At the top of my list of my list would have to bepink M&M's for breast cancer awareness month (which is October). The M&M's come in dark pink and light pink in both regular and peanut (my favorite). They're available from September through November at stores like Target and Kmart. I've already stocked up on several bags to get me through the gloomy winter months. The M&M's website also has a recipe for cupcakestopped with pink M&M's. Too cute.
Next on the list would have to be the Christmas book from Neiman Marcus which arrived in the mail a few days ago. My favorite item would have to be the Photobooth for $20,000. I'm also coveting the Swarovski crystal Ipod case for $840. And if someone wanted to buy me the treehouse designed by Roderick Romero for $50,000 I'd be ever so grateful. I don't have a dog but if I did I'd want the Yorkie and the sweater he's sporting for $75.00. The one and only item I ordered from the catalog last year wasEleni's Christmas Cookies. This year Neiman Marcus is offering an exclusive cookie train from Eleni's for $70.00. And finally Creed has created it's first new fragrance for women in five years called Love in White (which I'd buy for the bottle alone) which is priced at $195.00 for 2.5 ounces.
I've been readingMelissa Bank's most recent book, The Wonder Spot, and have been losing sleep over it. I find myself reading into the early morning hours not able to part with the autumnal cover. The Wonder Spot is the much anticipated second book from Melissa Bank. It was worth the six year wait. It follows the same short story format of The Girls' Guide To Hunting and Fishing, but in a less obvious manner. It's a bit of a quasi novel.
The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing is one of my most beloved books from the years 2000 to present. It's one of those much discussed and overly quoted books (well at least among my friend Kasia and I). Great book club material. "This is one of those rare occasions when a highly touted book fulfills the excitement and the major money (in this case, $275,000) surrounding its acquisition. Reading her debut collection of seven tightly interlinked stories featuring (with one exception) heroine Jane Rosenal, one marvels at Bank's assured control of her material, her witty, distinctive voice and her ability to find comedy, pathos and drama in ordinary lives without resorting to the twin crutches of dysfunctional families and sexual abuse that seem to prop up much current fiction." The fact that this book is written in short story form did make me leery to begin reading. And initially I bought it just for the cover. A book with such a superb cover couldn't let me down. This excerpt from a book review on Amazon describes exactly my feelings in regard to the short story genre, "generally I'm not a fan of short stories because, all too often, favored stories end too quickly and boring, congested ones go on too long. You strike up a relationship with a character, only to find that the last date is just a few pages away." If you're hesitant to pick up a book of short stories, as I once was, give this book a chance.
The Wonder Spot could be described as a book of linked stories or rather a novel in stories. Like The Girls' Guide, the book The Wonder Spot is about one central character, a Jewish girl from Surrey, Pennsylvania named Sophie Applebaum. The book follows her through her early teen years into adulthood. So far (and I'm 3/4ths of the way through) it has steadily held my attention. The book is written in the same style and follows a similar story line as The Girls' Guide. Several reviewers seemed peeved by the similarities between the two books. But I find it to be comforting and familiar. Bank's writing style is soothing, similar to a cozy blanket during the cool months, or the smell of cookies baking. Like her first book, The Wonder Spot possesses a plethora of witty one liners and catchy phrases worth highlighting. It's not as enthralling as I found The Girls' Guide to be, but well worth the investment of time and money. If you haven't read either of Melissa Bank's books I'd read The Girls' Guide first then pick up a copy of The Wonder Spot. Brilliant fall reading material.
So I've started tutoring a little fourth grade girl in reading. Four days a week she comes to my apartment and I listen to her read for an hour. Her parents decided we should put in place a reward system to motivate her to read more. After reading together for two weeks it was time to come up with something to reward her efforts. So on Sunday she came over and we watched 13 going on 30 while eating popcorn and licorice AND I got paid for it. I could get used to the life of a tutor.
I was flipping through the channels a few weekends ago and I came across Book TV on CSpan 2 the subject was "Bookish Obsessions". One of the guests was the author Sara Nelson. Nelson is the author of the book So Many Books, So Little Time. She set the goal for herself to read a book a week. And the book chronicles her attempt to stick with this goal. I of course had to add this book to my "To Read" list (another one of the numerous lists I keep). Unfortunately the book possesses a horrendous cover and I judge all books by their covers. But I'll overlook the cover because this book is right up my alley and is likely to become book 401 on my "Books I've Read" list.
We went up to Vancouver for the day. Our first stop wasCaban on Granville Street. Caban is owned by the same people who own Club Monaco. The store carries some clothing but mainly specializes in furniture and accessories for EVERY room in your house. There were several covetable pieces of furniture I had my eye on. Unfortunately my apartment is too small for anything new at the moment.
For lunch we went to Picnic. Picnic is a little cafe started by Linda Meinhardt of Meinhardt Fine Foodswhich is located right next door. Picnic is tiny but possesses a huge communal table. During the warmer months you can eat at the individual tables outside if you're so inclined. They specialize in Asian Fusion (that term makes me cringe). I had a salad and an Orangina. The food is great for taking out or eating in. And their hot cocoa is supposed to be sensational.
After lunch we drove toTa Da! on West Broadway. The store specializes vintage and European furniture and home accessories. There I found a copy of eat.shop.vancouver. which is part of a series ofeat.shop. guide books. I already have a copy of eat.shop.seattle which offers a superb list of restaurants and shops many of which I had never heard of. Beyond the Vancouver and Seattle books there's also a book for LA, Portland, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago and Brooklyn. I highly recommend this series. Ta Da! just happens to be located across from a bar called the Regal Beagle. I meant to take a picture. But you'll just have to check it out for yourself.
So then we headed totheVancouver Public Library. "Vancouver Library Square is a mixed-use project--the largest capital project ever undertaken by the City of Vancouver--containing Vancouver's central public library, a federal government office tower, retail and service facilities, and below-grade parking. The Library Square occupies a complete city block and consists of a seven-story rectangular block containing stacks and services. The highlight of the project is a free-standing elliptical wall that contains reading and study areas accessed by bridges from the central pavilion. The roof of the library serves as a large public garden, an example of Safdie's (the architect) efforts to introduce garden elements into urban settings. The library design was selected through an international competition and officially opened in May 1995." It's amazing. A must see if you're in Vancouver.
Then we headed over toRobson Streetfor some shopping. There's a candy shop on Robson Street that sells the best candy apples. They remind me of the apples I used to buy at the Santa Cruz boardwalk every summer.
We then ended the day at Vij's. Vij's is one of the best Indian restaurants I have ever come across. Along with your menus they bring you cups of the most sensational Chai tea. Then while you peruse the menu the wait staff passes out a variety of small appetizers. They don't take reservations so if you want to avoid a long wait get there early. I haven't been disappointed with anything I've ordered. The New York Time even proclaimed it one of the finest Indian restaurants in the world.
In honor of the first day of fall I give you my favorite drink, pastry and writer to consume during the cool autumn days. Starbucks toffee nut latte, maple scone and Dorothy Parker. Stock up on the the maple scones now because they're a seasonal pastry and come spring they will be history. If you're one of those "ew Starbucks" peoplePeet's Coffee carries their own superb version of the maple scone (year round). But unfortunately the nearest Peet's to me right now is 90 minutes away in Seattle. And Dorothy Parker along withRobert Benchley, and the rest of theAlgonquin Round Table, dominated American pop lit in the '20s and '30s. Parker was reputed to be one of the most brilliant conversationalists in New York. Her caustic wit is widely renowned. You can find a plethora of booksby her andabout her at Amazon. If you aren't a "reader" then at least rent Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, it's sensational.