I Have Returned… With Big News!

Bottomless Belly ButtonOops, it seems Reading for Robin went on an unplanned summer vacation. It wasn’t my intention to stay away all summer long, but a few things got in the way. Those things include, but are not limited to, work, Chicago (x2), Memphis, New Jersey, Shelter Island, a bachelorette party, a wedding, good weather, and lots of dinners out.

While I was away from the internet these last few months, I regret to say I didn’t read as much as I should have. I’m not sure what I was doing instead (besides watching all of Orange is the New Black), but hopefully the fall will be different. However, I did read here and there and some of those books were great. My two favorites of the summer are probably Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (warning: keep tissues nearby) and The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I’m currently listening to The Astronaut Wives Club, which just happens to be this month’s book club pick, but I’m finding it only okay.

As for what’s next, I have a few new books on my list. I’m eyeing Jojo Moyes’ latest The Girl You Left Behind, The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty, and The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P by Adelle Waldman. I’m leaving for London and Barcelona in a week so I’m looking for something really good to read. Suggestions are welcome.

But my big news is that I finished Bottomless Belly Button by Dash Shaw which means that I have now completed my mom’s list. Three and a half years and 58 books later, I’m done. It feels… weird. I started this project days after my mom died as a way to stay connected to her and so much has changed since then. I still miss her every day and it’s been nice having this project despite my recent neglect. Now that it’s over, I know I’ll still be connected to my mom in hundreds of other ways (her love of reading being just one) and I will find ways to honor her memory.

For the record, Bottomless Belly Button was strange and my mom never would have read it. It was, in fact, a “graphic” graphic novel with some explicit drawings and I only sort of knew what was going on most of the time. I still can’t imagine how this landed on her list.

With the list complete, I’m sure I’ll be on here even more sporadically than it’s been in the last year. However, I do hope to check in from time to time to share what I’ve been reading and hopefully hear about your books as well.

Thanks for following me on this journey. It’s been quite the experience!

Beside Myself Over We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside OurselvesI’ve been gone from blogging for so long that in my absence WordPress has gone and redesigned itself. I don’t know where all the buttons are anymore.

Anyway, I have to make this quick because I am under a time crunch. My coworker lent me her library book We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler and it’s due back in a matter of days. The short time frame isn’t a major obstacle though because I’ve been speeding through the novel. It’s really interesting!

I don’t want to give too much away about the plot (and saying almost anything feels like giving it away) but I’ll say this… it’s definitely different. That, and I love me an unreliable narrator. (Also, for what it’s worth, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is on People Magazine’s Must-Read Books for Summer 2013.)

Arielle shared the book because she wanted someone to talk about it with and I can understand the feeling. Fortunately, I have her to discuss with but I want more. Others, please do read it and be in touch.

For now, I’m off to keep reading. Gotta avoid that $0.25 fine!

Big, Bold, and Graphic

Bottomless Belly ButtonFor the past two weeks I’ve been extremely busy thanks mostly to work. In that time, however, Dash Shaw’s Bottomless Belly Button finally arrived. I have to say it is quite a bit bigger than a belly button. There are no page numbers (weird) but it’s a door-stopper. I certainly won’t be toting this one along on my trip to Chicago this weekend.

I assume that despite it’s lengthiness it won’t take me that long to get through Bottomless Belly Button seeing as it is all pictures. Which brings me to a funny anecdote. As someone who works in the industry, I sometimes forget that not everyone knows the lingo. This led to an amusing exchange with a friend (hi Stacy!). I mentioned to her that the last book on my mom’s list is a graphic novel and I have no idea how my mom would have heard about it. Stacy said, with a sly smile, maybe a friend recommended it. I complained that I couldn’t get it in “e” format because of the pictures and Stacy looked at me wide-eyed and said “There are pictures??” Apparently when I said “graphic novel” she thought I meant “erotic novel.” Oops!

In fact, a graphic novel is a book told in the format of comics. I’ve never read one, but I did used to fight my brother for control of the Sunday comics. So that’s a start, right?

Lean In Listening

Last we spokeLean In, I had just placed the order for a used copy of Dash Shaw’s Bottomless Belly Button, a comic-book-esque novel. Twelve days later and… I’m still waiting for the book to arrive. Should I be worried? I was told it would take 4-14 days so I guess I’m still within the limit, but I did get an email that it shipped more than a week ago. Hmm…

In the meantime, I finished listening to the Salt Sugar Fat audiobook by Michael Moss. I now know more about processed food then perhaps is safe. Thanks to the audiobook, I check labels, I think about the claims made by companies, and of course I worry about my levels of salt, sugar, and fat. But worrying hasn’t exactly translated into avoiding. Bread, chocolate, cheese, and much more are definitely still mainstays in my diet.

With Salt Sugar Fat behind me, I’ve moved on to another nonfiction listen, but one of a completely different nature. Enter Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. The Facebook COO’s book has been much talked about for months. Here’s the description:

Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

I’ve been meaning to borrow the book from Carley, but instead decided to go the audio route. The audiobook is narrated by Elisa Donovon. I’m really interested to hear what Sandbergy has to say though I am going in a tiny bit skeptical. However, I’ve heard lots of good things about it so I’m making sure to be open-minded.

Last Book, Here I Come

Bottomless Belly ButtonI know I only check in here from time to time now, but I have some momentous news to announce. I have purchased the last book on my mom’s list! (My definition of “momentous” may be a bit skewed.)

I have been reading manuscripts for work the last month or two, but I haven’t completely forgotten about this project. I just bought a slightly used copy of Dash Shaw’s Bottomless Belly Button through Barnes and Noble. So in just 4-14 business days I will have the final book from my mom’s list in my possession to read. I can’t believe it’s almost over!

But first I do actually have to read Bottomless Belly Button. Have I mentioned that it’s a graphic novel? I have no idea how my mom heard of this book or what made her decide to put it on her list. As far as I know, she never read a graphic novel before. And neither have I. I don’t really know what to expect. I guess it’s time to try something new.

Walking to Defeat ALS

Walk to Defeat ALSThis Saturday, I will be participating in the Walk to Defeat ALS. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe.A good friend of the family has ALS and I have seen these devastating effects firsthand.

This will be the third year that Robin’s Walkers, named for my mom, will be a part of the race. The money raised from the event goes towards ALS research. I would really appreciate any donation to this great cause. To donate just visit:
http://webgny.alsa.org/site/TR/Walks/GreaterNewYork?px=2986102&pg=personal&fr_id=9205#.UVrZBqJOSOx

Interested in the Interestings

The InterestingsI’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. My lack of interest in The Thin Place kept me from reading very often and now I find myself well behind in the number of books I’ve read year-to-date compared to previous years. But it’s not all about the numbers and now I’m ready to reclaim my reading enthusiasm.

Well, sort of.

At the moment I’m catching up and reading a few books for work. So far, I’m enjoying the one I’m in the middle of now so things are looking up.

On the purely for pleasure side of things, though, I’ve found a new addition to my TBR list. And it’s an interesting one… The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.

If the name Meg Wolitzer rings a bell, it could be because her book The Ten Year Nap is on my mom’s list and I went to one of her readings at Barnes and Noble awhile ago. While I wasn’t super excited about The Ten Year Nap, I never blamed that on the author, just that it seemed to target a different, slightly older demographic. I did like her writing. Now, with The Interestings, I think I’ve found a Wolitzer book I would really enjoy. Here’s the (short) description:

The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

I mean, I love camp! Plus, this book seems like it would appeal to all age groups.  It helps that I’ve been reading rave reviews on this one everywhere (Entertainment Weekly, I’m looking at you). Also, I’m a sucker for the pretty cover. All good things.

Hopefully, I’ll get to The Interestings this summer when a good amount of travel will probably mean a good amount of reading time.