Category Archives: Dear Book Dr.
Up to this point, I’ve been focusing my reading on adult reading options. Perhaps ignoring the younger reader has been an oversight?
Today’s Book Dr. letter asked me to broaden the spectrum a little bit. I have loved picking out books for my nephew and my niece, so I’m happy to oblige:
Hi book dr.
I need to pick out some gifts for younger readers in my life. Do you have anything new and exciting to suggest? These kids have all the classics on their shelves already and I don’t want to burden their parents with duplicates…
Library for the little ones
Dear library for little ones,
I love this question, because it’s getting me out of my usual reading groove. It is so tempting, when shopping for children, to just pick up everything we loved as kids. But that’s exactly what everyone does and you only need one copy of Corduroy or Goodnight Moon.
Thankfully, there are new books coming out for children all the time and they are gorgeous!
Here are a few favorites that I have come up with while hunting for the kids in my life:
- Swan by Laurel Snyder. Holy shit is this a beautiful book. Yes, I’m swearing in a children’s book post. The illustrations in this book are so stunning I almost bought two copies- one to keep on our coffee table. The story of the dancer Anna Pavlova comes alive through this book. A great choice for any kids into ballet or who love the Nutcracker at Christmas (not that it goes into that story at all, just more ballet). Definitely worth seeing even if you’re just browsing in the store.
- Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. These days, kids seem to have a lot of unusual names. If there’s a kid in your life with a name that is likely to be mispronounced by teachers and classmates, this is the book for him or her. The story of a little girl with a big name and how she’s able to love it no matter what anyone says, it’s a great one for kids getting ready to start school, too.
- Oh look, Baby Loons! by Fran West. For a visual change of pace, check out this chronicle of a new family of loons, illustrated with nature photography by the author. Full disclosure: Fran West is my mother, but I can assure you, no one on earth is more dedicated to photographing loons. This family lived in the lake by Fran’s house, so she was able to capture countless incredible moments.
I am confident that you will be the first to give these books to any young friend or family member. Please do let us know what the kids in your life think of these.
Are readers out there interested in more posts about books for kids? Please do let me know in the comments and I am happy to dig in. I’ve got a children’s librarian up my sleeve so we could potentially tap her resources as well.
The book dr.
Today’s letter enters another realm… the realm of love, people. When I was in Hawaii with my fiancee, who was then my boyfriend, we passed by the mural pictured above. Given the fact that I have wanted to be a mermaid since I was about 7 and used to leave my See-wee mermaids in the sink, chanting incantations over them hoping I’d wake up to find them alive, I was excited to see a mermaid. But when I looked to the right and saw that her partner was a cropped pant-wearing coffee drinking man with some facial scruff and incredibly turned-out feet, I began to wonder if someone had been spying on us.
Either way, this mural seemed to be confirmation that we were meant to be. We got engaged less than a month later.
I might be the most hopeless case in finding love that anyone has ever met. Perhaps one day I will tell you more. However, when it comes to helping people find their match online, I am a natural.
Two people whose dating profiles I have written have found fiancees less than a year later- one less than six months from the time I wrote the profile! I know I sound like a sales machine, but this is something I am so proud of.
I guess my reputation has been getting around, given today’s letter. I’m including the subject line for this letter, because it made me laugh. Here we go:
subject: Online Dating Sucks Donkey B_lls
Hi Book Dr.
I can’t help but notice that your love life rocks. You are a lucky, lucky woman.
I’ve not been so lucky, thus far – and I’m not a woman – but that’s beside the point. I’ve tried online dating & it’s just not worked for me. All the women I’ve dated in my life, I’d known for some time before starting a relationship. Just jumping right into a relationship, or trying to, feels awkward. It’s not that the women I’ve met via dating sites are all duds, it’s just that none have been “wow!”
Any suggestions for books that would either improve my outlook on online dating or help me write the right profile to help me find a dynamite lady?
Looking for a Dare-to-be-great situation
Can I call you Lloyd? Anyone who references Lloyd Dobbler in a letter gets top marks from me.
First off, I’m sorry to hear that you are hating online dating. I hated it too, until it worked out. I won’t tell you about how to meet people or how to go looking for them, but I will tell you that in my experience, it’s a numbers game. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to find one you think is sexy and awesome. The odds are in your favor. Are there stories of people who were just flung together and fell in love in some amazing situation? Of course. But those usually happen in your 20s, when you’re in college or out doing wild things. If you happen to be over 30 or 35, I think it’s necessary to take the dating process in your own hands.
And that means going online.
So… what’s a guy to do?
I know I’m breaking script by giving actual advice as well as book recommendations, but here’s where I will start.
You have to write to them. I know this is draining. I know this is unfair and sexist. But if you wait for women to write to you, you are not in control of the dating. Whether or not it’s fair, women have been told (me included) that men will pursue you if they’re serious. So if you are serious, you’ll have to go for it.
On many dating sites- my most recent one was OK Cupid- there is a feature where you can “like” a profile, or star it or otherwise indicate you like the person. Look for ladies who have liked you, and write to them.
Also, read what they’ve written and respond to something about who they are that you connected to.
And have good books listed in your profile. If you don’t believe me on that one, check out this NY Times article on love and books. What you read matters. If you read a lot (and you must if you’re here) show it off and list your favorite books on your profile. It can only help you stand out. The ladies like smart guys.
And what do I recommend in terms of reading?
The thesaurus. Yep- don’t go for the giant dollar words, but it is necessary to sound a little different than all the other dudes online. So be sure you are saying exactly what you mean. Dig into a thesaurus and see if there’s another way to talk about your ideal vacation, date, life.
And for god’s sake NO SHIRTLESS SELFIES. Women do not go for them. Women who do go for them are not the women you want.
Good. Glad we got that out of the way.
In terms of a book that will help you survive the rigors of online dating? I’ve got tons for women I can recommend that I’ve read personally, but the guide for men that seems the most legit is Did She Reply Yet? The Gentleman’s Guide to Owning Online Dating. The best tip I am seeing from this one is to avoid writing a generic profile and putting yourself out there as you actually are so that the right match responds.
If you don’t tell the real story about yourself, I think the blah dates are going to keep coming. Ladies love to see someone who shares their weird hobby, speaks the same language, or reads the same author no one has heard of. I’ll let you read the book, but start thinking about appealing to the one woman who is right for you, not everyone. That should cut the unsuitable matches quickly.
I hope this helps!
Please let us know how things are coming along, Lloyd. I think greatness is on its way…
hugs and happy reading,
the book dr.
It has been hot in Los Angeles this year. Unusually hot. Like 95+ for the past six weeks. I am writing this post with the window open for only the second time that I can remember. I know people are ready to tell Angelenos to shove it when we complain about our weather, but here’s the real truth:
Our summer is your winter.
It’s the time when we can’t go outside and feel so oppressed by the temperatures that we can’t think straight and start to feel a little nuts. Like it might never end. We get fall fever instead of spring fever- when it’s finally cool enough to go for a walk without melting. It’s amazing. We are hoping it will come soon.
So, today’s letter reflects this level of panic and oppression we are all currently feeling. As you can see above, even my kitten Hugo has had it. Anyone who can send the rain, please do it!
Dear Book Dr.,
As Los Angeles’ Indian Summer blazes on, with highs routinely in the 90s, I’m left feeling hot, sticky, and tuckered out at the end of the day. Not exactly the right environment for sexy times with my love. A cold shower will help me sleep, but won’t make me feel frisky. I’m hoping you might have some erotic reads that might get my libido going again despite the heat. Anais Nin lived not too far from here and she managed to keep things sexy year round. Ideas?
Desperately awaiting fall
Oh, Desperately awaiting fall, I am with you.
Tuckered out doesn’t even begin to cover it. I feel you.
When it comes to sexy reading I think the other issue with this heat is the fact that high temperatures do not promote a long attention span at all. So my thoughts for you are not just something to spice up your reading, but also something that won’t be too draining to consume.
As my first suggestion, perhaps you will remember my post on the comic series, Sex Criminals? It is about a couple who discover they are each able to stop time when they get off. So together, of course they decide to rob banks after having sex in public places. It’s pretty sassy. I’m happy to announce that there is now a second volume available! We just picked it up yesterday at Secret Headquarters in Silverlake and I can’t wait to dive in. I think this would be a fun one to get you going again…
Beyond this, I have to tell you that there are two wide worlds available to you for sexy reading: Kindle books and the Overdrive vault (This link is to the Los Angeles e-media library. Just search Overdrive within your own library for those of you who live elsewhere). I once did a preliminary search of an erotic book on Amazon and I must tell you- there is something for everyone on there. Dinosaur porn, anyone?
One good way to begin if you’re just getting started is to try a compilation. There are tons of these that have a lot of short stories- often a short story is all you need to get fired up. Susie Bright edited the Best American Erotica series for years and it has all kinds of different kink in each volume. If you know what you like, then just search for that category and there will be something for you on Amazon or on Overdrive.
If you prefer to browse in person, check out your local neighborhood sex shop. If you’re in a major city there is bound to be one like The Pleasure Chest or Good Vibrations that is well-lit and not a creepy truck stop place. Unless you really dig creepy truck-stop shops in which case, go for it!
I hope this helps you survive the heat. Here’s hoping this is the last steamy weekend out of doors. But enjoy keeping in steamy inside! And please do let us know if you find anything great.
Happy reading and stay cool!
The book dr.
I know this image is a little smaller than usual, but I couldn’t resist. This was sent to me by a friend, it still makes me laugh.
Here’s hoping this is not a dumb area this week. My apologies on the lag in posts- I’ve been working on a fun treat for subscribers to Footnotes, the book dr letter. (shameless plug: you can sign up by clicking the link in the pink bar at the top of the page)
I’m loving so many things that I’ve discovered this week. The theme I am feeling is things that made me gasp a little with delight.
- In working on this project, I have well learned the value of saying no to distractions. Loved this.
- There was something so inspiring about this image from Humans of New York.
- Thanks to Seth Godin for reminding me on why it’s important to cut the crap.
- A dream of a book of letters between two writers that leaves you asking, did they or didn’t they?
- We were wrong to fear eReaders taking over paper books. Both get to stay.
- Since we’re keeping paper books, dogearing be damned. All the cool ways you can save your corners and keep your place. It’s genius.
- And for those type nerds, here’s how to kern like a pro. Type design makes my heart go pitter-pat.
- Ok, slightly off-topic, but speaking of pitter-pat- what about these KITCHENS? I kind of want all of them.
- Back on track- this quirky library is on my list as a must-see for my next SF trip. Hopefully in early 2016…
- And this is going into my audible player today. Thankfully my guy already bought it. Cannot wait to listen to this one.
- And just because, words of wisdom from one of my heroes: Dumbledore.
Hello, Everyone! I decided it was time to start the video train here on the blog.
As I mentioned, I was so touched that so many people asked for book recommendations on Facebook recently on my birthday that I decided to reply by video.
More info on some things I mentioned in the video:
- Lucia Berlin, A Manual For Cleaning Women
- Susannah Conway, This I Know
- Sarah Selecky’s Story Intensive
Let me know what you think of the format. It was really fun putting it together and getting to speak spontaneously about these books.
I look forward to doing more. There may be some replies to Dear Book Dr. that are easier to respond to via video… stay tuned.
the book dr.