Neither here nor there: find my guest post!

I had no post planned for today while I live it up in NYC (haven’t lost my huge grin since i got in yesterday!), but when fellow DC blogger DMBosstone asked me to write a guest post for him while he was on his own, longer vacation I was happy to comply.

So while neither he nor I are “at” our blogs today, check out my guest post with my thoughts of the Quarterlife Crisis phenomenon, sweeping through 20somethings everywhere.

In the mean time, I’m off to meet my mother-in law for lunch in Union Square followed by hours of happy shopping and sightseeing. Then I have the rest of the weekend to hang out with my bestest bestie! *happy sigh* Hope y’all have a great long weekend too!

Union Square, New York

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On my way to NYC and the end of BEA-BBC

Better late than never right?! Even though it’s the tail-end of BEA I’m on the bus up to New York with the perfect lusty snacks for my brain and tummy on this 5 hour drive. 

 I mean look at that chocolate bar, it was fate, how could I refuse?! 

“3.5oz of impure thoughts disguised as deliciously luscious all natural premium dark chocolate”

 

 I had to include the fine print on the chocolate bar as well since I enjoyed that also ;) 

Not pictured: the book I am DEFINITELY reading first! The newest Vampire Academy book by Richelle Mead – I got Spirit Bound in the mail last night after I already uploaded the above picture. But you can see my twitpic where I’m still on the floor after tearing the B&N package open. Also notice my new manicure for NYC, I went with trendy white, but now hubby won’t stop calling me “Catcher” because apparently baseball catchers paint their nails white? 

Anywhoo… 

I lurved *g* KMont’s books she was bringing to BEA/BBC but I’m excited about my own stack of books that came in the mail with perfect timing. They are from winning Smexy Mandi’s mother’s day giveaway

They are: 

These next few days are gonna be super fun, I can just feel it! Full of great reading, great chocolate, great book bloggers, and family and friends! I’m seeing my in-laws who live in Northern N.J., my bestest bestie who lives in Manhattan, and meeting so many of you book bloggers for the first time, with a few nice familiar faces in there too! Can’t wait to tell you all about it, but for now, I gotta get back to reading and snacking…

The time I pretended I was underage at the DC library to escape my roommate

This is the tale of how abhorrent the DC public libraries are, and how my party-animal roommate drove me to find that out, the hard way.

Second semester senior year of college I was having the best time of my life and it felt like the world was my oyster. I had accepted an exciting offer from a growing consulting firm in DC to start right after graduation and my best friend from high school, Liza, and I were set to be roommates after finding the perfect apartment in Adams Morgan. I was super excited to live there since it was so close to bars and restaurants, but little did I know how I would come to regret our proximity to party central…

We bonded as we pulled our new grown up apartment purchases from their shipping boxes then mixed them in with tatty old college favorites. Liza and I had been thick as thieves in highschool, we were nick-named “Package Deal” because we never went anywhere without the other. She went to college in Virginia and I in North Carolina so we visited often throughout school and I thought it just couldn’t have worked out more perfectly to live together when we graduated and happened to be moving to the same city! Parfait! Quelle excitement!

My boyfriend was still in grad school in NC and Liza was very very single and ready to mingle so we had nothing to stop us from paling around with big groups of our mutual girlfriends and living it up at the bar scene in DC. But it quickly became clear to me that we had much different thresholds of “fun” and how much of a “good time” we wanted to have. Her friends would never leave our apartment, we were the pre-game house being so close to a big strip of bars, and often the pregaming would go all night, they would sleep over, and hang around all morning, disorderly and disheveled all the time.  There was the time we were at The Guards on M Street in Georgetown and Liza and all her friends were yanking down each others tank tops and flashing naked boobs around the bar and laughing like maniacal hyenas. When someone reached for my tits I drew the and line left immediately.

But my favorite story is when she Chris-Farley-ed our nice, brand new, Crate & Barrel coffee table. My boyfriend at the time (now hubby!) thought up that description when I told him this story the next day. The usual never-ending pregaming was at its height, Since U Been Gone and Gold Digger playing on full blast as I sat on the computer in the dining room, morosely waiting for the group to leave for the bars. When all of a sudden Liza leapt off the couch, beer sloshing over onto the carpet, and started gesticulating wildly. As I watched in seemingly slow motion she lost her balance, clutched at thin air, and fell, crashing heavily directly onto our grown-up coffee table. Which promptly splintered and collapsed upon impact leaving her in a crumpled heap with her full beer held high above her prone body. So yeah, she Chris Farley-ed the heck outta that table. Everyone thought it was hilarious and they left for the bars soon afterwards now that they lost their platform for their quarters drinking game.

Besides the girls always being over, there were of course the inevitable guys she brought home. Totally and utterly fine with me, I was glad she was having a good time (as I had been known to do in my own past anyways) and I even gave one directions to the closest metro when we awkwardly met in the kitchen one morning. Fine with me, that is, until you don’t close the door during your sexy time and I heard it all, including him asking if you you’d want to shower that off afterwards!!! *shudder*

And that’s when I made up my mind to escape the apartment.

Where can I go that is free to get in, not outside so it doesn’t matter about the weather, and they don’t mind if you hang out for hours without buying anything?

I fondly recalled the days of my youth whiling away the hours at a safe, fun, free place when I had to escape my parents’ house. THE LIBRARY! I emphatically did NOT want to see shower-boy the morning after, I just had to get out of there.

The closest library to our apartment was in a “temporary mobile home” (and still is 5 years later) that I had gone in once, and the three shelves of their books in English held absolutely nothing of interest (negative point#1) and a lady on the steps told me people of my color weren’t welcome there (negative point#2). Plus that library wasn’t open on Sundays (only 2-3 in DC are: negative point #3) and didn’t have a stick of furniture as it was so small, so no where to escape my apartment.

Early the next morning I checked which DC public libraries were open on Sundays , one of which being the central library, MLK Jr. library smack in the middle of downtown DC. I didn’t bother with makeup, just threw on jeans and a fleece, grabbed my metro card, and breathed a sigh of relief as I walked out the door and my stress at being cooped up in there melted away.

Walking up to MLK library that morning wasn’t easy, as I had to actually hold my recently released breath to navigate the maze of people sleeping and begging on the sidewalk in front of the doors. But my cheerful mood was not to be dimmed as I firmly fixed my mind on affectionate memories of big comfy armchairs, warm fireplaces, quiet respectful tones of other bookworms,  plenty of computer outlets for my laptop, and a wall of books sorted into just popular fiction paperbacks. Until I walked in…

The large, modern, airy suburban libraries of my youth could not have been any more different that what I faced in this inner-city library. It wasn’t even clean; the tiles, lights, and desks were cracked. The windows were dingy, broken shelves and other odds and ends were strewn in corners, and there was no reference list or map on where to find books. Regardless of the drab physical state of the library, it was what this sad building HELD that would make me happy, right? But as I waited near the info desk for one of the unfriendly people to stop ignoring me to so I could ask which wing and which of the 3 floors I should go to I lost my patience and began to browse on my own.

It took me 20 minutes to find the fiction area, with no section of paperbacks in sight I concentrated solely on looking for author’s names I knew and found and old favorite. My plan was to read the whole book there, thus spending 4-5 hours out of the house, then putting the book back on the shelf and heading home. Clutching my source of happy entertainment to my chest I finally unfocused my eyes from the close-up perusal of the shelves and looked about for to cushy chairs and fireplace nooks. There was nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing but a crude hard bench with a dubious looking person sleeping on it.

I must have had some sort of Pollyanna spirit that day because I was NOT to be foiled! I would spend my time at the library! I cruised from room to room, eyes flickering over out of date computer banks with folding chairs full of frustrated users trying to get on the internet, but any potential seat only looked exponentially uncomfortable and was already occupied.

Then I stumbled upon an alcove where no florescent lights were cracked and there were three elementary school style desks and chairs…all empty! My psyche was so diminished at that point they looked like a veritable oasis of solace and comfort. I plunked myself down, barely noticing a bit of paper taped to the top of the desk.

30 happy pages later the hero had just been slapped for his punishing kiss and I was bouncing with glee, but also to keep my butt-cheeks from falling asleep on the punishing hardness of the chair seat – when I was RUDELY interrupted.

And older gentleman working for the library cleared his throat loudly saying, “Excuse me miss? Did you not see these desks are reserved?” gesturing to the small piece of computer paper with size 12 Times New Roman font. It turned out it said, “Youth Reading Room, seating reserved for 18 and under.”

Are you freaking KIDDING ME?!?/!?1! The only place to sit in the whole damn, dirty place was for kids and they only got old desks? Half of me was sad they had nothing close to what I had as a kid, and the other half was furious for being denied even this meager seat.

I guilelessly raised my eyes to him and replied, “Oh yes sir, but I am under 18.” He returned my smile, told me to enjoy my book, and left.

And that is the time I pretended I was underage at the DC library to escape my roommate.

One of the only times I have ever been glad I look younger than I am, I hate getting carded when none of my friends do, or when the package delivery guy asks if my mom is home because they need someone over 18 to sign for it (true story!), so at the very least, my youthful appearance will get me a seat at my public library!

New Release Alert

Not to reinvent the wheel since many other book bloggers do a great job of sharing upcoming releases, but there are few I’ve had my lusty eyes on that I haven’t seem mentioned by anyone else in my google reader. For more visit KB’s Pimpin Cookie Book Covers, what’s on the Book Smugglers’ radar, and KMont’s cover spotlight.

Two new releases that caught my attention actually came from People Magazine’s book review section. My mother in law is awesome and got me a People subscription for Christmas. HER mother in law (hubby’s grandma) gifted my MIL with her own People subscription. This way we can claim “it’s not like I bought it for myself,” while we totally enjoy this guilty pleasure. I adore my in-laws btw ;)

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Anywhoosit, the first is Girl in Translation, by Jean Kwok. I love Amy Tan’s books and it sounded similar in some ways…and any stories that have a different cultural feel really interest me as they give me insights into ways of living I know nothing about!

Blurb and pretty cover:

When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life—the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition—Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself, back and forth, between the worlds she straddles.
 
Through Kimberly’s story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and a world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant—a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.

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Second is the debut novel from Regis Philbin’s daughter – The Daughters by Joanna Philbin (Released May 1, 2010). I’m not sure how “good” this book will be, I’ve seen mixed reviews, but I am a Regis fan and I’m interested in the subject matter: fictional (but based on obvious experience!) behind the scenes look at what it’s like growing up with a famous parent! As you can tell about the blurb the book follows three girls, but focuses on one, so I believe this is the first of three books about these girls.

Kind of m’eh cover and blurb:

The only daughter of supermodel Katia Summers, witty and thoughtful Lizzie Summers likes to stick to the sidelines.

The sole heir to Metronome Media and daughter of billionaire Karl Jurgensen, outspoken Carina Jurgensen would rather climb mountains than social ladders.

Daughter of chart-topping pop icon Holla Jones, stylish and sensitive Hudson Jones is on the brink of her own music breakthrough.

By the time freshman year begins, unconventional-looking Lizzie Summers has come to expect fawning photographers and adoring fans to surround her gorgeous supermodel mother. But when Lizzie is approached by a fashion photographer that believes she’s “the new face of beauty,” Lizzie surprises herself and her family by becoming the newest Summers woman to capture the media’s spotlight.

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Now this next book I found out about through watching Chelsea Lately. Dear God do I love her show! So she had this old guy on, I had no idea who he was, but he was a spitfire! Seriously hilarious and very very cool – Jerry Weintraub? I get the feeling I should really know who he is.

So anyhow his appearance on the show was the best marketing/advertising for me personally! So I’m excited to read When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead by Jerry Weintraub (released April 7, 2010).

Old man cover and blurb:

Here is the story of Jerry Weintraub: the self-made, Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised impresario, Hollywood producer, legendary deal maker, and friend of politicians and stars. No matter where nature has placed him–the club rooms of Brooklyn, the Mafia dives of New York’s Lower East Side, the wilds of Alaska, or the hills of Hollywood–he has found a way to put on a show and sell tickets at the door. “All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage,” he writes. “I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: ‘Jerry Weintraub Presents.'”

In WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU’LL KNOW I’M DEAD, we follow Weintraub from his first great success at age twenty-six with Elvis Presley, whom he took on the road with the help of Colonel Tom Parker; to the immortal days with Sinatra and Rat Pack glory; to his crowning hits as a movie producer, starting with Robert Altman and Nashville, continuing with Oh, God!, The Karate Kid movies, and Diner, among others, and summiting with Steven Soderbergh and Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.

Along the way, we’ll watch as Jerry moves from the poker tables of Palm Springs (the games went on for days), to the power rooms of Hollywood, to the halls of the White House, to Red Square in Moscow and the Great Palace in Beijing-all the while counseling potentates, poets, and kings, with clients and confidants like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, George H. W. Bush, Armand Hammer, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Denver, Bobby Fischer . . .well, the list goes on forever.

And of course, the story is not yet over . . .as the old-timers say, “The best is yet to come.”

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And last but not least The Carrie Dairies by Candace Bushnell (released April 27, 2010). I don’t know where I first saw this, and I’ve NEVER read anything by Candace Bushnell, but am obvi a huge SATC fan! And I’ve often wondered, what was Carrie like when she was younger? On the show they never talk about their parents, we only saw Miranda’s when her mom died, and Charlotte’s was a faceless nameless man in a tuxedo who walked her down the aisle, but no other scenes or references were made to their “before” lives.

Trompe l’oeil sort of trying too hard cover and blurb:

Before Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw was a small-town girl who knew she wanted more. She’s ready for real life to start, but first she must navigate her senior year of high school. Up until now, Carrie and her friends have been inseparable. Then Sebastian Kydd comes into the picture, and a friend’s betrayal makes her question everything.

With an unforgettable cast of characters, The Carrie Diaries is the story of how a regular girl learns to think for herself and evolves into a sharp, insightful writer. Readers will learn about her family background, how she found her writing voice, and the indelible impression her early friendships and relationships left on her. Through adventures both audacious and poignant, we’ll see what brings Carrie to her beloved New York City, where her new life begins.

On Series

Let’s chase away today’s rainy afternoon doldrums (that word always makes me think of The Phantom Tollbooth. just me?) with a teensy little exercise. Only a mental one, don’t worry no physical exertions necessary when you hang out with me! When in my company we’ll always be curled up on a couch in comfy sweatpants with chocolate on hand.

So, back to the exercise:

Quick, name 5 SERIES of books that first come to your mind…

Thought of ’em yet?

How bout now?

Like Stephanie Plum, Nancy Drew,  Sookie Stackhouse, Anne of Green Gables, The Saddle Club, Anita Blake, and Harry Potter….Just a few that popped in my head.

Not too hard, right? There are a plethora out there…old ones, new ones, unfinished ones, young adults, sci fi, romances, mysteries…

Notice anything about my list? Those are all REALLY LOOOONG series.

Looking at my bookshelves recently I noticed that I have a habit (I actually wrote that as a typo as “hobbit” first and almost left it that way) of getting into really loooo0ong series. I think Harry Potter is the shortest and 7 really ain’t all that short!

So that is when I quizzed myself to think about series…and again those above are the first ones I thought of.

I didn’t think of any trilogies or even quartets.

Upon further research looking for “short” series I found Lord of the Rings (some seem to disagree if this counts as a series), Jason Bourne by Robert Ludlum (although apparently with the hollywood success he is now writing more?) North and South trilogy by John Jakes, or His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass series, which didn’t really come to a conclusive end) or The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (which I haven’t read) and Twilight I guess.

Why do I have to think so hard of trilogies or quartets? I mean I even had to google search for them. As a frequent, long-standing, and lusty reader book titles should have been springing to the forefront of my mind! Is it just me? Or are y’all having a hard time thinking of shorter series too? Is it because they’re not out there?

I would imagine for an author there are multiple reasons to write a long series, the characters keep developing in your imagination, new ideas come to you about conflicts in their world, and of course, if you have a cash cow, why not milk it?!

Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader wrote a great post a little while back about the advantages and disadvantages of being a reader or fan of a book series. I whole heartedly agree with her that I like to revisit a “world” and characters I’ve come to know and grow fond of, that I know what to expect (in terms of writing style, type of characters, etc.) and I also MUST MUST read a series in order. There is no point of starting one unless I can start at the first book. And I prefer the series to have been published a while ago so at least a few books are already released.

The idea I’m getting stuck on is series that are elongated for the point of…well past the point of reason in my opinion! 15 book for Stephanie Plum where she still bumbles around like an idiot in both her job and her love life? 10 books for Sookie Stackhouse and she still hasn’t taken much direction or control over her place in the new supernatural world nor her love life? Even long time fans of JD Robb’s In Death series have found some of the books slightly repetitive now that there are 30+ of them!

I’m rarely a demanding, whiny reader. Not on my blog, not on twitter, not in the privacy of my own head. I have great respect for authors and don’t hold them to any expectations of book release timing, characters’ actions, or how they draw a series to conclusion. But for the love of God, PLEASE stop writing such long series! My bank account and bookshelves can’t handle it! I took a picture with a few of my series collections yesterday (when it was so warm and sunny, and not chilly-drizzly like today, looking at this picture makes me feel colder!)

Once I’ve bought one or a few books in a series I become a bit of a collector, not only do I want to see what happens to the characters, I want all the covers to match, or at least have the books be the same height.

But I’m getting to the point where it’s either just borrowing them from the library or giving them up all together. If I want to start a new series and see 7 books have been released and the author’s website indicates no end in sight? I will not start reading it because it’s too intimidating a backlist to buy, and too frustrating to invest that much time or money when I don’t know if/when there will ever be a happily ever after, or any type of conclusion!

While I know lots of book bloggers have written about the tipping point that made them give up a series, today I’m thinking more about series that not only jumped the shark, but are taking loyal readers for a ride. I have this weird feeling that some series are being written for the sake of the paycheck and are just jerking our chains a little bit. Am I totally off base? Even if that’s not exactly why authors are writing such long series, does anyone else at least feel like there are too many long series out there and not enough shorter ones where you can reach a conclusion in a reasonable amount of time?

Fun consolation prizes for everyone! And blogiversary winner

Since not everyone could win the giftcard up for grabs on my blogiversary post this week I thought I’d share something fun that EVERYONE can enjoy – bookish trivia and time wasting games online!

I know I know, I’m too generous. Just call it my noblesse oblige and good deed for the day to share these with you:

Hubby introduced me to the wonder that is www.sporcle.com/ have y’all seen their games before? He aced all the geography ones (he’s been working on a case for Eastern Europe so he knows all those tricky countries and capitals, even flags! which I fail miserably) but I loved the literature ones, of course! I would suggest:

Name Books By Their Covers (i didn’t have the same version of a few of these, but there were a few context clues)

Children’s Books by Their Covers

Opening Lines (oof i missed a lot of these)

Ok I won’t list them all, but there are also a ton of fun Harry Potter and Shakespeare ones! So you’re welcome! Enjoy your consolation prize of wasting time online.

Now without further ado, random.org generated the comment number of our winner, and it’s commenter #25 which is

Angie!

Congrats lady! Contact me at lustyreader at gmail .com so I can send that to you!

Happy weekend y’all and thanks for celebrating my blog birthday with me this week.

April 2010 reading list

Good morning, y’all! April was quite a mixed reading month for me, not only did I read a lot of contemporaries (which is très unusual for me) but I had quite a few books I really disliked (also rarely happens now that i do more research before reading).

I read 12 new-to-me books consisting of 6 contemporary romance, 3 chick lit/women’s fic, 1 YA, 1 historical romance, and 1 historical fiction:

  1. Lead Me On, Victoria Dahl A (new favorite! will def be on my top 10 list this yer!)
  2. Welcome to Temptation, Jennifer Cruise A (first Cruise book I’ve ever loved, now i get what y’all are talking about)
  3. Undomestic Kitchen Goddess, Sophie Kinsella A-
  4. Too Good to be True, Kristan Higgins B+
  5. Girl with the Mermaid Hair, Delia Ephron B+
  6. Deep Dish, Mary Kay Andrews B-
  7. Because You’re Mine, Lisa Kleypas B-
  8. It Had To Be You, SEP C+
  9. Silent As The Grave, Deanna Raybourne C (um i was totally expecting a historical romance! very disappointed there, also thought the mystery plot line and character development were WAY too drawn out, and Brisbane was a little too over the top for me. im totally missing how great this series is, aren’t i? what’s wrong with me?)
  10. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, Rebecca Wells C (stick to the Ya Ya Sisterhood books…while I loved the 1960-80s Southern setting and watching Calla Lily grow, her love interest acts unforgivably and I didn’t respect her reaction)
  11. Lucky Streak, Carly Phillips C
  12. Hot Stuff, Carly Phillips D-

I’m hoping to write some posts about the best and worst contemporaries I read last month. Right after I finish reading all of Victoria Dahl’s backlist I just bought ;)

ETA: oopsie forgot to mention i had quite a few re-reads also – Kleypas’ It Happened One Autumn. i last read it in September! hmm maybe i should add that to my favorite books if i re-read it so often? Also re-read Celeste Bradley’s The Spy and i started re-reading Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series for the first time since i discovered them last year. They are EVEN BETTER the second time around!

ALSO – Don’t forget my blog birthday giveaway ends tonight at midnight, so make sure to comment on that post to enter before then!