Monthly Archives: December 2010

See You Next Year!

2011 GlassesI’m sad to say this may be the last post you’ll get from me in 2010. I’m not sad to say that I’ll be relaxing for the rest of the year. My real work office is closed Christmas to New Year’s so I’m taking the opportunity to take off from my not real work too. Not that this blog is work…

On the bright side, the less I blog the more I will probably read. And I’ll have a flight to Memphis, a flight from Memphis, and plenty of time hanging around the apartment to get to some good books. I plan to finish Swimming Toward the Ocean, tackle some manuscripts from work, and then get to another book or two from either my mom’s list or my own. Then again it is only a week and a half so there is a slight chance I’m being overly ambitious. Particularly since I am counting on fitting in some movies, lots of eating, and a good amount of hanging out with Andrew, his family, and my friends.

I hope you all have a great week and a happy new year! Talk to you in 2011!

E-Readers Through The Generations

Sony ReaderAnd I’m not talking generations as in first generation Kindle vs. second generation Kindle. I’m talking family… specifically mine.

I was the first in my family to go e-reader way back in October of 2009 when I asked, and received, a Kindle for my birthday. I’ve mentioned before how at the time my mom was all, “I like the feel of real books” like so many other naysayers. Earlier in the year, for her birthday, she insisted I tell my dad not to buy her an e-reader. But as I began to use mine and she began to read more about them, her opposition crumbled. She started researching brands. Then almost exactly a year ago, my dad surprised her with a Kindle. Well, kind of surprised her. (He overlooked the fact that she pays the credit card bills, but the thought was there). My mom wound up really liking the Kindle I think. She still read real books, but she appreciated the convenience and ease a Kindle offered.

When I was in town one week, we tried to explain the device to my grandpa. We had previously failed to explain an iPod, so hopes weren’t high. At first, my grandpa, who is 90-years-old by the way, dismissed the Kindle. I think he didn’t quite get it. Did it come preloaded with books? What happened when you read all the books? Was it a waste? Did you need that new-fangled internet or a computer to use one? I answered the best I could, but he seemed unimpressed.

A few days later though, as I sat on the couch Kindle in hand, and he sat on the couch book in hand, he must have reconsidered. He asked me to explain again. I explained again. I even demonstrated… including an example of how large the type could go. I think this time the concept made more sense. The fact that at any given time I could be walking around with hundreds of books in one small device finally impressed him. He admitted if he was a little younger that would be the new technology he would want.

My Mom’s List Is Always With Me…

Family Album…even when I don’t realize it. While, yes, the list is almost always physically with me (I’ve taken to carrying it in my purse like my mom did), it seems to also be with me subconsciously.

A few weeks ago, I went to Barnes and Noble with a purpose, but as per usual got distracted by the shiny promotions tables in front. New in fiction? Yes, please! Customer favorites? Why not! Staff picks? Of course! I know, I know, I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sucker for these.

On this particular occasion, I browsed the paperbacks and gravitated towards Family Album by Penelope Lively. I had heard of it and heard good things at that. I read the back of the book and liked what I read. I took the plunge and bought it, using a gift certificate I had allotted for other things, but oh well.

It wasn’t until weeks later that I realized Family Album is on my mom’s list. Is that why I had heard of it? Quite possibly. I guess after months of staring at it and analyzing each book before choosing a new one, it makes sense that the list has seeped into my brain. It’s just funny that I didn’t even notice.

With all that said, look for an announcement that I am reading Family Album soon. Once I have a longer stretch without traveling (hello Memphis next week!), I will settle down with the paperback. In the meantime, it’s back to my Kindle and Swimming Toward the Ocean.

Reading for Robin Keeps It Basic

Basic Reading BookDespite my fancy vocabulary and high falutin’ writing, it turns out Reading for Robin comes in at just a basic reading level.

Last week, Google rolled out a new filter option on its advanced search page. “Reading Level” gives users the option to sort content based on, you guessed it, reading level. Sites are labeled as basic, intermediate, or advanced, but how these levels are determined is unclear.

The Google gods have deemed Reading for Robin as basic. Whatever, I write for the kids!

Water for Elephants for the Big Screen

I should just make Fridays the official book-to-movie trailer day. It’s pretty much headed in that direction anyway.

Today’s trailer (for which I have the lovely Carley Ribet to thank) features Water for Elephants, originally a book by Sara Gruen. My mom loved this book. She loved it so much that I read it and I think my dad read it too. That would make it one of a rare handful of titles that the three of us all enjoyed.

The movie stars Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, which has me torn. I do love a good Reese flick, but Robert Pattinson? As in Twilight? If he can prove he’s more than just a sparkly heartthrob with a taste for blood, I’ll be impressed.  And while we’re talking impressive – look at the talent that elephant is displaying. Academy Awards, take note.

My Lack of a “Best of 2010” List

Best of 2010So it’s that time of year. Snow is (intermittently) falling, lights are twinkling, tourists are mobbing the city, and every publication known to man is putting out a “Best of 2010” list. The book world loves picking the best of the best. The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Amazon, you name it, they’ve ranked it. Even smaller blogs are getting in on the year-end roundup action.

But I can’t.

I’m too indecisive. I could never decide my Top 10 or even my Top 20. And if I did somehow put together a list, I’d probably instantly second guess my choices. So I’m just not going to. I can say, as I have been saying for months and months, that the first book I read from the list, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is one of my favorites. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is one too, I think. The House on Fortune Street and The Tender Bar are up there as well. As for books not on my mom’s list, I’d most likely put Emma Donoghue’s Room and Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You at the top. If I was making a list that is. But I’m not.

What were your favorite books of the year? If, you know, you were ranking?

(Thanks Paste magazine for the lovely logo I borrowed above.)

Listen To Me On The Radio

On AirI apologize in advance if you are already sick of hearing about my radio debut. I have to milk this for all it’s worth since it’s likely the closest I get to being a celebrity. Except for that time I won Best School Lunch Poster in kindergarten and got a medal at a ceremony at City Hall. Oh and when my team, the New York Kickerbockers, won the championship in the Extremely Casual Kickball League. But I digress.

So, as I mentioned on Monday, I didn’t completely mess up my appearance on the Reading With Robin show, so I’m posting a link to the recording like I promised. You can listen to it here, but you have to register for the site to hear it. The registration is easy and free though, and doesn’t result in spam, promise!

I won’t listen to it (can’t stand to hear myself), but hope you all enjoy. Like I said, this might be the height of my fame. Unless of course the Kickerbockers pull a repeat next year.