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Growing up as an only child, my favorite playmates were books.  I didn't just read them, though.  I would leaf through the pages and make up games in my head about specific words, I would make up songs about the characters, I would gaze into the pictures for minutes at a time analyzing all of the intricate little details looking for faces or shapes or anything that stands out  - I guess that's the artist in me.  I still do that as an adult. 

I live in a little red house in the cutest sweetest town with an adorable gray cat named Donkey, a neurotic labrador-chihuahua named Chuck, and a wiggly new puppy named Seger.

I am a wedding and portrait photographer.  In my spare time I read books and work at the book store.  It's a great reprieve.  When I go into work, I feel like I am taking a day off.  

I would give anything to:
• Be a travel photographer for Lonely Planet.
• Have the ability to stop time but continue living.
• Have a happy, healthy family and to be able to have them around forever.
• Have a constant soundtrack playing during my life.  Life is so much more magical with music.
• Make a difference in the world.  Seriously.  World peace sounds like a pretty good plan to me.

Book List
ISBN-13: 9780060856267
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial, 4/2006
I didn't know a lot about the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian genocide back in the 70s until I went to Cambodia in 2012. It's not something they taught in school. Over 2 million Cambodians lost their lives at the hands of Pol Pot and his extremist followers.

Five-year-old Luong Ung lived a comfortable life in Phnom Penh until the Khmer Rouge army stormed into the city, forcing her family out of their home and into horrific work camps reminiscent of Hitler's concentration camps. After she was separated from her family, Loung was trained as a child soldier in a camp for orphans where the extremist soldiers attempted to brainwash her. Her siblings were sent to labor camps, and those who survived the horrors would not be reunited until the Khmer Rouge was destroyed.

This is a must-read. It is an accurate and powerful account of was like to survive the four years of absolute insanity while Pol Pot reighned Cambodia. It's a quick read and will leave you with a knowledge you didn't know you were missing.

ISBN-13: 9780307886279
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Three Rivers Press, 11/2012
If you like Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, Zoey Deschanel, and other funny women of today, you will just love Mindy Kaling. She is so funny and so honest. I can relate to her because of her honesty. I tell people way too much about my personal life. For example, just yesterday I walked into the room and announced to my boyfriend and his best friend that I had just eaten four Johan's donuts. That's something Mindy would admit to doing only she would make it sound a lot funnier and a lot less pathetic. Seriously though, it's her honesty and her humor that totally sucked me in. I really believe that if we could all be just a little more honest about our silly mistakes and embarrassing moments, everyone would be more confident and emotionally healthy! I am pretty sure that everyone at one point in their life has had an embarrassing binge on Halloween candy, girl scout cookies, or caramel corn. If not, then I suggest you do it ASAP because it's really fun...and then you feel pretty sick...but the 20 minutes when it's happening are magical. Mindy's book is laugh out loud funny. Girls from generations X and Y will relate best to Mindy's hilarious opinions, advice, and life experiences. This isn't epic literature, but it's a great lighthearted read. Just like Tina Fey's Bossypants, it's even better on audio.

ISBN-13: 9781401324643
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hyperion, 9/2012
Set in Sweden, this quirky, clever novel follows the past and present adventures of the endearing Swedish centenarian, Allan Karlsson.  Allan has just turned 100 years old and instead of attending his birthday celebration, he decides he's had enough of his Old Folks Home and climbs out the window of his room embarking on one last adventure.
Allan finds himself with a one-way bus ticket and a stolen suitcase containing some very interesting contents.  When he gets off the bus he finds himself at an old railway station occupied by the town's infamous Julius Jonsson who becomes his partner-in-crime.  
The book goes back and forth between the story of Allan's road trip through Sweden where he is trying to escape both the police and the gang whose suitcase he stole, and the funny story of Allan's journey through life. It quickly becomes clear that Allan was directly involved in many significant events of the 20th century.
From Sweden to China to Iran - there's never a dull moment with Allan Karlsson.  This is a lighthearted and charming book.

ISBN-13: 9781616951290
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Soho Press, 12/2012

Wealthy Hollywood studio executive Greyson Todd's mind never quiets, his heart is never full, and he is forever in a state of emotional turbulence. He has surrendered to his emotionally chaotic life and has resolved to leave his wife and young daughter. One night he goes into the backyard to pick up after the dog and never returns.

Greyson travels the world giving in to his every desire. In the confines of his manic-depressive brain, he is always floating somewhere between living on the edge or hardly living at all. He manages to make it ten exciting years before landing himself in a New York psychiatric ward where he suffers through electroshock therapy and drugs that bleed him dry of feeling or emotion.

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See is a rollercoaster of breathless excitement and dark emotional pain. This addicting story weaves in and out of four timelines: Greyson's childhood with his emotionally disturbed father, the tumultuous relationship with his wife and daughter, his time in the New York psychiatric ward, and his reckless travel around the world.

This book is both hilarious and heartbreaking, You will laugh and you will cry throughout this page-turning whirlwind. I read nonstop through the last heartrending page.

ISBN-13: 9780307718099
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter, 12/2011
You must own this cookbook.
I got my mom a big, beautiful hardcover cookbook for her birthday and she graciously accepted it, but a few days later kindly told me that she'd rather exchange it for a book she'd been wanting to read. She told me that by now, she'd collected all the cookbooks she needed.
I got this cookbook a few months ago and have been raving to everyone. The recipes are tasty, the portions are hefty, the preparation is easy, and every recipe is under 500 calories!
I literally carry the cookbook in my purse so that no matter where I am, I know I can make a yummy, healthy dinner without planning ahead. Last weekend I was having dinner with friends, and somehow we started talking about the contents of my purse. I pulled out my cookbook and two people decided to buy a copy!
I'm sure you're wondering why I told you about my mom. After trying out a few of the recipes, she just had me send her the cookbook last week.   She loves it!

ISBN-13: 9780688040741
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books, 8/1984