Monday, December 12, 2011

Photo Card

His Grace Alone Christmas
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Books of the Year

Just in time for your Christmas shopping, Publishers Weekly has released their list of the year's best children's books. Read it here. Make sure you click on Children's Fiction tab as well...oh, and you can check out the grown-up picks, too, if you'd like.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Evan doesn't look very excited about his new role, but I'm hoping he'll show a little more enthusiasm once May rolls around...(Hint: click on the photo to make it larger if you can't read his shirt!)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Evan Summer 2011

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lauren Myracle and the National Book Award

The National Book Award finalists were announced, and I was pleased with the list of books chosen for young people's literature, especially since it included Gary Scmidt's Okay For Now, my most recent favorite. Another nominee was Lauren Myracle's Shine, which I reviewed here. Imagine my surprise to read today that oops, the NBA committee made a mistake and didn't really mean to nominate Shine, so they asked Myracle to withdraw her name. Talk about an incompetent, unfortunate mistake! By all accounts, Myracle (who I got to meet when she visited Baldwin a few years ago) handled it with grace and class. Read all about it here.
Click here to see the full list of NBA nominees. What do you think about the screw-up?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Attention Kindle Owners!

Finally, Amazon has gotten with the program and is allowing libraries to loan out ebooks for the Kindle! If your public library subscribes to OverDrive, and you own a Kindle, you're in luck -- you can borrow ebooks for free!

I've been using my library's account to check out books for my Kobo for a while now. Usually I have to place a "hold" and wait a little while, but you can't beat free.

For more info, see School Library Journal's article here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Very Brief Book Review: Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?

Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: Exploring the Surprising Science of PregnancyDo Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: Exploring the Surprising Science of Pregnancy by Jena Pincott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Entertaining and informative! I now plan to eat chocolate every day of my next pregnancy. A mother's sacrifice begins early.

* I was provided a free copy of this e-book for review by Simon & Schuster's GalleyGrab.

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Beautiful Perspective

Even if you don't use cloth diapers (and I know the majority of us don't; I'm not here to impart any mom guilt -- I've got some Huggies in Evan's closet!), if you are a parent, I think this post will encourage you. It was shared over at The Cloth Diaper Whisperer.

I have been reading a lot lately, just not posting about it! I recently finished Angie Smith's I Will Carry You, which I pretty much cried through, but found to be an honest and encouraging look at tragedy and grief from a Christian perspective. It caught my eye at Borders (Borders, I shall miss you) and finally made it from my "to-read" list to my "read" list!

Speaking of my to-read list, if you're a reader and you're not on goodreads yet, what are you waiting for? It's a great way to keep track of what you've read and what you want to read. So sign up and be my friend!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dystopia Burnout

I think I'm over dystopias.

My love affair with dystopias began with Lois Lowry's The Giver and continued with books like Janet McNaughton's The Secret Under My Skin and, more recently -- and, of course -- The Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins. But now that those are coming to the big screen, dystopias are being released left and right, trying to compete with the recent rash of vampires, werewolves, and zombies. And for a while, it was my new favorite genre. But now, I think I'm weary of the whole trend. Maybe I want a little optimism for a change. Is the future really all doom and gloom?

So, I'm going to continue with my new favorite genre: the cozy mystery. My favorite cozy series is July Hyzy's White House Mystery Series, starting with The State of the Onion. Main character Ollie is a chef at the White House, serving a fictional administration, and, of course, often finding herself in the midst of plots involving murder, terrorism, and danger galore -- while still finding time to create delicious menus (included)! Hopefully number 5 in the series will be published soon.

How about you? Tired of a genre you once loved? What are YOU reading (besides The Help)?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adult Book Reviews in Brief

Books Can Be Deceiving (Library Lover's Mystery, #1)Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fun cozy set in the library world. A children's librarian is suspected of murder! (And the author actually knows her library stuff, which I truly appreciated!)

Swift JusticeSwift Justice by Laura DiSilverio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this fast-paced mystery. Not exactly a cozy, but plenty of humor and enough twists to keep me guessing.

Semi-Sweet: A Novel of Love and CupcakesSemi-Sweet: A Novel of Love and Cupcakes by Roisin Meaney

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like a Maeve Binchy -- small Irish town, multiple points of view -- with sex. And cupcakes.

*I was provided an egalley of this book by the publisher for review.

View all my Goodreads reviews

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Loving My Top-Loader

So it's really hard for me to pinpoint my favorite feature of our new home. Pantry? Closet space? Did I mention Evan has his own bedroom? Definitely in the running is the washing machine, which is an old-school (though fairly new) top-loader. Not only does that mean shorter cycle times, it also means less rinses since it uses enough water in the first place to get the soap rinsed out of Evan's cloth diapers. Plus, it has a much larger capacity since it's not a space-saver.

At the condo, I had a front-loader. Shortest cycle (delicates): one hour and three minutes. And that didn't include extra rinses (another 21 minutes each); I did three or four for each load of diapers.

All this means I am spending waaaay less time doing laundry. Which, in turn, means I really should have time to start exercising regularly again.

I'll get back to you on that.

P.S. We'll be back to your regularly-scheduled book reviews soon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

We Moved!

We're moved in! It's hard for me to believe, but praise the Lord, we are now homeowners (well, times two since I can't sell the condo) and Evan has his own bedroom! Being approved for the mortgage was a harrowing process, and uncertainty prevailed until about a day before the closing, but I am so grateful to report that we now have breathing room as well as a yard -- and really, really nice neighbors (my parents live a mile away in the same sub).

We closed on Wednesday and spent the next few days moving in, then had houseguests (Mike's parents, sister, and two nieces) from Friday to Monday, so I'm not feeling very settled yet, but I cannot complain.

Just give me a few weeks, and then stop by. :o)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Very Brief Book Review: Troublemaker by Andrew Clements

So, we've been out of town since Wednesday (just got back last night, which means I just recently crawled out from under the pile of laundry we generated while away) and downloaded books to my Kobo for the trip. However, most of our travel was on my dad's single-engine Cessna, which Mike flew, and sometimes small planes are not the best for reading, so I only got a few magazines and a book and a half read. Here's my review for the one book I read. Keep in mind that the author, Andrew Clements, wrote one of my all-time favorite middle-grade novels, The School Story -- I promise you, it will only take you an hour to read but it will make you cry.

TroublemakerTroublemaker by Andrew Clements

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not my favorite Clements, but another decent school story, and one with boy appeal.

* I was provided a free e-galley for review by the publisher.

View all my reviews

Monday, June 13, 2011

Migraines, Anyone?

Any migraine sufferers out there? I've been one since my first migraine hit when I was in 3rd grade. However, many of you know that a few years ago I took part in a clinical trial exploring the connection between migraines and a common, often undetected heart defect called patent foramen ovale (PFO). To make a long story short, I was one of the "roll-in" patients for this area, so I knew for sure that I got the PFO closure device when I went to St. Joe's for my catheterization procedure. Unfortunately, due to lack of money, the trial was shut down soon after that. Though I still get the occasional migraine, I don't get nearly as many as I used to. I believe that closing my PFO eliminated one of my triggers. The jury is still out, but the research is promising.

Lately I've been seeing ads on TV for a similar trial. Just thought I'd mention it, so if you'd like more information, go to

And if you'd like to hear more about my experience with the procedure, I'm happy to share!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cloth Diaper Update

So, we had a cloth diaper crisis recently. ALL of my microfiber inserts (which make up the majority of my stash) were repelling, and I tried every method known to man to strip them, including taking the whole lot to my mom's to use her top-loader for extra water power. To no avail. So I had to buy a whole new supply of inserts (which was only around $35) and I'm praying that they don't acquire too much build-up in my dumb front-loader before (Lord willing) we move and I will have a top-loader of my very own!

Recently, I've been really loving my GroVia. Not only are they super trim, I am impressed by the absorbency of the snap-in cotton soakers. Who knew cotton could work so well for my heavy wetter? (And no repelling!) I'm less impressed by the disposable soakers (I've had leaks with those) but even with the inconvenience of carrying around wet cotton soakers, they are my favorite travel diaper.

I also only have one Thirsties DuoDiaper, but I really like it and I'd love to own more. So I'm entering the Thirsties Thursday Giveaway. Head on over here for your chance to win!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Just wanted to share a photo of the beautiful bouquet Mike surprised me with on my last day at Baldwin.

Monday, May 23, 2011


It's been a while since I posted...but life has been a little crazier than normal. My big news is that Friday is my last day at Baldwin Public Library. I've worked there for almost seven years, and it will be sad to leave. But in June I will be starting a new job as librarian at a Montessori preschool in Ann Arbor! I'll only be working two days a week, and I'll be able to bring Evan with me. Plus, we're hoping to move (soon) to the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area, since that's where my family is, and since, with Evan's first birthday (and walking!) fast approaching, our one-bedroom condo seems to be growing ever more crowded.

So that's what's been keeping me busy. For those of you (and I know there are many) who have been checking my blog compulsively for updates, I apologize for the lack thereof lately. :o) I'll try to have some book reviews for you soon!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Winning Streak!

I've won two online giveaways lately, which is very exciting because I thought my winning streak ended way back in 1984 or so when I won a coloring contest at Arbor Drugs and was given $20 to spend on drugstore merchandise (woo-hoo!).
First, I won 3 Charlie Banana cloth diapers (so cute!) and 10 wipes from the Mommy Beta blog. I just got them yesterday so we haven't tried them yet, but I'll report on them once we have.
Second, I won a beautiful signed print by author/artist Grace Lin. I can't wait to frame it and find a special spot for it.
Do you enter blog/online contests? Have you evern won anything? I'm hoping my winning streak continues!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter!

From John Updike. (See the story behind the poem here.)

Seven Stanzas at Easter

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Randomness

You've probably heard the sad news that Borders has declared bankruptcy and is closing bookstores around the country, some of them right here in its home state of Michigan. Click here to see a "Bitter Borders Compilation" by employees.

This gives new meaning to the phrase "curling up with a good book."

In Evan news, he is now waving bye-bye. Yes, he is very talented. And check out his bedhead in the picture above. He's stylin', too.

And, Happy Earth Day (a little early)! I am going to take part in the Great Cloth Diaper Change on Saturday at a local cloth diaper store to try to set the Guiness World Record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously. Want to join me? Click here to read more about it and to find a location near you!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review: When Sparrows Fall

I thoroughly enjoyed Meg Moseley's well-written story of second chances. Divorced professor Jack receives an unexpected phone call one morning asking him to come take care of his dead half-brother's six children. Their mother, Miranda, has taken a fall and will be out of commission for a while; Jack has been named the children's guardian. He arrives to find an unusual household: Miranda's family belongs to a very legalistic church. The children are homeschooled and very sheltered, and Miranda seems to be inordinately afraid of her pastor. Jack's suspicions and Miranda's secrets collide as he tries to unravel her past and free her from her present. The romance is believable and the ending is satisfying. *I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Click here to download chapter one.

Monday, April 11, 2011


These are a couple of the random things that have interested me lately...maybe they'll interest you! Scream 4 filmed in Plymouth, MI -- and some of it filmed in Next Chapter Bookstore and Bistro in downtown Northville. To read more, click here. And support your local independent bookstore! A designer has created a gown made of over 300 Golden Books! To see it and the process, click here. It's the perfect thing to wear to the Librarians' Annual Gala. (I know, there's no such thing. But there should be. Imagine: Prom for Librarians! The only problem is, the male-to-female ratio is totally off.) Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Review: Clementine and the Family Meeting

I can't help but compare third-grader Clementine to Ramona Quimby. She has the same irrepressible personality and timeless quality. Pennypacker, like Clearly, clearly understands children and remembers exactly what childhood was like. And, like Ramona, Clementine has wonderful, completely believable parents.

In Clementine and the Family Meeting, Clementine panics when she sees the sign announcing a family meeting. Surely she's in trouble again. But you may be able to guess what's dynamics, they are a-changin'...and you'll love going along with Clementine on her journey to acceptance. Oh, and you might be inspired to go out and buy a tool belt of your own. Take my word for it.

If you haven't read the rest of the Clementine series, start and the beginning with Clementine. You can thank me later.

*I was provided a free e-book copy for review by the publisher through NetGalley.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: Shine by Lauren Myracle

Despite the bright title, Shine is a dark book. It deals with uncomfortable subjects(poverty, meth addiction, homophobia) and is not an easy, breezy read. But it's an important one nonetheless.

Sixteen-year-old Cat lives in what some might call a backwoods town in North Carolina. The novel opens with a newspaper article describing a horrific hate crime committed against Cat's gay friend Patrick. Cat, who has retreated from the world because of an act of violence committed against her a few years before, decides to take a stand for her friend and find out who hurt him. Along the way, she reconnects with friends and family and finds the courage to let her light shine again.

This is definitely not one for the faint of heart, or for those bothered by foul language. But it is definitely food for thought.

*I was provided a copy for review by the publisher through NetGalley.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fashion Statement

I'm sporting a new look these days: the Darco surgical shoe. I think the velcro is especially spiffy. Would you believe that a trip to the mall in ill-advised flats a few weeks back led to a stress fracture? Yep, second metatarsal. I'm supposed to wear the lovely shoe at left and stay off my feet (ha!) for at least three weeks. There go my exercise aspirations...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Review: Okay for Now

I have to admit that I was predisposed to like this book. Gary Schmidt is a professor at Calvin College here in Michigan, and I've heard him speak and met him in person. But read Okay for Now and see if you don't agree with me.

Middle-schooler Doug Swieteck (a character first introduced in Wednesday Wars) just moved to a new town and things aren't looking so great. His family situation isn't so good, he's already been labeled trouble by adults, and he's following in the footsteps of his jerk older brother. But then he's introduced to Audubon's bird paintings, and an artist is born. How art helps him to become the person he's meant to be is as beautiful as one of Audubon's birds (the artic tern, not the puffin).

Doug tells his own story, and Schmidt's use of voice is masterful. I believed every word Doug said, and I got tears in my eyes more than once (though Doug might call me a chump for that). The late '60s setting lives and breathes. I wanted to applaud the adults who stepped in and helped Doug along, and I wanted to give his friend Lil a big hug. This is a coming-of-age story in the truest sense of the word, and I feel privileged to have grown a little with Doug and his friends and family.

Read this book. I promise you won't regret it.

* Copy provided for review by NetGalley. It will be published in April.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Review: The Last Little Blue Envelope

Confession: Though I read and loved Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes several years back, there have been so many books in between that my memory of it is not too good. So while I was excited to read the sequel, I thought I might have some catching up to do. I needn't have worried; the sequel could easily stand alone. And it's just as good as I've come to expect from Maureen Johnson.

In the previous book, Ginny's backpack -- containing the last little blue envelope from the series of letters written to her by her now-deceased aunt -- had been stolen in Greece. She was in Greece following instructions set forth in the letters by Aunt Peg, a free-spirit artist type whose dying wish had led Ginny on a rather wacky trip and also to some of Aunt Peg's paintings, which were Ginny's inheritance.

When mysterious Brit Oliver contacts Ginny to let her know he's found the last envelope, she begins another adventure, this one taking her from London to Amsterdam to Ireland and back again, on a road trip with Oliver, her crush Keith, and Keith's girlfriend. I truly enjoyed going along with them, and I recommend this fun YA read whether you've read the first book or not. Johnson's characters are living, breathing people you will want to spend some time with.

*I was provided an ARC (in the form of an e-book) by the publisher through NetGalley

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cloth Diaper Update and Reviews

Thanks for asking, cloth diapering is going pretty well. So far, I have several brands in my rotation. If you're interested, I thought I'd share my personal pros and cons for each brand. I have had the occasional leak (liquid, not solid, thankfully!) with every single brand except for Rumparooz (which I've had the shortest amount of time) and I think it's because, on top of Evan being a very heavy wetter, I have a problem with repelling. I've tried lots of things (stripping with Dawn dish detergent, vinegar, etc.) but now I just do lots of extra rinses for each load, and don't have as many problems. (This takes a lot of time, though, so if anyone has any other suggestions, I'm open to it -- I use Rockin' Green detergent and have a front-loader that isn't HE.)

BumGenius one-size

I have mostly 3.0s and one 4.0 (though, to be honest, I can't tell much of a difference between the two versions).

Pros: Daddy's favorite -- with the velcro, they're easy to put on!

Cons: Since it's a one-size, it's pretty bulky. I've had more leaks with this diaper than with any other brand. I probably need to start using doublers regularly, but that will make the darn thing REALLY bulky. Also, the velcro is staring to show quite a bit of wear already, and while they sell replacement velcro for the tabs, they don't sell it for the panel.

Fuzzibunz One-Size

Pros: Fairly trim; snaps hold up better than velcro

Cons: The snaps aren't as easy as velcro, especially when Evan decides he'd rather not be having his diaper changed.

Kawaii Diapers

I got my first Kawaii as a free-with-purchase deal from Kelly's Closet. Since then, I've purchased several more from Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique (free, fast shipping!). I love the Minky ones; they're sooo soft.

Pros: Cheap! I like these double-stuffed for overnight; I've had very few leaks.

Cons: With the velcro ones, I can already tell it's not going to hold up as well as the BumGenius, and they create laundry chains. (The snap ones are faring better.) These are pretty bulky, too.

There are some more brands I'd like to try, like Bright Star Baby, but since the whole point of cloth diapering in the first place was to save money, and I don't necessarily NEED more diapers (as long as I do wash every other day), I'm going to try to hold off for now. Although, if any diaper companies out there would like to send me a cloth diaper to review, I'd be happy to do it!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review: Stay by Deb Caletti

Deb Caletti is up there on my list of favorite-writers-of-girl-YA-fiction, along with Sarah Dessen and Maureen Johnson. She gets girls. She gets humans in general. The only thing I don't care for in her books (just a heads up here) is the language; there's quite a bit of swearing. And, if you're keeping score, sex is referred to (but not in any detail). But again, that's pretty realistic.

Anyway, I was provided an e-book for review by Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab program. (That's been my favorite thing so far about my Kobo e-reader -- free advance copies of ebooks!) It was hard to put down (er, turn off). Caletti often takes issues that sound sensational (like, say, murder* -- or, in this case, a psycho ex-boyfriend) -- and makes them all-too-relatable. Clara (who narrates in the first person) is your typical high-schooler who comes from a "good" background. Her mother died when she was young, but she has a good relationship with her famous writer father. She has good friends, gets good grades, and usually makes good decisions about guys. But then comes Christian. In hindsight, of course, she sees the red flags, but in the moment he is just a very attractive, nice guy who really loves her. Chapters alternate between the past and the present, which gives the story momentum and also some suspense, as we follow the progression of Clara and Christian's relationship (past) and her coming to terms with it (present).

The only part of the story I found unrealistic and/or unsatisfying was Clara's relationship with new guy Finn. I felt like, given her very recent trauma, she would be more hesitant to enter into a new relationship and less likely to trust her instincts about a person. Plus, I felt the relationship needed a little more depth to be believable. But that's a minor quibble; I loved Clara and thought she deserved Finn as well as her hard-won peace. Definitely recommended for older teens and up.

*See The Queen of Everything

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Elegant Cranberry Frame Christmas Card
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Cute Baby of the Cloth"

One of my favorite cloth diapering stores, Kelly's Closet, does a monthly "Cute Baby of the Cloth" photo contest. I submitted a photo of Evan for January's contest (theme: "Brrr!") and, though I do believe he was the cutest child to enter, he didn't win. You can see the photo in this video, though -- it's full of cute kids but he's at around 2:10 if you want to skip right to the best one. :o)

Click here for the video.

Or, enjoy one of the shots right here!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Evan at Seven Months

Click here to view this photo book larger

Joan Meyers of Thomgirl Photography took these photos of Evan a few weeks ago. I may be biased, but I think they're absolutely adorable!

Monday, January 24, 2011

From the files of "I swore I'd never..."

I was one of the last to adopt CDs (I had cassettes well into my freshman year of college) and DVDs (I still have a VCR!). I don't have a smartphone because I think a phone should make phone calls and that's about it. But I bought an eReader.

I'm still not sure what possessed me. I love books. There's nothing better than a crisp new paperback or a shiny new hardcover. I always said an eReader would be great to have if I still lived in Korea and rode the subway or travelled a lot, which I don't. But Borders kept sending out e-mails about their eReader, the Kobo, being on sale for $99.99. I had just gotten a $50 check for my participation in a University of Michigan study. And I know that my library loans out ebooks. And...the Kobo comes in lavender. I was sold.

So, I'm now the proud owner of an eBook reader. I must say it's pretty cool that, theoretically, I could be carrying 1000 books around in my purse.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


My sweet Evan is scared of a lot of things. Strangers who get too close. Loud noises -- the blender, the garbage disposal, the vacuum. (I've solved this one by avoiding housework in general. Okay, not really. Although I must admit it's been way too long since I've vacuumed...Well, you don't want me to traumatize the poor child, do you?) And now he's scared of:
The Munchkin inflatable duck tub, pictured above.
He doesn't mind taking showers with Mike, and he wasn't afraid of a bath in my parents' tub, but apparently this duck is just too much. The first time we put him in it he screamed bloody murder. Right now it's sitting on the bathroom floor and every time I take him in there, he eyes it warily. I know he will love splashing in the water once he gets used to it, but I don't want to terrorize him in the meantime. And I'm afraid to give him a bath in our tub without it because we have one of those sliding door tubs and access to both sides of the tub is limited. And I hate to buy another inflatable tub because this is the second one I've bought; the first one (another brand) refused to inflate. Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Mixed Feelings About Amazon

I just snatched up a deal from Living Social -- I paid $10 for a $20 Amazon gift card -- and then posted about it on Facebook in hopes that people would use my link and I would get credit for it. (If you're interested in the deal, here's the link.)

And then I started to think, hmmm, now everyone knows I am an Amazon shopper.

What's the big deal? Well, as a librarian and lover of literature, it's pretty much expected that I will be a supporter of independent bookstores. They're better for the community and better for the publishing industry at large.

But they're not better for my pocketbook. (Although do we ever use the word "pocketbook" in any context other than that phrase? I don't think I've ever said, "Oh, wait, let me grab my pocketbook." Huh.)

To be fair, I probably buy more other stuff on Amazon than books. With (free) Amazon Mom, I've been getting free two-day shipping for months now, and that's just downright tempting when I am in need of gifts, baby gear, a DVD, even, several months ago, a new GPS. The fact is, Amazon usually has the best price. And, in case you haven't noticed, I'm cheap and always looking for the best deal. And when I don't shop for books at Amazon, I usually use a coupon at Borders. I figure, at least they're a Michigan company.

Okay, now I'm just feeling guilty. Do you shop at Amazon?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

For all you grown-ups out there...I got to read an ARC of Rainbow Rowell's forthcoming novel, Attachments, due out in April from Dutton. First of all, how can you not like something written by someone named Rainbow? Second of all, this is a true romantic comedy, but with depth, non-cookie-cutter characters, and a fun 1999/2000 setting. The premise: sweet guy hired to basically spy on a newspaper's employees by reading their e-mail, sweet guy keeps getting flagged messages from two female friends who work at the paper, sweet guy falls in love with one of the girls but how in the world is he going to tell her? Lincoln's side of the story is told in straight narrative; Beth's is only revealed through her e-mails. It's a unique format, and (Rainbow!)Rowell totally pulls it off. My only caution is that one of Lincoln's friends swears a lot, but he's not a major part of the plot so it's not that often. (Plus, the profanity truly suits his character, and sets up a nice juxtaposition between his character and Lincoln's.) And, to top it all off, Haven Kimmel blurbed the book -- so if you don't want to take my word for it, take hers. It's a definitely delightful read by Rainbow Rowell. (Okay, sorry, couldn't resist the alliteration there.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, but this year I have a few. My life has changed so much in the last year and a half that I find myself needing to make some changes of my own to adjust to my new normal.
First, I am resolving to exercise at least 4-5 times a week, as I did pre-baby. I'm starting small: 20-minute workouts from two DVDs, Tracy Mallett's Get Your Body Back and The Firm's Calorie Explosion. We'll see how that goes! I have at least 20 pounds to lose, courtesy of the adorable baby you see to your left.
My other resolution is to plan/shop ahead so I can make a healthy dinner most nights of the week. I've enlisted the help of Relish. I purchased a 6-month subscription through Mamapedia for $17 and have planned one week's meals so far. Tonight I made crispy baked fish and coleslaw in less than 30 minutes, and it was pretty good. We'll see how the rest of the recipes are, but it really helps to have a list to choose from, and an automatically-generated shopping list!

Wow, as I read back over this, I realize that my New Year's resolutions are boring and predictable. But I guess a girl has to start somewhere.

How about you? Do you make New Year's resolutions?

Whether you do or not, Happy New Year, a little late!