Monthly Archives: June 2010

Bloggiesta: To-Do List

Hello there Internet! After a seemingly endless day at work, I am home and ready to get started with this bloggiesta. (Well, after a dinner of chicken and beans and rice, because sustenance is important.)

I’ve decided to follow Natasha’s lead with just having one update post during the weekend, which I’ll edit as I go along. I’ll be on Twitter, though, so I can follow what everyone else is up to.  Don’t forget to participate in the mini-challenge I’m hosting to find and comment on ten new blogs; there are also five other awesome mini-challenges to keep you motivated!

*cracks knuckles* Now to get started!


  • Respond to e-mail requests
  • Edit sidebar links to Twitter & GoodReads
  • Add a favicon
  • Edit About Me page
  • Update Review Policy page
  • Update Challenge page
  • Prepare a review template
  • Organize Google Reader, especially folders
  • Review Burma Chronicles
  • Review The Three Weissmanns of Westport
  • Review Beat the Reaper
  • Organize GoodReads tags on books read
  • Add a Google search bar for the blog
  • Edit images/files saved in my Bonjour, Cass folder
  • Add blog address to gmail signature

And, for your viewing pleasure, brings you the Mexican Hat Dance, as performed by Simon Cowell and Susan Boyle:

You’re welcome. ;)


    Filed under Blogger Events, Lists

    Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Embracing Community

    Good morning, Bloggiesta participants! I hope you have your task lists ready, your favorite beverages and snack accessories on hand, and your “working on the blog” faces on.

    It’s generally accepted that you should read a lot of books in order to be a good writer. Well, it is my belief that in order to be a good blogger, you should read and engage with other blogs. Blogging, at its barest, is a way for people to express their opinions and have them heard; shouldn’t we then not only be expressing our thoughts, but also contemplate the thoughts of our fellow bloggers?

    Just think:

    • How many books have you read because of a recommendation from another blogger? (Or movies you’ve watched or shoes you’ve bought, etc.)
    • How does it make you feel when a post you’ve worked hard on and are proud of gets noticed?
    • How many bloggers can you name that have changed the way you think about something?

    And so on. Bloggers have changed the way we think, the way we read, the way we write. You are showing your belief in the power of the blogging community already, simply by participating in Bloggiesta with over a hundred other bloggers!

    To complete this mini-challenge, all you have to do is visit ten new-to-you blogs and leave a meaningful comment. (You are, of course, more than welcome to visit more than 10!) “Meaningful,” for this purpose, is up for interpretation–I would lean toward defining it as a comment which actively engages with a post, rather than just saying hello, but of course all types of comments are welcome.

    If you are on Twitter, you can also give support to bloggers by answering questions and making connections. Be sure to use the #bloggiesta hash tag if you do so we can follow along.
    When you’ve finished your task, leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win a prize.

    Best of luck in completing all your goals this weekend!

    This is a totally realistic interpretation of my “game” face.


    Filed under Blogger Events

    I Am Ridiculously Excited About…: Upcoming Release

    Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
    by Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman
    Released August 31, 2010

    From Amazon:

    In the 15 years since the release of Gender Outlaw, Kate Bornstein’s groundbreaking challenge to gender ideology, transgender narratives have made their way from the margins to the mainstream and back again. Today’s transgenders and other sex/gender radicals are writing a drastically new world into being. In Gender Outlaws, Bornstein, together with writer, raconteur, and theater artist S. Bear Bergman, collects and contextualizes the work of this generation’s trans and genderqueer forward thinkers — new voices from the stage, on the streets, in the workplace, in the bedroom, and on the pages and websites of the world’s most respected mainstream news sources. Gender Outlaws includes essays, commentary, comic art, and conversations from a diverse group of trans-spectrum people who live and believe in barrier-breaking lives.

    EVERYONE. This is an amazingly exciting collaboration (Bornstein AND Bergman??) AND the cover is awesome. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Kate Bornstein and seeing her perform a piece from her one-woman show, and she is just lovely. I can’t wait!

    You may or may not know that the reason I started this blog was because I wanted to start reading more fiction and less theory/anthologies like this one. Because that was ALL I WAS READING. But! If they are going to publish such wonderfulness, how can I ignore it?

    I’m not rationalizing. I’m not rationalizing... (Totally rationalizing, but I think I’ve become better at juggling fiction and non-fiction.)


    Filed under GLBTQ

    Review: Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

    Suite Scarlett
    by Maureen Johnson
    Published 2008
    Unabridged audio by Brilliance Audio

    Fact: Maureen Johnson is hilarious. I know it, she knows it, John Green knows it, and, once you read this novel, you’ll know it too.* Unless you’ve heard her speak at a certain nerdy convention, then you already know. THE POINT IS, she is full of wit and snark and she makes me laugh, especially in Suite Scarlett.

    When I found out she would be the keynote speaker at the Book Blogger Convention (BBC), I decided to read some of her books because I like to do my homework. I read Devilish and 13 Little Blue Envelopes, neither of which I really enjoyed. I actively avoided reading Suite Scarlett because of the cover, assuming it would be a middle-of-the-road “chick lit” novel. I was confused, then, when I met Maureen and she was so charismatic and entertaining. Why weren’t her books like that? At the BBC, we were given a copy of the audio book for Suite Scarlett, so I suspended my bias regarding the cover and decided to give her work another chance.

    It’s tradition in Scarlett Martin’s hotel owning/running family that upon turning fifteen, one is given the responsibility of maintaining a suite and any possible guests that suite might have. Scarlett is a bit taken aback when she is given the Empire Suite, the most fancy and expensive in the entire hotel. She assumes her parents don’t think she can handle the assignment, which is quite possible since the hotel rarely has guests as it is, never mind in the most costly set of rooms. Then a tornado of a guest, Mrs. Amberson, arrives and rents the Empire suite, hires Scarlett as her assistant, and becomes deeply involved in Scarlett’s older brother Spencer’s acting career. Hijinks ensue. But smart ones!

    Suite Scarlett is the book I was wishing Maureen had written. Although there’s a love story, it isn’t corny, and the book ends up being more about Scarlett and her family (with New York City an honorary member). And it passes the Bechdel Test**!

    On the narration: She did all the voices, all the emotions, even fake coughs. One of the better narrations I’ve heard. 

    Grade: A-
    Read this if: You enjoy YA, John Green, and MJ’s twitter feed.

    *You are allowed to disagree, of course. Just don’t tell me, because it will make me frown.
    ** Although usually used in regard to movies, the Bechdel Test requires 1) at least two female charcters who 2) talk to each other 3) about something other than boys. You’d be surprised by just how many movies and books do not reach this simple goal.

    Disclosure: The mp3 audio version of the book was included in the BBC swag bag.


    Filed under 2010 Reviews, A, Audio Books, Young Adult Fiction

    Happy Pride Month!

    From the Official Presidential Proclamation (my favorite part):

    These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

    I was going to link to a bunch of happy gay news but, uh, it requires a bit more digging than I thought. So instead, here is the gayest picture I could find of Ethan and I! Also, an (unintentional) ad for Zipcar!

    Read LGBT books this month (and every month)!  Just not The Well of Loneliness! Because it is depressing!

    I will probably end up re-reading The Well of Loneliness this month because I can’t stop making bad jokes about it. (Care to snark with me, Danika?)

    Update: It’s also National Audio Books Month. David Sedaris is promoting it, so if you listen to a David Sedaris audio book, you can double celebrate. Hooray.


    Filed under GLBTQ, Personal

    May Round-Up

     This is the only picture I took in NYC. I’m not sure how that happened.

    The good news is that I reviewed 18% of the books I read! The bad news is that I only read eleven books, which is about a third of what I usually read. Of course, two major life events happened in May: Ethan’s birthday and Book Expo America/the Book Blogger Convention, so I don’t think I’m allowed to complain.

    Here’s what I read:

    Audio — 6

    1. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman (Tess Monaghan #1). Mystery. B-
    2. Dead In the Family by Charlaine Harris. Mystery. C
    3. Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman. Literary fiction. A-
    4. The Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol. Non-fiction (Education). A
    5. Ordinary Resurrections by Jonathan Kozol. Non-fiction (Education). A
    6. Columbine by Dave Cullen. Non-fiction (History). A

    Print — 5

    1. Finding George Orwell In Burma by Emma Larkin. Non-Fiction. A
    2. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight In Heaven by Sherman Alexie. Short stories. C
    3. Charm City by Laura Lippman (Tess Monaghan #2). Mystery. B-
    4. Woman From Shanghai: Tales of Survival From a Chinese Work Camp by Xianhui Yang. Historical fiction/short stories. B+
    5. Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky. Literary fiction. B (Signed by the author at BEA!)

    BIGGEST SURPRISE: I’ve been on a quest to read all of Sherman Alexie’s work ever since I read The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, and the short story collection I read this month, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight In Heaven, was the first one I didn’t really enjoy. Since most of the stories were published at the beginning of his career, I’m not judging him at all about it.

    A SERIES I MAY NOT ACTUALLY FINISH: I didn’t finish several books this month, but I was most disappointed with Butcher Hill, the third book in Laura Lippman’s Tess Monaghan series. I know Baltimore has uh, interesting race issues, but I just couldn’t deal with all the terrible stereotypes/caricatures. Sad, too, because with all that non-fiction, I wanted a good, cozy mystery series to mix it up.

    I GUESS IT WAS A NON-FICTION KIND OF MONTH: I loved them all. I have a weakness for Kozol, but Dave Cullen’s Columbine is a MUST READ. The audio was spectacular (and narrated by an actor who does voice overs in true crime shows).

    In other news… I’m kind of addicted to twitter. 

    (Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I think I’m going to try to blog every day this month. It could happen.)


    Filed under Monthly Round-Up