BTT ~ Windfall

btt button

Yesterday, April 15th, was Tax Day here in the U.S., which means lots of lucky people will get refunds of over-paid taxes.

Whether you’re one of them or not, what would you spend an unexpected windfall on? Say … $50? How about $500?

(And, this is a reading meme, so by rights the answer should be book-related, but hey, feel free to go wild and splurge on anything you like.)

I LOVE this question!  What to do with “an unexpected windfall?”  Shoes, books, purses, music.  That’s what I would buy without a care in the world.  Thanks to iTunes and the Kindle Store I can have instant gratification of buying music and books now, though I do love to paruse the shelves at bookstores.  Purses!  I LOVE them and call them “Pets.”  I have a lovely collection that I love to keep growing.  Coach, Banana Republic, Dooney & Burke, Japanese designers (purchased in Kyoto) and fabulous bags from trips to Hong Kong.  (I can’t wait to hit the designer outlets once we are back in the states and I am working again.)  Fun, fun, fun!!!  And shoes.  What woman doesn’t LOVE shoes?  I always say, “Purses and shoes always fit.” 

BTT ~ Best Bad Book

btt button

The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”


The book that comes to mind first when I think of answering this question is The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.  I read and blogged about TMKD in October of 2007 and at the time there was a Lifetime Movie adaption of the book coming out and the reviews of the book weren’t great.  I agreed with the reviews to a point but over all, I really liked the book.  I usually agree with the book bloggers out there on books but this one was an edge of your seat read for me and I am glad I read it.

BTT ~ Movie Potential

btt button

Tami inspired this week’s question:

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

Of the books I’ve read recently, I think that Sarah’s Keyby Tatiana de Rosnay would make a great film.  Recently there has been a slew of good WWII era movies and this story is one that I would want to see on the silver screen.  A sad story always makes for good movie watching when the acting is done well.  Spielberg has produced many WWII films including Flags of Our Fathers, Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List and of course the amazing Band of Brothers on HBO.  Steven Spielberg has an understanding of the Jewish community and history during the Nazi invasion of Europe that would make him an ideal choice for bringing the story of Sarah and her family to life.

BTT ~ The Best Book You’ve Never Read

btt button

We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?

I don’t tend to read the Classics.  I like to change it up every once in a while and I have been getting reading ideas from the other book blogs I frequent.  Some of the books that I haven’t read yet, but it seems everyone else has, are Into The Woods by Tana French, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by by Junot Diaz, Loving Frank by Nancy Horan as well as so many others.  I like to read books off of the New York Times Bestseller list too, but have fallen off that wagon.  I’m hoping that when my Kindle 2 FINALLY ARRIVES, I will get back to reading from that list as well as maybe trying some Classics.  Amazon is now offering some of the most classic titles for free in the Kindle format.

BTT ~ The Best?

btt button

It’s a week or two later than you’d expect, and it may be almost a trite question, but … what were your favorite books from 2008?

I’ve been meaning to post my Top 10 of 2008 list for about a week now, so I was glad to learn that Booking Through Thursday‘s question this week was “what were your favorite books from 2008?”  I had set a goal for myself to read 33 books in 2008 for the 33 years I celebrated on my birthday, New Years Day 2008.  Well I met the goal plus one!  Below you will find my top ten favorite reads from the list, followed by the other 23 titles that I read.

Karen’s Top Ten of 2008
1.  (A Tie)
~  The Art of Racing In The Rain
~  Keeping The House
2.  The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Lie Society
3.  Twilight
4.  Between Here & April
5.  Change of Heart
6.  The Abstinence Teacher
7.  Dewey – The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched The World
8.  House & Home
9.  My Best Friend’s Girl
10.  Where The Red Fern Grows
12.  Shopgirl
13.  My War… Killing Time In Iraq
14.  Wonder Woman: Love & Murder
15.  St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves
16.  Candy Girl
17.  Matrimony
18.  Mrs. Lieutenant
19.  Sail
20.  The Last Summer (Of You And Me)
21.  Night
22.  My Horizontal Life
23.  Schooled
24.  I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone
25.  The Great Man
26.  The Summer of Naked Swim Parties
27.  Loose Girl
28.  Time of My Life
29.  Man of the House
30.  Home Girl
31.  Lulu In Marrakech
32.  Bachelor Degree
33.  Off The Menu
(34.  Driving Sideways ~ Review Still Pending)

BTT ~ Time Is Of The Essence

btt button

1. Do you get to read as much as you WANT to read?
(I’m guessing #1 is an easy question for everyone?)
2. If you had (magically) more time to read–what would you read? Something educational? Classic? Comfort Reading? Escapism? Magazines?

When I’m in the zone (which can last for months, weeks, days or hours) I find that I read a ton of books.  But when I am not in the zone, it is very hard for me to commit to the time I need in order to read what I really need to read for reviews.  Right now I am not in the zone.  I think it is due to the fact that the holidays are upon us and the social calendar is a little more full than usual.  Because of that, when I am home, I just want to watch T.V. or surf the net. 

If I found more time to read, which isn’t really hard for me to do but dedicating myself to the time is the sometimes the hard part, than I might not feel as overwhelmed by the reviewing venture I set out on this year.  I am trying to remember to read for “fun” and not “requirement” every so often though.  I have made it a habit of reading in bed before falling asleep as well as taking a book with me when I’m going out for the day just in case I have to wait for someone or get stuck in line somewhere. 

What about you?  Do you read as much as you would like?  Do you feel like you need more time for reading in your day?

BTT ~ What’s Sitting On Your Shelf?

btt button

Okay–here was an interesting article by Christopher Schoppa in the Washington Post.

Avid readers know all too well how easy it is to acquire books — it’s the letting go that’s the difficult part. … During the past 20 years, in which books have played a significant role in both my personal and professional lives, I’ve certainly had my fair share of them (and some might say several others’ shares) in my library. Many were read and saved for posterity, others eventually, but still reluctantly, sent back out into the world.

But there is also a category of titles that I’ve clung to for years, as they survived numerous purges, frequent library donations and countless changes of residence. I’ve yet to read them, but am absolutely certain I will. And should. When, I’m not sure, as I’m constantly distracted by the recent, just published and soon to be published works.

So, the question is this: “What tomes are waiting patiently on your shelves?

This is something I think about and worry about too often.  What books are waiting, some impatiently, for me to finally pick them up and read?  Where to begin.  Well, I’ll start by looking at the shelf to my right. 

New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn ~ Stephenie Meyer
Hellen of Troy ~ Margaret George
Sweet Love ~ Sarah Strohmeyer
The Gargoyle ~ Andrew Davidson
Final Theory ~ Mark Alpert
Drama City ~ George Pelecanos
Barefoot ~ Elin Hilderbrand
The Alienist ~ Caleb Carr
The Host ~ Stephenie Meyer

Now let me check out the shelf to my left.

Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins ~ Rupert Everett
Audition ~ Barbara Walters
The Little Friend ~ Donna Tartt
The Golden Compass ~ Philip Pullman
The Innocent Man ~ John Grisham

I won’t even look at the two tall book shelves in the study to add more titles to my lists from.  I’m embarrassed and depressed as it is just looking at the two lists I just constructed based on me two short book shelves alone.  The reason I have fallen behind on reading these titles is because of my book reviewing endeavor I have jumped into.  I love it and enjoy it immensely but I do wish I was a much faster reader so I could read everything I have, not just the books for reviews. 

Do you find yourself in my predicament too?  If so, do you alternate one review book than one of your own books?  Are you a speed reader so you don’t have these frivolous worries?  Do you have any advise?

Playing Ketchup

Sorry!  For some reason the comments setting was off.  Now you may comment away!

There have been a few things I’ve been meaning to post about here at Planet Books but I hesitate because I don’t want to deter from the latest guest post.  I like to give that author a few days at the top!  So before my next guest post from author Jessica Blau this weekend I’m going to get some things taken care of here.

First:  Lisa at Books on the Brain tagged me on a Teaser Tuesday meme the other day and I promised to respond with my answer this weekend.  Well, I’m getting it done now. 

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme that is just too much fun to pass up.  Here’s how it works:

● Grab your current read. 
● Let the book fall open to a random page. 
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. 
● You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! 
● Please avoid spoilers!
I am currently reading Stephanie Kuehnert’s debut novel, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone.  It is about a girl named Emily Black who is a teen during the decline of Punk and the rise of Grunge in small town Wisconsin.  She has been raised by her music loving, guitar playing father and they both suffer from the fact that Emily’s mother left them when Emily was just a baby.  Emily forms a punk band that seems to be gaining a little attention but I’m only half way through so we’ll have to wait and see.
The book opened to page 84 but I’m going to do two short paragraphs instead of sentences.  I just can’t break up the paragraphs!    
    “Oh my god,” Jackie cackled.  “You are a joke.  A band?  A show?  Where, in your basement with your two loser friends?  Oh wait, they’re probably in the band, right?” 
     The rest of the class chortled along wtih her.  I’d never hated Carlisle more.  “Shut up, bitch!  Ten years from now -”  
Second: btt button

You, um, may have noticed that the Olympics are going on right now, so that’s the genesis of this week’s question, in two parts:


  • Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
  • Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

And, Second:

  • Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
  • Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.
  • (Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)
I have never read any books on the Olympics or any sports in general that I can think of.  The hubby has read numerous books on football though.  What I can see on the book shelves right now are Wins, Losses, and Lessons by Lou Holtz, Johnny U ~ The Life & Times of John Unitas by Tom Callahan and Next Man Up by John Feinstein. 
I do LOVE NFL football though and am a born and bred Washington Redskins fan.  Living over here in Okinawa has made being a football fan a bit tricky.  AFN (Armed Forces Network) airs NFL games live and then plays Sunday and Monday night games again that evening for those poor fans who actually had to work in the morning when the live feed was airing.  My husband, bless his heart, is one of the many die-hard fans who gets up at 2 or 3 or 5 or 6 am throughout the season to watch his beloved Skins play.  The better the team plays during the season means the more of their games are aired on AFN because of the likeliness that they will be playoff contenders.  We have one more year of this exhausting schedule and then it’s back to the States and watching football when you are supposed to watch football. 
My favorite sports movie over the last few years is INVINCIBLE starring the yummy Mark (Marky Mark) Wahlberg.  Beginning to end this movie is amazing, backed by an equally amazing and moving soundtrack.  It’s the story of Vince Papale, a bartender in Philly who is the superstar player in his weekly football league of friends.  When new coach Dick Vermeil decides to shake things up in the Philadelphia Eagles (BOO, oh sorry, that’s the Redskins fan in me BOOING MY ASS OFF AT PHILLY) franchise by having open tryouts, Papale decides to try out at the insistence of his friends.  Well, he makes the team and what follows makes a great story for a movie. 

Mark Wahlberg in Invincible, opening Friday. 


Third:  I would like to bring your attention to a new feature on this blog.  To your right you will see an added links box with a list of Guest Post Authors.  Each name is a link to their website.  This list will continue to grow as authors continue to graciously accept my invitations to write guest posts for us to read here on Planet Books.  I have really enjoyed the correspondence I have shared with these authors and look forward to new relationships with future guest posters. 


Fourth:  Author of the upcoming novel Time of My Life, Allison Winn Scotch is asking book clubs to consider reading her book (release date October 7th, 2008) and she wants to call in and chat with your book club.  You can check out the details HERE


Well that about covers everything I’ve had on my plate.  I hope you are doing well and enjoying whatever you may be reading today.  See you soon & Happy Reading!!


Booking Through Thursday ~ Vacation Spots

btt button

Do you buy books while on vacation/holiday?
Do you have favorite bookstores that you only get to visit while away on a trip?
What/Where are they?

The last time I bought books on vacation was when I was in Singapore last year.  I visited the Borders Bookstore there everyday over our four day stay and purchased numerous books.  I was familiar with the U.S. covers so when I came across a book that came with two different covers, say the UK print, I was sure to buy the non-US print for collector purposes. 

I used to be a music seller at the White Flint Borders Books, Music & Cafe in Rockville, MD so when we go on trips around the country I like to visit different stores.  I do this with Cheesecake Factory restaurants too.  I worked at the 16th Street Mall Cheesecake Factory in downtown Denver, CO in the late 90’s.  I have been to at least a dozen different Cheesecake Factory locations from Seattle to Boca Raton, FL.  Let’s see if I can remember all the locations:  Seattle WA, Bellevue WA, Denver CO, Boulder CO, Frisco TX, Chicago IL, Chevy Chase MD, Rockville MD, Baltimore MD, Tyson’s Corner VA, Arlington VA, West Palm Beach FL, Fort Lauderdale FL, and Boca Raton FL.  Whew!!  That’s a lot of cheesecake & apple dumplings!

I’m not usually a big book shopper when I’m on vacation though but I tend to buy CD’s when traveling.  Since music is such a big part of my life I like to have music that reminds me of where I’ve been.  Not necessarily music representative of the place but just something that will remind me of the trip when I listen to it.  The two most memorable CD’s purchased on vacation are The Go-Go’s Greatest Hits that I picked up at a used cd store during my high school choir trip to Orlando senior year.  The second CD was just last year while the hubby and I were visiting Tokyo.  We were in Shibuya and came across a large CD store.  The new G. Love CD had just been released in Japan and this copy had a few extra tracks just for Japanese stores.  Too cool!

Booking Through Thursday ~ Doomsday

btt button

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?
Whether it’s a local book shop, your town library, or an Internet shop … what would you do if, suddenly, they were out of business? Devastatingly, and with no warning? Where would you go for books instead? What would you do? If it was a local business you would try to help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other store? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?

May 2005 found us moving to Okinawa, Japan and away from Borders, Barnes & Noble and all American (English) bookstores.  Though the base PX’s & BX have some of the latest NY Times bestseller titles on their shelves the days of wandering aimlessly through the stacks of a real bookstore haven’t existed since and won’t until next spring when we move back to the States.  Thank God for!  But if that ceased to exist (yeah right!) then I would order from (yes they severed from Amazon last month and now have their own on line store).  I love the Barnes & Noble website but their shipping time takes at least a month to get here.  I would also resort to making lists and asking my folks to send me books if I had too.  Actually, some ARC’s I receive have to be sent to them and then they forward the packages on to me because the publishers use DSL or UPS or something and I can only accept USPS (Priority if you want it to get here in a week, otherwise GOOD LUCK) at our base Post Office.