Monday, November 26, 2007

Bunny Tales

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had recently finished Playground by Jennifer Saginor and wasn't very impressed, as it didn't really give me very much info I was seeking. I find the Playboy Mansion and the whole stigma around it fascinating.

I thought this book was well written and very honest. St. James really got to the nitty gritty of things and it was appreciated. I think she touched on almost every subject someone who was interested in this lifestyle and the Playboy Mansion could have wanted to know about. The sex (real details), the cat fights, the celebrities, the money, the plastic surgery and a great insight into Hugh Hefner himself.

At times I thought St. James was a little contradictory, but for the most part I really enjoyed her tell all. I think many people may be surprised about what life really is like as on of the "Girlfriends" vs. what it appears to be on TV. St. James herself is very well educated and I thought I had good view of the world, and for her to write this book I thought it very bold. Good for her for telling it how it was, even if it put a negative light on Hefner and the whole facade. I somehow doubt that someone a less cultured would have the guts or the interest to write something similar.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Books in Bulk?

I was reading in the New Yorker last night about how Strand's Bookstore offers Books-by-the-Foot service, which provides ready-made libraries for private homes, stores and movie sets.

Apparently you can choose from three different options; "Bargain Books," a random selection of hardbacks, which is the cheapest at ten dollars per foot of shelf space. For thirty dollars, you can customize the color. For seventy-five dollars, you can get a "leather-looking" library, which is "often mistaken for leather."

They apparently get most of their business from movie sets and the like, but recently they have been getting lots of inquires from celebrity types. These people come in and say they want so many books this color or this size for their shelves.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! These people can't even pick out their own fucking books? I can't believe it. How lazy can someone be! One of my favorite things to do when I visit someone's home for the first time is to check out their bookshelves. I think it says a lot about someone. This whole "book-by-the-foot" thing is so bogus. It totally blows this out of the water. So basically when you go into these people's houses you aren't getting a good idea of that specific person's tastes and interests, but that of someone who works at the Strand's bookstore who picked them out. Urgh. I find it disgusting. (And you can also guarantee that these people haven't read one single book on these shelves.) I think the whole point of having a library or even a bookshelf in your house is NOT to show off how intelligent you want people to think you are. But to display your tastes and interests. That's what makes it interesting.

I am proud to say that I own 1630 books currently (according to my Librarything Catalog and I picked every last one of the books out myself!

On a side note, this article did have a few interesting tidbits. It talks about with all the technology that is out there, they pick out books for movie sets, that have to be very careful. In the article is says, "Although prop books are meant to be seen and not read, they have to evoke a mise en scene, inside and out. For Indiana Jones, the filmmakers specified that the books cover such topics and paleontology, marine biology, and pre-Columbian society. They have to be in muted colors and predate 1957. With high-def, people can just freeze the film and say 'Oh, that's so inappropriate.'"

Instead of wasting time freezing movies and looking at the bookshelves, people should actually READ.

Okay end of rant for the day.

Playground by Jennifer Saginor

This book was mildly entertaining. The story was interesting enough, but in the end, I was pretty annoyed.

The constant name dropping and referring to of everything 80's got really old. It seemed that in very paragraph it was stated what 80's song was playing in the background or what 80's style of dress she was wearing. I got the point after the first 30 pages... but it just kept going. Like the reader was going to forget that this took place in the 80's. The name dropping of the countless celebrities also got old. We got it, thanks.

It was interesting however, that she ended up a bisexual. This made me wonder if this was more do to circumstance than anything else. After spending so much of you life around beautiful, naked women all the time, was that really a surprise? It was sad to read about how messed up her family, mainly her father, was. It made me a bit depressed.

Next up: Bunny Tales

I also would have liked to hear more about her life after starting college. She breezed through that in like 15 pages. I think more could have been done with this part of her life.

Anyhow, again, mildly entertaining, but nothing more.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I had very high hopes for this book. And for the most part they were met. (I still think I liked the Kite Runner more.)

That being said, this was a fantastic read. Hosseini is a very, very gifted storyteller. The plot was unbreakable. The character development was flawless. I really admire an author who can make a reader feel so much for their characters.

I also found it fascinating to learn about the Taliban from an insider's point of view; from the view of an Afghani. How at first they were very excited for the Taliban to come and how it really turned out. I didn't know much about Afghanistan and it's war history, so this book was an eye opening experience. It goes to show that the view point of most of the western word that all people from Afghanistan are evil horrible people is just not true.

As a change of pace, I liked that this story was told in the view point of women, whereas the Kite Runner was told from a man's. I thought that was a great choice. Being a woman, after reading the book, really made me reflect on my life and how lucky I am to have the freedom and choice that I do.

The one part I struggled with, was that at times when I wasn't paying close enough attention while reading, I tended to get confused between Laila and Miriam, especially when they referred to their past. But after a quick second I was able to think back and figure it out -- but it didn't always come naturally.

All in all -- a highly recommended book.

Up next: I am not sure.. I have to go home and look at the shelf.....

Monday, November 5, 2007


I just found out about this great website/organzation called EcoLibris. They will plant trees for every book you read. It's really interesting.


I found out about it after I mooched a book from one of the co-founders and she sent me an e-mail:

"Eco-Libris, a new green biz that I co-founded that lets book readers balance out the paper used for the books they read by planting trees. Our customers also receive a sticker made of recycled paper for every book they balance out saying "One Tree Planted for this Book" and can later display these stickers on their books' sleeves.

About 20 Million trees are cut down annually for virgin paper used for the production of books sold in the U.S. alone. What we want to do is to raise awareness to the destructive environmental impacts of using paper for the production of books and provide people with an affordable and easy way to do something about it.

We have partnered with three highly respected US and UK registered non-profit organizations that work in collaboration with local communities in developing countries to plant the trees. These trees are planted in high ecological and sustainable standards in Latin America and Africa, where de forestation is a crucial problem, and planting trees not only helps to fight climate change and conserve soil and water, but also benefits many local people, for whom these trees offer many benefits and an opportunity for a better future."

It sounds like a really great project! Check it out!