Archive for the ‘books’ Category

  1. Medium Raw: a Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
  2. Fortune and Glory by Brian Bendis
  3. Americana and other poems by John Updike
  4. Life with Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
  5. Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush

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Total books read this year: 180

Best accidental find: Always a Reckoning and other poems by Jimmy Carter. I remember picking this up at the library and wondering if it was just a coincidence. Could there be anything more random and delightful than a book of poems written by a former president? Now I know how the world’s biggest Jewel fan and occasional poem reader felt when she stumbled upon a copy of A Night Without Armor.

I don’t believe she wrote a word of this:  Miley Cyrus: Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus

So many unanswered questions: Hot Dog! A Global History by Bruce Kraig.

Too many answered questions: Collecting Political Buttons by Marc Sigoloff. Walter Mondale campaign buttons are the most desired of all political buttons, according to Marc Sigoloff: Walter Mondale button collector.

Sarah Vowelliest: The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell..

Gail Collins can do no wrongiest: When Everything Changed: the Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins
Best Collection of EssaysThe Fiddler in the Subway by Gene Weingarten
Reread Book I’ll Read Again: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Best Nonfiction: Loot: the Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World by Sharon Waxman

Worst Nonfiction: Confessions of an Heiress: a Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose by Paris Hilton with Merle Ginsberg. I’m not sure what this was, but the fact that it is shelved next to Going Rogue by Sarah Palin at the public library is pretty hilarious.

Best Title: Sabine’s Notebook: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Continues by Nick Bantock. I look forward to not watching the twee hipster film adaptions of these books.

Worst Title: America by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag by Sarah Palin. Reflections on…Flag.

Best Fiction: Room by Emma Donoghue

Worst Fiction: My House in Umbria by William Trevor

Best visit down memory lane: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Worst visit down memory LAME (high-fiving a million angels): Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Best Memoir: Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things) by Abby Sher

Worst Memoir: So many candidates, but Stories from Candy Land: Confections from One of Hollywood’s Most Famous Wives and Mothers by Candy Spelling and its random and incomplete “food” recipes takes the cake.

Worst book to find a handful of blonde hair in: Diana, a Tribute to the People’s Princess by Peter Donnelly

Still no point for existence of TV companion books: The West Wing: The Official Companion

He should definitely be in jail: The Governor by Rod Blagojevich

Weirdest love letter to HEB Inside South Austin: a Guide by Diane Barnet

Funniest: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Dance by Elna Baker

Saddest: Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities by Elizabeth Edwards. Especially if you’re reading it on the day she died and have already read the terrible book The Politician about John Edwards.

I think it’s cheating to count this towards my books read list: Still More George W. Bushisms edited by Jacob Weisberg

Worst of the Year: The Politician by Andrew Young (Alternative title: Some People With Cancer Are Mean and I Need Cash by Andrew Young). The only thing one can learn from this mediocre and meandering book is that no one involved with John Edward’s presidential campaign is going to Heaven. And gross John Edwards was inspired to be in politics after watching The American President, which somehow makes him more gross.

Best of the Year: Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West by Benazir Bhutto. 
First book of 2011: Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain

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I liked the required fiction reading from high school, but when it comes to reading any fiction written after 1960, I have had a harder time finding anything I liked. I can’t really tell the  difference between good contemporary fiction and mediocre fiction, so I usually end up with the bad and mediocre and categorize all modern fiction that way (I do love the Shopaholic series more than I care to admit). I’ve tried to make an effort to try to read more contemporary fiction.

This year I read about 25 fiction books that were published after 1960, not counting the out-and-out lies in Miley Cyrus’s “memoir.” My method of picking these books has been to go to the new fiction section in the library and pick out the shortest or most notable books in the section. This week I checked out a Nobel Prize winner’s works and the book I heard had won the Thurber prize. In case critically acclaimed or universally loved by all of Sweden and Norway isn’t enough, I decided to also try what was popular. Which is why I have finally decided to bow to peer pressure and read Twilight.

The author is really taking her time getting to the vampires. 

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In honor of Book Lover’s Day (Observed) and a November bloggy giveaway idea I stole , I am giving away a book I love. Leave a comment on this post any time from now until November 30th and you could win my copy of For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington by Donald T. Regan, with my underlined passages of what I thought justified USA Today’s front cover review of this book, “Spicy!” This book is also autographed. By me.

If for some reason you don’t want Regan’s book (like who needs two copies) you could choose another book that I love, The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk. From this book you can learn that a “glee-dream” isn’t just a nightmare about living at a musical high school. If the reviewers of Regan’s book had had a copy, that book would have a much more interesting front cover. I didn’t write in or underline anything in this book, but on the other hand, it will teach you NOTHING about the Gipper.

Book Lover’s Day is tomorrow, but like refrigerator cleaning and donuts, books deserve more than one holiday.

I like Gretchen‘s suggestion, so if you want to, leave your favorite word in a comment. If you want the Regan book, be sure to include an exclamation point.

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The Texas Book Festival in Austin is next weekend and ALTON BROWN, my favorite Food Network personality and one of my top 25 favorite humans, is going to be there. However, I am going to be at the wedding of two friends in Houston. It’s a little awkward, as I did tell everyone Alton Brown was going to be my date.

I have 30 stations on Pandora, most of which are for show, because I only listen to the one titled MUSICALS!!

This is a great song to wake up to (obvs).

I started rereading A Tale of Two Cities after listening to a guy maligning the good name of Dickins and forgetting if I should be outraged about that or not. I’m also doing some knitting.

After years of voting in Houston and getting nothing as a reward except a high five from myself, I might actually get an I Voted sticker from my new county. That’s what really matters.

Have you seen the Burger King breakfast commercial on Hulu that lets you insert your name into the ad? I’m ashamed to say I found it momentarily enjoyable to hear my name in a commercial. I accepted that it had Elizabeth and no Elisabeth, but then I saw that it has an option to put Cynthia or Synthia. I mean, seriously, Synthia?

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Since moving to Austin this past May, I have become a regular visitor to the Austin Public Library. Given the wide selection the library has due to its extensive branch exchange program, I’ve had almost no need to purchase books. However, a handful of books this year have been given a permanent home on my bookshelves. Most were Nixon biographies that came from my sister, but a few came from the Book Exchange, a used bookstore in Austin.

The greatest new (non Nixon) book in my collection is called For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington by Reagan’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Donald T. Regan. Finding it was a better argument for bookstores and capitalism than the author or his boss could ever give. And Reagan was always praising local bookstores.

Knowing that most of you are very particular about which Reagan cabinet memoirs you read, you might be asking, “Was this book as well received by critics as it was by this blogger?” Was it ever. One word reviews of praise decorate its front page; Business Weekly declared it “Explosive!” while Fortune called it “Deadly!” More words on included on the front and back pages and they all make as much sense if you think about the Reagan years enough.

Longer reviews in the first pages reveal that this book is going to get to the heart of his animosity towards Nancy Reagan, a shocking first considering the wonderful friendships between other first ladies and secretaries of the treasury. In a word, “He seriously hated Nancy Reagan,” Time magazine. Time  actually called the book “Jarring!” but like anything from Time it is all about reading between the lines.

Another inside review claims this book isn’t just the story of a Treasury Secretary and the astrology loving lady he loved to disagree with, when that’s only the first two pages. Or the other 31 pages that mention astrology. But astrology isn’t what makes this book so Deadly! and Explosive! The real culprit is tax policy.

I will post an entire passage from the book here, so you can witness for yourself just why USA Today called it (this is the best one word book review of all time) “Spicy!” Warning: this may be too spicy for weaker readers.

“On March 15 we would decide which kind of income tax system to pursue. By June 15 we would have a detailed analysis of the tax base, with particular attention being paid to deductions and credits. We would also have an analysis of special rules for special industries: oil and gas, real estate, banking and all the others who had benefited from tax breaks. By October 15 the complete tax reform package would be ready in outline form. And by November, we would go to the President with our final recommendations.”

Spicy indeed. Just rereading it made my eyeballs burst into flames. I haven’t read of a tax reform package this caliente since the night Eisenhower spilled a bowl of his famous five alarm chili over his speech on tax legislation recommendation..

Speaking of hack writing, the book also includes a variation of my favorite line from any movie with a president, “He’s the President of the United States. He commissioned the report!” I can only hope that future presidential movies add those last four words. At least they will be included when the inevitable movie version of For the Record is released.

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Books read in 2010

Favorites in bold

  1. Byzantium: the Bridge from Antiquity to the Middle Ages by Michael Angold
  2. Whose Muse?: Art Museums and the Public Trust edited by James Cuno
  3. Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell
  4. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
  5. John Adams by David McCullough
  6. Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin
  7. A Remarkable Mother by Jimmy Carter
  8. Appetite for Life: the Biography of Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch
  9. Love Stories in this Town by Amanda Ward
  10. First Ladies Quotations Book edited by William Foss
  11. Warren G. Harding by John W. Dean
  12. Who Moved my Blackberry? by Lucy Kellaway
  13. Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box by Madeleine Albright
  14. Emma Goldman: American Individualist by John Chalberg
  15. The Devil Wears Prada by Laura Weisberger
  16. Che: A Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón
  17. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
  18. Post Grad by Emily Cassel
  19. Feisty First Ladies and other Unforgettable White House Women by Autumn Stephens
  20. The Motorcycle Diaries: notes on a Latin American Journey by Ernesto Che Guevara
  21. Hot Dog: a Global History by Bruce Kraig
  22. Soda Pop! From Miracle Medicine to Pop Culture by Gyvel Witzel and Michael Witzel
  23. Smart Girls Like Me by Diane Vadino
  24. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  25. Collecting Political Buttons by Marc Sigoloff
  26. The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food by Jeffrey Masson
  27. Extraordinary Texas Women by Judy Alter
  28. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
  29. The 9/11 Report: a Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón
  30. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
  31. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
  32. Loot: the Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World by Sharon Waxman
  33. Speaking with the Angel edited by Nick Hornby
  34. The Wisdom of Sam Ervin edited by Bill Wise
  35. It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I had a Baby, a Breakdown and a Much Needed Margarita by Heather Armstrong
  36. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  37. The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones
  38. Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States by Hector Tobar
  39. Stories from Candy Land: Confections from One of Hollywood’s Most Famous Wives and Mothers by Candy Spelling
  40. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
  41. Jane Austen: A Life by Carol Shields
  42. Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things) by Abby Sher
  43. Always a Reckoning and other poems by Jimmy Carter
  44. Art in the White House: A Nation’s Pride by William Kloss
  45. The Governor by Rod Blagojevich
  46. William McKinley by Kevin Phillips
  47.  Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen
  48. Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater by Frank Bruni
  49. Miley Cyrus: Miles to Go by Miley Cyrus
  50. Lady Bird Johnson: Our Environmentalist First Lady by Lewis Gould
  51. Bait and Switch: the (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich
  52. The Long Chalkboard and other Stories by Jenny Allen
  53. Knives at Dawn: America’s Quest for Culinary Glory at the Legendary Bocuse d’Or by Andrew Friedman
  54. Who’s Buried in Grant’s Tomb? A Tour of Presidential Gravesites by Brian Lamb
  55. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  56. Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an Unpleasant Age edited by Ariel Schrag
  57. The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
  58. Insecure at Last: Losing It in Our Security Obsessed World by Eve Ensler
  59. Richistan: a Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich by Robert Frank
  60. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
  61. When Everything Changed: the Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins
  62. Unsweetined by Jodie Sweetin
  63. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and three other stories by Truman Capote
  64. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
  65. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  66. The West Wng: The Official Companion created by Aaron Sorkin
  67. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  68. Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin
  69. Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster
  70. Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress by Debra Ginsberg
  71. Confessions of an Heiress: a Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose by Paris Hilton with Merle Ginsberg
  72. Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do  by Helen Thomas and Craig Crawford
  73. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown
  74. Celebutantes by Amanda Goldberg
  75. Audition: a Memoir by Barbara Walters
  76. Everyone Worth Knowing by Laura Weisberger
  77. Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud That Defined a Decade by Jeff Shesol
  78. My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster
  79. Inside South Austin: a Guide by Diane Barnet
  80. Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West by Benazir Bhutto
  81. The New York Regional Mormon Singles Dance by Elna Baker
  82. The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee by Sarah Silverman
  83. Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
  84. Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
  85. Passionate Sage: the Character and Legacy of John Adams by Joseph Ellis
  86. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  87. Hairspray: the Roots by Mark O’Donnell, Thomas Meehan, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman
  88. Barack and Michelle: a Portrait of an American Marriage by Christopher Anderson
  89. The Fiddler in the Subway by Gene Weingarten
  90. Ready or Not by Meg Cabot
  91. Radio On: a Listener’s Diary by Sarah Vowell
  92. Take the Cannoli: Stories from the New World by Sarah Vowell
  93. A Nation Rising: Untold Tales of Flawed Founders, Fallen Heroes, and Forgotten Fighters from America’s Hidden History by Kenneth Davis
  94. House of Cards: Love, Faith, and Other Social Expressions by David Dickerson
  95. Still More George W. Bushisms edited by Jacob Weisberg
  96. Read My Lips: Classic Texas Political Quotes edited by Kirk Dooley and Eben Price
  97. This Land is Their Land by Barbara Ehrenreich
  98. Carry On, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse
  99. Tip It: The World According to Maggie by Maggie Griffin
  100. Not Quite What I was Planning: Six Word Memoirs by Famous and Obscure Writers edited by Rachel Fershleiser and Larry Smith
  101. Nickel and Dimed: on Not Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  102. Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison by Piper Kerman
  103. The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy by Raj Patel
  104. Texas: A Compact History by Archie McDonald
  105. Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She? by Molly Ivins
  106. Closing Time: a Memoir by Joe Queenan
  107. What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures by Malcolm Gladwell
  108. I like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris
  109. How Does it Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi
  110. My House in Umbria by William Trevor
  111. Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock.
  112. Sabine’s Notebook: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Continues by Nick Bantock
  113. The Golden Mean: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Concludes by Nick Bantock
  114. The Four Elements by Roz Chast
  115. Redneck Power: The Wit and Wisdom of Billy Carter edited by Jeremy Rifkin and Ted Howard
  116. Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned From Judy Blume edited by Jennifer O’Connell
  117. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  118. Deenie by Judy Blume
  119. Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
  120. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  121. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible! by Jonathan Goldstein
  122. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  123. The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
  124. Laughing Gas by P.G. Wodehouse
  125. “What the Heck Are You Up to, Mr. President?” by Kevin Mattson
  126. The Partly Cloudy Patriot by Sarah Vowell
  127. Do Butlers Burgle Banks? by P.G. Wodehouse
  128. You’re a Horrible Person, but I Like You: The Believer Book of Advice edited by Eric Spitznagel
  129. 1984 by George Orwell
  130. How Did You Get this Number by Sloane Crosley
  131. Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. by Sam Watson 
  132. And the Heart Says Whatever by Emily Gould
  133. Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella 
  134. Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner 
  135. Earth (the Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race by The Daily Show
  136. Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella 
  137. The Passport by Herta Müller 
  138. How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely 
  139. I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley 
  140. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling 
  141. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling 
  142. Diana: A Tribute to the People’s Princess by Peter Donnelly 
  143. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell 
  144. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi 
  145. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella  
  146. Keep the Change: A Clueless Tipper’s Quest to Become the Guru of the Gratuity by Steve Dublanica.
  147. Love is a Mixtape: Life and Loss, one Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield
  148. The Politician by Andrew Young
  149. Half Empty by David Rakoff
  150. I Know I Am, but What Are You? by Samantha Bee
  151. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
  152. Paula Deen’s Savannah Style by Paula Deen and Brandon Branch
  153. The Word Museum: The Most Remarkable English Words Ever Forgotten by Jeffrey Kacirk
  154. Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  155. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  156. Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America by Natasha Vargas-Cooper
  157. Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster
  158. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
  159. Things Seen by Annie Ernaux
  160. Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities by Elizabeth Edwards 
  161. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  162. Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
  163. Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella
  164. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris
  165. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K.  Rowling
  166. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  167. America by Heart by Sarah Palin
  168. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield
  169. Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
  170. This Book is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson
  171. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
  172. For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington by Donald T. Regan
  173. Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
  174. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  175. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  176. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  177. Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
  178. Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
  179. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
  180. Room by Emma Donoghue

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