Archive for Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks 2009-35: Picking the books I read

Posted in books, Weekly Geeks with tags , on September 16, 2009 by Paxton

Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks has an interesting topic this week. One I have tap danced with talking about myself for about a year because I’ve been asked this question before. So while I’m prepping Part II of my Star Trek Original Series Season highlights, I’ll go ahead and post this.

This week’s topic wants us to talk about how we pick the books that we read next.

Do you have a plan of what you’re going to read the rest of the year? Have you had a master plan all along? If so, have you stuck to it? What helps you to decide what you’re going to read next? Challenges? Book groups? Or do you have the luxury of closing your eyes and picking any book off your shelf?

I know some of you have spreadsheets and other devices to help you keep track of your books and challenges. (I even succumbed to using a spreadsheet this year after teasing my friends relentlessly about theirs.) If you have online spreadsheets, such as Google, can you give us a peek at them with a link or a screen shot?

Spreadsheets? No. Do I have a plan for what I read? Not really. Like life, I am pretty much making it up as I go along.  Some of my books are picked by topic or author, some by friend recommendations, some by reading reviews on Amazon.com in a genre I enjoy.  When I find books I enjoy, I add them to my Amazon wish list and check to see if it’s on paperbackswap.com.  If it is, it’ll either go in my Wish List or Reminder List over there too.  I’ll then print off some of these lists and take them to Chamblin Bookmine here in Jax to see if I can get them there.  This is how I acquire 99% of my books.

Chamblin Bookmine

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Weekly Geeks 2009-20: Guilty Pleasures

Posted in life, personal, Weekly Geeks with tags , , on June 1, 2009 by Paxton

Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks time!!!

What’s your non-reading guilty pleasure?
Trashy TV?
Trashier movies?
Junk food?

Guilty pleasures mean that you are embarrassed what other people think about that particular action. For the most part, I enjoy what I enjoy and am not embarrassed about it. Everyone that knows me knows I like this thing or that, I don’t try to hide it. However, here are a few of my non-reading habits that might be odd to a normal person, but are just another part of the magnificent AWESOME-ness that is me.

Giant Eagle
1. Checking out supermarkets I’ve never been to.
Whenever I travel by myself or with my wife (or family) if we pass a cool looking supermarket I’ve never been to, I have to go in. It’s just something I enjoy. When my wife and I went to Paris in 2007 I actually had us go to Mona Vie, a Parisian supermarket/department store.  I found a bunch of cool sodas and chips.  When I go to one of these new groceries, I check out the soda aisle first to see if that particular place has any new sodas I’ve never seen before. I then go check out the snack food aisle for any cool goodies I’ve never seen before; chips, snack cakes, etc. I then check out the cereal aisle for any cool boxes I’ve never scoped before. If I find anything cool, I’ll either buy it on the spot or take pictures of it while in the store.  The links within this paragraph go to several of my Flickr sets highlighting the appropriate items I’ve found during some of my travels. If you click the picture of the Giant Eagle up there you’ll go to my Flickr set of Supermarket chains I’ve visited.  Check them out.

That would probably be the biggest “guilty pleasure” of mine.  What else do I like to do….hmmmm…

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Weekly Geeks 2009/19 — Happy Memorial Day

Posted in books, holiday, Weekly Geeks with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2009 by Paxton

Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks time everyone! This one is a holiday themed one (being as it’s Memorial Day). So, I guess, first things first:

Happy memorial Day
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!!!

Now for the Weekly Geeks topic:

Again with Memorial Day Weekend here in the U.S. starting traditionally on Friday evening, it also is unofficially the start of summer. You’ve probably been asked this in other meme groups in which you participate, but do your reading habits change over the summer? Do you choose lighter fare? What do you enjoy to take to the beach, for example? What is the ultimate summer book? OR what are your favorite travel guides — official or unofficial guides? Again, an example, I think of Holidays In Hell by P.J. O’Rourke, of places I’d rather not vacation. Along those lines, where do you vacation? Any places you recommend or even don’t recommend?

My reading habits do not, in fact, change during the summer. The only times my reading habits change is during Halloween and Christmas, when I tend to read appropriately traditional books for the specific holiday.  But Summer is just a continuation of my regular reading habits.

However, if I had to pick, what more “summery” reads I would recommend?

Jimmy Buffett wrote two great books that would work well for sitting on the beach, listening to the surf and reading. The first is a collection of stories called Tales From Margaritaville.

Tales From Margaritaville

It’s a surprisingly fun and clever collection from a first time writer (Jimmy’s written several books since this one). I honestly did not expect to like it as much as I did. Which led me to read his second book, and his first attempt at a full length novel story, Where is Joe Merchant?

Where is Joe Merchant?

This is another, very casual, but very fun story I enjoyed from start to finish.  It follows a group of people in search of rock star, Joe Merchant, who supposedly committed suicide many years ago but keeps popping up in tabloid headlines.  Definitely a rollicking summer read.

Okay, how about travel guides?  There is one in particular that my wife and I found extremely helpful on our trip to Paris in 2007.  It had tons of information and several great suggestions of sites to see that we never would have found on our own.  It was Rick Steves’ Paris.

Rick Steves Paris

If you ever plan on traveling anywhere in Europe, take a gander at all of the Rick Steves books. They are fantastic. I know if Steph and I ever make the trip to London or Rome, Rick Steves is the travel guide we will pick up.

So, I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day and enjoys the day off.  We’ll be grilling burgers and brats for dinner.  See you later this week.

Weekly Geeks 2009-18 – Your Hometown in Literature

Posted in books, Weekly Geeks with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2009 by Paxton

Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks time. I haven’t been able to do a Weekly Geeks for a few weeks now, partly because I’ve been busy and partly because the last few themes have not interested me. But the one this week looks good. Here it is:

Share your fun literary facts about the town or area where you live. You can talk about famous (or not so famous) authors who live there, novels that have been set in your area, or any other literary facts that you know about where you live. Feel free to embellish with pictures of places and/or authors, maps of the area, and fun facts about the authors.

Today, I won’t talk about where I currently live, Jacksonville, FL, I’m going to talk about my hometown, Birmingham, AL. I was born in Birmingham in 1974 and lived there until I was 31 years old when I had to move for a job.  But I plan on going back to live there someday.  Anywho, we do actually have a famous author that was born and still lives in Birmingham (at least part time). She is Fannie Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Fried Green Tomatoes cover

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Weekly Geeks 2009 – 11 – My favorite historical fiction

Posted in Billy the Kid, books, pop culture, reviews, Weekly Geeks with tags , , , , on March 26, 2009 by Paxton

Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks #11. This week’s theme is about historical fiction.

Do you have a favorite book that really pulled you back in time, or perhaps gave you a special interest in that period? Include a link to a review of it on another book blog if you can find one (doesn’t have to be a Weekly Geek participant).

At first, I wondered exactly what they meant by historical fiction. Most commonly, historical fiction includes books that take place entirely in a past time period including a mix of real and fictional characters.  However, there are newer books that have become popular that mostly take place during the present. Books like Angels & Demons and Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown as well as The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry and many of the Indiana Jones fiction books investigate and examine past historical events, but do it from the present.  Many times including passages that take place entirely in the past.  I really enjoy reading these newer books because they are usually good adventure tales, but it feels like I’m learning a bit of history too. I would consider this historical fiction, but looking around the net, it doesn’t seem like other people do. I was set to pick one of the above books, but I’ll dig back into my “Books I’ve Read” shelf a bit further for a more traditional historical novel. It takes place in one of my favorite genres that, now that I think about it, I haven’t read in years; the western. I used to love reading books about and that took place in, the Old West.

Young Guns

I think what actually got me interested in the Old West was the 1988 movie Young Guns staring Emilio Estevez.  More specifically, it got me interested in the history of one William H Bonney, aka Billy the Kid.  After seeing the movie I read everything I could get my hands on having to do with gunslingers and the Old West.  Many of the books I read told the real history of the west, but I also started reading fiction based on legends of the Old West.  There was an old “Garage Sale” store in Birmingham I used to go to in order to search for old and interesting books to read.  In fact, this was the same store in which I would purchase my collection of Back to the Future movie novelizations.  Inside its musty book room I found a ton of old paperbacks featuring gunfighter stories.  Louis L’Amour’s The First Fast Draw, the Cemetery Sam western series, old fiction books about Wild Bill Hickock and Butch Cassidy.  I bought them all and devoured them.  Especially anything that focused on Billy the Kid, my favorite western gunfighter.

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