book evangelist

April 23, 2009 | 7 Comments

Another Q from Shelf Awareness:

my childhood library in Olean, NY
my childhood library - MY kind of temple

Book you are an evangelist for:

SW: I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris makes the perfect hostess gift—It’s everyone’s childhood in one volume. And Meeting God in Quiet Places: The Cotswold Parables by F. LaGarde Smith is one I read while losing someone dear to me. I tend to give it to people in need of comfort. Regardless of where you’re coming from, both books are good for the soul, for totally different reasons.

[I love the idea of being a book evangelist. For me, fantasy jobs include bookseller and librarian. Some people sit around dreaming of being astronauts or movie stars. I imagine being in a position to invite people to read! And matching the perfect book with the perfect reader? Heaven.] 

What books are you an evangelist for? What books do you buy over and over, giving them to people simply because you love them?

goodbye winter, hello spring

April 22, 2009 | 3 Comments

I said farewell to winter in style…


last day of skiing at crystal mountain, rainier in the background
last day of skiing at crystal mountain, rainier in the background

…and welcomed spring with a smile!

my bulbs are up
my bulbs are up

i faked reading this book

April 20, 2009 | 4 Comments

In my Shelf Awareness feature, I admitted to this:

Book you’ve faked reading: Du Coté de Chez Swann by Marcel Proust. In French. I was trying to impress a professor who I later learned was gay. Quel dommage!


image from Wikipedia Commons
image from Wikipedia Commons

I wish I could be more patient with this book, because the bits and pieces I’ve read are truly beautiful. All four of them. 🙂 Yet the book was so good that one of the several publishers that rejected it later wrote him an apology. However, the image above stole my heart–it’s a galley proof from a manuscript that sold at Christies for £663 750. But that’s not what stole my heart–it’s his cutting-and-pasting technique. Masterful. But how did the poor man write a whole work of literary genius without Post-It Notes? No wonder he died young.


I'm a messy writer, too, Marcel!
I'm a messy writer, too, Marcel!



And p.s., Proust is wise:

Every reader finds himself. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.”

Your turn–have you fake-read any good books lately?

five favorite authors

April 20, 2009 | 4 Comments

Nabakov thinking deep thoughts
Nabakov thinking deep thoughts

Shelf Awareness asked me to name my top five authors. This is like asking for my favorite brands of chocolate. How can you narrow it down? Here are some names, off the top of my head:

Edith Wharton, E.B. White, Sharon Kay Penman, Ann Patchett, Stephen King. This list changes every time I try to narrow it down. I also love Vladimir Nabokov. And Anne Tyler. And J.P. Donleavy. And Roald Dahl. And Mary Stewart. And Nora Roberts. And Collette. I am in big trouble.

Can you narrow your list down to five?

What was your favorite book as a child?

April 19, 2009 | 7 Comments


Harriet rocks!
Harriet rocks!

In my Book Brahmin interview, I was only allowed to list one, but I had an ever-changing array as I grew. 



Favorite book when you were a child:

SW: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I slept with it under my pillow so I could channel Harriet, and started carrying a notebook everywhere I went. I still do that. 

Note: Please do not see the movie! It ruins the book. Movies have a nasty habit of doing that, except in certain cases, like The Wizard of Oz.

Other contenders for my favorites:

  • You Were Princess Last Time – Long out of print; don’t recall the author
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – probably the most flawless book ever written
  • The Watchbirds – another out of print, an author/illustrator I can’t recall

So many more. But I’ll shut up. List your childhood faves in Comments. 

April 19, 2009 | 2 Comments

is fanning the Susan Boyle craze–here’s a song she recorded 10 yrs ago:

April 18, 2009 | 1 Comment

Last ski day of the year! Mt Rainier in the background:

shelf awareness

April 18, 2009 | 6 Comments


daily enlightenment for booklovers
daily enlightenment for booklovers

This is probably my favorite daily e-mail. If you like books, subscribe. They’ll tell you what’s new, what’s hot, what’s interesting and what’s in the news. 

Once a week, they pick a writer to be the “Book Brahmin,” and the answers always intrigue me. I got to be the Book Brahmin one day in March, and here are some of the questions and responses. I’ll post one or two over the next few days. Your mission–post your answers in Comments!

On your nightstand now:

SW: The Urban Outfitters catalog, a Clairefontaine notebook and pen, a tin of Bag Balm, a chapter of my work-in-progress, and The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant. I adore Roald Dahl, and I’m a sucker for true stories of heroic deeds in WWII.

Your turn: What’s on your nightstand?

April 17, 2009 | 1 Comment

even nicer than this morning’s aircraft carrier:

April 17, 2009 | 1 Comment

is watching an aircraft carrier pass by the bedroom window. Yikes. Photo here –