Calling All Sheep

I guess it's probably not nice to request followers by calling them sheep. I'm just kidding. Relax. They are super cute, though, and I lamb myself out to plenty of blogs too. I like people who like me, and who take the time to check out my ramblings (especially those that comment). I figured if tabs, why not a followers widget. Okay, last post on administrative BS.

It's Tabtastic

Take a second and check out the tabs at the top, now that I've taken the time to finally figure out how to do them.

Do you remember the Sesame Street song they used to sing, something like "One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong?" Obviously, that's the running. I can't help it, I like to talk about running and I feel bad always yammering on about it to my husband. I read to escape, I run to escape (and keep the size of my ass under control).

By the way, just because I quoted Sesame Street does not mean that this is in any way, shape, or form a kid/mommy blog. No, no, no, no. None of that.

Around the World in 28 Days- February Books

For some strange reason I decided to do a "themed" reading month- nonfiction books focusing on different locales. In retrospect it was a mistake, a little too "college course" for me, but once I decided I followed through. I think the biggest problem is that I don't like the be told what to do- feeling forced to do thing makes me want to rebel. Anyway, here are the three I got through in February:

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen

Christopher McDougall
Pages: 304
Exotic L
ocale: Copper Canyons in Mexico (and various places in the US)

I really, really enjoyed this book, which describes McDougall's work with the mysterious trail runner Caballo Blanco to create an epic trail run through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, home to some of the most amazing superathetes in the world- the Tarahumara Indians. He recruits several insanely fast, dedicated trail runners and ultramarathoners from the US and they travel through dangerous parts of Mexico to hold this race. McDougall weaves together several stories about people and races, while combining a great deal of running science. I read this before running the Surf City Half, and remember thinking somewhere around mile 10, "If those crazy ultramarathoners can run 100 miles in the 110 degree desert I can suck this up!" It does push the whole "barefoot running" trend, though, which I'm not completely on board with at this point.

The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World
Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner
Passport Stamps: Thailand, India, Australia, New Zealand, Africa

It's hard for me to discuss this book without making an important differential: there's the boo
k as a text and the book as an adventure. As an adventure, it's fantastic. Three corporate girls in their late twenties ditch their Manhattan lives for a year-long trek around the globe. They rough it in hostels (ew), volunteer, struggle with staying connected to the people back home, and grow as individuals. As a book, though, it's not extremely well-written; the girls did not have unique narratives and were unnaturally descriptive. Pretend they're describing coffee: "I sipped my steaming hot latte out of a bright white cup with forest green writing, that had been handed to me by a young barista with a unique tribal tattoo on the inside of his bulging bicep." Also, I felt at times they got along too well and that maybe the juicier aspects of their adventure were being left out. As a book, it was okay, as a life decision, completely ballsy.

180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless
Chris Malloy
Pages: 237
Destination: Patagonia (bottom tip of Chile)

I watched the documentary that this book is based on last fall and fell in love. It's about a group of guys decided to recreate a trip down to Patagonia to climb a treacherous mountain peak, meanwhile stopping on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) when their boat suffered extreme damage. Two of the original men that ma
de the initial trip are actually the founders of the clothing lines Patagonia and Esprit- both of which are involved in massive Chilean conservation efforts now (and play major roles in the book and documentary). The book details their journey, their climb, and how humans are doing everything in their power to destroy the environment one river and patch of sustainable earth at a time. This is actually a coffee table book, but there is a substantial amount of text. The pictures aren't stock- they're either ones taken during the trip or are stills from the original film. This book has so many powerful messages in it- we should follow our ambitions, be spontaneous, and give a damn about nature.

You can bet March will be full of fiction!

It's Okay to Leave the House

You know you're a reclusive bibliophile when:

You try to pay for groceries with your Border's Reward card Ummm, ma'am, you're going to need to try a different card. Preferably from a company that has some money.

The priest gives you the stank eye when he sees you reading Lolita during your cousin's wedding
You'd think the Catholic church would have supported Nabokov's preference for the youngsters.

Your hobby interferes with your sex life Oh God, is that really Dean Koontz on the nightstand? And Dan Brown? Yeah, check please.

You personify books when talking to others Ow! Don't bend the pages, it hurts them!

You forget to buy groceries because you're tackling Norton's Anthology (for fun) Paper is made of fiber... fiber is healthy... there's an extra copy of Jane Eyre on the shelf... maybe with a little ranch...

99% of your comments start with the phrase, "That was like in this book I read once..." No one at the bar wants to be compared to Hester Prynne.

Get Excited

Preface: You have no idea how many extremely inappropriate titles I came up with for this post. Why I'm choosing today to attempt censoring is lost on me.

Anyway, I found a neat site on Tumblr called Bookshelf Porn that showcases amazing bookshelves from around the world (some are real, some have been imagined, and some are videos too- oh yea, baby, get excited, if you know what I mean, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. By the way, porn makes me laugh).

Sorry if you misunderstood- we're talking about actual pieces of furniture and how they hold things, not bookshelf porn as in the scene where Tom Cruise and Kelly Preston are going to town against theirs in Jerry Maguire.

Anyway, I could spend hours on this site- I find it fascinating how people organize their books and appreciate how books and their shelves can become the focal point of a room. Bookshelves can be modern, minimalistic, ornate, or antiquated depending on their owner.

Here's their current homepage (it changes as they add new posts):

My favorite include January 21st, January 4th, December 29th, and December 23rd (and that's just in the last few months).

My dream home would include a library with vaulted ceilings, built-in shelves along all walls top to bottom, and a rolling ladder. Not to mention a wet bar, fire place, and "no kids allowed" sign (for future issues... I mean offspring).

I'm finished. Was it good for you? [insert winking smiley face here..]

Damn that Green Grass

I guess I technically have a "reading-based" job as an English teacher. Supposedly, anyway. After finishing up a unit of study on "functional documents," including how to write resumes, business letters, and fill out job applications, it doesn't necessarily feel like it. Don't misunderstand- I much prefer teaching high school English to teaching elementary students how to read (although there are plenty of barely-literate high school students), but there are moments where I allow myself to daydream about other career options, especially those involving books and publishing (side note: if I could go back and do it all over, I would have probably tried a little harder to become a cardiac surgeon).

My coulda/woulda/shoulda career list:

Literary Agent I feel like the more I read the better I have gotten at predicting the success of an author (pat, pat, pat).
Novelist No comment. Sigh.
Editor I do love me some red pens- "This is not a sentence! Where is the subject?"
Bookstore Owner If I won the lotto I'd open a bookstore/bar/ice cream parlor- I'm contemplating an entire post due to this concept, which I promise will be both massively delusional and entertaining.
Librarian You know, one of the hot ones that takes off her glasses and lets down her hair at the end of the day.
Bookstore Buyer Although submitting purchase orders for Nicky Sparks would be a bit disheartening, it would be great to introduce the world to lesser known talents (if there are any bookstores left).
Lit Professor Unfortunately, I have no desire to go back to school since I'll be paying off my BA/credential/MA until I'm 87-years-old. Plus, permanent university positions are about as hard to find as Justin Bieber's manly parts.

Regret has such a nasty reputation. People turn their noses at regret because accepting responsibility for not making the right choices at the right time can be frightening... and humbling. I think feeling regret and accepting its presence can be an important catalyst for change. Ignoring regret leads to denial, which tends to cost people a lot of money in therapy bills and anti-anxiety meds come their thirties and forties. So, yes, I do regret not becoming a doctor or getting my MS in publishing from NYU's graduate program (all their damn advertisements on UCLA bulletin boards). On the other hand, I am happy where I am personally and enjoy the freedom I currently have to pursue my various hobbies and interests. I acknowledge my regret, I accept my regret, but I refuse to let it control my life. And who knows, maybe I'd get tired of dealing with dramatic creatives all day. The grass is always so damn green on the other side.

So, until the career fairy comes to town, I'll be hanging out with teenagers and counting the weeks until we actually can start a novel again (after the state testing prep and the dreaded unit on poetry).

Bottoms Up

Since I will forever associate Fridays with Happy Hour (even thought I go only once or twice a month), this post on The Curse of the Drinking Class fits today. Dorian Gray as an Appletini- without a doubt. Holden Caulfied slamming a Jager Float- for sure.

I'm still trying to decide what my drink would be, if I was a character. I'd love to say I was a Tom Collins, but my iPhone devotion prevents me from being retro enough. Same goes with a Long Island- I'm pretty sure I'm not strong enough to knock grown men to the floor after a few servings. I think I should probably drink more in order to make a more informed decision.


Raise Your Hand if You're Not Surprised

After hinting and it announcing plans, Borders officially filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy yesterday. Even without the warnings, it's not really all that surprising. I'm not an economist or accountant, thank God, but I'm not exactly a dumbass and the signs have been there for awhile. There's something about people sitting at tables reading books and empty lines that doesn't exactly say "high profit margin."

Show Me The Money
When you walk into a Borders you can expect to pay the recommended publisher's or manufacturer's price on everything from books to DVDs. to stationary. Once in awhile they'll have BOGO tables and they send out their lovely little coupons, but for Joe Schmoe who stops in looking for something particular there aren't too many bargains. Last week I wrote about a recent order I bought through Amazon- it cost me $49.98 for five books (it actually cost me nothing since I had a gift card). If I would have walked into a Borders store and bought them there it would have cost be $86.79 before tax, or about $78 with my rewards card. That is assuming they had everything I wanted, which is seldom the case.

The Mighty Amazon
Now if I had purchased the five books on Border's website it would have been comparable (about $10 more) to Amazon. But honestly, who do most people turn to when they're buying books online? Amazon is reliable, has more options, and generally has things in stock. Amazon even offers their Prime program for $75ish a year for those people who need their products within two days. And Borders' prices on DVDs, CDs, and other products is way above Amazon's.

But They're Always Busy
There's a difference between people being in a store and people buying things from the store. People are always in Borders, but they're not purchasing merchandise- they're nursing the same latte for two hours so they can read People, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. I've heard of people going in several times a week to read whole books! Why buy the cow when they let you get the milk for free?

Stupid eBooks
Kindle has dominated the eBook market (there are some competitors, now, but it's similar to the iPod and other mP3 options)- fifty points to Amazon! Borders has its own version and also sells eBooks online, but still, this isn't enough to save them.

What Does it All Mean?
In the email I received yesterday it means that Borders is going to come back bigger and better than ever... after they close 30% of their stores (about 200, including those in Mira Loma and in Modesto, since I know people from Riverside and Modesto read this). Border's stock is down 74% this year, while Amazon is up 5% and Barnes and Noble has increased 34% (interesting how they're surviving...).

Good luck, Mike Edwards- you're going to need it.

Booooo! Booooo! Boooooooo!

While I'm not a fan of the New York Times Bestseller List, I do like to check out their Sunday review, and this week I was extremely disappointed to read that they've started counting e-Book sales. I am happy for authors (although some of them suck), that their virtual sales are being recorded and recognized, making the list more accurate. Fine. Yay for them.

What I'm not thrilled with is that eReaders have garnered this sort of status. Unfortunately, I appear to be in the minority since it is estimated that the industry makes about $3 billion right now, with projections into the $8 billion range in 2014.

Those stupid little hunks of plastic that can die on you (can a book die? Can it? Can it?) aren't going away. I hope someone develops a virus for them that makes the letters turn into wingdings.

Books in the Kitchen

I have started acquiring a collection of cookbooks since moving into our place almost five (long) years ago. Here's why I love them so damn much:

1. They have beautiful, glossy pictures (and if they don't, I won't buy them).
2. They help me improve techniques.
3. They're monotony busters- I refuse to cook the same thing each week (I try not to repeat anything during a month, actually).
4. You can buy them "used" on Amazon for 1/2 the price because they don't sell well in bookstores.
5. I need steps. Cooking shows go quickly and I get distracted, so having clear cut directions right in front of me is the only way I can go.

A few of my favorites:

1. The Comfort Table by Katie Lee Joel (golddigger and a good cook)
2. How to Boil Water by The Food Network (my rice kicks ass thanks to this book)
3. The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (all the basics and then some)
4. The Good Stuff Cookbook by Spike Medhelson (I hate burgers, but his gourmet recipes are great)
5. My Binder! Sorry, you can't get this on Amazon; my sister started it for me with all of my mom's recipes that I'd call home for, and now I've added my own from magazines

This Book Kinda Sorta Maybe Made Me Run Faster

First of all, I'm off for the week and planned very little for the first part of break, so I'm almost the "the b-word" (not a bitch... rhymes with pored; I'm afraid to say it because when we were kids my mom would always give us chores when we did) so my blog has gotten a little extra attention. Next, if you hate running and have no interest in reading about it you may want to skip this one.

After a disappointing Rock and Roll Las Vegas run in December I purchased and wrote about a book called Run Less Run Faster, which outlines a strict training schedule of three running days and two cross-training sessions. The author provided plans as far as running- one speed workout, a tempo run, and a long run, while the other two days were supposed to be biking, swimming, etc...

I am happy to report that a week and a half ago at the Surf City Half (13.1 miles) I PRed by over eight minutes (about 37 seconds off each mile, which I'm still shocked about) and beat my crappy Vegas time by over ten minutes. I will absolutely give this book part of the credit. First of all, I started running with an actual purpose, instead of to just rack up the miles. I did at least one speed workout (intervals) and one long run a week (7-13 miles), and a few shorter tempo-ish runs in between. I made a significant effort to push myself, which hadn't happened in the weeks leading up to R&R Vegas.

I failed on the cross-training aspect, though. I did maybe one day a week, and that was on the elliptical, which the author advises against (it uses many of the same muscles as running, preventing muscles from getting adequate rest). I just could not get comfortable with running three days a week- it made me feel like a slacker. And running keeps me sane; I do become the b-word if I'm not doing in enough.

All in all, this book had some excellent ideas and I really think it contributed to my progress. I did get new shoes (it is possible to love inanimate objects, by the way- my awesome new Asics are like walking on clouds), saw my doctor about new allergy and asthma medicines, and adjusted my pre-race caffeine regimen, though, so I can't give this book all the credit. I'll never be a Kara Goucher, or even qualify for Boston, but I think there's still room to improve, so I'll keep using this plan. Whether you're a new runner or a seasoned veteran looking for new training suggestions, I highly recommend this text.


Back in July of last year I was recruited by the principal at the little slice of heaven where I teach to become the yearbook adviser. The conversation went something like this:

Principal: "...and I was hoping you'd be willing to advise yearbook fourth period."
Me: [doubtful laughter] "I know nothing about yearbooks."
Principal: "That's okay! You'll be awesome! You can learn!"
Me: "I guess I can try..."
Principal: "All right, thank you so much! This is so exciting!"
Me: "How many people turned this down before me?"
Principal: [laughter]

I was so thrilled to not be laid off that I took on the assignment and soon found myself at yearbook camp for three nights in scorching Palm Springs learning how to navigate the computer program we use to create our book. I learned a lot and heard repeatedly about how stressful advising was. Score.

Fast-forward seven months into the year where my staff and I have submitted well-over half of our 200 pages and will be finishing up the remainder next month. I have refused to be one of those advisers that spends hours a day working on the book, but I still have definitely developed a love/hate relationship with the program.

I hate the fact that forty juniors and seniors were dumped in my classroom, only 4 having prior experience. They're loud, try to take advantage because they're "in yearbook," and like to rearrange my rows of desks. I hate the pressure placed on me (we won't saw by who, but it's not the principal; she could care less) to increase sales and generate extra income for a certain aspect of the school. I also hate that in about a month I will have this huge group of loud, easily distracted students in my room with nothing to do for the rest of the year since the book will be done. I also dread the last week of school when people will inspect the books and point out the inevitable mistakes we've made.

But, there is a lot to love. While there are a lot of students, they're basically a nice group of kids. I have a lot of bright, creative personalities that balance out my other classes nicely. I love the fact that we've worked hard to improve the book from last year and introduce new features. I also like the fact that the students are more than willing to go get me cookies from the freshman/sophomore lunch period going on during our class. The rep from the company is also a godsend, helping with everything from our lack of printer to formatting issues. And for the most part I also love editing the book- I think working for a publishing company would have been something I would have enjoyed.

Being so involved with this high school yearbook made me go back and look at my own. It seems like so long ago (non-existent 10 year reunion this year) I was a Panther, stressing out about IB classes, laughing at inside jokes with my friends, and getting excited for prom. I love reading what people wrote to me "back then," seeing what was popular, and seeing all the overalls (for those that don't know me, I am obsessed with overalls and desperately wish they'd back in
style). I'm one of those people that actually enjoyed high school and looking at my yearbooks makes me want to help my students create a decent one for people like myself who will want to reminisce later in life.

All right, back to looking over the winter sports section.

(Class of '01)

Danielle Steel Ruins Lives

This Valentine's Day morning I was cuddled up in my bed with one of my greatest loves- a book, of course, and I got to thinking. Books can make fantastic surrogate companions when necessary. They take you to new places, make you think, distract you from problems, cheer you up, and never give you shit. While they may lack in other vital areas, books can tide my over when my significant other is tied up at work or to his xbox.

Then, while contemplating a possible post to commemorate the absolute awesomeness that is this holiday, I started thinking about the romance genre and my (limited) experiences with it. Back when I was in maybe seventh or eighth grade I discovered the Queen of Mass-Produced Romance, her Majesty Danielle Steele. My mom had several books (Steele has published over 100), and the public library a million more, so I began my phase, excited to find out what the world of love had in store for me in just a few short years.

Holy mother of God, was I wrong. I caught on to the formula pretty quickly: woman falls in love, is hurt, some sort of tragic life event occurs, falls in love again (sometimes with the same guy), emerges happier and stronger than before, and then they all live happily ever after while having tons of sex, money, and good looks. Women were wooed with extravagant gifts or emotional tributes, and the always landed on their feet eventually. Luckily interest in this genre ended rather quickly, yet the seed had been planted.

As I moved into my dating years I became a much more sarcastic, cynical, and realistic person (whew), but in the back of my mind I secretly wished that the guys I involved myself with would take a hint from Steel. Not so much.

Now as an old married lady, I have a very jaded outlook as far as romance novels go. Who reads them? Young, idealistic girls and divorced or single middle-aged women. While I'm sure there are exceptions (there always are), there seems to be an obvious psychological motivation behind choosing to read them: living vicariously. They keep hope alive for women while simultaneously setting up potential suitors for failure. What, he drives a Toyota, has thinning hair and didn't bring you two dozen red roses? I guess you better wait around for Pierre to cruise up in his Rolls (driven by his driver, of course).

Maybe a romance novel is better than nothing when you're alone, but only as long as you're realistic about the whole dating world. Frequent flowers and weekends in France are rare, ladies, and seldom last past the first few months. You cannot rely on a man to come and fix your problems or teach you how to take care of them yourself, either. Also, be careful if you are involved and for some reason choose to read one- your expectations for poor [insert guy's name here] should not skyrocket just because you read about Preston renting out the penthouse suite and covering it in rose petals just "because it was Tuesday" (Preston, Pierre, they all sound like romance novel names to me).

And buyer beware- most romance novels are not quality pieces of fiction (if readers of such books care). I would put money on Danielle Steel farming out the several novels a year baring her name to ghostwriters who can easily follow the formula (she did write one book outside the genre, though, about her son who was bipolar and committed suicide, a topic that I can safely say she covered well).

Just be careful out there; that Danielle Steel is a sneaky lady that has managed to corrupt thousands and thousands of poor readers. Now back to feeling all fuzzy with your flowers and candy.

Books Gone Bad

What do you do when you come to the disappointing conclusion that the book you're reading is not up to par? As a reader this question comes up constantly in conversations and reviews, since not clicking with your current choice is bound to happen eventually ("I'm sorry Faulkner, sweetie, it's me, not you"). I understand both camps- those that stick with it, and those that feel like life is too short. Personally, since college, I make myself finish what I start, even if the book is bad. I guess it's a form of intentional punishment, since I figure as someone with a degree in English, and who spends so much time on book-related activities, I should be able to pick out quality literature. For example, several years ago I started Paint it Black by Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander, which I enjoyed. Paint it Black was absolutely terrible, but I made myself finish. I now joke that I'm going to start buying it for Christmas presents for people I hate.

As someone who would love to write a book someday (in all that free time I anticipate having during the next twenty years), I think reading a bad book can be an educational experience. What make a book bad? The pacing? Storyline? Characters? The writing style? It was just like my student teaching experience in college- seeing bad teachers teach can be just as helpful as seeing good teachers in action.

That being said, there have been two books that I can remember quitting. First was Gregory Maguire's Confession of an Ugly Stepsister back in 1999 when it first came out (I was a sophomore or a junior in high school). It sounded like a great premise- redo fairy tales in a more adult way. Yeah, not so much (in related news, I think this would actually be a great concept for an adult film company to take on- Sleeping Booty, anyone?)

The second was The Erasers by Alain Robbe-Grillet, for Detective Fiction at UCLA. This may truly be my fault- I hated the class, was working a lot, and trying to figure out how to dump my boyfriend (that would be funny/awkward if he reads this- if so, heyyyyyy there, hope you're well), therefore reading the book the week before finals was just not going to happen. My now husband tried to feed me the key points in case they were on the final, and I tried skimming it the night before, but it was pointless. I kind of feel like I should reread it not. Dammit.

There have also been two books that I've taken a break from, but not because they're bad, just extremely long and I've attempted to read them at busy times. The first is Underworld by Don DeLillo and the second is Che Guevara's biography (I think he's my historical figure crush, in case you were curious). Both extremely fascinating and I will absolutely finish them by 2012- scout's honor.

No matter what, I think books, and their authors, deserve a chance. Readers should hold on through the first 30-50 pages and then decide. Sometimes it can take a little bit of time to get into a book- not necessarily a good sign, but plenty of good books start off slow. I think it's important to consider yourself too- are you just too busy? Taking long breaks? Do you quit books often and maybe need to branch out? Then you have to either commit or kick it to the curb (or give it to someone you hate).

Read at your own risk.

Oops I Did It Again

Okay, I'm guessing buying books from Amazon was not what Britney had in mind when she sang those lyrics, but at least her mistake didn't take up non-existent bookshelf room. In my defense, I had a gift card and waited almost a whole month after receiving it to cash it in. This is true progress on my behalf.

The Results of My Sins:

1. It's a Book by Lane Smith: I actually have/had (it may have disappeared) the video on the side of the blog. What I love, though, is at the end of the book the little mouse says, "It's a book, jackass." You don't get that kind of horrific, shocking profanity in the video.

2. Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas: This book is pretty: oddly shaped, gold on the cover, and the page sides are black. I also bought it because it's supposed to be a pretty damn good book about a writer struggling to write a novel and with all those normal life questions we always ask ourselves.

3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese: I was kind of pis
sed when I saw that Martha Stewart said she was reading this or recommending it after I clicked the purchase button. But then I told myself, "Relax, just because Martha is a daytime television person doesn't mean she's a stupid bitch like Oprah." Anyway, what really interested me in this one was the role medicine plays in this Indian novel (I was supposed to be a doctor... dammit).

4. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (no connection to past movies): This was one of Amazon's best on January recommendations, and while I am very weary of their lists, the "best of the month" series tends to lean towards the literary side, rather than which
publisher paid them the most to get mentioned. This story is about adult sisters who move back home and must deal with their father and themselves (their father primarily speaks in Shakespearean verses, which should be interesting since everyone knows how I feel about Will). Pus, I love the tagline, "See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much." Good God can I relate sometimes!

5. The Lost Art of Reading by David Ulin: I won't waste your time talking about this, since it's pretty much a long essay on why reading is important.
I'll probably be giving a full report when I'm done. I'm sure you'll check back everyday in eager anticipation.

FYI- don't expect a review on any of these for a real
ly long time.

90-Second Newbery Film Festival

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away I was an elementary teacher (and by "far, far" I mean up until June of last year), so when I saw a posting on the A.V Club's website about the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival I couldn't help but to be intrigued. Author James Kennedy, in conjunction with the New York Public Library, has created a contest encouraging people to create 90-second reenactments of Newbery award winners using mostly kids. If I were still teaching fourth or fifth grade this would be something that I would definitely consider doing, as it is a fun, challenging way to get kids involved in quality literature.

The contest was just announced in January, so they're still getting the whole project up and running. I'm excited to see the entries as they come in, and of course the winner when it is announced next fall (the films will premier at the festival in New York). For now, though, here's an example done by Kennedy and his crew of kids of A Wrinkle In Time (can be found on Kennedy's site or youtube):

Are You What You Read?

I really wanted to title this post "You Are What You Read," but am making an effort to be a more understanding, open-minded, non-judgmental book blogger. Okay, not really, but I know my definition of shit may not be yours, so I'm trying just a little. There was an interesting article in the New York Times "Sunday Book Review" last week entitled "The Perils of Literary Profiling," discussing the idea of being judged by the books on your shelf. It leaned heavily towards a discussion of the reading habits of criminals, but it does present an interesting question- what do your books say about you?

Some people take note of the cars people drive, the brands they wear, or the cocktails they order- I pay attention to what they are reading (oh, and all these fucking Kindles are making it much harder to do so). A few weekends ago I asked a parking attendant what I had interrupted her from when I paid (A Thousand Splendid Suns, i
n case you were wondering). I then proceeded to make inferences about the person, and how they perceive the act of reading. I do this all the time, with people I see reading in waiting rooms, in airports, at the spa. Are they reading for pure fun? To learn? To challenge themselves? As the article mentions, is it to "understand the enemy?"

Of course I spent some time thinking about how I would be profiled based on my catalog. Someone who likes new authors, some strong classics, dark humor, intellectual fiction, running, sarcastic Brits, and the Man Booker Prize. Someone who stays away from science fiction, plays, poetry, self-help, and mass market paper backs. Also, someone who likes to stay organized, since I definitely have a system.

Time after time, though, I have to remind my self to not be too judgmental. Perhaps the person curled up with the New York Times Crapseller of the Month listens to Mozart, tunes in to NPR, and writes letters to oil companies about their environmental policies. Or, maybe they're obsessed with horrible CBS comedies, laugh hysterically when they see someone get hit in the balls during a movie, and think that global warming is a myth. You just can't know, and while I'd like to say I don't make assumptions, I can't. I don't use it as a way do judge if a person is good, bad, smart or dumb, though. And, rest assured, I don't care if your necklace is Tiffany's or Target, your area code is 909 or 714, or your prefer a Corona to Courvoisier.
Just once in a while slip in something that makes you think.