Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2007

Interview: Eric Nuzum, author of The Dead Travel Fast

Over on my other blog, downtheshorewithjen.blogspot.com , I interviewed Eric Nuzum , author of The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula . I run a regular feature over there called "Down the Shore with..." where I ask people with ties to the South Jersey shore what they love about the area, and here's a direct link to my Q&A with Eric. Why the South Jersey Shore? Check out my author profile -- that's what my book is about! That'll be coming out on May 5, 2008 -- as soon as a pre-order link is available, I'll post it here. Whenever that Q&A over at "Down the Shore with..." is with an author, I'll post a link here, too. I write about authors and books quite a bit, so if any of those articles are linkable, I'll give you guys a heads up. For example, if you'd like to read my article about Eric from the October issue of Washingtonian , click here . Read more about The Dead Travel Fast here .

Book 5 of 52: Wired by Liz Maverick

Surprised, right? Me, too. Romance novels aren't exactly my thing. Not that you could really call Wired a romance novel. Yes, there is a sex scene, and a battle for love, and a mention of six pack abs. It's not exactly an adventure or sci fi novel, either. It's a merge of all three -- and I don't read any of these genres. So how did I choose Wired ? Because of Book Expo America. For the last two years, I've gone to Book Expo America on assignment for Poets & Writers magazine. It's hard to describe what BEA is because it can be a lot of things for a lot of people. For me, it's a long, exhausting pair of days where I try to take in what just about every publisher in America -- and beyond -- is saying will be the next greatest thing, and it's my chance to get a jump on what will be coming out over the next six months. I mine for story ideas, shake hands, kiss babies -- well, maybe I don't kiss babies, but I do try to pass out as many business

Book 4 of 52: Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Scott Weidensaul

I've been asked why I review what I review. In 2007, I've offered my opinions on books about giant pumpkins , rats , smokers , and a cancer patient addicted to the Price is Right . Sometimes the books are assigned, but, more often than not, I pick what I review. I've been drawn in by an interesting cover and a great pitch letter, but the usual reason I'll pick something is because a book crosses wires with something else going on in my life. Such is the case with Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding by Scott Weidensaul. This time last year, I had zero interest in birding. Like Weidensaul thought as a teenager, my idea of a birder was more along the lines of that woman on Old Maid cards than someone like, well, me . But then I started writing a book about the South Jersey shore , and I learned, among other things, that Cape May is a birders haven. Weidensaul writes that "Cape May...may be the single best place in North American -- perhaps the worl

Review: Legends of the Chelsea Hotel by Ed Hamilton

Legends of the Chelsea Hotel isn't part of my 52 books in 52 weeks project since I read it this summer, but as you're reading this blog as a fan of books, or because you're related to me (or both), an extra review can't hurt, so here's the review from today's Philadelphia Inquirer . Read more about Legends of the Chelsea Hotel at www.hotelchelseablog.com . I'm wading through what will be book four of 52. It's not taking me as long to read as I thought, but that could also be because I'm conscious of the clock ticking on this project. I'm using every space of free time I can to read, and then some, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Also, make sure to check out Ask Allison on Monday. She interviewed me about book reviewing, and the Q&A is scheduled to go live then. **UPDATE** The post is now live. Check it out here (and welcome Ask Allison readers!)

Book 3 of 52: Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner

To lunch on Wednesday, I wore the following outfit: 1. Vintage 1988 Broad Street Run t-shirt 2. Brown GAP pants 3. Brown New Balance sneakers As I checked myself in the mirror one more time before I left, I came to a sad realization: At 27, I still have the fashion sense of a high school tomboy. How fitting, then, that I'd just started Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner. Spanking Shakespeare is about Shakespeare Shapiro, a high school senior who spends most of his time brooding about his status as unpopular, and a virgin. He spends most of the book, told in memoir form, pondering why he is unpopular and a virgin, and how he can remedy both situations. I'm told by the PR materials that this book is for young readers. I'm not sure how I feel about that, and not only because of the NSFW content (and, near the end, drawing). I'm all for letting teenagers read books with cursing, sex and all kinds of adult themes. My issue with the young reader label is that Spank

Book 2 of 52: The Four Man Plan: A Romantic Science by Cindy Lu

Let's get this straight: I did not start reading this book because I just got dumped. I was assigned a Q&A with the author before that sucky Friday night. Because of that sucky Friday night, I wasn't really in the mood to read a book about dating, so I waited until the morning of the interview (today -- though it's been rescheduled to Monday) to hunker down with The Four Man Plan: A Romantic Science . I'm not a big fan of dating books. I've read a few, both for articles and because friends pushed them down my throat, and a lot of them are variations of the same thing: common sense. Lu's book is of the same ilk, though with a lot of funny diagrams and a science-y twist. Still, the cornerstones are the same -- date a lot, and don't shag on the first date. Here's my beef with dating books: No matter what they tell you, or what your family and/or friends give you in the way of advice, you're going to do what you want to do. I read He's Just No

Book 1 of 52: Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

A little while ago, I read My Life in France by Julia Child. I'm not a good cook, but I have a fondness for Julia. Not only was she great on camera, but I knew she'd led a fascinating life and, being recently dumped, I liked to remind myself that Julia didn't find her 'soul mate,' Paul Child, until her late 30s. As I read My Life in France , a loose thought jiggled in my brain. Something about someone cooking along to Julia to get out of a funk. I'd read about it in a book catalogue, but I couldn't remember more than that. A quick google search got me the answer: Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen . Better yet, it had just come out in paperback. Better still, Borders was selling the hardback version for $4.99. And I had a $5 coupon. Sold. Powell wasn't trying to get over a break up by cooking her way through Child's Master the Art of French Cooking , but a general life slump. She worked for a government agency, lived

The Beginning

I like to read. A lot. Whenever I move, my mom asks "do we have to move all your books? Again?" I have managed to turn books into a sliver of my freelance career -- I review for a few newspapers and magazines, and write about books and authors, too, if not profiles, then using them as 'experts' in my magazine articles. I can't give you one reason why I like books. I think they offer an escape, and a much more textured and indulgent one than you'll find on TV. Even the frothiest of novels demands more from you than watching TV, and I don't think that's a bad thing. I know that reading a book a week is not a new idea, nor is it a new idea to do so and write about it . But why not give it a go? I find myself drifting when I don't have a book to read, and I'm in need of an anchor. Why? I was just dumped for the second time this year -- for the third time in the last 12 months. Even aside from the dumping thing, it's been a pretty crappy ye