Monday, March 29, 2010

Portland, the highlights!

Ironically, my favorite doughnut here did not have a hole. If you ever get the chance to go, get a bacon maple will not regret it! And, if possible, go late at night as they are open until 3am :-)

Yes we did! The Twilight prom scene was filmed at this inn. I took a million pictures!

Multnomah Falls is gorgeous! Portland is gorgeous! Oregon is gorgeous!

We went to the Saturday market, bought street food, drank beer, listened to live music, and bought lots of hand crafted items!

more later!
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

excitement! adventure! tattoos!

okay, only one tattoo for me, but I did go with a friend to provide experienced support as she got her first work done. She got a hippocampus (mythology, not part of the brain!) and what Kele did with it is truly glorious!

I will be getting an image of Geoffrey Chaucer (as a pilgrim from the Ellesmere manuscript) on my left forearm next week when we go to Portland, OR for the library conference. I will be going to the Sea Tramp Tattoo Co., the oldest shop in Portland, which I found through the recently published book by a co-owner of the business. Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink by Jeff Johnson was also just nominated for an Alex Award by the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association. I left a comment on the author's blog congratulating him and asking if I could get my own copy of the book signed while I was in town and he emailed me back to say he'd be glad to do it! Yay!

While in Portland, we'll be going on a variety of fun adventures including a tour of Mt. Hood, a Portland Highlights tour, and I'm dragging KT to a Cherie Priest booksigning at a bookstore in nearby Beaverton. So I'll be taking 5 books with me at the outset: Tattoo Machine, Boneshaker, and Chelsea Cain's Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell series (Heartsick, Sweatheart, and Evil at Heart).

Basically, I am too excited for words!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I may never drink a soda again..

..okay, I probably will, but this will be running through my head the entire time. For the record, since I watched King Corn I have had maybe 10 sodas a year...maybe

Monday, March 1, 2010

February reads!

Continuing my good habits of the previous month, I finished 11 books in February!

Four Short Stories: A Great Storyteller at His Best, with Drawings by Henri Matisse by W. Somerset Maugham - I have come to love, love, love W. Somerset Maugham! Fair warning, there is little to smile about in his work....murder, suicide, adultery, alcoholism, it's all there. Maugham puts the dirty laundry of humanity on display.

Once a Spy by Keith Thomson - Mr. Thomson is a patron at my library and he asked me to read a bit of this in manuscript form. I liked the chapter I read and like the book even more! If you loved the film Spies Like Us, you'll love Once a Spy! You'll find it in bookstores March 9th!

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose - Roose, a student at Brown University, takes a semester off to covertly attend Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. A clashing culture story to rival any in the realm of travel literature and a fascinating glimpse inside conservative, born-again Christianity. Also, Roose ended up getting Falwell's last print interview before Falwell died during Roose's semester at Liberty.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin - Benjamin's research into the life of the man who became Lewis Carroll and his young muse, Alice Liddell, is immediately apparent. The plot tends to drag a bit, but overall an interesting look through the looking glass at the germination of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I can hardly wait for the movie on March 5th!

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly - I loved this delightful YA book! When Calpurnia Virginia Tate begins to observe the world around her, questions inevitably arise. Why is this grasshopper different from that? How many birds live in the surrounding woods? Why do these plants grow here and not there? Why is a girl's life restricted to boring needlework and tedious cooking? Will she have to give up her exciting observations to shoulder the mantle of "womanhood"? Questions for the ages...

Wisconsin Death Trip by Michael Lesy - an interesting photographic journey into the heart of the Midwest as America's Manifest Destiny spirals into the abyss. Focuses on the town of Black River Falls, Wisconsin between 1890 and 1900, which was home to a regional newspaper AND a photographer with the added bonus of having an insane asylum not too far off. All institutions poised to deal the deteriorating behavior of the population. The documentary film (of the same title) inspired by the book is also quite good!

Jim the Boy by Tony Earley - a boy raised by his mom and three uncles after his father dies shortly before his birth. It's a pretty straightforward, heartwarming coming-of-age tale.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier - This book ranked right up there with her best for me. Makes a three-point crown with Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Virgin Blue. Sharp-tongued spinster Elizabeth Philpot makes an unlikely friend in commoner Mary Anning as they search the beaches of Lyme Regis for fossil specimens during a time when these items were looked on as evil and women were not welcomed to the scientific table.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout - This book won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. A novel in stories of a small Maine town. Olive Kitteridge is mean, bitter, grumpy, and unforgettable.

Altar of Eden by James Rollins - Classic adventure fiction with quite a bit of genetic experimentation and a whole lot of gore thrown in. Don't listen to the audio, the narrator's attempt at the accents is HoRrIbLe and detract from an exciting and uncomplicated story.

The Silver Skull by Mark Chadbourn - Elizabeth I isn't just fighting Spain and Lord Walsingham has something other than spies to deal with. There is the Enemy, otherwise known as the Fair Folk. Some gross details of death, the filthiness of Elizabethan London, and torture. Entertaining but unremarkable.