Thursday, July 29, 2010

3rd Generation Kindle...On Sale NOW!

As a 2nd generation kindle owner, I was a bit surprised when I saw that Amazon is now offering a new kindle--actually two new kindles, for under two hundred dollars. The standard kindle is now $189.00 and is available in graphite or white. But Amazon is also offering a $139.00 dollar kindle that does not have build it wireless; although you could use it at any wireless hot spot. Not a bad deal. Amazon's hoping people will buy many of them for their households (so says their website). So Cheers to Amazon for making the kindle a bit more affordable and cheers to us who can now display our rickety-old 2nd generation kindles and feel like complete dunces. cheers to us, rather. My gosh, I just bought mine a year ago and already its out of style. I will say though that I am completely in love with my Kindle (I read it at the gym, outside on my porch, on the airplane) because its so convenient. I can read my newspaper on the treadmill and it makes the time go much faster. The beach is a good idea too. Really, this is the product I COULD NOT live without. So, like em' or hate em' they're here to stay. And quite cheap now too!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New on Playaway....

The first time I saw a Playaway at the library, I was a bit intimidated. "What do you do with THAT?" I wondered. seems the Playaway has many uses. My neighbor listens to them while gardening; my friend uses it when she does chores around the house; and I enjoy taking my Playaway along when I go for a run. If you often listen to books on CD in your car, make sure to check out our Playaway compatible speakers that are available to you so that you can enjoy the Playaway in the same manner you are accustomed to with Audio CD's. The great thing about these little gadgets is how versatile they are--you can take them nearly anywhere and they're incredibly easy to use. We are constantly receiving new titles, so stop in sometime and ask us about our Playaways--I promise you won't be disappointed.

Friday, July 23, 2010

David Sedaris in Milwaukee!!!

Found this on the Boswell Books website:

We're excited to be the bookstore of record for David Sedaris' appearance at the Riverside Theatre, cosponsored by WUWM, on Saturday, October 23rd, at 8 PM. Tickets for the general public go on sale today, Friday, July 23rd, at Noon. Here's more information about the event:

"The celebrated NPR humorist comes to the Riverside Theatre for an evening of cutting wit, social satire, and riveting conversation, including a question and answer session! Experience the hilarious brilliance that created the national bestsellers: Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim and the most recent New York Times number one seller, When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Sedaris is also releasing a new book titled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, which will hit bookstores on September 28, 2010.

"Join David on October 23, 2010 at 8:00PM for an evening of readings and recollections featuring all-new, unpublished readings. And meet him after the show for a special book signing. Get your tickets here."

This will be well worth it and tickets will sell out fast!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Books on the Nightstand....

If you ever have a lack of something to read (gasp!), please check out a blog called Not only do the authors offer free pod casts, they give reviews of books they've enjoyed as well as links to other book blogs. I just checked it out today for the first time and was greatly impressed---I pulled three books from their selections and that was only from the first page of the blog! I have enough to read on my nightstand so I didn't want to delve further and read "past" blogs or else I would become an island unto myself--just me and a mile high pile of books! Hmmm...doesn't sound so bad now that I think about it.

On another note, I've recently moved and have began cooking a bit more as now I have more room in the kitchen to do so. I've been picking up cookbooks here and there and wanted to share two with you that I'll be taking home tonight. The first is "Hungry Girl" by Lisa Lillien who now has an entire franchise built around that name. "Hungry Girl" is the first of the series and has a large selection of recipes that are all low calorie, low fat and most can be made in a matter of minutes! The only qualm I have with these books is that there aren't many pictures in them and I have a tendency to be a very visual cook :P

The other in my book bag is "The Conscious Cook" by Tal Ronnen which contains a myriad of healthy (mostly organic) recipes that make my mouth water just thinking of them! Each recipe also contains a picture with it, so that's a nice bonus. On tomorrow night's menu: Whole wheat penne with San Marzano tomatoes and some pan roasted summer vegetables. Yummy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hot Movie: Inception

I keep hearing great things about this film, so I looked it up online and found a review by Rolling Stone I thought I'd share. I personally tend to agree with their opinions, so I thought I'd pass it along. Enjoy!


The mind-blowing movie event of the summer arrives just in time to hold back the flow of Hollywood sputum that's been sliming the multiplex. Inception, written and directed by the visionary Christopher Nolan, will be called many things, starting with James Bond Meets "The Matrix." You can feel the vibe of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner in it, and Nolan's own Memento and The Dark Knight. But Inception glows with a blue-flame intensity all its own. Nolan creates a dream world that he wants us to fill with our own secrets. I can't think of a better goal for any filmmaker. Of course, trusting the intelligence of the audience can cost Nolan at the box office. We're so used to being treated like idiots. How to cope with a grand-scale sci-fi epic, shot in six countries at a reported cost of $160 million, that turns your head around six ways from Sunday? Dive in and drive yourself crazy, that's how.

Peter Travers reviews Inception in his weekly video series, "At the Movies With Peter Travers."

That's what happens to Dom Cobb, a professional invader of the subconscious played with action-star ferocity and emotional heft by Leonardo DiCaprio. Corporations, like the one run by Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe), hire Dom and his crew to get inside people's heads. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as Arthur, and Tom Hardy, as Eames, are hilarious and scary-smart as grown-up gamers playing with life and death at Dom's command. Did you know that getting killed in a dream is the best way to wake up? They do. Ellen Page's Ariadne is the newcomer on the team, a student who learns as she goes, just like the audience. "Whose subconscious are we in now, exactly?" she asks at one point. You may feel her pain.

Peter Travers picks the season's can't-miss films and the ones with a bad vibe in his summer movie preview.

Dom's new job of head-case espionage, the one he claims will be his last, involves more than extracting info from the subconscious of Fischer (Cillian Murphy), the son of a dying industrialist. It requires Dom to plant an idea into Fischer's dreams. That's inception, baby, and it's a killer. The job also stirs up dangerous memories in Dom of Mal (Marion Cotillard), the wife and mother of his two children, a mystery woman (and, oh, man, can Cotillard exude seductive mystery) whom Dom literally can't get out of his head.

Get more news, reviews and interviews from Peter Travers on The Travers Take.

I'll say no more, except that Inception rewards the attention it demands. The visuals, shot by the gifted Wally Pfister on locations from the steaming heat of Morocco to the snow-capped Alps, are astounding. One segment, in which a freight train barrels through a traffic-clogged street, is jaw-dropping. Just as impressive is the way Nolan stays true to the rules of his own brain-teasing game. The film's demonstration of the three levels of dreaming is certain to inspire deep-dish discourse to rival the Lost finale. But anyone who's ever been lost in the layers of a video game will have no trouble rising to Nolan's invigorating challenge to dig out. Dom claims that the "most resilient parasite" is "an idea." In this wildly ingen­ious chess game, grandmaster Nolan plants ideas in our heads that disturb and dazzle. The result is a knockout. But be warned: Inception dreams big. How cool is that?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

E-Book Sales Soar.....

In Amazon’s ongoing effort to show how popular the Kindle and e-books are without giving away real numbers the company has released a batch of new statistics about the two products ahead of its second quarter earnings report set for Thursday. According to the company, sales of the e-reader “accelerated each month in the second quarter—both on a sequential month-over-month basis and on a year-over-year basis.”
“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle—the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189,” declared Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO. “In addition, even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books.”

According to Amazon, over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books it has sold, the e-tailer has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. The ratio is across Amazon’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded from the totals.

Amazon e-book sales tripled in the first half of 2010 compared to 2009 and its growth rate in the first five months of 2010 was higher than the 207% increase reported by the AAP. Five authors—Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts—have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books and Amazon said that of the 1.4 million e-books that Hachette said James Patterson has sold, 867,881 were for the Kindle.

The Kindle store now has more than 630,000 books and over 510,000 are $9.99 or less.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tess Gerritsen on Libraries....

I normally don't post twice in a day, but this was too good to pass up. On Lesa Holstine's library and book blog author Tess Gerritsen takes the opportunity to talk about what libraries mean to her and the community at large. It's definitely worth reading and if you check back on the blog tonight, Lesa is giving away two free copies of Tess's new book 'Ice Cold.'

Here is a copy of that article:

"They cut the city's library budget down to the bone. And approved funding for another damn sports stadium!"

That was the complaint I heard a few years ago from one of my media escorts as he drove me around his town. He said it with a combination of disgust and disbelief. The city, he said, already had one huge stadium; a new one was necessary to keep the local sports teams happy and to sell more booze and tee shirts. As for libraries? Ha! All they're good for is enriching minds, advancing education, and informing the public. Minor stuff when compared to the importance of throwing around a ball.

As I listened to him rant, I could feel my own blood pressure rising in sympathy. I've always thought of the public library as an institution so beloved in this country that it ranks right up there with mom, the flag, and apple pie. While I was growing up in San Diego, my suburban library branch was an anchor of the community, a place where children mingled with retirees, where librarians gave out prizes for children who read the most books over the summer. Twice a week, my mom would drop me off at that modest building, and I'd scoop up the latest mystery and adventure novels. As long as you kept your voice low and didn't raise a ruckus, a kid was welcome there. It was a place to feed your brain, and in that post-Sputnik era, our country was all about advancing knowledge. Education was how America would produce new scientists, discover new medicines, and put a man on the moon. Libraries were a vital part of that effort.

They still are. But every so often, I'm stunned when a news article or a comment reveals that not everyone agrees.

Last year, this news item ( appeared in a suburban Chicago newspaper, about a citizen who felt that the local library wasn't worth supporting. He felt it was time to stop "indulging people in their hobbies" and "their little, personal, private wants." Just as startling were the online comments that followed that article, including one contending that libraries should "prove their own worth" in the same way health clubs do. "Why force people who don't use it to pay for it?" And: "With the internet along with every school having a library, is there really the need for libraries anymore? At least, does EVERY town need one?"

Is this what we've come to? Libraries are now mere indulgences, and the internet takes the place of books? Why read a book at all, when you can just click on Wikipedia and find all the information you'll ever need, about anything? And if a kid wants to do something as ridiculous as read a novel, well, too bad for him. If he can't pay for a book, he should just learn to do without.

When I encounter attitudes like this, I wonder if the values I grew up with - a respect for deep knowledge and science, a belief that young minds should be nurtured -- have somehow fallen by the wayside. I worry that people now believe that superficial knowledge, so easily available on the internet, is all they'll ever need to acquire. I worry that impoverished children will never experience the joy I felt as a child, wandering the stacks of my local library.

But then I walk into a busy library, as I did just last month in Portland, Maine, and I see scores of patrons eagerly scanning the new titles. Or I'll travel to a library to give a speech, and encounter a room packed with enthusiastic readers, as I recently found in Bowling Green, Kentucky. And I realize that, yes, there are still plenty of people who love libraries, people for whom reading a book still trumps flitting through internet sites.
--Tess Gerritsen

Iowa Girl Eats....

Okay, so one of the best parts of being a librarian is that you are able to peruse the web to help patrons and sometimes you come across something that really catches your eye and you're able to pass it along. Today is your lucky day. I came across which is a really neat blog that a young woman from Iowa writes. She is a very health conscious young lady and often posts about her workouts, or what she's eating, or even her yoga regimen! She gives great cooking and exercise tips (including downloads and giveaways), and I encourage you to check it out. Last night I printed out her recipe for Summer Mac N' Cheese and am going to make this healthy, delicious-looking recipe this evening (in preparation for my "Kids Cooking Class" tomorrow. Check it out if you have some time. It's really well done and makes me hungry every time I read it! Cheers!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Poisoner's Handbook

My fellow librarian and friend Mallory and I have been passing each other this book the last week and I wanted to let you on it. Not only is it a fascinating book; it's one that can be read in bits and pieces (think lunch break) and doesn't lose its flavor. It's about the birth of forensic pathology in New York at the turn of the century and if that doesn't catch your interest immediately, then open it up and read some of the gruesome tales involved. The book focuses on suspicious deaths involving poisons and gases and each dangerous substance receives its own chapter in which the author analyzes particular cases involved with those poisons. It's really fascinating to learn about early medicine--(how far we've come!), but it's even MORE interesting to learn about early murders and how investigators a century or more ago came to conclusions regarding death (murder, suicide, accident?).......
If you're looking for a book that can be read fast, this is it. Not only do your learn a lot but you might have to leave the light on in your dark, dark home for a few days. Yes, it's that spooky at parts. Read and Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

For the History Buffs.

This is Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week. I often comin on Tuesdays and check their website just to see what book they picked, as it's often something I haven't heard of but would LOVE to read. You can check it out too @ It's an awesome way to discover new books and I've read more than a few great ones from following their suggestions:

This week's pick is: Madison and Jefferson

This thick but satisfyingly rich dual biography promotes Madison from junior partner to full-fledged colleague of the "more magnetic" Jefferson. According to the authors, Madison's popular image peaked in 1789 as "father of the Constitution." But Burstein (Jefferson's Secrets) and Isenberg (Fallen Founder), both LSU history professors, see him as a canny, effective politician for four decades, from the Continental Congress through his two terms as America's fourth president. An adviser to Governor Jefferson of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, Madison was a leading congressman when Jefferson served as Washington's secretary of state, and vigorously supported Jefferson in the ultimately unsuccessful struggle against federalist Alexander Hamilton's influence. As scholarly as Jefferson but more politically astute, the authors say, Madison was less inclined to hold grudges and make enemies. In modern terms, he was Jefferson's campaign manager in 1796 and 1800; as Jefferson's secretary of state he strongly influenced his leader's policies before moving on to his own equally strong presidency. An important, thoughtful, and gracefully written political history from the viewpoint of the young nation's two most intellectual founding fathers. 16 pages of b&w photos, 1 map. (Oct.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Librarians at ALA.....

Librarians, publishers, and authors braved the heat and crowds to attend ALA's annual conference, held late last month in Washington, D.C. Numerous authors and illustrators mingled with librarians and signed copies of their books. The Newbery-Caldecott banquet bestowed the industry's top honors to this year's winners, Rebecca Stead and Jerry Pinkney, as well as the Honorees. Among the events of the weekend were presentations by children's book authors, including John Grisham, David Small, and Sarah Ferguson. Here, we present a gallery of photos of the authors, events, and other happenings from the conference.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Eating Their Way Around the World
'What I Eat' authors find inspiration in meals
By Lynn Andriani
Jul 06, 2010

Photojournalist Peter Menzel is a hearty and adventurous eater. “People love to feed him,” says his wife, former TV news producer Faith D’Aluisio. Menzel’s appetite has come in handy throughout the couples’ career—and not just because it helps him from going to bed hungry.

Being up for eating anything has literally opened doors for Menzel and D’Aluisio in their travels around the world. It has given them subject matter for their books Material World: A Global Family Portrait (1994); Women in the Material World; (1996) Man Eating Bugs (a 1999 James Beard Award winner); Hungry Planet (a 2006 James Beard Cookbook of the Year); and What the World Eats (2008). “We have traveled the world through the years,” D’Aluisio told PW, and “we have always eaten locally, usually with local people, and have always seen sitting down for a meal with folks as a way to commune quickly. We share something of ourselves when we sit for a meal—it’s not just a one-way street of interviewer and interviewee. Because of these points and more we have instant entrĂ©e into places that most people don’t get the chance to experience.”

A Chinese acrobat with one day's food.
Participating in meals around the world led Menzel and D’Aluisio, who live in California, to start noticing that both Americans and people in other countries seemed to be getting heavier—a subject they wanted to address in a new book, but “in as non-polemical manner as possible, allowing readers... to draw their own conclusions,” D’Aluisio said. What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets, which Ten Speed will publish August 10, features mini-profiles of an unemployed man who lives on the streets of Manhattan, a grandmother in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, a Russian art restorer, a bread baker in Iran, a meat grinder in Minnesota, and 75 other people around the world. Each profile gives shows the person with a day’s worth of food on an ordinary day. They range from a Maasai herder in Kenya who consumes 800 calories one day, to a mother in Great Britain who takes in 12,300 calories—and no, that’s not a typo.

While Hungry Planet focused on what families around the world eat in a week—and how much it costs—What I Eat looks more at calories. Documenting the number of calories a person eats in a day was actually a greater challenge than tallying families’ weekly food spending. (Try calculating the fat content of the milk of cows in drought conditions versus non-drought conditions.) It’s a fascinating presentation, and readers can certainly draw their own conclusions from the profiles, not the least of which is the ubiquity of Nescafe. (Cook and Knorr bouillon and spice packets seem to pop up everywhere, too.) A shepherd in Spain drinks beer seemingly all day; an Indian woman who follows the traditional medicine Ayurveda drinks her own urine. But Menzel and D’Aluisio purposely don’t draw conclusions for readers. “It’s an important point of discovery [for readers] to find them,” D’Aluisio said.

A USA Iron Worker with one day's food

So what do the authors eat in a day? The Napa Valley residents’ intake on an ordinary day includes Alaskan halibut, artisan bread, lots of fruit, and organic whole milk. Although they say they’ve always prided themselves on eating healthy cuisine, they eat a little differently now, avoiding “food products with ingredients that we don’t recognize” and eating local foods as much as possible. “If we have learned anything from these past four years of examining other people’s diets all over the world,” D’Aluisio said, “it’s that quantity and quality are equally important.” Menzel and D’Aluisio admit they each gained about eight pounds as the deadline for What I Eat approached and they had less time to exercise. But as they finished the book this past spring, Menzel was hopeful. They were getting ready to plant their vegetable garden.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I love this new Author....

'How Did You Get This Number': Dial W For Wit
by Heller McAlpin

How Did You Get This Number
By Sloane Crosley
Hardcover, 288 pages
Riverhead Hardcover
List price: $25.95

Humorous personal essays, spiked with sparkling observations and mordant opinions served up in carefully calibrated cocktails of self-absorption and self-deprecation, require a steady hand. It's the rare writer — David Sedaris, Nora Ephron — who gets the mix just right, avoiding navel-gazing self-indulgence or shrill rants. Two years after her success with I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley's nine new essays in How Did You Get This Number prove she's on her way to joining their witty company.

Crosley's first book focused on a 20-something, single, working woman (her day job is a publicist at Random House) enduring the trials of nasty bosses, friends' weddings and Manhattan real estate. In Number, she has crossed the great divide past 30 but still finds herself lost in space. She's a stranger in various strange lands, groping for her physical bearings in Lisbon, Paris and Alaska, and her emotional bearings in New York, while dealing with a kleptomaniac roommate and a two-timing boyfriend.

None of this is uncharted territory, but Crosley refreshes familiar rites of passage with a keen sense of the absurd and indelible images. A shared refrigerator is described as "a condiment ark. We had two of just about everything." She writes of her late-blooming "mild-mammaried chest," and of being mugged in a taxi by "twin thugs named Vomit and Cologne." Travelers are "tofu-like ... able to absorb whatever environment they're dropped into." A menagerie of childhood pets buried in Tupperware swathed in duct tape, on the other hand, are able to absorb nothing.

Crosley's chronic disorientation stems in part from what she describes as a severe spatial-temporal disability. In response, her preferred approach to life is "to record all traumas and save them for later, playing them over and over so they can haunt me for a disproportionate number of weeks to come. It's very healthy."

Sloane Crosley, a publicist for Random House, made her literary debut in 2008 with I Was Told There'd Be Cake.

Her ability to process and transform these saved experiences into entertaining anecdotes with a deeper layer of resonance is a gift. In "Light Pollution," Crosley describes a trip to Alaska for a close friend's wedding. On a nature excursion requiring the bridesmaids to don bells in their ponytails to scare away bears, she's shocked to witness a baby bear hit by a drunk driver and then put out of its misery by a gun-wielding passer-by. She recognizes that "each time I tell this story, I damage my memory of it. Each time it moves a little further away from what happened ... And yet I can't resist the retelling. Look how real Alaska got."

After quipping that "Alaska is what happens when Willy Wonka and the witch from Hansel and Gretel elope, buy a place together upstate, renounce their sweet teeth, and turn into health fanatics," she works her way to a more moving conclusion:

What I want to say is: Here is a country that is ours but not ours. A crazed landscape of death and marriage with designated bells to acknowledge both. Here is the longest breath of fresh air you will ever take, the bluest stream you will ever dip your hand in, the humane thing to do. Here is my friend who I miss so much.
And here is a portrait of a writer to watch.

Kindle DX going for broke!

Amazon Unveils New Kindle DX at Lower Price; Web Widgets
By Calvin Reid

Continuing to aggressively update its Kindle e-reading device, unveiled an updated model of its large-format Kindle DX reader with sharper image quality and a graphite covering for $379, a much lower price than the previous version of the Kindle DX. Amazon is also releasing a set of Kindle Web Widgets, a new embeddable web application for previewing Kindle titles in a web browser,

The new 9.7” screen Kindle DX will ship in July and features a new version of the device’s black & white e-ink display technology that Amazon claims will deliver a 50% sharper image with better contrast. Most importantly, the new Kindle DX has been reduced in price from $489 to $379, the latest price reduction in a highly competitive digital reading marketplace being driven by price cuts on devices as well as by the iPad’s full color display, high resolution screens and multimedia support.

Besides a new price and improved display technology, the new Kindle DX also features a graphite-colored surface. Other features like the native PDF reader and auto-landscape rotation remain the same from the previous version. Amazon’s new Kindle Web Widgets can be embedded on websites and blogs and are designed specifically for HTML5 and CSS3, new web standards that will allow readers to preview titles in their web browsers.