Sunday, May 18, 2008

Five things

I was tagged for this meme (strongly dislike the word, but like the concept) by critique partner Patty, who could probably use something to take her mind off the dinosaur destruction awaiting her students.

What were you doing ten years ago?

I was still in high school at that point, so I probably spent a lot of time reading, writing, and pursuing unlikely crushes. I go to work instead of class these days, and I haven't written fanfiction in a long time, but on the whole it's not so different from what I do now.

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order):

I'm not a big fan of to-do lists. This is a frequent source of conflict with my parents, who like to ask me what's on my agenda for a given day. And since I've actually accomplished most of these things already, I can't really say they're on my list - but I had to get things done before I could sit and blog. Thus, I say:

1. Get some laundry done. (As complete as it's going to get today)
2. Make granola. (I only get half-credit for this one, because I forgot one of the main ingredients. But it's edible.)
3. Try making carrot salad. (Another half-credit, because I forgot to make sure I had all the ingredients before starting. You know, there's a reason I don't cook much.)
4. Iron some shirts. (Still pending)
5. Finish A Foreign Affair. (Started at work yesterday, finished this afternoon, not thrilled with the last chapter or so, but otherwise a very good story.)

What are some snacks you enjoy?

Pretty much everything I shouldn't.

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

I'd take advantage of not having to work a regular job, and spend my days reading and writing - with a few shifts at the bookstore for a change of pace. I'd invest in a really nice stationary bike, because it's about the only piece of exercise equipment compatible with reading. (Reading US Weekly, but still.) I'd spend money on some great organizations like SonEdna, Heifer International, and YWCA.

What are three of your bad habits?

This is like being asked in an interview about your weaknesses.

I'm too quiet, I'm bad at networking, and if I'm reading something good it's a challenge to get me off the couch. How's that?

What are five places where you have lived?

Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Connecticut. All by the age of nine, so I've gotten used to rattling that off.

What are five jobs you have had?

Marketing coordinator, conservation assistant, bookseller, software tester, observatory assistant. And to be honest, that's barely half of them.

What five people do you want to tag?

I think most of my fellow kidlit bloggers have done this already, so I won't tag any of them. Christina, if you're interested, it's your turn.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Diamond of Drury Lane: A Cat Royal Adventure

The Diamond of Drury Lane, by Julia Golding

Remember the discussion of literary crushes from a few months ago? Well, I have a new one. His name is Johnny.

This is an adorable British import and - apparently - the first in a series. I'm looking forward to the sequels.

Meet the author: Julia Golding's blog

Bonus: Cat spends a good part of the book evading the Bow Street Runners, but you can play one yourself online (via Boing Boing).

What stuck with me: The book starts off with a page of blurbs from William Pitt, James Boswell, Benjamin Franklin, and the Lord Chamberlain. How can you resist when Admiral Nelson says that he's made the book required reading for every midshipman, or Mary Wollstonecraft endorses it with "Write on, sister!"?

I also loved all the asides to the Reader, very much in the style of eighteenth-century novels.

This is a great book for someone who would probably enjoy the Sally Lockhart books in a few years, but is too young for them now. (Or, for that matter, anyone who's already memorized those, and would like Mr. Pullman to write more. :-)

Makes me want to read: The Enola Holmes books - I've heard good things about those.

Makes me want to reread: Master Rosalind, by Patricia Beatty, another story of a girl in the theater with touches of political intrigue.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Four somethings

Something validating: Remember how I drooled over The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? Booklist's book group blog just called it "a book that begs to be read in August." (The release date, by the way, is July 29.)

Something to try: Via Caroline Hickey, a suggestion to try writing a character's dream if you're stuck. (Yeah, I think Jo's going to have a few now.)

Something only I would get excited about: A "pulsating carbon white dwarf." Yes, complete nerd here. We already established that.

Something useful: In response to HipWriterMama's discussion of plot, PJ Hoover posted a copy of her Hero's Journey plot outline.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Poetry Friday: Ode to the DiaspoRican

Last week the Nuyorican Poets Cafe celebrated its 35th birthday. Literanista has clips of some of her favorite performers.

From Ode to the DiaspoRican (pa' mi gente) by Mariposa (María Teresa Fernández)

What does it mean to live in between
What does it take to realize
that being Boricua
is a state of mind
a state of heart
a state of soul…


No nací en Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico nacío en mi.

Read the rest at Boricua Poetry., or watch Mariposa perform below.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

First Daughter: White House Rules

First Daughter: White House Rules, by Mitali Perkins

That's right - two months after stopping by the launch party for this book, I finally read it. Worth the wait? Yes.

Meet the author: Hang out with Mitali on the Fire Escape!

Bonus: Sparrowblog

Elsewhere: Bildungsroman

What stuck with me
: Okay, I have to admit this is pretty bad, coming from someone who treats boiling up some pasta as a major event. But I loved the image of Sparrow and Miranda getting to have free run of the White House kitchens. (This, by the way, is why the Williams-Sonoma catalog is a dangerous thing to have lying around.)

Makes me want to read: For a much darker take on first daughterhood, Ellen Emerson White's Long May She Reign. Also First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover for all the backstory.

Makes me want to reread: Well, I can't think of any books that I'm inspired to go back to, but it did put me in the mood to curl up with my West Wing DVDs.