Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Double the memes, double the fun

I was actually tagged (that never happens!) for a "Seven Random Things About Me" meme by Kiva from Eclectic Granny. I'm tagging my husband, because he really needs to get another post up soon :-).
  1. It's very hard for me to come up with random facts at random; I do much better with specific questions, which is why I stole the second meme in this post.
  2. Since I tend to speak with a lot of emphasis, I tend to be excessive with the use of italics when I write.
  3. I'm also rather fond of using parenthetical phrases and asides - you may have noticed that. (Or not. But now that I've called attention to it, you probably will.)
  4. I frequently find myself constructing fairly lengthy, complex sentences with several clauses (and some of those parenthetical asides) when I write - and I've noticed that at times I speak that way too. I've also noticed that it doesn't go over so well in general conversation, where it's a lot more difficult to follow (and people think I'm done speaking before I am - they think I've gotten to the period of the sentence, and it's really just a semicolon, or even a mere comma).
  5. Other favorite punctuation marks of mine are the - emdash; the semicolon; and the ...ellipsis (you may have noticed that too).
  6. I rarely write in longhand any more - it's almost all on computer. I'm a Mac AND I'm a PC.
  7. At last count, I had 265 feed subscriptions in Google Reader. That's not as scary as it sounds, since many of them don't update daily, or the posts are usually short...but still, it's a lot. Yikes. No wonder I have less time for reading books these days.

This meme was stolen, which is much more common around here; I found it at Hello Ello. Here, have some more randomness.

1. What are your nicknames? Nina, Flor

2. What game show and/or reality show would you like to be on? Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune (with Tall Paul, during a teams/couples week), and/or The Amazing Race (which actually would be pretty amazing)

3. What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD? VHS? That was a LONG time ago. I think it was probably a movie for my son, when he was little - Lady and the Tramp. DVD: The Princess Bride (which should surprise no one who reads this)

4. What is your favorite scent? The aroma inside a bakery, and fresh-ground coffee

5. If you had a million dollars that you could only spend on yourself, what would you do with it? I listed ten things I would do right here.

6. What one place have you visited that you can't forget and want to go back to? Alaska - and in another couple of years, it just might happen...

7. Do you trust easily? Why do you want to know? Are you going to take advantage? Seriously, I'm pretty cautious about that.

8. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think? Sometimes I think about it so much I talk myself out of acting at all.

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days? If I talk about it, it will just make me sad inside all over again :-). Nothing major, though, so it's really OK.

10. Do you have a good body image? Depends on the day/time of the month. It's better than it used to be a few years ago, thank heaven and Weight Watchers.

11. What is your favorite fruit? Clementines and strawberries

12. What websites do you visit daily? These days, not very many. I subscribe to most of my addictions via RSS, so they come to me in my Google Reader. It's much more efficient that way :-).

13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately? Trader Joe's Popped Potato Chips and Pepperidge Farm Black-and-White Milano cookies

14. What's the last song that got stuck in your head? Yesterday there were two of them dueling it out: "Friend or Foe" by Adam Ant and "The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful" by Jimmy Buffett. Just a couple of examples of my range of musical taste...

15. What's your favorite item of clothing? Just one? A 3/4-sleeve red cardigan from Ann Taylor Loft that I can wear with almost everything

16. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy? Eh, they're OK. I'd rather have Cheerios, though

17. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground? Look around furtively, then pocket it. (Hey, you probably would too, be honest!)

18. What items could you not go without during the day? A water bottle, my cell phone, my computer, the book I'm currently reading, and my car keys

19. What should you be doing right now? Several things are waiting for me in the kitchen, but I'm really thinking about a nap (I'm writing this on Sunday afternoon).

Feel free to steal - but if you have permission, is it really stealing?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Love, love, love - hearts and blogs

It's always nice to know you're loved. Lori at Barefoot in High Heels gave me this to let me know she "hearts" my blog! Thanks, Lori! And so did Karen at Nouvelle Blogger, who's also a fellow LA Moms Blogger - love yours, too, but I think you knew that already :-). Then Marie from The Boston Bibliophile and Karen at Planet Books (not the same Karen as the first one I mentioned - but good heavens, I know quite a few blogging Karens!) did too - thanks so much, ladies! I guess I'd better do something about this now, huh?

EDITED TO ADD: The very day I posted this, I received the award again from Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit - thank you so much!

Here are the rules:
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog (done!)
2) Add a link to the person people who awarded it to you (done–at the top of the post)
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs (see below)
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog (see below)
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs! (just done, and reposted this entry to say so!)

Not too long ago, I picked seven blogs for the Brillante Premio award - I love them too, of course, but I think it's nice to share the love (and this is not the kind of "love sharing" that can get you into trouble, thank goodness...). Therefore, there won't be any repeats from that list in this one.

So here are seven blogs that I "heart" (actually, it's eight...you'll see that one of them is shared), some old favorites and some new:

Los Angelista's Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness - Another LA Moms Blogger (and one I've actually met in person), writing about parenting, politics, life in the city, and Depeche Mode
A Daily Dose of Zen Sarcasm! - Madame Meow is an "old" favorite, although she is much younger than I am, and is another blogger with wide-ranging interests and a writing style that I enjoy
Ellipsis - I found Carly via Outpost Mâvarin (so I think she'll share this with yet another of the blogging Karens), and I love her openness and her wonderful photographs
Whee! All The Way Home - I've been reading Patois' blog for a long time (over a year now), and I keep coming back for her honesty, her good writing, and her Weekly Wonderings
books i done read - Raych's book reviews are frequently very funny as well as insightful, and have you ever met anyone who rates books on a scale that uses caterpillars?
Scobberlotch - Karen Harrington is a new blog crush of mine (and she just got this award from someone else, but it doesn't hurt to get it again!) - a published author whose blog is wide-ranging and fun reading
West of Mars: The Meet and Greet - Many book-blogging folks know Susan from Win a Book, but this is where groupies of her fictional band ShapeShifter can hang out with the band

Since this award was bestowed on my blog by four different people, does that mean I'm supposed to pass it on to seven other blogs for each of them? Since I'm only doing one post about it, I'm going to say "no," but let me add that I "heart" all of the blogs in my three blogrolls on the sidedar. Why not sample a few of them for yourself?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday Review 9-27

Bulletin Board - "my stuff" edition
*****This is for my own personal cause - thanks for your consideration!
    My mother died on October 8, 1999 after seven years in a nursing home with early-onset Alzheimer's. In remembrance of her, and to help raise funds to support patients, caregivers, and research into this disease, my sister and I have formed a team to participate in our local Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk. We try to do this every year, and we'll be walking in Thousand Oaks, California on Saturday, October 18. If you'd like to support us with a donation, please visit my page. If you'd like to support us with an encouraging comment, just leave one right here! (And if you're a local, the Los Angeles Memory Walk will take place on Saturday, October 5. But if you'd like to join us for the Thousand Oaks walk on the 19th, please e-mail me!)

*****Book bloggers, this is for you: LA Blogger Gal is looking for reading suggestions for her book club - head on over to this post and leave her some, please!

*****As of right now, I have no other posts lined up in draft. That will probably change by the end of this weekend, but I feel a slowdown coming on. If I miss a day or two here and there for the next little while, don't worry - I'm not going anywhere, I'm just a little short on post inspirations :-). 

New in Google Reader
Scobberlotch, the blog of author Karen Harrington (Janeology, which is on my book wishlist)
xoxoxo e
Diary of an Eccentric
The Literate Housewife Review

Random reading, with a heavy dose of politics
Visit an imaginary world in which President Bartlet advises would-be-President Obama. And in other election-related reading, my friend Deacon Ann sent a link to this "Advice for Electiontide" posting at Episcopal Café. The writer is Sara Miles, director of ministry and pastoral care at St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in San Francisco, and her whole latter is worth reading, but here's the gist (emphasis added):
...I can tell you that anger flung around recklessly during a conflict poisons the water of civil society for a long time. And I see how carrying around rage and resentment hurts individuals personally. And as someone who considers herself a part of what we call the Body of Christ, I can tell you that it's impossible to hate a part of that Body without damaging the whole.

So I want to ask you, first, to take a deep breath and pray for your enemies.

Please notice that I'm not asking you to pray that your enemies will repent and see the error of their ways, or that they'll start doing what you think they should do, or that they'll be punished for their wrongdoings. I'm asking you to simply pray for them.

And then I want to ask you, if you feel that the stakes in this election are simply so high that you must do something, to, for God's sake, do something. And by that I don't mean watch more TV, or compulsively follow your favorite political blog. I don't mean forward a nasty email to your friends, or tell a hateful story about the other side to people who agree with you politically.

I mean act...I urge you to avoid the trap of "right thinking" and ideological purity, and instead to leave your home and your circle of like-minded friends. To get out there and work for your candidate or your cause, going door to door and talking with real live human beings, some of whom will be on the other side politically.

It's always easier to hate the other side when you only talk to people who agree with you. It's harder to demonize people when you have to look them in the face.
On a related note, one woman's anti-spam campaign, and another woman's efforts to address it personally lead her to wonder if some political chasms can't be bridged. Meanwhile, while one more woman is losing sleep over politics, another shares an e-mail we can only wish was spam - something about funds transfer requiring a blank check for $700 billion...

But as far as "only talking to people who agree with you" goes...I've mainly been linking to those people, so here's one with whom I disagree on a lot, but I respect her opinions and wish I had even a quarter of her guts in expressing them.

Maybe one reason I'm so much less gutsy is that I'm an introvert and I'm pretty sure she isn't. Is "introvert" a compliment or an insult, and is it the same thing as shyness?

A debate over the definition of book-banning (just in time for the start of Banned Books Week)

Hopefully, next year I'll know to celebrate Stepfamilies Day before it happens (it was last week, on Sept. 16)

These moms are explaining elections and financial crises to her kids right now...and then there's that mom.

Well, we have to wait till January for new episodes of Burn Notice (boo!), but in the meantime, we get The Park Bench's "Nerd Man of the Month" for September, Bruce Campbell (yay!)

I just discovered one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Suzanne Vega, is an occasional music blogger for the New York Times. I think some of her best-known songs fall into the "love it or hate it" category, and while I suspect that a lot of people find her song "Tom's Diner" annoying as hell, I've always liked it, and I enjoyed reading its backstory here. (And did you know that the same "diner" is the restaurant from Seinfeld? It was news to me.)

E-mail of the week
My spam has gotten boring again, so here's an e-mail that needed the Snopes treatment:
Please pass this on even if you do not have kids in school. Parents should know about this killer drug. Grandparents, send it to your families and friends.

This is a new drug known as 'strawberry quick '.
There is a very scary thing going on in the schools right now that we all need to be aware of.

There is a type of crystal meth going around that looks like strawberry pop rocks (the candy that sizzles and 'pops' in your mouth). It also smells like strawberry and it is being handed out to kids in school yards. They are calling it strawberry meth or strawberry quick.

Kids are ingesting this thinking that it is candy and being rushed off to the hospital in dire condition. It also comes in chocolate, peanut butter, cola, cherry, grape and orange.

Please instruct your children not to accept candy from strangers and even not to accept candy that looks like this from a friend (who may have been given it and believed it is candy) and to take any that they may have to a teacher, principal, etc. immediately.

Pass this email on to as many people as you can (even if they don't have kids) so that we can raise awareness and hopefully prevent any tragedies from occurring.
Snopes sez: the drug is real, BUT the candy flavoring intended to hook kids IS NOT. It took me less than two minutes to check this out rather than needlessly push more parental alarm buttons - it's really not that hard. (Oh, and please delete the previous recipients' e-mails before forwarding - I was surprised to discover one of my co-workers on the distribution from an earlier sender!)

I didn't go to my book club meeting last night after all, but the rest of the weekend looks plenty busy. Hope you're having a good one!

Friday, September 26, 2008

TBIF: Thank blog it's Friday - the last one in September

Tuesday Thingers (hosted by The Boston Bibliophile)

Today's Question: Favorite Authors. Who do you have named in your LT account as favorite authors? Why did you choose them? How many people share your choices? Can you share a picture of one of them?

In most categories, I don't have just one or two items that I like above all others, and it's no different with authors. I have 14 authors "favorited" (is that really a word?) on LibraryThing: Michael Chabon, Jasper Fforde, Alice Hoffman, Nick Hornby, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott, Madeleine L'Engle, Sue Miller, Christopher Moore, Carolyn Parkhurst, Ann Patchett, Jodi Picoult, Michelle Richmond, J. K. Rowling, and Anne Tyler.

It's probably no surprise that my most-shared favorite is J.K. Rowling, who has 1,083 LT fans, but I was pleased to discover that my second-most-popular favorite is Jasper Fforde (337). The least-common favorite author on my list is Carolyn Parkhurst, who is a favorite of only 6 LT members, counting me, but she's only published two novels so far, so I'm hopeful her audience will grow. Six of my favorites, including Rowling, are shared with one other LT member, and between one and five favorites are shared with other members in various combinations.

I listed an author as a favorite if I've read and enjoyed most of his or her books in the past, and/or I plan to continue seeking them out in the future. The list will probably grow over time - Michelle Richmond is the most recent addition - and some authors won't have new books to add to their catalogs eventually. On that note, I'm sharing a picture of someone who has been on my "favorite authors" list since I was in my early teens, the late Madeleine L'Engle.

Madeleine L'Engle

credit  Kenneth S. Lewis; copyright (1) Random House publicity photos (2) http://smartpublic.randomhouse.com/teams/

Care to share the names of a couple of favorite authors, whether or not they're identified as such on LibraryThing? Do you share any of my favorites?

Teaser Tuesday (hosted at Should Be Reading)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
I picked this up at an interesting shop in Laguna Beach called Art For the Soul, where it was one of the few things I could afford. It's an collection of mini-biographies of women writers called Wild Women And Books: Bibliophiles, Bluestockings, & Prolific Pens from Aphra Ben to Zora Neale Hurston and From Anne Rice To the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Brenda Knight. It sounds fascinating, and I expect it will provide some good blog fodder once I finally get around to reading it :-).

"A bout of ghost stories told around the fire as a distraction from an unusually cold summer inspired nineteen-year-old Mary to pick up a pen.Written in one year, Frankenstein is now hailed as the first Gothic novel and a seminal work of science fiction." (page 58, "Mary Shelley")

Your turn...

The assignment for Weekly Geeks # 18 was to "catch up on...something," and Dewey offered a few suggestions:
…organizing your sidebar
…updating lists of some sort (I need to deal with my giveaways list!)
…making links wherever (challenge lists, monthly reading summaries, etc.)
…your TBR pile
…your library books
…updating your blogroll
…updating your reader
I'm sure there are several book-blog-related things I need to catch up on, but I knew that if I picked more than one for this task, they probably wouldn't get finished, and one of my quirks is that I'd rather have things undone than half-done. (I guess in some ways I'm an "all-or-nothing" kind of person. Maybe that's why it bugs me when the "unread feeds" count in Google Reader piles up too much.)

This assignment gave me the nudge to get all of my 2008 book-review posts, and most of my 2007 stand-alone reviews (many of my earlier review posts here included multiple books in order to catch those up), linked to my book catalog on LibraryThing, which I've been meaning to do for awhile. (Sadly, I'm not sure my GoodReads listings are going to get the same update; I just get more regular use out of LT.) I'm going to do my best to keep that current, and to remember to update my Book Talk Master List, whenever I post a new review. Since I usually do those on Thursdays, you'd think it wouldn't be that hard to keep up with, but apparently it is.

Well, THAT was different! - Booking Through Thursday 

What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?
And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

Good question! I'm not sure I have a good answer, unfortunately, especially if you're asking about THE most unusual book.

One of the things I think makes a book "unusual" - not just for me, but objectively - is a creative format; an unusual layout, unconventional use of fonts, that kind of thing. Even though her books are very much within my "usual" realm, Jodi Picoult has made use of things like that; her stories are often told from multiple viewpoints, and each narrator's chapters may be printed with a different font. She also included a short graphic novel within The Tenth Circle, although it really didn't do much for me. Variations in typography and layout can be interesting, until they reach the point where they overwhelm the content, and it becomes more about "look at this page!" than what that page says - that's a bit too much style over substance, and too "postmodern," for my taste.

Since I'm not a big genre reader, "unusual" for me would actually take me into a genre - a mystery or detective series, romance, science fiction or fantasy. I actually used to read more SF and fantasy, but they lost appeal for me as I got older because trying to keep track of all the details and rules of their imagined worlds just required too much effort. A few years ago I did undertake reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it was mostly because when I'd first attempted it (about twenty years earlier), I'd stalled out one-third of the way through The Return of the King, and I thought I should read it before I saw the movie (the other two books were re-reads). To be honest, I'd rather have these stories onscreen than on the page - I found the books a bit ponderous.

Recently, I think the most unusual-for-me book I've read is probably The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, and I've never finished it; it's still sitting on a table with a bookmark in it about two-thirds of the way in. I know a lot of people who have raved over it, and I want to like it, but it just kept losing me. I keep the bookmark there, though, just in case I ever decide to take the rest of it on.

On the other end of the "unusual-for-me" spectrum would be the Anita Shreve novels I've read for my book club. They've all annoyed me in one way or another, and I'll do my best to avoid any more.

I have an unusual-for-me book on my nightstand right now. I bought my husband a copy of Stephen Colbert's I Am America, and So Can You! for his last birthday; he's already read it twice and is urging me to read it too, but I'm procrastinating.

I really don't think of myself as an "unadventurous" reader, but answering this question is making me wonder. Maybe I just know what I like, and that happens to be broad enough for me that I prefer to stay with it rather than venture too far afield. Besides, sometimes I've found that when I do branch out, I find that it reinforces what I like and why I like it.

Have you read anything unusual lately?

Friday Fill-Ins #91


1. My wedding anniversary, my husband's and sister's birthdays, and one other thing I'm afraid to mention yet are some of the things I'm most looking forward to in October (but Halloween is NOT one of them).

2. Sometimes I am very good at getting in my own way.

3. Things change every day, whether you like it or not, and that's why there is a saying, "never say never"! (And I think it's good to be careful about "always," too.)

4. When I'm down, I'm there for a little while, and then I get back up.

5. In front of a computer is where you'll find me most often.

6. A rainy day is good for staying at home, curled up on the couch with a book!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to my Book Club's final meeting befor it morphs into a "Book and Movie Club," tomorrow my plans include my stepdaughter's party for her 14th birthday, and Sunday, I want to catch up on whatever didn't get done on Saturday!

So, what are you looking forward to this weekend?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Book talk: "Love Is A Mix Tape," by Rob Sheffield

Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield
Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time
Rob Sheffield
Three Rivers Press, 2007 (paperback) (ISBN 1400083036 / 9781400083039)
Nonfiction/memoir, 240 pages

First Sentence: The playback: last night, Brooklyn, a pot of coffee, and a chair by the window. I'm listening to a mix tape from 1993.

Book Description: In the 1990s, when “alternative” was suddenly mainstream, bands like Pearl Jam and Pavement, Nirvana and R.E.M.—bands that a year before would have been too weird for MTV- were MTV. It was the decade of Kurt Cobain and Shania Twain and Taylor Dayne, a time that ended all too soon. The boundaries of American culture were exploding, and music was leading the way.

It was also when a shy music geek named Rob Sheffield met a hell-raising Appalachian punk-rock girl named Renée, who was way too cool for him but fell in love with him anyway. He was tall. She was short. He was shy. She was a social butterfly. She was the only one who laughed at his jokes when they were so bad, and they were always bad. They had nothing in common except that they both loved music. Music brought them together and kept them together. And it was music that would help Rob through a sudden, unfathomable loss.

In Love Is a Mix Tape, Rob, now a writer for Rolling Stone, uses the songs on fifteen mix tapes to tell the story of his brief time with Renée. From Elvis to Missy Elliott, the Rolling Stones to Yo La Tengo, the songs on these tapes make up the soundtrack to their lives.

Rob Sheffield isn’t a musician, he’s a writer, and Love Is a Mix Tape isn’t a love song- but it might as well be. This is Rob’s tribute to music, to the decade that shaped him, but most of all to one unforgettable woman.

Comments: I enjoyed this book, but not as much as I'd hoped to. Rob Sheffield has written a series of reminiscences about his life and his late wife, Renée, with each chapter tied to a particular mix tape of songs (in some cases, an actual cassette) that one or the other had put together.

Rob and Renee were in their mid-twenties when they met in Charlottesville, Virginia in the early 1990's. They had been married for five years when Renée suddenly died of a pulmonary embolism, and much of the book concerns Rob's coming to terms with unexpected widowhood in his early thirties. He conveys the grief and anger associated with that very clearly, and I felt for him. What I didn't feel he did as well was give a real sense of who Renée was. It's clear that he thought she was special, and seemed to keep a sense of wonderment about their relationship - "what's a girl like her doing with a guy like me?" - that's rather sweet, but I really didn't come away from the book feeling like I knew her very well. The story really is mostly about him, and that's fine, but I would have felt more connected with it emotionally if there had been more of her too. I think I would have liked more from the book overall.

Despite the premise, I didn't find this book to be maudlin at all. In fact, parts of it were very funny. I love the concept of the mix tape - the idea that there's a message, or a theme, in the particular combination of songs you choose for someone. It's an appropriate metaphor for Rob and Renée's relationship, in addition to a way of sampling their life together.

I read this immediately after I finished Jancee Dunn's Don't You Forget About Me, another story in which music plays a big part (although that one's fictional), and it was a good pairing. Sheffield and Dunn were both writers for Rolling Stone, and he mentions her in his acknowledgements.

Rating: 3.25/5

Other bloggers' reviews:
Literate Housewife (this one's a great story with a personal connection)
Everyday I Write the Book Blog

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The meme thief is back!

It's been a while since I've stolen a meme. I almost never get tagged, and I really don't mind, since if it looks like fun I'll just take it anyway. I found this quick little name meme at KathyHowe's place, Kazoofus.com.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME (first pet, current car): Aphrodite Civic

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (fave ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe): Chocolate Slingback

3. YOUR NATIVE AMERICAN NAME (favorite color, favorite animal): Red Dog

4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, city where you were born): Elizabeth Yonkers

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME (the first three letters of your last name, first two of your first name): Vasfl (I don't even know how you'd pronounce that)

6. SUPERHERO NAME (2nd favorite color, favorite drink): Blue Lemonade

7. NASCAR NAME (the first names of your grandfathers): Peter Ernest (It doesn't specify an order, so I used maternal/paternal. It sounds better than Ernest Peter...)

8. STRIPPER NAME ( the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy): Chanel Reese

9. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME (your fifth grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Mears Madison (that actually does sound like a TV-news name!)

10. SPY NAME (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Spring Rose

11. CARTOON NAME (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now): Clementine Pants

12. HIPPIE NAME (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree): Oatmeal Oak
More meme thievery! I found this "food meme" at The Unfocused Life - but so did Mike, and he stole it first.

1. How do you like your eggs?
Scrambled, or in an omelet. I don't like 'em fried, and won't touch them soft-boiled (I had to eat them that way as a kid. Ew.). I like them mixed with cheese, ham, and fried potatoes - any or all.

2. How do you take your coffee/tea?
It's coffee, with flavored creamer, a little milk, and one packet of Splenda.

3. Favorite breakfast food:
I love breakfast food! I only get to pick one? OK, then...cinnamon-roll French toast. Decadence on a plate.

4. Peanut butter:
Lived on it for 13 years of school, but I don't eat it much anymore. When I do, it's the reduced-fat kind. I've always preferred smooth - it spreads easier on the bread.

5. What kind of dressing on your salad?
Italian, balsamic vinaigrette or honey mustard.
6. Coke or Pepsi?
I don't drink soda. (My husband, who takes his caffeine carbonated, makes up for me).

7. You’re feeling lazy. What do you make?
Cereal for dinner! But if I don't want a cold meal, probably a sandwich and maybe some soup with it.

8. You’re feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order?
Half cheese, half pepperoni from Vincenzo's - best pizza in town!
9. You feel like cooking. What do you make?
Usually, this happens on the weekends, and I like to cook ahead of time so I can get dinner ready faster during the week. I might cook up a big pot of pasta sauce, or make my BBQ meatloaf. And if I'm really feeling domestic, I'll bake.

10. Do any foods bring back good memories?
Not exactly, but remembering good food makes me happy, and makes me look forward to eating it again!

11. Do any foods bring back bad memories?
Pizza did for a long time, but I eventually got over it. I got violently sick on pizza when I was five or six years old, and wouldn't eat it again for over ten years. Ever hear of a teenager who didn't eat pizza?That was me.

12. Do any foods remind you of someone?
Certain flavors and aromas in pasta sauce and meatballs remind me of Sunday dinners at my great-aunts' house when I was a kid.

13. Is there a food you refuse to eat?
Brussels sprouts. I ate them once, so I know I hate them. But since my husband won't eat cooked vegetables at all, I'm probably safe from this one.

14. What was your favorite food as a child?
Spaghetti and meatballs, and I've never outgrown it.15. Is there a food that you hated as a child but now like?
I can't think of an example, but I know there must be quite a few, because I was a very, very picky child.

16. Is there a food that you liked as a child but now hate?
I don't hate it, but I don't eat much red meat anymore.

17. Favorite fruits and vegetables:
Clementines, strawberries, bananas, potatoes, cucumbers, mixed-greens salad

18. Favorite junk food:
It varies. Right now, it's Trader Joe's Popped Potato Chips.

19. Favorite between meal snack:
I really don't snack much - it's probably my one good food habit.20. Do you have any weird food habits?
I eat my sandwiches from the outside in - I have to get the crusts out of the way first.

21. You’re on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on?
I'm a Weight Watchers lifetime member, so technically I don't "diet;" I maintain or I track points. And in order to maximize my points values, I'll look for low-fat, high-fiber foods, and sometimes I'll take the easy way out (a/k/a Lean Cuisine).

22. You’re off your diet. Now what would you like?
See #21. I'm never "off a diet" either, theoretically. But if I can splurge, I want brownies!

23. How spicy do you order Indian/Thai?
I don't. Not a big fan of Asian cuisines. I need to be in the right mood for even Chinese or Japanese.

24. Can I get you a drink?
An Arnold Palmer (lemonade iced tea), please.

25. Red or White Wine?
White before dinner, red with it...or if I can't make up my mind, the ultimate chick drink, White Zinfandel.

26. Favorite dessert?
Just one?! Don't make me choose! I love brownies, chocolate cake, cheesecake, and pumpkin pie...let's start with those.27. The perfect nightcap?
Hot chocolate while watching TV with Tall Paul.

Your turn, should you choose to take it...

Ten on Tuesday on Wednesday: What I Did This Summer

It dawned on me recently that I think summer may be overrated. When you're a kid, of course, it's great - two and a half months of "freedom!" (Realistically, though, most middle-class families have such structured life, do many kids really even have that anymore?) But once you're a parent, freedom for the kids can mean extra work for you...especially if you no longer live by the academic calendar yourself and have to, you know, go to work too. Adults don't get the summer off from our responsibilities, do we? Blech.

But this week's Ten on Tuesday topic was "10 Great Things That Happened This Summer." For an overrated season, this was actually a pretty good summer, but since I've probably already blogged about most of the good stuff, I'm just going to link to some of those posts.
Well, it's not ten things, but it's more than ten posts, so I'm counting it.

What were some the best things about your summer?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I now pronounce...the MATRIMONY Winner!

It turned out to be very good timing that Book Blogger Appreciation Week coincided with my giveaway of the paperback edition of Matrimony - author Joshua Henkin really does appreciate book bloggers, and
I appreciate everyone who left a comment to enter the giveaway and helped promote it on their own blogs!

The winner was selected with the help of the random-number generator at Random.org, and it is...

Serena of Savvy Verse and Wit!

I will send Serena's mailing address to Josh Henkin so he can send out her inscribed copy of Matrimony, and I'll be looking forward to reading her review of the book.

** And by the way, if you're interested in having Josh Henkin do a phone chat with your book group, the sign-up deadline has been extended to September 30 (although at the time I drafted this post, the website still said the deadline was September 25 - the extension info came from Josh via e-mail).


Adapted from the book Writing Motherhood by Lisa Garrigues, an invitation to write:
First Words and Other Firsts: Open any baby diary and you will find whole pages devoted to firsts: first smile, first words, first friends, first birthday. Why are firsts so significant? Because they represent a beginning. Because they push us beyond what is familiar and comfortable. Because they jolt us out of the numbness or everyday life and bring us back to our primitive selves when we saw a world through a child's eyes. Keeping in mind that first experiences do not end with babyhood, write about a first: the first day of kindergarten, the first day of college, the first grandchild. Or simply begin with the writing start "the first time" and write down the first thing that comes to mind.
The first time I saw the man who became my second husband wasn't supposed to be the first time I saw the man who became my second husband.

A few days after Paul and I were "introduced" by an online-dating site, we were e-mailing each other several times a day, and we had decided we wanted to meet in person. We planned lunch at a local mall for the following weekend - we had to work around his custody schedule, and I wanted a little more time to correspond in the meantime. I like to be prepared when I meet people. We chose the location - an Italian restaurant in the mall - and the time - Sunday at noon - because they were pretty casual and open-ended. If things went well, we could wander around the mall afterwards and talk more; if not, one or both of us could manufacture a shopping errand.

The day before, I was excited and nervous about my upcoming first post-divorce date as I went about my weekend errands. While I was waiting in the checkout line in Target, I happened to glance over at the next register, and noticed a tall, sandy-haired guy in line over there. I looked at him carefully - he looked a lot like the picture I'd seen in the online-dating profile for the person I was meeting on Sunday, and I happened to be at the Target in his town instead of my own that day. When he turned his head and I saw his blue eyes and his earring, I thought there was a very good chance this was Paul, and I decided that if I caught his eye, I would ask him if he was.

He left the store without looking my way, but when I got home I sent him a message:

"Were you in the Target in M***** around 11:30 this morning? There was a guy in the next checkout line that looked a lot like you, but if it WAS you, I don't think you saw me. See you tomorrow!"

Later that afternoon, he wrote back:


He said he wouldn't have had time to chat then anyway, since he was on his way to his son's T-ball game - and he was glad that I wasn't calling off the date after having seen him!

The next day, I got to the mall early enough to be waiting for him. When he walked through the doors, I knew - this was Target Guy. I almost introduced myself as the Target Stalker, but thought better of it (sometimes I actually do that).

Five hours later, we both knew our first date wouldn't be our last.

In connection with the paperback release of Writing Motherhood, bloggers are posting about "Firsts" today - check out the participant list here (EDITED TO ADD: The link is to the main site. Click the tab labeled "Writing Motherhood Post and Chat"), and visit them to read their takes on the topic. And if you'd like a chance to win a copy of the book, mention one of your own "firsts" in a comment here, or in a post on your own blog linking back here. (Every blog on the list is giving away a copy, so the more blogs you visit and comment on, the better your chances!) Thanks to Vanessa at Chefdruck Musings for inviting me to be part of this event!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Assignment #234: It's a good thing

This week, Karen poses a pretty simple question - perhaps deceptively simple:

Weekend Assignment #234: Tell me one good thing about the area where you live (city, town, or whatever). It doesn't have to be the best thing, just something that's in the plus column for you.

Extra Credit: How could that good thing be even better?

It's easiest to tell people I live in "Southern California" or "the LA area" without being overly specific. It's amazing how many small niches make up this metropolis; drive a few miles down one street, and you can pass through four different little cities (in many cases, actually glorified oversized neighborhoods), and each of them has its own character, architecture, and even geography. (Oh, and you're still on the same street, by the way.)

One funny thing about living here is that places you've never been before can seem instantly familiar. That's because you've probably seen them in movies or on TV. I didn't realize until I'd been here for some time just how LA-centric popular entertainment really is; unless there's a story-related reason for a show to be set somewhere else, it will probably take place in Los Angeles. I guess that helps the writers to "write what they know," and makes location shooting much more convenient, but as a non-native, I really feel that it overstates the city's importance. It feeds that California-dream image that makes people want to come here (and complain about it once they've been here awhile - oh, wait, maybe that's just me), but an image is just what it is, and it gets manipulated in lots of ways. It can be fun, if a bit distracting, trying to identify where something was filmed, especially when it claims to be somewhere else. For example, Tall Paul and I enjoy watching 24, but its depiction of LA cracks us up sometimes - Jack Bauer zooms from one area of the city to another in fifteen minutes, when in real life those places are 25 miles apart. On top of that, there's never any traffic and he always finds a place to park the car right away - story considerations aside, those two details alone make it obvious that this show is total fiction.

I've gone totally off on a tangent here, but I've actually been wanting to talk about that for awhile. Besides, I'm stalling while trying to come up with something less obvious than "the weather" or "the beach."

Another reason I say "the LA area" is that I live outside of LA proper; I don't even live in LA County. (I think the LA Moms Blog is stretching their boundaries by letting me play with them - lucky me!) But that's one of the best things about my Ventura County suburb - location, location, location. The attractions of the city are within reasonable driving distance, and so are the beaches, the mountains, and the desert, should you want a change of scenery. At the same time, we have those suburban perks, like big supermarkets and ample free parking.

What could make it better? Less traffic, or at least better roads and traffic management. (Oh, and better drivers.) I was actually serious when I mentioned reasonable driving distances; what makes driving in these parts so exasperating is the time it involves, which is usually longer than it needs to be because the roads are just too darn crowded.

What's one good thing about where you live?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Review 9-20-08

Bulletin Board
We're making a quick out-of-town trip this weekend; Mom-in-law and two of her best friends all had milestone birthdays this year (one turned 70, two are 65 - and no, I won't tell you which one she is), and they're throwing themselves a great big combined birthday party tonight. I'm bringing the MacBook, but if I'm slow in responding to your comments, that's why.

TOMORROW (Sunday, Sept. 21) is the deadline for these two Matrimony-related items:
*****And on a much more serious note: Some ways to help Gulf Coast hurricane/tropical storm victims and evacuees, via Julie Pippert

New in Google Reader
Ageless Body/Timeless Mom, via Nouvelle Blogger
Suburb Sanity
BBAW discoveries:
Bookish Ruth
Book Addiction
Book Zombie
Devourer of Books
J. Kaye's Book Blog
Savvy Verse & Wit

Random reading
It's not hard to forget, in the midst of it all, that as parents, we're raising future adults, and we won't really know how that turns out for awhile. But part of that process is teaching them that the world doesn't have to stop just for them. And if your child asked you if you were happy, how would you answer?

This message to Bay Area drivers applies to SoCal folks too!

You know that old etiquette rule about not discussing politics in social settings? Well, maybe this isn't so sociable, but PunditMom has a few questions for fellow working mom Sarah Palin

Just hope you never find yourself in this position - or see this driver while crossing the street.

One writer reflects on the passing of another

The Park Bench reads Cosmopolitan so you don't have to....and a nation is grateful. And Kim and her family went to the LA County Fair, so you don't have to do that, either (unless you really want to, of course).

Just in case you've managed to avoid seeing this: The Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator, brought to you by Crust Scramble Palin - that's me!

Book wishlist
Dear John, by Norma L. Betz
The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home, by Erin Einhorn
Out, by Natsuo Kirino
Anatomy of a Boyfriend, by Daria Snadowsky

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, September 19, 2008

BBAW Appreciates Our Friend Amy!

Book Blogger Appreciation Week has been SO much fun! I've discovered some new additions to my "books" blogroll - you'll see those in my "Saturday Review" post tomorrow - won a couple of prizes, and seen some friends acclaimed as BBAW Award winners.

But all of this wouldn't have happened without the inspiration - and very hard work - of My Friend Amy. As quoted by Sassymonkey on BlogHer, Amy's rationale for organizing BBAW was this:
Book blogging is for most a hobby. But it's a hobby that takes a lot of work and time. It's a labor of love.

I've been blogging for three years but only really got into book blogging in the last year. I have found, without a doubt, that book bloggers are the kindest, most open minded, and supportive group of bloggers on the internet. With book blogging, it's about community and a love for the written word.
This summer, after book blogging was patronized in the mainstream media, Amy made a suggestion that we celebrate book blogging. From that idea, Book Blogger Appreciation Week was born. Many of us have participated in interviews, contests, give-aways, and through awards; but this would never have happened were it not for the dream, perseverance, planning, hard work and dedication of Amy. This has been a wonderful week and as members of the Book Blogging community, in one voice we want to thank Amy for all that she has done.

 Amy, you are truly the Queen of Book Bloggers and we love you!

BBAW - The Roster

If Book Blogger Appreciation Week has whetted your appetite for more bookish blogging, here is the complete list of participating blogs!

1 More Chapter
2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
248 Book Club
The 3 R's: Reading, 'Riting, and Randomness
49 Writers No Books
4 the Love of Books
A Book Lover
A Bookworm's World
A Christian Writer's World
A Guy's Moleskine Notebook
A Hoyden's Look at Literature
A Lovely Shore Breeze
A Mom's Book Blog
A Peek At My Bookshelf
A Platypus with a book walks into a bar...
A Reader's Journal
A Well Watered Garden
A World in the Pages
A Writer's Dream
Adventures in Reading
Age 30 - A Year of Books
Alabama Book Worm
All I Have To Say
All the Saints
Allison's Attic of Books
Alpha Heroes
Amateur de Livre
The Amazing Adulthood of Alexis
Amber Miller - Author, Writer, & Web Site Designer
Amber Stults - Book Reviewer and Author
Amy's Corner of the World
Antique Books
Apooo Bookclub
Apprentice Writer
Arch Thinking
As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves
At Home With Books
Aunt Rowena sez:
Babbling Books Review
Badger Books
Bart's Bookshelf
Becky's Book Reviews
Bermudaonion's Weblog
Better World Blog
Between Sundays
Bibliophile Support Group
Blacklin's Reading Room Reviews & More
Blog Book Tours
Blog Business World
Bloggin' 'Bout Books
Bloody Hell, It's a Book Barrage!
Blue Archipelago
The Bluestocking Guide: Reviews by a Partial, Prejudiced, and Ignorant Reader
Bobbi's Book Nook
Boats Against the Current
Book Binge
The Book Blog
Book by Book
Book Chatter and Other Stuff
Book Chic
Book Club Girl
Book Crazy
Book Critiques
Book Dads
Book Dweeb
Book Escape
The Book Girl
Book Hangover
Book Junkie Melissa
Book Kingdom
The Book Lady's Blog
The Book Mine Set
Book Minx
The Book Muncher
Book Nook Club
Books and Movies
Books for Kids
Books on the Nightstand
The Book Reader
Book Review Maniac
Book Reviews
Book Reviews Today
The Book Smugglers
Book Tsunami
Book Zombie
Booked Books
Booking Mama
Bookish Ruth
Bookroomreview's Weblog
Books 'N Border Collies
Books and Authors
Books I Done Read
Books, Movies, and Chinese Food
The Bookworm
Breaking the Spine
Breeni Books
BTripp's Books
But If You Look At Me Closely...
Café of Dreams
Candid Canine
Canadian Book Worm
Cheryl's Book Nook
Cheryl Rainfield
Chick Lit Teens
Christian Bookworm Reviews
Christian Children's Book Review
Christian Novels
A Christian Writer's World
Cindy's Love of Books
Civil War History
Clear Shining After Rain
Confessions of a Bibliophile
Confuzzled Books
Critty Joy
Cubie's Confections
Cupid's Chokehold
Damn Heart...
The Dark Phantom Reviews
Deborah Vogts
Devourer of Books
Diary of an Eccentric
Dog Ear Diary
Dolce Bellezza
Elizabeth Willse
Everyday I Write the Book Blog
Experiments in Reading
Fashionista Piranha
Fizzy Thoughts
Fnord Incorporated
The Forgetful Faerie Queen
The Fox Reads
Free Spirit
Frequency of Silence
Fresh Ink
The Friendly Book Nook
Fyrefly's Book Blog
Grasping the Wind
Good Reads
The GRITS Online Reading Club
Heather's Books
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?
The Hidden Side of a Leaf
Hope's Bookshelf
I Read What??
I Smell Books
Iced Tea - Books, TV, Etc.
In Laurie's Mind
In Spring it is the Dawn
The Indextrious Reader
Into the Fire
It's All About Books...
Jace Scribbles...
Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup
Janicu's Book Blog
Japanese Literature Challenge
Jen's Book Thoughts
Jenn's Bookshelf
Jennifer's Random Musings
Journey to the End of the TBR Pile
Joy's Blog
Julie's Jewels
Just A (Reading) Fool
Just Your Average Carpool Queen
Katrina's Reads
Kawzmik World
Kittling: Books
Kristina's Favorites
Leafing Through Life
LadyVampire's Lair
The Lair of the Undead Rat
Lesa's Book Critiques
Lesley's Book Nook
LesleyW's Book Nook
Letters On Pages
Library Hospital
Life According to B
Life and Times of a "New" New Yorker
Linus's Blanket
Literary Escapism
Literary License
The Literate Housewife Review
Liv's Book Reviews
Lori's Reading Corner
Lost In Books
Loud Latin Laughing
Love To Read
Lucky Ladybug
Lurve a la Mode
The Luscious Literary Muse
Madeleine's Book Blog
The Magic Lasso
Mama Bear Reads
Marilyn's Romance Reviews
Marjolein's Book Blog
Maw Books Blog
Mayra's Secret Bookcase
Me, My Book, and the Couch
Medieval Bookworm
Melanie Anderson
Melody's Reading Corner
Mervi's Book Reviews
Michele - only one 'L'
Midnight Twilight's Book Blog
Minds Alive on the Shelves
Mirek's Blog--Reading Books
Miss Daisy Anne
Mistress of the Ancient Revelry
Mog's Blog and More...
Mrs. Magoo Reads
Muse Books Reviews
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
My Christian Fiction Blog
My Fifty Book Challenge
My Friend Amy
My Life in Books
Mysteries in Paradise
Necromancy Never Pays
Never A Dull Moment
Nose in a Book
The Novel World
The Nursery @ The Literate Housewife
OCD, Vampires, and Amusing Rants, Oh My!
The Octogon
Off to Turn Another Page
On My Bookshelf...
One For The Books
Out of the Blue
The Page Flipper
Pages Turned
Paper Bridges
Patricia's Vampire Notes
Peeking Between the Pages
Pop Culture Junkie
Popin's Lair
Presenting Lenore
The Printed Page
Quiverfull Family
Ramblings on Romance
Read, Read, Read
Reader's Respite
Reading and Ruminations
Reading Keeps You Sane
Reading Romance Books
Reading, Writing, and Retirement
Reading Room
The Reading Spot
Reading with Monie
Reading Circle Books
Readingjunky's Reading Roost
Real Life is Overrated
Rebecca Reads
Red Lady's Reading Room
Relz Reviewz
Reviews by Jesse Wave
Reviewer X
Rhapsodyinbooks's Weblog
Rhonda McKnight on Urban Christian Ficton
Rip My Bodice
Romance Author Buzz
Romance Book Wyrm
Romance Rookie
Romancing the Desert
Ron's Baseball Bookshelf
Rose City Reader
S. Krishna's Books
Sassymonkey Reads
Savvy Verse & Wit
Seaside Book Worm Blogger
See Ya On The Net
She is Too Fond of Books
She Reads and Reads
She Reads Books
She Treads Softly
Shelf Life
Shhh I'm Reading
Shooting Stars Mag
Should Be Reading
Simply Books
Simply Romance Reviews
The Sleepy Reader
SmallWorld Reads
Smiling Sally
SMS Book Reviews
So Many Books... So Little Time
So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Socrates' Book Reviews
Sophisticated Dorkiness
Southern Sunshine
Stacy's Place On Earth
Stamped With Grace
Stephanie's Written Word
The Story Siren
Straight from Hel
Strategist's Personal Library
Stuff as Dreams are Made on
Survival of the Book
Talk About My Favorite Authors
Tara's View on Books
Teen Book Reviews
Teen Troves
Terra's Book Blog
That Book Addiction
Things Mean A Lot
This Book For Free
Thoughts from an Evil Overlord
Thoughts of Joy
The Thrillionth Page
Through the Looking Glass Book Review
Tiny Little Reading Room
TOCWOC - A Civil War Blog
The Tome Traveller's Weblog
Too Many Books
Tower of Books
Traci's Book Bag
Tree Swing Reading
Trish Perry - Reading, Writing, and the Stuff In-Between
Trish's Reading Nook
Under the Cover
Vixen's Daily Reads
Well-Mannered Frivolity
Walking on Sunshine
Welcome to Married Life
Wendi's Reading Corner
Wendy's Minding Spot
What Came Down Today
What Cheesy Reads
What Vanessa Reads
Window To My World
With Intent To Commit Horror
WORD up!
World According to Books
Writer's Block Reviews
Writing By Faith
Writing On The Edge
Yankee Romance Reviews
Young Readers

TBIF - Thank blog it's Friday!

Tuesday Thingers (hosted by The Boston Bibliophile)

Today's Question: Have you ever added a quote to the quotation field in common knowledge? What's a quote you particularly like from a book, one that you know by heart?

I haven't added anything to Common Knowledge. I actually haven't used Common Knowledge all that much, to be honest, although it was quite helpful in last week's Thinger about book awards. I have noticed that a lot of the books in my LT library don't have many of the Common Knowledge fields filled in; it might be fun to see what I could contribute there if I ever had the time to play around with it, but so far, I haven't had that time. Now, there's something for the "when I retire" list...

Here's a book I could contribute some quotes from, but I'd have to double-check whether they were actually in the book, or just from the movie.
"You've fallen victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia.' But only slightly less well-known is this: 'Never go in against a Sicilian when DEATH is on the line!' Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha [thud]."
If you love to quote The Princess Bride as much as I do, leave one of your favorite lines in the comments!

Teaser Tuesday (hosted at Should Be Reading)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

Since I got a little ahead of myself with Teasers a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd try something a little different - sharing Teasers from the books other people in my house are reading.

> The Boy (age 8.5, in third grade) read this today:
"You're going to be spending the afternoon in detention if you don't settle down, young man!" shouted Miss Anthrope. (page 121)
 - Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets, by Dav Pilkey (Would you believe 225 LibraryThing members have this book listed?)

> Mom-in-law was reading this a couple of weeks ago, but she left it at our house by mistake (we'll return it this weekend):
"Gee, three colors."
"You should try it out," Sunny told me. "Make sure you know how to use it." (page 81)
 - One for the Money (A Stephanie Plum Novel), by Janet Evanovich

> I'll be reading this one pretty soon, but it's on Tall Paul's nightstand right now - he's got first crack at it:
"An abstraction where all the laws of literary theory and storytelling conventions break down - the Nothing. It doesn't support textual life and has no description, form, or function." (page 80)
 - Thursday Next: First Among Sequels, by Jasper Fforde

Autumn Reading - Booking Through Thursday 

Autumn is starting (here in the US, anyway), and kids are heading back to school–does the changing season change your reading habits? Less time? More? Are you just in the mood for different kinds of books than you were over the summer?

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

There was a similar BTT question back in the spring, and here's what I said then:
(I)s there a seasonal factor involved in my reading choices?

OK, I've thought about it - the answer is "no," or at least, "not that I've noticed." I tend to try to keep a mix of books going year-round. I'll alternate lighter and heavier fiction, and mix in some nonfiction every third or fourth book.
Sometimes I'll make a deliberate choice to save a particular book for a vacation or day off. I may decide that because it looks like a book that I want to have time to concentrate on, or because I expect that it's a story that will grab me quickly and be difficult to stop reading...(But) the season and the weather really don't influence those decisions very much.
The seasons don't change very dramatically in California, but the changes do affect what I wear, what I eat, and how I spend some of my time - not my reading time, though. My choices about that are far more motivated by internal factors.
The same reasoning pretty much applies to fall as well. As the days get shorter and staying in becomes more appealing, I may feel more inclined to curl up in my favorite chair with a book, but that's more about the reading habit in general than about what I choose to read while I'm in that chair. I read all year long. What about you?

Friday Fill-Ins #90

1. There is no need to panic - look! The book says right there on the cover, "Don't panic!"

2. Where in the heck did the kids leave the TV remote?

3. Half the work I was supposed to do is all I managed to do.

4. Prospects for a white Christmas are very remote (in Southern California, that would be a genuine Christmas miracle!).

5. "Read more" is the message.

6. Simplicity and tranquility are pretty rare commodities around this place.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to packing for the weekend, tomorrow my plans include driving down to Mom-in-law's for the big birthday party and Sunday, I want to NOT get stuck in traffic on the way back home!

***Don't forget to enter my giveaway to win a personally-autographed copy of the paperback edition of Joshua Henkin's novel Matrimony - the deadline is Sunday 9/21, and the details are here! And speaking of Matrimony, would your book group like the opportunity to discuss the book by phone with the author himself? Granted, it's short notice, but sign up by midnight September 21 (the same day entries close for my giveaway!) and Vintage will set up a phone chat for your book group with Josh! Here's the link to do so: http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/read/chat.html