Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friday 56

Friday 56: Week 3

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions 
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends here or at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

My entry:

In addition, you must prove that your U.S. citizen or permanent resident

relative will suffer extreme hardship if the USCIS or a consular office

doesn't grant you permanent residence.

-U.S. Immigration & Citizenship: Your Complete Guide by Allan Wernick

Sharing the Lemonade Award


An Award for Bloggers who show
Attitude and Gratitude!

I'm sorry for the slow turnaround of this award which I received from three wonderful blogs: Missy at  Missy's Book Nook, Cathy at One Eyed Stuffed Bunny, and Kim at Page After Page.  Thank you all for your generosity. I'm still quite new to blogging and am amazed at how kind and warm people have been.  I'm very touched and very much appreciate this award!

I love the message behind it - "Making lemonade out of lemons is an important principle to grasp if we are going to be content in this lifetime!"  This is so true, though I do have to remind myself every so often.  It has been wonderful making friends and learning much through these blogs.  I'd like to pass on this award to other bloggers who show attitude and gratitude!
A Circle of Books - click here or visit:

A Journey of Books - click here or visit:

all about {n} - click here or visit:

Books Obsession - click here or visit:

Fantastic Book Review - click here or visit:

Hip Writer Mama - click here or visit

Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf - click here or visit:

The Maiden's Court - click here or visit:

The Burton Review - click here or visit

Tome Traveller's Weblog - click here or visit:

Do check out these wonderful sites and those of the kind folks that passed on the award to me:

Missy's Book Nook here or at

One Eyed Stuffed Bunny here or at

Page After Page here or at

Thank you again!  I'm heading to the BEA this weekend and hope to make some friends and  maybe meet some of you in person. If anyone else would like to meet up or has questions about getting around in NYC - do shoot me an email or write a comment!

Book Review: Surviving High Society - Lots of Love Trumps Lots of Money by Elizabeth Marvin Mulholland

Review of Surviving High Society - Lots of Love Trumps Lots of Money 
by Elizabeth Marvin Mulholland

Surviving High Society - Lots of Love Trumps Lots of Money

This autobiography begins with a description of the heroine's parents, their affair, subsequent marriage and divorce. Elizabeth was given up for adoption the day after her birth and her name changed within months of her birth to Patricia Elizabeth Marvin. Adopted by a wealthy and emotionally unstable mother and a kind father, Elizabeth also had a younger brother by adoption named Ted. They lived outwardly enviable lives - huge houses, servants, luxury vacations and all that comes with being one of the wealthiest and oldest families in America. Glamourous and beautiful, Elizabeth becomes close friends with Hepburns and Hemingways. Through carefully chosen anecdotes, Elizabeth demonstrates the ways in which their mother controlled the children's lives from their early years. We learn that the household was dysfunctional from its early days and the facade of this idyllic life crumbles with her father's death. 

After her father's death at 22 years of age, Elizabeth lived in relatives peace with her mother in their large Connecticut house. Accustomed to presenting a proper front, Elizabeth finds herself outmaneuvered by her mother and her team of lawyers, doctors, and bankers. Elizabeth voluntarily commits herself and begins a lifelong struggle in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Despite these odds and lack of support, Elizabeth is able to find her a way outside and make a good life for herself without her mother's help. With a loving husband as her partner, she starts a business, a new life, and makes her own success. 

From the blurb and the title, I was aware that the story would have shades of Mummy Dearest - a controlling and unstable mother that would reach out to control her children through her fortune. In this way, the book did not disappoint. I was surprised to find myself liking the narrator and worrying about the measures that she'd take and the plots that she was unable to spot in her youth. Despite her huge fortune and the rather long discussion of her antecedents, Elizabeth is a very sympathetic character. I found myself enjoying the book and its clear narrative. It was particularly interesting to learn what life was like growing up in the 40s and 50s. It's an enjoyable read and a good way to spend a few hours. 

I would recommend this book to people interested in social gossip and in a narrative of a young girl finding her identity. 

Cover and Format: Straightforward picture of the author as a young woman.
Rating: 3 out of 5 
Release date: 2008 by Itasca Books (176 pages)
Courtesy of Bostick Communications.  Thank you again for the opportunity to review this book.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Helpful Websites for NYC

Since so many people plan to be in NYC for the BEA, I thought it might be helpful to share a few websites that can help visitors and locals navigate NYC.

Hopstop - for commuting  around the City.   I prefer it to the MTA website because the trip planner doesn't just give you the approximate travel time with an updated route that includes the detours and changes in schedule.  You can choose if you prefer subway or buses or both as well as more walking or more transfers.   Hopstop also gives you the cost of a taxi ride to your destination and it has videos that show you where to turn if you have to walk part of your trip.  You can find it here or at:

Also, pick up a free subway map  from a subway stations.  The subway map can tell you if there's another stop reasonably nearby.  You might opt to walk to the next stop or take a bus.   

If you think that you'll take the subway or bus, the fare is $2 per ride.  If you buy the pay per ride ticket and pay $15, they'll give you one free ride.   The buses only take Metrocards and coins,  though in a pinch someone is likely to change bills for you on the bus, if you find yourself without coins.

Taxis - they take credit cards and you can adjust the amount of tip, so it isn't the default 20%.

Cheap Eats in NYC

1.  New York Magazine's Cheap Eats List - click here or visit
Usually quite reliable, the Cheap Eats list covers all the neighborhoods and boroughs outside of Manhattan.

2.  Serious Eats - click here or visit:
For more unusual finds and reliable "best of" write ups.

3. Chowhound - click here or visit:
For discussion threads and a good place to ask for restaurant or food recommendations.

4. -  click here or visit:
For a wide range of choices by cuisine, by neighborhood, by price point.  The reviews are based on diner's reviews so they tend to be accurate.   

A few art stops

Gagosian Gallery - Picasso exhibit of Mosqueteros until June 6, 2009.
522 West 21st St (between 10th and 11th Avenues), NY, NY  tel. 212-741-0006
Mon-Sat 10 am to 6 pm.  
click here or visit:

First major exhibit of his work since the Guggenheim's exhibit in 1984.  For the review by NYTimes, click here or visit

Going All Out, Right to the End
Published: April 17, 2009
The staggering exhibition of Picasso’s late paintings and prints at the Gagosian Gallery is one of the best shows to be seen in New York in the past several years.

Metropolitan Museum of Art  - 5th Avenue from 84th St to 80th.  Suggested donation is $20 but they accept less.  Included in the ticket is admission to the Cloisters.  Met is closed on Monday.  Open until 8 pm on Friday and Saturday.  Check out the rooftop garden and cafe - for a great view of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline and drinks.
click here or visit

MOMA - On W. 53rd St between 5th Ave and Ave of Americas (6th).  MOMA is closed on Tuesday.  Free from 4:30 to 8 pm on Fridays.  
 click here or visit:

Solomon Guggenheim Museum - 1071 Fifth Avenue (corner 89th St). Closed on Thursdays. Pay what you wish on Saturdays from 5:45 to 7:45.  The Guggenheim is just a few blocks away from the Met, along the Museum Mile.
click here or visit:

Frick Museum - 1 East 70th St (on Fifth Avenue, a few blocks away from the Metropolitan Museum along Museum Mile).  Closed on Mondays and holidays.  Click here or visit

Gridskipper came up with a helpful list. Click here or visit:

If you can add any helpful tips or suggestions - please comment!  Thanks!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Book Review: A Dog About Town by J.F. Englert

Review of A Dog About Town by J.F. Englert

A Dog About TownSynopsis:
Randolph, an unlikely protagonist, is the labrador turned detective on the Upper West Side. A dog of unusual perspicacity, Randolph lives with young painter Harry. Harry recently lost his fiancee and Randolph's original owner, Imogen, and Harry hasn't been the same since. Rudderless and delving into the world of paranormal, Harry somehow finds himself at seance with an unusual death. As the murders pile up, Randolph has to find a way to somehow solve the crime with Harry's help, decipher what happened to Imogen, and save his master's life - all the while without Harry realizing Randolph's special talents.

I enjoyed the book very much and would highly recommend it. Admittedly, I was predisposed to like it - I am an avid dog lover without a dog and have since childhood enjoyed books about dogs and horses as well as mystery novels. But there is many a slip from the cup to the lip and J.F. Englert's execution was very well done! 

Randolph's character is witty and sensitive and endearing. (Spoiler alert!) It makes a huge difference that Randolph is sentient, literate, and better read than his master, Harry. It reminds me a little bit of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves, although Harry isn't as clueless as Jeeve's charge.  

Here's a brief excerpt:

I am also sentient. I can think. I can remember. I can understand that as the teller 
of this tale I had best get most of this explanatory material over with at the beginning. 
Like the reader, I compare the past and the present. I strategize and calculate. This is 
not a possibility entertained by the Miriam-Webster definition. The competent editors 
of that publication are not to blame for the oversight. Most dogs certainly do not behave 
in ways that would suggest sentience (although I might also add that most humans do 
not either as is apparent from the hastiest glances at the newspapers). Moreover, there 
is at present no way to penetrate my species' muteness. Science is unable to plumb the 
depths of our cerebral cortices and discern the lives of our minds. (pages 4-5)

I hadn't expected much from a book with a canine detective and had fully underestimated its possibilities. It's a highly enjoyable read.

Format and cover:
Catchy cover draws your attention. The picture fits well with the characters and plot!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Release date: 2007 by Bantam Dell (271 pages)
Courtesy of the New York Public Library

Book Quizzes - Which Book Are You? Which Jane Austin Character Are You? What Type of Flower?

I just came across this fun book quiz at A Sea of Books and thought I'd share it with everyone. A Sea of Books is one of my favorite blogs, and definitely worth a visit. You can check it out here or visit

It's a Which Book Are You quiz created by Blue Pyramid - for more info, just click here or go to:

When taking the quiz, think over your answers carefully because there are only 6 questions. Do see which book you are! Thank you, A Sea of Books and Blue Pyramid

You're The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!
by C.S. Lewis
You were just looking for some decent clothes when everything changed quite dramatically. For the better or for the worse, it is still hard to tell. Now it seems like winter will never end and you feel cursed. Soon there will be an epic struggle between two forces in your life and you are very concerned about a betrayal that could turn the balance. If this makes it sound like you're re-enacting Christian theological events, that may or may not be coincidence. When in doubt, put your trust in zoo animals.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

Another fun quiz is the Which Jane Austin Heroine Are You? created by Emma Adaptations. Click here to take the quiz or go directly to: To be honest, I'd hoped that I was a more glamorous heroine...but I am, what I am! I'll have to read up on Elinor Dashwood - and have the perfect excuse to do so! Thank you, Emma Adaptations!

I am Elinor Dashwood!

This last quiz was created by This Garden is Illegal - click here to find out what type of flower you are.  Or just visit:

Thank you, This Garden is Illegal!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!