30 January 2010

Too much blogging, not enough reading...

Between posting all of the travel pictures and catching up on 194 (at last count) bookish blogs, and all of the fabulously bad TV waiting for me on TiVo, I have done very little reading lately. So this snowy weekend I plan to do some quality reading.

UPDATE: Mlle Paradis rightly points out that I didn't note the name or location of this wonderful bookstore. It is O'Gara & Wilson. It is in Chicago near the University of Chicago. If you take the EL out to the Museum of Science and Industry, when you are done at the museum cross under the EL tracks and you will not only find this gem of a store but there is also a branch of the famous Portland-based Powells on the same street.


29 January 2010

Bill Amberg for Penguin Classics

Until these were presented to me last week as a late Christmas present, I didn’t even know that this edition of Penguin Classics existed. Leave it to my incredibly thoughtful husband to find something I wanted without me even knowing I wanted it. Penguin teamed up with leather-goods designer Bill Amberg to create special leather-bound editions of six Penguin titles.


As you can see I only have five of them. The sixth one is still on its way across the Atlantic. Besides being beautifully bound and printed, four of the six titles are counted among my all-time favorite books. I love Brideshead Revisted, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Great Gatsby and A Room With a View. I am somewhat less enamored of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and I have never read The Big Sleep or any other Chandler for that matter.


Each is packed in its own box. When you open the box it is like opening a box with a nice pair of shoes inside.


Each book is bound in beautifully soft, brown Buffalo calf leather, which, if you believe the card inside the box, comes from animals that have died of natural causes. The binding is supposed to get better with use and handling. But I am not sure I will even store them outside their fabulous boxes.


They also have a luggage tag-like bookmark attached.



28 January 2010

If you could give up one domestic chore forever what would it be?

Out of all the chores of daily life, the one I hate most is doing laundry. Even more than dust constantly settling on furniture or dishes piling up after every meal, there is something about the constant stream of laundry that annoys me. I think it is because doing laundry well requires skill, perhaps even talent, in a way that other domestic duties don't. Keeping laundry clean can really take its toll on the laundry itself if it isn't done properly. Stain removal, proper temperatures for both water and dryer, ironing, even folding require more skill and patience than I have.

So imagine my delight when we handed over our laundry to the hotel staff at each stop on our recent trip. We decided to pack as light as possible but doing so meant that we needed to have things laundered over the course of 18 days. And since I wasn't about to waste vacation time doing laundry or even trying to find a luandromat in foreign land we decided to pay through the teeth to let our hotels take of it.

In addition to not having to actually do the work, they also return it to you as if it were a luxurious Christmas present. If only I could do this every week...

Which daily chore would you most like to give up?



25 January 2010

I didn't want to, but I HAD to buy a book today

You might think that I would always be in the mood to buy a book. In fact, I would have thought the same thing as well. But today I left the house without anything to read and I ended up having down time in the middle of the day where I had nothing to do. I had already done the daily Sudoku on the Metro and I still had about an hour to kill. And I was too tired (jet lag) to just browse for an hour.

Here are the reasons I didn't want to buy a book:
  1. I am already actively reading four books. I wanted to read one of those, not temproarily move on to something new.
  2. My TBR is so big and so jam packed with wonderful things I want to read, I really didn't want to add to the pile.
  3. It was Borders Books. If I am buying new it is not my favorite place to do it. If I am going to a big chain I would prefer Barnes & Noble where I have one of those discount membership thingies. But more than that I would prefer to buy some used and fabulous from Books for America.
But in the end I did find something that piqued my interest and proved a worthy tome with which to kill the hour. I ended up buying Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here. I am a huge fan of Sinclair Lewis. I have read about seven of his novels and I really dig him. He was not only the first American to win theNobel Prize for literature, but he also hails from my home state of Minnesota. Plus, this one imagines Americans marching off toward facism in 1935. Following my recent re-read of Atwood's dystopic The Handmaid's Tale it kind of makes sense to get another take on America run amok.


24 January 2010

Asia Trip 30: The LAST vacation post! My reading...

I have already reviewed all of the books I read while we were away. I lugged the gigantic War and Peace many, many miles and didn't make much headway.  And I read the first 100 pages or so back in early December, so although I remembered what happened, I started to get confused by who was who. So I took some time to go back through and make a little chart to help me keep everyone straight.






Showing a bit of leg reading Maggie O'Farrell's The Distance Between Us.


I know, I know, I am defiling this copy of Her Fearful Symmetry. But I was so sleepy I fell asleep before I could locate a bookmark.

Asia Trip 29: The air in Beijing is brown...

What says China more than brown air and pandas? Of course since we were only in the airport, that is all we really saw. And in case I haven't mentioned, or mentioned it enough, the majority of the pictures, especially the better ones, were taken by my husband John.




Asia Trip 28: Sunset Cocktails on the Beach in Phuket






Asia Trip 27: Sunday Painting (not really)

One evening the sky over Phuket was amazing. It reminded us of a Jon Schueler painting. So, since I haven't done my Sunday Painting feature since before we went on our trip, this will have to do for today.














Asia Trip 26: The motor is on the rudder...








Asia Trip 25: Day Trip to Bamboo Island

The day started off very bumpy. The boat ride out to Bamboo was really rough and seemed to take forever. Thank god for Dramamine.  Once we got there, however, it was quite beautiful.










Asia Trip 24: Our Resort in Phuket

One of the more amazing things about our resort in Phuket was that it had this wonderful watery spine running through the middle of all the villas. It was magical. At night all the frogs sounded amazing.




























Asia Trip 23: Our Villa in Phuket

This place was deluxe. We had our own pool, an outdoor bathtub, comfy places to lounge outside. It was great. Clothing was optional.


The entrance to our cul-de-sac. We were in #64.












Trapped in the room again.