Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

The Los Angeles Time Magazine publishes a list of quotes over heard in LA.  I find them funny so I thought I’d share them with you!

1.  “Wait a minute, the Clippers always lose – why do you have to pay to watch them?” Kid of 8 to his parents in the line at Staples Center

2. “I’m so glad he is not dead” Moviegoer walking out of the Landmark after seeing Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler

3.  “I’m an atheist of the Jewish persuasion” Pedestrian on the Venice Boardwalk to man handing out literature

4.  “Is there a Facebook app that’ll give a man balls?” Woman at the Hollywood Farmers Market

5.  “It’s expensive being a wealthy American” A husband’s response to his wife after receiving the bill at Morels Bistro

6.  “I think the stock market is being very unpatriotic.” Guy on cell phone at the Water Grill

7.  “I had lunch.  I didn’t have gay lunch.” Man’s answer to, “Did you have that lunch with your gay friend?”

8.  “We’d probably know them if they were famous.” Two friends shopping for shoes at Neimans

9.  “Feeling inadequate doesn’t have a ZIP code.” Comeback to, “You sure do move a lot.”

10.  “I live on the wrong side of the right hill.” Shopper at The Grove, in response to, “How do you like living in Sherman Oaks?”

11.  “These days, I’m experimenting with optimism.”  Policeman having lunch at Pitfire Pizza downtown




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oscar-wao1Junot Diaz’ sophomore novel is not brief but definitely wonderful.  Having never read, Drown, Diaz’ first novel I had no idea what to expect in Wao.  I simply couldn’t put the book down, which is good because I had to read it in three days or face library fines.  Apparently the LA Public library cannot keep it on the shelf.  It’s long but beautifully crafted into the life story of not just Oscar Wao but his entire Dominican family.  Told from several character’s view points the reader is able to see the clear picture of how the family evolves into the dynamic you encounter at the beginning of the story.  The story structure alone makes this book a worth while, must read but it also includes an extremely detailed and hilarious account of the Dominican Republic’s political history.  Buy it here.

The titular Oscar is a 300-pound-plus “lovesick ghetto nerd” with zero game (except for Dungeons & Dragons) who cranks out pages of fantasy fiction with the hopes of becoming a Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien. The book is also the story of a multi-generational family curse that courses through the book, leaving troubles and tragedy in its wake. This was the most dynamic, entertaining, and achingly heartfelt novel I’ve read in a long time. My head is still buzzing with the memory of dozens of killer passages that I dog-eared throughout the book. The rope-a-dope narrative is funny, hip, tragic, soulful, and bursting with desire. Make some room for Oscar Wao on your bookshelf–you won’t be disappointed. –Brad Thomas Parsons 


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Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids’ Letters to President Obama

Edited by Jory John

A few days after the election of Barack Obama, 826 students around the country were asked to provide advice and guidance to their new President. In this collection, arriving at inauguration time, there’s loads of advice for President Obama, often hilarious, sometimes heartfelt and occasionally downright practical. Kids from all over the country reach out to the 44th President, speaking to the issues closest to their hearts, relating their life stories, and asking for help. Topics include the economy, education, war, global warming, race relations in America and immigration. The book also includes letters about snow cones, puppies, microwavable burritos, dinosaur projects, multiplication and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, reportedly haunting a White House bedroom.

Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country includes such advice as:

“If I were president, I would help all nations, even Hawaii.” — Chad Timsing, age 9, Los Angeles

“I really hope you put America back together. No pressure though.” — Sheenie Shannon Yip, age 13, Seattle

“1. Fly to the White House in a helicopter. 2. Walk in. 3. Wipe feet. 4. Walk to the Oval Office. 5. Sit down in a chair. 6. Put hand sanitizer on hands. 7. Enjoy moment. 8. Get up. 9. Get in car. 10. Go to the dog pound.” — Chandler Browne, age 12, Chicago

And, while it wasn’t advice, exactly, we thought this was worth sharing:

“You are just like a big me.” — Avante Price, age 7, Seattle

-Taken from 826National’s website.


About 826 National

826 National is a nonprofit tutoring, writing, and publishing organization with locations in seven cities across the country. Our goal is to assist students ages six to eighteen with their writing skills, and to help teachers get their classes excited about writing. Our work is based on the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.

After the founding of 826 Valencia, the flagship center in San Francisco, educators around the U.S. joined in to pursue the same goals in their local communities. Now 826 Valencia also serves as the headquarters of 826 National, an umbrella organization that coordinates the adaptation of 826’s tutoring and mentorship model in other cities. Already, 826 has sister centers in New YorkLos AngelesAnn Arbor, ChicagoSeattle, and Boston. Through volunteer support, each of the seven 826 chapters provides drop-in tutoring, class field trips, writing workshops, and in-schools programs—all free of charge. 826 chapters are especially committed to supporting teachers, publishing student work, and offering services for English language learners.

Because we believe the proof is in the pudding, 826 programs almost always end with a finished product, such as a newspaper, a book, or a film. This teaching model, known as project-based learning, encourages students to collaborate and to make creative decisions, and gives them ownership over the learning process. Working toward a goal, our students are inspired to revise until their work is perfect. They leave with new skills and a newfound passion for writing. And then they come back. Each 826 chapter is a warm, welcoming place where students can get things done. Maybe they’ll produce a chapbook. Maybe they’ll make a movie, or polish a college-application essay. We offer all of our services for free serving families who could not otherwise afford the level of personalized instruction their children receive from 826.

Our corps includes thousands of enthusiastic volunteers who make this all happen. Our volunteer tutors include law professors, college students, authors, retirees, and advertising copywriters. They come from all fields, but have one thing in common: they love to help students learn. The demand for 826’s services is tremendous. At many of our centers, our field trips are fully booked almost a year in advance, and the majority of our evening and weekend workshops have waiting lists. And new teacher requests for in-school tutor support continue to pour in.

For more information on 826 National and their chapters in Valencia, NYC, Chicago, LA, Seattle, Michigan, Boston and to volunteer or donate please go here.


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the_thirteenth_tale_a_novelI love books.  I love books so much that I can go to Barnes & Noble and spend hours looking at, touching, and of course reading the books.  A book store is what I imagine heaven to be for me.  In the past few years I would go through periods of my life where I would read every single day and then stop51cwqnrm3l_sl500_ for months.  In 2008 I decided to try and read every day and by the list below I think I accomplished that goal.  The books listed below are not in a ranked order but the last few books are my least favorite.  I’ve also highlighted my recommendations.  I do have one novel, Prep that I would not recommend.  I found it depressing, disconnected, and overall wanting to slap the main character.  year-of-fog

2009 has already begun with my starting on reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  Look for a future review.  To start off 2009 reading check out Barnes and Noble for their After Holiday sale.  There’s thousands of books 50% – 75% off.00000522_eat-pray-love



  1. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  2. Twilight Series (All 4 books), Stephanie Meyers
  3. Dry, Augusten Burroughs
  4. Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs
  5. Running With Scissors, Augusten Burroughs
  6. Possible Side Effects, Augusten Burroughs
  7. A Wolf at a Table, Augusten Burroughs
  8. How To Be a Canadian, Will Ferguson & Ian Ferguson
  9. Masquerade, Melissa De La Cruz
  10. The Year of Fog, Michelle Richmond
  11. Belong To Me, Marissa De Los Santos
  12. The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
  13. I Love You, Beth Cooper, Larry Doyle
  14. The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
  15. Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers
  16. At Work, Annie Leibovitz
  17. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling
  18. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Peel
  19. T is for Trespass, Sue Grafton
  20. The Memory of Water, Karen White
  21. The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory
  22. Boleyn Inheritance, Philippa Gregory
  23. The Constant Princess, Philippa Gregory
  24. The Virgin’s Lover, Philippa Gregory
  25. The Queen’s Fool, Philippa Gregory
  26. Minaret, Leila Aboulella
  27. Flight, Sherman Alexie
  28. The Last Templar, Raymond Khoury
  29. The Book of Fate, Brad Meltzer
  30. A Great and Terrible Beauty, Libba Bray
  31. Boy Meets Girl, Meg Cabot
  32. Bitter is the New Black, Jen Lancaster
  33. Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
  34. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  35. The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
  36. World without End, Ken Follett
  37. Einstein’s Dreams, Alan Lightman
  38. Nefertiti; The Book of the Dead, Nick Drake
  39. Charleston, John Jakes
  40. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
  41. Remember Me?, Sophia Kinsella
  42. Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld


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Each year Newsweek publishes a special end-of-the-year issue.  Usually it gives a list of memorable events, people, etc.  This year with the world just a bit of a mess they published a list of the person’s who are  the most influential globally.  I’m posting the list and please keep in mind that not everyone on this list is a person we actually want to  have such world wide influence but they do…hence them being on the list. 

  1.  President Elect Barack Obama – United States of America
  2. Hu Jintao – President, China
  3. Nicolas Sarkozy – President, France
  4. Ben Bernanke – U.S Federal Reserve Banker
  5. Jean – Claude Trichet – European Central Bank (ECB)
  6. Masaaki Shirakawa – Bank of Japan
  7. Gordon Brown – Prime Minister, United Kingdom
  8. Angela Merkel – Chancellor, Germany
  9. Vladimir Putin – Former President of Russia – soon to be again…
  10. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud – King, Saudia Arabia
  11. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – Supreme Leader, Iran
  12. Kim Jong II – Dictator/Leader, North Korea
  13. Hillary Clinton – Former NY Senator, Secretary of State
  14. Bill Clinton – Former United State President – Future to be seen…
  15. Timothy Geithner – President Elect Obama’s Treasury Secretary – Savior of the Ecnomony ????
  16. General David Petraeus – United States Military
  17. Sonia Gandhi – President, Congress Party, India
  18. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva – President, Brazil
  19. Warren Buffett – Titan of American Finance
  20. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani – Chief of Army Staff, Pakistan
  21. Nuri al – Maliki – Prime Minister, Iraq
  22. Bill Gates – Philanthropist
  23. Melinda Gates- Philanthropist
  24. Nancy Pelosi – Speaker of the House,
  25. Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan – President, United Arab Emirates
  26. Mike Duke – CEO-Designate, Wal-Mart Stores
  27. Rahm Emanuel – President Elect Obama’s Chief of Staff
  28. Eric Schmidt – Owner, Google
  29. Jamie Dimon – CEO, JPMorgan Chase
  30. David Axelrod – Communications Director, President Elect Obama
  31. Valerie Jarrett – Public Liason, President Elect Obama
  32. Dominique Strauss-Kahn – Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
  33. Rex Tillerson – CEO, Exxonmobile
  34. Steve Jobs – Apple Founder and CEO
  35. John Lasseter – CEO, Pixar Animation
  36. Michael Bloomberg – Mayor, New York City
  37. Pope Benedict XVI – Head of the Roman Catholic Church
  38. Katuaki Wantanabe – CEO, Toyota
  39. Rupert Murdoch – Chairman and CEO, News Corp.
  40. Jeff Bezos – CEO, Amazon.com
  41. Shahrukh Khan – King of Bollywood
  42. Osama bin Laden – Global Terrorist
  43. Hassan Nasrallah – Most Influential radical Shiite Leader in the Arab World
  44. Dr. Margaret Chan – Director-General, World Health Organization
  45. Carlos Slim Helu – Mexican Tycoon
  46. The Dalai Lama – Tiebetan Leader
  47. Oprah Winfrey – Media Mogul
  48. Amr Khaled – Egyptian Televangelist
  49. E.A. Adeboye – Pastor, The Redeemed Christian Church of God
  50.  Jim Roger – CEO, Duke Energy


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storitellingOh yes Ms. Donna Martin has definitely graduated from ditz to bon afide author.  Over the weekend I sat down and read Tori Spelling’s autobiography, sTORItelling.  A few friends had suggested it and so I thought, “Hey, why not”?  During her Beverly Hills 90210 years I really wasn’t a fan of Spellings.  Donna Martin was a bit of an annoying character on the show and honestly I was very sick of the Donna/David relationship story line.  But I digress…. I started watching Tori & Dean INN love and well fell in love w/ the couple.  After the recommendations and my current reality TV love for her I decided to try out her book.  

Overall the novel doesn’t tell you lots of dirty details on her co-stars but does give you a nice perspective on how Tori views her world and her crazy life.  You’d think she would have been a spoiled princess growing up but in reality she wasn’t and constantly was striving for normalcy.  Hearing her side of the story of her first marriage, divorce, and then second wedding you cannot help but relate to Tori.  You see her struggle with trying to make a relationship work when she always knew it didn’t.  Honestly who hasn’t been in that situation?  Also Spelling never makes excuses for her behavior. When she screws up, she excepts the consequences and honestly states that.  It’s a nice change and not just for a celebrity but for anyone.  Too many people today do not take responsibility for their actions.  

So go out, grab a copy and enjoy a fun, fluid, interesting read.  Upon a few requests I will be doing an end of the year wrap up of all the books I have read in 2008.  A few I read before ATG was born so they will be new to our blog.  I hope you all enjoy it!


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It’s that time of the year again when all the music magazines post their favorite albums of 2008 and which artists24765824-24765826-large they are itching to hear their new records in 2009.  Here’s a few magazines that I enjoy lists.  Do you agree with them?  At times, I have to be honest, I did not.  And I felt there were a few albums left off Alternative Press’ 2009 Anticipated Album list. I added a few after their list. 

Under the Radar – Top 50 Alubms 2008

1.   Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

2.   Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

3.   The dodos – Visitor

4.   Portishead – Third

5.   The Duke Spirit – Neptune

6.   She & Him – Volume One

7.   M83 – Satruday=Youth

8.   Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid

9.   Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords

10.  The Dears – Missiles

11.  TV on the Radio – Dear Science23088720-23088723-slarge

12.  Deerhunter – Microcastle

13.  Plants and Animals – Parc Avenue

14.  Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue

15.  Neon Neon – Stainless Style

16.  Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

17.  No Age – Nouns

18.  R.E.M – Accelerate

19.  Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

20.  Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs

21.  Love Is All – A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night

22.  British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?

23.  Lykke Li – Youth novels

24.  Black Mountain – In the Future

25.  Tindersticks – The Hungry Saw

26.  Jamie Lidell – Jim

27.  Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

28. Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair24766015-24766017-large

29.  Pop Levi – Never Never Love

30.  Frances – All the While

31.  Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree

32.  Fujiya & Miyagi – lightbulbs

33.  Spiritualized – Songs in A&E

34.  My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

35.  Girl Talk – Feed the Animals

36.  The Walkmen – You & Me

37.  Noah and the Whale – Peaceful, the Wolrd Lays Me Down

38.  Of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping24766061-24766063-large

39.  Beck – Modern Guilt

40.  Ladytron – Velocifero

41.  Fuck Buttons – Street Horrsing

42.  Dungen – 4

43.  Jim Noir – Jim Noir

44.  Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

45.  The Old Believers – Eight Golden Greats19863820-24765660-large

46.  The Verve – Forth

47.  The Week That Was – same

48.  School of Language – Sea from Shore24765813-24765816-slarge

49.  Hot chip – Made in the Dark

50.  Friday Hyvonen – Silence Is Wild


Spin Magazine Top 40 Albums of 200824766077-24766079-large


1.     TV on the Radio – Dear Science

2.     Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III

3.     Portishead – Third

4.     Fucked Up – The Chemistry of Common Life

5.     Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

6.     Santogold – Santogold24765778-24765781-slarge

7.     Deerhunter – Microcastle

8.     Hot Chip – Made in the Dark

9.     Coldplay – Viva La Vida

10.    MGMT – Oracular Spectacular


List Continues Here.


Rolling Stone 2008 Albums of the Year

1 | TV on the Radio: Dear Science

2 | Bob Dylan: Tell Tale Signs — The Bootleg
      Series Vol. 8

3 | Lil Wayne: Tha Carter III

4 | My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges

5 | John Mellencamp: Life, Death, Love
      and Freedom

6 | Santogold: Santogold

7 | Coldplay: Viva la Vida or
       Death and All His Friends

8 | Beck: Modern Guilt

9 | Metallica: Death Magnetic

10 | Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend

11 | Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes

12 | Guns n’ Roses: Chinese Democracy

13 | Blitzen Trapper: Furr

14 | Ryan Adams and the Cardinals: Cardinology

15 | The Black Keys: Attack & Release

Continues Here.


Alternative Press – Anticipated Albums of 2009

Tegan and Sara – September – just announced!


Green Day

A Day to Remember – February

Against Me! – Fall

All Time Low – Summer

Boys like Girls – Spring

Cartel – Summer

Chiodos – Fall

Circa Survive – Spring

Cobra Starship – February

The Devil Wears Prada – Spring

Envy on the Coast – August

Every Time I die – winter

Gallows – March

Killswitch Engage – Spring

Manchester orchestra – Spring

Mayday Parade – Summer

New Found Glory – March 10

NOFX – April

Panic At the Disco – Spring

Paramore – Summer

Past Lives – Fall

Rival Schools – Early Summer

The Rocket Summer – Summer

Saosin – April

Say Anthing – Summer

Silverstein – April

The Used – February

Taking Back Sunday – Spring


Also w/o Dates:


Ok Go


Social Distortion



Franz Ferdinand

Bruce Springsteen

Regina Spektor

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Rachael Cantu

Arcade Fire

Imogen Heap


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