Monday, April 29, 2013

Seen on the Metro: Two-fer!

After quite the drought of dead-tree book readers, I saw two on the same day!

Gentleman Number 1 was sitting in the row ahead of me. With the skill of "squinting" I read the top of one page to find that he was reading Auschwitz: A New History by Laurence Rees.Given that he was bumped several times by a fellow commuters purse and never moved, I'm guessing the book interesting.

Gentleman Number 2 looked like a college literature professor. He had a big white beard, glasses, and a tweed coat. With elbow patchs! As I left the train I managed to make out the title on his pink (!) book - Honore de Balzac's Lost Illusions.

Gentlemen - I salute your fascinating selections. Keep reading!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Read-a-thon: Wrap-Up

Good afternoon!

Yesterday's read-a-thon was shorter than I had anticipated but I had a blast. I read for 16 hours, finished four full book (and half of a fifth), and completed 905 pages. According to my donation calculations, that means I'm sending $45.25 to First Book. Since I like easy numbers, I'll be rounding that up to $50.

As with the first hour, the read-a-thon organizers have posted a survey. My answers are...

Which hour was most daunting for you?
Hour 14. I had eaten too much lunch and couldn't touch much of dinner. It also didn't help that I was getting sleepy.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I quite enjoyed Julie and Julia. It was the right balance of substance and lightness for the middle of the day.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Nope. I always wish there was a way to get more sleep the night before, but that's my own fault.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I liked the pre-read-a-thon blog posts.

How many books did you read?
I completed 4 and half of a 5th.

What were the names of the books you read?
The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger
Courtesan by Dora Levy Mossanen (Half)

Which book did you enjoy most?
Julie and Julia. It was fantastic. I may have been late to the bandwagon, but at least I hopped on eventually.

Which did you enjoy least?
Courtesan. This was a bit too dense for the end of the night.

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I was not a cheerleader.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
If my schedule allows, I'll be a reader again in October. 

What I Read This Week: April 28, 2013

When this blurb of words auto-posts at 11am, I'll either still be in bed in a reading-induced coma or slowly dragging my tush out of bed and making a lurch toward the coffee pot. The Boyfriend and I are headed to a private cellar tasting at one of our favorite Virginia vineyards this afternoon. That means I do have to get out of bed at some point. I would grumble, but I like wine.

My goal for the week before read-a-thon was to finish my current read, Infamous. I managed to do that and then some:
  • For work:
    • I read a white paper, "Facing the Future," by Brian Matthews. It asks librarians to think like entrepreneurs and I thought it was pretty darn good.
    • I flipped through an Association of College and Research Libraries piece called "Connect, Collaborate, and Communicate: A Report from the Value of Academic Libraries Summit." Basically is says academic libraries need to spend more time proving their worth to their institutions by a) collaborating, b) speaking in academic lingo, and c) reminding people we're awesome everyday. Word.
  • In the magazine column:
    • Health, May 2013 - Apparently, I still get this? This was a quick flip issue. Nothing grabbed my attention.
    • Food Network, May 2013 - The next time I see my mom, she's getting a big thank you hug. I've enjoyed every issue of this magazine. In this issue I tore out a tone of brunch recipes - including the entire cinnamon rolls and other sweet doughs section. I also loved the piece that went behind the scenes on Chopped. I love that show.
    • National Geographic, May 2013 - This issue had intriguing stories on genetics and living a long life, an island off of the northern Russian coast, and nitrogen fertilizer. A weird mix, yes, but an informative one.
  • Book wise:

Hour 16: Wherein Our Reader Calls it a Night

CURRENTLY READING: I'm over halfway done with Courtesan.

THOUGHTS?: Too much going on! I think my brain is confused by all the characters and plot changes.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Nada cause it's bedtime. In fact, I am off to brush my teeth.

COMPANION UPDATE: He (and I) are both head bobby.

ANYTHING ELSE?: Well, fellow read-a-thoners and cheerleaders. I am calling it a night. It's a bit earlier than I planned, but I still had a great read-a-thon. I'll be back with a complete wrap-up in the next few days.

PAGES READ TOTAL: 905 (Not to shabby!)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hour 15: Wherein Our Reader Has Her Second Wind?

CURRENTLY READING: Still working on Courtesan.

THOUGHTS?: What the heck is going on in this book. I've had to re-read several pages just to try to make sense of it all.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I nibbled on more salmon and finished my bit of the asparagus. It was delicious. 

COMPANION UPDATE: The Boyfriend is now making me dessert crepes. Yeah, I think I'll keep him.

I filled mine with strawberry preserves.
ANYTHING ELSE?: The background music has turned into episodes of Parks and Rec and Doctor Who. I'm a might bit distracted. 


The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger

Hour 14: Wherein Our Reader Has Regrets

CURRENTLY READING: I am almost halfway through Courtesan.

THOUGHTS?: Still good, still a lot of characters, but, now that the set-up is over, we've hit the DRAMA. There has been death! and danger! and despair!

SNACKS AND STUFF: I ATE TOO MUCH LUNCH. The Boyfriend grilled a wonderful dinner...
Cedar Plank Salmon!
 ... but I only had a few nibbles because I was too full to eat more. Sad panda. I am making an attempt at nibbles of the asparagus... of which I forgot to take a picture.

COMPANION UPDATE: He is a grilling master (and a dish-doing master). How did I get so lucky?


PAGES READ TOTAL: 865 (I will make it to 900, darn it.)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger

Hour 13: Wherein Our Reader Snuggles

CURRENTLY READING: Still getting through Courtesan.

THOUGHTS?: There are a ton of characters in this book. I'm managing to keep them all in order, but it's rather difficult.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Nada - but The Boyfriend is working on dinner. I'm not that hungry (sad face) so I might just end up nibbling on the meal.

COMPANION UPDATE: He's making dinner. We're having grilled salmon (on a cedar plank), scallops, and asparagus. Yum! Hopefully, I'll manage more than a few bites.

ANYTHING ELSE?: It's getting chilly out. It may be time to close the open living room window. I've taken to huddling under a blanket even though I am wearing this sweater:

PAGES READ TOTAL: 867 (I may make it to 900)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger

Hour 12: Wherein Our Reader Knows it Won't Be a Late Night

CURRENTLY READING: I'm a few chapters into Courtesan by Dora Levy Mossanen.

THOUGHTS?: It's good so far.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Just some water.

COMPANION UPDATE: The hockey game is one. He's parked it on the couch to watch. This is my view:
ANYTHING ELSE?: I can already tell that I'll barely make it past midnight. My eyes are drooping already.


The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger

Hour 11: Wherein Our Reader Tags

CURRENTLY READING: I just finished Comfort Food Fix.

THOUGHTS?: Yum! I may have gone a bit flag crazy. Let's see if I actually get around to making half of these recipes.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I finished off the goat cheese. We still have the stubs of cheese, but The Boyfriend packed up everything else. We gotta save room for dinner I guess.

COMPANION UPDATE: He is about, doing things. I kinda ignored him in favor of tasty recipes. Oops?

Lady B informed me that she was, in fact, still waiting to board during my last post. She is now, however, boarding her flight. Bon Voyage!

ANYTHING ELSE?: I'm starting to drag a bit. I'm going to blame it on eating too much cheese and drinking too little water. 

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 293 (Cookbooks are cheating...)
PAGES READ TOTAL: 798 (Ain't that impressive)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
Comfort Food Fix by Ellie Krieger

Before I leave this time, there is a mid-event survey. 12 hours down!

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?
I'm having a bit of a food coma moment, but I shall persevere.

2) What have you finished reading?
See the list above.

3) What is your favorite read so far?
Definitely Julie and Julia. It was fantastic.

4) What about your favorite snacks?
Lunch. It was large and (relatively) healthy.

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!
Not yet. I tend to go back and read other bloggers the week after read-a-thon.

Hour 10: Wherein Our Reader Loves Food

CURRENTLY READING: I just cracked open the introduction of Comfort Food Fix by Elie Krieger

THOUGHTS?: None yet, I just started this palate cleanser. 

SNACKS AND STUFF: It looks like we actually made progress on the lunch spread! At this rate, we shant be eating dinner until after 9pm. I'm okay with that.

COMPANION UPDATE: He's playing Oregon Trail on the iPad. Apparently Mary broke her arm and his wagon was robbed. 

Since I haven't received any updates from Lady B, I assume she's in the air - reading of course.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I still have Chex Mix in the cupboard. That is probably where it will remain.

PAGES READ TOTAL: 505 (halfway to 4 digit territory... where I will not be going)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Hour 9: Wherein Our Reader is ThisClose

CURRENTLY READING: I am nearly finished with Julie and Julia.

THOUGHTS?: I really really really liked this book. I highly recommend it.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Still nibbling on lunch. It really doesn't look like we touched anything. I didn't even put out everything. I think we'll be snacking on the leftovers tomorrow. Maybe the day after that too.

COMPANION UPDATE: The Boyfriend has finished the new grill. It is shiny AND has a built in thermometer. Apparently, I was right. He will be making dinner on it later.

So pretty!
When The Boyfriend went to tote the old grill away, he noticed that the bottom was, in fact, almost rusted out. This new baby arrived just in time.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I found pretty flowers in our "grass." It's actually a bit to shady for grass to grow near our patio, but this is prettier.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 42 (Ha! One more.)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister

Hour 8: Wherein Our Reader Breathes a Sigh of Relief

CURRENTLY READING: Still with the Julie and Julia.

THOUGHTS?: I think I'll have to re-watch the movie - the books is making me miss Meryl.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Nibbling on lunch. I've barely made a dent (perhaps I ate too much breakfast?), but now that They Boyfriend has returned maybe we'll get somewhere.

Almost no change...
COMPANION UPDATE: He's back! Turns out he was just messing with me and their is no delivery truck. I am quite the gullible. He is currently on the patio putting the new grill together. 
Oh good. Instructions!
Also, heard from Lady B. Her flight is delayed. She's started to read Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. I liked it - I hope she does too!

ANYTHING ELSE?: Comcast's light classical station is the perfect music for today.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 41 (I must like this number)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister

Hour 7: Wherein Our Reader Lays Out a Spread

CURRENTLY READING: Still working on Julie and Julia. I will be with this for a few more hours.

THOUGHTS?: Still good. I now want to poach an egg.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I laid out the lunch spread. It is delicious AND ALL MINE! At least until The Boyfriend returns.

COMPANION UPDATE: I received a text that states, and I quote, "That was a poor decision to let me go to Home Depot by myself." He added in another text that a delivery truck will be arriving later. What the heck did I get myself into? 

ANYTHING ELSE?: I am now worried about what will be arriving later.... *gulp* Also, Lady K JUST stopped by to dropped off two bags of oolong tea (she was at an urban tea festival) for the later hours. She rules.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 41 (Again with the consistency)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister

Hour 6: Wherein Our Reader Thinks About Lunch

CURRENTLY READING: I have crossed the halfway point for Julie and Julia.

THOUGHTS?: Still good - but never want to eat an aspic in my life. They do not sound incredibly appetizing.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Nothing this hour, but I am contemplating laying out lunch soon.

COMPANION UPDATE: The Boyfriend has left the building. I expect he'll return with both a new grill and ingredients for dinner.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I actually have nothing to add. Sad face?

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 40 (Consistency!)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister

Hour 5: Wherein Our Reader Settles In

CURRENTLY READING: Almost to the halfway mark of Julie and Julia.

THOUGHTS?: Still good. On the upside, this book is full of delicious writing and food ideas. On the downside, it keeps making me hungry for fancy French food. Maybe I should request that The Boyfriend make Beef Bourguignon for dinner...

SNACKS AND STUFF: Just sipping on my mimosa. I'll probably have another in a moment. One can never have too many mimosas.

COMPANION UPDATE: I noticed the comics from the Sunday paper (we get the inserts and "special" sections on Saturday) have made an appearance. He helped Slylock Fox solve a case. At the moment, however, he is debating about whether to hit Home Depot to purchase our new grill. Do I sense grilled steak for dinner?

ANYTHING ELSE?: It is GORGEOUS out today. We opened the patio door to let in more sunlight.

The sky is SO blue!
PAGES READ TOTAL: 288 (Not too shabby.)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister

Hour 4: Wherein Our Reader Noms Noms


THOUGHTS?: I quite like this. I'm glad my mom gifted to me after she finished.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Breakfast egg dishy thing was had! 
Fresh Outta the Oven
I also called an audible and added some banana bread. Also, let us not forget the all-important mimosa.

Oh, yes!
COMPANION UPDATE: He's awake! It's amazing what coffee and the hot food can do. Although, I am fairly certain he'd rather have slept until Noon.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I started this hour listening to the Chocolat soundtrack. It went quite well with the book.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 33 (Cause of the nom distraction)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister

Hour 3: Wherein Our Reader Pops in Breakfast

CURRENTLY READING: I have started Julie and Julia... cause I finished my first palate cleanser book about muffins and stuff.

THOUGHTS?: I may be behind the curve in reading this, but I did enjoy the movie. So far, I am also enamored with book.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Just coffee, but I did pop the breakfast entree into the oven. My apartment smells tasty!

COMPANION UPDATE: The Boyfriend is still in bed, but I'm going to sneak in and see if I can wake him with the promise of coffee and food.

ANYTHING ELSE?: The chocolate Easter bunny I have yet to eat is guarding my completed pile of books.

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 94 (Recipes for the win!)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Linda Collister

Hour 2: Wherein Our Reader Starts the Finished Pile

CURRENTLY READING: I finished my first book and am about to start my Muffins cookbook.

THOUGHTS?: I quite enjoyed the Handwritten Note book. It makes me want to sit down and write a bunch of people. Bring me fancy pens!

SNACKS AND STUFF: I finished my coffee (and went for yet another refill). This day requires caffeine!

COMPANION UPDATE: He is still abed. Methinks he may be there for awhile. I might just pop-in the egg dish and wake him up with the smell of breakfast food AND coffee. I can be a good girlfriend when I want to.

Also, I had a text from Lady B. She is disappointed that she cannot participate in read-a-thon today. She asked if reading on the plane ride over the Atlantic counted. Of course it does!

ANYTHING ELSE?: In case anyone doubted my HUGE box of stationary and notecards.... behold!

PAGES READ THIS HOUR: 91 (Some pages were just lists...)

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd

Hour 1: Wherein Our Reader Wants to Write

CURRENTLY READING: The Art of the Handwritten Note

THOUGHTS?: This book seems a wee bit pretentious and takes itself a bit too seriously, but I am enjoying the sentiment and helpful directions. I am now in the mood to write some notes. That will, however, have to wait until read-a-thon is over... but I do have a HUGE box of notecards and stuff on hand.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I finished my yogurt creation and refilled my coffee.

Cupcake Librarian!
COMPANION UPDATE: The Boyfriend is still in bed. He was out last night and came home after I went to bed. Methinks I'll be brewing a second pot of coffee later.

ANYTHING ELSE?: I am listening to the Assassin's Creed 2 game soundtrack. The music is awesome!

PAGES READ TOTAL: 62 (Thank goodness morning math is easy.)


Read-a-thon: Kick Off!

Happy Read-a-thon Day!

I hope everyone is settled in and ready with a good book and snacks. I'm starting my morning with a protein punch - greek yogurt with honey and broken up chocolate chip granola bar. I'm serving it with a mug of fresh coffee and Margaret Shepherd's The Art of the Handwritten Note.

The Boyfriend is still in bed, but I'm sure he'll be up at some point. The smell of coffee is his siren song.


Also, those that host read-a-thon are starting the morning with the kick-off survey and here are my answers:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Silver Spring, MD - At the tip of Washington, DC. I could walk there if I wanted.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Julie and Julia. I loved the movie.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Lunch nibbles! They are delicious and nutritious.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Crossword puzzles are my game, baby. However, tonight I will be reading and rooting for the Washington Capitals. Yeah, hockey!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
This year, I am not starting out with a book that will take me ten hours to finish. I like to feel a sense of progress.

Now... let's get down to business!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Read-a-thon: Final Countdown

It's the final countdown!

The food has been acquired:

The main breakfast dish is prepped:

The coffee pot is set and ready to go:

My books are stacked for easy grabbing:

Yup, I think I'm on track to get started. I guess all that is left to do is spend the evening relaxing and getting some rest. Read-a-thon starts bright and early tomorrow morning.
As a final note, Lady B. will not be joining in read-a-thon-ing this year. Boo. She leaves for a work trip Saturday evening. To Germany. Yeah, not feeling too bad for her. I hope she remembers to bring me back some chocolate...

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Tattoo

I would never get a tattoo. While I think they can be awesome, I am terrified of needles. Luckily, if I'm ever in the mood for the tattoo look, I can head on over to Etsy and look at their kick-ass selection of tattoo tights.

After an extensive review, I've decided that these might be my favorite:

So cute!

You can buy these here.

Before I go, I want to mention that I had my first pedicure of the season on Wednesday. I think that signals the switch from awesome tights to awesome toenail polish. From now on, look for the Friday Fashion Find post to also highlight fun polish hues for your toesies.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book 8: Infamous

TITLE: Infamous
AUTHOR: Suzanne Brockman
STARTED: April 8, 2013
FINISHED: April 22, 2013
PAGES: 448
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: Everyone's heard the story about marshal Silas Quinn and the infamous gunfight at the Red Rock Saloon.

SUMMARY: [From] When history professor Alison Carter became a consultant to the film version of the Wild West legend she’d dedicated her career to researching, she couldn’t possibly have known that she would not only get a front-row seat to a full-blown Hollywood circus but would innocently witness something that would put her life in peril. Nor did she expect that a tall stranger in a cowboy hat would turn the movie — and her world — completely upside down. A. J. Gallagher didn’t crash the set in dusty Arizona to rub elbows with Hollywood’s elite. Unable to ignore ghosts from the past that refuse to stay buried, A.J. came to put an end to the false legend that has tarnished the reputation of his family. But when he confronts Alison, sparks fly. And when Alison is targeted by ruthless criminals, suddenly she and A.J. must face the intense attraction that threatens to consume them—and survive the danger that threatens their very lives.

THOUGHTS: This book was oddly addictive - maybe I shouldn't wait so long between romance novels because, in actually, it wasn't good. That said, if I enjoyed reading it, it deserves a decent rating.

I would go into a full-blown review, but Infamous follows all of the traditional tropes of a contemporary romance novel. Boy and girl meet, there is a "problem," problem is solved, the heroine is saved by the burly hero, everyone wins!

What bugged me about this book was the friggin ghost great-grandpa. After I got over the fact that a ghost was a central figure of the book, I decided to blame the editor. I get that he's a ghost, the author does not need to remind me EVERY FIVE PAGES that the guy can walk through walls. Mention it once and be done with it.

Also, it bugged me that they fell in love after three days or whatever. It just felt rushed in this one. I get that it's a "romance" thing, but it didn't work in this novel.

All in all, it was a typical romance read - not great, but I still had a dandy time reading it.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Read-a-thon: Menu

The second best thing about read-a-thon (the first being reading all day), is the large amount of snacks I get to consume. The Boyfriend and I have worked out a menu for the day, most of it is the usual stuff that has worked for us in previous read-a-thons.

Of the course of my many read-a-thons, I've found that finger foods make the best nibbles. They're easy to eat while reading, and you can graze on them throughout the day. Also, I always feel less guilty about all the noms I'm stuffing my face with when they're a) small and b) vegetables and fruit.

That said, I also love having a starting snack and a heartier breakfast to help fuel me up for the day. This year, we're trying something a bit new in the breakfast column...

Kick-Off Snack
Greek Yogurt with Honey and Granola

Egg and Sausage Casserole*
*My mum makes this at the B&B she runs. It is delish.
More Coffee

Crudites with Dip
Fruit Nibbles
Cheese and Crackers

*The Boyfriend is in charge and he'll either surprise me or we'll order out.

Homemade Banana Bread with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chips
Various Chocolates We Have Lying About

Chex Mix (The Bold Party Flavored Kind)

Tomorrow I will be back with pictures of my shopping haul (and possibly and step-by-step breakdown of how to make the egg and sausage casserole since it can be prepped the night before).

My taste buds are already salivating. Is it Saturday yet?

Also, as a reminder, it's not too late to sign-up to participate in read-a-thon! You can do so here.

Links and Stuff: April 25, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Read-a-thon: Money For Kids!

Read-a-thon is always a day of fun and relaxation for me. As with my previous read-a-thons, I'd like to share my love of reading with kids. I will be supporting the charity First Book with each page I finish.

For those who are new to my read-a-thon posts, First Book is an organization that put books in the hands of kids who would otherwise have none. For every $10 donated to the organization, First Book is able to put 4 books in the hands of young readers.
First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 100 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities. First Book now has offices in the U.S. and Canada.
I will donate 5 cents to First Book for every page and finish. If I stink, like I did last time, I will round up to a number I like better. Kids + Books = Win!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Read-a-thon: Book Order

After much pondering, I've decided to read my book pile in the following order:

The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
I love writing letters to people and figured I could brush up on my skills since I've been slacking off. I think this will be a quaint way to kick off my read-a-thon... assuming I finish my current book, Infamous, before the start.

Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Lina Collister
Once again, I've decided to read the cookbooks in the order of a day's meals. Therefore, one must start with delectable baked goods.

Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell
I am quite late to the game on this one. Oh well, I still want to read it. After last read-a-thon's ten hour tackling of An Army of Angels, I decided that my "thick" book of read-a-thon should be light and fun.

Comfort Food Fix by Elie Krieger
I never made it to this cookbook last time, so I decided to give it another try. I have a feeling I'll be flagging a lot of recipes. Anything I've made/eaten of Krieger's before has been utterly delicious.

Courtesan by Dora levy Mossanen
This one one has been sitting on my bookcase for ages. I figure it's time to finally tackle it. Also, it was a close call between this and the romance novel. I'm hoping that I start this one by 8pm - I think it might make for a nice later night read.

Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans
If I get to the dessert round of the night, I'm definitely going to need something light and airy... with sugary frosting.

Surrender by Pamela Clare
I love this author's historical romances and I've in the mood for one for a few days. I doubt I will make it this far into my stack, but if I do, I'll be excited.

There you have it - my strategic plan for read-a-thon day. I'll start with the first book on top and just keep reading down the pile until I either hit the wood of the sofa table or fall asleep in a neck-creaking position.

YouTube Tuesday: Setting the Bar

Monday, April 22, 2013

Read-a-thon: Book Selection

Read-a-thon kicks off at 8am on Saturday. I am totes excited. So excited in find that I'm not being ironic in my use of the word totes.

This weekend, I got down to business and selected the books I plan to read. In keeping with last read-a-thon's changes, I've selected books that I already own (and desperately need to read). I also decided to keep with the cookbooks over graphic novels method.

Group A: These are the "book" books I plan to read.

The titles are!

  • Surrender by Pamela Clare
  • The Art of the Handwritten Note by Margaret Shepherd
  • Courtesan by Dora Levy Mossanen
  • Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

Group B: These are the cookbooks which will act as my palate cleansers.

These delicious looking books are:

  • Muffins and Other Morning Bakes by Lina Collister
  • Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans
  • Comfort Food Fix by Elie Krieger

Check back tomorrow when I figure out which order I will read these suckers in. It usually takes me a day to best decide how to tackle the pile.

Til then!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What I Read This Week: April 21, 2013

This time next week, I will be recovering from read-a-thon (and possibly visiting my favorite vineyard's wine cellar - but that's another story). I'm excited to start piling up my books and selecting the nibbles I will eat. The pre-blogging... it starts Monday! I'd be lying if I didn't admit that part of my favorite parts of read-a-thon is the prep work.

Until then, here's an accounting of what I read this week.
  • I read two rather thick articles for work...
  • In the magazine category...
  • Books
    • I put another large dent in Infamous. If I continue at this pace, I will manage to finish this book before read-a-thon. Go me.

Friday, April 19, 2013

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Splatter

I went to Etsy, typed in "tights" and decided to post the first pair I loved. Thus, we get these. They're kindy cool and funky... and they make me want to do some art.

You can buy a pair here.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Links and Stuff: April 18, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why I Love... Romance Novels

During my freshman year of college, a friend of mine introduced me to romance novels. Little did she know that she would create a monster. After reading my first romance novel (The Forest Lord - !), I couldn't get my hands on enough of the little (or big) buggers. When my class schedule allowed, I could motor through 3 to 4 romance novels a week - and I loved every minute of it.

All through college, I devoured romance novels like they were chocolate. My love for the genre was so intense because these books were the exact opposite of the dense and academic material I was reading for my classes. Romance novels were light and airy, allowing me to entertain my brain after I worked it all day. I could stop and start at will, always picking up the story again without trouble. The tropes of the genre meant I knew what to expect, and I loved looking forward to the happy ending I knew was coming. I also love the emotional intensity of the books. Who needed drama in life when there was drama on the page that didn't mess my days up?

Now in my post-college years, I continue to read romance novels but at a much slower pace. I overdosed during my college years (sorry Nora Roberts, you got too repetitive) and have started to space things out. Since I'm no longer overloaded with academic reading, my book tastes tended to be more widespread. I bounce around from genre to genre, but I still pick up a romance novel every now and then. These days, I see romance novels as a treat. They are the gem of a genre I continue to love and indulge in, but not every day.

I still love the facets of romance novels - the couple meets, they have their issues, they get back together, and everything ends happily. If the reading is good and the plot twists surprising, all the better. When I read romance novels, I always feel cozy and amused. Romance novels are the comfort food of my book world. I feel like I'm indulging when I read them and it makes me happy.

Also, all the historical facts and notes in romance novels have added to my trivia knowledge. Yes, I win things because of romance novels. Victory!

Book 7: Bella Tuscany

TITLE: Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy
AUTHOR: Frances Mayes
STARTED: February 25, 2013
FINISHED: April 7, 2013
PAGES: 304
GENRE: Travel / Memoir

FIRST SENTENCE: Fortunate that cypress shadows fall in wide bands across the sunlit road; fortunate that on the first day back in Cortona I see a carpenter carrying boards, his tabby cat balanced on his shoulders, his tail straight up, riding like a surfer.

SUMMARY: [From] Having spent her summers in Tuscany for the past several years, Frances Mayes relished the opportunity to experience the pleasures of primavera, an Italian spring. A sabbatical from teaching in San Francisco allowed her to return to Cortona—and her beloved house, Bramasole—just as the first green appeared on the rocky hillsides. Bella Tuscany, a companion volume to Under the Tuscan Sun, is her passionate and lyrical account of her continuing love affair with Italy. Now truly at home there, Mayes writes of her deepening connection to the land, her flourishing friendships with local people, the joys of art, food, and wine, and the rewards and occasional heartbreaks of her villa's ongoing restoration. It is also a memoir of a season of change, and of renewed possibility. As spring becomes summer she revives Bramasole's lush gardens, meets the challenges of learning a new language, tours regions from Sicily to the Veneto, and faces transitions in her family life. Filled with recipes from her Tuscan kitchen and written in the sensuous and evocative prose that has become her hallmark, Bella Tuscany is a celebration of the sweet life in Italy.

THOUGHTS: I both adore and am infuriated by Mayes' work. Her writing is phenomenal. I feel like I am on this Tuscan adventure with her but, the fact that I am not makes me cranky. And I am cranky because this book sometimes smacks of a condescending and entitled tone. The entire time I was reading Bella Tuscany I dreamed of an Italian vacation and seethed with jealously.

So, Mayes is a very lucky woman. She gets to spend a lot of her time in Italy sampling the food, visiting the country, and generally have a grand time being an ex-pat. I want. I want that life of delicious meals, long days of sightseeing, and simple enjoying what it means to have leisure time in a lovely country. Mayes skillful crafts her memoir so that you feel like you are on the trip with her. The book is so rich in detail and description that you can taste the pasta and smell the aroma of the countryside. And those parts of the book are exceedingly beautiful to read. More please.

I would have rated this book a full on 10 if it weren't for the tone of entitlement that crept it. Mayes so differentiates between her life in Italy and her life in the states that you can feel her resentment at not being in Italy all the time.You can't blame her because, well, who wouldn't want to be on permanent vacation. But there is a simmering undertone to parts of the book where I just want to smack Mayes for being cranky about handling "real life." Lady, you got it good - just share the awesome stuff without the resentment.

So, 10 for the writing and 5 for the emotional tone. A delicious read, but I could without the smarmy notes.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

Monday, April 15, 2013

Book 6: Strategic Planning for Social Media in Libraries

TITLE: Strategic Planning for Social Media in Libraries
AUTHOR: Sarah K. Steiner
STARTED: February 22, 2013
FINISHED: March 14, 2013
PAGES: 111
GENRE: Library Science

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Forward] Strategic Planning for Social Media in Libraries is a one-stop manual for how to plan, write, and implement a strategic vision and mission for social media within your organization.

SUMMARY: [From the publisher] This practical guide provides a scalable, step-by-step plan for creating and maintaining a successful library social media strategic plan. You’ll find detailed tips and advice on strategizing for social media services in a way that guides employee decision-making, maximizes efficiency, creates positive patron outcomes, protects against legal repercussions, and builds opportunities for flexibility, change, and new social media platform testing. You get all the key elements to build your strategic plan, including how to segment your audience, select a target audience, use focus groups and poll patrons, conduct a SWOT analysis to provide internal strength and support to your plan, and create a mission and vision plan for using social media. 

THOUGHTS: I can't review much more than what the summary says. This book provides a well-written, practical guide for how to get started, focus, building, and assess social media in libraries. If I had to recommend one book on this topic, it would be this one. Of all the library social media books I've read, this one is by far the best.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What I Read This Week: April 14, 2013

This week was epically long. I attended the Computers in Libraries conference on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Somehow sitting on your butt tweeting for 8 hours = exhaustion. I was a zombie on Thursday and not much better on Friday. Thank goodness for restorative weekends.

As for the reading, it was heavily work based.
  • I read an abundance of free material that was handed out at CIL including issues of Online Searcher, Internet @ Schools, Computers in Libraries, and several other related newsletters and handouts. I was also all about #cildc hashtag on Twitter.
  • I managed to make it to the gym once this week and finished the April 2013 issue of The Atlantic. I found the article on kids and touchscreens to be utterly fascinating. I highly recommend it. The Donald Trump article was also fairly enlightening.
  • Finally, I started a new romance novel by Suzanne Brockman. Infamous is fairly decent so far, but I have some major complaints with the strucutre that are keeping me from loving it. I've put a dent in the page count and hope I can finish it before Readathon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

BOOLEAN: Almost Done

I should have posted these a week ago when I wore them. Little did I know that they would be one of the last pair of tights I donned for BOOLEAN season. Things are warming up in DC and tights are no longer a smart option.

But blue legs on the metro rules!

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Rain

I was looking uber-cute this morning. Even my hair was cooperating. Then I stepped outside into a deluge. There went the cuteness. Sad face. At least the rain gave me inspiration for this week's tights. They look like a storm!

You can buy a pair from IL Couture.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Links and Stuff: April 11, 2013

Sunday, April 07, 2013

What I Read This Week: March 31, 2013

Since last week's edition of What I Read This Week feel on Easter, today I bring you a double-dose of weekly reading!

It's a short list for covering two weeks. Womp womp.
  •  Magazines!
    • Real Simple, April 2013 - I didn't pull anything from this issue, but I did pin the stackable wine I found. I also like a bunch of the cleaning tips.
    • I started reading the April 2013 issue of The Atlantic, but I'm only about a third of the way in. Hopefully, I'll finish that issue next week.
  • Books! 
    • I finished (!) Bella Tuscany. It was a pretty decent read (that made me want food), but I had a few surprising (at least to me) reactions. I'll post a full review before read-a-thon strikes... maybe.