Reading this summer: Faulkner, Murakami, Chabon, Cleave…

So the summer began a few weeks ago, but during the June 21 (my birthday) – July now period I have been reading the first twenty pages of books and books. Among them:

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy
White Teeth by Zadie Smith

They are all on the final summer list, though I suspect I’ll be taking some liberality with the designation “Summer” when it comes to Pynchon’s book. Like maybe next summer…

I have read two works since planning this post (since Wednesday… what day is it now?):

Sarrasine by Honoré de Balzac and
The Model World and Other Stories by Michael Chabon

And now, the plan:

Franz Kafka’s complete story collection
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Vladimir Nabokov’s complete story collection
Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
Tinkers by Paul Harding
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

And, of course, the four mentioned above.

I’ve solicited suggestions and am open to more. Have a lovely summer reading, all, no matter what you choose. Here are the books I currently have. I must have left Duffy’s collection at work…

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A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… Best 2012 Commencement Speeches, Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to ban supersized sodas

Not funny, but worth noting: Just as rumors and winds of a tornado edged toward D.C. Friday evening, The Washington Post Tweeted: “Send us your storm photos, but don’t put yourself at risk for the pics.”

-o- Best 2012 Commencement Speakers -o-

What do Michelle Obama, Aaron Sorkin, Neil Gaiman, and Jane Lynch have in common? They’re all featured by The Wall Street Journal as notable commencement speakers. Here’s the WSJ roundup with embedded videos of the above speakers’ speeches and more.

-o- E-reading trends -o-

Love these. Do people who own e-readers read more books? Which is the most popular e-reader? This infographic even attempts to answer the question of why people read books.

Infographic from Mashable.

-o- Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposes a ban on super-sized sodas -o-

Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has decided to try and ban all sodas over 16 oz. So… cups? Bottles? Cans? All of the above? Seems totally ridiculous to me but… This country is facing a lot of obesity-related health problems. Maybe just getting people talking about this is a good idea.

Here’s a link to Stephen Colbert’s video on the attempt: awesome.

-o- 10 NY literary bars -o-

This is more tourist-y than literary, but still way cool. In a few weeks my Aunt Susan and Uncle Brad are staging NY Peb Crawl Round III; maybe I can get one of these on the list!

Collection from Lonely Planet.

-o- 10 Jaw-droppingly beautiful places -o-

StumbleUpon has become fun again! Gallery (originally on BuzzFeed); I’ve been to Cinque Terre and want to go to that Crooked Forest ASAP.

-o- Top 100 Bestselling Books in the country -o-

List from Publisher’s Weekly. I included this because just today my friend told me she’d read Fifty Shades of Grey at the beach and I hadn’t even heard of it. And THEN my cousin raved about it at my Aunt Ginny’s birthday party. I’ll have to check it out!

-o- Cooking this week: Thai Green Curry Coconut Shrimp with Basil -o-

Here’s the recipe from SkinnyTaste.

(Image source: SkinnyTaste.com)

My last cooking adventure with the lovely Lindsey was SUPER successful… stay tuned for pics of our roasted chicken and romaine with spinach and red peppers.

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… Supermoon pictures, 20-year-old lands Harry Potter-reminiscent 7-book deal

-o- What they don’t tell you in commencement speeches -o-

You just wasted 100k and four years. Not really, but check out some sage advice from a former speechwriter and current professor. Best nugget: “Your parents don’t want what is best for you. They want what is good for you, which isn’t always the same thing.” Here’s the WSJ article.

-o- Saturday night Supermoon pics -o-

The latest installment from Stephanie Meyer… er… I mean, a yearly phenomenon that yielded some awesome pictures.

Here’s a gallery from The Washington Post; More photographs from The Guardian.

-o- How tech have advancements have changed student life -o-

Check out this awesome infographic from Mashable. Many of the stats aren’t surprising, but a few will make you think. For example, 12 million college students are currently taking at least one online class.

There are also a bunch of cool apps, including one allowing students to calculate the specific grade needed on a test to pass a class.

-o- Wired How-To Wiki: Surviving at Sea -o-
The Last Resort: Cannibalism.. Hopefully this never happens to you, unless maybe you’re the kind of jerk that mocks people it has happened to. Either way, get ready to eat things raw. Top Menu item: Joe with a side of hallucination and PTSD

Fun/scary: here’s the wiki.

-o- The Hunger Games makes ALA’s list of most-banned books -o-

Lets make a deal. If you find a book offensive, don’t read it! Apparently some people have found The Hunger Games to be “anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence.” Violent, sure. It’s about a voyeuristic battle royale. But “anti-family”? Come on people.

Read the CNN article.

-o- Kids hating classic books on Twitter -o-

Do everyone a favor and hate on them for awhile. Here’s the collection from Publisher’s Weekly.

-o- 20-year-old student lands 7-book deal with Rowling’s publisher -o-

Because we always love waiting for the next best. Seriously though, all power to her and I hope her books make me as happy as Rowling’s did. Here’s the article from the Daily Mail.

-o- Cooking this week -o-

Black Bean Roasted Garlic Guacamole. Purist, schmurist… this looks amazing. Thanks, MaggiesOneButtKitchen!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/s720x720/154556_10150904317235239_664855238_12140309_555325935_n.jpg

(Source: MaggiesOneButtKitchen)

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Johnny Depp: Vampire

-o- Baby Bucket List -o-

If you haven’t seen this site, please check it out: Avery’s Bucket List. It is one of the most moving blog pieces I’ve ever seen. This family found out that their infant daughter will most likely not reach age two, so they have tried to give her the fullest life possible and imagine the life she should have had.

Incredibly sad, but also so inspiring. Here’s the CNN piece on the story.

-o- The White House Correspondents’ Dinner -o-

Watch Obama’s full speech on YouTube.

-o- Seeing Philadelphia by public transportation -o-

Reporter Becky Krystal takes a day trip to Philadelphia without the use of a car; she has to make some tricky decisions but she manages to see what she came to see. The best part? The relatively low cost of the trip. Here’s The Washington Post article complete with accompanying photo gallery “Navigating Philadelphia, sans car.”

-o- Man City beats Man U 1-0 in the Manchester Derby… and Americans care! -o-

I imagine most of that was the prior match between the two resulting in a 6-1 victory for Man City. Lack of goal-scoring is one of the most frequent charges I hear leveled at the (incidentally, personally beloved) sport.

Check out BBC Sport‘s article on the game by Phil McNulty.

-o- The Guardian, The Observer‘s 10 Best First Lines in Fiction -o-

Here’s their list compiled and contextualized by Robert McCrum, and here’s mine. The two lists have no crossover at all so you should look at both. This morning, this collection was still among their top-viewed items.. so check it out!

Among them?

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain(1884)
“You don’t know about me, without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by a Mr Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly.”

-o- Johnny Depp: Vampire -o-

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have teamed up again in Dark Shadows. This time, Johnny Depp plays an 18th-century vampire who awakens in the 20th century. Helene Bonham Carter also stars in her seventh appearance in a film with Depp.

Here’s Depp in a promotional video on Wired.

o- 10 Book-themed Kindle Cases -o-

Before I even looked at this I found myself wondering… If I bought a book-themed case for my new iPad and could imagine any one I wanted into existence, is there a book I’d want to look at every day?I think I’d like a generic-looking old-fashioned, weathered book. So I want my expensive tablet to look like an old book – not just an old book, but one doctored to look like the amalgamation of cultural memories of what old books do and should look like.

It’s as tough as deciding on a tattoo (which is why I don’t have any).

Anyway… Here’s the “10 Kindle Cases That Look Like Books” slideshow by Amy-Mae Elliot from Mashable. I really dig the Moleskin one.

o- Steve Kloves to work on Jungle Book script -o-

Kloves, of Harry Potter-screenplay fame, is in talks to work on a remake of The Jungle Book. Story from BBC News.

-o- Cooking this week: Coriander Chicken with Tomato-Corn Salad -o-

I know I usually plug other bloggers here but mmmm this looks so simple and so tasty! Here’s the recipe, originally from Cooking Light.

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… Snowpril? And, 67 books all (geek) parents should read to their kids

-o- Earth Day -o-

I hope you all had a wonderful 4-20! It was a gorgeous Earth Day and I sincerely everyone enjoyed it and put it to productive uses.

-o- Shakespeare’s birthday -o-

If you live in D.C., as I do, you may have celebrated the Bard’s birthday at the Folger Shakespeare library yesterday. Several cities are hosting festivals of Shakespeare’s plays at their theaters. At the very least, consider recalling your favorite Shakespeare-related memory, literary or otherwise.

I’ve recently finished reading Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series, and William Shakespeare is featured heavily in a few of the stories.

-o- Snowpril? -o-

Snow in April?!?! Thank you global warming for extreme unpredictable weather. One of the little groundhog deniers saw his shadow, so 6 more months of winter.

CNN article on today’s storm.

-o- Over 50% of people learn of breaking news via social media -o-

Shameless self-aggrandizing by a social media site, sign of the times, or both? Social media definitely has a speed edge over tradition sources, but is the speed worth the haste? Often times “breaking news” really is “breaking rumors”

Infographic from Mashable.

-o- Oh my goodness, it’s Moby Dick -o-

How exciting! World’s only all-white killer whale spotted off the coast of Russia. No word yet if giant metaphor is chasing after it.

Photo and article from CNN. Here’s another photo and more photos of the day from The Wall Street Journal.

-o- 67 books every geek should read to their children -o-

List from Wired. My mom and dad introduced me to several books on this list, including: Shel Silverstein’s collections, The Borrowers, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and the glorious The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I should buy a copy of that one.

Bonus: What do LolitaThe Phantom Tollbooth, and The Shining have in common? They are all on this list of  10 Great Books to Read Aloud from Flavorwire. Great list.

-o- 10 Beautiful Literary Box Sets -o-

Thank you again, Flavorwire! Here’s the gallery.

-o- Recipe of the Week: Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps -o-

Here’s the recipe from Gina’s Skinny Recipes.

(Image Source: Gina’s Skinny Recipes, SkinnyTaste.com)

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… 10 Crazy and Unusual Book Designs, “No, you can’t deduct that…”

-o- No, you can’t deduct that -o-

I thought I was almost done with my taxes when I remembered I was a Teaching Assistant at George Washington last Spring and forgot to include that. Talk about a con of a freelance (read: unorganized) lifestyle.

Anyway, for a piece that ran this weekend, the NPR staff spoke to several accountants and other knowledgeable sources and asked them to list some of the most off-the-wall attempts their clients made at deductions. Among them? Cosmetic surgery, haircuts, and vet bills. Check out NPR‘s article by Jacob Goldstein.

-o- Weight as factor in employment decisions? -o-

A Texas hospital that includes body mass index (BMI) in their hiring policy has come under criticism. Well, yeah, it’s hard not to feel upset about that. Here’s the HLN article.

-o- Eggs as Art from all over the World -o-

Easter is over for another year, and pieces of plastic eggs litter my apartment. Ah, cats. Before leaving decorative eggs and nostalgic memories of hunts behind for awhile, check out this gallery from NPR.

-o-  Snow White’s in, Vampires are out, but at least Kristin Stewart is still around -o-

(Image source: Wikipedia.com)

Vampires, werewolves, dystopian futuristic worlds… Snow White? Not so much a logical progression. But Annalee Newitz makes some intriguing arguments in her piece on io9.com “Why is Everybody Obsessed with Snow White?” Check it out.

-o- 10 Crazy and Unusual Book Designs -o-

This is my favorite thing I found last week: “10 Crazy and Unusual Book Designs” by Emily Temple. Here’s the list from Flavorwire. Among them, and my favorite (perhaps predictably)… edible books! The first book on this list is an edible cookbook with pages that can be baked into a lasagna.

-o- Cherry Blossom Festival in pictures -o-

I was just on the Mall this weekend and, sadly, I think the blossoms are mostly gone for the year. Check out 100 years of cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. in pictures from the BBC.

-o- Best and Worst Beers -o-

Worth a read, but I wish “taste” were a category. Here’s the slideshow of 40 beers by calorie-count, carbs and alcohol percentage by Eat This, Not That. Going through this was actually kind of a bummer but… drinking beer was never a super calorie-conscious option to begin with…

-o- Recipe of the Week: Over-the-top Mushroom Quiche -o-

Cooking this week! Amazing-looking mushroom quiche. Here’s the recipe from Punchfork.

(Image source: @ Deb Perelman)

Sadly, Brian doesn’t like mushrooms, so we’ll also be making this soup with the abundance of asparagus in our fridge right now; here’s the recipe from thesolitarycook. Mmm… what an unusual and delicious-sounding combination: “Asparagus Soup with Sriracha and Avocado Creme Fraiche.”

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… the Oscars! Huge lobster found off the coast of Maine

-o- The Oscars happened! -o-

Sacha Baron Cohen stole the show, in my opinion, plugging The Dictator in costume. No surprise there! A few hours after the photo below was taken, Samantha Murphy on Mashable Entertainment writes about his “shenanigans.” The actor and comedian dumped the fake ashes of Kim Jong Il onto Ryan Seacrest… here’s Murphy’s piece.

(Jason Merritt – GETTY IMAGES)

And the winners are…

Best Picture – The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
Best Actor – Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Best Director – Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography – Hugo, Martin Scorcese
Best Actress – Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Best Original Screenplay – Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen

  • Coverage from The New Yorker throughout the year of Best Picture nominees; Archive.
  • Oscars “Snubs and Omissions”, according to ForbesAccording to the piece, the failure of any of these six films to receive a nomination is to be considered a notable omission: We Need To Talk About KevinThe Girl With The Dragon TattooDrive, Bridesmaids, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Article. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won Best Film Editing, though…
  • By 9:30 p.m., 3 book-based films had won an award.
  • Bonus from 2011’s ceremony: CollegeHumor’s “Top Ten ‘James Franco Is Stoned’ Oscar Moments”; video.

-o-  Toddler-sized lobster found in Maine, the Titantic’s final lunch menu up for auction -o-

Bon Appetit’s food blog Friday had some great entries: the Titantic’s final lunch menu is up for auction and expected to fetch 100,000 pounds, a 27-pound lobster was found and released of the coast of Maine, and astronauts, theoretically, crave spicy foods due to a compromised sense of smell.

Here’s the Telegraph piece on the menu auction, and here’s the MSNBC article on the huge lobster.  Find the other selections and links in BA‘s blog post.

(source: Reuters)

-o- Ebook variation strategies from The Guardian -o-

Political pamphlets, serial-style novels… what other tricks of the publishing trade are ebook marketers using to get readers interested and keep them there?

Here’s the piece by Benedicte Page.

-o- Ben and Jerry’s drop fortune cookie bits from Lin-sanity ice cream -o-

And it continues… after an ESPN writer was fired and a news anchor suspended for using and then repeating the phrase “Chink in the Armor” in regard to Jeremy Lin, Ben and Jerry’s just announced they’ve replaced fortune cookie pieces with waffle cone bits in their Lin-inspired ice cream, “Taste the Lin-Sanity.”

Here’s the article on CNN.

Ben & Jerrys Apologizes for Lin Sanity Fortune Cookie Ice Cream

(Image Source: Boston Globe)

-o- 10 Movie Poster Clichés -o-

You’ll be amazed and impressed and the number of examples Christophe Courtois has found for each of his categories. Among them? Large faces above small figures on a beach, people lying in bed, and a stark blue background with an image, often a silhouette, in the foreground of the poster.

From 22 Words: List, with numerous examples.

-o- Survival Books for the Apocalypse -o-

From io9.com, “Survival Books to keep on your bookshelf in case of the apocalypse”; here’s the list.

-o- Slutty Girl Brownies on The Londoner -o-

(Source: The Londoner)

Drooling. Seriously. Recipe (click if you dare).