Tag Archives: blog

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!

Where I Have Been

Reading OwlLately I’ve been slacking on the blogging front. I realize this. It used to take a special occasion for me to skip a post. Now it just takes a late dinner or really good crossword puzzle (I kid, I kid).

My excuse is that I’ve been busy. Though whether I’m busier than usual or not, I’m not really sure. I think what’s changed is my priorities. I used to stress about blogging every single weekday. I’m quite the taskmaster. What’s changed is that the time I would spend forcing myself to come up with a somewhat relevant blog post when there really wasn’t one, I now use to read instead. It makes sense considering the point of the blog is to talk about reading. The more I read the more quality things I have to say (I hope).

So this post is both an apology for my absences, but also a justification… mostly to make myself feel better. I’m still here and I still love this blog. I just hope this means more good posts and less ones about Diane Keaton maybe possibly playing a blogger on TV and then not. But don’t worry, I will still post plenty of pictures of Andrew in various reading situations.

Now back to The Art of Fielding!

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.

Smiling Down on this Blog?

In the course of this project, I’ve often stopped to wonder what my mom would think about it. It’s not that out of the ordinary since I tend to think that about most things lately. What would my mom think about me meeting Cynthia Nixon (yes, this happened!). What would my mom think about these new jeans I just bought? What would my mom think about my toothache? But what would my mom think about this blog? That’s one I keep coming back to.

On one hand, I think my mom would certainly be embarrassed. She was never one to seek the spotlight. She did many good things during her life, but she never did them for the attention. In fact, too much attention tended to fluster her. And this blog? It’s a whole lot of attention.

On the other hand, I think (and hope!) my mom would love it. She would be quietly flattered, she would really enjoy the book discussions (especially about books she was so obviously interested in), and, I’ll admit, she would probably be proud of just about anything I wrote.

With all of this in mind, I must point out something strange. In the top right-hand corner of the blog’s main page, if you look carefully, you can see a small smiley face. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t there when I started the blog, and must have appeared sometime during the first week or two. I have no idea how it got there. So now I like to think it’s a little sign from my mom that she is in some way smiling down on me and this blog. (It’s the least she could do if she can’t even correct my typos).

Do I really believe in supernatural things like that? No, not at all. But it’s a nice thought. And even if she isn’t showing her approval via some mysterious technological intervention, I’d like to go on thinking that somewhere my mom is pleased.

UPDATE: Apparently the smiley face only appears on certain browsers so if you can’t see it, please don’t think I’m crazy.