Monthly Archives: June 2010

Watching For Robin?

Okay, so I can’t read all the time. And of course neither did my mom. I’ve mentioned more than once her interest in TV, a trait my whole family shares. We often watched and even bonded together over TV shows. My parents and brother loved Lost, me, my mom and dad all thought Gilmore Girls was great (except for the last season) and so forth. A family that watches TV together stays together, right?

As with reading, my mom and I had similar TV watching tastes. We had our differences… she passed on Gossip Girl (probably for the best) and I could certainly do without Dancing With The Stars. But for the most part – Brothers and Sisters, The Office, 30 Rock, Top Chef – we were on the same page.

One show my mom (and dad and brother) watched last season that I somehow did not is Modern Family. They loved it. I don’t know what I was thinking – everyone who watched it has raved. So, I think this summer I will try and catch up on the show. Whether that means DVRing it or getting the DVDs, I’m ready to take on the first season. I’ve already used the summer to do the same for Glee. So bring it on Modern Family. It may not be on my mom’s reading list, but it would be on her TV list if she had such a thing.

*Oh, and just as a fun Modern Family fact in the news recently: The USA Network has bought the rights to syndication for 2013. So if, for some reason, I don’t get to it this summer… there’s always 2013.

The Elegance Of The Hedgehog Is For Adults

Elegance of the HedgehogBut by “for adults” I don’t mean in the scandalous adults-only kind of way.

In a Huffington Post article from earlier this year, Delia Lloyd writes “Why The Elegance of the Hedgehog Is For Grownups.” After reading the book for her book club, she decided that all adults should read it too… for five specific reasons.

Here’s a brief breakdown of why:

  1. It’s about social class
  2. It’s about the possibility of change
  3. It’s about love (but not the sappy kind)
  4. It has an appropriately bittersweet ending
  5. It’s about Paris

For the explanations you’ll have to check out the article. These reasons, though, certainly give me (and you!) a hint of what’s to come. I’ll have to decide later if they are important enough to make it “essential reading.”

Adventures In Slush Pile Hell

The good thing about no longer doing a link round-up at the end of the week is that when I find an entertaining link I can dedicate more time and space to it. Today, I’m excited to share a new blog, SlushPile Hell, that has been going around publishing circles. I’ve been loving it.

For those that don’t know, “slush pile” refers to the set of unsolicited manuscripts sent to a literary agent or publishing company for consideration. Well, now a self-professed “grumpy literary agent” has created a blog to share the best one-liners he comes across in the letters that accompany these manuscripts along with his snarky commentary. The blogger never mocks the actual manuscripts, but rather the authors’, shall we say, interesting ways of trying to pitch them.

Here are some recent gems from the site:

I hope this submission leaves you in a condition of uncontrolled and irreversible “wow.”

Last time I was in that condition I spent the next day in a Mexican jail.

Readers of Eat, Pray, Love, Twilight, Tuesdays with Morrie,  and The Da Vinci Code will love my book.

You left out readers of Moby Dick, The Koran, and cereal boxes.

After reading my manuscript I think you’ll agree that I may be the next generation’s greatest author.

Justin Bieber, granted, you’re the next generation’s greatest performer, and maybe you do have the most hella cute windswept hair I’ve ever seen, but seriously, sometimes an ego check is good for the soul.

Oh man, being a literary agent may be worth it for these letters alone. Or maybe it’s just better to follow a blog written by one.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes At Reading For Robin

Ellie KemperDon’t worry, not major changes. But I’ve decided to stop posting over the weekend. It’s been a busy summer with lots of trips and such (and another one coming up this weekend), so it has become difficult to find time to blog on Saturdays and Sundays. And as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing authors’ tweets and interesting links from the week, as my dad says, those are the posts you can skip. However, I’ll still stalk the authors on Twitter and keep an eye out for fun links and update you as I find great things. Nevertheless, I apologize if your Saturdays and Sundays are a little drearier, but I hope I make up for it Monday through Friday.

In the meantime, I couldn’t leave you going into the weekend without some exciting publishing news. Another member of The Office crew is writing a book! Okay maybe that’s just exciting publishing news to me… Anyway, two weeks ago I told you that Mindy Kaling (aka Kelly Kapoor) scored a book deal. Now the actress who plays her friend on the show, Ellie Kemper will have her own book too. That would be Erin the receptionist. (Little remembered fact: Her real name on the show is Kelly, but when there was confusion over two people named Kelly she opted to go by her middle name Erin.) She’s really funny on the show so hopefully that translates to the page. And now I can’t help but wonder who will be next from the Scranton gang to write a book. Kevin? Stanley? I’m looking at you guys.

Love It: Book Cart Drill Teams

My high school had a drill team. During football game half times, girls in sparkly outfits would come out and wave flags around while the marching band did their thing. These drill teams are not that. But they are awesome.

It apparently pays to follow the Book Lady’s Blog on Twitter because she alerted me to a librarian friend’s book cart drill team called, awesomely enough, The Dewey Decimators. They pushed, spun and swung their book carts around to a “I Like To Move It” remix and it was glorious. I thought to myself, there must be more of this out there.

Ask and YouTube shall provide.

Check out the Well Stacked Sci-Brarians recreating Thriller… book cart style.

And perhaps my favorite of all: The Hip Hop Librarians doing Baby Got Books. Yes, for those of you at home, that is a special version of Baby Got Back. Love it.

And that’s just the beginning. I’m still wading my way through YouTube and there is so much goodness to be found. I love librarians with a sense of humor… and dance moves!

The Elegance of the Hedgehog The Movie

The HedgehogIt seems I am on a streak of books that were made into movies… if two can be considered a streak. The movie-version of The Elegance of the Hedgehog may not be quite as well known to all of you, though, as that of The Feast of Love. That is unless you are French film buffs.

First published in France, the book was titled L’élégance du hérisson (The Elegance of the Hedgehog of course). The film adaptation was then called Le hérisson (The Hedgehog) and was released in France in July 2009. It’s since been viewed in only certain film festivals in the U.S. I believe it showed at a French Film Festival in Richmond, VA and at the Seattle International Film Festival where it won the Golden Space Needle award for being the festival’s most popular film.

I’ve just started the book, but my neighbor’s characterization of it as “challenging” has been accurate so far… though very interesting too. Of course, I’m sure once I get more into the story, I will find it to be easier going. But, if that doesn’t work out, I guess I can always try and get my hands on the film version. If I have to read the subtitles, that’s still reading and thus not cheating, right?

A Review of The Feast of Love

The Feast of LoveEven though it’s been a little hectic since coming back from my brief trip this weekend, I’m going to attempt to share my thoughts on The Feast of Love. I figure if I don’t get to it soon, all of my attention will be focused on decoding The Elegance of the Hedgehog and The Feast of Love will just fade from my mind.

Not that it isn’t memorable per se… it just doesn’t require the same brain power as my current pick. Charles Baxter’s The Feast of Love, like its name implies, tells tales of love and weaves them together. There is Bradley who has been unlucky in love, Diana who married Bradley but loves someone else, Chloe and Oscar who enjoy the lust of young love, Harry and Esther Ginsburg who love each other as well as their wayward son, and others.

What I really liked about the book was the blending of genres. The meta beginning finds Charles Baxter himself on a walk in the middle of the night after waking from a bad dream. He comes across his neighbor Bradley who begins to tell him a little about his failed marriages. Bradley then advises Charles that he should write about love, real love, all kinds of love, instead of the fiction he normally writes. Bradley urges Charles on saying, “Okay. Chapter One. Every relationship has at least one really good day…”

And so chapter two opens with “Every relationship has at least one really good day.” From there, Charles takes Bradley’s idea and writes the real story of love, focusing on Bradley, his employees, neighbors and ex-wives. But of course it’s not really real after all, but rather fiction masking as fact.

I love the way the stories interconnect. It made me more interested in each individual plot knowing that it would affect the other plots in both large and small ways. In my opinion, Bradley may be the thread that keeps the separate parts together, but it is Chloe and Oscar’s story provides the most heart of the book. They may be tattooed and pierced slackers obsessed with sex, yet their feelings for each other are so intense that it makes you root for them against everything.

In parts the book does start to ramble. Ideas about philosophy, drug-fueled visions and random tangents tend to derail the main stories and distracted me from the focus of the novel. I am less concerned with philosophical musings than I am with character and plot development (which could just be my downfall in The Elegance of the Hedgehog.) Overall, though, the honest portrayal of complex and messy love made it a book worth reading.