Spotted: The Ruins of California

California has had it pretty rough over the past few years.  Our budget is in shambles to the extent that we will be shutting down a number of state parks, laying off thousands of teachers, and taking away state employees’ guns cell phones.  Our ex-governor’s latest paternity-related issues are pretty much the least of our collective worries.   So when I saw the title of this book, I assumed it was some nonfiction work prognosticating the inevitable downfall of our state. 

Not so!  Turns out it is a work of fiction (take that Tejas!) about a family (the Ruins, of course) and the coming of age of a daughter with divorced parents in the 1970s: one parent living in Los Angeles and the other in San Francisco.  Can’t get much more California than that!

Spotted: Making It All Work

When I first spotted this title, I just assumed it was the autobiography of Tim Gunn.  But no, that would be silly.  From this girl’s amazing ability to match not only colors, but also patterns and textures, she already knows how to make it work like that.   20110518-092416.jpg

No, this “Making It All Work”  it appears to be a businessy self-improvement book in the same vein as “Who Moved My Low Hanging Fruit From My Thirty-Thousand Foot View and Other Habits of Highly Effective People.”  As you can probably tell, I am somewhat skeptical of such books.  As Nassim Taleb wrote, a book like “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is really just bad statistics, and I’m not sure really does anything other than create a scalable source of income for the author.   

But, I’m not the best at time management  prioritization knowing what the hell I’m doing myself, so maybe some other reviews (mostly by people who have read his other books apparently) would be more helpful.  Do these kind of books help you, good readers?

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Updated: Holy moly, Tim Gunn does have a self-helpy book of his own with a similar title: “Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making it Work

Spotted: Life

by Rolling Stones zombie skeleton pirate string plucker, Keith Richards.  This has got to be an interesting read, given this man’s personification of  all things your parents and holy book warned you about.  Though by “life” he probably means something the rest of us might imagine would compel the use of a Hazmat team and some IV antibiotics,  the book has received nice reviews, not least because it chronicles an “era when rock’n’roll came of age,” and is “a raw report from deep inside the counterculture maelstrom of how that music swept like a tsunami over Britain and the United States.” (NYT).

It’s actually now available in paperback as I just physically verified at The Book Passage.

Spotted: Moonglass

So usually when I say “spotted,” I am using it as shorthand to indicate that either I, or a percipient witness, has observed a certain title on a given mode of transportation within our beautiful 7×7.  I’m going to gently tug at the borders of my usage of the term for today, to include something a little different.

An old (as in ancienne, not vieille) school mate  has accomplished what many of us have only dreamed.  She has managed to become an actual writer.  Not someone who writes for their job or merely a cathartic hobby.  Nope.  She’s the real deal now folks.

And her debut novel is getting quite the buzz.  Falling in the YA genre (“Young Adult,” for the uninitiated like myself.  Although my first guess of “Young and Angsty” wasn’t far off), Moonglass has seemed to tickle the critics and resonate with readers throughout the blogosphere.

So although her book has been reviewed and discussed on far more influential blogs, I feel I would be a bad old (as in old) friend, if I didn’t give her a plug to call her own.  With a seemingly real and refreshing storyline about a young woman growing up after her mother’s death, I’ll be picking it up soon.  And so should you.

You can buy it at Green Apple Books, and find out more about the author on her blog.

Congrats Jessi!