What I'm Reading

Stardust by Joseph Kanon
Coming out in the fall, the next novel by the author of The Good German. It's so good I kinda want to lick the pages.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Blog

So I'm not ready to declare this blog dead yet, not by a long shot. It's so pretty... and pink... and ME. But for now, at least, I've got, if not a new home, at least a pied a terre over at If You Belonged Here.

There are seven of us writing on a rotating basis, and well, I'm loving being part of it. I'm posting weekly over there for the time being. Check us out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

25 Things

Those of you who share my Facebook obsession will have seen this, since that's where I got it, but I had so much fun writing it I decided to share anyway. And hey--who am I kidding--easy blog entry to ease me back into writing.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged . You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

1. I can do algebra in my head, and on long car drives by myself I make up equations: If I’ve gone x miles in 45 minutes, how many miles should I have gone by this time? My high school math teacher Mrs. Dubois would be proud.

2. The Lord & Taylor on 5th Ave in Manhattan is my happy place, and can fix almost any problem in my life. Dealing with a breakup? Visit the shoe department. Need a last-minute dress for a wedding? They’ve got me covered. Add in the beautiful architecture, and the gorgeous window displays, and the cathedral ceilings, and well, it’s just about perfect.

3. On my list of things I want to buy but keep convincing myself are unnecessary expenditures are laser hair removal, a GPS for my car, and a new living room carpet. I still have the hand-me-down braided rug my sister gave me when I moved to New York, and it’s hideous.

4. My high school guidance counselor changed my life. She knew my family couldn’t afford college, so she told me about Hofstra, and that they gave academic-based scholarships pretty liberally. I got a full scholarship and a room for all four years, majored in the only undergraduate publishing program in the country, pledged a sorority, and fell in love with New York. The rest, as they say, is history.

5. My first concert was Tiffany, with New Kids on the Block opening for her. I had never heard of them, and when they came on stage I was surprised, because I thought they were Black. I never did get on board with the New Kids obsession.

6. I had all sorts of existential angst about whether there really was more than one path to happiness, and whether I could be happy without kids, and whether I’d regret not having them if I didn’t, and then my goddaughter was born. And none of that crap mattered anymore.

7. I feel like I need to defend my decision to remain Catholic, because I think educated people think it makes me either less smart than they are, or sheep.

8. I hate moving, and therefore have lived in exactly 3 places my whole life: my parents’ house, Hofstra University dorms, and my current apartment. My kitchen has a bug problem in the summer months, but the apartment is huge and rent-stabilized and it will pretty much take dynamite to get me to give it up.

9. My oldest sister and I are nineteen years apart, and I became an aunt at 4 and a great-aunt at 33. When my niece got engaged, people kept making comments about my niece being married before I was like they felt bad for me. I was fine with it. I thought they were weird.

10. I love Christmas. The music, the decorations, the gift-giving, the parties. Just love everything about it. One of my friends calls me Chrissy Christmas around this time of year.

11. I’m a member of MENSA. So when I do something funny or stupid or silly and say “I’m kind of a genius,” I actually am.

12. I have a lifelong soft spot for anyone I’ve ever been close to. I’m always happy to hear from ex-boyfriends, I still wonder what ever happened to my best friend from third grade, and it took me somewhere in the vicinity of a decade to get over my first love. I still occasionally dream about a high school friend I lost touch with.

13. I still consider Boys Don’t Cry by The Cure to be my all-time favorite song, with Candy by Iggy Pop and Kate Peirson a close second.

14. The coolest publishing experience I’ve ever had was for the Steinbeck anniversary, when I got to hang out with his son and hear him talk about his dad, how he used to live in my neighborhood, which of his books was his favorite. Arthur Miller and Studs Terkel were there too. It defies words.

15. I have an almost pathological fear of sharks, and will only swim in the ocean if one person stays out deeper than me at all times as bait. I will explain to them, with no embarrassment, exactly why they must stay out deeper. Despite this, I once snorkeled in a shark tank, because the only thing worse for me than being afraid is letting that fear stop me.

16. My first job was doing take-out and bussing tables at a Chinese restaurant. I hated every second of it.

17. I truly don’t understand why anyone who’s not a millionaire and has any interest in social justice would vote Republican. I try to respect others’ views, but I just can’t.

18. I have more than 500 people in my Blackberry contacts. I kind of collect friends.

19. I didn’t hate high school. Those were far from my glory days, and there’s not enough money in the world to make me go through all that teen angst or live under my dad’s thumb again, but mostly I remember it being a fun time.

20. I love coffee. Way too much. I usually limit myself to one cup a day, but every time I pass a Starbucks, I spend a little bit of energy convincing myself I don’t need to go in. Even at inappropriate times like 10 pm.

21. One of my sisters had a falling out with the rest of them, and my family hasn’t all been in the same place in 8 years. It breaks my heart.

22. My friends are breeders. Between my biological nieces and nephews, and the children of just my very closest friends, I have 21 nieces and nephews, with another on the way. The amount of Christmas wrapping I do is insane.

23. When I moved to New York, I had my first publishing job but no permanent place to live, only $200 in my bank account, and brought only the essentials I could fit into my parents’ borrowed Chevy—clothes, shoes, books, a stereo, and CDs. Eleven years later I still haven’t decided if that was incredibly brave or incredibly stupid.

24. I got my belly button pierced on the dock outside Fat Tuesdays in Cancun after a Tequila booze cruise during spring break senior year. I didn’t have enough money with me, so a Merchant Marine paid for it. I decided that since it was an American doing the piercing and I saw her open the needle, it was okay.

25. I have my dream job. I’m a marketing manager for a major book publisher. Sometimes I get antsy or start thinking about leaving the industry for more money. But then I remember that there’s nothing in the world I want to do more than what I do.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Girl Is Back

So I heard the word is on the street that I've been missing. Evidently, a girl disappears for 2 months without calling, emailing, or blogging, and people begin to worry. Sheesh. Some people are so oversensitive...

For those of you who have asked, no, nothing's wrong. As a matter of fact things are fabulous. Fabulouser than they've been in a very long time. But if I make up a story about grave illness and personal tragedy, will that make you less mad at me? Because I'm not above that.

For now, though, I'll bribe you with pictures. I scored not just one but TWO yummy new nieces this summer. Comet, one of my closest friends/sorority sisters gave birth to little Miss Catie, who not only is adorable but is also the first baby in my New York crew. The first baby within drop-by distance?? Can you say spoiled??? The fact that she's gorgeous and the sweetest, happiest baby ever just clinched the deal.

And my niece had her baby a couple of weeks ago, and named her Abigail Muriel, after my mother. (Mrs. Bookgirl's name is Muriel). So she had the first baby in our family in 13 years, the first girl in 29 years, and named her after my mom. As my sister Michelle put it, she has won so many points with my mother that no one will ever catch up. The race for favorite is over...

And just in case all that yummy girl-baby-ness is somehow not enough to melt your cold, cold hearts and you're still mad, I'm throwing in a bonus picture. Ella took this delightful self-portrait. Yes, that's my goddaughter. Sarah had no way of knowing what an apt pairing that would turn out to be...

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Maybe Baby wrote a blog about stupid injuries and asked people to write in with their own stories. Now, as you all know, I am the clumsiest person on earth. But while my embarrassing injuries are too numerous to count, one stands out above the others. I was originally going to just email him the story, but I realized I never shared it with all of you. And you know how I love offering up my personal humiliation for your amusement.

About 5 years ago, before Polly Poppins had Secret Lulu, she decided that before she had kids of her own she wanted to be a good godmother and take her six-year-old goddaughter to Disney World. Mr. Poppins, having a highly developed sense of self-preservation, wanted no part of that. She was on her own. So she convinced me that I should take my godson Jeremy, who was eight at the time, and we'd make a trip out of it. Okay, so it actually took no convincing. My sister Michelle didn't have grandkids yet, so she was still putting up stiff competition for the "cool aunt" title, and I had something to prove. Also, I have a deep-seated love for Epcot that completely baffles Polly. But that's another story.

The time came for the trip, we both headed back to Rhode Island to pick up the kids (who, by the way, had only one thing in common: they were both notoriously difficult) and we were on our way. Through the combined efforts of flight delays and really bad directions that got us hopelessly lost, we didn't make it to the hotel until 2 in the morning. So the next morning, we're rarin' to go. All we've seen of Orlando is the rental car, that same tollboth we accidentally went through four times, and our hotel rooms. We've got a full day at the Magic Kingdom ahead of us.

And that's when it happened. I had just gotten out of the shower, and I was putting on sunscreen in the bathroom. Now, until this point, I had always thought that my body was incapable of doing a split. But it turns out that's not entirely true. See, if my legs start to slide in opposite directions on the bathroom floor, and my hands are slippery so I can't grab onto the counter, it turns out that I can go all the way down into a full straddle. It's not a good idea, mind you, and there were noises that can only be described as popping and tearing, but it's possible. I know it sounds terrible, but believe me when I tell you that the pain was far, far worse than it sounds. Even now, I get queasy just thinking about it.

So now I'm sprawled on the bathroom floor, completely naked, in excruciating pain, and I can't get up. I'm stuck there. I can just reach a hand towel, which I use to cover my juicy bits, and I yell for Jeremy to "go get Polly. Tell her it's very important that she come immediately." She, thank God, had the foresight to get us adjoining rooms. So Polly comes to check on me, but she can only open the door a couple of inches, because it's bumping up against the top of my head. And oh, right, I can't move. I explain what happened, and Polly, ever the pragmatist, tells me, "Look, here's the deal. Normally I would call an ambulance. But since you're naked, I'm going to let you make that call..."

I blessedly have blocked out the details on exactly how we got me off the floor, but I do remember Polly putting my underwear on for me the first few days of the trip. I could only lift my feet, when sitting, about an inch and a half off the floor, and only one at a time, so she had to hook the underwear around my feet, and then, since I couldn't bend, pull them up above my knees so I could reach them to pull them the rest of the way up. Jeremy had to put on my socks and shoes for me, because my feet were so out of reach they may as well have been in another zip code. With the help of a heavy-duty prescription painkiller Polly just so happened to have in her bag, and enough Tylenol Arthritis Relief to cause permanent liver damage, I managed to make it to Disney that day. But it wasn't pretty. And well, let's just say Polly and Jeremy were kind enough to take turns pushing the wheelchair...

I had to move so slowly that a full week later, after I was back in New York, I was heading to the subway one morning and an old woman with a cane, I kid you not, cruised right past me. Injury, here's insult. Nice to meet you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Immortals After Dark

The kindest thing a person can do for me is this:
Write a book. Write it well. Give it a setting that's so fully formed and well-described that I can picture it. People it with characters who are witty and interesting, who make me feel their pain and laugh at their jokes. Make me want more. Enthrall me so that when I get to the end I'm sad that it's over. Then turn that book into a series, so I can keep coming back and visiting. So I can't wait for the next book.

That's the kindest thing a person can do for me. And it's why the Immortals After Dark series has made Kresley Cole my new best friend, even though we've never met.

It all started out with Playing Easy to Get. I picked the book up because it had a novella by Sherrilyn Kenyon, whose Bureau of American Defense series I had recently discovered. (Bad-ass crimefighters kick terrorist ass as part of a secret governemnt agency. In between they have really hot sex. A concept made in Bookgirl heaven.) And there, at the end of that collection, was "The Warlord Wants Forever," a novella about Myst, a Valkyrie (an immortal born of a female warrior who dies in battle), who falls in love with Nikolai, a vampire. She had me at hello. The stories are set in the Lore, a world where "creatures that are not human [are] united... coexisting with, yet secret from, man." Brilliant, laugh-out-loud funny dialogue; great battle scenes; even better bedroom scenes. Imagine my joy when I found out there was already a full-length novel in the works.

Cue A Hunger Like No Other. Our heroine Emmaline, half-Valkyrie, half vampire, falls in love with Lachlan, a Lykae (a type of werewolf), even though vampires and werewolves are sworn enemies. As one character puts it, "Vampires, Valyrie, and Lykae, oh my--the fucking monster mash." (Two years later, and that line still makes me bitterly jealous I didn't write it.

Next came No Rest for the Wicked. This time our heroine is another Valkyrie, Kaderin, who's part of what can best be described as The Amazing Race for immortals, where everyone from witches to sirens to "killer gnomes" battles it out across the world on a giant scavenger hunt. Along the way, of course, she falls in love with Nikolai's brother Sebastian, also a vampire. (Which means we get to visit our friends Myst and Nikolai from the first book. Hurrah!)

Then Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night. Bowen (part of the same clan of werewolves as Lachlan) falls in love with Mari, a witch "from the shady New Orleans coven, the slacker Animal House of witches." The story is so good that I don't even mind not having a Valkyrie as a heroine for the first time.

Next came Dark Needs at Night's Edge. Conrad, the third vampire brother, falls in love with Neomi, a ghost. I find myself hoping maybe the remaining fourth brother will fall in love with me. I realize I've officially lost my mind. And maybe I'm getting a little too into these books...

And now, just out, Dark Desires After Dusk. I haven't read it yet, because I decided I wanted to savor instead of gulp, so I'm rereading the series leading up to the new one. The only series I've ever done that with is Harry Potter. Yes, they're that good.

I demand a lot of my books. I like them smart and funny, entertaining and well-written. I want to curl up and lose myself in the story, and forget everything going on around me. When I find one book that hits the mark, it's exciting. When I find a whole series, well that's about as good as it gets.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Name Game

I know you've been waiting patiently for a new blog. And since it's taken me so long to post, you were expecting something insightful and fabulous. This isn't it...

You know how much I love silly names. And I found this on Big Girl Underoos, a blog I recently discovered courtesy of Polly. She has a great voice, and "put on your big girl pants and deal with it" is an expression I use all the time. So I'm already a fan. Also, she uses the same blog template I do, so she must have fabulous taste.

I had to use Book Girl for my first and last name, since the ones involving combining names had way too many consonants with my real name, rendering them unpronouncable and no fun at all. And you know what they say--If Bookgirl aint't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Okay, no one says that. But they should...

1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (Mother and Father's middle name): Therese Joseph
(no, my family's not Catholic or anything...)

2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother's dad, father's dad): William Wilfred (that sounds more like an actor than a driver)

3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name): Girbo

4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Red Panda

5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born): Ann Providence

6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd fave color, fave drink, add "THE" to the beginning): The Pink Margarita (what would my super powers be??)

7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 3 letters of your last name): Boirl

8. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet's name, current street name): None 35 (That could totally be a band)

9. STRIPPER NAME: (name of your fave perfume/cologne, fave candy): Allure Truffle

10. PORN NAME: (1st pet's name, street you grew up on): Goldie Bernon (but you've all heard that one before)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wow Me

We’re taking a break from our normal programming. This blog is usually the Bookgirl Channel (all me, all the time), but some of my peoples are doing some pretty amazing things right now. And they’re just too cool not to share.

You know how every so often someone in your life wows you? Just pulls something out of their bag of tricks that you had no idea they had in there? Well, my friend Chris did that this week.

Chris and I have been friends since we were teenagers. (Or, at least I was. I can never remember what our age difference is.) I was a freshman in high school, and he was going to Northeastern. He was home on break and came to a CYO meeting at our church. I remember thinking he was an "older man" and very cool. And cute. We've been friends ever since.

Chris is from another one of those huge, multi-generational, 8-million cousins, French-Canadian families from Woonsocket. I grew up next door to one set of his cousins and a few blocks from another set. His sister-in-law is my sister's best friend. Our moms were in the Ladies' Guild together. We have the same first name. We were pretty much destined to be friends.

Since he was living in Boston when we met, and I moved to New York the fall after I graduated high school, we've really never lived in the same state for more than a summer at a time. But we always had a blast when we were together. He's the one who taught me about football and started my obsession with the Patriots. And even though we never dated, I'm not sure my mother ever entirely got over the fact that I didn't end up marrying him.

He got married a couple of years ago (sorry, mom) to a woman I really like, and they're expecting their first baby in a few weeks.
And this is where we get back to him wowing me. Because he sent me pictures of the nursery he painted for their baby.
My first impulse was, "Oh, wow." My second was pure jealousy that he could do something like that.

My third was back to "Oh, wow."

That's one seriously lucky baby.

And his wife didn't do too badly for herself either...