Today I went to buy groceries and saw a sign that read "Hamlet Beautification Project" and the only thing that crossed my mind was, Isn't that why they cast Jude Law?
I've consulted for a few publishers, accepting free books in exchange. I've helped another with a new database, accepting a free trial. At conferences, I gladly go to the breakfasts and lunches they sponsor to learn about the new products (or twists on old ones). I'll pick up ARCs, pens, coffee mugs, posters.
Is this ethical? I won't promote a product I don't honestly believe in on this blog - and despite my accepting the freebie, I'll even denigrate one I think is bad (just look at some of my book reviews!). I don't think that the vendors are giving this stuff away to buy good press - although I'm sure they'd love it - or to guarantee a sale. If I treat all vendors, those with freebies and those without, equally, it's ethical.
Some have higher standards, but I suspect part of that comes from a position of higher visibility. If you can sway hundreds, or even influence them slightly, then it's best to not partake. If you speak for an organization, or are clearly associated with one (as I am, in other places and at other times), then a higher level is needed. But here, as Lazygal, I feel freer because I'm not speaking on anyone's behalf. Caveat venditor.
Last night I had the pleasure of seeing #3 Niece marry her boyfriend of 12 years (they met at a basketball game in high school). The ceremony was in Queens, with the reception out on Long Island, so we'd have to spend the night at the Hempstead Hilton. Because of my chronic fatigue, the idea of staying in a hotel with uninterrupted sleep (something I never get), was really appealing.
How wrong I was.
First, the hotel didn't have my room ready. Now, I don't really care about two queens v. one king-sized bed. It's a bed, after all. So switching from one to the other wasn't an issue. What they didn't tell me was that the new room was on a smoking floor (really? a smoking floor? today???). That actually matters. They also failed to mention that the room was an indoor room, directly (as in "10 feet-ish") above the casual dining area, which wouldn't have been that bad. Except...
The hotel was the site for at least one wedding (and the dining area was set up for the evening reception) and was housing three others, including ours, and a class reunion. That dining area could get kinda noisy just as I'm trying to drift off, ya know? So Thing One and I switched rooms. His was on the other side of the building, on a non-smoking floor. All's good, right? Except...
The original room had a decent tub and I love to take baths. The new room was on the old fogies floor, with one of those wheelchair accessible bathrooms and sinks. No bathing. But that's ok, I could still read myself to sleep and get a good nine hours, right? Except...
At 2:19am there was a fire alarm. False, of course, probably set off by one of the cigar smokers from the class reunion or one of the drunken wedding guests. I was sort-of awake after and decided to read for a little longer except...
The light on the bedside table no longer worked. The bulb wasn't blown (I switched bulbs from the other lamp): the lamp just wouldn't turn on. Ok, I'll just go back to sleep. Except...
That's when I noticed that the pillows - ok, 3 of 4 on the bed - reeked of cigarette smoke. Ugh.
According to Thing One, every phone (including the two in my room) was flashing and no one could leave messages for anyone; some guests had to wait over an hour before their rooms were ready; #1 Niece's room contained a broken bed; and two siblings had broken toilets.
Upshot? My planned night of sleeping soundly and rising all ready to face the week with vim and vigor was shot. There's no way I am ever - and I mean it, ever - staying at that Hilton again.
So imagine my surprise when driving along this road now that the work has been finished. This road is New! and Improved! Now with Added Potholes!!
Seriously. They've repaved and added potholes. Wha???
could read John Crace's Digested version of The Lost Symbol.And then there's this list of Brown's worst sentences.
Or even better, you could read his as-he-read-it play-by-play:
Langdon hurried towards the Rotunda. The lecture was due to start in five minutes and he was running late. Still, he was well-prepared. The Symbolism of the Freemasons was his latest research project and what better place than to deliver his lecture than in the hall designed by Benjamin Franklin and so many of the founding fathers of America and Freemasonry? He strode onwards through the clunky sentences and the turgid repetition of pointless information till he reached his destination.
- Good for the economy and your wallet: How to Save Green When You Shop Green (þ: Wise Bread)
- First Jump the Shark... then Nuke the Fridge... and now Grow the Beard (þ: SwissToni)
- Decluttering tip of the week: check this productivity blog daily (þ: Alison) and then minimalise your e-mails.
- At the end of the day, whatever - and how annoying it is!
The shop's tables, I now sa, were covered with wooden blocks of varying sizes, each one carved with a single letter; the were literally the building blocks of words. There were also blocks carved with every imaginable mark of punctuation. He lifted one displaying a cartoonish "!" and put it in my hand.
"Have you ever held a shout before?" he asked. "How about a question?" He found a "?" in the pile of punctuation marks and placed it in my other hand. "Did you know that this is how a story is built? Inch by inch, line by line?"
The temperature where I live isn't that low... ish, so I haven't turned on my heat. It'll be under 40 for a few hours late tonight. On the other hand, the temperature inside is currently a toasty 61F.
At what temperature will I decide that I'm worthy of a little heat?
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope; William Kamkwamba
- The Hate List; Jennifer Brown
- Little Black Lies; Tish Cohen
- Secret Society; Tom Dolby
- The Eyeball Collector; F.E. Higgins
- The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow; Tim Kehoe
- Ash; Malinda Lo
- Everything for a Dog; Ann M. Martin
- The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children; Keith McGowan
- The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.; Kate Messner
- Luv Ya Bunches; Lauren Myracle
- Another Faust; Daniel Nayeri
- So Punk Rock: And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother; Micol Ostow
- The Miles Between; Mary Pearson
- Bystander; James Preller
- Viola in Reel Life; Adriana Trigiani
- Goldstrike; Matt Whyman
- Homer and Langley; E.L. Doctorow
- The 19th Wife; David Eberschoff
- Practically Perfect; Katie Fforde
- By the Time You Read This; Lola Jaye
- Songs for the Butcher's Daughter; Peter Manseau
- Lying with the Dead; Michael Mewshaw
- Jarrettsville; Cornelia Nixon
- Home; Marilynne Robinson
- The End is Now; Rob Stennett
- Latter-Day Cipher; Latayne Scott
- Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son; Michael Chabon
- Oh, Say Did You Know?: The Secret History of America's Famous Figures, Fads, Innovations & Emblems; Fred DuBose
- Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood; Mark Harris
- Under the Covers and between the Sheets: Facts and Trivia about the World's Greatest Book; C. Alan Joyce
- Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife; Francine Prose
- Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide to Your Favorite Music Scenes-Punk to Indie and Everything in Between; Leslie Simon
- Sharp Teeth; Toby Barlow
- Pastworld; Ian Beck
- Genesis; Bernard Beckett
- The Child Thief; Brom
- Elf Realm: The High Road; Daniel Kirk
- Wake and Fade; Lisa McMann
- Blue is for Nightmares and Black is for Beginings; Laurie Faria Stolarz
- Spellbinder; Helen Stringer
- Secrets of the Dread Forest; Gillian Summers
Books left on Mt. Bookpile: 337
Books added: 62
Net gain/loss: +11