Book 18 of 52: Ellington Bouleavrd: A Novel in A-Flat
Who here likes musical theater? I like musical theater, but not in a “humming Rent while walking the dog” sort of way. Still, I have an appreciate for the silly songs, dance routines and simple plots that always end in a marriage knot.
If you are that “humming Rent while walking the dog” kind of person, you’ll probably appreciate Ellington Boulevard: A Novel in A-Flat by Adam Langer (to be published January 22). You’ll also get a kick out of it if you’re a dog lover, and/or if you’ve had to deal with real estate within the last five years — especially if you’ve had to deal with New York City real estate.
Maybe what I’m trying to say is that it’s a likable story that will appeal to a wide cross section of people. It’s a bit too simplistic for me to give it five out of five stars — the plot is very predictable, but this book is, after all, a novel set up around a musical theater structure, so it’s not surprising.
The story focuses on one New York City apartment in what had recently been deemed a section of the […]
Best of 2007
For the last three years, I’ve put together my top 10 albums, songs and concerts of the year. But I was so wrapped up in writing my book that I didn’t pay as much attention as I usually do to the music world, and instead relied on old favorites like Guster and Pete Yorn to provide my writing soundtrack.
But I did read a lot of books this year, more so since I started this blog. So here’s my best for 2007. But before I begin: I obviously did not read every book published in 2007. I’m guessing I got to about 40 to 50 in 2007, so here’s what rung my bell.
If you’d like a fabulous top-music list for 2007, check out WXPN’s top 100 albums of 2007. I’m shocked that Wilco got the top spot, but, hey, to each their own. I am glad Stars made the list, even if it was at 100, and that Dr. Dog (which would have been on my top 10 concerts list if I’d made one) placed so high.
Alright, on with the show:
Best Non-Fiction: Backyard Giants: The Passionate, Heartbreaking, and […]
Book 17 of 52: Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and Puma and the Family Feud that Forever Changed the Business of Sport
As someone who’s played soccer since she was four years old, how could I not pick up Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and Puma and the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sport (available March 25, 2008)? And with a subhead like that, how could I not ready it (side note: one of my graduate school professors said to skip the title and pay attention to what came after the colon…in this case, he’s 100 percent right).
This isn’t just a story about a family feud. It’s about how that family feud laid the groundwork for sponsorships as we know it today. Yes, it might be McDonalds and Coke who we most associate with big ticket sponsorship deals, but it all started with the Dassler brothers trying to one up each other by convincing Olympic athletes to wear their shoes, first by giving away free shoes , then by leaving envelopes of cash in pre-determined places (since, before 1990, ‘professional’ athletes were banned from the Olympics).
I would hate to hate my siblings like this. Granted, we don’t always get along, but I’m looking forward to having my brothers and sister in one […]
Essay: Viva La Blog
About a year ago, I was chosen for a ‘makeover’ over at The Renegade Writer Blog. The original renegades are Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell, and they’ve printed two extremely helpful books about freelancing writing, The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success (The Renegade Writer’s Freelance Writing series) and The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock: The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Selling More Work Faster (The Renegade Writer’s Freelance Writing series)
The rest of the renegades, in case you’re curious, are those of us who freelance according to their advice, which does NOT involve self addressed stamped envelopes!
My goal was to be a book dork for life. I love reading, reviewing and writing about books, and that’s where I wanted my freelance life to go.
For a variety of reasons, that didn’t happen. I signed the contract for my book, which threw my business plan out of whack, and the economics of book writing didn’t match what I needed to make in order to pay the mortgage on my new house. Book reading and writing also became a job — not my intended goal.
In any case, you can […]
Book 16 of 52: To Cork or Not to Cork: Tradition, Romance, Science, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle
I don’t consider myself a wine connoisseur. My first drink ever was half a can of beer when I was 16, an it wasn’t until I was 18 that I felt the full effects of too much alcohol consumption – in the form of one too many screwdrivers drunk from a McDonalds cup tailgating for a Doobie Brothers Concert, after when I ended up puking in the bathroom of what is now known as the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ.
I don’t know if I consider my introduction to alcohol typical since, aside from one total can of beer, I didn’t drink in high school, unlike a lot of people I knew who considered “getting trashed” THE thing to do. I spent the day after my junior prom on the beach in Strathmere (which I wrote about in The Jersey Shore; Atlantic City to Cape May: Great Destinations: A Complete Guide: Including the Wildwoods (Great Destinations), FYI) watching other people get drunk because I was too scared to drink for fear that my parents would banish me to my room for a month (a very real threat, too).
Sure, I had my drinking dalliances once I got to […]
Redux: Self Help Books
This is the last time I’ll be posting about self help books…well, almost. I’ll post a link when the article I wrote about the genre is published in early January.
Obviously, I couldn’t write about and/or read every self help book on the market. It is, after all, a nearly $10 billion industry. But to give you an idea of what publishers think will sell — and what people probably will spend money on — below is a selection of what was in that stack I posted about earlier.
I also wanted to point out that this doesn’t mean that I hate all self help books. Some can be helpful. I know a few have helped me, but I think a lot of them are crap, especially the “it worked for me, so it will work for you, too” books written by people who don’t have any other qualifications outside their own personal stories.
Maybe it’s a matter of the right book finding the right person. As one person I interviewed for the article said, that first book on the list below will probably help someone who thinks that not being engaged by the age of 25 is a […]
For the November/December issue of Poets & Writers magazine, I wrote an article about Slushpilereader.com, which is a website aiming to work around the typical “it’s who you know” mechanisms of publishing. If you’ve ever been frustrated by rounds of rejection letters from agents and publishers (ugh, don’t they hurt?) you might want to check out the site, or at least the article, which you can read here.
I started my agent hunt in 2002 with a completely different non-fiction book than The Jersey Shore, Atlantic City to Cape May: Great Destinations: A Complete Guide: Including the Wildwoods (Great Destinations) . The proposal went through a lot of agents, from those who sent back a form rejection to those who were excited about the book…until they read the manuscript after which it was rejected.
I guess there’s a happy ending to that story if not that particular book since my first book is coming out in May, but I still don’t have an agent. I brokered the deal with Countryman Press on my own because I wanted to write this book for them instead of, for example, shopping it around to other […]
Book 15 of 52: Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding — and Managing — Romance on the Job
One word review of Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding–and Managing–Romance on the Job:
I was going to write a full post about why. But I wasted enough time reading it that I don’t want to waste any more time writing about how stupid and ridiculous this book is. Onward and upward.
My Book: It’s Up for Pre-Sale
Big day in the offices of Jen A. Miller. My book, The Jersey Shore, Atlantic City to Cape May: Great Destinations: A Complete Guide: Including the Wildwoods (Great Destinations) is now up for pre-sale on Amazon.com.
It’s a bit surreal to see that considering the proof, with my marks, is still on my dining room table. But now if you ask me when you can buy your copy, there’s the answer. Of course, you won’t actually get the book until May, but it’s a start!
Interview: James Lilliefors, author of Boardwalks: From Coney Island to California
Click on over to my “Down the Shore with Jen” blog for an interview with James Lilliefors, author of America’s Boardwalks: From Coney Island to California. It’s a fascinating book about, obviously, boardwalks, and it’s one of the better interviews I’ve had on the shore blog so far. Here’s a direct link.
Important note: while this book is big and glossy with beautiful pictures, it is not just a photo book. Lilliefors put together amazing histories of these boardwalks, and why they matter and how they change. I used it in researching The Jersey Shore, Atlantic City through Cape May: A Complete Guide and recommend it to anyone with a taste for shore history.