Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Women's Fiction winners

I've recently read a couple of amazing books I thought I'd share:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This book took some serious balls (and talent) to pull off. A white woman writing in 1st person from the POV of two different Southern black maids in 1963? I doubt I'd have the guts to attempt it. There is such potential for things to go so, so wrong. Luckily for us, the author is not only brave enough, but skilled as all hell, because I can't remember feeling such adoration for a character in a long time. The way she captured each of the three voices (2 maids and a well-to-do white woman who takes an interest in their stories) was just...well, I'm not one to gush, but they felt so real. The novel the theme of racism head-on without ever once falling into the same old tropes. 

Real Life and Liars by Kristina Riggle
Okay, so here's another book with several different POVs interweaving into one cohesive story. The Zielinski family has some problems understanding one another, which is all too apparent when they get together. I loved pot-smoking hippie matriarch Mira right away--her attitude just appealed to me. So much so that at times I forgot she was dying of cancer. Each of her three children have their own issues, but I rooted for all of them to get it together. They felt, at all times, like a real family. Aside from the characters, her prose is lovely and full of little insights. It drew me in right away. 

Both of these books are well worth your time. And you know I'd never steer you wrong.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Links aplenty

Since I have nothing interesting to say today, I thought I'd let you know about some of my favorite new-to-me blogs:

The Worst Review Ever--This one is Oh My God funny. Authors (or any other kind of artist) submit the worst review they ever received, professional or otherwise, then answer questions about how they felt after reading it. Hilarity ensues. 

The Intern--A clever (and entertaining!) intern helps us press our noses against the glass of a NYC publishing house for a peek inside. 

Pimp My Novel--What happens after you get your book deal? I wish I could tell you personally, but for now, you will have to visit this blog. It's stuffed full of info writers need to know, so read it!

Edittorent--Two editors give writing tips and industry news. 


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Let's do the time warp again!

Many of you already know that I spend a lot of time with my parents in the summer months. As in, we live in the same house. One big (mostly) happy family. It's been great, I have to say, but it's not without its challenges. 

My mom is pretty much a walking stereotype of a nurturing, midwestern mother. Her mission is to take care of things -- people, animals, bugs struggling in the pool -- and she does it well. I enjoy hanging out with my daughters, but all the tasks that accompany it, like cooking and cleaning, are decidedly NOT a perk, in my view. My mom on the other hand...well, if you'd like your laundry done, just swing on by. 

Most of all, my mom loves to feed people. Finding new and exciting dishes are an all-day quest, and her cookbook collection rivals the entire New York Public Library. Just now, she's stepped into a time warp and is on a 1960s retro food kick. It's a, yeah, different.


The main problem with these cocktail sausages (aside from the whole ground up pig lips and entrails business, which I choose to ignore) is that my mother insists on calling them "weiners." What are we having tonight? Little weiners! Mmmm, weiners. Weiners are good. Would you like some more weiners? Yeah, no. That doesn't sound appetizing. If that makes me juvenile, so be it. 

We get things in varying shades of this:

Casserole! Who doesn't love it?

We've also been served up lots and lots of jellied foods. Sweet, savory--makes no difference. Just put it in a mold and refrigerate to make it "fancy." Behold, the wiggle! 

I likely come off as a total ungrateful brat in this post. That is not my intention. I adore my parents. I do. 

But tonight, I'm cooking.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We made it back alive

Honestly, there was some concern. I don't love flying, to say the least, and this was my first time traveling alone with my lovely children. Of course, I had to pick a 6-hour plane ride, followed by a 2 hour layover, then a quick  30 minute flight, then a rental car pickup. But no fear! It all turned out fine. And no alcohol abuse or sedatives involved! Hooray!

After we got my older daughter off to marine biology camp, I had a whole week to hang out with my 7-year-old. And no one else. At all. Luckily, she's a pretty cool kid and we have similar personalities (except she's more chatty. MUCH more chatty.) This kid was ready for some serious mother-daughter bonding, and she couldn't wait to get rid of her older sister for a few days. 

We did a lot of this:

And this:

And some of this:
Note the shopping bags from our day in Carmel-by-the-Sea. She's still a little peeved that I wouldn't buy her a black, ruffly evening dress ( Why do they even make black evening dresses in kiddie sizes?) but she'll get over it.

Oh yeah, we also did 17-mile drive, the aquarium, whale watching, all that stuff. 

Older daughter came back happy, tired, and smelling weird. (What is that smell? From the bay? I can't get it out of her clothes!)

Whew. Now I need a vacation.

So, how was your week?

Friday, July 3, 2009

I'm AWOL this week

I'm off to take daughter #1 to sleepaway camp in California next week and spend several days hanging out in Monterey with daughter #2. Smaller One is keen to have me all to herself 24/7. "Oh yay, we can be together all day and even sleep in the same bed!" I was kinda hoping to get some writing done, but somehow that's doubtful. Oh well.

I'll miss you! Mwah!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nice Interview!

Huge congrats to my friend Justin Fox who rocked it on the Daily Show last night! He's a smart guy and all, but the most important part of his interview is that I can claim to know my TV boyfriend Jon Stewart through ONE degree of separation. 

If you are a finance geek, or have a finance geek in your life (like I do), check out his book.