Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett was discussed on NPR yesterday as I drove in to work. It's about the desegregation of America from a young caucasian girl's perspective as she talks to African-American maids. I had seen this book on the bestseller list and not thought much of it. It sounded an awful lot like the Secret Life of Bees. However, the NPR show made the book sound very thought-provoking. I'm looking forward to reading this novel now. Has anyone else read it yet?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol"

Right now I'm reading Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol". It's the third book in the Robert Langdon saga, and this one takes place in the Washington DC area. That's pretty cool because I can recognize all of the sites discussed in the novel. (Although, I will say that some of the info is wrong...There are certain government agencies sited in the book that far reach their real-life authorities.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I know this is a blog about chicklit and books in general, but I'd like to deviate for just a few postings to talk about theories on the tv show LOST.

What do you think of the following?

1. The man in black and Jacob are like yin and yang. One has faith in the human race to evolve and get better. The man in black believes that the human race will always be inherently evil and will use violence to solve situation. Remember when Jacob and the man in black were sitting on the beach watching the ship Black Rock come in. Man in black says, "why are you calling them in again. You know it'll always be the same. More violence. They never learn." Jacob says, "each time it gets better."
2. I think that the very last scene of the series will be that scene again. I think that it goes over and over in a circle.
3. MIB is being kept at bay on the island. If he escapes, humanity will get worse.
4. The MIB was the one trapped inside the hut. When they thought it was Jacob saying, "help me", it was actually the MIB.
5. Juliet was dying and said to Sawyer, "let's have coffee. We can go dutch." He thought she was just hallucinating as she was dying. But...she was seeing the alternate life. That's how she knew, "it worked".

Monday, February 22, 2010

Girlfriends' Guide

This book is dedicated to all of my friends who are pregnant right now! I just found out that a good friend of mine is 3 and 1/2 months pregnant, so this posting is dedicated to her. I won't out her name now, just in case there are others she'd like to tell.

The book is Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine. Supposedly, this book tells you info that the doctors don't necessarily have time to impart, the non-clinical types of things you might want to know.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

True Blood

I'm currently reading the 4th book in the True Blood Sookie Stackhouse vampire series on which the HBO television show is based. The series is by Charlaine Harris who must be writing like mad because I believe her 10th book in the series just came out. I don't love these books, but right now it's what I wanted to read. I feel like the writing isn't very good, so I get tired of the book and put it down a lot. It's taking me awhile to go through this 4th book, which I started a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pretty Good for a Girl

This posting is dedicated to all the women out there who are looking at the snowboarders on the Olympics and seeing lots of tough men doing jumps, spins, and tricks. Pretty Good for a Girl: The Autobiography of a Snowboarding Pioneer, written by Tina Basich, is about a girl who heard comments like, "you're pretty good for a girl" and pushed harder to be the best.

When Tina Basich grabbed her rented snowboard and headed to the mountains in Lake Tahoe, snowboarding wasn't even considered a sport ... yet. It was the beginning, and could have easily gone the way of many other sports and become dominated by male-driven competition.

Representing for women everywhere, she became a snowboarding all-star, started her own signature board and clothing lines for women, founded Boarding for Breast Cancer, and followed her heart.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vancouver Winter Olympics

Since we're smack in the middle of the winter olympics, I thought it only fitting to recommend a book on the subject. The Winter Olympics: An Insider's Guide to the Legends, Lore and Events of the Games--Vancouver Edition written by Ron Judd is's most popular book when you type in a search of "Winter Olympics". I haven't read this book, but it looks interesting.

Here's some info about it:
From alpine skiing and figure skating to luge and curling, Judd devotes a chapter to each competitive sport, examining its history, key competitors in past Olympics, the newest athlete contenders, how the sport is played and judged, and more. Anecdotes and fun facts about the Winter Olympics give the reader a true sense of being at the games. And for readers who want to hit the slopes or rinks of British Columbia, Judd includes a round-up on outfitters and access to the Olympic venues. The Winter Olympics also includes a chapter on the Paralympic Winter Games.

This recommendation is dedicated to Tyler W. who's at the Olympics with my friend Kristi right now! Hope you guys are having a fantastic time!

Monday, February 15, 2010

What to read when you're in a cast...

That is the question of the day. My husband had a snowboarding accident this weekend...thus, my lack of blogs on Sat and Sunday. He broke his leg in three places, tore his meniscus, and stretched his ACL out of whack. So even though he's going to be watching a lot of Olympics, I also recommended a very long book for him to read...Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Book 7 of J.K. Rowling's masterpiece.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How to Survive a Robot Uprising

Guest recommendation from Leif J:

This is the book I talked to you about for your blog: How to Survive a Robot Uprising by Daniel H. Wilson.

You can learn a lot from this book, like warning signs to watch out for from your robot servant. As Roomba owners, I thought this would be especially pertinent for you:

Sudden lack of interest in menial labor.
Unexplained disappearances.
Unwillingness to be shut down.
Repetitive 'stabbing' movements.
Constant talk of human killing.

I think it would make a great addition to your blog, as a classic example of chick lit.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lack of Fiction Coming out in the Spring of 2010

I perused's list of fiction books coming out in the Spring of 2010. There's a sorry lack of books by our favorite authors, and there weren't very many books coming out at all. I wonder if that's due to a bad economy. Good, established authors aren't putting out books right now because they don't think their books will sell as well as usual. And new authors aren't getting picked up by agents and publishers because in a bad economy no one is willing to take a chance on new writers. The only fiction book coming out that I'm mildly looking forward to is one by Jodi Piccoult. But nothing from Stephanie Meyers, Sophie Kinsella, Philippa Gregory, etc. I will say that James Patterson is putting out at least one new book this spring, but I'm not into that genre. For those of you who are, though, happy reading!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Revolting Rhymes

This is a book recommendation for Jeanette and Jeff, our friends who have a young son. I chose this book for you because I think Will will be thrilled by the grossness of these twisted tales. Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes cleverly turns Cinderella, Snow White, Jack & The Beanstalk, and Little Red Riding Hood upside down and reverses the way we view the "villains" and the "heros". If you read these stories with different voices for the ogres and wolves, etc., Will is sure to love these bedtime stories.

I read one of these stories in forensics (public speaking) competitions throughout high school, and I always made it into the finals with this pick. I was 6th in the state of NJ for reading Jack and the Beanstalk.

I also read these tales to some of the homeless children in VA through the Reading Connection (a non-profit started by VA teachers). These rambunctious kids, who no doubt had some emotional and learning disabilities, actually sat still to listen to these tales. If that's not a recommendation for this book, I don't know what is!!! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Model Student? Model or Student...she had to pick one.

Model Student...a tale of coeds and cover Robin Hazelwood is my book recommendation for my high school friend Lisa L. It's just a fun book about a girl who has the smarts to attend Columbia University and the looks for modeling. It's her quest to pursue both at the same time, even with the immense pressures on the modeling industry to eat nothing, take cocaine to stop being hungry, and add a couple cup sizes to her bust. In the end she realizes she has to pick one, and the reader is kept in suspense until the very end. I thought it would be an easy decision, but Robin Hazelwood keeps the attraction between both model and coed equally compelling.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Geography of Bliss

Guest Recommendation by Julie P.

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner is a man's search around the world to define happiness and discover the cause. He visits some "happy" countries (Netherlands, Bhutan, Qatar, Thailand) and an absolutely miserable country, Moldova.

Having worked for years as an NPR foreign correspondent, he'd gone to many obscure spots, but usually to report bad news or terrible tragedies. Now he'd travel to countries like Iceland, Bhutan, Qatar, Holland, Switzerland, Thailand and India to try to figure out why residents tell positive psychology researchers that they're actually quite happy. At his first stop, Rotterdam's World Database of Happiness, Weiner is confronted with a few inconvenient truths. Contrary to expectations, neither greater social equality nor greater cultural diversity is associated with greater happiness. Iceland and Denmark are very homogeneous, but very happy; Qatar is extremely wealthy, but Weiner, at least, found it rather depressing. He wasn't too fond of the Swiss, either, uncomfortable with their quiet satisfaction, tinged with just a trace of smugness. In the end, he realized happiness isn't about economics or geography. Maybe it's not even personal so much as relational. In the end, Weiner's travel tales—eating rotten shark meat in Iceland, smoking hashish in Rotterdam, trying to meditate at an Indian ashram—provide great happiness for his readers.

My question is how does he pick the countries in the first place? Obviously, right now at least, the U.S. isn't one of the happiest countries because of jobloss and the economy. And we work ourselves into the ground anyway. But why Iceland, etc? If I were picking countries, I'd pick the Netherlands (cause they're having sex and smoking pot there legally) and New Zealand (cause it's off by itself, not in any wars, and has big grassy hills for movies like the Lord of the Rings).

What countries would you pick as being "happy countries"?

Sunday, February 7, 2010


When I was turning 30, I turned to my husband and said, "I can't believe my 20s are gone. I'll never get them back."

He looked at me hard and said, "Yes, that's true. But think of all the great things your 30s have in store. These are the years when you might publish your first novel. It'll probably be in your 30s when we have our first kids too."

I thank him now as I'm turning 32. Instead of fretting unneccessarily about my birthday, now on each Feb 7th, I'm excited about all that's to come.

I also wanted to publish the funny and senitmental note my parents wrote to me in this year's birthday card. For anyone who knows my parents, see if you can guess which one is from my dad and which one is my mom's words.

Birthday Wishes
1. Iron Chef Chocolate Kitchen
2. Stephanie Meyers signs on as blog follower
3. 2nd bathroom installed
4. Nice new neighbors
5. Early spring
6. Delicious, lactose free ice cream
7. Snow and skiing in Bermuda (best of both worlds)
8. Gerry and Misch bonding
9. Jason's furniture arrives
10. My company raises all salaries 10%

You are:
-A good chef of memorable meals (delicious) eg. pizza cassarole, egg and cheese buns in orange sauce, various salads, cran-apple crisp
-an excellent author (move over, Ms. Meyers)
-a perfect party installer
-a nice neighor eg. helping Bob with food
-able to create the light and easy feeling of spring in your home all year
-to me, what ice cream is to a cone
-capable of planning complicated world-wide trips
-a responsible, caring pet owner
-married to a great guy
-worth some combined salaries (heehee, I won't write this whole one out)
Most of all, you are my beautiful, sweet, wonderful daughter!

Thanks, Mom and Dad for all your kind words!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ode to Snow (Guest Blog from my Dad)

"I was going to read a book tonight but we have 18 plus inches of snow and my wife has been out shovelling for close to 3 hours; I can't see her anymore in the high drifts.

I sent our black lab out to find her about 2 hours ago, but he has not returned.

I sent our cat out to find them both about an hour ago but he also has not returned.

Maybe I will go and read that book now that the house is so quiet."

Witty, Dad. Very witty.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's SNOWING...what do you read during a snowpocolypse?

Snow days are some of the best times to cuddle up by a fire, make some hot chocolate, and get comfy with a good book. I'm planning to finish Nanny Returns. I sort of cheated a bit by speedreading the last 30 pages, so I know what happens, but now I want to go back and read them luxuriously.

In the northeast, we're supposed to be getting 1-2 FEET of snow! People interviewed on the news said that even though they had a fully stocked fridge, they were still going out to the grocery store this afternoon. Crazy.

It's my bday this weekend, and my parents were going to send me chocolate covered strawberries in the mail. Sadly, the delivery crew said they couldn't do any deliveries to Washington DC this weekend because of the storm. husband just presented me with snowshoes for my bday!

This is supposed to be the largest snowfall that the DC area has ever seen. This should be interesting...

What am I reading right now?

People have asked me what I'm currently reading. I'm about half-way through Nanny Returns. It's the sequel to the bestseller The Nanny Diaries. For me, it's really hit or miss with the authors' books. I loved Dedication, but I didn't like Citizen Girl. Nanny Returns is great. It picks up about ten years after the first book, with Nan having married Harvard Hottie, moving with him all around the world, and then settling back in Harlem, NY to buy a house. Through strange events, Nan is once again reunited with Grayer X.

I never understood why the last name was X. I know it's a stand-in--supposed to be respresenting all crazy, rich parents who treat their kids like trophies to be taken out of the cabinet for polishing once in awhile. However, why couldn't the authors have just picked a fictional last name? Same as in Citizen Girl. The main character's name is Girl. I could never get into that. Anyway, not a big deal, though. I'm still loving the book and definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Food of Love-another recommendation for a possible Iron Chef

Mike and Meredith, my book recommendation for both of you is the Food of Love by Anthony Capella. Since you're also going to participants in our Iron Chef cook-off in a few months, this is a food related book. It inspires some delicious Italian cooking. the very least, it makes you want to go out for a really great Italian meal!!! Enjoy!

(You know what else? It makes me think of Epcot's Italy...and of course when I think of Epcot, I think of you guys!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Something Borrowed--a wedding book for Denise.

Denise, since you're a gal who's about to be married, I picked a wedding related book for you! Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin.

Ok, so here's a disclaimer about this book. At first I didn't want to read it because the protagonist is a girl who steals her best friend's fiance. I didn't think I'd be able to relate to the main character. And I wouldn't root for the stealer and the fiance to stay together. But I took a chance and read the book. It was a surprise, but there are reasons why the reader can end up seeing the narrator's perspective and feeling empathy.

Have you read this one already? I'd be interested in your perspective on the book, especially since you're getting married this year.

Monday, February 1, 2010

J.D. Salinger Passes Away 1/26/10

This post is dedicated to J.D. Salinger, the author of Catcher in the Rye who passed away at age 91 this past Wednesday.

I remember that I was first introduced to the book in 9th grade English class. Our teacher, Mrs. Wiggin (who was also the school newspaper faculty lead), gave us a choice between reading Pride and Prejudice and the Catcher in the Rye. Of a class of about twenty-five students, only six people chose P&P, me being one of them. The rest of the class read Catcher. Why? Because when you're in 9th grade with eight classes, tons of homework to do, and a new set of boys and girls to notice for the first time, you choose the book with less pages. I, however, was not thinking along the same lines of my classmates. I chose P&P because Mrs. Wiggin said it involved a love story. A month later everyone in the class discussed their two books, and I heard how much everyone liked Catcher. So later, on my own, I read the book too.

Tell everyone when/how you first read Catcher in the Rye.

There's also a blog that I'd like to link to:
They're also running this kind of post about J.D. Salinger. They also review books and post recommendations.