Top 10 Book Club Reads (plus one guilty pleasure)

April 13, 2009

book-club1My ex boyfriend dubbed us the Page Turner Girls, though I was always partial to Dick Army (that was my great, unused, all-female rock band name…look, it needs to be used); either way, I’ve been in a book club for the past seven or so years and we have read ourselves some books.  Fiction, truth, short, long, good, bad: from Traci Lords to John Steinbeck, we’re reading ’em.  Our unanimous favorites in no partic order:

  1. The Secret History: debauched students studying the Greek classics play with fire, get burned. One of my all time faves.
  2. The Poisonwood Bible: a sort of Heart of Darkness, but with female protagonists.
  3. Grapes of Wrath: we chose this one –  a sad, graceful story about power, justice, home, family – the night before September 11th.  
  4. The Lovely Bones: damn, this was one moving story.  Horrifying and beautiful at once.
  5. Shantaram: a behemoth of a story about a man running from his past who ends up India…and finds himself in the process. 
  6. The Glass Castle: you thought your parents were crazy? Jeanette Walls probably has you beat in this jaw-in-lap autobiography. 
  7. We Have Always Lived In The Castle: disturbing and delightful. An offbeat classic, one of those rare gems you stumble across.
  8. Fahrenheit 451: one of my fave authors. Every word is where it should be.  A cautionary tale about censorship and so much more. 
  9. The Time Traveler’s Wife: a romance in reverse.  Readable yet chock full of challenging concepts, and ultimately very touching.
  10. The True History of the Kelly Gang: a supremely well-written tale about Australia’s favorite folk hero.
  11. The Dirt: don’t laugh – it’s the Motley Crue autobio. Profane, crazy, terrible…rock n roll!

This list doesn’t begin to touch a lot of the genre writing I like; the Page Turners are mostly scifi/fantasy phobic and leery of historical fiction…which I am trying to change.  Mwa ha ha.

What about you?  Do you have books to recommend?  I’d love to hear – and read – ’em!

Jean Jeannie

January 31, 2009

jeansWe interrupt our regularly scheduled updates to bring you: best (under $100) jeans ever. Lucky’s Lola Boot Cut.

T Shirts My Ex Boyfriends Would Wear In A More Honest World.

January 15, 2009

“Ask Me About How It’s Not My Fault” is clearly the early favorite.

This Man Is My Hero

January 15, 2009

If you work in online advertising/marketing, he’ll be yours too.  

“I must be telling you…American comedy very good thing about this.”

January 14, 2009

Let me begin by saying I love Indian accents and almost-not-quite translations.  Zero condescension (for once).  There is something so awesomely earnest in the way the two languages interact.  This is captured awfully well @ the Million Dollar Arm blog.  MDR is sort of an American Idol for baseball for Indian audiences, and on the blog you can follow the adventures of two young men talented enough to make the cut.  

This week they profess their love for comedy movies.  Their English may not be perfect, but I laughed out loud in delight when I read it.  

I must be telling you… American comedy very good thing about this.  We watching movie Darjeeling Train.  very funny movie having brothers on train in India.  it looking just like village and peoples same.

We also watching American Comedy movie Borat.  We not believing this movie good funny.  we laughing very many times from this one.

We also watching the Cable Guy.  The movie actor very good faces.  he very crazy man, doing many crazy things in movie. End not so good.

Also we seeing movie calling ET.  This very big movie in America history.  It great story about boy and spaceman.  it make you sad and also too making me laugh.  this special movie.

(And they’re right.  Cable Guy?  End not so good.)

Gorey Deflowers

January 14, 2009

I love Edward Gorey.  So you can imagine the thrill when I found this Gorey book from 1965, a tongue-very-firmly-in-cheek send up of etiquette books for the, uh, liberated gal.  


Big ups to Joey deVilla for an awesome blog.

How To Do Almost Anything With Social Media

January 5, 2009

I’ve now been in two meetings where a group of social media professionals – with varying degrees of enthusiasm and sheepishness – have admitted they are loving this Mashable article like a fat kid loves cake.  

How To Do Almost Anything With Social Media

Go on now, don’t be shy.  Have a slice.

Are You A Twitter Rockstar?

January 2, 2009

There’s a lot of noise out there about measuring Twitter “success.” One of the best articles I’ve seen is Eric T. Peterson‘s Measuring success in Twitter: Influence vs. Participation.  He cites Dave Donaldson’s Twitter Following-Followers (TFF) Ratio, which I think nails it about as much as is possible.  

Still.  As in life, success is not so easily defined.  What is success for you?  If you own a small business, have a couple hundred followers, push out relevant sales/promotions without losing followers, and engage in real two-way conversations…well, that sounds pretty damn successful to me.   Or if, like me, you use Twitter to follow interesting people and conversations – just cuz – then who’s to say that’s not successful as well?

At the end of day it’s like all marketing: IS IT WORKING FOR YOU?  If so, gratz: you’re a Twitter Rockstar.  (Now start following me and let’s talk.)

URL = Anachronism?

September 5, 2008

One of my fave blogs/brainiacs, Web Strategy by Jeremiah, tackles a dead horse I have long been beating: Does search negate URLS?

When was the last time you painstakingly typed in – let alone remembered – a direct URL instead of searching it?  h-t-t-p-/-/-w-w-w-l-i-s-a…aw, screw it.  As much as I like to agonize over domains (.com? .net? .biz?), if you’re doing your SEO job, it likely doesn’t matter. 

Take Jeremiah, for instance.  Google “web jeremiah” and there he is, front and center.  That should be every site’s goal: lead via search.  A good URL isn’t going the way of the dinosaur – it’s really the foundation upon which search engines index – but it is increasingly irrelevant if you’re a good netizen.

The Olympics Were Shady

August 25, 2008

I am happy China was able to host the Olympics, and I hope the experience drives change for the people of that country. The competitors, as always, have nothing but my utmost respect.

That said: the Olympics were sort of a sham. Bill Plaschke, a sports columnist at the LA Times I have long admired, really summed it up.

It feels as if I’ve just spent three weeks on an Asian version of Disney’s Main Street.

Part of me would love to linger, but part of me can’t stand to stay another minute.

The constant smiles?

Oops. The government made the people take classes on everything from dental hygiene to, yes, proper grinning.

Those wonderful new blue seats that were in every taxi, making this traffic-choked city seem a bit more bearable?

Oops. Slipcovers.

Those wonderful new buildings that towered over every corner, making this dull capital city seem glitzy?

Oops. Many of them were vacant, having been built only to make a good impression for the Olympics.

Those stands filled with fans chanting for whatever nations happened to be competing?

Oops. Listen closely, and you realize most of them were Chinese nationals, many of them children, all of them used as substitutes for the thousands of ticket holders who didn’t show.

China tried so hard to earn the world’s applause, it even faked the cheering sections.

“Sham” is a strong word, and every Western country that’s hosted the Olympics has practiced similar politics (if culturally more acceptable).  Again, I don’t mean to disparage the amazing athletes or the kind locals.  But they made perfomers wear ADULT DIAPERS so they would not have to take breaks.

I think of the Olympic spirit akin to the torch: fleeting, beautiful, a triumph of spirit. I’m not sure Depends undergarments should be the underwriter.