Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bookstore etiquette - no reading in the bathroom

Although Barnes and Noble announced store closings this week and Borders is now gone, bookstores aren't dead yet.

Here's a reminder of bookstore etiquette, some that I'm guilty of:

1) treat a bookstore like a library...shhhhhhhhhhhhh!
2) while browsing, be aware of your surroundings. People behind you may also like to look at what's on the shelf so being within a nose lengths of the shelf blocks others from viewing ( guilty as charged)
3) if reading a book do so away from a shelf. See #2
4) when walking in front of a person who is shopping a shelf, say something like, 'pardon me' 'excuse me' etc, as you walk and interrupt their view
5) when standing at the checkout counter and there's a line behind you, keep friendly banter with the cashier to a minimum or non-existent. Nothing more annoying then waiting in line while you listen to cashier/customer trade recipes, book suggestions, weather reports, etc.*
6) and never, ever, take a book into the bathroom for reading. ( see Seinfeld episode George Costanza's toilet book )

* this pertains to any retail outlet

Until the last bookstore is closed, conglomerate or independent, we can all experience a more enjoyable book browsing pleasure if the above etiquette is followed. Any others? welcome more...

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

365 = (102 = 31,636) + 61,881 +/- 20

Now I'm no math expert, although I did get straight A's in high school algebra, but this equation doesn't add up.

365 = (102= 31,636)  + 61,881 +/- 20

Nor am I a genius as in Einstein, but if you were to ever see me roll out of bed in the morning and the look of my shaggy hair, some of it now gray, you may disagree and say, 'grow a mustache and you look like Einstein.'

But again, this equation doesn't add up.   365 = (102 = 31,636) + 61,881 +/- 20

So, let's take a closer look at what's behind the numbers:

  • 102 = books read this year
  • 31,636 =  pages read this year
  • 61,881 = according to Delta, the number of miles flown this year, from Maui to London to Phuket, Thailand and all points in between
  • +/- 20 is the amount of pounds lost this year.  Officially 16 lbs, I faltered a bit over the holidays but if we were to look at what the scale read on 1/7/2012 and compare it to today, it'd be 23 lbs lost. Reading while riding a stationary bike accomplishes alot!

And finally, 365 equals number of days in 2012.

Now one may say, when you're reading children's books, 102 isn't difficult to accomplish in a years time. So, let's dig a bit further... The shortest book I read was 114 pages, the longest being 514.  Oddly enough, the worst book I read this year was also the longest. That being Fifty Shades of Grey;  Why did I continue reading it? Well, as I have posted before, if one were to not finish a book, wouldn't that cheat the author? Same as a movie, leaving the theater or clicking the stop button in a middle of a movie, how does one know it won't get better? But I digress, I have pressed the eject button on the DVD player a time or two. But I've always finished a book.

On the subject of children's books, I did read a few this year, two from a local (Minnesota) author named Kate DiCamillo.  Remember the movie, Because of Winn Dixie?  Well, it was based on the book by DiCamillo and strangely enough, she worked a local bookstore chain prior to becoming rich and famous!

Speaking of strange and odd, I read E.B. White this year.  White is famous for writing, Charlotte's Web , which I read long ago but also, Stuart Little which I read in the month of December.  I found Stuart Little a bit odd( didn't I already say that?). Not so much for the subject matter, Stuart is a mouse, but more so on his adventures and how they would relate to a child or an adult for that matter. 

Then there's the odd, fraudulent world of olive oil production which Tom Mueller, in his book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, brought to light this year.

In terms of light reading, the Sunny Randall, Jesse Stone and Spenser series of the late Robert B. Parker are excellent detective stories based in the Boston area. Not to mention the Stone Barrington series penned by Stuart Woods. Mostly set in New York and Elaine's the famous eatery, Stone solves mysteries while counting his money.

Kick it up a notch with Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp character in Kill Shot and The Last Man, both will leave you with the feeling, "Do these things really happen?"  Flynn being a native St. Paulite, his early Rapp's seem to be better?

William Kent Krueger, another local author whom I've not read until this year, took us to northern Minnesota in his Cork O'Conner mystery series, the first few are Iron Lake, Boundary Waters and Purgatory Ridge.

The waters were filled with Unfamiliar Fishes, an  historical slant on Hawaii by Sarah Vowell.

Some wonderful new authors (new to me, not new to writing), Kathy Reichs and her Tempe Brennan forensic series (this character is the basis for the TV show, Bones) James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series based in New Orleans and Augusten Burroughs, who's famous for "Running With Scissors, Thomas Perry's Butcher's Boy and Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventures and even the comedian Steve Martin's, Shop Girl.

And of course all the mystery standards,  James Patterson, John Sandford, John Grisham, Linda Fairstein, Patricia Cornwell, Harlen Coben, to name a few.

Then there were some great memoirs and non fiction.  We went surfing with Susan Casey in her extraordinary book on the oceans, waves and some crazy dude named Laird Hamilton, called The Wave. Plucked a guitar, played with a Lionel train and learned of the purity of music in Neil Young's Waging Heavy Peace. Hysterical yet serious memoirs by Carrie Fisher - Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic. Learned of an outlaw in Merle Haggard's, My House of Memories and two lovely books, one about a lost celebrity in Lawrence Schiller's story of him and Ms. Monroe in Marilyn and Me and the late Jack Klugman's relationship with co-star and dear friend, Tony Randall in Tony and Me.


Best fiction read this year?  Jeffery Archer's first two volumes of a trilogy, Only Time Will Tell and Sins of the Father, both exceptional. The third installment, Best Kept Secret comes out in May of this year.

Best non-fiction this year?  Neil Young's Waging Heavy Peace.  When you think that some people just make music, well think again!

The love of memoirs is perpetuated by an insatiable curiosity to learn about people, add my love of music and I have an orchestra size list of memoirs to read. From Rod Stewarts to Ron Woods to Keith Richards to Heart and many more.

So as we've started a new year, my wish to you is that 2013 adds up to be a great year for you, your family and friends and will be without equal.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It takes a special person...

In the spirit of the Inaugaration ceremony and regardless of your politics, it takes a special person to be President of the United States!