Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Books on the back of a door?

I came across this interesting post at - "Where we read books like they are going out of fashion." :^)
Would you stick your books on the back of a door?

I know that sounds like a mad question, but look!

Spotted in Marie Claire Maison by those amazing Apartment Therapy people, the books are held up by the "Sticklebook". The innovative design comprises an aluminium extrusion which acts as a bracket and polypropylene combed strip that grips the cover and pages of paperback books. The shelf is screwed onto the wall which itself helps support the weight of the book and is an integral part of the design. It is totally secure and fall-proof."
Hmmm, I have crappy doors in my house that I wouldn't really care about putting holes in. But how is the shelf screwed into the wall. Well, anyway, having more books innovatively displayed around my house would make me very happy. :^)

Learning to read - another casualty of the Bush Administration?

The following is a post from

Bush Plans to Eliminate RIF Program

President Bush's 2009 budget will eliminate funding for RIF, the Reading is Fundamental program which provides books and encourages reading for impoverished children.
President Bush's proposed 2009 budget eliminates all the funding for Reading Is Fundamental's book distribution program that has, since 1966, provided more than 325 million books to more than 30 million underprivileged children. "With 13 million children living in poverty in this country, the need for RIF has never been greater," said RIF CEO/president Carol Rasco. The annually funded RIF program is currently approved through September 2009, but if Bush's budget is approved, 4.6 million children will not receive 16 million free books the following year. RIF, the oldest and largest children's and family nonprofit literacy organization in the U.S, has been funded by Congress and six Administrations without interruption since 1975. "With a recent report showing a declining interest in reading among adults and teens, supporting children's literacy is critical to reversing this trend," said Rasco. "We received $26.6 million in federal funding in 2007 and we're requesting $26 million this year," said Frank Walter, RIF's director of marketing/PR, adding that 75% of funds are provided by federal grants and 25% is raised locally by RIF’s 19,000 volunteer outlets that distribute books at childcare centers, schools and migrant work programs. Ninety percent of the organization's funds go to purchasing new books for lower income children and for motivational reading activities that take place during RIF's book distribution. *****Author James Patterson's recent blog post urged fans to visit RIF's site and voice their concerns. "RIF, if you don't know, is one of the pioneers of kid-directed book distribution programs," Patterson wrote. "I've already reached out. Do you think you might take a couple minutes to reach out to your congresspersons? Infusing a love of books in our own kids is challenging enough.... imagine how hard it is to do in families without our resources and level of education." We are appalled. This is not a part of the budget that needs to be cut. But to stop it, it's important to write your congressperson and your senators. RIF's website is here. You can find your representatives here.

I'm sorry for the quasi-political post, but give me a break - the government can't spare $26million to better our country through a non-violent means? Talk about the continued warped perpsective on what patriotism actually means. I'll be letting my representatives know how I feel on this issue.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif

This book is another ARC that I received from Bookbrowse. I get advanced reader copies from Bookbrowse and Librarything, when I'm lucky. :^) Here is my quick review of the book. If you are interested in reading it, let me know - I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. As you can see in my somewhat snobbish review, I single you ladies out as being up to my high standards. ;^) (And no, you don't have to be exactly like me).

"An interesting read! I enjoyed this book. I thought it was well-written. I liked the main character, Under Officer Ali Shigiri, and I think that he really held the book together. As an American, I found it interesting to get a (fictional) look at the Pakistani military and political structure in the late 80s. I think the book, however, (and I could be totally wrong and am not trying to offend anyone) will mainly appeal to people like myself - post-graduate education, lived and traveled abroad, well-read, liberal. I wouldn't recommend it to my larger neighborhood bookclub, but I would recommend it to my smaller bookclub that reads extensively across all genres. "

Monday, April 7, 2008

What are your thoughts?

The Man Booker prize is celebrating its 40th anniversary by awarding The Best of the Booker to the best overall novel to have won the prize since it was first awarded in 1969. The public will get to give its input on a six-novel shortlist, when it is announced in May.

Here is the archive of books that won.

Here are the books I've enjoyed from that list:
2004 winner The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
2002 winner Life of Pi by Yann Martel
1993 winner Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
1978 winnder The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

Here are the books I did NOT enjoy from that list:
2006 winner The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (never finished)
2000 winner The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (never finished)
1999 winner Disgrace by JM Coetzee (never finished)
1996 winner Last Orders by Graham Swift

My thoughts - when they're good, they're good, and when they're bad, they are very, very bad.

What are your thoughts?

March Purchases

OK, So I too went a bit nutty this month with book purchases. I know I bought some books for the boys' Easter baskets but for the life of me I am not remembering them right now. I went to the Reading Tree (in downtown Alpharetta) recently -- it is a kids bookstore that is huge and has lots of great stuff (although I must admit the lady in the store was not the most friendly). They do story hours and have lots of toys out for the kids to play with. I suggest checking it out if you have not been, but try not to interact with the owners -- they are not nice and were actually rude to Cash (without whom they would not have a business........)

Here is what I recall buying (the advance reader's copies were being sold at coffee buy the book for $3 a copy -- although they may not be exactly final in their versions, what a bargain since these books are not available in paperback yet):

Shopaholic & Sister By Sophie Kinsella
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michale Chabon (hardcover)
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (hardcover)
Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult
Homecoming by Bernhard Schlink (advance reader's copy)
Peony in Love by Lisa See (advance reader's copy)
Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (advance reader's copy)
Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon
The Post-birthday World by Lionel Shriver
There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene (hardcover)
A Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence (used)
Epiphany by Ferroll Sams
Tomorrow by Graham Swift (advance reader's copy)
Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo
Fair Game by Valerie Plame Wilson (hardcover -- the memoir of the CIA agent that was exposed by the Bush administration in an effort to get even with her husband who had criticized Bush)

I have also already purchased a bunch for April (in hopes the baby comes early I am trying to get all my errands, etc. and stuff out of the way early this month!!!) Here is the list of what I bought friday of last week

The Golden Notebook By Doris Lessing
Ada, or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Before you Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Thursday, April 3, 2008

March Madness

For me it was about books, not basketball. :^) With Coffee Buy the Book going out of business, I may have set a new personal book buying record for one month. In no particular order:

And Now You Can Go by Vendela Vida (HC)
** This book has been on my "should pick it up list" since late 2003. Vida is part of 826 Valencia, a cool non-profit writing workshop in San Francisco. Well, at least that's what I remember it as when it first started when I was living out in the Bay Area. Mary Roach, author of the very interesting Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers was part of it then.

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (TPB)
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (TPB)
**Recommended by Mary
The Day After Tomorrow by Alan Folsom (MMPB, Used)
**Recommended by Jen
Digging to America by Anne Tyler (TPB)
**I have read pretty much everything by this author
Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn by Gary M. Pomerantz (TPB)
**Talked up by a CBTB customer while I was there
Handling Sin by Michael Malone (TPB)
**Recommended by Jen
Isabel's Bed by Elinor Lipman (TPB, Used)
But Enough About Me: A Jersey Girl's Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous by Jancee Dunn (HC)
Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie (HC)
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (TPB)
Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi (TPB)
The Poet of Tolstoy Park by Sonny Brewer (TPB)
How to Negotiate with Kids . . . even when you think you shouldn't by Scott Brown (TPB)
Finding Grace when you can't even find clean underwear by Lisa Earle McLeod
An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories edited by Ivan Brunett (HC)
The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew Mystery) (HC)
The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew Mystery) (HC)
The Bungalow Mystery by Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew Mystery) (HC)
The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew Mystery) (HC)
The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew Mystery) (HC)
The Secret of Red Gate Farm by Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew Mystery) (HC)
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin (HC)
Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin (HC)
Fairyopolis: A Flower Fairies Journal by Cicely Mary Barker

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (MMPB) (B&N)
**Don't know where my original copy is, so decided to pick up another one
Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris (HC) (B&N)
Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (HC) (Costco)
Welcome to Jesusland! Shocking Tales of Depravity, Sex, and Sin by Chris Harper, Andrew Bradley, and Erik Walker (EWC Charity Auction)
What Would Betty Do? How to Succeed at the Expense of Others in This World and the Next by Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian, as told to Paul A. Bradley :^) (EWC Charity Auction)

Thirty books is all I can find here in my room right now for sure. There were also 3 or 4 Junie B books from Costco - but those are in my car right now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008