COVER UP ~ “Booking Through Thursday” Virgin

A little while ago I was checking out a fellow book blogger’s post over at The Written Word where she posted in response to another blog out there, Booking Through Thursday .  I have noticed their button    on other book blogs and never thought twice about it, but after reading TWW’s post and checking out the link to BTT’s site I was curious.  They post a weekly question related to books on multiple levels and then ask you to blog about it on your own site.  This weeks question was intriguing so I guess this is where I loose my BTT cherry so to speak.  The question is: 

While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

I left a comment over at The Written Word post “Cover Up” but decided that on this lazy Sunday I would do a post about it myself. 

I think that it’s very hard not to judge a book by it’s cover in most cases.  When I am in a book store and can actually pick up a book, soft or hard cover, the cover is the first thing that my eye is drawn too.  Be it the picture or the font of the title, unless I am going in for a specific book and have great will power and can avoid all the other books on the shelf I may be more likely to pick up an interesting looking book.  Yes the title itself has a role in it for me but the whole package can be very persuasive. 

I read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides for a book club a couple of years ago and had this soft cover version:

A Novel (Oprah's Book Club)

Well, at our book club meeting one of my friends had the hard cover version: A Novel

I ended up asking her if she would like to trade books with me and now I have this beautiful book on my shelf.  I will admit that I was glad to actually read the softback version due to the weight difference and the fact that I do a lot of my reading in bed lying down, but with it being one of my favorite books, I am happy to have the hardcover version.  I also like to have interesting looking books so when buying books I might look at the bargain priced version to see if it’s different then the latest more popular copy.  Especially in times when a book like Middlesex recieves Oprah’s Book Club stamp on the softback version. 

Due to the weight of books, hard and soft covers, I am very interested in Amazon’s KINDLE and hope to get one when we move back to the States in 2009.  I blogged about the Kindle when it was introduced to the world back in November 2007 and am just amazed by it’s capabilities.

“Okinawa Idol”

The Navy-Marine Corps Family Relief Society held the first “Okinawa Idol” contest this afternoon outside the Camp Foster PX.  There were seventeen or so contestants, including yours truly, who were required to perform one song for the preliminary round.  I sang “I Drove All Night” in the style of Celine Dion and made it to the Final round.  There I competed against four extremely talented and entertaining singers.  We were required to sing two songs back to back so I chose Madonna’s “Music” followed by “I Will Always Love You” as performed by Whitney Houston.  Well, for what it is worth, I am the newly crowned “Okinawa Idol”!!!  It was a great experience and I worked my butt off and had a great time. 

If you are curious about my singing abilities you can visit my MySpace page Once you are there, scroll down to the five or so “eSnips” players and you can listen to two demos I cut in Nashville a few years ago as well as some stuff I recorded against karaoke tracks in a friend’s basement studio back in Maryland. 

Cookie Marathon – Week 1


Last week I received my copy of Martha Stewart’s Cookies Cookbook and couldn’t wait to dive in and try some recipes.  Well I may have a new hobby here folks and that is making a cookie recipe a week.  The hubby thinks I should start a blog titled “How Fat Can Pete Get?” but I think I will stick to posting pictures of the cookies I make here on Planet Books instead. 

I actually made two of the 175 recipes over the weekend and man, were they delicious.  The first one is “Thin & Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies”.  Now, I have always made the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Cookie and have never strayed from that sure fire recipe but I was curious about this one.  Well folks, it was AWESOME!!!!  Buttery and crispy and HUGE! 

The second cookie I made was “Chocolate Thumb Prints”.  This was a first of this type of recipe for me and it was fun to make.  I finally figured a better way of making the thumb print with the last batch.  Instead of freezing your finger on ice and than pressing it into the hot hot cookie, I chilled the tip of my coffee scoop and used that to make the indentation.  I got a deeper hole that looked nicer when holding the chocolate filling after completely cooling.  Below are pics of the two cookies on a platter for a going away party I attended on Tuesday. 

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I Think I’m Back On The Wagon!

Yesterday  I picked up the DVD’s “I Am Legend” and “Atonement”, “Guitar Hero III ~ Legends of Rock” for our PS3 as well as a new book.  I know, I know… I have tons of books I haven’t read yet on my book shelves at home.  Well, I think that a new purchase (in person and not an on-line buy) was needed to lift me from my fog.  I bought Jodi Picoult’s newest release, “Change of Heart“. 

A NovelI have never read any of Picoult’s novels but did get her comic book/graphic novel of “Wonder Woman ~ Love & Murder” back in January.  A great book blog out there called GIRLS JUST READING and they have a post about spending an hour with Jodi Picoult and hearing her discuss and promote her latest title.

Love and Murder (Wonder Woman (DC Comics))

I started Change of Heart last night in bed and picked up where I left off when I woke up this morning.  I haven’t gotten very far but so far it’s interesting and I like the tones of true life, everyday topics.  Yes, those topics are murder, court testimony and a jury sentencing a criminal to death, but the feeling of the story is real which maybe I needed right now. 

Are any of you Jodi Picoult fans and if so what are your favorites of her novels?  Do you have anything you may be reading right now that you would like to tell us about here at Planet Books?   

Reader’s Block

Have you ever found yourself looking at your bookshelves for the next book you are going to read and just feel stumped?  I have picked up four or five books in the last two days and have quickly placed them back on the shelf because I just wasn’t feeling a connection at this time.  I feel a little lost without a book to read on my nightstand but I have gotten a lot read in my magazine tray on the coffee table. 
What do you do when you find yourself with a bad case of “reader’s block”?  What is the longest length of time yours has lasted and what was the book that broke the spell? 

Another One For The READ Shelf

I just finished Diablo Cody’s memoir, “Candy Girl ~ A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper”.  Diablo Cody is the screenwriter of the independent film, “JUNO” so when I saw her memoir, “Candy Girl” at the PX I couldn’t help but put it in my shopping basket.  Cody shares her adventures as a stripper in Minnesota for a year.  She starts out being a curious twenty-five year old who thinks it might be interesting to see how “the other half lives” and ends up leaving the skin industry after burning out in her fourth strip joint.  Though it had it’s funny and quirky moments there was a lot of very graphic detail about customers and what she did to herself and to them for money. 

For the most part this book was entertaining and a light, quick read.  I wonder if a movie will be made of it though.  It would be pretty interesting if it was. 

Now I’m back to trying to figure out what my next reading adventure will be.  I might take a break and read some of the mags that have been waiting patiently for my attention on the coffee table though. 

She’s Come A Long Way

I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing “Juno” yet but as soon as it’s available on DVD it will be in my hot big hands.  I loved the screenwriter, Diablo Cody’s acceptance speach at the Oscars last month and I have read a few of her articles for Entertainment Weekly and really enjoyed her writing.  So when I came across her memoir, “Candy Girl ~ A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper” at the PX, I couldn’t help myself and placed it in my shopping basket.  The PX doesn’t usually have a very interesting book selection so when I do see something that catches my eye and it means I won’t have to wait on the USPS and Military mail system then I buy the book.

  A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper

So after finishing “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves” yesterday morning, I decided to go in a totally new direction and took “Candy Girl” off my shelf and dug in.  So far it’s entertaining and Cody’s voice is familiar and relatable.  Nothing too exciting has happened yet but I’m only on page 38.  I’ll let you know what I think when I’m done.  I feel good about all the reading I’ve gotten in lately.  I’ve really tried to read more than just at bed time and it’s great. 

Strange Stories

Well, this morning I completed our March/April book, “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves” by Karen Russell.  Boy was it strange.  I do have a favorite story and some that I liked mroe than others but I will wait till the last week of April to discuss them. 

Have you gotten started on this book yet?  If you have which stories have you read and have you liked them or not?  What else are you reading?  I haven’t decided on what I’m going to read next but I will probably know by the end of the weekend. 

I am anxiously awaiting Martha Stewart’s new cookie cookbook to arrive in the mail next week.  I discovered that on you can watch all her shows so I have been addicted to that.  I was able to catch a few of her episodes while we were in the States for Christmas and really liked the simplistic style of which it was done so I am very excited that I can watch all the episodes now.  I’m trying to be a better house keeper and a way that is helping me is asking myself, “What would Martha do?”

Alligators, Glowworm Grottos, & Restless Nights

If you are reading “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves” then you understand the title of this post.  I have read the first three stories in this ten story collection by Karen Russell and so far, I’ve been confused, curious, and charmed.  I was very confused by the first story, “Ava Wrestles The Alligator” and wasn’t too sure if I was going to enjoy the rest of these short stories all set in the Florida Everglades.  The first one had so many hidden meanings and was just plain strange. 

I really enjoyed the second story, “Haunting Olivia”.  I was saddened by the brothers search for their sister as well as hopeful for a happy ending of some kind.  Russell’s descriptions are so vivid and I felt a bit damp by the end of the second story.

The third story is titled, “Z.Z.’s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers”.  My favorite paragraph in this story, and really so far is:  “This isn’t the ashes to ashes of our dreams.  This is Merino, our living, bleating lamb, now a heap of meat and sweaters.”  To describe the dead carcass of a lamb as meat and sweaters is just so clever to me. 

I began the fourth story, “The Star-Gazer’s Log of Summertime Crime” this afternoon and so far it’s not one of my favorites but it’s only just begun so maybe it will turn around.  I’ll be sure to let you know. 

How are you doing?  Have you picked your copy up yet, and if so, which stories have you read so far? 

Book Review ~ The Abstinence Teacher

The Abstinence TeacherThis week, I read “The Abstinence Teacher” by Tom Perrotta.  It was one of the many books I received from my family for Christmas as well as one of the books on my TBR shelf that I had in mind for my “33 of 33” self-challenge.  I was glad to have a moment to read it, though that meant I had fallen off the wagon that is “The Pillars of the Earth”.  (That book is sooooooo long, good, but long.)

I had read Perrotta’s “Little Children” a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  Well “The Abstinence Teacher” has a similar formula but on a completely different topic.  The story is about a health/sex ed high school teacher who ends up in a morality and belief battle with her school district as well as the local soccer coach who is a recovering drug and alcohol addict and wishes he could find easier success with being a born-again Christian.  The story is very suspenseful and the character development is wonderful but there were some things missing that would have cleared up some questions.  Why did the teacher, Ruth, not believe in God and have such a huge problem with prayer after the Soccor game when it was led by Coach Tim?  I also understand the the author likes to give us a glimpse into the character’s lives and we are to think that their lives are just continuing past the last page but I like things tied up in a nice bow when I have enjoyed a book and it’s characters so much.  All in all I would recommend this book because of the thoughts it provokes about issues that are real in America’s society.