Wordless Wednesday: A Weekend at Oak Grove Plantation

Jack, Tinker, and I spent July 4 weekend at Oak Grove Plantation, a lovely bed and breakfast in southern Virginia that Jack’s family has gone to for decades. I love the history of the 1830’s house and the fascinating stories the proprietor tells of her family and the Civil War. And Tinker loves the 400 acres of land. She spent the entire weekend off the leash, romping with the other dogs. As usual, she got into more than her fair share of []

“You Know When the Men Are Gone” by Siobhan Fallon

When I was buying a new (to me) car this past winter, I drove all around Northern Virginia scoping out my options. For one test-drive, I found myself navigating the twists and turns of Ft. Belvoir. Though the military base is not far from where I live, I had never been inside the gates before. I was surprised at the expanse and attempted self-sufficiency of the place; it had (or tried to have) everything, from the bank to Starbucks to gas stations. Its cookie-cutter Main Street was what I imagine every time some pundit talks about middle America.

June 2011 in Review and a New Reading Challenge!

Somehow, we’re already halfway through 2011. Time flies! I’ve been wanting to resurrect my month-in-review feature, and this summer seems like a perfect time to do it. Mid-2011 Stats Books read: 30 Pages read: 9,746 My reviews: 20 Guest reviews: 7 Posts on book reviewing: 16 (includes features like In My Mailbox, Wordless Wednesday, and Top Ten Tuesday; reading challenges; and news) At this rate, it doesn’t look like I will hit my informal goal of 100 books in 2011. But there’s []

My Mailbox: Virginia Woolf, Daniel Woodrell, Nancy Pearl, Sapphire, and more!

Books! A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf Holy Ghost Girl by Donna M. Johnson My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers by Nancy Pearl Push and The Kid by Sapphire The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam Don’t Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned (Anniversary Edition) by Kenneth C. Davis Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold []

Top Ten Bookish Websites, Organizations, and Apps

This week, I’m highlighting my top ten bookish websites, organizations, apps, and so on (excluding book blogs). So without further ado… 10. Google Reader Technically, Google Reader isn’t limited to bookish endeavors, but that’s certainly what I use it for. Here I can keep track of all my favorite blogs and sites. It can be really interesting to watch trends in reading and writing when all the blogs are side-by-side. 9. Paperback Swap I have a lot of books, many of them []

“Fodor’s Thailand” by Hana Borrowman

Back in February, Jack and I spent two fast-paced weeks in Thailand on vacation. When we decided to travel there, we checked out from the library two guidebooks on the country: Lonely Planet Thailand and Fodor’s Thailand. We decided to buy our own copy of the latter to bring with us.

My Mailbox: Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Mark Salzman, and More

Note: Sorry this video is so overexposed. But I heard the vampire look is so hot right now. Books! American Gods (And The Graveyard Book and Coraline) by Neil Gaiman Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield Housekeeping Vs. the Dirt by Nick Hornby True Notebooks: A Writer’s Year at Juvenile Hall by Mark Salzman The Bridge: A Journey Between Orient and Occident by Geert Mak

“Wanderlust” by Elisabeth Eaves

To say that Elisabeth Eaves has caught the travel bug is to put it lightly. She is obsessed with seeing new places and meeting new people. She begins her travels by babysitting for a summer in Spain, where she has a short fling with a young waiter named Pepe.

Happy Father’s Day!

The great folks over at Open Road Media have put together several Father’s Day videos, including this one on growing up with literary fathers. More from their site: [W]e’ve assembled four original videos featuring insightful commentary about growing up with literary fathers from the sons and daughters of Andre Dubus, Stanley Elkin, William Styron, Terry Southern, John Gardner, and James Jones. Catch glimpses of these great twentieth century literary giants through the eyes of their children, listen to tales of their filial []

My Mailbox: Harold Bloom, Gretchen Rubin, Suzanne Collins, and More

Books I mention: An Island Out of Time: A Memoir of Smith Island in the Chesapeake by Tom Horton Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound, edited by John Biewen Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production by Jonathan Kern The Polysyllabic Spree and Shakespeare Wrote for Money by Nick Hornby The Best American Travel Writing 2010 by Bill Buford How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to []

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In the wake of World War I, the U.S. economy boomed, and bootleggers amassed fortunes during the Prohibition of the raucous Roaring Twenties. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic portrayal of the Jazz Age (as it was also called), encapsulates the optimism and prosperity of this technologically advancing generation.