Today call me obsessed.

Today call me obsessed, although that sounds perhaps more provocative than this post warrants.

Still, to find out about my current (perpetual) obsession, you’ll have to watch my first-ever attempt at a Vlog.

My apologies in advance for the total awkwardness. I’m not used to being on cameras. Of any kind.

But…well…you’ll see.

(Cue the furrowed brow and strange neck stretches.)

Sorry if that was hard to watch.

I promise I’ll get better.


Or not.

Either way, tell me what books you’re obsessed with (or maybe just want to make out with a little) and also how you feel about Nook vs. Kindle vs. print!

86 thoughts on “Today call me obsessed.

  1. Julie

    Next time, I’ll be less Alistair Cooke and more…ummm….Lady Gaga?

    Music, subtitles, voice-overs, the works.

    Or not.

    But seriously. This is scarier than it looks!

  2. My favorite book is Blindness by Jose Saramago. It was recently made into a film, which I refused to see. There’s no way it could do the book justice.

    We have an iPad, which is great for reading books. I especially like that it syncs with my phone, so if I’m out I can continue to read (should the opportunity arise) and it’s on the same page I left the iPad on. However, I’m a beach/bathtub reader so I still like real books. I wouldn’t ever take the iPad to those places!

    Great job with VLOG, I’m afraid of it. I’ve heard myself on voice mail, it’s not pretty.

  3. —-Julie,
    I looooooooooooooved your first Vlog Talk. You were superb!
    Your book choices fabulous. And you were so Cool and Calm.
    In fact, I shall do my first Vlog with my favorite books, too!
    Love Poisonwood Bible. This is in my top 10.
    A Thousand Splendid Suns set me on Fire!
    –Some of favorites are: The Jounals of Sylvia Plath, Evening, The Hours, I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings, Stones From the River & East of Eden.
    thanks for inspiring me xxx

  4. Yeah for trying things that scare you! I thought you did very well talking before the camera. It must the teacher experience.

    I have not changed from my 13 year old self regarding books (when you so erroneously assumed no favorite book listed meant I didn’t read). I still cannot fill in the blank or even guess, because I just love to read.

    Not that I’ve had time for it lately.

    I did manage to buy a few books at the half-price bookstore a week ago by Kristin & PC Cast (The House of Night YA series). They were out of the The Hunger Games.

    Which reminds me, I haven’t used in my library in forever because I forgot my password to log on and reserve books (my 21 month old has yet to learn the library “quiet voice”).

    I’ll move that to my “to do” list.

    I cannot answer which e-platform to go too, as I have not made the jump yet. I have two friends who are voracious readers and one has the Nook (and loves it, because can read free when in Barnes ‘n Noble) and the other has a Kindle. My mother (also a voracious reader) has the third option: the Sony e-reader and also loves it.

    My biggest recommendation is don’t go for the backlit screen (like the newer Nook, which is more versatile overall) but the paper-like screens. They are easier on the eyes and the batter lasts longer. Unless you do most of your reading in the dark. 🙂

    I’ll put some of the authors you chose on my very long list. Sadly, I have had to sacrifice much reading time (other than blogs) over writing time.

  5. Julie

    Bridget/Twinisms – Thanks for the recommendation, and I agree; I rarely see films that do the book justice. When you LOVE LOVE LOVE the original, it’s hard to see a movie translation. I will definitely check out “Blindness” – always looking for new great reads…

    Kim – I was so nervous. Even after teaching rooms full of seniors in high school (could there be a more judgmental audience?) staring into that camera made me feel like Cindy Brady at the game show (anyone out there old enough to remember THAT show?) Thanks for the recommendations. LOVE the books you mentioned, too.

  6. Julie

    Kelly –

    I know the pain of trying to narrow down favorite books. Because I’m an English teacher, people ask me all the time (well…I do talk about other things besides books, but you get my point).

    I love so many books I could never pick my absolute favorites – more like “what I’ve loved recently.” or “what I’ve read more than once.”

    For the VlogTalk I went with what I had lying around/easy access. Then afterward I thought of about 100 other books I wanted to give a shout-out too.

    How about a three hour VlogTalk??? I’m sure people would flock.
    (for a good long nap.)

    Thanks for bearing with my first attempt at this and for your freaky love of books like mine!

  7. Love the Vlog! Nice to hear you. You’re cute. And brave. And…literary? I’ve read/loved most of those books you spotlighted, which only further cements the need for our cross-country book club/red wine drinkers club.

    One of my favorite books of the non-classic literature variety is Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pals by Christopher Moore. He’s hysterical. Somehow, I ended up with two copies, probably because once upon a time I wanted to read it (again) and loaned it out and panicked and bought another one. Not probably. Definitely.

    I have a Kindle. I received it as a gift, and freaked out because I soooo didn’t want one and this person spent a fortune on it, but the first time I used it (months after eyeballing it suspiciously) I caught myself licking my finger to turn the page. I still take weekly trips to the library, but Amazon has a lot of free ebooks that I download whenever I’m lacking.

    So there you go, Lady Gaga.

  8. Girl, you made this look EASY!
    I love David Sedaris. Loved Naked and his Engulfed in Flames is sitting on my dresser, waiting to be read.
    And I’m going have to go with the old school book. I’ve got books on my iPad and haven’t made it past the first 2 pages. I read enough online with blogs that I just don’t want that my special reading time to be online as well.
    And I’m pretty sure the secret language of women would have to do with cute shoes and wine. And maybe boobies.

  9. Julie

    JButt –

    I have Lamb ON MY NIGHTSTAND! Love that book so. much.

    You’re one of the few people I’ve heard mention it (and I can’t remember who recommended it to me in the first place).

    I swear I could have talked for hours about books. (isn’t it amazing I had any dates in high school? ha!)

    Brainy, bookish girls who like wine RULE!


  10. Julie

    Mad Woman –

    If you’re right, then I have TOTALLY been speaking the secret language of women for a while now.

    Well. Except for the cute shoes. I really need to work on that.

    I’m a flip flops/running shoes kind of lady.

    (although that may sound more like a gentleman. but I do have boobies so there’s that!)

    Thanks for inspiring me to do the VlogTalk. It really was you! (and sam. so so cute.)


  11. There is no reason why flip flops can’t mean cute shoes. Some of my cutest shoes are flip flops. Also: typing this while wearing my running shoes and sweaty pony tail.
    Oh, either Sam didn’t like your voice or he’s hungry. He fussed the entire time your vlog played. Okay, so maybe he’s hungry and wants to talk boobies.
    And I really only did my vlog so I could share your comment about Wii bowling. So right back at ya!

  12. Julie, you were fabulous! A total natural in front of the camera, you made that look easy.

    Your book choices are fabulous – I love the variety. I also love David Sedaris books, glad to see that in your random mix!

  13. Julie

    Alison –

    Thanks, lady! I could have done an entire Vlog on the non-fiction books I love (Sedaris tops the list) so I’m glad you like him, too.

    As for being a natural, HA! I was shaking on the inside…
    (and twitching a bit on the outside. WHAT was I doing with my hands?)

    Next time I’ll be smooth. For sure. 😉

  14. You did a great job, Julie! Especially when you picked on Ophrah. That takes guts, you know.

    Actually, some of my favorite books have been Ophra’s Book Club selections, but it’s been accidental. I swear it. *shifty eyes*

    As a YA writer and reviewer, I primarily read YA now. Go me. But I have memories of the olden days of adult books (not the sexy kind, mostly). But my memory of titles has gone muddy. There was a book by Joyce Carol Oates I LOVED called…hm, I forget. But it was about a high school girl who gets raped and the aftermath. I also really loved BEL CANTO (possibly an Oprah book. Gulp.) and THE BLUEST EYE, which I first read in college. Salman Rushdie is a genius–and unlike every other Salman Rushdie reader who chooses his most well known books, I really loved SHAME. I also really loved Anita Shreve and Elizabeth Berg–up until two or three years ago, I had read everything they wrote.

    Okay, YA…anything by John Green. He’s also got one coming out in about nine months, title of which I don’t know yet, but I heard him read a chapter out of it, and I was hooked. It’s about a really witty girl with cancer. Keep an eye out for it. Also, Ruta Sepetys’ BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY. A must read. And THE BOOK THIEF, you English teacher you. And for something with a little more action and newer, DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth.

    Phew! I’m out of steam. Also, vlog again. That was awesome!

  15. Julie

    Carol –

    I was thinking about you when I was QUICKLY throwing titles and author names out there to get in under the 4-minute time limit for this topic.

    Your reviews are always fabulous and instead, I was just spewing words (I LIKE BOOKS HOORAY!).

    So I definitely will try more of a Book Review-type vlog in the future. Perhaps I’ll actually discuss a book and not its inclusion/non-inclusion in the Oprah’s Book Club selections…

    Your reviews? Rule. Go YA!

  16. You are adorable and a natural vlogger! Loved it.

    You and I could swap books – we have very similar tastes & every book you talked about today has been on my bedside table at one time! Like you, I’m an obsessive reader with writing aspirations. I get both inspired and stymied when I read amazing work. David Sedaris makes me cry with laughter. To be able to do that… I can only dream.

    Picking my favorite book is tough… Some that have stayed with me, many for years after reading, are A Fine Balance, The Life of Pi, Into Thin Air. I am stopping myself there – could go on and on.

    Congrats on your vlog! 🙂

  17. Julie

    Missy –

    Oh THANK YOU! For both the stamp of approval and for the book suggestions.

    I loved Into Thin Air (I’m fascinated and terrified of Mt. Everest!) but I haven’t read Life of Pi or A Fine Balance so I’ll have to look into those (library, anyone?).

    It’s amazing that no matter how much reading we do, there are still SO MANY BOOKS out there to discover.

    And so much laughing-til-you-cry to be done…

  18. Michelle Langer

    Hi Julie… are great!….I loved your vlog, you make me smile no matter what you do!!!….My favorite book? Sarahs key (can’t remember the author at the moment)…A great read!!…xoxo

  19. Christy

    Why don’t you just pretend you are in front of your students? Easy!
    I, as you know, love Gatsby. Can’t live without it. If I could, I would live in that novel. I’m in love with Nick, but would probably have an affair with Gatsby (could I make him forget Daisy?) and Fitzgerald (Zelda who? Pour me a scotch!)
    But because of my students, I have formed a love for YA. I love Realm of Possibilities and 13 Reasons Why…The Body of Christopher Creed…all total fluff, but I love fluff! I’m reinstituting SSR next fall in hopes of creating more book lovers.

  20. I’m obsessed with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and currently working my way through 1500 small-type pages of The Fiery Cross, which is by far her most boring one of the series to date. But I’m committed to finishing it for the greater good! (The greater good would be the entire series.) I’ve literally been reading it since two Christmases ago. I read a little and then abandon it for a while. But it always sucks me back in. I’m a little bit in love with the character of Jamie Fraser and the sex scenes are Omigod-good. 🙂

    And although my mom swears by her new Kindle, I think I’ll always be a paperback girl. Although I did once swear I’d never join Twitter…

  21. Christy

    OH, and in regards to ebooks…LOVE them. It has made me read more because there is NOTHING easier than going on to, browsing the books, hitting “buy” and BOOM…it’s on my Kindle. It takes WAY too much energy and time (neither of which I have) to GO to a bookstore or library. I’ll stop randomly capitalizing now. Seriously, it has made me read a lot more than I normally would.

  22. Julie

    Michelle – First of all, HI STRANGER! I miss you and we have to get together soon. And also, I LOVE Sarah’s Key. Oh so sad and beautiful. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, my friend xxoo

    Christy – You and I could be Jordan and Daisy on lounge chairs…bring me a cold drink (scotch? really??) and I’ll tilt my chin. Just so. We really need to meet up one of these days and talk books. (I miss that part of teaching the most…)

    Kristin – OOOOHHH yay! A good, new suggestion – that’s a SERIES, no less. I will look into it immediately. And yes, I think I will always be a reader of old-school-books myself. Me, the beach, a cold drink and a book? Doesn’t get better than that. AND sand isn’t an issue. Much.

  23. Oh Julie, you are so fabulous.

    And smart.

    And did i mention fabulous?

    You rocked this sweet friend!


  24. Julie,

    I love your vlog! I’m gonna have to vlog for my class blog 🙂

    One of my favorite books is “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. I’m not one for apocalyptic stories, but Cormac’s amazing, sparse writing style makes it work. The relationship between the father and son was so touching and sweet. It’s an Oprah book, but it’s damn good. (And I shouldn’t bash Oprah because once she started her “bookclub” stuff, library circulation jumped dramatically.)

    Right now I’m reading “Half Broke Horses” by Jeannette Walls, the author of “The Glass Castle.” Very enjoyable, fun, summer read about Jeannette’s grandmother Lily. Lily is a horse riding, tough, depression era free spirit.

    As far as the Kindle/ Nook question- I have a Kindle and it just doesn’t thrill me. I love the tactile feeling of books. When I read one on the Kindle I miss the satisfaction of seeing where my bookmark is in relation to the spine of the book.


  25. Jessica Lundquist Tessler

    Claudia has told me that you and I share some traits (most notably that if something can be spilled, dropped, or broken, I will find a way to make that happen – which I hear is a gift you also possess), but it turns out that we have another thing in common – bibliophilia. I will admit, when the idea of downloading books in electronic format came about, I was strongly opposed. It just seemed so wrong. When my husband brought me home a Kindle, I left it sitting unopened for months. However, I now regard my Kindle as a necessary object (along with my iTouch) and here are the reasons why:

    1. I am lazy. The Kindle Store is extremely convenient.

    2. When I finish one book in a series and NEED to move to the next one right away, I can do that, even if it’s 1am.

    3. Grad school has required me to spend many many hours reading research rather than fiction (lame) and for a while, I couldn’t fit leisure reading into my schedule. Then I realized you could make the typeface larger on the Kindle, so large in fact that I could read while running on the treadmill and – poof! – leisure reading was back.

    So, there’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth. 🙂

  26. Julie

    Galit – YOU are so supportive and wonderful. I don’t think I’ve sufficiently expressed how glad I am to have met you. Truly. So very glad.

    Sue – Hooray for my (tactile) librarian friend! You know I love The Road. OH MY how I love it. I also adore Jeannette Walls (and need more non-fiction on my shelves) so I’ll look into Half Broke Horses ASAP. Cheers to real books. They cannot be replaced (even by a media specialst 😉

    Jessica – So clearly we MUST be reunited. Again. Soon. To share our may strengths and weaknesses. And spill stuff on each other. Thanks for the Kindle feedback. As I stumble through my 40’s, I can probably make use of the large typeface. And denial…

  27. Great job on your vlog!!! Loved seeing you.

    You read so many books. I wish I could just get one book finished. I love reading but it’s hard to find time lately.

    I say stick with old fashioned books.

    Thanks for joining us for VlogTalk!

  28. Julie

    Jessica –

    I LOVED it (oh yeah and I was so scared but really loved it too) and will definitely be doing it again ~

    Thanks for starting the ball rolling because I’m so very slow to try anything new.

    As for reading, FIRST I’m a teacher and SECOND my kids are way older which means I’M way older so don’t worry…

    Your turn will come – 😉

  29. OMG! OMG! OMG! We are the same person! I was all, “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” over all your choices. And I actually said out loud, “A Prayer for Owen Meany” as you said it. Who loves her some John Irving? This girl.

    And I often say I am going to build an altar to David Sedaris and offer up sacrifices, if that’s what it will take to write like that man. I love him so.

    My favorite book is one by Joan Didion. The Year of Magical Thinking. It’s such a raw, powerful tale of love, loss and grief at its utmost and I found myself stripped bare, all emotion, by her writing.

    And then, of course, all of the above and more.

    Also, too? Come on over to my house to learn the secret language of females. It’s talk, talk, talk 24/7. You’ll learn a lot.

    And one more thing. You, my dear, are beautiful.

  30. CDG

    Today I call you ADORABLE.
    Paper books forever.

    Except I love my Kindle. And _The Eight_ by Katherine Neville and everything in your book pile. And tons of way trashier stuff, too 😉 Mmm… books.

  31. Julie

    Joann – Oh, how I love The Year of Magical Thinking…I never want to be in that position. No one ever does. And yet. Just breathtaking. The book. Her. You. Thank you for your kind, supportive words – and for being so damn much fun. p.s. I will be at your house next week. We shall talk of secret languages. And Bono.

    CDG – I knew you’d be a paper book girl. I am too, obviously.
    And also trashy. (when it comes to novels.) BELIEVE me. Yum.

  32. liz

    I love that you vlogged! And I loved that you kept telling us to ssh and keep your secrets.

    I’d totally keep a Julie C secret!

  33. Renee Schuls-Jacobson


    I just leapt into my first Vlog myself, and Monkey helped me make an Outro. With music. Whaaat? How does he know how to do all that?

    You were fabulous and didn’t do nearly as much uhmmming as I did. I hope I don’t do that in real life. That would suck, and I would hate to be in my class. Also, now I have more empathy for all of Tyra’s wanna-be Top Models. Talking to a camera is weird.

    I love all your book choices! But my favorite classic is LORD OF THE FLIES. I find a way to mention it every single day. Right now I’m reading THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. Too early to say much.

    I did a whole blog on book vs. Nook vs. Kindle. Currently, I still prefer the library — but if I had to make the leap, I’d go Kindle. I tried the Nook. Meh. And supposedly people are going to be able to get library selections on Kindle soon.

    Intrerested in this whole Vlog thing. You’ll have to tell me more about it.

  34. First, so glad you linked up with us. I love now getting to see you. You have some great suggestions – I’ll have to look into some of them. Hmmm….my favorite book – I really liked The Glass Castle and Molokai. I read both of those for my book club. I should note here though that I’m a terrible reader. I actually started a book club 5 years ago and I’ve only read 3 of the books – 2 of which I mentioned – so maybe you shouldn’t trust me. 😉 I always have good intentions with my book pile, I just never get through them. As far as a reader – why not an iPad? Then you can do a lot more with it. That’s my advice.

  35. Julie – I am SO impressed! And I love that it feels like we had a little one-way Skype conversation! My only recommendation is that you have a glass of wine with you next time 😉

    Book suggestions were awesome and I will be checking a couple of them out (at my LIBRARY…in HARDCOVER…). I, too, love David Sedaris. Fun fun fun – do it again!


  36. I watched this with my baby. I said, “Luke, let’s watch our sweet friend Julie.” Loved every second of your vlog — almost as much as I loved every second of the Poisonwood Bible, but less seconds of enjoyment for your vlog. But more enjoyment per second than the book.

    I was the kid who sat inside all summer reading until my eyes crossed. Really.

  37. This was a great vlog! Good job. I am going to look for some of those books at my library.

    I am also trying to decide on an e reader. I think I will definitely get one, just have to decide on one. Only in Canada we have another choice so now I have to choose between 3!

  38. Julie

    Liz – We SO have to meet In Real Life. I have really good secrets…some are even non-book related.

    Renee – Yes LOTF (as we called it at my high school) ROCKS! And I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain but I’m a shameless sucker for my dogs. I adore them and am completely unable to discipline them or do anything but tell them how marvelous they are all the time. So. (and I’m not kidding. really.) Lady, we must meet. Discuss. And other good stuff.

    Elena – Thank YOU for starting this whole Vlog extravaganza. I really enjoyed it once I got over my awkwardness. (who am I kidding? I felt awkward the whole time. but no one could see me sweat on screen. right?) The Glass Castle is one of my favorites and cheers to starting a book club. Ours is more about drinking wine (shocker) but we do occasionally talk books. And lastly, I hope Santa brings me an iPad. Fingers crossed it fits in my stocking.

    LD – Wine. Yes. I will be keeping a careful eye on future VlogTalk topics for one that regards the grape. OR just go rogue. But I need to hear what books YOU love in a Vlog. Don’t be scared. JUST DO IT. (all the cool kids are. and they let me, too.)

  39. Oh my gosh, it’s you, live and in person!!! Er, no, scratch that, I meant, it’s you, pre-taped and in CA, but still… You were very smooth my dear. Remember I work in advertising so I’ve seen many train wrecks on camera and you are not one of them.

    As for books, well I could go on and on. I’m sure it’s not “literary” enough, but I cannot resist a Neil Gaiman or a Terry Pratchet book. I just recently read I Capture the Castle for the first time. Lovely classic British YA. Have you ever read it? William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was always one of my favorites. That was officially one bizarre bouillabaise of selections. What can I say I’m an odd little creature. I think we know this about me.

    As for the ereader thing. I know I must. (Particularly cause I’m going blind and it seems the easiest way to read while I’m on the machine at the gym.) But I love my books, I love them so. And someday I have this dream of owning a home with a library. And well, suffice it to say if the only thing in that damn library is a freakin’ ereader I will be terribly sad. Based on what I’ve read, if you want to take it outside in the sun (as in on vacation), your best option is the kindle. If you want other options, like 3G so you can access blogs & download pdf’s of work in progress to read (ahem) then an iPad is your best bet. The nook, I don’t know, eh is how I feel about it. So sayeth the Luddite.

    Long live books! Amen. And congrats again on the Vlog bravery. Well done. xo

  40. Karen

    What a cool thing! I loved the Vlog 🙂 Thanks for the book recommendations. I think you have popped my murder/mystery bubble that I’m in.

    As far as a reading device goes, I love my Kindle. I was skeptical in the beginning and constantly trying to flip the page. Took 3 months and several books, but I got the hang of it. And I love how I can sync it to the iPhone.

    Happy Reading … beach in a few weeks?

  41. Okay, so go you! I don’t think I could stand to watch my face on a vlog, but maybe I should get over it, because no one will notice the weird ticks I have…right? I stayed indoors during recess too. I was SO popular, plus there were SO many Nancy Drew books…I had my work cut out for me.

    My favorite book? No idea. Too many. HOWEvER, a book that I read all the time, all the time, over and over just for fun is “My Family and Other Animals” and it’s partner, “Birds Beasts and Relatives’ by Gerald Durrell. I’m not sure they’re in print anymore. I lent them to my friend who is was english major (she lent me poisonwood bible) and she refused to read them completely. She said she couldn’t handle reading about an affluent, colonialist English family. I didn’t think that was totally fair since it was written during a time where politically correct meant something different, and it was a memoir so they’re allowed to be faulty and self absorbed. I find the writing to be hilarious, and the family to be hilarious, but I have a terrible sense of humor. I guess what I’m saying is: even though I’ve read the books a BILLION times, perhaps you shouldn’t trust my advice.

  42. SO many great book suggestions here. I swoon. Then freak out. Because time is dwindling. WHY CAN’T I JUST READ ALL DAY?

    So I loved The Eight as another commenter mentioned. It’s a good romp. Also Memory of Running was amazing as far as I was concerned. Like a literary Forrest Gump. OH! And The Keep. Gothic-y and eerie. Like the Thirteenth Tale (SO GOOD!)

    And did you read Suite Francaise? Also good stuff.

    Also I LOVE Wally Lamb. Especially She’s Come Undone.

    And Wicked was one of my fave books.

    And I could go on and on, but that aforementioned time thing bedevils me.

    Look forward to more vlogs!

  43. I could totally pick up the teacher vibe and felt like I was about to embark on a great class. My Mom always said “Do it afraid” right before she threw me into something horrifying. If you were uncomfortable it didn’t show. You flowed and I followed. Good stuff.

    Sorry I don’t even know what a RSS feed is so it’s safe to assume that I don’t own a Kindle or Nook. I’m still reading old school and breaking back those spines. However, I’ve heard from the cool crowd that Kindle is the way to go.

    I’m a total book geek and would rather read than just about anything else (I’d be under that tree with you). In fact I’m going to go out to the library tomorrow and see if I can find some of the ones you mentioned. But ask me to pick a fave and I experience a cardiac pause. Just thinking about it for this comment gives me hives. I love them all and have too many to list.

    Ok, I’m hyperventilating and itchy. I need to read.

  44. Diane

    Wow! Even though I am 3000 miles away, listening to your vlog made me feel as if I were back in CA. Favorite book …that’s a tough one…The Age of Innocence or The Tortilla Curtain! And PLEASE stay old school! Love you!

  45. I haven’t done vlogtalk myself, but I have to say, I love seeing people as they really are- you did great! No need to be scared. (although I would be terrified.)

    I love The Poisonwood Bible (wasn’t that an Oprah’s Book Club book too?), anything David Sedaris and PREP was awesome.

    As for current books that I love, I have to say that the combo of working, being a mom and writing a blog has put me on permanent reading hiatus. Which is sad, because I really used to love it.

    Maybe I need a reading vacation.

  46. ok you are WAY cute! Let’s hang out.

    I LOVE most of those books too! We have VERY similar taste! John Irving, Middlesex, the poisonwood bible? ALL FAVORITES!

    Recently I read The Red Tent and LOVED it. So that is my book suggestion.

    Also…I am old school too. Can’t bring myself to do Kindle/Nook.

  47. Abby

    Great VLOG! You mentioned a couple that I might even upload to my NOOK(since you asked), but I use it sparingly. It’s nice to have on me when I’m waiting in the parking lot to pick up Macy from school or when I have to wait for her while she’s at dance class, etc. Like you, at my core, I’m a “real book” book girl–love the smell of a freshly opened cover!

    My faves? Of all time–To Kill a Mockingbird. Hands down.
    Others–The Help, Little Bee, and The Art of Racing in the Rain.

    Just read Running on Empty by Marshall Ulrich. You’re a runner, so it’s a must read. Go on amazon to read the synopsis and if you’re interested, let me know. I’ll send you my copy. The guy is an OX! He’d have to be a little crazy, too, to do what he’s done. just woke up…gotta cut this short.

  48. Okay, I’m totally going to buy that Dave Sedaris book. You said it was funny and I like funny. I also loved A Thousand Splendid Suns. I am also totally going to buy King River (did I get that right?). I loved The Help and if you say it is better, I’m getting it! YOu are so funny, BTW! I loved your vlog. I may need to try this one day. It was fun to watch!

  49. Julie

    Kelley -Yay – you need to try a Vlog – you, my friend, would be hysterical. Next time, when I’m less nervous, I may actually be funny ;-)David Sedaris is hilarious – all of his books are great but When You Are Engulfed in Flames and Me Talk Pretty One Day are my favorites.
    The other one was CANE River – by Lalita Tademy. I did like it better than the Help but it’s a little different (obviously!).

    Abby -So glad you saw this! I was really nervous so hopefully next time I can be more “myself” – I LOVED all of the books you mentioned; the only one I haven’t read is Running on Empty – I’m a little afraid it will make me want to run Ultras, but I’m willing to take the risk! Cheers to “real book” lovers and the smell of a freshly-opened cover. I like to fold the pages, crack the spine, stick notes in.I know. Hopeless English teacher…Now go. Hug your babies for me!

    Katie – The Red Tent is one of my FAVORITE books – I didn’t have it in my stack for the vlog (I read a copy borrowed from a friend – another benefit to paper books, right?) but I loved the female perspective from the biblical time period (no pun intended…)And oh thank GOD we don’t have to go into isolation tents for the cycle anymore!You and I? Will for sure hang out someday. I’m sure we’ve got stories to share of our own…

    Ilana – You’re the only one who seems to have read PREP – I loved it (once I got over all the girls with boy names!) and I think Poisonwood Bible WAS Oprah, too – but I read it before then so it totally doesn’t count. Still cool, right? I don’t know how you daily bloggers (especially with small children) would EVER find time to read. I had about a decade there where all my eyes went across were novels for my English classes and the papers my students wrote.
    But it got better. My kids got older and I quit my job.
    You should try that.(except then YOU get older and you have no money.) DANG it.

  50. Julie

    Stephanie – I think I’m fighting a losing battle by avoiding the e-reader…I try to be old-school and then end up loving whatever technology I finally attempt (email, texting, Twitter, blogging…)
    In any case, good luck with your decision and let me know what you try. I keep hearing Kindle Kindle Kindle.(but I’m stuck on Library Library Library.)

    Oh Amanda – You just made my day. With your adorable comment and your description of yourself inside cross-eyed all summer.(I was pasty-white, cross-eyed and air-conditioned with a book all summer, too!)Mostly I loved the image of you sitting watching the Vlog with sweet little Luke on your lap. OH my. Too precious.

    Joann – You, my friend, are TOO FUNNY! I love your suggestions and can definitely appreciate a novel for the context/time period in which it’s situated and not be offended. Plus I’m fatally self-absorbed myself, so that’s a win win – ha! And yes, in case you were wondering, I read every single Nancy Drew book twice and then had to move on to Trixie Belden mysteries. (you may be too young/cool for her, but I was NOT. at all.) And still, we found men to love us. Mysteries abound. Surely we need to meet someday and let our children run loose while we talk of novels and T.S. Eliot and other non-literary subjects…

    Deb – I’m excited for your suggestions that I haven’t read (The Eight, Memory of Running, The Keep and Thirteenth Tale). Since I LOVE LOVE LOVE Suite Francaise and Wally Lamb’s novels, I can take your word for it, I’m sure :-)I didn’t read Wicked but I saw the play. Would I still enjoy the novel? I know movies/plays/books – all different. But now that I know the story line I wonder…In any case, thank you so much for watching, commenting, and leaving recommendations ~

  51. So much to say. First, I’m sorry that my comment is coming late, but video is blocked at work, and this week is completely crazy and this is, honestly, the first that I’ve been at “my” (and not “my company’s”) computer.

    As if I could love you more. Middlesex & David Sedaris? Damn.

    Kindle or Nook? My wife has the Kindle . . . but I’m not sure if there’s a huge preference there, aside from “first” and “super easy to turn pages when rocking a baby to sleep.” I’ve been doing Audible (audiobooks – see previous comment about crazy schedule . . . audiobooks are great when working out and/or spending crazy amounts of time in the car).

    My absolute favorite book, as of right now, is Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys.

    And your voice isn’t quite what I pictured . . . I really had a “snarky valley girl” voice going for you in my head . . . but I actually prefer this one.

    I guess I don’t have any choice but to vlog now, do I?

  52. Julie

    John –

    I had to tame the snark during my 16 years of teaching high school or I’d never be taken seriously. (born with a sarcastic tongue. blessing and curse.)

    Still, I can bring it when I have to.

    I’ve been interested in Neil Gaiman – so I must pick it up now, obviously.

    And yes. You have no choice but to vlog.

    I’m pretty sure it’s the law.

  53. Julie,
    1st I’m freaking out!

    I was introduced to your writing a while back by Debbie Lopez (who I know from YB) and I read a few of your blogs and thought your were great and then selfishly went on with my busy life as I tend to do.

    Then today out of the blue I was seriously just talking about you & your blog & how wildly funny you are with another YB mom.

    Then, later today I found you somehow on Twitter (probably with a “similiar too…” from someone else I followed) and followed you -without realizing it was you (thanks so much for following me back!)

    and THEN I was reading your comments and comment #3 is from my dear blogging skirt buddy Kim Sisto Robinson. WOW! Not to sound cliche – but small world right? (And also a bit Kismet I do believe!)

    Anyway – I’m still totally old school. I love the feel and smell of books (and as I’m sure like you, as an aspiring writer, I really, really, really want to see my name IN PRINT one day on the cover of a book). Plus I’m poor and also love the library.

    Books I’ve loved – I loved “The Book Thief” so much. LOVED IT! Also, yes “A Thousand Splendid Suns” – even more than “The Kite Runner” (which I also loved). “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer was fantastic. “She’s Come Undone” by Wally Lamb, “White Oleander” by Janet Fitch, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin (had serious withdrawls when I finished), “The Lady and the Unicorn” and “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” by Tracy Chevalier, “The Girls” by Lori Lansens, “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, “Memiors of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden, “Black and Blue” by Anna Quindlen are also some of my favorites.

    Great Vlog BTW! So glad the whatever forces brought me back to your blog (and vlog) today!

  54. You’re so cute! I’m so glad you said you’re an English teacher. It totally explains your poise and knowledge about all sorts of wonderful books. Some of those are on my list, some of them I’ve never heard of so you definitely inspired me today! I’m so shy of the whole Vlog talk…but maybe I’ll work up the courage one of these days. Maybe. Oh, and, as a fellow English major I have to say that I think paper books are just the best. I want to be able to grab a pen and circle something important, to leave a tear on a page that was incredibly moving, to be able to feel it, smell it, hold it…everything! Plus, I don’t want to just go into a kindle or nook store. I want to go into a yummy bookstore full of the smell of paper. There. That’s my opinion.

  55. You are sooooo brave to do a Vlogwhateveritscalled! And not bad either, for a first timer…so consider it a success!!

    Favorite books….hmmm….I’ll skip that and go straight to kindle or nook…I have a hard time seeing myself using either one because I love books so much. I love to turn the corners of pages I like, I like to underline words I have to look up, and I like to slam them shut unexpectedly to make my kids and the cat jump.

  56. Julie

    France – Now I kind of want a cat just to make it jump when I slam books! (evil genius? or just evil…you decide. I won’t be offended.)

    Karen – Nothing wrong with a good murder/mystery novel. Believe me I read plenty of fast-paced thriller/romance type fiction. (and I hate a lot of the classics like Moby Dick. shhhh.)

    Beth – I’m SO with you on the “getting itchy” if I have to pick a favorite book…As an English teacher, I got asked all the time. And my typical response was “whatever book I’m reading or just finished” because I love the whole act of reading so much the experience is enjoyable no matter what. That’s why I really didn’t give a lot of thought to what I threw in my stack of books for the Vlog. As it is, after I filmed it, I thought of fifteen other books I would have featured.But then a three-hour vlog would make me even less popular than I was in elementary school – ha!

    Di – I was really bummed that I didn’t have any TC Boyle on hand to throw in my stack – I always borrowed your, the school’s or the libraries copies of his books. Ah well. Thanks for throwing his name in there so he appears in the comments. Hope your trip is still going “swimmingly” (okay. you can groan at that one. loudly.)

  57. I have The Poisonwood Bible but I have not read it yet. I know I need to. I love books. I had to “rehome” some of them before a big move and I pulled out a bottle of red wine as I went through each one and said goodbye to the ones I couldn’t keep. I may have cried a little bit.

    Right now, I’m getting my book fix through iBooks. I have a 15 mo old who destroys board books like it’s his job. I don’t feel safe reading “real” books. There are a ton of free classics & self-published authors, so I’m taking advantage of that.

  58. Julie

    Dana –

    Oh I know the love of a book collection! I had hundreds of my own books collected over the years in shelves at the high school where I taught. The summer I had my son, they remodeled the classrooms and since I had a newborn they did all the packing for me.

    The boxes got lost/destroyed during the construction and I lost all the books I’d been saving for 28 years. Traumatic.

    Luckily, I was in a baby haze and didn’t really have time to process it.

    Now, however, I may need a bottle of red wine! 😉
    Maybe we should share…

  59. Mark

    Stay old school. And the favorite has to be Lord of the Rings.

  60. Julie

    Mark –

    I would never worry about a paperback in Sayulita or Catalina.

    So I think you’re right.

    Yes. I may or may not make my book decisions based on what travels better near sand and ocean.

    Just in case…

  61. Dammit again, Julie Gardner! I left a comment on your other post and had FULLY INTENDED TO GET BACK TO MY OWN WORK!… but couldn’t stop myself from peeking at your vlogtalk thing (and again, intended to watch, like, two seconds of it and GET BACK TO MY OWN WORK!) and of course watched the entire thing. I know, I know, it was less than 4 minutes, but still — I’m procrastinating and you are not helping me in the least with your amateur and utterly compelling, charming video! Perhaps I loved it because I contemplated becoming an English Teacher myself (before an english professor literally talked me out of it. another story for another day….), or because books were also my best friends during my pathetic childhood, or because I still read a million books to this day, and definitely because I have read nearly all the books you mention in this video.

    Looks like we are Kindle spirits. Haha. Worst joke ever. Okay, not quite ever, but… No, I don’t have either Kindle or Nook (just haven’t been able to bring myself to take the e-plunge yet), but occasionally I’ll read something off my husband’s ipad. As for my favorites… the list is ridiculously long. But one of the first adult books I fell in love with when I was around 12 was Pride and Prejudice and became a life-long Austen fan. Such a keen but subtle social eye, told without fuss, and I loved that her heroines were always so smart and proactive. A Thousand Splendid Suns SLAYED me — one of the most harrowing and powerful books I’ve ever read. It broke my heart and had me crying every night.

    Anyway… I am forcing myself to end this comment because I swear I’m gonna get some writing done now. But you are a brave woman. I can’t imagine putting myself on video and putting it out there, which is funny, since my career is in the film business and I’ve done some tv and film directing! But hey — that’s why I’m behind the camera and not in front. It freaks me out. And besides… my husband would have a stroke — he’s the main reason I keep my blog anonymous, so I can’t very well go showing my face, now can I? (It’s a good excuse anyway, though it does happen to be true!) Loved the vlog. Can’t wait for the next one. You are slyly funny and we definitely have the same taste in books!

  62. Well done. I doubt many people noticed the hanging booger.

    My rec is to read the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson, a local author from my neck of the West. The fictitious setting is modeled on a community about 30 miles south of us. Terrific characters, great pacing, humor, wit, action, and mystery from a first person POV. First book is The Cold Dish. Check it out.

  63. nannyk

    So you sound just the slightest bit “scarred for life” that I went out and made friends while you sat inside with your books. Believe me…I wanted to play with YOU. But I couldn’t compete with the OTHER Nancy in your life (Drew, that is). So I had to stand out on the street, begging passersby to fill the void left by my bibliophilic sister. Who’s “scarred for life” now?

    I was happy to see Charlene mention “The Girls”, by Lori Lansens. Oh how I LOVED that book. Two VERY different sisters…one VERY strong bond 🙂

  64. Julie

    Minka –

    “Kindle” spirits is NOT the worst joke ever; stick around here and you’ll see…

    I was really nervous to do the vlog (although now that I think about it, my “REALLY NERVOUS” is probably not as bad as others’ – having had the benefit of 16 years of teaching seniors in high school…can there be a more judgmental audience?)

    Still. Staring at that camera (instead of live faces) was hilarious. And my first attempt at filming was a disaster: I put the camera on the coffee table and was on the couch (to be casual, don’t you know) and my dogs came and wagged and licked and knocked the thing over.

    After that it was difficult to regain composure, but worth it to share my beloved books. These were somewhat randomly chosen since, if I’d really intended to select JUST MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITES I would’ve disappeared into a black hole of literature and never returned…

    How to select the BEST? Impossible. So I grabbed a few and am so glad we have similar tastes. The love of books is so subjective. But Pride and Prejudice? Oh my.

    I marvel at her abilities in that time period, especially when female novelists weren’t taken seriously. AND she had to write it out longhand.

    No spell check. No cut and paste. No ability to stare at a computer screen on which corrections are so easily made.

    Lordy. Go Jane.

    (and you. you are awesome!)

  65. Julie

    Chase – You said that like “hanging boogers” are bad. Having taught for sixteen years, that’s the LEAST of my embarrassing issues…I’m sure you have some classroom stories, too. Most of my WORST moments involve breast milk and other maternal disasters which you could not have navigated. Lucky.(p.s. thanks for the series recommendation. I LOVE a good series because when a great book ends, I’m always wishing there were more.)

    NannyK – Ah yes. We have traumatized each other in many ways, haven’t we? Not the least of which would be book recommendations that make us do the ugly cry. In public (My Sister’s Keeper, anyone?). But The Girls. Sigh. LOVED it. And you. Thanks, sis for getting me out from under that tree.

  66. I loved this vlog and that you were just chatting away – so natural at it!

    And great topic. I heart books big time. Love Snow Flower and the sequel and Prep was great! I met Curtis when I worked in publishing and she was very cool, I must say.

    I honestly have no idea what my favorite book would be – I have soooooo many. Just finishing The Paris Wife right now about Hemingway’s first wife and am really enjoying it. Also almost done with The Crimson Petal and the White – excellent as well, although extremely long.

  67. Julie


    You met Curtis Sittenfeld???!!! I’m such a slobbering fan of authors. I’d rather meet them any day than a movie star.

    (well. maybe I’d meet Mark Wahlberg. but first I’d pick Lisa See. oh wait. I already met Lisa See. so yeah. Mark Wahlberg.)

    I will definitely look into The Paris Wife (non-fiction?) and the Crimson Petal and the White. I like long. (okay. now that really didn’t sound right. but you know what I mean. a long book is very satisfying. except that I’m sad when it’s over because I’ve invested so much time.)

    Thanks for the suggestions and for supporting the Vlog. I felt a bit like an idiot because I’m more of a written-word kind of person.
    But this summer is killing me with the kids and NO time to be home writing (always off chauffering etc.) and I’m desperate.

    So I’ll try anything once.
    And now? I’m done.

    p.s. Hope you’re feeling well!

  68. These are all new books to me. Can’t wait to dive into a few.

    Loved your first Vlog!

  69. You did amazing, can’t believe this is your first vlog. I love Barbara Kingsolver and need to watch again and take notes on a few of your other favorites. I love anything Elizabeth Berg or Jodi Picoult (more her old books than her new ones) and Chris Bohjalian. Loved The Help and I will stop there because I could talk books all day long.

  70. Julie

    Kari Marie – Oh I hope you do try some of these – Snow Flower, Thousand Splendid Suns, Cane River – SOOO good. Let me know if you end up reading any of them and what you think. I love that reading is “research” for us aspiring writers! Hooray!

    Jessica – I have read SO many of Jodi Picoult’s books (she’s a favorite among the senior girls at the high school where I taught). I finished My Sister’s Keeper first and oh my. Talk about the “ugly cry.” I haven’t read any Chris Bohjalian which is why I’m SO excited to have tried vlogging – all the great suggestions I’ve gotten should keep me busy for the rest of the summer and beyond…

  71. KGM

    A Prayer for Owen Meany?!? How did I not know that already? One of my favorites of ALL TIME. Thought I was going to get kicked off an airplane for laughing maniacally while reading it.

    Love the vlog. Love you! K

  72. JDaniel4's Mom

    This was wonderful! I don’t think I am ready to make a video.

  73. Julie

    Karen – That book really is in (probably) my top three – definitely top five. I LOVE that poor Owen with the GRAVELY VOICE! And you. Always.

    JDaniel4’s Mom – I get that reluctance for SURE! I only tried vlogging because I didn’t have time to write a post and was way way way behind this summer. And then, as nervous as I was, I kind of liked it. Strange but true confessions of a weird book lover…

  74. Okay, this was fabulous! Seriously – you had me at the stack of books, but what I adored was how you whispered the part about being popular. You are clearly a vlogging natural!

  75. Julie

    Megan –

    I’m pretty sure my family took a vote and decided I need to whisper ALL the time.

    I choose to see such feedback as a positive…

    So thank you for your reinforcement of my spin. (shhhh.)

  76. Pick a favorite?
    That is like asking me to pick my favorite arm. Books are just part of me, ya know? Although, I am super excited to read all the recs in your blog comments, especially since I am on vacay and actually able to read.

  77. Julie

    Annie –

    Asking me to pick my favorite ARM? That may be the best comparison I’ve ever read. (and I read a lot. obviously.)

    Enjoy your vacation.

    And both your arms.

    I won’t make you choose…


  78. Courtney

    Finally back from vacation and I came straight to you – loved your thoughtfulness and creativity. I am wondering if our common love of books is what led us to find each other in the first place? (Maybe we shared that tree…) My most recent favorite thought-provoker was The Shack. However, we visited Louisa May Alcott’s home on the trip, and I had many flashbacks of how much I longed to be Jo as I grew up….

  79. Julie

    Court –

    Oooh Oooh The Shack! I’ve heard a lot about it; haven’t read it. Will definitely have to pick that up so we can talk about it when we SEE each other.

    Which will be when, exactly? We’re not really waiting until August are we???

    Miss you too much!

    And I’ll let you be Jo if I can be Meg…

  80. Eric C

    Dearest Julie,

    After having at work a couple of weeks ago what could have been an “emotional break” with reality, I realized I needed to de-stress. I invested in a lovely bistro set for my patio and began racing home from work to use the last hour of light to read in the open air. I have never been a good “indoor” reader, so I finally created a space where I could reembrace an old passion. I’ve burned through, “relatively” five books since and I am cherishing my me time where the cell phone stays in the house and I take time for myself.
    I am still “adjusting” at work, but I am certainly happier. How easy it had been to set aside a most wonderful past time for I don’t to admit how many years.
    I haven’t discovered any real pearls just yet, but I have been loaning some old favorites out to a friend which has also helped to refuel my passion for books.
    “Geek Love” by Katherine Dunn
    “Ella Minnow Pea” by Mark Dunn
    “Choke” by Chuck Palahniuk
    As for the whole e-reader thing, while the associate at B & N was trying to sell me one yesterday, I came up with my theory on them on the spot. Until the books I want to read are exclusive to one of these digital readers, I will stick with paper pages and text.

    Love You,

  81. Julie


    Oh my – Ella Minnow Pea? AWESOME title. Wish I’d thought of it!
    I love Chuck Palahniuk but I haven’t heard of the other books/authors so thanks for the suggestions.

    I am infinitely glad you are enjoying some “me” time.
    Sorry it took an “emotional break” with reality to get you de-stressing. But the lovely bistro set sounds almost worth it.

    Hope to see you soon (maybe out in the desert if our schedules converge?).
    I’m always ready to hop in the car and head out there – especially if it would mean seeing you…

  82. Paper books, all the way. And I am not just saying that because I don’t have an electronic reading device.

    Books I love:

    Jane Austen – Duh.

    Mil Millington’s Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About – hilarious and such effortless writing.

    Any Jennifer Crusie – for when you’re in the mood for brain candy.

    Milan Kundera – at which point I wonder why I think I can write.

    Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – I get so swept up in it.

    And, of course, Tina Fey’s Bossypants.

  83. Julie

    Suniverse –

    Oh I LOVED Oscar Wao (and also was so sad reading it, but mostly love). One of those books that I felt like I was LEARNING (but not in a bad way) and also FEELING deeply (which is almost never bad).

    I haven’t read Bossypants but I can’t wait to. Except I will love it so much I will want to stalk Tina Fey. More than I already do.

    Will also check out your other suggestions because you have the smarts, lady.

    Would read anything you recommend. Anytime.

  84. Tracie Madden

    We share the same obsession! My boys tease me that books are my best friends and I’m ok with that. We have quite similar taste! I am surprised to see Prep in there! I love that book, too, as well as many in that pile. Have you read “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by Sedaris?? I need to reread it soon, as it is so, so hilarious.

    Favorite book? Ugh! It depends on my mood. I LOVED Time Traveler’s Wife when it first came out, but I am protesting the movie, as there is no way it can measure up. I have also loved everything I’ve read by Amanda Eyre Ward. Her books suck me right in.

    I am also an old school reader and LOVE paper books best. However, I must admit that ebooks are convenient. I have the Kindle app on my iPhone and iPad and have to say that I love having a good book with me wherever I go. I am also a big fan of Amazon, so if I ever were to buy one, it would have to be The Kindle. In the meantime, I will keep jumping back an forth between paper and my iPad…I find that I’m reading more books at once, which is kind of new for me!!

    Keep the v-logs coming! I like it! 🙂

  85. I love this! And I love your picks. Many of them are my favorites. NO KINDLE NO NOOK.

    Have you read Jonathan Safran Foer? Dave Eggers?

  86. You are SO adorable! I am all kinds of dorky unfortunately. Don’t think I’ll be vlogging any time soon. I really like the movie mega-loosely based on Owen Meany (Simon Birch). If you can get past the fact that it’s really not much like the book at all, I thought it was an excellent movie.

    Fave book of all time if I ignore the obvious “Pride and Prejudice” I would say it’s Pickwick Papers.

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