Great White Goof Ball

September 10th

Last week a friend asked me to take some photos for his new company. He and some friends have created a clothing line that I happen to really like. In fact, I went to one of their fashion shows this summer and broke my “no new clothes” policy and bought one of their tank tops.
This is from the photo shoot on Friday, ala pretty model:


And this would be me in the gift shop at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago last weekend.

Great White

No wonder why my modeling career never got off the ground. That said, I still love that tank. I’ve worn the tar out of it this summer, with a cheapie $5 Old Navy tank underneath. My no new clothing rule is about to be broken anyway. I’ve got that 10 year reunion coming up and I’ve got my eye on a new pair of stupidly expensive jeans and wedges.

On an entirely different note, I read a ton of great books while traveling that are worth mentioning. One of my favorite new books of all time is “The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint.” Wowie, wow, wow, as my friend Erin would say. It is a beautifully written story and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Five out of five bananas absoloodle.
I also read “Other Voices, Other Rooms.” This is Truman Capote’s first novel, which was published when he was 23. His writing is lyrical and so southern. I enjoyed it. Three out of five bananas.
Somebody’s Heart is Burning,” is a good West Africa travel read. I’ve had different experiences traveling through Africa, but I liked what she had to say all the same. It is a good read. Three out of five bananas.
Citizen Girl” was passed along to me by a friend and I couldn’t get through the first chapter. I thought it was horrible. Goes to show you that everyone has wildly different opinions on books because this thing received great reviews nationally. One out of five bananas.
Memoirs of a Geisha” was great and wow, I feel so much better for finally having pushed myself through this read. I have picked this book up and read the first 100 pages about 5 times. Thankfully, I used some layover time to get into the next 100 pages and then couldn’t put it down. Four out of five bananas.
Next up, I read “Snow Falling on Cedars,” which is an interesting read after “Geisha” because they both deal with the Japanese community in the same time period, but in Japan and the US. I was impressed by the author’s knowledge of so many subjects in this book. I felt like he taught me a little about a lot of things, and I enjoyed his story-telling. Four out of five bananas.
I also read through a bit of “Nancy Drew Girl Sleuth” and found the story behind my favorite children’s books entertaining. Three out of five bananas. And Oprah’s BFF Dr. Oz hooked me into reading “You on a Diet.” I did learn some new stuff and I think he’s got solid advice for how you can get your eating habits back on track and find your natural weight. Ah, common sense.

I am currently reading “Wuthering Heights” (I am tutoring a high school student) and “Living Your Best Life Now” — which I am loving.

Have you read anything fantastic lately?

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43 Responses

  1. “The $64 Tomato” was hilARious

  2. Oh, I love Wuthering Heights- so very romantic! I read A spot of Bother by Mark Haddon on the beach this Summer and it was hilarious, laugh out loud funny.

  3. I’ve read a lot of pretty good books, but the one I’ve enjoyed the most (and loved, as a matter of fact) has to be “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. I was sorry to see the end of it.

  4. Oh i am reading this beautiful book “Tiare” by C√©lestine Vaite and at the same time reading (of course a baby book) The continuum concept by Jean Liedlof… But i will keed this list you made:)

  5. I just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and loved it (but I love everything she’s written).

    Also, I’m about to re-read (for the upteenth time) all the Wrinkle in Time books in memory of Madeleine L’Engle passing away. This time, though, I’ll be reading them with my daughter. We’ll see if she likes them as much as I do.

    I’m gonna have to try your five banana book, though. Thanks for the tips.

  6. Kelli,

    I read one of the best books i’ve ever read this past summer…it’s called Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski. It’s fiction, about a young journalist named Mischa (a bit confusing, but it really is fiction) who goes to Thailand upon graduation to write and hang out with his school-teacher girlfriend, and becomes enraptured with the story of an american anthropologist who is in Thai jail for murdering an american missionary. The author tells the story of the family of missionaries, delves into the culture of a (fictitious but you wish they were real) Thai people who live in the hills and the american woman how her background landed her in thailand. Berlinski’s descriptions of Thailand made me want to buy a ticket tomorrow. Definitely one of those books that stays with you long after you finish. He does such an incredible job of bringing the people to life that it is easy to forget you’re reading a novel.

  7. Ditto on Barbara Kingsolver..but I think I’ve already mentioned that book here 🙂

    I just finished Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood. I’d never read anything by her before. She is a FABULOUS writer!

  8. I think you look like a great model and the photo with the mask is a hoot! I received your postcard from Chicago–thank you so much, it made me smile.

    I’ve read only two of the books on your list, “Nancy Drew Girl Sleuth” because, just like you, I wanted to know the story behind the stories. The other book I’ve read is the classic “Wuthering Heights.”

    Currently I’m reading “Becoming Jane Austen,” a biography by Jon Spence and “A Weekend to Change Your Life: Find Your Authentic Self After a Lifetime of Being All Things to All People” by Joan Anderson.

  9. checking out a few of those books i have never read! and that picture of you at the aquarium made me laygh out loud. my kids think i’m a freak. thanks for that.

  10. Harry Potter #1
    Wizard of Oz (original)
    Some Manga (dd got me started on it)
    and ummmmmmmmmmmm Oh, You on a Diet! Ihave his other book too.
    I LOVE Wuthering Height. My all time fave!!

    Wish I’d know you were in Chi-Town. I’m only an hour away.

  11. I have read a bunch of OK books lately, but I can highly recommend Glass Castles. Can’t remember the author tho! LOL. Books tend to go in one eye and out the other pretty quick with me. I was in an amazing book group at my old church and we read Snow Falling on Cedars. The group had many (white) old (in their 80’s) women who had lived through WWII and it was fascinating to share the story with them. It was a racially tense time and those ladies haven’t forgotten a moment.

    In other news, I am soliciting e-notes to Carls Jr in response to their disgusting portrayal of teachers. If you have a chance stop by and cast your opinion.

  12. I just discovered Truman Capote, too. I like his short stories best, so far. I enjoyed “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in an intellectual way, but I didn’t connect with the characters at all. Lately I’ve finished “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (see review on my blog), followed by “The Secret History of the Pink Carnation,” a fun send-off of the genre. I can’t wait to get my hooks into “The Keep” by Jennifer Egan, and “Stumbling Into Happiness” by Daniel Gilbert. Sigh…so many books, so little time.

  13. I’ve been reading lots of dog books lately.
    I would highly recommend “Marley & Me” by Josh Grogan. You’ll laugh as much as you’ll cry. Last Xmas, sitting on the beach in Panama, I think a few people thought I was a total nut case cuz I just couldn’t stop crying… 😉

    I convinced my colleagues to read “Wuthering Heights” last year with the older students. They do get confused with all the characters though. I just enjoy the era. I haven’t finished “Jane Eyre” by her sister Charlotte Bront√´. Maybe a little challenging for ESL students. But it didn’t stop me from doing “Frankenstein” either. Mary Shelley is an absolute genius!

    Oh! I adore your *cough* shark hat… 😉 Quite the fashion statement… lol Possibility for the reunion.. wink

  14. Ahhh, Wuthering Heights…I always loved all things Bronte but it’s been awhile. Thanks for all the book ideas. I gave the Nancy Drew book to my mom last year and she brought it over to me to read but I haven’t gotten to it yet. The next book on the “to read” list is “Into Africa: the Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone.” Last book read was “The Right Attitude to Rain,” a novel by the same author that wrote the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” books.
    So how did you enjoy the Shedd? Did you face south and wave to me? ; )

  15. I just posted some reviews of what I read this summer and what I read to the kids. My top favorites were Water For Elephants, Broken For You, and Shadow of the Wind. I also just finished “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by the author of Kite Runner. Right now I’m in the middle of “Women of the Silk” about the young young girls who work in the Chinese Silk Factories to help their families. I’m loving everyone’s book lists. Snow Falling on Cedars is definitely a favorite.

  16. I agree with Wendy on the Madeleine L’Engle books.. they were favorites of mine growing up and I still enjoy re-reading them. I was sorry to hear of her passing. Citizen Girl was an interesting read. I had a hard time forcing myself to finish it.
    I just finished a Wendy French book called “Full Of It”. Total fun read. The kind of thing you want to read when you’ve had a crappy week and just want something fun to dive into. I love her for that.. She has two other books that I enjoyed as well, ‘sMothering’ and ‘Going Coastal’.

    I’m reading a YA book now.. it’s actually a series, The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer ( but’s pretty much a “just because” read. I have too much stress and heaviness in the rest of my life to have to much heaviness in my reading too. For me, reading is more of an escape and I tend to pick stories that help me accomplish that.
    I did LOVE Memoirs of a Geisha though!

  17. Memoirs of a Geisha was a fav of mine too!

  18. Love all the book recommendations. I just added some to my Amazon Wish List. Hooray!
    I’ve recently read and fell in love with Interpreter of Maladies by the author who wrote The Namesake. I’m also a huge fan of The History of Love. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love. I love reading about food and France and really enjoyed My Life in France by Julia Child. And anything by Ruth Reichl is deliciously fun.

  19. I could not agree with you more about “Citizen Girl” – in fact, I just looked back in my reading journal and the entry for it reads:

    “oh this sucked”

    And I’m usually a little bit more eloquent than that in my reading journal.

    I’m very excited about the Nancy Drew book – thanks for the introduction to it, I was not familiar with it.

    I’ve not read anything I’m just wild about lately – but I did enjoy Thomas McNamee’s biography of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. I could see you enjoying it as well… And I am liking Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” books. Percy is no Harry Potter, but he’s the most enjoyable wanna-be to have come out.

    Memoirs of a Geisha is one of my favorite books – the fact that a man from Chattanooga wrote it just blows me away everytime…

  20. I just finished “Away” by Amy Bloom. I really enjoyed it–haunting and wonderful book!

  21. Oh – and I’ve got to second one of the above recommendations: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I loved it.

  22. I just finished Breath, Eyes, Memory, which is totally your kind of book. I’m going to loan it to you and then to my mom. I’m reading an Anna Quindlen book called Rise and Shine, and its entertaining but MAN does she go off on tangents. Its pissing me off.

    Any chance I can get that Nancy Drew one from you?

  23. PS. That girl has a huge rack. I feel a little uncomfortable looking at it in that pictures. Yowza.

  24. Jennifer D September 11, 2007

    Just finished “When Crickets Cry” by Charles Martin. It was wonderful! I’ve heard that “The Glass Castle” is a must read…after these recommendations I’m off to the library today!

  25. I’ve read “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by khaled Hosseni (I’m sure I spelled that wrong) HP7, love Harry Potter. Both of those get 5 out of 5 bananas.

  26. I read “Snow Falling on Cedars” maybe 10 years ago and love love loved it – then the movie came out – SUCKY. I’m trying to get into a humongeous tome on the British in India but keep putting it down in favor of Aidin’s “American Girl” library books instead. 🙂

  27. first of all, kel, i thought those were your tas in the first shot because i know you have that tank. and i was a little upset b/c my chest doesn’t look like that in photos you’ve taken. and i was wondering why you hadn’t photo-shopped mine to look like that too. i feel better now, knowing it was the girl that couldn’t lift her arms b/c said tas had just been done. moving on.
    i’m halfway done with billie lets, ‘shoot the moon’. fantastic so far. i read about 200 pages on sunday alone. is there a better way to spend a hot, weekend day? i think not.

  28. Like others, I loved the Glass Castle. Memoirs of a Geisha entranced me as well. I just finished Banker to the Poor, by Muhammad Yunus and highly recommend it. I am reading Barbara Kingsolver right now, anxiously waiting for my library to get Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in. Hurray for books!

  29. Every now and then I feel guilty that there are a lot of books out there I “should” have read by now and get all motivated. (A couple friends and I started a book club with that theme but we disbanded before the first meeting on Madame Bovary. Hmmm.)

    Anyway, so now I’m working my way through Plutarch’s Lives, Volume II. I got it free at some yard sale or something, so I do not know what I missed in Volume I. It’s not bad, it’s just not very engaging. And each paragraph is about a page long, which is kind of eye-crossing.

    So, like those motivated by the L’Engle passing, I may use the excuse of the upcoming movie to finally read Beowulf instead.

    Recently finished Consider the Lobster, a 2004 collection of various of David Foster Wallace’s magazine articles. I know some people find his extensive footnoting irritating and pretentious, but I just enjoy the way he writes – about anything. He covers things like the porn convention in Las Vegas, the 2004 McCain campaign, a review of an English usage guide and the ethics of lobster eating.

  30. I found your blog by accident this morning and totally laughed when I saw your “absolootle” comment. I knew exactly where it come from without clicking on the link – one of my ATF movies. I spent some time in Africa (RSA) a while ago as well and would LOVE nothing more than to go back. Someday….

    On reading – I like Suzanne Arruda – the Mark of the Lion and Stalking Ivory. ( These are good to quell the African travel urges – for a while at least.

  31. Ah, I love Book reviews! I need to catch up on mine. This year, I’ve been trying to review all the books I’ve read like you and other bloggers do, and I’ve got about 4 or 5 that need reviewing! So thanks for the book ideas…I’m def. adding some to my reading list.
    What would I recommend? I like “A Thousand Splendid Suns”…very sad but it stuck with me. I recently read “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. *Very* short little Dover book, but good. Oh, and I read “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, and I loved it. It starts slow but gets better and is very imaginative, intelligent, and complex. It made me want to read L. Frank Baum’s original “Wonderful Wizard of Oz” book, and I watched the movie too. =)

  32. I’ve been listening to “The Ha Ha” by Dave King in the car, and reading “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer. Both excellent in very different ways.

  33. Suite Francaise” by Irene Nemirovsky……..This is an amazing book!!!!

  34. Kelli, I do believe you’ve found your look!

  35. Great book recommendations – I’ve loved reading through all the comments, too. Looks like I’ve got some reading to do!

  36. And now I know why it’s so hot where you are! Good grief, there should be laws about looking like that. Laws that allow us to look like that! But I’d choose the fishheaded model anyday! Love it!

    Love your reading list Kelli. I’m always on the hunt for something good and something that makes me think.

  37. You have a nice figure. Perfect to be the model. Anyway, the only thing Ive read form your list is Memoirs of Geisha and it is 1 of my faves!

  38. Currently reading and LOVING “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” which apparently everyone has read but me (due to all the comments from friends and from strangers on the subway). Also enjoyed The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. Must suggest “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert if you haven’t given it a whirl already. Happy reading!

  39. I know I’m late on this one. I loved Living Your Best Life Now. Very simple and straight to the point. I agree with you on Citizen Girl. I hated it and couldn’t get through chapter one. I even paid full price for it because of the good reviews it was getting.

  40. Hi Kelli! “Memoirs” and “Cedars” are great books. I have always found Japanese culture to be very fascinating. On a different note, you are so rocking that tank! Keep it up! 🙂

  41. You are too cute!

  42. Shark heads are hot!

  43. Thanks so much for recommending ‘The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint’. I’m reading it now and LOVE it! Thanks!