Th Reading Lair

Archive for November, 2010

  • How was Harry Potter?

    Friday, November 26th, 2010

    Soooo…did you see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet?

    And??? Did you love it?

    The people around me adored it so much they were clapping and cheering and hollering things at the screen, and the girl sitting behind us even started sobbing (can you guess at which part?). Annnnnd, of course, there were the costumes. Yes, waiting in line three hours for the midnight showing gave us a chance to view everyone as they walked by (as well as eat gobs of onion rings, which I assure you are God’s gift to mankind). We visited with some, and took photos of others. I’ve accumulated my favorites for you below. And, oh yeah, we ran into some famous guy named Jay Asher. He was cool enough to chat with us for a bit. And we were cool enough to share with him a few labor and birth stories (since his baby is due any day now) along with some helpful tips. I’m sure he’ll thank us later. ;-P


    These lovely ladies were first in line…at 8:10 in the morning. Notice their lightning tattoos!

    first in line for harry potter


    The Whomping Willow. Once inside, he led the entire audience in a song and cheer!

    harry potter whomping willow


    I have to slip my beautiful (and oh-so-fun) friends in here. All bundled up with Dani (all the way from Arizona!), Lori, and Kati. Yeah, they’re pretty much fabulous.


    Luna Lovegood with real radish earrings!


    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the Fremont really IS the best place to see movies. ;-)

    photo for the fremont movie theater


    Alright…spill it. How was YOUR Harry Potter experience, and what did you think of the movie?!


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    Posted in A bit of brag, Best & Worst Books, Genre Savvy | 10 Comments »

  • Pretty Pics of Masquerading

    Friday, November 19th, 2010

    Thank you for all the charming birthday wishes and pretty thoughts sent my way. This entire week has been…enthralling. Beginning with the masquerade last weekend and ending in today’s frosty morning hours with Harry Potter. In fact, next week I’ll post some of our rabid Potter fan pics for your entertainment, but today I wanted to give you these. From my friend, Sarah, taken before our masquerade. Yes, she’s amazing. She does crazy cool things with photos (including this website’s front page and bio) that make me jealous for even an ounce of her creativity. So here you are: Masquerade Drama Pics from my dearest Sarah Kathleen. Photographer. Artist. Genius. Super fun person. (Seriously. You should see her website.)


    Okay, so everyone should have a chick rock photo, and this is ours. With me looking all “I might kill you if I feel up to it.” And Sarah (photographer) being so lovely and whimsical. And Kati (sister) making some sort of Tim Burton awesomeness.


    This is my “girl on fire” look. Although I’ve recently answered to the “girl with My Little Pony hair.” Whichever.


    Okay, isn’t my sister gorgeous? Also, I think I need some throwing knives tucked into my corset. Just sayin’.


    I know, right? Totally attractive.


    Last, but not least, me and my pretty mask.


    For more masquerade photos, you can go to Sarah’s site. ;-)




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    Posted in A bit of brag, Genre Savvy, Undead Leeches | 12 Comments »

  • Masquerading as Chocolate Cake

    Thursday, November 11th, 2010

    masquerade mask

    I’m in the middle of getting ready for a masquerade party. It’s for my birthday (number 33 if you must know) as well as my sister’s (who’s quite a bit younger than 33, but I’m not bitter…or threatened…ahem), and we decided to throw a party in honor of ourselves. Humble of us, I know :). But, hey, if you promise enough food and music on the invitation, people say yes, so…

    Anyhow, all of this masquerade talk has put me in the mood for two things: (1) A rereading of Gaston Leroux’s “The Phantom of the Opera” for the bajillionth time because it’s amazing (as is the musical–good gracious, it’s incredible), and (2) making my favorite dessert of all time, which I WILL be taking to the party. Tried and true, this is the recipe I pull out when unexpected guests come over, or when guests unexpectedly demand dessert. Either way, it takes 10 minutes to make and 35 minutes to bake. And seriously? It’s the best recipe in the world for a flourless chocolate cake. Although, I’m not even sure why they bother to call it “cake,” seeing as it’s really just rich chocolate goodness masquerading as cake. So here you go, my lovelies. Serve it hot, or chilled, it makes no difference. It’s just that awesome.


    A Recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake

    • 1 pound semisweet chocolate chips
    • 2 sticks butter
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 7 large eggs
    • ¼ cup sugar
    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8 or 9-inch springform pan with wax paper. Spray the sides with cooking spray.
    2. Melt butter, vanilla, and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until smooth. Cool for 15 minutes.
    3. Bring whole (not yet cracked) eggs to room temp by placing them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes. Remove.
    4. Use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Blend ½ cup of egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest.
    5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and place on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out moist but not runny (the key is not to over-bake it). About 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes.
    6. Run knife around pan sides to loosen. Remove springform sides. Gently place platter upside-down over cake and flip cake onto platter. Remove pan base and wax paper.
    7. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream.

    What’s the mood noise of the moment?  Nightwish


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    Posted in Best & Worst Books, Literary Classics, Reading Recipes | 11 Comments »

  • 13 Reasons to Like Jay Asher (an author interview)

    Friday, November 5th, 2010

    If you recall my “Nine Only Slightly Creepy Reasons to Attend a Writers’ Conference” post in September, you’ll remember my mentioning famous author, Jay Asher, and something about how I might possibly have stolen his Kleenex. So, imagine my throat-choking panic a few hours after the post went up, when I received an email from Mr. Asher politely asking for his tissue back. I mean, the guy’s gotta have lawyers, right? However, like any first-class, cheeky blogger would do, I hoisted my petard and refused, based upon the 9/10’s rule (finders-keepers, Jay), and thus we engaged in a series of conversational points through which I quickly discovered that not only is the guy unbelievably nice, he’s hilarious. Seriously. Which is not what I expected from someone who wrote a book which makes people cry.

    Next thing you know, I’m hemming and hawing and asking him for an interview since I want my reading peeps to meet him, and is it okay that the interview won’t exactly be on the 13 reasons why he wrote his book, but rather on random topics such as Hannah Montana and superheroes? To which he graciously replied with something akin to, “Bring it on.”

    So meet Jay Asher, everyone. Author of “13 Reasons Why,” which won a crazy amount of awards and spent 65 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List since its 2007 entrance into the book world. And as of this week, the book’s been signed for publication in 30 countries. Jay’s married to beautiful singer/songwriter, JoanMarie, whom he brags about more than anything else, and who wrote the song “Soul Alone,” which is included (as a poem) in the book version of 13 Reasons Why, concludes the audiobook version of 13 Reasons Why, and is also on her cd (which you can find on the right-hand side of Jay’s blog—click the cd cover—or here). And for more on Jay, you should visit his blog (‘cuz it’s fun—he even has a photo with Vanilla Ice; how awesome is that?), or you can visit his book site by clicking on 13 Reasons Why.

    As to the interview…my questions and comments are in white. His responses are in green. ;-) Enjoy.

    Jay Asher

    (1) All right, between you and me, let’s have it. Did you name your character, Hannah (in 13 Reasons Why), after Hannah Montana? If not, is that a rumor I’m allowed to start?

    J:  I can’t give you permission to start that rumor, but I can’t really stop you if that’s something you want to do. But if you’re going to start a rumor, choose something more juicy than that! Maybe say I named her after Hannah Van Buren, the wife of Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States. Now that’s a cool rumor!

    M:  I’m not sure which impresses me more, the fact that you know Mrs. Van Buren’s name, or that you used it in the same paragraph as “juicy.”

    J:  Did you know Mrs. Van Buren was the very first person to print the word JUICY across the butt of her pants? The fact that women still do that today shows you how much of a trendsetter she was.


    (2) Whoa! In the same sentence even! Okay, so what are the chances of you basing a character in your next book on, say, myself? Not that you’d have to name her after me or anything. In fact she could even be a nameless extra, but you and I would both know it’s me because she’d be, like, really mysterious and cool.

    J:  I actually did that! In my next book, during the very first classroom scene, the girl two desks over from the main male character was absolutely inspired by you. But it’ll be our funny little secret because no one will know she’s based on you. In fact, I don’t even mention the girl at all, or that there’s even a desk there. But it’s a classroom, so of course there is!

    M:  I knew it. You’re the best. Just make sure she has nerd glasses, okay? I’ve always wanted nerd glasses.

    J:  I have her using a monocle, which I hope will suffice. She’s kind of a cross between you and that rich guy from the Monopoly board game.

    M:  Wait, what?!


    (3) Speaking of characters, who’s your favorite superhero of all time?

    J:  The first superhero movie I ever saw was Superman, so he was definitely my favorite as a child. But there’s also Mighty Mouse. He’s basically just like Superman…as a mouse. And his theme song is just as cool!

    M:  Plus, they both look good in spandex, which is hard to pull off. Good choice.

    J: I’ve worn spandex, and you’re absolutely right, unless you shave your legs it’s SO hard to pull off!

    M:  *raises eyebrow and resists asking further*


    (4) What about your favorite book of all time (besides your own, obviously :-))? Are there pictures in it?

    J:  As a kid, my favorite book was The Monster At the End of This Book. And yes, the pictures were hilarious! I can never figure out why Hollywood hasn’t made a movie out of it. Of course, they’d have to call it The Monster At the End of This Movie, and I hate it when they change titles just for the movie.

    M:  Aww…that’s a cute book. I officially approve of you. Let’s be friends.

    J:  Pinky touch! (That’s how I seal all of my friendships.)


    (5) Good. Now that we’re friends, word on the street is that you wanted to be an illustrator when you were younger (and by “younger” I don’t mean to imply that you are no longer young now…or anything, but…ahem). So what’s your favorite thing to draw?

    J:  Was there a balding joke in there? It sounded like there was a balding joke in there. Anyway, yes, I wanted to write and illustrate my own comic strip. I still think that would be the ideal job. But the one thing keeping me from pursuing that career is that I can’t draw very well. Whenever I illustrate something and show people, all I draw are blank stares. (Get it? Get it???)

    M:  Are you trying to draw me into a battle of the puns?

    J:  I would erase you. (Get it???)


    (6) I block your eraser and, instead, ask you to describe your wife in one word.

    J:  Inspiring. She inspires my work, and she inspires me as a person.

    M:  Very nice. Good man. And you two are just about ready to have a baby! What are you both most looking forward to as new parents?

    J:  The holidays. I’m a holiday junkie, but they’re never as fun as an adult as they were when I was a child. So I can’t wait to recreate that magic for our son.


    (7) Cute :-). So, who would win in a spork fight, you or JoanMarie?

    J:  She would. Definitely! She’s much more competitive than I am. It’s very inspiring.

    M:  Competitive women are always inspiring. Have you ever seen them on Black Friday?

    J:  Oh my goodness, that’s a brilliant idea! This year, I think I’ll go to the big shopping centers early on Black Friday and hand out sporks to everyone waiting in line. And then I’ll set up a lawn chair, eat some popcorn, and just watch what happens.


    (8) Hahaha! That’s awesome. Speaking of which, you’re no doubt aware a pre-requisite for being voted as true awesomeness on this blog is that you enjoy eating. So what are your top three favorite foods?

    J:  I don’t have very complex taste buds, so I’m very easy to please. I could eat spaghetti for many meals in a row. A nice hamburger (do NOT forget the pickles) is always wonderful. And I love the blackened chicken at Bon Temps. Blackened chicken! That’s complex, isn’t it? It’s not regular chicken…it’s blackened!

    M:  Blaaaackened chiiiicken… *wipes drool spot from chin* Hmm? What?

    J:  But only from Bon Temps. They have the best fried green tomatoes, too. (Whoah! It worked! I just wanted to see if I could get you to drool even more.)

    M:  :-I….


    (9) And do you cook?

    J:  I like to cook, yes. Do I cook very often? No. My stomach doesn’t communicate with my head very well, so I often don’t realize I should start preparing something until I’m absolutely starving. So I eat out way too often.

    M:  Okay, but the one time I saw you eating out (not that I was stalking you or anything), you were eating salad. At least, that’s what it looked like through the fern leaves I was peering out of with my camera. I mean, seriously, can salad technically be considered eating out?

    J:  No, but that was at a coffee shop and I got there at the very end of their lunch time, so all they had left was a little bit of salad. It wasn’t even a full salad! So after you stopped taking pictures and left…I ate the fern.


    (10)  Hold on a sec, I just laughed coffee up my nose… Okay, all better. So tell us who is your favorite band at the moment?

    J:  As far as contemporary bands, I really don’t know. I should probably come up with a good answer because I’m always impressed by people who claim to love bands I’ve never heard of. So how’s this for an answer: Currently, I’ve been following Harmony Alley Carjackers. No one’s really heard of them yet, but they’re amazing.

    Who’s your favorite band?

    M:  Wait…are they for real, or did you just make them up? ‘Cuz I googled “Harmony Alley Carjackers” and the first link that popped up was for the Backstreet Boys. No joke. Maybe you can sing us a line from “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” later? And to answer your question, I have three favorites: Smashing Pumpkins, Starflyer 59, and the Killers.

    J:  I’ve heard of two of your favorite bands, so I’m 1/3 impressed by your selection! Harmony Alley Carjackers is a completely made up band, actually. So, in that sense, they are a lot like the Backstreet Boys.


    (11) :-). Rumor has it you still listen to Def Leppard…is this true?

    J:  Yes, this is a rumor that’s definitely true. Why are you smirking? I love Def Leppard! I’ve seen them in concert more than any other band. I once camped out for two nights to get front row seats. I also called into a radio show to get tickets to an exclusive show for only 200 audience members. That was amazing! What did I have to do on-air to get the tickets? Next question…

    M:  Oh, there’s no way you’re getting off the hook from defending explaining yourself on this one! So let’s have it. How’d you get the tickets??? And this was—what? Like, last year or something?

    J:  I was in college at the time, but I would still do it THIS year thank-you-very-much. Sadly, no, I can’t let you post what I did to get those tickets. But I will whisper it in your ear. (whisperwhisperwhisper)

    M:  <:-O


    (12) Almost the last question: Have you ever been attacked by rabid YA fan girls? Just curious…

    J:  What, with chains and brass knuckles and stuff? Uh…no. And I don’t think I’d like that. Do people actually do that when they like an author? That’s weird! Or are you actually talking rabid as in rabies? Are rabies common among YA fan girls? That’s kind of scary.

    M:  Yes. They’re the same fan girls who stalk the Backstreet Boys. Not that I’d know anything about that. I mean, it’s been a few months since I’ve done any stalking so…


    (13) Final question: Will we still be on speaking terms after this interview? Jay? Hello? Jay?

    J:  Mary, why are you staring at me like that? Um…Mary? Why are the corners of your lips starting to foam? M-m-Mary? MARYYYY!!!!!


    What’s the mood noise of the moment? Def Leppard, of course.


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    Posted in A bit of brag, Author Tidbits, Best & Worst Books | 13 Comments »

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