Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Favourite Books of 2010

Of course not all the books I loved in 2010 were published in 2010...but here are my  favourite books that I read this year (not including books that aren't out yet that I read as ARCs). Also not in any order.

I'm going to do a YA list and an adult list simply so I can cheat and list 20 books:


1. Matched by Ally Condie
2. Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
3.It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
4. The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan
5. Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick
6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
7. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick
8. The Boyfriend List and all the sequels in the Ruby Oliver books by E.Lockhart
9. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
10. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly


1. ROOM by Emma Donoghue
2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
3. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
4. The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard
5. Secret Daughter by Shilpi S Gowda
6. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
7. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
8. One Day by David Nicholls
9. The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen

Where do I count the 6 Scott Pilgrim graphic novels? Do I need yet another list? I have read a bunch of graphic novels this year...maybe I'll do a list for 2011.

I'm sure the second I hit "Publish Post" I'll realize I've forgotten something great that I read. Oh well.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Duets (not featuring!)

Lionel & Diana 
Back in the day, in my youth, duets were duets. Now they seem to be called a song by one artist featuring another. Like Eminem featuring Rihanna. To me, that's a duet. I get that sometimes one person is doing most of the singing and someone (like, say Akon) is just oohing and aahing in the background - that to me deserves a "featuring" credit. But if you take turns singing parts then sing some parts together = duet.

My all-time favourite thing about duets (and some songs from Broadway musicals) is when the two singers sing different things at the same time. I'm talking about me belting out "Hamburgers with cheese and pickles are delightful" while you sing "Why does it take to get service in this place?!" or something like that.

Some of my favourites old and new:
1. Fozzie & Kermit - Movin' Right Along (everyone was happy to see this one on my facebook page earlier this week. It's a classic from the amazing Muppet Movie)
2. Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes - Don't Fall in Love With a Dreamer - sure some people prefer Kenny with Dolly or Kenny with Sheena Easton but this one is my favourite. He's stay if she'd just ask him one more time! OMG!
3. Lionel and Diana singing Endless Love. When I sing this one I have to do Lionel's part because Diana is too high and breathy for me.
4. Andrew Belle and Katie Herzig - Static Waves. I wake up in the middle of the night with this song in my head!
5. Court Yard Hounds and Jakob Dylan - See You in the Spring. This has Emily and Jakob doing my favourite singing two different things at the same time thing. LOVE IT. I actually had to stop listening to it because I was becoming obsessed and worried I might start to dislike it from overexposure.
6. Joshua Radin and Ingrid Michaelson - Sky. Lovely.
7. Joshua Radin (again) and Schuyler Fisk - Paperweight - she is an actress and a singer, who knew? I know she's Sissy Spacek's daughter and Sissy sang in Coal Miner's Daughter so maybe they're just a talented family. I can neither act nor dance nor sing so clearly I'm not going into show business.
8. James Morrison and Nelly Furtado - Broken Strings. Mostly because of James Morrison who is amazing and has a great name. I would have loved to have called one of my kids James but was always worried they'd get called "Jim" (which is my favourite name ever) and that would have made him Jim Morrison and well that would be weird, right?
9. NPH and Felicia Day from Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog doing My Eyes - they sing the same things, they sing different things, they sing different lines at the same time then overlap a bit. It is awesome. I love NPH.
10. Elton John & Kiki Dee - Don't Go Breaking My Heart - because it reminds me of being a kid. And I loved it when Elton sang it with Miss Piggy:


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dear Car (aka Quest, aka Baby)

Dear Car,
I'm sorry that I was following too closely behind that brown Saab on October 13th. The rain should have been a warning to me to stay back a bit but I made an error in judgement and you (and my insurance company) paid the price. I was distressed that I smashed in your front end, your front light and your special Kingscross Hyundai license plate holder. 

It was very exciting to be reunited with you yesterday after almost two weeks apart. I admit I was tempted to hug your shiny black hood in the body shop parking lot. Forgive me for restraining myself. I do have something to admit, however: I kind of liked the rental car. Just a little bit. 

At first I found the rental uncomfortable. It had nowhere near the space for my gigantic size 10 feet. I had to be so careful about keeping it clean that I felt awkward putting a Diet Coke in the drink holder and felt weird chewing gum. I found that the first week I couldn't get used to the clock being in the wrong place and the speedometer being on the wrong side - oh and the trunk closed on my head and gave me a bruise. You know what helped eased the trauma of our separation? The CD player showed me the name of the song that was playing! I know! Isn't that awesome?! It was especially helpful as I was playing a CD of mixed songs from my itunes playlist and had basically no idea what they were. And I did like the way the doors locked when I put it into D for drive.

Anyway it took me about a week to get used to the Toyota Corolla from the rental place and now I am finding it a bit of an adjustment getting used to you again - you're bigger and  you smell like air freshener (ick) and someone at the body shop found a sock and a toothbrush in the car and put them in the place where I would normally put my Diet Coke. This has been very traumatic for both of us. I promise to NEVER ever crash you again. Ever. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Were there morals being taught in Judy Blume books?

I guess there probably were - like don't judge people by their appearances and stuff like that but did I notice when I was reading them? Did I finish "Blubber" or "Deenie" or "It's Not the End of the World" (my personal fave) and think to myself "Wow, I learned a lot" or "Gee I'm never going to look at a girl who is overweight or wears a back brace in the same judgmental way ever again"? Maybe I did, but I don't think books have an obligation to teach something. One of my bookstore pet peeves were customers who wanted to buy books for their kids/grandkids/nephews/etc that "taught a lesson". Seriously, did these same people think the Berenstain Bears were quality literature? (no offence to the BBears, they have their place). I just think there is something to be said for reading for the love of reading and reading to encourage the love of getting lost in a great story.

So there's a reason I'm pondering this all of a sudden. I have been on holidays for two weeks and have spent a big my reading time devouring YA - most of it aimed at girls: "Audrey, Wait:" by Robin Benway, "The Boy Book" by E Lockhart, "Nothing Like You" by Lauren Strasnick, "The Treasure Map of Boys" by E Lockhart, "Gingerbread" by Rachel Cohn - you get the idea. The question nagging at me is - if I had read THESE books 28 years ago when I was 14 would I have made different decisions the rest of my life? Would I have felt more empowered as a girl? Would the situations the main characters in these books suffered through have made me more guy savvy?  Would I have more confidence to be different?

Girls today can read about kick-ass girl characters like Katsa from "Graceling" or Katniss from "The Hunger Games" or about girls like Frankie Landau-Banks who challenge the status quo - I don't remember ANY characters like that from the books of my youth. I read lots of mystery novels where girls wore sweater sets, books set in boarding schools or in large families. I loved the books by Jean Little when I was in junior high, then after the requisite "Flowers in the Attic" stage I found Mary Stewart and Phyllis A Whitney - sure young women solved mysteries but they didn't kick anyone in the head or tell a guy off.

Is it just that we can write about these things in books now - that it's more acceptable because as a society we've come to accept females as fighters or as equals to men (ha, I know not everyone thinks that way) that these books are popular now? If someone had written "The Hunger Games" in 1982 would it have been published? Would anyone buy it? Would the 1982 me read it? I guess I'll never know.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What to Read (and what NOT TO) after Mockingjay

I, like bazillions of others, recently finished Mockingjay & I thought I'd see what the experts are recommending for fans to read next. I saw many of such lists post-Harry Potter and I always found them interesting. True, I no longer work in a bookstore so maybe I don't need the info to help my customers, but I'm always looking for great YA to read.

First: this list is garbage:

AMELIA BEDELIA? I am all for people buying and reading Amelia Bedelia but it's for kids learning how to read!

Here's my list:

1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
2. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
3. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
4. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
5. Sabriel by Garth Nix
6. Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
7. The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
8. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My obsession

Every night before bed I like to play Nine Hole on my Nintendo DS. It is one game on "Touchmaster 3" - it is the only game I play. In the past I've been obsessed by Dice King on Touchmaster 2 and by something on Touchmaster 1 that I've forgotten for now.

I crawl into bed most nights with the intention to read. Sometimes I actually do, mostly I do not. Tonight I found myself negotiating with myself like the opening scene in "Sense and Sensbility" - I'll read for half an hour, no I'll read for 15 minutes then play my game and then perhaps I'll read some more. Ten minutes ought to be enough. Hmmm if I read on the TTC tomorrow I can go staight to my game and that's that.

I'm Liza and I'm addicted to Nine Hole.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TTC/Reading update

I'm attempting to blog via Blackberry. I've already lost one draft.

So far I've taken the TTC two days in a row. I finished one book and will likely finish a second tonight. If I can get one more done by the weekend I may just let myself read a non-work book. I know - I'm a rebel! Not.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Must read. So bye bye car, hello TTC

As I have mentioned in the past, I LOVE MY CAR. I love driving. I've only been driving since 2006 so perhaps if I had started way back in the 80s when I was a teenager I would be sick of it by now. But no. I love it. However....

I have to sell my books and to sell some of them (not all of them) I need to read them. Buyers want to know what kind of "content" there is -i.e. is there sex, smoking, drugs. Does the dog die at the end? What is it comparable to? I need to know what I'm selling.

The problem is, I'm not finding much time to read these days - I drive to and from work, talk to friends at lunch, have stuff to do at home (laundry, weeding, raising dudes, ironing, watching The Bachelorette) and fall asleep pretty quickly at bedtime. When oh when am I supposed to gain my valuable product knowledge? So I'm making a serious personal sacrifice.

For the next two weeks, starting Monday, I'm going to try to take the subway to work. That way I'll get an extra hour or so of reading time everyday (more if there are delays! Hooray! And we all know there will be). I'm not sure WHEN I am going to have my sales appointments but 2 weeks of reading plus a bit more on my vacation will surely prepare me. Let's hope I can stand 2 weeks of delays, B.O., etc.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why aren't you working? I am!

I am lazy and take my car to work most mornings when I could easily walk to Woodbine and take the subway. One of the main reasons I don't take the ttc to work is that people irritate me in the morning (and at noon and on the way home) and the trains are full and unpredictable and I would rather be sitting in my air-conditioned car listening to the radio or a CD of my choosing.

Driving to work last Thursday I was struck by how many people seemed to be out on (the) Danforth walking around wearing shorts. My first thought was - "hey losers, get a job" but then I decided to force myself to be kind and think of why these people weren't in semi-dressed up work clothes going to work all bleary eyed before 8:30 am.

So this is what I came up with:
-they are *(@$&(* bloggers who think that what they do is work
-they are part-time workers who don't start til the afternoon or later in the morning or til midnight
-they are doctors currently on their day off
-they are professional dog walkers on their way to pick up some pooches
-they are kept men/women whose sugar-daddies/mommas have sent them for coffee
-they are unemployed people desperate for work on their way to buy more printer ink to print more resumes
-they are hard-working people currently on vacation
-they are teachers/professors who get summers off
-they are ill people currently on medical leave (get well soon!)

So I am trying to have an open mind and not run them over with my car.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Top 20 Under 40, etc

Google Top 20 Under 50 and all you get are gift ideas for under $50....

I am starting to feel really old. I know 40s are the new 30s and grey is the new black and you're only as young as you feel, etc but what's with the constant lists celebrating young up & comers? There are constant lists posted online and in newspapers and magazines of Top this and that under 40, under 35, under 30! You never see lists of top Whatever under 50. No, by 50 (or any number over 40) you are supposed to be successful and if you're not you're a FAILURE. If you are, well it was expected of you so don't ask for any attention.

Not that I am worthy of any accolades - unless there is a Diet Coke Consumption Top 10 under 50! Top 20 People who need to do their laundry Under 45. I'm sure theres a top 10 Under 43 for something out there that I can qualify for before I'm too old if I can only find it...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rock of Ages - a musical for people who like Two & A Half Men, perhaps

Those who know me know I'm not a snob and I'm not a prude. In fact, I'm very often accused of saying "inappropriate" things at work. So I was surprised at my reaction to the musical Rock of Ages, which I saw with my friend "S" on Saturday night.

What I Liked:
- the narrator was generally like-able and reminded me of people I went to high school with.
- the songs were almost all familiar
- the llama's appearance at the end made me laugh
- I appreciated the Canadian touches
- Franz-y

What I Didn't Like
- too many crotch shots
- if your job as a waitress doesn't work out, be a stripper! Really? Really?
- low-brow humour geared towards the lowest common denominator - so sex jokes, bathroom humour, etc
-plot clearly contrived to link together the songs they had rights to.

Overall it was fun but I really wish it had only cost me $40 instead of $100. I've seen lots of musicals in my life and sure, some are better than others (Drowsy Chaperone YES, Cats NO) - part of the experience is going, seeing the crowd, cramming into the teeny tiny seats, waiting in the endless lines for the ladies' room so no regrets.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Is it really enough?

Is using hand sanitizer in the washroom REALLY as good as washing your hands with soap and water? I know that some people definitely skip the washing and just use the sanitizer but I'm not sure that's enough for me. Personally I wash my hands, dry them then open the door with one hand, getting sanitizer from a dispenser beside the door with the other hand then rub them together. Am I being overly clean?

I had a boyfriend a long time ago whose mother turned the taps on for me in the washroom at a wedding reception. Why? Did she think I wasn't going to wash my hands? Did she used to be one of the fancy washroom attendants? Had she always dreamed of having a potential daughter-in-law to bond with over personal hygiene? I don't know. It seemed weird but whatever. I washed my hands and we went on our way. Maybe she had suspicions that I was going to flounce back out to the wedding reception with peed on hands! As if (as if I pee on my hands and as if I wouldn't wash them.) And remember there was no hand-sanitizer back in the day a long time ago!

My thought is that there are lots of germs out there and if my hands can get a good wash 3-4 times a day that's not a bad thing. I don't have confidence that the hand sanitizer is getting under peoples fingernails. Would you eat a meal prepared by someone who had only used hand sanitizer? Would you let them operate on you?

Monday, April 5, 2010


Seriously, how old is that woman? I just saw her on Dancing With the Stars wearing an outfit suited to a 4 year old, and sporting the same old I Dream of Jeannie hairdo she's had for 40 years! Duncan asked me who she was and what she's been on in the past. My only answer "The Love Boat". Perhaps I should investigate...

Hmmmm, not impressed by her resume. She seems to be the latina Paris Hilton of an earlier generation - famous for being famous. On lots of variety and talk shows. I remember her singing and playing guitar but mostly just shaking it and saying "cuchi cuchi." Whatever.

There seems to have been some disagreement about her birth year -some say 1941, others 1951. I always felt that Ginger Spice was older than she said she was too - either the heavy make-up makes some people look old (and the tanning) or I'm not a great judge of age (very possible).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Any Idea How the Credit Crunch Has Affected Porn

Until I recently changed the settings on this blog I would occasionally get a message that someone had posted a comment on my blog and when I checked it it was the message above "Any idea how the credit crunch has affected porn?" Uh, no. No idea. Don't care. What kind of crazy spam program is that? I no longer get that message and sadly have not received a comment on this unread blog ever since.