Not your typical summer read


For those of you that didn’t read it in hardback when it came out last year, Cat Daddy by Jackson Galaxy (of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell fame) is now available in paperback (as well as audiobook & ebook).

The subtitle: What the world’s most incorrigible cat taught me about life, love and coming clean, barely begins to scratch the surface.

This is an unflinching and honest look at a human life, ruined by addictions and redeemed by the love of a cat, that not for the faint of heart.

But for those with the courage to take it up, you will be rewarded. While there are tips about cat care scattered throughout, this is more in the vein of an full-throttle autobiography (both Jackson’s and his cat Benny’s).

Rarely have we come across an author so willing to rip away the mask and yet so able to eloquently tell his truth (about shelters, addiction, loss, change, growth and so much more) in a can’t-put-it down fashion.

Definitely 5 stars. Definitely someone we hope will be publishing future works, of fiction, nonfiction or even verse!



The Quite Place




It was pretty stressful last week/weekend. What with being told to shelter in place, watching flames burn down the mountainside toward the building, and the constant whirr of helicopters and sirens.

For the rest of the week, we’ll be hanging out at the quiet place.



Published in: on May 7, 2013 at 3:58 PM  Comments (1)  
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Today is World Press Freedom Day, Hug a Journalist!

Freedom of the Press isn’t Free.

Journalists die for it.

Almost Every Day.


If you live in a country where freedom of the press is taken for granted and the only time you really think about journalists is when there’s a “John King screws up” moment and you hear about it from Jon Stewart on late night tv, lucky you!

So far this year journalists/media workers have been killed at a rate of approx 1.5 a week this year.  If you’d like to hear from the reporters themselves (most working in countries not very press friendly) on the various issues they face and their take on freedom of the press and what hampers it or endangers it, check out UNESCOs videos for WPF Day 2013.

You can read more about the individuals that died and learn more about the issues journalists face and the countries of most danger for journalists at the International News Safety Institute. But here is just the past April’s list

Women reporting war face a whole other set of safety issues, which you can read more about here. AND if you’d like to read a great book on women journalists on the frontlines WHILE supporting INSI’s safety work on behalf of women reporters, pick up a copy of

No Woman’s Land: On the Frontlines with Female Reporters


A final poem for National Poetry Month

Towser is waiting.

Towser is waiting.

Cruise De Luxe

Though bliss it be to grandly roam
In foreign land or sea,
The joy of joys is coming home
To domesticity.
And with content to settle down
From travel wear and tear,
With slippers, pipe and dressing-gown
In snug armchair.

When you have climbed the Pyramid,
Admired the Taj Mahal,
Beheld a bull-fight in Madrid,
Gondoled the Grand Canal,
How gleeful seems the garden patch
With blooms of bonny hue!
How Towser, when you lift the latch,
Leaps up to you.

You’ve drunk gin-slings in Singapore,
Loafed in the souks of Fez,
Sun-bathed on Capri’s silver shore.
And scaled the heights of Eze.
For travel education is,
And how you see and learn,
But, oh! the climax of your bliss
In your return!

Aye, though you comb the blasted earth
And roam the seven seas,
But when beside the quiet hearth
You cull your memories,
Then when the books and friends you love,
You’ll find in peace and rest
The end of travel is to prove
That home is best.

–Robert W Service

Published in: on April 29, 2013 at 3:45 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

Use isn’t really free. And users aren’t really free.facebook-addict

In case you haven’t heard, Amazon purchased San Francisco-based Goodreads last week for  an undisclosed amount. Twitter and Facebook accounts continue to fill up with outraged comments from booklovers, who are joining best-selling writers and the Authors Guild in condemning the takeover.

But we tend to agree with Steve Almond, of Congnoscenti:

. . . .Big corporations find ways to monetize our aesthetic preferences, and our compulsive need to share these preferences on-line. If people don’t like this, they can (and should) opt out of Goodreads.

What we find a bit strange all the blame is going on Amazon. People seem clueless that Goodreads, just like Amazon, was created to make money for its owner.

Goodreads was simply Facebook for booklovers — a social media site designed with the ultimate goal of becoming so large that a huge corporation would want to buy the owner out for a huge sum.

So before people go off on Amazon, they need to at least consider the role Goodreads played in all of this. And too, they need to consider their own role in this because the users of Goodreads are really the ones to blame.

Mergers and acquisitions are all about making a company more competitive. Remember the recent launch of Bookish — the “reader recommendation site” owned by  multiple large publishing houses?  Amazon’s purchase of Goodreads was simply to compete against the major publishers’ site Bookish.

Apparently the thinking among book retailers is that the biggest company with the best social media control wins. And they’re right. If large companies can influence and control buyers through the social media they own (which users feel they must belong to), they’re in a very solid position.

But this business model only works because people are addicted to “free” social media.  Ask yourself this, “If Goodreads had asked readers to pay to use the site, would it still exist as an independent entity?” The answer is probably not, because social media users tend to believe everything should be free — to the point of violating laws.

But things aren’t free and someone has to actually foot the bill to keep servers/sites running. Most of the time this is where big corporations come in. They buy social media and then use that social media to get these users to buy their products, a part of which purchase price goes back into keeping the “free” site free.

Big corporations are happy because they make money . Social media users are happy because their social media site continues to be free. The more savvy tend to get this. They understand how it works. The less savvy tend to be outraged.

At the core of every Social Media Site – Retail Corporation merger are users. And there’s a reason they’re called “users” and not customers, patrons, clients, etc If people really wanted a site to be “free” and really wanted to stop large companies from taking over their free social media site, they need only be willing to pay their favorite site, as a subscriber.

The answer is simple.

Published in: on April 5, 2013 at 10:09 AM  Leave a Comment  
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What are you doing here?



It was a tight race, but Gina got the dyed egg in a spoon across the office and back ahead of Oswaldo.

JS wasn’t actually third. He was on that box because he saw a spider in his cubicle and wouldn’t get down till one of the ladies dispatched it. He grabbed the medal for spider-protective purposes only.

Now, down from those boxes, peeps, and head on home!

Off you go, too, readers!

Enjoy your Passover or Easter!

Published in: on March 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop wins Diagram Prize


Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop has been named as the winner of Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year — despite the fact it’s goblin-proofing, with a hyphen.

The title won 38% of the public vote, fighting off  its nearest warm fuzzy fellow contender (31%)


and some rather flaccid competition (14%) from  . . . .


Horace Bent, The Bookseller‘s diarist and custodian of the prize, said:

“In Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop the public have chosen a hugely important work regarding the best way to protect one’s fowl from the fairy realm’s most bothersome creatures. Everyone knows well the hazards cats, dogs and foxes hold for owners of chickens, not to mention red mite, but the public has recognised the need to illuminate this hitherto under-reported nuisance.”

Bent added:

“It is perhaps no coincidence in these austere times that a book aimed to assist members of the public frugally farming their own produce proved the most popular title on our six-strong shortlist. It also illustrates that the public at large is afflicted by an incredible amount of paranoia regarding the threat foreign invaders pose to their property.”

The book, published by Conari Press, was written by Reginald Bakeley, with a foreword by its US editor Clint Marsh.

Marsh said:

“On behalf of Reginald Bakeley and Conari Press, I am honoured to accept this award. The Diagram Prize celebrates the playfulness that is at the heart of much of the world’s best book publishing. Thank you to everyone who voted and allowed Goblinproofing to join the distinguished list of Diagram winners. Reginald and I take this as a clear sign that people have had enough of goblins in their chicken coops. Our campaign against the fairy kingdom continues.”

More than 1,000 people voted for the winner on The Bookseller‘s sister consumer site,

The Diagram Prize (a British award) celebrates its 35th year in 2013, after first being founded as a way to avoid boredom at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair (a German event). Bruce Robinson, the founder of the Diagram Group, a publishing solutions firm, established the first prize in 1978, with the crown going to Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.

Although the winner receives no prize attention, the nominator of the title, Deep Books’ marketing manager Alan Ritchie, will receive a bottle of wine.

Previous winners of the title have included Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers, Highlights in the History of Concrete, Bombproof Your Horse and Cooking with Poo.

Philip Stone, The Bookseller charts editor and Diagram Prize administrator, said:

“People might think the Diagram Prize is just a bit of fun, but it spotlights an undervalued art that can make or break a work of literature. Books such as A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time all owe a sizeable part of their huge successes to their odd monikers.”

He added:

“The kind of niche, off-beat publications that often appear on the Diagram Prize shortlist might not make their writers or publishers rich beyond their wildest dreams, but the fact writers still passionately write such works and publishers are still willing to invest in them is a marvellous thing that deserves to be celebrated.”

The full shortlist and their share of the vote:

1) Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley (Conari Press) 38%

2) How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior (Murdoch Books) 31%

3) God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis by Tom Hickman (Square
Peg) 14%

4) How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees (Melville House) 13% (Reviewed by both The NY Times and The New Yorker, probably because he’s so cute! *Really, Gina? Is appropriate?* It’s true. Just look at him.)


5) Was Hitler Ill? by Hans-Joachim Neumann and Henrik Eberle (Polity Press)

6) Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts by Jerry Gagne (Foy’s Pet Supplies)

Published in: on March 22, 2013 at 10:59 AM  Leave a Comment