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Friday, April 17, 2009

TBIF - Thank blog it's Friday! This week in memes and books

Mailbox Monday, hosted at The Printed Page

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Yes, there have been a few new arrivals on my bookshelves this week!

I received for review:
Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption, by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton (with Erin Torneo), via Anna Jarzab at The Book Report Network
The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway, via LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program

I received from a friend:
The Brightest Moon of the Century, by Christopher Meeks - after posting her review, Literary Feline kindly offered to send me her ARC. Thanks so much for granting one of my book wishes, Wendy!

And now that Lent is over and I can BUY books again, I treated myself to Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner, just out in paperback from one of the small number of "chick-lit" authors on my must-read list!

What's new on your bookshelves lately?


Tuesday Thingers: Questions for LibraryThing users, hosted at Wendi's Book Corner

This week we are going to take a peek at the styles of Your Library and how you can customize them. To see what I'm talking about, go to Library Thing, and click on the Your Library tab. Just under the tabs, you will find a section that says Styles, A, B, C, D, E, and then a symbol that looks like a pencil. If you click on the pencil, you can edit your styles, or the formatting of the pages that show your books' information.

I believe the standard information is the Title, Author, Date, Tags, and Comments. You then have the option to add ISBN, Common Knowledge fields, etc. . . there are 44 different options you can select from! Of the 5 styles (A,B,C,D,E), you can have up to 12 options per style.

You can also use this screen to change the number of books shown per screen, the style visitors will see when they view your library, and you can choose to show the book-swap column.


Questions: Have you explored the different styles? Have you customized any of the styles? If so, what are your favorite customized items (isbn, Dewey Decimal, Reviews, Book-Swap, etc)?

My Answer: I have played around with the styles before, but it's been awhile since I've looked at the options closely - there are more than I remembered! Thanks to Wendi's own answer to this week's Thinger, I discovered I could display my reviews in one of the columns, and there are all sorts of Common Knowledge fields and library-classification data you could choose to show.

My preferred display is also the style that LT recommends for my library visitors, Style C. I edited one column to display my reviews instead of the publication date. Unfortunately, "review" doesn't allow sorting, but it's a field I'm more likely to refer to often than the pub date - and if for some reason I do need to search/sort by that date, it's still one of my fields in styles A and B, so I can easily switch styles to access it. It makes sense to me to style my library to show the fields I'm most likely to work with. What's nice is that with five different styles available and so many choices of the data you can show, you could create several different displays to meet various needs. I follow LT's recommendation not to specify more than 7 columns - even though they give you options for up to 12 - because your display might get too wide for your screen; I think it's probably better to customize more than one style with different data options instead of building one over-stuffed one.

I'll probably go back in and tweak my styles every now and then - who knows how many more options there might be the next time I do it?


Booking Through Thursday: "Windfall

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Wednesday, April 15th, was Tax Day here in the U.S., which means lots of lucky people will get refunds of over-paid taxes. Whether you’re one of them or not, what would you spend an unexpected windfall on? Say … $50? How about $500?
(And, this is a reading meme, so by rights the answer should be book-related, but hey, feel free to go wild and splurge on anything you like.)

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!

We actually did get a refund, which shocked the heck out of us! As a two-income couple with limited deductions (one child and no mortgage), we get nuked on taxes, but for various reasons we choose not to have the maximum tax withheld - which would mean withholding as if we were both single. We do set aside money every month to cover the estimated shortfall, though, and we were fine on that score this year. However, we use the same withholding instructions for our Federal and State taxes, and as far as the State was concerned, we had way overpaid our taxes! The refund helped offset what we owed the Feds, but given California's financial state these days, I'm surprised they didn't just keep the money - but we got the check this week and took it straight to the bank!

What I'd do with a windfall depends on the size of the windfall, to be honest. A smallish one - say, $50 or so - is probably going to be spent pretty quickly on something fun, and chances are pretty good that it could fund a bookstore splurge. A few hundred dollars or so would probably end up with part of it going into the bank, and the rest coming out as "mad money." (My husband and I are both big believers in each of us having some discretionary, guilt-free dollars to spend.) That money might go toward something I've been waiting to buy - a nice outfit, or something for the house - or we might treat ourselves to a fine dinner at the overpriced steakhouse we'd like to try. But if there was still a bit left over, it would probably end up going to the bookstore - as indulgences go, books are among the less expensive ones you could have (and for the hours of entertainment and engagement they offer, a relative bargain too!). I should get serious about organizing my wish list, just in case...

As for our real windfall, we did something very boring with it: paid some bills. Sometimes you have to be a realist.

You've got a windfall - what do you plan to do with it? (Gautami's response is one of my favorites.)


Friday Fill-ins #120
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1. Join me in Los Angeles next weekend for the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA! (Besides all the great panels and vendors to check out, a dozen or so book bloggers are planning to meet up with each other there!)

2. Put a little sunshine in your day (unless it's raining - that would make it difficult)!

3. Happiness is sometimes intangible, but sometimes it's as simple as a good book and a comfortable place to read it.

4. The last time I asked her to explain it, I ended up even more puzzled and confused.

5. I'm waiting for inspiration to strike (but I think it may be ON strike).

6. When I'm having a chocolate craving, the office candy jar is hard to resist.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a peaceful evening at home, tomorrow my plans include celebrating the fourth anniversary of Tall Paul's and my first date (which is actually today, but we have more time tomorrow!) and Sunday, I want to do some writing, including a book review (so I hope I finish the book by then)!

Happy Friday, y'all! Anything exciting on your weekend calendar?

***For parents and others who want to nurture book lovers: Have you checked out my review and giveaway for What to Read When? Entries are open until Wednesday, April 22!***

13 comments:

  1. Most of the times, we have to be realist. This year I am kind of in a saving spree as I need to buy a house. As the loan rates are down, it is the best time for it.

    I am being practical and know my priorities very well.

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  2. I'm going to look into displaying my reviews in my LT library when I have a bit more time.

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  3. Jennifer Weiner is also one of the small number of "chick-lit" authors I read! I haven't read Certain Girls yet; I hope you enjoy it.

    Pop by my blog; I've given you an award!

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  4. I've had my eye on The Cellist book for a while. Hope you enjoy all your new books!

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  5. Gautami - It certainly sounds like you do! Good luck with your house-hunting.

    Lenore - I think displaying mine will mean more when there are more of them to display :-), but I thought it might be useful to see them at a glance.

    Avisannchild - I'm pretty sure I will. I'm thinking it will be the perfect book to bring with me to jury duty in a couple of weeks.

    Thank you so much for the Splash Award!

    Anna - I saw a lot of good reviews when it was originally published, and I lucked out with the LT ER lottery for the paperback (which I've already seen in bookstores, I think).

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  6. #4 - I feel that way about my boss sometimes, in the nicest possible way!

    #5 - yours too? Phew, thought it was only me! Lol!

    Happy weekend. :o)

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  7. Hi Florinda. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Have a great weekend!

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  8. Thank you for stopping by the mailbox this week. 'Picking Cotton' is in my TBR pile. Elizabeth and I just finished with By the Chapter this week and our book selection was 'The Cellist of Sarajevo'. We both give it extremely high marks. It's going on my favorites list.

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  9. eMelectric - Oh, #5 is definitely true for me. Thanks for stopping by!

    Michelle - Thank you for writing two of my favorite books of 2008! (How soon till your next one?)

    Marcia - I skipped those posts so I wouldn't find out too much about the book :-). I'm hoping to get to it soon!

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  10. Janetfaye - Thanks, I do too :-).

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  11. Thingers: I didn't realize that some of the columns couldn't be sorted (like reviews). I wish you could sort by reviews so I can see which I need to add to. :)

    Thanks for stopping by and participating in Thingers last week! I've got the post up for this week, have you seen the LT Helper Badges? ~ Wendi

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  12. Wendi - That would be helpful, wouldn't it :-)?

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Now it's YOUR turn - speak your piece, please! Or just let me know you were here; I always like that. But you'll have to leave a name - I've disallowed anonymous comments due to some recent spam problems. Thanks!