Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Book Report: Fun Books

We're back to t-shirt weather, and I think I've got one I haven't mentioned before, so we'll temporarily resume that old feature. Today's t-shirt is for the PrimeCo Personal Communications PR Summit 1996 (it's definite cleaning wear). This was the cell phone company that was later merged with a lot of stuff to eventually become Verizon Wireless, and I was on the PR team for the launch. The really fun part of that was that I had to work out of their offices for the launch day to handle any media inquiries while their own PR staff was at the launch event, and while I was on the phone with a reporter, they evacuated the headquarters building because of a bomb threat. When you're on the phone with a reporter, the last thing you want to do is let him know there's a bomb threat, but at the same time, the police and fire department are practically dragging you out of the building. I had to come up with some reason I had to go, then got his number and ran out with a cell phone -- only to find out they weren't letting us use cell phones near the building for fear of setting off the bomb. I think I ended up walking about half a mile down the street to start letting people know what was going on. I don't think they ever found a bomb.

Ah, fun times. See why I love being a writer instead?

I've been on a "fun book" tear lately because after all my deadlines, it feels good to just unwind. So, here's a list of recent fun reading:

Confessions of a Serial Dater by Michelle Cunnah -- This book was incredibly mis-titled. The title and cover make it look like the book's about a commitmentphobe who dates around a lot, and there's nothing like that in the book. The heroine dates all of two men in the course of the book and has one ex-boyfriend mentioned -- and the relationships that ended were ended by the men. Fortunately, I liked the book on the pages far more than I probably would have liked the book that went with the cover. I'm not sure what title I would have given it, but I usually suck at titles. The book seemed to be more about social networks and how the heroine's friends and family and their friends and family wove together in good and bad ways. Good: when her old friend turned out to be the perfect person for a hard-to-fill job. Bad: when her most recent ex's new girlfriend turned out to be the co-worker of her cousin's fiance, so she kept running into her ex at family wedding-related events. If you liked the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, this book is similar in tone, with the idea of a great person the main character keeps running into at the worst times and the big group of wacky friends and relatives.

Coupon Girl by Becky Motew -- I totally forgot to talk about this one when it came out because it was one where I read the manuscript ages before publication for a cover blurb. I finally got a copy of the finished book and re-read it. This is a real "happy" book because it just makes me feel good. Our heroine is a saleswoman for those coupon mailers, and in order to win a sales contest so she can replace her psychotic car, she's supposed to get "close to the business" by finding ways to get involved in the community. Her idea: audition for the community theater production of The Sound of Music. She ends up meeting a very interesting cross-section of the community through both her work and the show, and the climax is an account of possibly the most hilarious production of The Sound of Music ever to be performed. It almost makes me want to do community theater.

Cyber Cinderella by Christina Hopkinson -- this caught my eye in the bookstore mostly because of the title. I really like variations on the Cinderella story. The premise is one of those "Oooh, why didn't I think of that?" ones. Our heroine gets bored at work and Googles herself -- only to find a web site about her, complete with paparazzi-like photos of her at parties and out with friends and pictures from her school days. The site makes her look like an energetic woman-about-town with an exciting life. The problem is, she's not famous at all. She has a boring life, a job she hates and a bad boyfriend. Does she have a secret admirer or a scary stalker? With the help of the cute office IT guy, she sets out to find the identity of the webmaster. Meanwhile, seeing her life like that on the web makes her re-evaluate it. It raises the question of what you might do differently if you realized that someone was watching you and reporting your life to the world. My one complaint about the book was that I did sometimes want to slap the heroine around. She's one of those people who would rather be with a bad boyfriend -- an alcoholic who doesn't seem to care for her outside the bedroom and who is sponging off her -- than be alone. I know there are people like that, but it's an utterly foreign concept to me, and I get frustrated with people who refuse to break up with people they know are bad for them just because they think it's worse not to have a boyfriend.

And now, back to the cleaning and organizing. I almost don't recognize my own home.

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