Jan 28, 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday

Busy week, work-wise, meaning slow week, blogging-wise, but I'm always thrilled to participate in the weekly Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday memes.

This week's Book Blogger Hop question:

What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011? Why are you anticipating that book?

I think I'm going to have to pull from a previous Waiting-on-Wednesday meme post about Anne Patchett's State of Wonder, being published in June 2011. Having been given Bel Canto by a best friend, the publication of State of Wonder not only provides me with a (hopefully) enraptured new reading experience, but will give the added pleasure of sharing yet another wonderful book with my best friend(s).

This week's Follow Friday question:

What is/was your favorite subject in school?

This was and still is a tie between English and that category known as "Social Studies". In terms of Social Studies, I don't just mean history, because dates are the bane of my existence, and I don't just mean sociology, because I'm interested in more than social systems; I mean the two of them put together. When I was in 8th grade, my classmates both hated and loved me for my ability to ask a seemingly innocuous question that the teacher would then spend 25 minutes answering; loved it if they wanted to goof off in class, hated it if they just wanted to move on to the next topic. I remember in my yearbook for that year, my Social Studies teacher wrote something about me doing well with a career in English and being so insulted because I wanted to be an Anthropologist and teach cultural studies. I can't say he was wrong, though, as I currently work in publishing. In terms of English, well, when you read as much as I do, it's sort of a natural fit. I double-majored in college, English with a focus in children's literature, Anthropology with a focus in Native American studies, wrote two theses, and though I now have an MFA in Writing Literature for Children, still dream of getting my dual JD/PhD in Legal Anthropology. I'm young, there's still plenty of time for many new careers.

Jan 22, 2011

Word of the Day: Palimpsest

Palimpsest, n.

A palimpsest is a manuscript page from a scroll or book from which the text has been scraped off and which can be used again. (Thanks, Wikipedia.)

Just learned this word and about this type of object yesterday, but what I find most interesting is the way artists are reclaiming the word to apply it to art projects. Is graffiti art a form of palimpsest? When Da Vinci reused his canvases, was he working with palimpsests?

This blog post discusses the concept of digital palimpsests and whether or not all digital images are, in fact, palimpsests.

Original book art is being created on the palimpsest principle, like this book found here by artist Denis Brown.

Palimpsest, a novel by Catherynne M. Valente, was shortlisted for the 2010 Hugo Award in the Best Novel Category, and this Palimpsest Bee Compass Pendant was created RockLove in honor of that book.

Style Court already posted this word of the day with some great palimpsest artwork images.

That's the beauty of learning a new word like this (combined with the power of the internet) - one Google search leads to hours of other types of new discoveries.

Jan 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Waiting on Wednesday (WoW) is a weekly meme hosted by
My first and second WoW posts were about my guilty pleasure reading - romantic (often paranormal) paperback/mass market novels. My third and fourth WoW posts were YA (young adult) titles. For the first time ever, today's post will feature adult literary fiction:

State of Wonder by Anne Patchett
9780062049803, $26.99, Harper, Pub. Date: June 2011 

Oh, Anne Patchett, you make my heart sing. Bel Canto and Truth & Beauty (fiction and non-fiction, respectively) would make my top 20 favorite books of all time list, as both have the power to lift and inspire while compellingly describing the harsher aspects of love and life. Bel Canto is quite possibly one of her most famous works, about love, opera, terrorism, and sacrifice in South America. Truth & Beauty is simultaneously a love letter and a friendship manifesto, chronicling the relationship between Patchett and her best friend, Lucy Grealy. I recently picked up her first novel, The Magician's Assistant, and it's sitting on my shelf next-in-line to be read. And now, a new novel, due out in June. 
Here is the Library Journal early description:

Marina Singh, who's given up her medical practice for the relative quiet of pharmaceutical research, finds her world upturned when she's suddenly sent to the Amazon. A field team there, working on a new drug, has been unresponsive for two years, and Marina's colleague Anders, who has gone to investigate, is reported dead. An adventurous story of science and responsibility from the ever-popular Patchett, who's being rewarded with a one-day laydown on June 7, a 300,000-copy first printing, and a 12-city tour.
Doesn't that sound fascinating? Need more to be convinced? Here's a wonderful article from The Aspen Times about her new work. I've marked the on-sale date on my calendar; here's hoping you will, too.

Jan 18, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Inspirational Characters

The Broke and the Bookish, a brilliant book blog, 
hosts a weekly top ten list meme.

I like this meme because I like lists. I like this meme because it reminds me of the Top 5 lists from High Fidelity (by Nick Hornby as a book, starring John Cusak as a movie). And I like this meme because it causes me to think long and hard about book-related topics. So here goes:

Top Ten Inspirational Characters 

(I've decided to rank these in backwards order, just for a change.)

10. Rob Fleming in High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
(Reflecting on life and relationships, owning a struggling independent business, Top Five lists, what's not to love?)

9. Alexander Mackenzie (Mac) in Eight Cousins & A Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
(The first celebrated bookworm who, through patience and perseverance, gets the girl in the sequel.)

8. Linda Strong in Her Father's Daughter by Gene Stratton-Porter
(Kick-ASS female lead, WAY before her time. Doesn't necessarily end up with the guy in the end, it's open to interpretation, and I love the thought of her continuing out her life long after the book has ended.)

7. Jerusha "Judy" Abbott in Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
(My first epistolary novel. Haven't looked back since. Read this pre-attending an all women's college, but I kept reminiscing about Judy's school days while going to college myself.)

6. Pollyanna Whittier in Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
(I had to get my optimism from somewhere, didn't I?)

5. Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
(A girl with a large vocabulary who's not afraid to use it!)

4. Jo March in Little Women, Little Men, and Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
(Smart, sassy, book-lovin', hearth-yearnin', strong woman who ends up with the person and job everyone least expects but is the most perfect.)

3. Laura Ingalls in The Little House on the Prairie (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Precocious, precious, and pretty.)

2. Elnora Comstock in A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
(Oh, the emotion, the struggles, the independence, the strength, the heartache, and finally, the making of her own way.)

1. Scarlett O'Hara in Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley
(Scarlett finally fulfills her potential by growing up but never losing the imp inside.)


Thanks to Two Bibliomaniacs for making the distinction between FICTIONAL Inspirational Characters and Real-Life Inspirational Characters found in books.

While I don't have a complete book list, I thought it was important to add these five people I've found to be tremendously motivating, both in words and in actions:

1. Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Daniel Pearl by Mariane Pearl
(Read years before the movie was made, her strength, intelligence, and love has proved to be an unflinching model of behavior.)

2. Angelina Jolie in Angelina Jolie: Notes from My Travels by Angelina Jolie
(More than just a pretty face, she makes the most of what life has given her to help both herself and others.)

3. Naduah-Cynthia Ann in Where the Broken Heart Still Beats by Carolyn Meyer
(The White mother of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, she was recaptured by Whites after years of living with her Comanche family and forced to re-assimilate. A heartbreaking exploration of what racial and cultural identity really means.)

4. Abigail Adams 
(As independent and free-thinking as she could be in her time, defines the very notion of "the woman behind the man".)

5. Stephen Fabian in Clearing Away Clouds by Stephen Fabian
(Dad. 'Nough said.)

Jan 17, 2011

Bookshelf Porn

And here I thought I was all original creating a sidebar of books/bookshelf pictures entitled "Porn for Booklovers". 

Looks like this guy had the same idea:  

Check it out. Drool.

Jan 16, 2011

Jan 14, 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday

Trying to get back into the swing of weekly blogging, and what better way than to participate in the weekly crazes 

This week's Book Blogger Hop question:

"Why do you read the genre that you do?  What draws you to it?"

Well, as my reading tastes are wildly eclectic (ahem, excuse the shameless reference to my blog name), I am drawn to various genres because they all satisfy something specifically different in me. I don't get the same pleasure from a children's picturebook vs. children's novel, much less the same from a paranormal romance vs. adult non-fiction (all of which I read on a weekly basis). So, in short, it depends on my mood, on the time of year, on whether I'm traveling, on where I'll be reading the book, on how long I'll have to read at any given time, on what I read last, on what I last ate (just kidding), etc.

This week's Follow Friday question:

What makes up your non-human family? 

I don't currently have a non-human family of my own. My parents have a large black lab and a half-domesticated, feral barn cat. The house I live in has a cat, but it belongs to the owners and only likes me if a) they're not home, or b) it wants to be fed. But someday I will live with a blue Great Dane named Bella (that name was decided upon PRE-Twilight, folks, so don't even go there) and a stray cat.

Jan 11, 2011

Letterpress Rug

Maybe if I'm a really good girl, this rug will appear in my life this year.

From CB2. Thank you to Sandy for feeding my habit.

Jan 7, 2011

Author Pronunciation Guide

Thanks to E-Verse Radio for this. Now I'll never be embarrassed should I ever be called upon to say these names in public.