Friday, July 12, 2013

Literary Loot

Source: Karena Fagan

Wrapping it up with part four of my Santa Cruz Public Library Spring Sale splurge! I know this seems like it took forever. Next time I'll make sure to put them closer because you know I'm going to turn around and do this again next time there's another huge sale.

So like in part one, I had David Sedaris so I couldn't resist not pick up Naked as well as Me Talk Pretty One Day. Investing that much (which really was like ten bucks) on an author I haven't tried is scary, but I have high hopes.

Middlemarch is one I really would like to get to one of these days. I am hoping it gets chosen as a book of the month for the group to help me get it to the top of my list.

I've heard both good and bad about Love in the Time of Cholera. I am curious to find out on which side of the debate I will be.

I feel like I'm missing out as I've never read any Toni Morrison, so I picked up Paradise because no one wants to be left behind.

Any plans to pick up your own Literary Loot this weekend? Go support your local library if they have a book store or your local indie library.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tator Tuesday

Every week we ask our Tators bookish questions. This week's question is:

Who are three authors you'd most like to have dinner with (living or dead)? 


Alive: Patrick Ness, George R.R. Martin, Sherman Alexie

Dead: Carson McCullers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker


Samuel Clemens, hands down. There’s no way there would be a dull moment. Nate Silver because then I could pick his brain about politics and statistics. And Mary Roach because she’s charming, funny, and deeply curious.


 Malcom Gladwell, Nate Silver and Clive Cussler


Christopher Moore, Anne Rice, and Barbara Kingsolver


Jenny Lawson, Kevin Hearne and Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens). There would be booze and curse words involved and that spells great dinner party. I wonder what Twain would say to alcoholic Otter pops?


V.C. Andrews, Edgar Allen Poe and ... hmmm Marquis de Sade to keep the conversation interesting.  

Who would you have dinner with?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Words Words Everywhere and Not a Book to Read

This doesn't happen very often to me...I'm between books, and I have no idea where I want to go next. It's not like I don't have anything to read. Those days are long gone. I had those days, pre-Kindle and when I was in a safe place where I only read mystery novels and paranormal romance. Those days are long past, thanks to the aforementioned Kindle and its free or cheap books, my obligation to this blog to review books, and the monthly selections for the CWAtC book group.
Source: Jared Fagan
To be fair, I do have a few review books I could read, but none of them are really sparking the interest at the moment. We pick our CWATC books 3 months ahead of time, and even with that, I am ahead because I got some wild hair to finish them all this week. Two of them I've read recently, so no need to pick up again anytime soon (Fahrenheit 451), and with The Handmaid's Tale winning for September, I'm clear there as well.

I can't even narrow it down to a genre at the moment. A few months ago I was in a slump. I just couldn't get interested in a book to save my life. It wasn't the fault of my literary friends; it was me. I just had a hard time getting started. The thing that pushed me out of it? A reread of one of my more contemporary favorites, The Night Circus. This time, I'm not so sure that would be the case. Plus, I have too many books I want to read for the first time to waste time on a book I've already read, and none come to mind on a "I need to revisit that world/character/whatever" basis.

I honestly used my Filemaker database of all my books and fed the numbers into to find some suggestions. That was less than satisfying and almost embarrassingly geeky. I was able to narrow it down and say, "I'm only reading books I own." That's not so hard if you've paid attention to my Literary Loot posts. I have a lot to read.

My question, I pose to you, Dear Readers, is how do you determine the priority on your TBR pile (whether it's digital or physical or even auditory)?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

LitStarter: Bringing You the Best in Bookish Projects

Welcome to another installment of LitStarter! This is a regular look at some of my favorite projects I discovered through two popular crowd funding websites: Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The featured projects will be related to literature and comics, but not limited to publishing or writing projects.

Since the column began, we have yet to cover any kid-related projects -- until today! This week's column features a children's cookbook with an international flair.

The Cultured Chef: An International Cookbook for Kids is being written by Nicholas Beatty and illustrated by Coleen McIntyre. The last time they teamed up together, they created Baking With Friends: Recipes, Tips, and Fun Facts for Teaching Kids to Bake, and won five awards for their work! Beatty and McIntyre have collaborated again to create a fun, educational, and multi-cultural cookbook for children. Through colorful art, fun facts, and easy, delicious recipes, this cookbook will not only help children with their development, but  also teach them about the world. A few recipes to be included are: Mexico's Bread of the Dead, Brazilian Brigadeiro, Scottish Shortbread, Icelandic Snert, and Russian Pelmeni.

I grew up in a small town as part of an Italian-American family. My mother and grandmother cooked six, if not seven, nights a week. Each meal was a healthy mix of vegetables, proteins, and starches -- all with an Italian slant. We rarely ate out, and if we did, there weren't many choices. The selection was limited to a few American home style diners and a Round Table Pizza. It wasn't until I moved away to attend college in a major city that I began to discover international foods from places like Brazil, Japan, Ethiopia, and Vietnam -- just to name a few. And through food, I was also able to learn about each country and culture. The Cultured Chef is a way to teach children about the joys of cooking as well as introduce them to new ways of living and eating across the globe.

As of now, copies of The Cultured Chef will only be available to backers. The author and illustrator have decided to publish The Cultured Chef independently. They hope to work with a traditional publishing house to make the book more widely available -- but since that isn't their priority, it may be a while before that happens. So if you'd like a copy for yourself, you will need to back the project for $25 or more. Your cookbook will be personalized, numbered, and signed. Additional rewards (at higher backing levels, of course) include prints drawn by the illustrator and a chance to have your family recipe featured in the book.

You can learn more about The Cultured Chef and its creators by visiting their webpage. You can also like The Cultured Chef on Facebook.

This Week in Literature

July is "Read an Almanac Month!" 

Front cover of Ladies Birthday Almanac

July 1st - 13th

1 - George Sand is born, 1804
2 - Earnest Hemingway commits suicide at age 61, 1961
3 - Franz Kafka is born in Prague, 1883
      "The Yellow Wallpaper" author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is born, 1860
4 - Declaration of Independence signed by the members of the Continental Congress, 1776
      Lewis Carroll begins writing Alice's Adventures in Wonderland while on a boating trip, 
5 - George Bernard Shaw quits his day job to write, 1880
      Annual fence-painting contests take place in Hannibal, Missouri in honor of Mark Twain's    
      Tom Sawyer
      Sir Issac Newton publishes Principia, which states his theory of the law of motion, 1687
6 - Anne Frank and her family go into hiding from the German occupation, 1942
7 - Robert A. Heinlein is born, 1907
      Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dies, 1930
8 - First public reading of the Declaration of Independence, 1776
      Percy Bysshe Shelley dies, 1822
      Ernest Hemingway is wounded in battle in Italy. While recovering in Milan, he falls in 
      love with a nurse named Agnes von Kurowsky, 1918
9 - Mervyn Peake is born, 1911
      Nancy Farmer is born, 1941    
10 - Marcel Proust born in Paris, 1871
        The John Scopes trial begins, 1925. Scopes goes on trial for teaching the theory of 
        evolution in class in Dayton, Tennessee.
11 - To Kill a Mockingbird is first published, 1960
        E.B. White is born, 1899
12 - Henry David Thoreau is born, 1817
13 - The US Continental Congress forbids slavery in the Northern Territory, 1787
        Issac Babel is born, 1894 (contested)