Month: March 2008

Redux: The 10 Miler

Click over to my “Down the Shore with Jen” blog for a post about the 10 miler I ran this weekend. Not quite the marathon, but I’m getting there!

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Book 42 of 52: The Importance of Music to Girls by Lavinia Greenlaw

I can’t believe I’m writing this post now. I just got home from the Ocean Drive 10 Miler, and I’m beat. But since I had matt pond PA in my head the whole time, I might as well give it a go.

The Importance of Music to Girlsis a story about growing up, and how music wound its way through Lavinia Greenlaw’s coming of age. She starts standing on her father’s shoes while he waltzed, and ends talking music with an ex while taking her baby daughter home from the hospital.

It’s a colorful journey, especially her escapades in disco and punk.

Disco: “The disco evening began with a whole other evening’s worth of getting ready. Three or four girls would congregate in someone’s bedroom and become hysterical. They milled about in a vortex of skirts, tops, shoes, tights, mascara, foundation, eyeliner, nail polish…The air was weighed down by our perfumes, which claimed to smell of melon or apple or peach. They were as ripe as we were…Makeup was all about the eyes, three shades plus liner, three coats of mascara. Hair was blown dry and tonged into flicks when lacquered to toughness with extra-hold hairspray […]

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Weekend Wandering: Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women

In honor of my decision to run a marathon, and in honor of this weekend’s Ocean Drive Marathon (though I’m only running the 10 mile portion tomorrow), I present Dawn Dais’ very funny video about The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On with Your Training:

I like her attitude! With that I’m heading down the shore. Hope the winds aren’t too bad tomorrow!

Read more at and

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Ask and Yee Shall Receive

These are the summer beach reading candidates. And you thought I was kidding 😉

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Book 41 of 52: First Marathons: Personal Encounters with the 26.2-Mile Monster

Alright, I’m going to say it, so now I’m beholden to it: I’m going to run a marathon.

The funny thing is that I hadn’t made this plan when I picked up First Marathonsby Gail Waesche Kislevitz. I read it on the recommendation of Liz Claman, anchor of Fox Business. But I’ll get to how I ended up running through Palisades Park with a TV anchor in a minute.

I was never a runner. My high school boyfriend was captain of the cross country team, and I thought he was insane. Running 10 miles? For fun?! That’s crazy! I played sports, sure, but I wasn’t into running for running’s sake. Us soccer players laughed at the field hockey players as they did laps around and around the sports complex. We ran enough as it was, thank you very much.

I started running because I hated it. The entire set up was for comic effect: I pitched an article to a magazine where I said I hated running but would train with a running coach and see how it went. “For any serious runner, a 5K is nothing – 3.1 miles of a hop, skip, jump and a finish line. […]

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Now it’s time for MY book!

I have been waiting for this all day. I even got faked out once — the UPS man brought a package, but it came via FedEx.

However it came, it’s here! My book about the Jersey Shore!


I thought I was going to cry, but I was too busy jumping up and down. I can’t even believe that it’s finally here, sitting next to me on my desk. I think I’m going to sleep with it tucked under my pillow tonight.

To learn more about this book, you can check out my shore website at, and my shore blog at


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Survey: What Makes a Good Beach Read?

For the second year in a row, I’m writing a beach reads round up for the Philadelphia Inquirer (check out last year’s article here).

These are always fun but tough to write. You’ve only got a sliver of space to cover the gamut of what will be available this summer to accompany you and your beach chair. I just sent an email out to my book PR contacts. Last year when I did this, I found about 40 books on my doorstep within two days. I feel like I should tip my UPS man now instead of at the holidays.

So here’s my question for you: What makes a good beach book? And what have been your absolute favorite summertime reads?

And if you’re looking for suggestions right now, most of the books I put in last year’s article are in paperback now, or soon will be:

The Department of Lost & Found: A Novelby Allison Winn Scotch
Black Hats: A Novel of Wyatt Earp and Al Caponeby Patrick Culhane
Mr. Dixon Disappears: A Mobile Library Mystery (Mobile Library)by Ian Sansom
French By Heart: An American Family’s Adventures in La […]

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Report: Amy Hill Hearth Signing

Last night, Amy Hill Hearth, author of “Strong Medicine” Speaks: A Native American Elder Has Her Say(book 31 of 52) and Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years(book 32 of 52), spoke at the Barnes and Noble in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square. I saw about the last ten minutes. I had planned on getting there early to say hello before the talk, meet Strong Medicine, settle in and enjoy, but my plumbing had other plans.

Have you ever had one of those days you wish you could redo? That was yesterday — at least the first part. My toilet backed up, and after 20 minutes of plunging, I went downstairs to get my keys and head to the hardware store. That’s when I saw where the water was draining: through my dining rooms ceiling. I ran to the basement to shut off the water and saw it was coming down the wall and into the basement, too.

Panic? You could say that. I just bought my house in May, and aside from a broken washer, nothing much has gone wrong. I ran to my neighbor’s house, and he came over to take a […]

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Book 40 of 52: Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

I’ve been meaning to read this book for some time, almost since it came out. It’s been recommended to by about a dozen people, but whether because of a surplus of assignments or lack of time, I’ve never been able to get to The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Mealsby Michael Pollan.

It’s always interesting, at least to me, when a book hits me at the right time. The Omnivore’s Dilemmais probably the most exact timing of a book colliding with an event in my life. The event in question is the wedding I was at this weekend where I passed out during the ceremony, something that I believe had a lot to do with nutrition. But I’ll get to that in a minute. First a capsule about the book.

The Omnivore’s Dilemmais about food and just about every aspect of how the light of the sun is turned into food for us to eat, for better or for worse, from the fast food meal you eat while driving down the highway to something you create by hunting and gathering. I never understood the complete impact of industrial raised corn until I read […]

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Observation: Hair Covers

I love airport bookstores. They’re like Cliff Notes of the book publishing industry, and I’m always fascinated about what books they stock.

I spent a lot of time in the Phoenix International Airport yesterday, and my tour of the Borders therein showed me something: Hair, especially hair on the back of the head, is big in book covers:

I have no idea why. Maybe it’s the jet lag, but I can’t figure out why this is a hot trend. I’m guessing a back of the head book hit big somewhere along the line. Even John Grisham’s on the bandwagon:

So what’s with all the hair? I think it’s important to note that I didn’t see the Allison Winn Scotch cover in the bookstore, but on her blog when she noted that the cover changed for the paperback version of the book (the original cover, which I loved, is here).

So, tell me what you think: what’s with all the hair?

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