Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bookworm Books

How many books would a bookworm read if a bookworm could read all day?

There were 34 books on the table at our last Bookworms Anonymous meeting, and a few of us still have a backlog on our shelves. This was the meeting to which I contributed one lonely book (I hadn't even read it yet, but had just received it in the mail: Anna Quindlen's new Every Last One) because I hadn't had read a book during the month! This was a shocking revelation to the other Bookworms, two of whom had read 10 books each during the four weeks between meetings.

Here's the list of books currently circulating, excluding the few emergency books some of us were forced to read when we ran out of worthy reading material and purchased tourniquet books just to get us through the day:

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
The Girl in the Green Sweater by Krystyna Chiger and Daniel Paisner
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Crazy Ladies by Michael Lee West
The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty
If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende
The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Angie just read this one! It had circulated through the group years ago when she was working on Mackinac Island and missed a few meetings)
More of This World or Maybe Another by Barb Johnson
Life is So Good by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman
Between Here and April by Deborah Kogan
Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (junk food book--compulsive page-turner, not much substance)
The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perotta
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell
Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb

Sit back and enjoy the read...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bookworms Anonymous Meetings Changing?

At our last Bookworms Anonymous meeting last week, our hostess served crab cakes, a rice & veggie side dish, a killer green salad with apples, and ice cream topped with frozen wild blueberries she picked last year. Then she admitted she'd prefer to revert to serving only hors d'oeuvres, which is what we used to serve before we progressed to gourmet meals. Some of us find it easier to serve appetizers only, while some prefer to just plan an entire meal and serve everything from salad to dessert.

Our new rules: it's hostess's choice, still all vegetarian, and she can just let us know what to expect before the meeting. We might have dessert only on a Sunday afternoon, or have a couple appetizers with a glass of wine, or a full-blown gourmet meal.

I like this new freedom. It makes the meetings more interesting and the hosting less of an obligation. Of course, I already have my next menu planned and it's not my turn to host until June, but on my next next turn (seven months after this June) I just might decide to serve cheesecake only. Maybe I'll add some homemade ginger shortbread. Of course it'll be January by then, so maybe a hearty faux-beef stew would be good with some crusty bread and a green salad. Ooh! I can make the new dressing I just discovered. This is how it happens...there are just too many interesting things to make and serve, and I'll probably never go back to anything simple. I have a whole file of recipes to try just for Bookworms Anonymous.

Looks like I won't be giving up cooking anytime soon.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

My husband invited me to lunch today and on the way there (we were each driving our own trucks, following each other) I realized I didn't have my purse with me. The restaurant doesn't take credit cards so I called my date and asked him if he had any cash, as I had no checkbook or any other way to pay for lunch. "I have cash," he assured me.

We ate lunch and he walked up to pay the bill ($22.47), but when he opened his wallet there were only seven dollars inside, lined up and ready to leap out. "Oops," he said. "I forgot I spent some of my cash on beer last night." Famous last words.

Luckily, we live in the UP where everyone knows everyone else, and in our town, everyone knows we pay our bills every time on time. The waitress/owner didn't even shrug. "That's fine," she said, "just stop in and pay later today or sometime this week. Remember we're closed tomorrow." She didn't even glance at the sign on the wall reading "Absolutely No Credit". Those words only apply to people from away.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Literary jokes

We filed into our monthly book club meeting the other night, arranging ourselves around an already-set, handsomely staged table before noticing the bright paper kites strewn from end to end and pasted with witty sayings or jokes. What a fabulous way to begin a meeting! We took turns passing the kites, each about 4 inches across, clockwise around the table and occasionally reading one aloud between chuckles.

Here are a few samples (most of them are just good, clean fun):
A good egg is hard to beat.
The man who fell into an upholstery machine is completely recovered.
Ignoranus: A person who is both stupid and an asshole.
Testickle: A silly question on a test.
If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
A calendar's days are numbered.

And my personal favorite: A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

She had about a hundred of these one-liners, left over from a party her sister threw, and we each took a kite-bookmark home with us that evening.

This idea is perfect for the first-time book club meeting. Lighten the mood before the meeting starts, before anyone has time to be nervous about presenting their first book, before anything serious has a chance to transpire.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I'm traveling in Italy, my first time in Europe, and something strange has happened. The book I brought with me proved unworthy of my attention so I downloaded an ebook from Kindle. Now I'm having trouble tearing my eyes from the screen to witness the gorgeous scenery passing by the bus or train window!

I've always defended the traditional printed page, so satisfying to smell and watch the progress ("I'm halfway through already! Better read slower!") and I've been reading so long it's a natural inclination to carry a book with me, usually tucked under my arm. These past few days, though, I've simply whipped out me iPhone and clicked my way through a book.

I wasn't sure if I loved reading or books more. Now I know: reading. Definitely reading. Bit I can't wait to visit a bookstore again! Maybe on the way home...