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Can’t win them all

24 Apr

Sometimes you hit the bull’s eye. Sometimes you miss it by a few inches. That’s pretty much where my last book selection landed.

Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail
Caitlin Kelly
240 pages

I thoroughly enjoy biographies. I love to get inside a person’s head and hear their life, their observations, the nuances, the challenges in their voice. I have to say, though, that this time I was anxious to finish this book and get the author our of my head.

I heard part of author Caitlin Kelly’s NPR interview last week and was intrigued by the idea of the book: displaced professional take a retail job to help make ends meet. As the economy continues to try and recover, the media has covered individuals who have been forced to select other professions and lower-paying jobs after losing their jobs.

Kelly is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other big names. The unfortunate part is that by the time I finished this book, I bet I had been reminded of this fact no fewer than a dozen times. In juxtaposing her part-time retail job at a Northface store, she repeatedly and at excess reminded the reader of what her former life had looked like. While some of her observations of her one-day-a-week second job were pithy, the constant reminders of her former life, combined with other repetitive points and details, led me to wonder if at some point she hadn’t run out of things to talk about but had a page count she was required to reach…because she kept having the same conversation with me.

There are a number of legitimate and insightful points made in this book — our lack of respect for those who ring us up when we’ve bought the latest fashions, our weekly groceries and wait on us when we’re out for a meal, as well as much of corporate America’s lack of focus on treating workers with respect and dignity. Unfortunately, these points were nearly lost on me when the author’s voice and tone were more intrusive than educational.


It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a hardback book parking garage

6 Apr

What book lover and library patron wouldn’t want to park next to Romeo and Juliet, Gandalf and Frodo or the Invisible Man? At Kansas City Public Library, they’ve taken books to a whole new level with this parking garage, Community Bookshelf.

I found this shot from Kansas City photographer, Jonathon Moreau:

Patterns of a random odyssey

5 Apr

Raise your hand if this has happened to you…you’re visiting a website, something catches your eye – a headline, a photo – so you click through. Next time you look up, 15 minutes has passed and you’re 10 websites in…barely remembering where you started.

I had one of those this afternoon. One of my new Facebook friends – who happens to be an art director – posted a link to a site called Pinterest.  It’s a visually enchanted site that imaginatively describes itself as “a place to catalog the things you love.” I can’t even begin to explain how fun the homepage alone is…you’ll need to just check it out for yourself. In a matter of moments, I’ve become completely obsessed with this site. I signed up to receive an invitation…and hope it comes soon, as this site is still in the beta testing phase.

Anyway, this image – of a beautiful book, Pattern by Orla Kiely – stopped me in my tracks. And since another obsession of mine is patterns that speak to me, I, of course, clicked through. The image took me to Print & Pattern, a blog that “celebrates the world of surface pattern design.” It includes photos of a number of the book’s pages.

So a number of great things came from today’s random online odyssey, Pininterest, a new book and Print & Pattern. Seems like it wasn’t such a waste of 15 minutes after all.

100 down, 0 to go

20 Oct

I’ve made an executive decision…as part of my personal reward, I’m letting myself off the hook and freeing myself from logging a blog post for each of my last 14 books, and I refuse to feel guilty about it.

Here’s a list of my last 14 books, which means I completed the quest I set forth exactly one year ago!

87. Best Sex Writing 2010 (short story)
88. Civil Disobedience (classic)
89. Speaker for the Dead (science fiction)
90. A Scattered Life (recommendation)
91. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (recommendation)
92. The Member of the Wedding (classic)
93. The Good Good Pig (recommendation)
94. Revenant (recommendation)
95. Botchan (classic)
96. I Feel Sad About My Neck (recommendation)
97. Fahrenheit 451 (classic)
98. Xenocide (recommendation)
99. The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verse (poetry)
100. Owly: Splashin’ Around (graphic novel)

365 days = book challenge success

20 Oct

With just two hours and thirty minutes to go, the book challenge has been completed!

Reading away

23 Sep

Only 27 days until I turn into a pumpkin…that is if I don’t complete nine more books. So in these last days of my oh-so-noble quest, I’m focusing on flipping pages (or more accurately in my case, flipping the screen) rather than blogging about each of my feats. Wish me luck in these final days.

Keeping score

21 Dec

So as not to lose track of the progress I’m making against the 100 book total, I’m updating the genre list for how many in each category I’ve completed.

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