Tag Archives: humor

I said I wanted to READ…not BLEED.

Open Letter to the creator of PVC Book Covers/Dust Jackets:

Dear Inventor:

I’m writing on behalf of my injured fingers, three of which sustained grave wounds this weekend as I attempted to read a book with one of those new-fangled plastic-paper covers.  Don’t feign ignorance, you know what I’m talking about!  PVC plastic has no business masquerading as paper, especially when it comes to covers of paperback books.  I thought PVC had something to do with pipes!

I understand that libraries are just trying to preserve their books, but I ask you, at what cost?!  Would they prefer a blood-stained copy of Julie and Julia to a slightly creased copy?  I almost took a scissor to my book to round the edges of doom but was afraid a heavy fine would be levied against me.

I have a $50 deductible at the ER and don’t relish the doctor telling me I need three stitches* in my finger all because of a book.  Isn’t reading supposed to be a safe and relatively inexpensive hobby?

Best (though bloody) wishes,

Natalie

Book, Line, and Sinker

*A bit of hyperbole is being employed here.  I didn’t really need stitches but they added a bit of flair to my story!  Sorry for any confusion.

Advertisements

Ribbon Cutting: How I Donated a New Wing at My Library

Yesterday, my local library hosted a ribbon cutting to dedicate the new NATALIE Wing of the building*.  Now before you go congratulating me for my largesse, understand that I didn’t intend to independently fund the new addition…my OVERDUE fines paved the way for this architectural marvel.

Friends, it’s true: I volunteer at my library once a week and STILL manage to have overdue fines that rival the GDP of some small countries.  I’m physically unable to bring back books on time despite innovative methods–a few on the library’s part–to keep me on track.  I tried the automatic online renewal, by-phone renewal, and stacking the books on the table near my front door once I finish reading them–all to no avail.  It would be cheaper to just BUY the books (in hardcover!) rather than borrow them.

What makes this whole situation more absurd is that I’m a frugal shopper and won’t pay retail price for anything.  I’m a meticulous record keeper and love organizing things, so what is it about library books that I can’t wrap my head around?!  Do I have some deep-seated library resentment?  Is it a passive-aggressive borrowing issue?  I need some therapy.  Paging Dr. Freud…

Please tell me that I’m not the only bookworm on the planet who pays extortionate overdue fees on library materials.  With my luck, you guys probably don’t have a single blemish on your library card (and don’t have cavities or parking tickets either, right?!?!). 

*a teeny bit of hyperbole may have been employed during the writing of this post

Celebrity Bios: Hot or Not?

Hello, my name is Natalie and I read celebrity biographies.  (Hello, Natalie!)

A genre that often reads like fiction is the celebrity bio/autobiography.  Some readers eschew this genre because they aren’t interested in celebrities.  Others avoid it because the writing can be appallingly bad.  Still others know that buying these books hurts real writers because the publishers pay obscene sums of money for the celebrity tell-alls, leaving virtually no budget for the rest of the authors.  All of those reasons are valid yet I still find myself reading these books.  

I’ve read more than a few celebrity bios over the last year or so–14 readily come to mind.  A few were really good and rest were abysmal.  I’m not a celebrity watcher–we don’t even have television at my house–yet the list below is damning evidence proving my mini-addiction to the genre.  I’ve blazed through books about:

  • Sidney Poirtier
  • Michael J. Fox
  • Rosie O’Donnell
  • Martha Stewart
  • Tori Spelling 
  • Michael Hutchence (of the Aussie band INXS)
  • John Steinbeck
  • William Shatner
  • Eric Clapton
  • Patty Boyd
  • Paula Deen
  • Harper Lee
  • Madonna
  • Maureen McCormick (Marsha Brady)

Has your opinion of me plummeted?  My only defense (aside from the insanity plea!) is that this genre is my guilty pleasure!  I don’t read tabloid or celebrity magazines but can’t quite keep my paws off of these.  

When I go to the library to borrow these books, it’s like I’m renting a dirty movie or something.  I put them in the middle of a huge pile of literary masterpieces, hoping to hide the shame that is the tell-all bio!  I’m not sure why I even read these books when most are a monumental waste of my time and aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.  Curiosity, maybe? 

So, is it only me or do you read this genre too?  Did you also remove the dust jacket while reading sTORI Telling by Tori Spelling, or was that just me? 

Review: Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster

plaid1Title: Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase

Author: Jen Lancaster

Genre: Nonfiction Memoir/Essay; 384 pages

Publication Date:  May 5, 2009

Publisher: National American Library (NAL)

Rating: 4 Bookmarks

If you’re anything like me, you have a Santa Claus-sized ledger in which you record book titles that other bloggers recommend.  If this is the case, please add Jen Lancaster’s Pretty in Plaid to the top of the ‘Nice’ list. 

Lancaster has been likened to “David Sedaris with pearls and a supercute handbag”, and her latest memoir weaves a hilarious retrospective highlighting fashion highs and lows over the last four decades.  Entire essays are devoted to size-5 Jordache jeans, odious Brownie uniforms, and the edgier Girl Scout uniforms.  (I donned both and can attest to the faux pas that was the Brownie Beanie.)

Lancaster takes the mundane and spins it into a giant, literary confection of equal parts humor, hubris, and habiliment.  This book should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning printed on it–Reading this book should be done only in private and may induce:

  • laughing until your mascara runs down your face in twin, black rivers
  • laughing until you snort (Swine flu be damned!)
  • laughing yourself into a wheezy, cartoonish fit
  • laughing yourself into hyperventilation (as your husband frantically dials 9-1-1 for help)

Maybe you’re in need of a good laugh or you’ve been meaning to pick up some nonfiction for a reading challenge–either way, here’s the perfect vehicle!

Lest you think I’m being paid to write such a glowing review, I will say that the book starts off with a few missives I wasn’t barking mad about. Additionally, the footnotes may get a bit tedious for some readers–having to glance down two or three times on one page–but beyond those minor quibbles, this book has already become one of my favorites.

You can catch Jen on her nation-wide book tour, kicking off tomorrow.  She’ll be in New York on Thursday and I hope to be there (with pearls on).  Thanks to Kate and Melissa for the galley!

Cooking Up a Good Book Blog: What’s the recipe?

I subscribe to about 65 book blogs and over the last 8 weeks have been reading and researching to help me find balance over here on my own new book blog. Is the ‘recipe’ 2 parts reviews, 2 parts bookish-themed posts, 1 part giveaway; shake and serve over ice?

I’m working on creating a ‘recipe’ that produces a blog that’s:

  • not too dense (too many long reviews each week)
  • not too fluffy (not enough posts each week)
  • not too sweet (reviews that are afraid to critique for fear of backlash)
  • not too bitter (too many negative reviews that aren’t substantiated)

I have yet to do a ‘Sunday Salon’, ‘Teaser Tuesday’, ‘Wordless Wednesday’, or any of the other variations even though I like to read them on other blogs.

Posting 3 to 5 times each week seems to be average and since I write two blogs, it’s all I can do to keep up with that schedule. Generally, I’m going to host one review or book tour each week and will post a monthly calendar on my sidebar–‘The Crystal Ball’ (tag line: Look into the Future) detailing upcoming events.

Little by little I’m hoping to tweak and develop my book blog into one that people enjoying reading and visiting. Quality reviews, interesting posts, pictures, questions, and giveaways are the things I hope will generate interest, help my blog stay fresh, and keep readers coming back for more.

What do you think are the key ‘ingredients’ to a good book blog?

*Thank you to my dear friend EP for pointing out my mixed metaphors.  I reference baking, mixing drinks, and cooking all in one post.  Just call me Martha.