Saturday, July 28, 2007

What is your patronus?

Dear friend Regan White asks that question on her great blog, visit

I can't believe she took my seahorse! I had visions of Aquaman and my Avon toothbrush, circa three years old, but alas a new moniker must be found.

I do however love the idea of recognizing that there are always dementors amongst us. I'm not in for labelling, however it does reduce the stress of thinking you can reason with them. Who would want to be friends with a dementor? Only another dementor!

Potter update No. 3/What house do you belong to?

I'm not as far ahead as I had wanted to. I'm still middling about in the mid 300s but it makes me ponder what is it about Harry's story that has captivated the world over? Could it be that we long for a magical world beneath our mundane existance? There must be more to life than working and daily routines. Harry reminds us that we are more than what we think we are and capable of extraordinary things.

While I get back to the book, feel free to take the Sorting Hat test and see which house you belong to.

I took two of them and the results were the same:
I'm quite surprised! I think everyone wants to be part of Gryffndor.
But alas, I'm quite happy. The description of Ravenclaw's students says:

The sorting hat says that I belong in Ravenclaw!

Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose intelligence is surest."

Ravenclaw students tend to be clever, witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable.
Notable residents include Cho Chang and Padma Patil (objects of Harry and Ron's affections), and Luna Lovegood (daughter of The Quibbler magazine's editor).

Take the most scientific Harry Potter
ever created.

Get Sorted Now!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Potter update No. 2

It's 7 p.m. and do I know where my Potter book is? It's in my bag, by the door and after a long week I can't wait to dive into it.

While I check out what happens to Harry and his friends, check out this great interview USA Today did with author J.K. Rowling by clicking

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Potter update No. 1

First of all, major kudos to the fine people at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Charlotte's SouthPark mall for an awesome Potter party. It was the finest I've seen with more than 1,000 people who were all entertained and thrilled while waiting for Midnight. I can't remember having that much fun in a long time. My dear friend and colleague Regan White said she found it truly heartwarming to see such mayhem and excitement surrounding reading!

I scooped up my book and rushed home and read the first two chapters. By 2 a.m., I was snockered and had to sleep. By the time my one eye opened at 8 a.m., I couldn't wait to reach over and start reading again.

I'm only going to talk about where I am in the book without giving away major plot points. Nothing is worse than trying to stay away from all the hoopla. I was at Borders last night and the coffee servers were chatting about the book as if everyone has finished it. At 700-something pages, not likely. It's only Thursday! If one didn't have work, family and life stuff to take care of, inhaling the book would be a breeze.

Best thing so feels like Dan Brown wrote the book instead of J.K. Rowling. I have the utmost respect for Rowling but, truth be told, I have found many of her previous Potter books to be slow and plodding. Even downright boring. That's why I, like my friend Kate Bacon, have loved the movies.

But"Deathly Hallows" is very different. From the first chapter the reader is engrossed! And what a thrill to have a can't-put-down book again. Ah, reading!

It's a lot like falling in love. You constantly hope this will be the one and then when it happens, it takes your breath away.

I'm leaving now to go back to get in another chapter. I'm at Chapter 15. More soon!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

August 2007 book club selection: "Water for Elephants"

We're reading the phenomenal best-selling book "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen for August. Hope to see you all Monday, August 20 at 7 p.m., at Joseph-Beth Booksellers at SouthPark. To R.S.V.P., visit

The novel, told in flashback by Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures, including an elephant who only responds to Polish commands. He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show's star performers-a romance complicated by Marlena's husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for. This is a book filled with characters you will not forget!
To discuss the book, click on the comment section.

Author Will Allison

What a cool, cool guy! From now on, I'm going to have to start taping our author chats -- it was one I think all readers would have loved. I think I may even like the author even more than his book (if that's possible.) Talking to the author after reading the book actually gives one an incredible sense of completion. You finally get to ask, "What were you thinking in chapter x, what made you do this, how much you do you love or hate your characters?"

Allison's book was our featured pick for July. The author was funny, charming and witty. If I were casting the movie about him, I'd choose scrumdelicious Michael Varnet from "Alias." He had such great insight into his characters. As a stay-at-home dad, he wakes up at 4 a.m. to get into a regular rhythm of writing. Then when he gets stuck he said he reads.

He said he found it difficult to remember the title of his debut book, "What You Have Left" and thought that it sounded like a lot of other titles out there. But soon he realized how it was truly a theme for all his characters. I think what I love most about "What You Have Left" was how raw he was. The chapter where an ancilliary character muffs out his young collicky son was so heartbreakingly honest, it was breathtaking.

Allison said his dream is to see someone reading his book on the subway. Go out and pick up a copy and start reading. You won't only make his dream come true, you'll also enjoy some memorable fiction you forget for awhile.

Allison is currently working on his second novel which is set in New Jersey. Learn more about him at

What CEOs read

Ever wonder what tycoons read? It's incredible how personal reading is and you never know how those thoughts on the page intertwine with your own thoughts, words and actions.

New York Times writer Harriet Rubin interviewed several brilliant CEOs to find out what they read. For more, click the title of this post.