which hour was most daunting for you?
    • The last one. The book was wonderful but I was getting tired.
  • Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
    • Graphic novels and stories that are easy to follow. They wake up your senses and don't over task your brain over the course of the day.
  • Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
    • Maybe easier/less time consuming mini-challenges. I didn't participate is as many this year because they would have taken a large chunk out of my reading time.
  • What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
    •  The "pump you up" videos in the hourly posts.
  • How many books did you read?
    • 11 - and yes, that number surprised even me.
  • What were the names of the books you read?
    • The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
      Cupcakes of Doom! By Ray Friesen
      Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton
      The Titanic Sinks! By Thomas Conklin
      A Family Secret by Eric Heuvel
      I, Librarian by James Turner
      Death of a Travelling Man by M.C. Beaton
      Into the Volcano by Don Wood
      The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
      Food Rules by Michael Pollan
      The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermesiter 
  • Which book did you enjoy most?
    • The School of Essential Ingredients - it was the best book I've read all year.
  • Which did you enjoy least?
    • Cupcakes of Doom! - it was merely okay.
  • If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
    • I was not a cheerleader, but they are awesome.
  • How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
    • Very likely. I mark the day off on my calendar as soon as I hear about it.

What I Read This Week: April 22, 2012

This post does not contain anything from read-a-thon because my brain is still sleepy.

This week, I did manage to read, but I saved most of my mojo for the epicness that is read-a-thon Saturday.


  • I made it to the gym a couple of time this week, so I was able to finish reading the April issue of The Atlantic. I thought the Ben Bernanke and Rham Emmanual articles were very interesting, and I hope they profile these guys again after some time has passed.
  • The May issue of Cooking Light appeared this week, and I read it the same day I received it. There is something about avocados on a cover that just scream, "Read me now and get a craving for deliciousness." I pulled several recipes from this issue, so it might be a good one to pick up on the newsstand if you don't subscribe. I also enjoyed the article on "food follies" quite a bit.
  • In addition to the Cooking Light, I had the May issue of Real Simple waiting for me. I read this issue while watching Game 4 of the Capitols/Bruins playoff series. That was probably the only reason my blood pressure didn't sky rocket. I enjoyed reading about the recommended cleaning products (I hate my shower grout with a passion); I loved the memoir style article about why pie is a cure-all. Taking another look at the issue, I also appear to have tagged a ton of recipes. I think we've got another "good purchase" issue here.
  • In preparation for read-a-thon, I finished the romance novel I was reading - The Reckless One. It was it was an okay conclusion to the series, and I totally called the "huge" twist revealed in the last few pages.

Hour 19: Wherein Our Reader Says Goodnight

Well folks, I finished The School of Essential Ingredients. This book was such a delight, that I've decided it's time to go to bed with the visions it created still dancing in my mind.

I added an additional 55 pages for a grand total of 1,769 pages (over 11 books).

I will be back tomorrow (or later today depending on where you are in the world) with my read-a-thon wrap-up.

Happy reading to everyone who is sticking around for the final 4(ish) hours!

Hour 18: Wherein Our Reader Makes a Decision

CURRENTLY READING: I think I may finish The School of Essential Ingredients in the next hour.

THOUGHTS?: This book is epically good. It is by far my favorite read of the year so far.

SNACKS AND STUFF: No foods!

COMPANION UPDATE: The Boyfriend came home in time to make sure I was awake for the final push.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I am finishing this book tonight. It is decided. As this book is the last in my pre-selected pile, I am determined to make sure I read every last page before I fall asleep. If I happen to get a second wind when I'm done, I might consider picking something off my shelves at home.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 64 (pages of excellence)
PAGES READ TOTAL: 1,714

BOOKS COMPLETED:
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
Cupcakes of Doom! By Ray Friesen
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton
The Titanic Sinks! By Thomas Conklin
A Family Secret by Eric Heuvel
I, Librarian by James Turner
Death of a Travelling Man by M.C. Beaton
Into the Volcano by Don Wood
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
Food Rules by Michael Pollan

Hour 17: Wherein Our Reader Keeps Going

CURRENTLY READING: Still working on The School of Essential Ingredients.

THOUGHTS?: Dear God, does this book make me want to cook. I'm talking large, family style meals that come with long conversation, wine, and lots of satisfaction. I am so glad I saved this book for the end of my pile. The story is so good that I want to keep reading even though the sandman is near.

SNACKS AND STUFF: No foods. I brushed me teeth so I am done for the night.

COMPANION UPDATE: Yeah, not a peep. I think The Roomie is down for the count.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I showered, which helped, but I still feel a wee bit sleepy.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 52
PAGES READ TOTAL: 1,650 (not bad at all)


BOOKS COMPLETED:
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
Cupcakes of Doom! By Ray Friesen
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton
The Titanic Sinks! By Thomas Conklin
A Family Secret by Eric Heuvel
I, Librarian by James Turner
Death of a Travelling Man by M.C. Beaton
Into the Volcano by Don Wood
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
Food Rules by Michael Pollan

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hour 16: Wherein Our Reader Has One Last Cookie

CURRENTLY READING: I am making my way through The School of Essential Ingredients.


THOUGHTS?: I very much like everything that is happening in this book right now.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I had one last cookie and finished off my coffee. I think the snackage may be done for the night as I've put the cookies away.

COMPANION UPDATE: The Roomie fell asleep on the couch and decided to go to bed. The Boyfriend is not back yet, so now I have to figure out ways to keep myself awake until he returns.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I think it's time to hit the showers. The blast of water could keep me going for another hour or two.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 50 (not too shabby)
PAGES READ TOTAL: 1,598

BOOKS COMPLETED:
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
Cupcakes of Doom! By Ray Friesen
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton
The Titanic Sinks! By Thomas Conklin
A Family Secret by Eric Heuvel
I, Librarian by James Turner
Death of a Travelling Man by M.C. Beaton
Into the Volcano by Don Wood
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
Food Rules by Michael Pollan

Hour 15: Wherein Our Reader Is Hungry

CURRENTLY READING: I finished Food Rules and have begun The School of Essential Ingredients. Yup, I started reading the last book in my pile. It's anyone's guess if I'll actually be awake enough to finish it.

THOUGHTS?: All of these food related books are making me hungry. The one I'm currently reading described mashed potatoes so beautifully that I wish I had some spuds on hand.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Good thing I can slake my hungry with cookies. Really tasty cookies. Cookies made by The Roomie. Cookies stuffed with milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and, wait for it, crushed oreos. 

Oh yes. These babies are delectable. The Roomie and I adore these cookies and both found the recipe on the Crepes of Wrath blog.

So good. Also, I drank a cup of coffee.

COMPANION UPDATE: The Roomie has finished Bunnicula and has started reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. She finds the book very good, but thinks it will tire her out - possibly before midnight.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I should stop eating these cookies. Methinks a shower will help keep my awake cause I sense sleep coming on.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 140
PAGES READ TOTAL: 1,548 (fun number, that)

BOOKS COMPLETED:
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
Cupcakes of Doom! By Ray Friesen
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton
The Titanic Sinks! By Thomas Conklin
A Family Secret by Eric Heuvel
I, Librarian by James Turner
Death of a Travelling Man by M.C. Beaton
Into the Volcano by Don Wood
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan
Food Rules by Michael Pollan

Hour 14: Wherein Our Reader Indulges

CURRENTLY READING: I am about half-way through Pollan's Food Rules.

THOUGHTS?: This book is awesome, and full of practical, common sense advice. I am also enjoying the folk art quality of the illustrations. It completes the book.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Dinner has arrived. We ordered Chinese and I took to swigging a fizzy IKEA drink straight from the bottle.


Yes, I well aware of the irony of eating this food while reading this book. Timing. I haz it.

COMPANION UPDATE: The Roomie has finished and was highly amused by Bunnicula. Her laughter has piqued my interest and I shall have to get around to reading that book.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I can't seem to sit still. I think it's time to pounce on The Boyfriend's comfy chair since he is not here to claim it.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 90 (my books are all cheats)
PAGES READ TOTAL: 1,408 (won't make 2,000 as my next book is a "real" novel)

BOOKS COMPLETED:
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
Cupcakes of Doom! By Ray Friesen
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton
The Titanic Sinks! By Thomas Conklin
A Family Secret by Eric Heuvel
I, Librarian by James Turner
Death of a Travelling Man by M.C. Beaton
Into the Volcano by Don Wood
The Storm in the Barn by Matt Phelan