Julia's Bookshelf

I am a reader. I love books. I want to share this love.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Friday, November 16, 2007

New Address

I have moved this site. Please bookmark: juliasbookshelf.com. See you over there!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Been A While

For those sweet few readers who have checked in and seen that I have not update in almost a month, thanks for your loyalty and patience! It's been a challenging month as my sister started chemotherapy and I have been up to No. Cal to help out with the first treatment. I'll go up again next week for her second treatment. She's doing very well, so far the side effects have been fairly mild. Her hair has started to fall out just this week so hats will be the new Fall hairdo. She's positive and upbeat and doing well. I'm doing pretty well also, still get overwhelmed by the seriousness of cancer, but having been to the first chemo treatment, I feel better. There are not so many unknowns in the whole process now and for control freaks like me, that is good. I bought a book for my sister called Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr. Ms. Carr has a website about the film she made of the same name: CRAZY SEXY CANCER. I have found many helpful tips and info in this book. I also sent her the Livestrong notebook: to keep all the info in one place. The website for the Lance Armstrong Foundation has tons of helpful information and support for anyone with cancer or anyone who knows people with cancer. I hope you never need to go there. With the traveling to my sister's and also we are having work done on the house so the place is a shambles, I haven't been reading much long form material. Mostly I've been reading magazines. I did finish one book called The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. It is a fascinating read about what would happen to all things manmade if we were to disappear tomorrow. He describes how long the subways in NYC would last, how long houses, buildings and cities would last. Amazingly, it wouldn't take long for nature to take back what we've done. Except for the plastic. Oh the plastic! This book made me really see how much plastic is EVERYWHERE in our lives and how none of it will ever go away. Well, ever is a long time, but really, plastic will be here a long long long long time. I'm making small changes to reduce plastic in our lives, and it's a challenge. But as Gandhi said, "whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Yorker Cover

This is the October 1, 2007 cover of The New Yorker by Philippe Petit-Roulet: I love it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More Catching Up

I realize that I start books, write about them halfway through, but never finish discussing them. The Gordon Ramsay book -- I enjoyed it very much. He clearly wrote it because it is his voice. It's pulp non-fiction and interesting to continue to learn more about how top chefs live and work. Brutal! I don't want to be one. Still working my way through the 9/11 report. It's a page turner, but daunting as there is so much information to process. The New Yorker is great for short bursts of reading. I read the "Food" issue while I was in DC. Great stories and memories. Rereading High Fidelity was fun. Like a palate clenaser. I have not reread Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet. I've been too busy and distracted to open it up again. But I will.

Catching Up!

I'm reading a bunch of things at once. Wait, it's been a long long time since I've written about what I'm reading. Things have been happening out here in the real world that have been quite intense and distracting. My sister has cancer and that came about quite quickly and shockingly. So I've been traveling to see her plus traveling for work. I am on my way back from Washington DC as I write this after two weeks on a movie shoot. Okay, but I have been reading. Hang on...I decided that since to load all the books I have sitting on my actual shelves at home into Shelfari would be too much work, I'm adding to Shelfari every time I buy a new book (be it a gift or something for me to read). So that's my shelfari plan. I like it and I like the little widget that goes with it. You can see what I've purchased lately and have been reading lately. Okay okay, back to the reading. I'm in the middle of Revolutionary Characters which was recommended by a friend who lives and works near/in Washington DC. My love of history, specifically American History, makes this an easy one to plow through. My recent flirtation with John Adams also helps a lot. What that means is, I almost was the VFX Producer on John Adams mini-series in 2005, but HBO put the show on hold for a year and so I had to move on. But I enjoyed learning about one of the most ardent revolutionaries and our second president through that project and it inspired me to read more about these men who changed the world. While in DC I went to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Seeing the documents, the actual, for real, signed by John Adams himself (et al) blew my mind. People risked their lives to write up these ideas an ideals and here were the very documents, right in front of me. It brought a tear to my eye. I'm not ashamed to say I'm a sentimental softie and quite an American patriot, in the truest sense of the word. Have you read the Constitution lately? Read it. It's not long. It's very straightforward and clear. These days, you want to pay particular attention to Article I, Section 9. Also, listen to This American Life's Peabody Award winning show "Habeas Schmabeas". And I highly recommend reading Revolutionary Characters because it gives you an insight into these men. Not gods or icons as we learned them in elementary and high school, but flawed, brilliant, multi-faceted, men. The other book I'm in the middle of is The World Without Us. The hook is, all humans are gone from the earth tomorrow (all of us, just gone) -- how long would nature take to reclaim what she had before we came along? The answer, in some cases, might astound you. The subways in NYC would be flooded within just a few days without anyone there to control the pumps. The book is more than that, the author talks about what us humans have put into nature and how hard some of it will be to get rid of. Plastics, for example. Personally, this is the first time I've really understood what plastic is and how it will be in and on the earth forever. I have been doing a good job of using my personal grocery bags every time I go shopping and therefore no longer get plastic or even paper bags. Sometimes I forget, but even then, if I can carry what I've bought without a bag, I'll not take a bag. Small changes, yes, but changes. Plastic isn't going away for a long long long time. And I mean thousands upon thousands of years. This book really opened my eyes. The World Without Us is entertaining and eye opening.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Finished One, Started Another

I finished Gordon Ramsay's book, Roasting In Hell's Kitchen, and it was entertaining. Pulp Non-Fiction. I appreciated that this book was very clearly written by Mr. Ramsay and Mr. Ramsay alone--that was his voice on the page. With his pursuit of perfection and control freak nature, his tv persona makes so much more sense. He has a passion to make great food and his number one reason to do so is for the customer, not for himself. He's fascinating and unbelievably successful and inspires great loyalty from his staff. More power to him. While I was finishing that book, I started reading The 9/11 Commission Report And it is F A S C I N A T I N G! A complete page turner. Gripping. Riveting. For a government report, it is well written and clear. I'm only on about page 40 and it starts with what happened on each flight, transcripts, technical aspects, etc. Then it moves on to the FAA and the Military and what was "supposed" to happen in the event of a hijacking. But this situation was so insane, so above and beyond just about everyone's imagine at that point, that things got very confusing. And you can't really blame anyone on the ground for doing or not doing something exactly right. So far, I can highly recommend you buy this (available at any bookstore for about $10) and give it a read. Do you think 9/11 was a giant government conspiracy? This site made me laugh -- just at the title! There is no 9/11 conspiracy you morons. There is also this article: Debunking The 9/11 Myths. Odd moment for us six years ago: Sunday, September 9, 2001, Kurt and I flew home from Boston/Logan Airport on United Airlines Flight 175. Two days later, in the comfort and safety of our living room, we watched, along with the rest of the world and my mom who was visiting just then, as the day's events unfolded. When we heard what flights they were, we looked at our ticket stubs, still sitting on a table and shook our heads about that same flight. Strange strange day.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New Books

I decided I like Shelfari better. Better graphics and I'm all about the visual. I also decided it that if I'm going to use it, that it makes sense to add to it from books I buy from now on. So what have I bought lately? Two books, one practical, one just for fun, both about food. First is Gordon Ramsay's memoir. I have to admit I'm a fan of Hell's Kitchen and also his BBC show Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. He's loud and rude and swears a lot, but down deep there is a guy who wants the people he works with to do the very best they can and never give up. Not condoning this as a way to run things, but it certainly makes for good television. I mean, you know the guy has a big heart, offering to pay for Julia (different Julia) to go to culinary school! This looked great and I already made one recipe out of it. I used to get the magazine but since they come with so many great recipes, I had to stop it because we just weren't getting to them all. And this cookbook is just like the magazine -- great recipes, easy, fast, delicous. And it has a picture for each recipe and I like that. (I'm just like Jen this way) I'm still in the middle of my New Yorker, so I haven't started the Gordon Ramsay yet, but soon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Internet Thingys

I have been emailed twice now about Library Thing and went and tried it. Even added a nice widget to both my blogs. I had started on Shelfari a while back but hadn't updated in months. (And put one of their widgets on this site as well. I think the Shelfari ones are cooler...) I guess the idea is interesting in an Online Social Networking Group sort of way. It's not so thrilling overall, and quite frankly, too much work! I think I'd rather just blog about them darn books. This site is my library site. I'll probably play around with them some more...I'm not an early adopter...

New Yorker

My new New Yorker subscription arrived today with the August 6 issue. I'm very pleased to have it again. It's been about six or seven years since I last took it. They can pile up, as they come weekly and sometimes issues are chock full of "just the thing I want to read." Sometimes it's a quick flipping of the pages, read a review or two and all the cartoons.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Moving On From Harry (For Now)

I read the HP and now I'm resting before re-reading it. So in the mean time, I'm re-reading High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. I was in a book club ten years ago and this was the second or third book we read. Niel suggested it and I really enjoyed it. I was not sure what the hell anyone was thinking making a movie with it all being in Chicago instead of London, but then, I saw the movie and was pleased. Jack Black such a great surprise. (I didn't really know who Tenacious D was at the time.) (Alert: music starts blasting when you click through to the site.) And John Cusack did the character justice. We own that DVD and watch it occasionally. Great soundtrack too, as you must imagine. Oh that book club! I miss it. It was Debra, Niel, Sophia, Lawrence and me. Occasionally others would pop in and out, but that was our core group. I was in the middle of the hardest job of my life and while working six days a week and too many hours, needed something that had nothing to do with work at all. And so we made a book club--Thanks again Debra! Reading the books and going to our monthly meetings was like hiking up a hot dry trail and then reaching the cool blue pond fed by a small waterfall and diving in. Refreshing to my mind body and spirit! The group trailed off after a while and I didn't need it so much anymore, but wowee, I'm so glad I had it. That book club saved my soul.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Reviews

I have been reading online reviews of the book and while most don't get that specific, they are fun to read. No one I know has read the book yet so I have no one to talk to about it! The review from Lev Grossman at TIME.com ends with this paragraph: The sadness is more an instant nostalgia for the unironic, whole-hearted unanimity with which readers embraced the story of Harry. We did something very rare for Harry Potter: we lost our cool. There is nothing particularly hip about loving Harry. He's not sexy or dangerous the way, say, Tony Soprano was. He's not an anti-hero, he's just a hero, but we fell for him anyway. It's a small sacrifice to the one that Harry makes, of course, but it's what we, as self-conscious, status-conscious modern readers, have to give, and we gave it. We did and do love Harry. We couldn't help ourselves. And I wholeheartedly agree with it and appreciate that he called us all out. I LOVE these books and these characters and will read them again and again.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Finished It!

I'm not a speed reader, but I am a fast reader. I got the book yesterday around 2ish and read off and on until about 11:30. Then slept, then woke up and read from about 8:30 until about 12:30. I'm finished and I'm sad and happy and sad. Characters die, that's for sure, and when you least expect them to. Now it's time to hit the showers after my read-fest! Enjoy yours.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Media Blackout!

First I'm going to the Ho'olaule'a with Sarah. Then I'll be home to read my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I might blog. I might not. Don't be alarmed if I don't, just reading before I accidentally see any spoilers!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Media Blackout Early?

Apparently there are already leaks of the new/last Harry Potter book. I will be working very very hard to avoid all of these things. Boy oh boy. Saturday can't come soon enough.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reading In The Mean Time

While my breath is bated, I am reading: And I must highly recommend it. If you ever find yourself in a conversation about how television and movies and video games are rotting peoples brains, all your counter arguments are here. Mr. Johnson proposes that, in fact, the complicated problem solving required of video games and multi-layered stories of recent television shows and movies is making us smarter. Plus it will make you feel SO MUCH BETTER aboout tivo-ing/never missing Heroes and Lost and 24 and the Sopranos. If you have kids, read this and maybe you won't feel so bad about them watching as much tv or playing as many games. (All things in moderation of course....)

The Movie

I went to see HP and the Order of the Phoenix yesterday. And I know none of you will find this shocking, but I wanted more. My husband came along and he is quite the muggle in the HP world. He didn't get much of the nuance there. I was saying how I liked that they occasionally gave Ginny a look when Harry was with Cho. Kurt said, "Who was Ginny?" Books (any books) are always better than movies. Okay, maybe 99.9% of the books are better. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is just about equal. And after reading The Bourne Identity, I appreciate that they really modernized the story and characters in the movie. (The book was SO 70s in it's attitudes.) I love seeing movies made out of the books I've read, even though I'm pretty sure they won't live up to my imagination. But still, seeing the characters on the big screen is a treat and especially the Potter crew. (My favorite characters have to be Fred and George Weasley and I love the twins they have playing them.) But the loss of so much wonderful detail from the HP books is always a let down. I really wanted Ron to have some quiditch time. I won't go into any more detail. I hope some day that a mini-series gets made of each book so that people who haven't read them or don't know the books too well can enjoy the in jokes and side characters that mean almost nothing in these feature films now. Really, I'm just counting down the hours until next Saturday and the arrival of my Deathly Hallows. Go see the movie -- like I need to tell you to see it -- I think Daniel Radcliffe did a great job this time.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Harry Potter Mania (Self Inflicted)

So here is the thing. I thought I wouldn't be that crazy excited about the arrival of The Deathly Hallows. Yes, I ordered it in February from Amazon, but with super saver shipping (=free and takes days longer). Then, after finishng book six and seeing more trailers for "Order of the Phoenix", I decided that I couldn't wait. I don't want to hear spoilers, I don't want to hear details. I want to read that book and enjoy its unfolding before anything gets out. (Any so-called spoilers out on the internet now I consider simply rumors and don't pay any attention to them.) So I went to Amazon this morning and changed my shipping so that I will receive the book on Saturday July 21. My husband and I have already discussed the media black out that will occur over the weekend of July 21/22. I hear you -- geez Julia, that's three weeks away! I know. But you must prepare for these things. If I don't answer email or phone calls that weekend, do not be surprised. CAN'T WAIT!!!!111!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I Finished It

Okay, okay, I'm greedy. I finished The Half Blood Prince yesterday. The momentum was building to the amazing end and I had to just keep going. Done. So I'll wait a few weeks and decide if I want to quickly read it again right before the other book comes. Now, I know JK Rowling said there wouldn't be any more HP books after Deathly Hollows. But here are my questions: Does Harry go after and find all four Horcruxes in the last book? Seems a giant task for him seeing as how Dumbledore couldn't do it before. But maybe that is what makes Harry special? Not to mention all the help from his friends. Also, if/when Harry kills Voldemort in the last book, do they all live happily ever after in the wizarding world? (Except for those who are supposed to die.) Most importantly, don't you think Neville and Luna will get together?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Slow Reading is Hard To Do

Reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince slowly is really hard! It's not even July yet and I'm almost done. I think to myself, "I'll only read two chapters tonight." Then "Oh, just one more!" So I might have to just finish it and maybe read it again right before the other one comes out. Yes, in fact, I am a freak that way. Reading Freak!! Ahem. In the mean time, I thought I would read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. (Oh yes, it doevtails so nicely with Harry Potter!) I have never read Vonnegut and Kurt (my husband, not Mr. Vonnegut himself, who is dead. So it goes.) has been asking me to read this one for a while now. I also heard part of an interview with him talking about the book and about the bombing of Dresden. I didn't know that he had said he was the only person who profited from the bombing of Dresden (because of the book, Slaughterhouse-five). The bombing didn't affect the outcome of the war, didn't make any difference except to kill almost 30,000 people, an unnecessary massacre before the war's end. I know very little about Vonnegut's work and expected it to be difficult to get into. I was afraid it would be like Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 which I found to be a very challenging book to read. However, Slaughterhouse-five is easy to read. This doesn't make it simple or light. The images and feelings presented are intense and sad and brutal. It is an anti-war book, don't forget. I'm about 2/3 of the way done and am glad to be reading it. Thank you Kurt and thank you Kurt. When I'm done with Slaughterhouse-Five, I think I will pull A Man Without A Country out of my reading stack and finally read it. I bought it after seeing Mr. Vonnegut on The Daily Show (2005). Time to get to know the man and his work better.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Harry Potter Continues

Despite all the ribbing Kurt is giving me about re-reading books (what is his problem with this? He keeps saying "honey, I'll buy you a new book, I promise!" Clearly he hasn't been paying attention to the stacks and stacks of new books I have that are yet to be read. But I don't want to read them now, I want my Harry Potter!) I have finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (click to see the trailer for this summer's movie!) and loved it. It has been two years since I read it and I forgot all about Ron and Quidditch, all about Snape and Occlumancy lessons and the thestrals. I was going to wait a week or two before starting on The Half Blood Prince because I wanted to be able to finish it and then slide right into The Deathly Hallows. But since it won't be here until late July, I'm afraid I will read it too fast and then have to wait a few weeks before it gets here. Hi, I'm 10 years old again. But I couldn't. I had to start reading it last night. I'll try not too read toooooooo many pages before bed. Stretch it out. Funny thing -- while looking for a fun link to make out of "Half Blood Prince" I found this website called Half-Blood Prince -- The Ultimate Canon Severus Snape Site which is ALL about Snape, what he's said, what he wears, who he hangs out with and his birthday. Holy cow. I'm on the internet a lot but I forget about these kinds of fansites. I mean, I love these books too, and I can't wait to find out the truth about Snape, but wow. Oh, and if you want to play Muggle Quidditch, go here. Could be fun!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

This Space is Under Construction

I switched to a different template in Blogger and now lost all my modifications. I know, I know, I should have saved the original template, but I didn't.... So please forgive the not so pretty look. I'll fix it soon!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tag! I'm It!

Annie, the Super Fast Reader, from her website reading is my superpower, tagged me for a meme! First of all, I am so pleased that someone outside of my own family is reading this site. Second of all, I have to apologize to her since she tagged me on May 16th. The excuses are: out of town visiting my mom, didn't bring my computer, too much work to do when I got home, blah blah blog (as my friend Micah would say.) So -- the tagging/meme -- Here are the rules: 1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves. 2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules. 3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names. 4: Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog. I'm going to follow Annie's lead and write 8 random facts about me all having to do with reading: 1. The first full-length book I remember reading was Little House in the Big Woods. I was 6-ish. 2. The first time I read To Kill A Mockingbird I was in 6th grade at Lihikai Elementary school. The librarian suggeseted it. 3. I read The Shining when I was about 13 during the summer. The book freaked me out so much I had to stop reading at about 5pm every day so I wouldn't be afraid to go to sleep. 4. I joined a flicker group recently called Reading Stack. I posted three different pictures and now need to post another since cleaning my office and making a new stack! 5. I like to travel to places I read about in books, fiction or non-fiction. I like standing in the spots described and remembering the book I read that brought me there. 6. I have to read before I got to sleep. Even if it is just half an article in a magazine, it is part of my going to sleep ritual. (Ask Kurt about the stretchy dance...) 7. I sometimes find myself judging people by the amount of books they have in their house. I'm not proud of it. 8. I don't understand why men (it seems mostly men) need to take a lot of reading material in the bathroom with them. On to tagging: Brian at MacinKlotz Will at [sic] Frazgo at frazgomeanders Kira at Joe's Pila-T-Shop Carrie at Sommer Designs Micah at Shut Up I Know! It says to tag 8 people, but this is the best I could do today. Thanks again Annie! I will also do a variation on this theme/meme on my other blog: Julia in Mexico City

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

More Summer Reads

I am only on chapter three in More Sex is Safer Sex. I wasn't wildly inspired to pick it up again. I probably will, but not right now. I wanted to get back to a novel, but I didn't feel in the mood to choose -- so many on my shelves to choose from. Then I remembered -- the new Harry Potter comes out July 21: (I ordered mine on February 1.) I need to get caught up since it has been two years since Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince came out. So I'm backing up two books and starting with The Order of the Phoenix. I read the first three chapters last night and am pleased. I had forgotten that Harry is just PISSED OFF in Order of the Phoenix which makes him so much more interesting. Plus the movie comes out this summer and I'm looking forward to that. Kurt asked me the other day what I was reading and I mentioned that I would re-read these and he was surprised. He doesn't understand why people like to re-read books. I don't understand why you wouldn't. Granted, I only read some books over again, not all. If I find a book I really like, that takes me away to a particular place and time, I love going back there to visit. Sure, I know what the big plot points might be already, but the nuance and details always seem fresh. The parts that make you laugh out loud or cry are such a joy to experience again. I can't wait for the Deathly Hollows to come out. Can't WAIT to find out about Snape and his true calling, his true nature, his true feelings. ooooooooohhhhhhh! (Then in the last movie, Alan Rickman will probably, finally, get to really shine.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Beach Reads

I finished Boomsday while I was still on Maui. It was fast and fun and full of interesting aspects of how politics, marketing, PR and truth sort of fit together in Washington DC and the country. It's a novel, but it could so easily be reality. The best part was that I jumped into a novel and really enjoyed being swept away by the story and characters. I haven't read a novel in a while and it's good to be back into them. When I got home, I was ready for another novel and my husband suggested I read the book he is reading for research: I wasn't sure at first, but then read a few pages and was hooked. It turned into a summer beach read, one of those long, pulpy paperback novels full of historic details and lots of characters with which to show off all the research that had been done. I enjoyed it until about the last 150 pages (it was 700 pages long). I'm a fast reader so it only took me a week or so to finish the book. But I found that after about half way I was ready for it to be done, but still wanted to know what happened. So I read faster to get to the end and didn't enjoy it as much. I love reading long books, don't get me wrong. But there something about the Beach Read that is more about enjoying the fact that there is time to spend reading, not as much about the book itself. Now I'm reading: It is along the lines of The Tipping Point and Blink and Freakonomics. I went to the bookstore yesterday (Danger! Danger!) and bought books (!) I went to buy gifts and did indeed buy 1 birthday gift, 1 thank you gift and 1 father's day gift. I also bought two books for myself. One was the above book and the other was A Good Walk Spoiled by John Feinstein. I have never played golf (I'm guessing the Tiger Woods PGA Tour game on the Wii doesn't count...) but always find the stories fascinating -- all good sports stories are fun to read. And I love listening to John Feinstein on NPR. I miss his back and forth with Bob Edwards. (Still not clear why NPR took him off mornings....idiots.....but you can hear him now on XM Public Radio. I can't, but maybe you can.) But I must continue with reading novels. I can't let myself get stuck in non-fiction. Luckily, my next beach read will be here soon. Though it doesn't quite fit what I described above as I savor each page when the books come out. I guess I better get cracking on reading the previous book so I remember where we were!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Reading and Relaxing, Relaxing and Reading

After an extremely busy two weeks of work on a special project, I am now on Maui, visiting my mom and stepdad for a small amount of R&R. I brought this book with me: As I mentioned, I haven't read a novel in ages and am already racing through it. Time is slow on Maui (a gooooooood thing) and I didn't bring my computer (blogging from mom's fab mac desktop) so reading is good. I forget how much fun it is to read when there is LITERALLY nothing to do. Well, we have to go to the post office later and then maybe to the grocery store. There is some tennis planned in the afternoon. Joy. Oh, and the book -- so much fun to read. Great detailed review, I know but for the moment, that is all that matters to me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Reading Stack

I put this post on my Mexico City Blog as well: There is a new group on Flickr called Reading Stack. You take a photo of the stack of books on your nightstand (or wherever), upload it and join the group. Like mine: The group is like book porn.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Still April, though barely...

The good thing is, I have been writing. I have also been doing some paying work, always a good thing. I have also been reading. Not a lot! But I have been reading. Currently I'm in the middle of two books. The first one is: Have I mentioned I'm a huge Doris Day fan? HUGE. I am rivaled only by my mother. She introduced me to Doris with Calamity Jane (a comfort movie I watch to this day on VHIS -- haven't upgraded to DVD yet...) then when she felt I was ready, Teacher's Pet . Clark Gable? Doris Day? Oh yeah, baby. Oh yeah. Rent it. Tivo it. Netflix it. Whatever you have to do to get it, get it. I'm about 1/3rd of the way through this book, so more on that later. I'm also about a 1/3rd of the way through: Fascinating take on how we as a society think/sell/feel about food and food companies. More on this too... I have to get back to fiction soon. I've been on a long non-fiction streak and am missing a good, meaty story. And it's not like I don't have many books WAITING!! Que sera, sera! Oh, and when I have a moment to clean my office and find it, I will scan and post the sweet note that Doris sent me. ME! She wrote to me after I sent her a note. Okay, a fan letter. I had tears in my eyes when I pulled her letter out of my mailbox.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Weeks Go By

I have been writing and that's good. I wrote this post for my other blog but thought it would be just fine here too as it is about reading, after all: So what do I read online every day? Some days the order varies, but generally it goes like this: Home page is: Daily Variety. We have an online subscription and I sometimes read it in depth, I sometimes just scan the headlines. Next comes my own Yahoo page. I personalized it with many sections of news, world news, business news, entertainment news, most emailed pictures, weather, stocks and political cartoons. (Today we bought stock in Applied Materials.) Generally next is my google home page to check my secondary email account there. My email newsletters go to that account. Once I've check out the world, I start in on the local and that would be Metroblogging Los Angeles. I link to their stuff from time to time. Metrblogging has many many cities on their site -- click on their map to see if you city is represented. If it isn't, you could start one up! Next comes Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things. Hard to explain what this site is, so go there and peruse at least ten or twenty articles to get a full taste of what they write about. I have learned many things about these series of interweb tubes we spent a lot of time on. Then, Consumerist. Great site about "Shoppers Biting Back." The site is updated frequently, as is BoingBoing. The comments are fun, sometimes annoying, but always interesting. That is my main set of reading in the morning. I don't read any actual newspapers, never got into that habit. During the day I'll click around to catch up with any or all of the following: dooce LAist Upgrade: Travel Better Joe's Pila-T-Shop (My friend Kira!) Sommer Designs (My friend Carrie!) not martha Go Fug Yourself And of course, my number most favorite of all time: Cute Overload! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Junk Food

A month between posts! Yowza. I have been reading, but more importantly, I've been writing. I'm working on two writing deadlines an have been focusing on that as my top priority. As my treat before bed, I have been consuming Candyfreak by Steve Almond. Mr. Almond is a great read and makes me laugh out loud. I also read parts out loud to my husband as I know he will A) appreciate the topic and B) appreciate the writing. My good friend (and fellow reader) Emily loaned me My life in Heavy Metal last year, a collection of short stories by Mr. Almond. Highly recommend. I got Candy Freak as a gift for my birthday. I was listening to the podcast of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me this morning and heard about a new book called Twinkie, Deconstructed (2nd title is: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats.) I am tempted to read this book, but am also afraid to at the same time. I have probably had one or two twinkies, or bites of a twinkie, in the last 15 years. Just thinking about twinkies and their petroleum like residue makes me shudder. Blech. Maybe I'll just put the book in my cart and consider it for a later time... And lastly, I have been continuing my real estate investing education and have been reading Real Estate Investing for Dummies. Fascinating good info that we can use right away.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


And speaking of Orpah, I read about Shelfari in the March Issue and started building my bookshelf there yesterday. I only have a few books up as it will take time. It looks like fun and I can't wait to explore more.

Current Reads

So after finishing David Bach's book, I am now the lending library to all my friends who are interested in real estate investment. It is exciting to consider this new area of investing. Our goal is to buy an income property in 2007. But back to reading: I am currently working through Wayne Dyer's Manifest Your Destiny. And I mean "working" in a good way. I'm trying not to rush through it as there is some powerful and important information in there and I don't want to miss it. Along with that on my bedside table, I have been catching up with magazines, Time, Oprah and Good. I have canceled my subscription to Vanity Fair -- well, I'll not renew -- and am considering either The New Yorker (but oh you can get overwhelmed pretty fast by that amazing weekly!) or a business/money related mag. We'll see...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Good Magazine

One of my Christmas gifts was a subscription to Good Magazine. And boy is it, thank you Sarah! From their website: Welcome to GOOD, media for people who give a damn We see a growing number of people tied together not by age, career, background, or circumstance, but by a shared interest. This revolves around a passion for potential mixed with fierce pragmatism and creative engagement. We sum all this up as the sensibility of giving a damn. But to shorten it, let's call it GOOD. We're here to push this movement and cover its realization. In the very first issue I found three articles that took me to some intereseting websites. The three are: Kiva Tom's Shoes Love Craft Bio Fuels Kiva sounds like a brilliant way to allow people in developing countries a way up. I read about Tom's Shoes in Time Magazine and plan to give them as gifts this year. And lastly, I would like to drive a converted diesel and have the scent of french fries follow me wherever I go. The 2nd issue is on newstands now or go to their website and check it out.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dreams of My Own Library

I look forward to having a larger house so that I can have a library, a room filled with books, comfy chairs and bright warm light to read by. Mmmmmm. To help me achieve that goal, I am currently reading: David Bach is so much fun to read. He is straightforward and the concepts and plans are so easy. There is no rocket science to any of this, just plain, solid information on how to build wealth. I'm so excited to get started! I just finished reading Dead Center and found it fascinating. I am always curious about crime scene investigation stuff. I watch CSI religiously, and yes, I know it is a TV show and not real life -- the lighting in the labs on that show is enough to clue you in to that--someone turn on a light for gosh sake! How can anyone see anything?! Ahem. This book gives you a look into a medical examiner's life (not quite CSI, but similar) and also a deep look into NYC after the attacks on 9/11 and how hard this man and his team worked to identify remains from the World Trade Center. Fascinating and touching.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Access Books

Happy New Year! One of my goals for the new year is to volunteer my time to a worthy cause and not to just send money (though that's always a good start.) I chose this program: (click on the logo to go to their site.) Books are my things and helping kids (even a little) to have access to books in school is a great idea. I turned 40 this weekend and threw a low-key party. Instead of gifts for myself, I asked friends to bring books from the Access Books website wishlist. Many did and I'm happy to drop them off soon. Thanks to everyone who donated! From their website: ACCESS BOOKS has no paid full-time employees. Our operation has funneled almost 1,000,000 books to Los Angeles inner-city school libraries, make it school, classroom and community libraries. So many children in inner-city schools simply do not have anything to read. ACCESS BOOKS is changing that one library at a time. And quotes from students: I read three books on Saturday and I couldn't wait for school to start on Monday so I could get some more books. - 5th grade student I have to catch my breath! - 3rd grade student Check out their site and if you can help more, please do! And add a comment here about how you helped.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Where Did The Time Go?!

Yowza! I have not written in over a month and that is not ideal! Also, I have not read much in the way of "books" in over a month either. I let myself get distracted by christmas and wrapping and decorating and sending gifts and etc etc etc. But now the tree is down and the new year is on the way. Hooray for 2007! In the mean time -- I finished Heat and did enjoy it very much. It also turned up on a 10 best list (Time magazine, I think) for non-fiction. My other favorite book-Eat Pray Love-showed up on another list. I gave that book to about five people for Christmas. I look forward to reading it again soon. I received books as gifts as well and look forward to all of them. From Sarah (and family) I got these two:

Kurt received:

I look forward to reading that as well.

Mostly I've been reading magazines...and will write about that more soon! Sorry for the long delay and more to come in 2007!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Future Getting Brighter

I just finished reading this book and it made my head spin. It sort of goes along with many other books and tapes I've been reading and watching about making serious attitude changes so that I can achieve all the things I want to achieve in life. The key things (and not just from this book) are: *Be bold *Be grateful *Educate yourself on what you are interested in *Be clear on what you want *ASK for what you want (to yourself, to the world, to the universe) *Visualize having it *Be open to receiving it There is no magic. This is not rocket science. So why is it so hard and terrifying? Because you have to take a leap of faith. It can be a well planned and educated leap, but a leap none the less. And the "leap" may really just be a first step toward whatever goal you (I) want. But why is that step so hard sometimes?! Yowza. Our safety nets are so safe, even if we curse them every day. I don't want to be so "Safe" any more. I am taking the road less traveled.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Reading for My Future

This is the book I'm currently reading. It is a combo of memoir and biography as Mr. Buford relates his cooking (mis)adventures and also tells you Mario Batali's life story. But this is not the book about my future. I love cooking, don't misunderstand. In fact, I made granola yesterday then made crunchy banana muffins with said granola, both from the The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, which I bought the other day. Tonight we are having salmon for dinner. But I digress. My future, my new brilliant career -- writing and directing. I am currently reading Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. I am two sections in and already my mind is spinning about all the things I need to do with my scripts. Waiting their turns are also: My First Movie: Twenty Celebrated Directors Talk about Their First Film by Stephen Lowenstein and Breaking In: How 20 Movie Directors Got Their First Start by Nicholas Jarecki. My new favorite store is Writers Store. Inspiring books fill the shelves and they have lectures and classes about writing. I will become a regular.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Eat Pray Love

Love Love Love this book. I didn't want it to end, I wanted more. I envy Ms. Gilbert's writing style becaause she makes it look so easy to write. I hope my writing style is like this. I laughed often and would hand the book to Kurt to have him read sections. The description of Naples made me understand exactly what kind of city it is. And after friends who have been there showed us video, Ms. Gilbert was right on without even describing one building or street. Her honesty and vulnerability are refreshing and I never felt like she was trying to convince me of anything, just sharing some amazing experiences. Of course the first third of the book is about her living in Rome, learning Italian (for no other reason than she wants to) and eating. What could ever be wrong with that? The book inspired me to write and write better, work harder, be quieter (or not when appropriate) and live. Or as Susan Sarandan says "Say yes to life." And Pray. Whatever that means to me, pray. Read the book please.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


More travel might mean more travel books but it definitely doesn't mean more reading! When I'm working in a different place and living in a hotel, I find I watch more tv at night in the room. Not sure why. Maybe because it is a novelty to have a tv in the bedroom as we don't at home. It is also a novelty to watch British tv shows. I did finish The Whistling Season before I left and enjoyed that very much. Ivan Doig really creates a picture of that certain time and place in Montana, early 1900's. He did do one thing that slightly annoys me--he referred to characters in this book who show up in another book (English Creek, as it happens). I guess I don't like to be taken out of the book I'm reading with a wink to his other work. Nick Hornby did it in How to be Good, referred to a character in High Fidelity. But aside from that, I appreciate how Mr. Doig treats his characters with a lot of love and respect, even if they aren't of the best character. There is a gentleness that I like, even when the people in the stories aren't being treated too gently. I would recommend it and already sent to my brother in law, who introduced me to Ivan Doig in the first place. As for Nick Hornby, I like just about anything he writes as well. Back to London and back to work...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More Travel = More Travel Books

I'm lucky to travel through work from time to time. Mexico, for example. And now more than likely, London for a few weeks to continue some work on the same project. In anticipation of London -- I haven't been there in ten years -- I bought some travel books to help out. First there is Top 10 London because while I'll be there for a few weeks, I'm working full time. And as we say in the business, "It's location, not vacation." So Top 10 works great. This brand of books -- DK Eyewitness Guides -- are my favorites. They are full of images and I respond well to images, they make me want to see more. Next is City Secrets London. We used this guide on our honeymoon to Italy and found places we might never had heard of in the more conventional travel guide. These books are highly subjective, written by historians, playwrights, architects, journalists, novelists and curators who live in the areas covered in the book. So they may point you to a tourist spot but to something you never would have known about at that spot. Lastly I bought a map of London -- Streetwise London. These maps are great, they are laminated and fold nicely. The detail is accurate and up to date. The only complaint I've ever had about a Streetwise Map was the one of Mexico City. And it is just not the company's fault. Mexico City is just way too big. I highly recommend these maps for all your future travel to major cities.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I Gave In To Temptation

I was looking for one book. Just one. And I came home with six books and two magazines. I have admitted to this problem before, so I know it's not denial. Do I need a sponsor? Here is what I bought: The New Yorker dated September 18. GQ with Clive Owen on the cover. (Oh my. Clive is kind of yummy. Oh boy.)(Sorry Honey.) Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme by Chris Roberts This book fits right in with my love of word origins. On Beauty by Zadie Smith I have heard a lot about this book and so now I'll read it. Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs I love Augusten. In a literary celebrity death match, he would beat James Frey into a million little pieces. Dead Center: Behind the Scenes at the World's Largest Medical Examiner's Office by Shiya Ribowsky and Tom Shachtman My fascination with jobs that don't get talked about much. Pairs with Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach which I read a year or two ago. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert I read about this book before going to Mexico and knew I would buy it eventually. Then I read an article in GQ about she and her boyfriend on a walking tour through France. I didn't realize it was the same author, so that made me more excited to read this book. It also made me want to do a walking tour through France. Well, let's be honest here, saying the word "France" makes me want to go there. Or Italy. Just typing that makes me want to look up how much flights are to Italy. If my DSL were fixed, I would do it. ¡Pinche Dial-up! I digress. I love the cover of this book: And the book I actually went into the store to buy: New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook Guided Practice in the Five Basic Skills of Drawing by Betty Edwards A new and dear friend from Mexico suggested the book, but I ended up buying the workbook by mistake. Oh dear. That means I have to go back to the store. (I'll think about that later.) Since being back, reading has been important but I also feel I have so much that needs to be expressed about my summer in Mexico. There is so much intensity and color that needs outlet. I'm not sure how it will come out so I'm exploring.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I'm Reading! I'm Reading!

And not just magazines. I have jumped into "The Whistling Season" by Ivan Doig. For the last couple of nights I have been pleasantly surprised to find myself staying up for almost an hour, reading, before I have to turn off my light and sleep. All summer in Mexico it was all I could do not to fall asleep before getting into bed! So to sit and read and read and read is wonderful. The book is good, not too far astray from what Ivan Doig normally does, which I like. I needed a comfortable way to get re-started and this is it. I almost went to the bookstore yesterday, but stopped myself. There are many many many books on my shelf waiting to be read. And the shelf I'm talking about is the secondary book-shelf in my office, not the main one in the living room. It has 40 books on it, all waiting, patiently. That's the wonderful thing about books. They are always there for you.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Real Life

Books are nice. Books are good. I miss books. I am back home in Los Angeles and after about a week and a half, I almost feel "normal" again. I haven't started reading any books though. Just easing into my magazine stack and looking fondly over the bookshelves that are patiently holding my future reads. I want to start with a biography of Frida Kahlo. A friend is loaning me her book and I look forward to that. (The same wonderful friend who left me the New Yorker in Mexico.) Settling back into real life is a much bigger challenge than I expected. Maybe because I'm still not sure what my real life is. Maybe there is a book that can help me find out. I am glad to be home. That is for sure.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New Yorker

My husband sent me a book, "Collapse," so I could read the chapter on the Mayan society, since I'm in Mexico. Well, I haven't gotten to it yet, but I will. My friend who came to visit brought it along with 2 New Yorker magazines. So I have read the New Yorker. The first issue I read, from May, seemed to have something so fascinating on every page. I think I almost read it to pieces. There was also an article about Wikipedia that she had separately given to me from another issue of the New Yorker. Plus a hilarious review of Mission Impossible III. Reading the magazine was like wading into a cool pond after a long hot climb to get there. We were in Puebla (see the other blog soon) for 2 nights and now we are back in Mexico City. I can say with some certainty that I will be home in LA in 2 weeks. I'm so happy!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Summer Reading....

....of the beach and airplane variety. If you have been reading my other blog you know my dad died and I had to leave Mexico City for a week. While I was gone I chose a book to read that was easy and didn't require much emotional or intellectual investment. The book? Angels and Demons by Dan Brown of Da Vinci Code fame. It was just what I needed it to be--a no brainer but time consuming. It is completely ridiculous and just what you want on a long plane trip or days at the beach. Now I'm back for 3 more weeks of work and long hours. I brought lots of magazines with me for those few minutes before bed. I'm also only half way through "My Life in Heavy Metal" so I'm sure I'll be into that soon. Back in MC. Check out that blog for more entries on my last 3 weeks.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Having exhausted all the reading material (magazines) we had, I did in fact bring a book to work. Now, this is not usually "done." But on this job, it is not such a problem. I began reading My Life in Heavy Metal by Steve Almond. A book of short stories loaned to me by my dear friend Emily. Thank you Emily! Great stories. The style is very modern but not over the top, totally self-reflective modern, like Love Monkey was. I read that book a while back and while I found it sort of funny in spots, it was too much aware of how cool and ironic and self referential it was. Too much winking at the reader. I highly recommend My Life in Heavy Metal.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Not Much Reading Going On

Wow, when your wake up call is at 5 am, your ride picks you up at 6:15am and you get back to your room at about 8:30 or 9 or 9:30 and you go to bed at 10, not much time is left for reading! However, when you sit for hours on end, waiting to be called to set to do your job during the day, then you do get to read a lot. But it tends to be magazines. Which is perfect. So I have read the last two Time Magazines, the Entertainment Weekly with Pirates on the cover (and it doesn't come out until this Friday in Mexico -- Las Piratas Del Caribe) and the Vanity Fair with Hilary Swank on the cover. (Thanks Honey for bringing them down!) There are lots of other people sitting around as well -- stand ins, extras, etc. They all love having reading material as well. It's a strange life I'm leading right now. Check out Me in Mexico City for all the latest adventures (that include very little reading.)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I'm Special

BoingBoing.net directed me to this site with all kinds of book and book publishing statistics. Here are some eye-opening ones (I simplified the list for this post): Who is Reading Books (and who is not) One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. Many do not even graduate from high school. 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school. 42% of college graduates never read another book. 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year. 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years. 57% of new books are not read to completion. Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased. 63% of adults report purchasing at least one book during the previous three-month period. (Most were probably exaggerating). 53% read fiction, 43% nonfiction. The favorite fiction category is mystery & Suspense, 19%. Of the top fifty books, fiction outsells nonfiction about 60% to 40%. Fiction peaks in July at 70% but nonfiction reaches almost 50% in December. 55% of fiction is bought by women; 45% by men. Thirty percent of Americans surveyed by the Harris Poll say they would rather read a book than do anything else; twenty-one percent said watching TV is their favorite activity. That's the good news. The bad news is that only 13 percent selected "spending time with family." Each day, people in the US spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines. 70% of Americans haven't visited a bookstore in five (5) years. Customers 55 and older account for more than one-third of all books bought. People reduced their time reading between 1996 and 2001 to 2.1 hours/month. 2001: per capita spending on books per month was $7.18. Only 32% of the U.S. population has ever been in a bookstore. The time Americans spend reading books. 1996: 123 hours 2001: 109 hours 1996 to 2001 Consumer spending on book rose 16% Unit sales dropped 6% (Readers spend more and purchased fewer books) 2001: Households purchasing at least one book 56.5% The mean age of book buyers 1997: Age 15-39: 26.5% of the books bought 2001: Age 15-39: 20.8% of the books bought 1997: Age over 55: 33.7% of the books bought. 2001: Age over 55: 44.1% of the books bought

Monday, July 03, 2006


Sleeping is more like it. I got through the end of Oprah for July, which was all about reading. I have read a but further in "Are Men Necessary?" and it is very interesting and thought provoking. It reminds me of an essay I wrote about 4 years ago. The Baby Thing By Julia Frey April 2002 Early in 2001 I overheard a work colleague on the phone with his wife. She screamed at him to come home as she couldn't handle it alone with their new baby anymore. He looked sheepish. I woke up the next morning and had an amazing epiphany: I don't HAVE to have children. The four years previous to 2001 I had spent counting all my possible fertile time remaining and it wasn't adding up well. "Let's see I'm 31, haven't even met a decent man, that could take 2 or 3 more years, that makes me 34. We meet, date for 2 years, get married, then I'm 36. Well, we've just gotten married, we can't rush to have kids, we have to be alone together first. That makes me 39 or 40 before we even start to try. What if we want 3 kids, that means I'll be 46 for the last one. THERE'S NO TIME!!!" Realizing that it wasn't required of me to have children clearly came as a huge relief. Not long after the big epiphany, I discovered the man of my dreams. There I was in October 2001 at my own wedding shower: I made my friends promise "no silly games." Fine, they said, the only rule was to answer one question from the group before each gift is opened. Easy. --Next question! --When are you having kids? --Well, we have discussed it and we aren't sure if we are having any. We might, but if we do, it won't be for a while. Dead silence and blank stares. I have never heard this particular group of friends be so quiet. I laughed, secure in my self-aware state of non-impending motherhood. Cut to seven months later: I'm crying on my husband's shoulder, in bed, "I'm so confused!" We've been married six months (my first, his second, no kids), I just turned 35 and am beginning new paths in life. Suddenly I am surrounded by the hot story of Spring 2002 "Women and Careers and Babies -- You are too old to have kids!" or "Why did you waste time on a career when you should have been pregnant!" Now I'm supposed to feel bad because there could only be 5 years of fertility for me? If we even want kids. We are both on the fence about it and in no great hurry to decide. Why was I so confused now? I had been so sure before. Part of me wants to have a baby, it looks so fun. I run the "Baby Trailer" though my head - you've all seen it: "In a world where ovum are fertile and sperm can swim -- A woman misses her period!" Then come the images: The woman tells the happy news "We're having a baby!" The yucky but heartwarming bouts of morning sickness. The big belly shot: wife with hands on her back, sticking belly out. The rush to the hospital, husband freaking out, wife calm. Doctor: "It’s a Boy!" Dissolve to baby on Mommy's chest, both parents crying. Grandparents oohing and aahing at the nursery window. Cut to 2AM feedings, first steps, first words, first bike… You've all seen this trailer and there is nothing bad about it -- it's a hit, a summer blockbuster! Everyone lines up. Hey, I like a good blockbuster myself. Lately my tastes seem to be going toward the tiny art house film by some little known, but brilliant, Tibetan filmmaker. This trailer consists of silent images of searching, lush exotic landscapes, loneliness, dazzling colors, insight, quiet joy. The audience for this type of film is not large. There is no marketing campaign, no full-page ads in the Calendar Section or billboards on Sunset Blvd. It was a hit at a tiny film festival in Seattle. The most this film would get is a quick blurb in the free weekly paper. I suddenly had a hard time separating my desires. Do I want to have children but am just not ready? Or do I not want children but feel I must because I am bombarded by societal marketing schemes that tell me I do. If my husband and I have children, our decision and my motherhood life path will be instantly accepted, no questions asked. Family and friends and society will breath a sigh of relief -- Ahh, finally, a baby, that's easy and comfortable. Children are a well understood and acceptable direction in life for any woman. My sudden confusion about the baby thing became clear not long after that tear filled night. The focus of my decisions in life didn't have to be so narrow. The baby thing is not about deciding to have one or not. It is about deciding what I want for my life. Powerful forces are pulling me in amazing new directions. Instead of giving birth to babies, I want be pregnant with ideas and spirit and joy. I want to give life to screenplays and books and my own inner life. The choice isn't just "I'm not having children." The choice is about having a bigger life. Maybe having children is too small for me, too regular. It is not disrespect for people who do. I am in awe of people who have children and raise them well. That's miraculous. But it's not for me now; I have other miracles to create. That decision should be honored just as highly, not seen as a second choice. It takes courage to make your own rules and not follow the crowd. No matter if for thousands of years the crowd has been making babies. I want to take the road less traveled in life; maybe there will be a baby at one of the rest stops. And if I have traveled a little too long and can't create my own, we'll adopt.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New Links

Scroll down and check out the new links.

Good Quote

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." Anna Quindlen I've been going between Are Men Necessary and Oprah magazine (July) for the few minutes before I fall asleep every night. I wake up at 5 most mornings for work so every minute of sleep is precious. But so is reading since it makes me feel normal, so far away from home.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

My Sub-Blog

So I'm posting photos, roughly, randomly. The site is: Julia in Mexico City. Have fun. J.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day Off in Mexico City

I brought one guide book to Mexico with me since I'm working, not on holiday. It was a quick grab and now I wish I had more time to choose. (or was in a better book store.) This one is for all of Mexico and does have a big section on Mexico City, but it is still quite light in the details department. A colleague here said he found an english bookstore, so maybe I'll check it out in my minimal downtime and find a better one. The other book I carry with me every day is my Spanish/English dictionary from high school. It comes in very handy. My spanish is improving every day. I try to speak spanish most of the time but get really stuck on verb tenses! Frustrating. Yet I still get my message across and mostly understand what is being said back. I have learned how to say "please speak more slowly." I finished reading Ask The Pilot and still recommend it highly. I started to read Are Men Necessary? by Maureen Dowd and have only read the intro before falling asleep last night. I look forward to more. My pick up time this morning is a very civilized 9am. So I am going to set up a new blog for my photos from Mexico City. I was going to pile them in here but thought better of it. By the way, I love when you use the spell check on blogger -- it always shows you the word "blog" as wrong!

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Merri-go-round has stopped...

....for a few months, anyway! I'm now in Mexico City and will be here for a while. I have brought a stack of books with me for the few moments I have between working and sleeping. To catch up: I read The Bourne Identity. It was very late 70's. I liked the movie version a lot better. At the Montreal airport I bought "The Devil Wears Prada" and whipped through that right quick. It was funny and brutal and I want to see the movie. Well, I actually bought the book to read because I figured I wouldn't get a chance to see the movie for a while. Great summer book. At LAX, in between checking in all my bags and crying on my husband's shoulder, I bought (he bought for me) a magazine (Newsweek with Johnny Depp on the cover) and a book called Ask the Pilot by Patrick Smith. Good/easy/funny book about all things flying. I laughed out loud a few times. The book comes from his column at Salon.com which is here. I'm almost done with this book and will then move onto something else.......but I'm not sure what yet. I'm also reading Entertainment Weekly with Superman on the cover. Later I'll post some photos from Mexico City. It's all about color here. Hasta Luego.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mexico City!

I'm off to Mexico City on a work adventure. I'll be there until September some time. I'm excited but also sad to miss summer here with my husband and our good friends. And I had just planted the tomatoes! Bummer that I'll miss them. I went to the bookstore to get a book/map of Mexico City and did I leave with only that? Oh no. Nope. No way. I bought a new journal (just coming to the last pages of my current one), a couple of cool notebooks for the job upcoming and also a copy of The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig. You may recall that I have on my "reread/never give away" shelf a copy of his book English Creek. I will probably take the new book (and a bunch more books) with me when I go down to Mexico. I'll be working like mad, but reading before bed, even just a few pages, is a must. Hasta luego.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a Bookaholic.

Hi Julia. Yesterday I went to Borders to buy one book as a gift. I came home with that gift and also with six more books! Do I have a problem? I guess if my problem is I love to read, it's not a really big problem. But still... ...Nevermind. Here is what I bought: *The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum *Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco *Casual Lex (An Informal Assemblage of Why We Say What We Say) by Webb Garrison *The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner by David Bach *Lies At The Altar (The Truth About Great Marriages) by Dr. Robin Smith *You're Wearing That? (Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation) by Deborah Tannen I started reading both Casual Lex and Bourne Identity yesterday. Casual Lex is a fun book about word/phrase origins. Good fun. Bourne Identity is great summer, no brainer reading and quite different from the movie (which I liked a lot.) What I like better about the movie is that he doesn't force Marie at gunpoint to help him (as he does in the book) and so when she does, they are on the same side. I have only gotten a few chapters in but I suspect that even after holding her at gunpoint and threatening her life, she will decide that really, he's okay. I like the movie version better. Foucault's Pendulum was recommended by good friends after we went to see the Da Vinci Code. I look forward to that. The others are books that I heard about on Oprah (Lies at the Altar), NPR (You're Wearing that?) and because I bought his first book (Automatic Millionaire Homeowner) and he's on Oprah. I like David Bach. Very down to earth, common sense.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Back To The Books

I know, I know, this is a blog about books, not travel or movies or sock monkeys. (For actual sock monkey sites go here or here or here.) I brought two books with me on the trip. One that I had already started and read a little of on the plane. The other was more apropos to the location -- My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme. Julia moved to Paris with her husband in 1949, she was 37 and didn't speak french or know how to cook very well. She fell in love with the city, the people, the language, the food. Before I read this book I knew very little about Julia Child except that she was into french cooking, wrote a large and formidable seeming cookbook (Mastering the Art of French Cooking) had a PBS cooking show and that Dan Aykroyd did a great skit on SNL about her that we can all picture and hear in our minds... Her story in this book inspires me a great deal. She was 37 when she came to Paris learned to speak french and learned to cook traditional french food. She was passionate and gutsy and jumped in with both feet. I am a great believer that people have the capacity to change and grow and learn at any age. Julia is a great example of that. She was put into a situation that was foreign and probably a little frightening -- new country, new city, new language, new culture, new food -- and just gave it her all and then reaped huge benefits that she never would have imagined. She didn't even own a TV when she was ON TV for the first time! Reading this book (and having just been in Paris) also made me want to try some of the recipes in her great book. Two recipes that are right up top are Garlic Soup and Moules -- Mussels. I love the mussels! I'll report back. (I know I know, it is also not a blog about cooking...)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I *Do* Love Paris In The Spring

Especially when there are good friends and family to meet and spend lots of relaxing time with! Ah Paris. We had a truly relaxing vacation in Paris. It was my 5th visit and my husband's 2nd so we didn't feel like we HAD TO SEE THINGS!! We rented an apartment in the 5th and boy was the location even more amazing than we anticipated. Having our own place was really nice. We could come and go as we pleased and could spend a little less money by having breakfast and some lunches in the apartment. We slept late and went to bed late. We ate bread and cheese and drank lots of wine. We also took lots of pictures. But instead of the usual pictures of us in Paris we decided to take along our Sock Monkey and so you can all live vicariously through him. Here are two pictures of Sock Monkey In Paris.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Back From Cleveland

Hello Gentle Reader, Sorry for the over 3 week delay in posting. I was sent last minute to Cleveland to work on a movie. Here's proof: Unfortunately I didn't get to go to an Indians game, but a friend got me a hat. It came in handy for standing in the sun all day. I didn't get to read much either since we were working long hours, as you do on a movie set. 14 hour days plus I was moonlighting a bit and doing a budget on another project. I figured, hey, if I'm busy and away from home, might as well be even busier and make a few more bucks. The euro is pretty brutal against the dollar right now, we need all the help we can get before we go to Paris (Next week!). I did take a couple of books with me, but the only one I ever cracked was The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. And I barely cracked it every night. I would read about 2 pages and fall asleep. I have mentioned this book in early posts as it is on my re-read often/never give away shelf. I do loan it out from time to time and love to buy it as a gift for people. Fascinating stuff that somehow never gets old to me. I got home late on Sunday night and a few days later my husband went to the book store and bought a few things for himself. (Research on current scripts he's writing so I'm not at liberty to say what they are...) He kindly bought a book for me as well Mind over Back Pain: A Radically New Approach to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Back Pain by John E. Sarno. I have been annoyed by back spasms about once or twice a year for the last ten years. It's painful and scary and annoying and frustrating. I have seen MDs and Chiropractors and acupuncturists and physical therapists. No one can do or say anything that will cure what ails me. I had an MRI last September and have a herniated disk at L4/L5. You start asking around and suddenly you find out: Who doesn't have a herniated disk?! NPR had a series of stories on the back and they also said things this man says in his book. They key thing being that even though a back spasm hurts, it is not doing any harm. (It's only serious when your bowels begin to be effected, then you have to get your herniated ass into the hospital.) The premise that Dr. Sarno presents is that most back (and neck and shoulder) pain is caused by tension and stress. The physical manifestations are real, of course, but not because your spine is mis-aligned or there is a disk bulging. Many people live their whole lives with herniated disks and never know it, never feel pain. It has given me great food for thought and I am going to look into his theory even more. Does that mean I will stop exercising and doing core work? Heck no because my stomach muscles are looking good. Now, I just need to lose about 30 pounds so you can see them....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Saturday Mornings

Reading. Books. Joy. When I was young, from 9 to about 13, I read and read and read. I was a reading fool. (These days I just read and read.) I remember reading on my school bus. The afternoons were best as we were the last stop and so about 6 of us had 20 minutes and the entire school bus to ourselves. I usually sat away from the other kids and read, knees propped up against the seat in front of me. On weekends, I read and read some more. My mom used to tell me to go outside. "It's a beautiful day!" Hello, it's Maui! It's ALWAYS going to be a beautiful day. Of course I played with friends in the neighborhood a lot, went swimming, played hide and seek, the usual. But most Saturdays my favorite thing to do was to have lunch at home. I would make a bowl of Saimin (aka Top Ramen) with a hot dog chopped up into it (just in case there wasn't already enough salt) then take that bowl, sit on the floor at a coffee table and eat my saimin and read my book. Read Read Read. My warmest memory is waking up on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Usually I had a book on my nightstand, marked from where I left off the night before. I would wake up and the first thing I would do is reach for the book and continue reading. No getting up to pee, no breakfast, no nothing. Just start reading again. And if it actually was raining? HEAVEN! I would turn the lamp on and just read some more. This memory is so cozy and warm and precious. What luxury that was. I felt rich and safe and my soul was well fed. These days there is no reason why I couldn't do that. But somehow there are other distractions first thing in the morning. Meowing cats demanding to be fed. Someone to meet for breakfast. My husband's warm wonderful body. Reading is fundamental.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Fahrenheit 451

Last night we went to see the movie "V for Vendetta" and while I felt it dragged here and there, overall I loved it and wish more people would see it. It is not at all how they market it to the masses. It was another thing that really made me feel like I'm not doing enough to fight injustices. At one point early on, Evey wakes up in V's house and is surrounded by books in her room. Great teetering stacks of them, like there just wasn't any more room for them anywhere. This made Fahrenheit 451 (by Ray Bradbury) pop into my head. I read it about a year ago for the first time and was floored at how prescient Mr. Bradbury was. The book was published in 1953. It is a short intense book and I HIGHLY recommend it. It will also make clear to you why Michael Moore titled his movie "Fahrenheit 911." READ THIS BOOK. Here is what I stole from Amazon about the book: In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way, "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs.... Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy." Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television "family," imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

T-Shirts are Reading Material, Right?

Last summer in the Richmond Virigina airport I saw a guy in a t-shirt and the t-shirt said: T-SHIRTS ARE SO OVER. I loved that so much.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Magazines are Reading Material, Right?

So. Um. Yeah. I have gotten no further than about 50 pages into "Broken For You." I have read People Magazine -- shocking I know!!!! -- I was flying to Seattle and wanted really mindless stuff. I got it. I read the April Oprah, which had good thought provoking articles about beauty/inner beauty. I need help in that department. I read the April Martha Stewart Living, but MS Living comes across as so cold to me. I like Sunset better. I get a subscription to Sunset and only buy MS Living at airports. MS Living does have very very pretty pictures. I can't focus. I can't concentrate. Luckily, Disc 2 of Season 1 of Project Runway will be waiting for me when I get home in it's happy red envelope Simple pleasures.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I Love LA

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with books or reading. Traffic reports in LA are really entertaining. This morning I heard: "Slow down on the 10 west connector to the 405 north due to a collision and fist fight."

Monday, March 20, 2006


I'm restless. I can't just sit and read. I can't focus. My brain starts going off in different directions. I thinks part of it is that I want to write, create, publish, produce. I'm feeling like I'm in a limbo of my own making. I'm not walking my talk. I'm stretching and warming up, preparing to walk my talk, but not actually walking. Over the weekend my husband and I saw a screening of "Grand Canyon" then a Q&A afterward with Lawrence Kasden. It was good, inspiring. He is the kind of writer and film maker I would like to be. I feel his style is along my lines of character and mood. So seeing him and hearing him talk about how he works was encouraging and frustrating all at the same time. The encouragement rubbed up against the part of me that feels like I'm not doing enough to achieve my creative goals. Sunday afternoon I was watching random tv and saw "Chefography" on the Food Network about Ina Garten and Giada DiLaurentis and how they got to where they are. It wasn't so much about the food but the passion for what they do. That also got me fired up. If I say I'm passionate about film, filmmaking, film writing, film directing, then what am I doing in this FX day job? Yes yes, paying bills. Okay fine. But at what point is that just an excuse? At what point am I going to get over the fear and move forward? Ah, yes. This is a good place to point out (remind myself) that: "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear." Mark Twain. and then also to remember: "You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith." Mary Manin Morrissey Both of them are saying Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. My brother-in-law and I talked about these concepts once and he said "Faith and fear can't exist at the same time." And I feel that is true to some point. But now I feel more sure that they can, you just have to make sure the faith is stronger. (I pictured a game of whack-a-mole right then....) It's not like I'm not writing at all. I am working every morning on my novel and that feels good. There is a flow, even if it is only a half hour or 45 minutes of actual writing. That is more than I was doing in February. I just want instant results, instant gratification. I have a hard time being patient. Monday!!!