Year of the Bookwormz: 2011

52 weeks. 2 friends. 1 challenge.

Author Spotlight:: Laura Bush:: May 7, 2010

Last night I had the privilege of attending Laura Bush’s Author Interview and Q&A at Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University. Currently on a 22 city book tour, Laura Bush began her journey with a few stops in the DC-area. After book signings in McLean and Arlington, her last stop in Virginia was an interview with journalist Cokie Roberts. On May 6, 2010 at Lisner Auditorium before heading to Dallas to continue her book tour, Mrs. Bush opened up about her story and memories in the public eye.

My aunt and I attended and were able to get signed copies of her memoir, Spoken from the Heart. Regardless of one’s politicial views, it was fascinating to sit in the same room with and listen to the woman who previously served as First Lady of the United States for 8 years. She read an excerpt from her book describing when she met George W. Bush and about their wedding. The audience laughed, applauded, and listened intently to every word. Theirs is truly a story of romance and endurance. Congrats to the Bushes for celebrating 33 years together this year!

Cokie Roberts asked insightful questions that allowed Mrs. Bush to open up candidly. From her family’s suffering in trying to have a large family, to the tragic car accident that took the life of her friend; from her journey as a part of one of America’s most prominent political families to her tireless efforts for causes such as education and literacy, Mrs. Bush was honest, endearing, and engaging. 

I am thrilled I found out about this event when tickets were still available and I started reading her book as soon as I got home. At 432 pages, I don’t know I will get through it in a week to stay on track for this year’s challenge. But I’m very excited to take my time, read it and learn her fascinating story.

Thanks to Laura for founding the Texas Book Festival 15 years ago and the National Book Festival. I can’t imagine a life without books and thank you for sharing a love of reading with all of us. And most of all, thank you for sharing your story.

Happy reading,

Fabookulous

(Book review on Spoken from the Heart to follow)

  

 

Author Spotlight:: David Zinczenko :: May 3, 2010

Read This, Not That!

My reading progress slowed down a bit last month as I was sidetracked by the shocking book series “Eat This, Not That” . I know, I know. They’ve been around for a while, but my library finally acquired the entire series. And now I too have read all of David Zinczenko’s (pronounced Zin-chenk-oh) ETNT books andthey radically changed my eating habits. I consider myself a savvy grocery shopper and am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to understanding hidden meaning, ingredients, labels and catch phrases like “all natural”, “whole grain”, and “reduced fat”. Rachael Ray had an episode a while back with Zinczenko as a guest. I was so intrigued; I added his series to my library queue when it became available.

The three that I got the most out of: the Restaurant Survival Guide, the Supermarket Guide, and Cook This Not That. Obviously these are reference books which don’t count towards my 52 books read this year. But many of my friends recommended I read them and so I did just that. You’d be surprised at how deceptive the food industry is, including the amount of hair, dust particles and moldy food that is LEGALLY ALLOWED in packaged foods. WHISKEY. TANGO. FOXTROT!!!!!!!!!????????!!!!!!!! I was so keyed up about this that I felt compelled to blog about it. Flip through these books next time you’re at a bookish establishment, you will NOT regret it. I’m tempted to order a few used copies from Paperbackswap just to keep on hand as reference.

On a related note, recently a friend and I re-committed ourselves to one of our favorite free websites, called CalorieCount. I’ve never been one to count calories but the site is so much more than that. It allows you to input what you eat each day, what exercise you do (yes, driving counts!) and does an in-depth analysis based on your body weight, height and age.  This analysis feature is new and improved and a major eye opener to to things-  1) I’m consistently consuming way too much sodium and 2) consistently not consuming enough iron. After just one day of inputting what you eat (it’s linked to restaurant nutrition facts so if you go out it calculates the exact nutritional workup of your journal entries), it has a bar chart and pie chart showing you the breakdown of your eating by carbs, fiber, sodium, protein and all the vitamins. For me the idea is less about weight loss and more about being conscious of what I’m eating. In a sedentary office job environment, so much time is spent just sitting in front of a computer working. Sure, you can use CalorieCount to help monitor your goal if you’d like to lose weight by a certain date. For me though, I really enjoy entering in all the things I eat on a daily basis and seeing how I’m doing each day, helping guide my nutrition. It also works as a placebo effect- you’d probably feel guilty about entering in that snickers bar or donut that you just might stay away! You can also connect with friends and help each other stay motivated.

As we get older, I find the focus more on awareness of what I’m taking in and how I feel. I live a very active lifestyle incorporating exercise, considering myself a pretty healthy eater and savvy restaurant patron. Eating heavy fatty foods doesn’t give a person the energy they need to constantly be on the go and sharp, making  your blood sugar nosedive. Skipping meals is also the WORST possible habit. Thankfully I get very uncomfortable migraines if I don’t eat, so I rarely skip meals. I also love to cook. The Cook This Not That is so eye-opening. One serving of mac and cheese w/ salsa made at home with low-fat milk is only 450 calories. Compare that to a mac & cheese dish from Cheesecake Factory and you’re down 1,475 calories!! Speaking of Cheesecake Factory,  they are one of THE worst restaurant offenders when it comes to calories per serving. Pair that with 2-4 times the average serving size and you’re talking about a dangerous combination for your arteries.

Definitely limiting eating out is key in the calorie crusade. My husband and I have a trend we employ during the warmer months. We live within walking distance from a few “restaurant row” plazas with fantastic dining. Now that the sun stays out a bit longer, if we’re going to eat out, we walk there and back. It’s a great workout, we love getting to spend more time together catching each other up on the day’s happenings, and we feel better by walking off our food afterward. Then, we come home and walk two dogs. It ends up being an awesome way to skip my typical evening exercise video routine when my honey is home early or on his days off. It’s a great trend that we hope to continue as long as the nice weather stays. Another habit that I’ve had for a while- when I know I’ll be dining out with friends or a group, I go check out the restaurant’s nutrition facts online and find a handful of items that are pretty healthful so I’m not swayed by the server trying to “upsell” me on fatty appetizers or “fries with that”. I also request the cook NOT dip my steak into butter, as they do automatically whenever you order a steak at a restaurant so it looks glossy and pretty. Unless you specifically ask, it will be butter soaked. And lastly, when I order a salad with the dressing on the side, I dip my fork in the dressing and then pick up some salad. I’ve noticed consistently I use 1/4 of the dressing I would have if I doused the salad. Little changes in your eating habits have lasting implications.

If nothing else, these books are great to flip through while you’re killing time at a bookstore this summer. I highly recommend them and wish the programming gods would come out with a DROID app for this. 🙂

“DAVID ZINCZENKO, SVP/Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health magazine and Editorial Director of Women’s Health magazine, is the author of New York Times bestsellers The Abs Diet and The Abs Diet for Women. Once an overweight child, Zinczenko has become one of the nation’s leading experts on health and fitness. He is a regular contributor to the Today show and has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, 20/20, The Rachael Ray Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”~Amazon.com

Xo♥xo,

LibraryLove

 

Author Spotlight and Book Signing:: Garth Stein :: April 17, 2010

Two barks Denny, two barks!!

Have you ever read a book that changed the way you view the world? For me, that book was Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, which continues to hold its place on the New York Times Bestseller list. Tonight, I had the rare opportunity to meet this amazing author alongside my friends Becca, Planetbooks, and her husband. Stein held a reading, Q&A discussion, and book signing that still has me floating on a cloud.  Not only is Stein charming, funny, and down to earth, he also loves to cook! Click here for his favorite recipes 🙂 Garth has excellent skills as a public speaker, gave fantastic eye contact, and was truly connected with engaging the audience. As someone who volunteers with animal rescue, this book had such a profound impact on me, I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I first read it, as ARR is told from the viewpoint of the family’s beloved dog, Enzo. In our rescue newsletters, we try to establish a connection from our orphan dogs to the reader  often telling their stories as if they themselves, the dog, were writing to our readership. We’ve gotten so many compliments on these types of stories and love doing it whenever possible. It was so fascinating to hear Garth talk about the path to publication, and how difficult it was to find an agent who would represent a novel narrated by the dog. I think it to be genius, and I’m SO glad Garth persevered and followed his dream. In doing so, he challenged the status quo.

I also loved Stein’s Raven Stole the Moon and look forward to supporting and promoting this creative and thoughtful author.

Albeit a small token, I gifted Garth a handwritten card along with a copy of The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide. Garth, I hope you enjoy this book and that you will share it with your 3 sons, as a very small token of my appreciation for your talent and what you do to change peoples’ lives with your writing. What do you get the person who changed your life? Maybe a book that can teach him and his sons how to fend off a bear attack? Or how to find food in the wilderness? Sure, why not! If nothing else, Garth, I hope you get a kick out of it 🙂 I hope to get a full review of the book when we see you at your event in September!!

I’ve shared ARR with countless friends in my circle who have each loved it for their own reasons. Make a beeline for your nearest bookish establishment and pick up a copy of Art of Racing in the Rain or any of Garth Stein’s artful works.  Stein is on my VERY short list of top favorite authors. Art of Racing in the Rain does not disappoint. I laughed, I cried, and smiled at the end of the book and loved the way Stein tied things up. Enzo, one of the main characters, will always be in my heart and I will be forever changed by him. Check Stein’s website for more information on his other projects or to attend an event in your area.

“Garth Stein is the author of the New York Times best-selling literary novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain (Harper, 2008). Now published in 23 languages, The Art of Racing in the Rain was the #1 BookSense selection for June, 2008, the Starbucks spring/summer 2008 book selection, and has been on the IndieBound™ bestseller list since its publication. Stein’s previous novel, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (Soho Press, 2005) won a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and was a BookSense Pick in both hardcover and paperback. Raven Stole the Moon (Harper, 2010) was Stein’s first novel. He has also written a full-length play, Brother Jones, and produced a number of award-winning documentaries. With an M.F.A. in film from Columbia University (1990), Garth worked as a documentary film maker for several years, and directed, produced, or co-produced several award winning films. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Seattle, Garth’s ancestry is diverse: his mother, a native of Alaska, is of Tlingit Indian and Irish descent; his father, a Brooklyn native, is the child of Jewish emigrants from Austria. After spending his childhood in Seattle and then living in New York City for 18 years, Garth returned to Seattle, where he currently lives with his wife, three sons, and their dog, Comet.” ~GarthStein.com

Two barks from our Akitas, Senshi and Zumo!!


Don’t forget to patronize your local library and pick up a page turner. 

Happy reading!

xo♥xo,

LibraryLove

 

Author’s Spotlight:: Kathryn Stockett:: March 9, 2010

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Did you like my review of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help?

Curious to hear about her inspiration for writing an amazing historical fiction piece about segregation in the south in the 60s?

Looks like we’re not the only ones on The Help’s bandwagon. Book clubs all over the country are abuzz about The Help!

Check out here website here! I hope she comes to the area for a book signing in the near future.

Dreamworks and Steven Spielberg are teaming up to bring this amazing novel to the silver screen.

Movie viewing here we come, girls!!

Who would your dream cast be?

Anne Hathaway as mean girl Hilly?

Oprah as the steady Aibileen?

Claire Daines as quirky Skeeter?

Xoxo,

LibraryLove

 

Author’s Spotlight::Beth Hoffman:: March 7, 2010

Did you enjoy my review of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt?

I loved that book so much I had to do a feature on Beth Hoffman. After a career in one of her life passions (interior design), Beth had the chance to pursue her other passion, writing. When she suffered group A streptococcal infection that resulted in septic shock and was forced to reevaluate her life, she seized the opportunity. She spent the next four years writing her debut and, in my opinion, exploded onto the literary scene! If you haven’t picked up Saving CeeCee Honeycutt yet, I am confident it is the first of many delightful stories to come from Beth Hoffman!

Check out my review of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and visit Beth’s website. And this bookworm is following her Event Schedule hoping she makes it to the nation’s capital! Maybe I’ll see you there!

Happy Reading!

~Fabookulous~

 

Breakout Author’s Spotlight:: Sarah Pekkanen:: February 20, 2010

Are you a fan of authors like Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin?

Do you love quick whitted and down to earth authors?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, you will ADORE Sarah Pekkanen! Major congratulations are in order for my friend’s brand new breakout novel, The Opposite of Me, in stores March 9th, 2010.

Please check out Sarah’s Website for more information on her book, tour dates, and to sign up for her hysterical monthly newsletter. Oh, and email Lorne Michels and tell him you want to see Sarah on Saturday Night Live 😉

Sarah Pekkanen’s work has been published in People, The Washington Post, USA Today, The New Republic, The Baltimore Sun, Reader’s Digest, and Washingtonian, among others. She writes a monthly Erma Bombeck type column for Bethesda Magazine, and has been an on-air contributor to NPR and E! Entertainment’s “Gossip Show.” She is the winner of a Dateline award and the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship. Sarah lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and three young sons. ~Simon & Schuster

Other Sarah Pekkanen News:

Publisher’s Weekly Deals, 07/21/08
http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6579803.html?industryid=47146
A first novel by Sarah Pekkanen titled The Opposite of Me; Victoria Sanders sold world English rights. Pekkanen, a monthly columnist for Bethesda magazine, will, tongue in cheek, explore low self-esteem, the hunger to succeed and have it all, and the grueling but rewarding bond of sisterhood. Pekannen’s work has been published in a host of newspapers and magazines. Pub date is early 2010.

Bethesda Magazine

Other clippings

“Rookie reporter scoops the big guys on Collins,” Detroit Journal
http://www.forensic-intelligence.org/corrupt/10rookie14.htm

Xoxo, LibraryLove

PS- Special thanks to my dear friend PlanetBooks for introducing me to

Sarah, who is so whitty, our facebook conversations crack me up everytime!

 

Author’s Spotlight:: When Two Worlds Collide:: February 12, 2010

Hi all! As we dig out from the Snowpocalyptic conditions here in the area,  a fellow book blogger and dear friend, Planetbooks, uncovered this fun and exciting interview about an author I will get the pleasure of meeting at her book signing/reading in two weeks!  Ever heard the phrase when worlds collide? Read on to find out about two fantastic authors we love here at YOTBW2010. Just so happens that Kathryn Stockett, one of YOTBW2010’s new favorite author of New York Times Bestseller The Help, which both of us bookworms read and raved about, just interviewed Sarah Blake, author of The Postmistress, for an Amazon.com review exclusive!  I couldn’t be happier to meet Sarah Blake, and am patiently waiting to read Blake’s The Postmistress until the signed copy is in my hands, and not a minute sooner! Of course, I’ll share my review here for you all to enjoy. I hope you’ll pick up one of Sarah’s other novels, Grange House or Full Turn while you wait your turn for The Postmistress at a library near you.

Until then, here’s the interview!! xoxo, LibraryLove

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