Books On My Shelves

This is a meme of books I find at my bookstore. They may be ones that I haven't heard of before but look interesting to me or just any book that stands out. Last weekend, my husband had put aside a number of books that have outdated and otherwise odd covers and titles. I thought some of them were quite telling of the time they were published. I'm sure there's a name for these types of paperbacks. Maybe pulp fiction?

Pictured here are two Erle Stanley Gardner books. The first is called The Case of the Backward Mule and is subtitled 'Killer or not - she had it coming!' The cover depicts a well-dressed man hitting an equally well-dressed woman. It was published in 1946 and then were a few re-printings. I guess this cover and topic was perfectly acceptable as entertainment in 1946? The second book is The Case of the Negligent Nymph (which is a Perry Mason Mystery) and the cover shows a woman, who I suppose would be the nymph in question, hanging off the end of a canoe. I would imagine how and why she got there would be the question a reader would find out the answer to if they read the book. The third book in the photo, Woman in the Window by Jack Moore (publication date 1965), shows a scantily clad woman enticing a man who is poking his head out between window bars in the impossibly close building next door to hers. So it looks like he's in a jail cell. Right. The fourth book is titled Modern Casanova's Handbook and is written by H. T. Elmo. I don't find the author's name all that sexy, do you? This book is supposed to be a humorous look at men's attempts to get the woman of their dreams into bed. Some of the chapters in the book are:

How to be Sexcessful!
Tales of a Gay Lothario!
What's Your Boudoir Problem?
Advice to the Love Worn!

In truth, the book is comprised of a list of quotes, jokes and advice. It was published in 1955.

Are books like this still published (well, in an updated format)? Maybe, maybe not. I imagine it depends on whether there's a market for them. Perhaps, though, I wouldn't recognize them in their present form.

My New Kobo!

I gave myself a present recently - a new Kobo eReader. It's sleek, small and, most importantly, affordable. At $150, this is the most inexpensive ereader currently on the market. But at $150, it has limitations (generally speaking, you get what you pay for). I might have preferred a Sony, I think, only because one can turn pages with that device by touch. With the Kobo you have to press a button. A five-way button so one needs to be careful that one doesn't press it in the wrong direction (well, not that big of a deal, you just have to press to go back). So, it's not as fancy as the others out there, actually kind of primitive really, and I'm guessing that in five or so years, these particular Kobos won't be manufactured anymore. But, for the time being it serves to stave off my craving for an iPad! Other features it has:It will tell you what page you are on in a chapter, but not what page you are on in the book;
  • It will save your page;
  • It has currently reading books in a 'subfolder';
  • It will hold up to 1000 books;
  • You can buy a memory chip to hold more books;
  • It comes with two fonts;
  • You can change font-size;
  • Comes loaded with 100 classics (well they're free via anyway, but at least I don't have to do the work of loading them).
Except for the first bullet (I like to know what page I'm on), these are some of the features I like about it. Mind you most other readers have these in their basic models as well. What I still need to get used to is the sense of not being able to easily flip through the book I'm reading. I just don't get the sense of where I am in a story as I do in a paper book. But perhaps the 'flipping' is easier to do with a Sony or other touch eReader.

Do you have an e-reader? If not, are you considering getting one? If you do have one, how do you like it?

Waiting on Wednesday:

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week I've come across a book that looks especially intriguing and it's by an author I've never read. One Flight Up is written by Susan Fales-Hill and will be released next month by Simon and Shuster. From the author's website, the description of this book reads:

After years of searching for and finally landing that one perfect man, four Manhattan friends find themselves simultaneously questioning their romantic choices. Smart, strong, but jaded divorce lawyer India Chumley leads this pack of feisty thirty-somethings, all friends since grade school at Sibley Academy, an Upper East Side institution for sophisticated ladies-in-training.

There’s Abby Rosenfeld Adams, a Jewish gallery owner married to her Wasp college sweetheart, Monique Dawkins-Dubois, gynecologist and card carrying member of Harlem’s thriving Buppie-ocracy, and Esme Santiago Talbot, a Columbian heiress married to the All-American boy next door. When India, the most straight-laced of them all, learns that her friends are considering straying from their partners, she is dismayed. That is, until India’s ex-fiance, the love of her life, the destroyer of her heart, and the best sex ever, comes back into her life – and she finds herself caught between the dependable man she thought was her future and the man she never quite let go of.

I like novels about friendships between women so I shall be on the look-out for this one.

Tuesday Teasers

Tuesday Teasers is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page. Share two sentences somewhere between lines 7 and 12 and the title of the book that you’re getting the teaser from. Please avoid spoilers! Read the official Tuesday Teaser Rules.

I'm currently reading a middle grade/YA novel called The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. It's a cute, easy read with just the right amount of quirkiness to appeal to adults and kids alike. From page 236:

Mr. Curtain's Chair had been rolling closer, slowly, almost imperceptibly, so that now their faces were very near to each other. "It is a strange coincidence, is it not, that two such gifted children should be admitted to the Institute at the very same time, and that they should be such close friends?"

I borrowed this book from my daughter - I was drawn in by the cover. The author has an interesting and interactive website promoting this charming series (did not know it was a series until I visited the site) and I will definitely check out the other books.

Mailbox Monday

This meme is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page and Kristi at The Story Siren.

I didn't receive any books last week. But I did get two while I was away in New York. They are:

Annexed by Sharon Dogar. From the publisher's website:

Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex - but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?

In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter''s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you''re being written about in Anne''s diary, day after day? What''s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.

As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?

Anne''s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter''s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz - and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex''s occupants.

The second book I received is Buddha's Orphans by Samrat Upadhyay. The publisher's description:

Samrat Upadhyay has been called "a Buddhist Chekhov" by the San Francisco Chronicle. His writing has been praised by Amitav Ghosh and Suketu Mehta, and compared with the work of Akhil Sharma and Jhumpa Lahiri, placing him squarely alongside our best-known South Asian writers and at the forefront of literary fiction writers today.

Upadhyay''s new novel, Buddha''s Orphans, uses Nepal''s political upheavals of the past century as a backdrop to the story of an orphan boy, Raja, and the girl he is fated to love, Nilu, a daughter of privilege. Coveted by more than one woman, Raja is found and raised by a street vendor, kidnapped by an affluent housewife, and then found again by Nilu. Their love story scandalizes both families and takes readers through time and across the globe, through the loss of and search for children, and through several generations of this complicated family, hinting that perhaps old bends can, in fact, be righted in future branches of a family tree.

Buddha''s Orphans is a novel permeated with the sense of how we are irreparably connected to the mothers who birthed us-whether we know them or not, whether we embrace them or not-and of the way events of the past, even those we are ignorant of, inevitably haunt the present. But most of all it is an engrossing, unconventional love story that defies the stereotypes of a traditional South Asian culture, all in a seductive and transporting read.

Both books came to me from Houghton Mifflin Hoarcourt. Thank you! I've already read a few pages of both books. Annexed is written in a diary format, which, the subject matter notwithstanding, I find easy and quick to read. Buddha's Orphans (again from the few pages I've read) is well-written and belying its title, has some humour and is culturally rich. I'm looking forward to reading both these books!

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

There was something about this cover that caught my eye. Maybe it's the idea of a beach vacation, maybe the image of women with their hands raised as if they are carefree. The description from the author's website of Beach Trip by Cathy Holton reads:

A reunion between four friends becomes a cathartic journey into the past in Cathy Holton’s luminous new novel. Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola have traveled distinct and diverse paths since the early 1980s and their years together at a small Southern liberal arts college. Mel, a mystery writer living in New York, contends with the aftermath of two failed marriages and a stalled writing career. Sara, an Atlanta attorney, struggles with guilt over her son’s illness and her own slowly unraveling marriage. Annie, a successful Nashville businesswoman married to her childhood sweetheart, can’t seem to leave the regrets of her youth behind her. And Lola, sweet-tempered and absent-minded, whiles away her hours and her husband’s money, on little pills that keep her happy.

Now the friends, all in their forties, converge on Lola’s idyllic North Carolina beach house in an attempt to relive the carefree days of their college years. But as the week wears on, and each woman’s hidden story is gradually revealed, they find they must inevitably confront their shared past; a failed love affair, a discarded suitor, a betrayal, and a secret that threatens to change their bond, and their lives, forever.

Published by Random House, this book is coming out in trade paperback on June 22, 2010.

Tuesday Teasers

Tuesday Teasers is hosted by Should Be Reading. The rules are as follows:

Grab your current read and let the book fall open to a random page. Share two sentences somewhere between lines 7 and 12 and the title of the book that you’re getting the teaser from. Please avoid spoilers! Read the official Tuesday Teaser Rules.

My teaser this week is from The Comedy Thesaurus, subtitled, '3,241 Quips, Quotes, and Smartass Remarks' by Judy Brown. This thick book is comprised of quotes from various comedians and entertainers. I love perusing these sorts of books at bedtime when I'm too tired to read a novel but not quite tired enough to sleep. It's my 'in-between' book.

The Comedy Thesaurus is arranged alphabetically by subject. I'm going to break the rules and post a few quotes.

From page 64:

Poets have said that the reason to have children is to give yourself immortality. Immortality? Now that I have five children, my only hope is that they are all out of the house before I die.
- Bill Cosby

Page 116:

Signs on the freeway are funny. "Orange Cones Mean Men at Work." What else could orange cones mean? Psychedelic witches embedded in asphalt?
- Karen Babbitt

Page 162:

There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.
- Steven Wright

Page 254:

The problem with marriage is that it involves men and women. And that's a pretty bad match.
- Cathy Ladman

Page 234:

A recent marketing poll shows that 32 percent of all diamonds are purchased right before Christmas. And 50 percent are purchased right after the test strip turns pink.
- Conan O'Brien

BEA 2010 Highlights

Thank you to my husband, Pierre, for blogging for me during BEA week. He enjoyed reading the comments on his posts (Pierre says thanks, Staci!). And I enjoyed the increased traffic that his rantings generated! ;=)

Pierre relaxing in the hotel room after his scary BEA experience.

Some highlights from my BEA 2010 experience are:

  • Taking the train there and back with my blogger friends: Tina, Cindy, Linda and Avis. They turned what would have been a tedious experience into a fun one!
  • Great discussions with publicists
  • Opportunity to see some of my favourite authors (low point is not getting to see same!
  • Discovering new authors
  • Meeting new bloggers and re-connecting with old ones (not 'old' old, but experienced)
  • Being surrounded by book people in general
  • The books!!!

The autograph tables were crazily crowded!

Penguin's summer releases.

In short it was wonderful. I only went for one day but it was a great one. This was my second time at BEA and I found it somewhat different from last year's experience, but nevertheless (was anyone else waylaid by the people selling shoe insoles?) excited and happy to be there. People were, by and large, friendly and helpful. The publicists were also great and it was somehow very satisfying to put a face to a name.

There was so much to see and do at BEA that it was not possible to be experience everything also considering I only attended the convention on Wednesday. I was also enjoying being a tourist for the week. Pierre loves the Metropolitan Museum of Art and we went there during our stay. Our hotel was great - we stayed at the Marriott Marquis and those elevators take some getting used to. I will post more photos during the coming week. I sure hope everyone who went to BEA had a fantastic time too and for those of you who didn't go (hey, there are other things in life during May besides BEA), not to worry, I'll be back to regular programming next week!

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