Friday, February 27, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
After A While by Veronica A. Shoffstall
After a while you learn The subtle difference between Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn That love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn
That kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of woman,
Not the grief of a child
And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns
If you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting for someone
To bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
You really are strong
You really do have worth
And you learn
And you learn
With every goodbye, you learn.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Welcome to resistance
Monday, February 23, 2009
Check out all the rooms here.
They all look cozy, but I had a few favorites. How fun would it be to decorate a house based off your favorite characters. Who would you choose?
Titania and Oberon from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (described as "waltzing into a magic forest")
Westley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
- hypermiling (New Oxford American Dictionary) - "to hypermile," "to attempt to maximize gas mileage by making fuel-conserving adjustments to one's car and one's driving techniques".
- overshare (Webster's New World) - verb, "to divulge excessive personal information, as in a blog or broadcast interview, prompting reactions from alarmed discomfort to approval.
- bailout (Merriam-Webster)
- CORRECTION (American Dialect Society) - bailout
Monday, February 16, 2009
One of the main accomplishments of the weekend was finishing Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. Unfortunately I had already seen parts of the movie, including some pivotal ending scenes, but I blew threw the last 100 pages. More than any of the other books, Rowling has set the stage for upcoming drama to unfold in the wizarding world. Things I particularly enjoyed:
- The clearly budding romance between Hermione and Ron (I'm not sure what's going to happen, but I think she is building something up).
- The Weasleys showing up as Harry's "family" during the Triwizard Tournament.
- Voldemort referring to the "old magic" - aka the love and sacrifice Harry's mother had and made for him. (It was obvious in this book that Harry has loyal friends who love him and that is where much of his magical strength comes from, unlike Voldemort's who dark powers have suffered from his lack of loyal followers.)
- Finally finding out a little bit about Snape. She has presented him as a pretty simple character who did not care for Harry, but I knew that he had to be much more complex. We finally find out more about his past and I cant wait to find out more specifics in the upcoming books.
I really enjoyed this book because it went beyond Harry's world, showing the impacts of the dark lord's rise to power may have on others. I continue to find Rowling's innovative genius amazing (the things she can come up with never cease to surprise me, her imagination is endless). This book, more than any others, was a cliffhanger, gearing up for what appears to be a much darker, dangerous world the wizarding community (and by reading the first chapter of book 5) the muggle community must face together. Looking forward to book 5!
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Paper Cuts- This is "A Blog About Books" put on by the New York Times. Definitely check it out, they post about random things (kind of like this blog!). In light of the approaching holiday, a recent post was about customized erotic novels. According to the press release "Users simply select what type of novel they'd like to customize then are asked a series of questions about themselves and their spouses; such as name, nicknames, body types, hometown, hair color etc. If the user prefers to leave their spouse out of the book and replace him/her with a celebrity, it's completely up to them."
According to the Web site they cost 26.95 in pounds. I'm not sure how much that is in US dollars, but is it worth it? If nothing else I'm sure it would definitely be a good laugh or make a funny bridal gift at the least. However, be careful - due to the highly personal nature of this product they are unable to correct spelling and recommend you review your answers before submitting....the pressure! You also can customize the level of sexual content included in your book by filling out the U-Star Lovin-O-Meter. This sounds more complicated than joining an online dating service!
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed -Ran across a mention of this children's book in another blog that is completely unrelated to books. The book is by Mo Willems, who is apparently pretty big in the children's book world. This book is about being who you are not, not conforming to societal norms. The title alone (and the goofy picture) make me want to check this one out. Library trip this weekend? I think yes.
HP Update-Harry has completed has just completed his second task with the lake and merpeople. I am obsessed with anything related to water, aquatic life and mermaids. These merpeople weren't exactly like the ones I remember from The Little Mermaid (not the original, the Disney version), but I wish J.K. Rowley had set an entire HP book about merpeople.
So was that random enough?
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Through this program the kids just get the chance to be around books. Some kids like to have us read to them, others are eager to read for us. Again, the point isnt to teach reading, but try to instill an appreciation for books. If a kid doesn't want to finish reading a certain book, you can put it away and try one that they will actually enjoy - its about cultivating a love for reading, not having it be a chore. At the end of each session the kids do a little activity or craft based on the books or "theme" of the evening and get a book to take with them.
Last night, the kids did an art project for an upcoming event, so we didnt have the chance to read to the kids. Unfortunately I wont be heading back for another month, but I can't wait to get back in there and read. Sometimes the kids can be a little handful, requiring discipline from the volunteers. This happened last night, and really stressed me out - I'm not there to discipline them (and to tell the truth, I really don't know how. My meager "shh be quiets" dont really get me too far). Despite last night, I usually leave feeling happy to have hopefully instilled an appreciation for books that will stay with them. I was lucky as a child and can still to this day vividly remember telling my kindergarten teacher "how much I looove to read...reading is so fun!" (dork). Maybe some of that can rub off on these kids :)
(There are tons of stats on the benefits of reading to children, but I'm too exhausted to search for them now. More to come on this...)
Do you participate in any cool reading volunteer opportunities?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
This sounds like a definite must-read for me, as I'm really getting into the somewhat sci-fi fantasy novels as of late. And I can only imagine all the similarities between this and Harry Potter, even just based on this summary. Both are about the adventures of a boy who escaped certain death, though their families were killed. Both find a new home where they learn to grow up and face obstacles, one in a graveyard, one in a magical school.
What are some of your favorite children's books?
Monday, February 9, 2009
- Never go to a bar in an office building that requires you to take an elevator. Although we ended up having fun anyways, this place was one of the sketchier places I have been since moving here.
- Never trust alumni clubs, and always check your tickets. Realizing 30 minutes before a sporting event is about to start that your tickets are actually for April is never a good thing. Going back to the bar to stalk the girl that gave them to you, finding her, and exchanging them for the correct tickets is genius.
- Hockey games are only 3 periods long, chugging the beer you had rationed for the 4th isn’t fun.
- Meeting the young mayor of your college town in a random bar will make any night better.
- Hearing his political raps is like the icing on the cake.
- I heart Ben Bailey (cash cab guy!)
- I still heart the Yankees (despite A-roid)
- If you are trying to hit on a girl at a bar, it’s probably not best to do so by crushing her dreams*.
*I feel that this final point needs a bit of explanation. On Saturday night I met up with a bunch of friends at a nearby bar. We were having a good time when a guy came up and bought us drinks and started talking. At one point in the night we got to talking about NYC and how I wanted to move there one day to pursue a career in book publishing. I’m not sure if he was just trying to make sure the conversation continued or if he really believed this, but he turned to me and said, “You know, I read an article last week saying that book publishing is dead.”
He tells me this after I’ve told him how I had considered moving there for graduate school and definitely wanting to go into the industry. Thank you dream-killer! He went on about new media, kindle, etc. I held on to my firm belief that yes, new media would definitely play a dominant role in the future landscape of book publishing and all publishing in general, but the printed word will adapt.
I admittedly do not know that much about this new e-reading technology, but do you really want to pull that out of your bag at the beach and dig into your guilty beach reading pleasure? Am I the only one who prefers buying books (despite the costs) so I can one day build a huge library and look at all the lovely books I’ve read. The smell of old or brand new books can’t compare to the clean, cold e-readers and e-books. I’m not saying these technologies don’t have their benefits, but I do not see, and truly do not hope, that the book publishing company is on the path towards it death.
What about you? Where do you see the industry going?
Friday, February 6, 2009
Obviously I don't have the luxury of free novels being sent my way all the time, so price is unfortunately another deciding factor. Last year, I re-discovered the library so to speak. In college, I didn't really have time to read novels of my own choosing, so the library was used solely for research purposes. But after wasting countless dollars at Barnes and Nobles I got my new library card when I moved to D.C. How was I to choose from the limited selection of books the library had to offer? I remember the search feature at my library was able to show me books that had received certain awards, and I decided to check out some books from Oprah's Book Club winning books. I cant recall the name of the book now, but I couldn't get through the first few chapters, it just didn't catch my interest.
So my next trip to the library, I decided I was just going to peruse the titles and choose something randomly. I ended up picking out a book called The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. Little did that a few months later the movie-version of the book would be out in theatres and garnering Oscar nominations. Ironically, as I found out after the fact, The Reader was also part of Oprah's Book Club.
To be honest, I was a little shocked after I read this book, maybe because I had no outside influences or reviews to bias my view, but I wasn't expecting everything that occurred. The book is about the affair a young German boy has with an older woman, who he learns later in life is on trial for Nazi war-related crimes. The book made me question morality, secrets and the many different types of love that can exist between people. I remember describing the book as "depressing" after I read it, but in looking back on it, months later, I realize the book definitely made a lasting impact on me, despite the overall depressing theme. In fact, after seeing the movie, I actually had a better appreciation for the book, which rarely tends to happen.
That wasn't supposed to be a review of the book, got a little off topic! What I'm trying to say is that, I don't really have a rhyme or reason for the books I might review here. I kind of like the randomness of pulling an unknown book of a library shelf, but who knows. Please feel free to suggest some.
Check out the how the New York Times picks their books to review. Sounds pretty intense! My selections will be much more laid-back :)
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Anyways, instead of reviewing books, I’ll try and suggest some books that look interesting. I was editing an article the other day that mentioned a book called The Last Lecture. I needed a little more context about the book to edit the article so I looked it up and was intrigued by the man who wrote the book, Randy Pausch (with Jeffrey Zaslow). Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon and a married father of three when he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. The book is based off his last lecture “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”, about striving to make our dreams reality, seizing the moment and living life to the fullest.
As I browsed through the Web site I came across a blog Pausch created to update his readers on his life and health. Even towards the end he had such an optimistic outlook, despite the reality that he knew would he’d eventually face. Unfortunately, Pausch lost is battle and died July 25, 2008 at the age of 47.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
"What makes me unique?"
That was the question I felt compelled to address. Maybe answering that would help me figure out what to say. I was sitting with Jai in a doctor's waiting room at Johns Hopkins, awaiting yet another pathology report, and I was bouncing my thoughts off her.
"Cancer doesn't make me unique," I said. There was no arguing that. More than 37,000 Americans a year are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer alone.
I thought hard about how I defined myself: as a teacher, a computer scientist, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a mentor to my students. Those were all roles I valued. But did any of those roles really set me apart?
Though I've always had a healthy sense of self, I knew this lecture needed more than just bravado. I asked myself: "What do I, alone, truly have to offer?"
And then, there in that waiting room, I suddenly knew exactly what it was. It came to me in a flash: Whatever my accomplishments, all of the things I loved in life, were rooted in the dreams and goals I had as a child... and in the ways I had managed to fulfill almost all of them. My uniqueness, I realized, came in the specifics of all the dreams - from incredibly meaningful to decidedly quirky -- that defined my 46 years of life. Sitting there, I know that despite the cancer, I truly believed I was a lucky man because I had lived out these dreams. And I had lived out my dreams, in great measure, because of things I was taught by all sorts of extraordinary people along the way. If I was able to tell my story with the passion I felt, I thought, my lecture might help others find a path to fulfilling their own dreams.
I had my laptop with me in that waiting room, and fueled by this epiphany, I quickly tapped out an email to the lecture organizers. I told them I finally had a title for them. "My apologies for the delay," I wrote. "Let's call it: 'Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.'"
I haven’t researched all the reviews yet, but this book seems like it would put what’s really important in life into perspective. Has any one read it? If I ever get around to reading it, I’ll be sure to let you know!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Most of the performers were actually really good (minus a few obvious newbies), but they were all brave to be able to get up in front of the small crowd and put themselves out there. The final guy that performed went on longer and was by far the funniest. He ended his act by bringing up the fact that he had just purchased a romantic novel about Nascar. Nascar is pretty big where I'm from (a Nascar driver even went to my high school), so I was dying laughing as he talked about this. He explained how Harlequin romance novels teamed up with Nascar to produce these books. Really? I mean, I know Nascar is a pretty popular "sport," but would these books really appeal to such a distinct audience? Apparently they are pretty popular in some groups.
Our comedian had a copy of In the Grove, the first in the series by Pamela Britton (who went on to write many more).
Here's a description from the back cover:
"She wouldn't know a NASCAR star if he hit her with his car...and he just did.
Sarah was a kindergarten teacher until a sleazy ex-boyfriend got her fired. Now the only job she can find is driving the motor coach for racing star Lance Cooper. She doesn't know a thing about NASCAR — and she's off to a rocky start when she doesn't recognize her ultra-famous boss.
Lance can't help but notice Sarah's sweet smile — and how seriously unimpressed she is with his fame. Her reaction piques his interest — and he's convinced she's a good-luck charm. But Sarah has no interest in Lance's jet-setting life; she'd rather deal with spitballs than one supersexy race car driver. Too bad whenever he comes near her she turns hot as race fuel.
Soon things begin to heat up on the track, and Sarah begins to wonder if she might be able to teach one famous race car driver a few lessons about love."Other titles include:
To the Limit
On the Edge
Check out Pamela Britton's Web site for more :)
My best friend from home loves NASCAR so I thought it would be great to get her one of these as a gag gift - until I was informed this weekend that she has already read some of these (?!). What do you all think about NASCAR and romance novels? I love some cheesey romantic novels, but is this going too far? At least a few people got a good laugh out of it the other night.
Monday, February 2, 2009
The other morning I stumbled across a blog about book publishing and was inspired. I have recently decided I'd like to get into the book publishing field and have contemplated moving to NYC to enter the industry, or at least grad school. I currently have a great job as an editor, but I'd like to eventually end up in books. So, although many of the books blogs I've encountered come from a viewpoint of someone already in the industry, mine will come from a different angle. I plan to keep this blog anonymous, but am sure to drop some personal touches in as well. I'm going to keep this introduction some-what open-ended as I'm not sure exactly how this blog will develop, but I look forward to seeing where it will go.
I hope to do some reviews, or at least up-dates on the books I'm currently reading. Right now it's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
So I'm a little late jumping on this bandwagon. I'm not one to go out and buy the latest best-seller, but my friend hooked me on the Twilight series a few months back, which I become obsessed with and read all four in about 3 months. So afterwards I decided I really should check out the classic that is Harry Potter - and let me tell you, I am hooked! I have seen a few of the movies (including watching the end of the latest movie over Christmas, which I knew would be somewhat of a spoiler for some of the books), but I am addicted. The first three were great, however I definitely I liked the third the best so far. I've also seen the ending of the fourth movie, but as it is 700+ pages long, I'm sure many things were left out. My hope is to finish reading the series, and watch all the movies before the next movie is released this summer. At the rate I'm going, I think I'll make it!
I wonder if Sasha and Malia are fans?