Have I always been this indecisive?

Good thing it’s just about a book.

It all started when somebody put up a link to an excerpt of Jenny Lawson’s upcoming book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir). Up until then, I had somehow missing hearing anything about The Bloggess. I have no idea how as this is the sort of thing I love. I’m sharing that link because it was not only very entertaining, but it had me going to her blog and working my way back through her archives (I’ve only gotten as far back as February 6, 2008 as of today).

What I found in her blog was enough for me to pre-order her book through iTunes. At that time, the book had not been released yet, and I’d never pre-0rdered anything through iTunes before (my coworkers may see where this is going…).

Then they announced the book tour would hit Austin. As all the best book signings are at Book People, this would be a perfect excuse to spend time at one of my favorite places in Austin (I don’t do this very often because the visits also tends to be expensive. I mean come on! You can’t expect me to walk into a bookstore and leave with only a few books).

Now I had an important decision to make. Do I purchase a digital copy of the book for $12.99 and have it the same day it’s released; or wait another week until the 25th, rush out after work to fight traffic getting downtown–hoping I can make it to the bookstore within 45 minutes–and pay $25.95 for a hardback version of the book just so I could have Ms. Lawson sign my copy? It may sound like an simple choice, but not only do Steve and I like to support authors we enjoy, we’ve had great experiences at past book signings, and sometimes someone is worth the full price of a hardback. The downside was that Steve wouldn’t be going with me because he’ll be out at Maria Bamford’s show that same night for the Moontower Comedy Festival. And my friends, whom I know would enjoy this book, will be at that show with him. So now add going to the book signing alone as another reason that just purchasing it online was beginning to sound better and better.

So for the past few weeks I’ve been waffling back and fourth between the two. Steve thinks I should go, as does one of my co-workers (but that’s because she says it’s easier for her to borrow a physical copy of the book from me), and all I’m thinking about is how much I hate driving in traffic, feeling rushed, and attending functions alone that really aren’t as much fun by yourself.

And then last night the decision was taken out of my hands.

Remember where I said I pre-ordered the book on iTunes? For some reason I thought that iTunes would ask you if you still wanted the book before downloading it to your device (shut up). I was obviously wrong (I don’t want to hear it). I was at our weekly D&D game last night and went to pull up one of my reference books on the iPad and saw a full copy of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ( A Mostly True Memoir) in my library (seriously, if Jes hears about this I will STOMP you). So now I had a copy of the book and I didn’t have to worry about the rest of the mess.

Then I started reading the book. Late last night. Really, really late because it had to wait until after our D&D game. I made it to the chapter called “And Then I Got Stabbed in the Face by a Serial Killer” before I gave up and went to bed because I knew I had to be up for work in a four hours (the chapters are not numbered, so they have to be referred to by the title. And I have no idea of they should be italicized or not. Please bare with me or blame Ms. Lawson. Either is fine. Did I use the correct form of “bare”? Crap, I can’t tell).

So here we are. I’ve ended up staying at home today since my husband is still sick and has made it to the point where he does better if someone is around. I haven’t read anymore of the book yet since I wanted to get this written out because I realized a few important things as I was prozacing the cat and getting ready for bed this morning (can you use prozac as a verb?).

1) I’m not even quite halfway through the book, and while Ms. Lawson’s writing style isn’t any different than her blog–I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. The book reads like one of those late-night bull sessions we had in college where we’d sit around, dipping wildly unhealthy snacks into tub of whipped cream mixed with powdered cocoa, and share stories with each other about some of the funnier, weirder, and sometimes even emotionally devastating things that had happened in our lives…although in Ms. Lawson’s case, I can honestly say that so far there’s a lot more dead animals, anxiety disorders, and alcohol than I remember ever having in ours.

2) The book is entertaining even when she makes you cry. I have a few friends who won’t make it through the chapter “If You See My Liver, You’ve Gone Too Far” with dry eyes. You have been warned.

3) I don’t work on Wednesdays. So there won’t be any rushing around after work trying to get to the book signing on time. I have no idea how I could have forgotten this as I haven’t been scheduled to work a Wednesday for about eight months now.

4) Steve still owes me $50 in books from Book People for making all the banana pudding for the Southern Culture on the Skids concert last Friday.

So yeah. I’ll be at Book People on April 25th with a hardback copy of her book for Ms. Lawson to sign. I may feel a bit out of place not knowing anyone there, but if she’s willing to take a chance on sharing so much with complete strangers–albeit in a very entertaining fashion–then I can handle a little personal awkwardness.

Are Libraries still Relevant?

Fox News recently published an article stating that the state of Illinois might be better served if they shut down its library system:

They eat up millions of your hard earned tax dollars. It’s money that could be used to keep your child’s school running. So with the internet and e-books, do we really need millions for libraries?

Libraries are quiet havens for the community. They take us to other worlds. They even make us laugh. But should these institutions — that date back to 1900 B.C. — be on the way out?

There are 799 public libraries in Illinois. And they’re busy. People borrow more than 88 million times a year.

But keeping libraries running costs big money. In Chicago, the city pumps $120 million a year into them. In fact, a full 2.5 percent of our yearly property taxes go to fund them.

That’s money that could go elsewhere – like for schools, the CTA, police or pensions

They go on to state that in the hour-long period they monitored with undercover cameras, there were 300 visitors who mostly used the free internet instead of using any other standard library resources.  But then they go on to end the article with the note that Chicago pulls in over 2 million in library fines.  That’s fines for overdue books…  so it looks like libraries are used for more than free internet access after all.

I could sit here and calmly and rationally discuss the many reasons why libraries are not only relevant, but also necessary during a recession like the one we’re in now; but instead, I’m offering up this video of librarian awesomeness.

If you feel the need to show your love for librarians or library science, Questionable Content has t-shirts and totes.

For more library fun, the New York Public Library donated space for an Improve Everywhere performance titled “Who you gonna call?”

Personally, I lost contact with my local libraries when I started pulling in enough money to purchase all the books I needed to feed my biblioholic habits – back before I had to start budgeting like an adult.  Now I’m lucky to get a new book a month (new or used), and there are so many new books and authors that I haven’t had a chance to read.  Maybe it IS time to get a new library card.

Musical Cookbooks

Flavorpill posted an article about their ten favorite Musical Cookbooks yesterday (recipe books by musicians), and after looking through it, I was disappointed to see only two cookbooks in their list that even sounded like something I’d add to my collection (Recipes to Sing About by Patti Labelle, and Hellbent for Cooking: The Heavy Metal Cookbook by Annick Giroux).  It’s not only a disappointing list, but it’s also missing the one musical cookbook that I’m excited about –  Music in the Kitchen: Favorite Recipes from Austin City Limits Performers by Glenda Facemire.

My husband, the music freak, has several contacts who make sure we know about anything new or interesting that comes through our favorite music store.  That’s how I was introduced to Music in the Kitchen.  I haven’t purchased it yet, but it’s next on the list (my book spending has been severely curtailed, so I actually have to be selective about which books I  purchase now, which sucks).

From the author’s site:

Working with ACL gave me the up-close and personal opportunity to meet many more gifted musicians. On occasion, if time allowed before the show, the artists and I would share a tête-à-tête. Yes, there have been several great stories, some legendary tales, countless jokes, and even showbiz gossip. I wish I could share, but what happens in the makeup chair stays in the makeup chair!

When it comes to cooking, I’m looking for the next great recipe. And when you can talk about cooking and sharing some recipes with some of the most amazing performing artists in music history, it doesn’t get any better than that. After many years of talking appetizers and barbecue and main dishes with the artists, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to share all this with the treasured fans of ACL?”

As soon as I bring this book home, I’ll post a review.  Or you can purchase it yourself at Waterloo Records in Austin (if you do, please leave me a copy).

Favorite Books: Baking Illustrated

At the cafe, we have a resource library that we use for both unusual catering requests and standard cooking issues.  I picked up Baking Illustrated: The Practical Kitchen Companion for the Home Baker as something to look through during a short break, and now it’s my new favorite baking resource book. 

The people of Cook’s Illustrated have put together a collection of their best baking recipes (which is nice) along with a brief, and sometimes not so brief, synopsis of why that recipe works better than other variations (which is even nicer).  I don’t always use the recipes out of the book, but I do read up on it before working on new recipes.  This is because the book tells you not only what does and does not work–but also WHY it does or does not work.  This is what makes Baking Illustrated an important book for people who like to tinker with recipes.

Sadly, I don’t own this book yet.  Amazon.com has it for about $11 less than the bookstore, but snarkyboy won’t let me buy it until I unload some stuff on ebay.  I guess I need to start rummaging through my geek collection and find something to let loose.