Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall Reading

The weather has definitely turned fall-ish here in the Northwest. We had a lovely summer, and now we are having a rather chilly fall. The leaves are turning amazing shades of red and gold, and the sky is most often overcast and the temperatures are dropping. It is a perfect time for reading! Here is what I've been reading lately...

Lock in by John Scalzi
I was eager to read Scalzi's latest, as I'd read two of his previous books and really enjoyed them (Old Man's War and Redshirts). I found Lock In to be more technical than the other two. I loved the characters in Old Man's War and loved loved the whole premise of Redshirts (such a fun read, especially if you have ANY knowledge of Star Trek at all). This one was a little more clinical...and perhaps that had to do with the premise of Lock In. There was a lot to explain here (Haden's, which is what they called people who contracted a particular form of meningitis and ended up "locked in" their bodies, Integrators, who were able to allow others to use their bodies, threeps - nice Star Wars reference there -, and the Agora...) I did like Chris Shane, the main character and narrator, who was a Haden FBI agent. Interesting for sure, and not my favorite of his.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage
Molly Wizenberg writes of her husband's quest to open a pizza restaurant. Not just any pizza restaurant, but one that serves absolutely amazing pizza. She is hot and cold about his project, wanting to support him, and, at times being completely overwhelmed with the huge endeavor. I enjoyed reading about their quest to make the perfect dough, find the perfect location, and to finally be able to finally open their doors to the public! She is a good writer, sharing the food and herself and their endeavor engagingly with the reader.

Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
Jio imagines a possible back story for the writing of Goodnight Moon, the beloved children's book. Through her main character's inheritance of her great aunt's bookstore in Seattle, we follow as June comes to terms with her past, comes to some difficult decisions about her future, and as she discovers much more than she anticipated in the bookstore.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Don Tillman is a geneticist. He is deliberate and careful in how he lives his life, planning everything to the minute. He thinks that he should find a wife, and, with the help of a few friends, develops The Wife Project. It's not hard to see where this is going (ahem, read the title), I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Don, while dealing with some social challenges, is vivid and likable. A fun read!

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
It took me way too long to read this. I'm not a big laugher (or cryer) when I read, so when a book makes me laugh (or cry), that is saying something. There were parts where I was laughing so hard I was crying. Her drawings, while seemingly simple, capture emotions and moods brilliantly. I LOVED her chapters about the dogs.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This is the story of a family told through the lens of the death of the eldest and favorite daughter, Lydia. Lydia is dead, and no one knows why. Was she murdered? If so, what was the motive and who would kill her? Was it suicide? If so, why would Lydia kill herself? As we read, we learn more about each member of the family and their relationships with each other. The novel embraces us in the family's quiet devastation. It was quite lovely.

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
I love Reichl's food writing, my favorite of her books being Garlic and Sapphires. Delicious! is her first foray into fiction, and I must admit that my expectations were low. I have found that some of my favorite non-fiction writers who attempt fiction have been disappointing. They do the non-fiction so well, and I've wondered why they even attempt fiction. And yet they do. Delicious! has been a pleasant surprise. Food certainly features prominently, and Reichl's gifts for describing food, even if it is fictitious food, is evident here. The story has not been predictable...I had ideas about where the story was going, and I have been pleased that she has taken the story beyond my expectations. I'm not quite done with this book yet, but have very much been enjoying the read...and gotten hungry while reading!


My partner and I are getting away for a few days next week for some badly needed R & R. We will of course be taking books! I'll be bringing Craig Thompson's Habibi, Bridge of Birds: A Novel of the Ancient China that Never Was by Barry Hughart, Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thompson. Looking forward to some down time for more reading!


What have you been reading and loving this fall?

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Monday, October 13, 2014

New Store, New Bookcase

Remember this post? When I first started at Whole Foods, I was at a different store...and I found a bookcase...

I've since transferred to another store, and there is a another bookcase here too. See?


What a mess! There might be some interesting books there, but it sure would be hard to find them.

At Whole Foods, one of our Core Values in Team Member excellence and happiness. I love this. To that end, every store has a TMAG - Team Member Awareness Group. Our job (I am part of this group) is to recognize, appreciate, and provide fun things for the team members at our store. What a great thing this is!

As part of this, I've taken it upon myself to make this bookcase more inviting. Cull the books no one is reading and no one is likely to read (which frankly, may be most of them), clean it up, and somehow get some good books on there so people might acutally want to browse. Want to read.

To get some good books on there, I'm going to send an email out to all team members in my store. I'm going to ask them to contribute a book or two. And not just a book they were going to get rid of anyway, but a book they loved. I'm also going to ask them to write in it and say why they liked it, and sign their names. That way, team members can get to know one another through books.

Here's the email I will be sending to team members at my store...

Hello Team Members!

If you've been in the break room recently, you might recall seeing the bookcase in there. It’s a rather sad bookcase right now. It's not really all that inviting.
TMAG would like to change that! The break room bookcase will be getting some love. There will be sorting. There will be organizing. There will be new and different books.

And this is where you come in. There are two ways you can participate.
One - you can let me know what kind of books you like to read. What would you like to see in this bookcase? Do you like fiction? Mysteries? Sci-fi? Romance? I also want to have some cooking/food/nutrition books on there, and input on what might be welcome additions to that section would be helpful as well.
Second - I'd like to ask you to contribute a book (or two? ( if you’d like – this is purely voluntary). I’m asking that it not be a book that you didn't like very much and you were going to get rid of anyway, but a book you've really liked, loved, or was impactful for you in some way. On the inside front cover, write what this book meant to you, or why you liked it. Sign your name. And we'll have it on the bookcase for others to read. Likely, if you really liked a book, someone else will too.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you! Let me know if you have any comments, questions or ideas…about books or the bookcase!

What would YOU want to see on a bookcase at your work?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Egg & Spoon

I was lucky enough to get an Early Reivewer Copy of Gregory Maguire's new book, Egg & Spoon through
Thank you, librarything!

Maguire is great at reimagining familiar stories, fairy tales and folklore. Wicked, his reimagining of The Wizard of Oz, is one of my favorite books.

In this one he goes to Russia, bringing his spin on Russian folklore. Egg & Spoon is a romp that comes with social and political commentary, folklore, and vivid characters.


The story starts with Elena, a Russian peasant girl. We feel her hunger, loneliness and desperation. She meets Ekaterina, a privileged and pampered girl, traveling through Russia by train, during an unplanned stop in Elena's town. And then there's Baba Yaga, a witch who is dangerous, capricious, clever, funny, and maybe even a little bit vulnerable.

As one might expect reading Maguire, there are many adventures. Here they involve mistaken identities, a magical Firebird, the tsar, melting winter, Baba Yaga and her chicken legged house, an ice dragon, and a prince. Matroyshka dolls also figure prominently.

While I haven't loved all of Maguire's other books as much as I loved Wicked, I think Maguire is in top form here.

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