Monday, May 04, 2009

Book smell (and a giveaway!)

I love the smell of a bookstore. Talk about synesthesia. The scent of those crisp new pages sends me reeling, transports me to a place where I can (selfishly!) get away and get lost in someone else's life and words. All of that in just one whiff. Such positive sensory associations with that smell. During my lunch hour today I escaped to Borders and dawdled my way up and down aisles, relishing the quiet, the freedom, and the absence of grabby four year old hands. To moms of preschoolers, a solo, limitless trip to Target or--gasp--a bookstore is about as exciting as an all-expense-paid trip to Fiji. Okay, same feeling, different degree. Hyperbole aside, enjoyable.

Just as all this running lately has allowed my body much needed release, my brain is screaming for the same. You already know of my love for TV; I don't rescind that declaration, but mindless distraction is one thing and a good read is another. Every time we're on vacation, I think to myself, hooray... I can eat whatever I want...the world is my oyster... and what happens, without fail? Within days of acting like Piggy McPiggerson, I crave the sustenance and simplicity of fruits and vegetables and the familiarity of a home-cooked meal. Books are my comfort food. A diet of Tyra and the Donald feels good in an instant-gratification kind of way, but it doesn't leave me feeling nourished like a novel.

What'd I pick up today? I had nothing specific in mind as I browsed. It was all judging books by covers... and book jackets. That's half the fun, right? I bought Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy. I never remember authors (quite a serious confession for an English teacher) so I think I may have read a novel by Binchy before, but I'm really not sure. The point is, it doesn't matter. A book is a book is a book, and I never know if I'm going to like it until I settle down with it and invite it into my home.

I didn't just want to play the predictable Lit nerd, so I picked up the copy of Eat This, Not That that I've been shamefully coveting. I've been better about watching what I eat since I started running, but I'm not going to go as far as using the word diet. To me, diet implies something with a start and end point. Diet implies restriction. Diet implies rice cakes. Diet implies failure. I'm all about loving food, eating at normal establishments, and making better decisions. Enter this lovely little guide, stage left. Be clear: this ain't no weight-loss plan. It ain't no health food book. It's just a guide to making better decisions and not going for the head fake. Oprah says so, and so do my beloved Fatties. I've been flipping through it and it looks like it's jam-packed with some of my faves--Chipotle, McD, etc, etc, etc. How on earth can you go wrong with those two winners? It appears to be a book for real people. I'll have to let you know how it goes.

I love me some McDonald's 2 Cheeseburger meal, but there's nothing like a ripe strawberry or a tomato, fresh off the vine. Chocolate cake floats my boat, but I'd take a big bowl of steamed broccoli any day--and probably could eat it repetitively without as much of a tummy problem. I'll indulge, but my tolerance for junk often wanes. The same happens with my entertainment. I long for the poetic prose of Barbara Kingsolver that speaks to my heart, or the delicious portrayal of Margaret Mitchell's characters. Time to get back to comfort reads.

So about this giveaway, eh? Jeez, Partington. I've been hanging in here listening to you wax poetic about fruits and books, and... come on! Okay, okay, okay. Here's the deal.

I was so excited about me lil' Eat This, Not That, that... wait for it... I bought one for me, and one for somebody else. Why not, right? Sharing the love since 2009.

I'm giving away my first... um... giveaway: A handy-dandy copy of Eat This, Not That, by David Zinczenko. To one of you, chosen at random. Here's how it's going to work:

To enter, answer this question in a comment to this post:
  • What is your food and/or book indulgence?
I know I'd have to say chocolate cake and Barbara Kingsolver. Or pickles and cummings. Or, um, Thai food and Gone With The Wind. Duh.

Not wanting to conform to my English teacher ways? No problem, Sparky. Just leave me a comment. ANY comment. Say hi. Give me a compliment (okay, that was too far. You don't have to compliment me, just don't be mean). Give me your recipe for meatloaf. I don't care. I'll be using the random number generator to pick a winner, and I'll mail the book to you, should you win.

If you'd like to enter twice, click on that little Google box on the right hand side and become a "follower" of my blog. Of course, you'll need to let me know in your comment that you're a follower so I can enter you twice.

Entries must be made before 7:00 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday night, 5/6/09. I'll post the winner on Thursday. Hopefully this all goes well... I'd like to give away other stuff I like too, if I can figure out this whole giving things away thing.

What are you waiting for? Don't you like free stuff?

Thanks for reading, and thanks for the comments. You have no idea how much I already like that I've heard from so many of you here and there. Thanks for stopping by when you can.

Love ya. Mean it.


  1. Bean and cheese burritos
    Kay Hooper
    both of these I can't get enough of. :)
    M. Bramham

  2. My food indulgence from Original Pete's and homemade ginger snap cookies.

    I love to read travel books...mostly from the Frommers series. Peru is currently on the read list since we are going there in less than 3 weeks. However, I am really enjoying The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.


  3. Cadbury mini eggs and Robert Jordan.

  4. Hey guys--PDawg here.

    Just a reminder, you have to do something to identify yourself if you post anonymously, so I can identify you...




  5. Cheesecake and cheesy romance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-D

  6. Italian food (pasta, pasta, and more pasta) and--oh my goodness--did you say Margaret Mitchell?!! Gone With The wind is my FAVORITE book of all time!!! I became a recluse in college for about 2 weeks while I read it and then did nothing but talk about it for a month afterward to anyone that would listen! I also read it aloud to my husband during our first year of marriage. He would fall asleep about half way through each chapter...guess he didn't like it as much as I did!

  7. Random number!? I think I should get to play the relative card and tell you you should pick me as the winner because a) I'm family and b) I too have been coveting that book!!

    After years of dieting (which to me also feels like a start and end point, usually resulting in failure) I have discovered clean eating and the joys of vegetables, and I think I should have, no, NEED, that book.

    I'll also say my favorite food right now is a cold pasta and vegetable salad with asian dressing complements of Pampered Chef. As for books - I have too many favorites to pick just one. I love to go into a bookstore and just wander the aisles...

  8. Well, we all know I have a sweet tooth but my real indulgence is salt. Pretzels and french fries. Mmmmmm.

    And I'm not much of a reader, but I do like Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. I thought it was silly at first, but now I can read it over and over and over.

    And do you really want my meatloaf recipe?

  9. Oh yeah, I'm a follower. But I have been. So I should win. Come on random number generator. Statistics, I believe in you...

  10. My food indulgence is cheese, also donuts, also soft serve ice cream, also anything with nacho cheese...I guess there are a lot of things I enjoy a little too much. As for books, I like anything that makes me feel good. I know that sounds very broad, but it does change from time to time. Right now I am on a Christan fiction, but I'm sure in a few months that will change.

    On a side note, I have the Eat This, Not That for Kids and it is a great resource. I don't have the adult copy but would love one. ;-)


  11. Um, I have a lot of indulgences....but the one that sticks in my mind the most is a huge-mongous sweet tea w/ lemon squeezy and Wuthering Heights.....I seriously need to read that book again and again and again.......however, I don't own it anymore and I have no idea where it is! Oh well, Borders here I come!

    I'm gonna win btw!


  12. I'm addicted to stroopwafels!

  13. How fun! I've been reading your blog for a while...I think you're really inspirational and I LOVE inspirational people! And i've been coveting this book too! Looks like it has some good stuff in it! I have a weakness for pasta and I love Of Mice and Men...I know old school...but I love it!

  14. Ok, looks like I'm sadly the last to comment at least right now I am. Food fave: Currently, is anything spicey! I mean it, the spicier the I guess jalapenos added to just about anything would suffice.
    Book/Author fave: Anything by Nicholas Sparks, what can I say...I'm a sucker for a sappy, beachy romance.
    Oh, and I am a follower of your blog, too.
    Can't wait to see who wins (me), good luck to everyone (me). Aghem...have a good one!

  15. I've been reading your blog for awhile, and I love hearing everything that is going on.

    and your kids are adorable by the way ;)

    i don't have a meatloaf recipe, but i loooooove chocolate cake (or any chocolate really!) and cuddling up with any good book (my taste changes constantly!), or even a recipe book. i LOVE food and cooking.