Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Salon: Meeting an Author & Computer Woes

I met an author this weekend. My husband and I decided to stop in at Borders Saturday afternoon. I thought he wanted to get a copy of a Umberto Eco's most recent book (he's currently reading The Name of the Rose and enjoying it), and he thought there was a book I was looking for. Neither of us really had any intention of buying any books. Of course, I was the one who walked out with two anyway. He of the 18 book TBR pile is already feeling a bit overwhelmed by his stack of unread books. When I asked him if he'd found what he was looking for, he said yes. He doesn't want to get it just yet though. It will surely topple over his neatly stacked pile. If my conscience had an eyebrow, it definitely was raised when I snickered in response. I would be so lucky to have his will power, his sense of reason, and a TBR pile I can see the end of.

While my husband went in one direction and I contemplated whether I wanted to spend the last of my gift card, I noticed a table in the corner near the front door with a display of books propped up beside it. A local author sat behind the table writing in his notebook. I had a little conversation in my head, wondering if I should approach him or steer clear. I tried to make out the cover of his book from a distance. Did it look like something I would read? I knew if I approached, I probably wouldn't walk away empty handed. I'm quite shy when it comes to approaching strangers, and striking up a conversation is doubly hard. Even so, Kip Shelton and I had a nice conversation about short stories, favorite authors (I completely drew a blank--why do I do that?), and blogs/websites. We also talked about the importance of giving voice to little known authors who seem to get lost in the shuffle among the bigger more prominent names. We did not talk for long, but I enjoyed our chat. In the end, I walked away with a signed copy of his book, First Person Shooter.

As to what I am reading now, I am in between books. I am craving something light and frivolous after reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I was not sure I would be able to fit Still Alice in this month, much less in time for Florinda's read-along. Some of you may have read this one earlier in the year. It has gotten a lot of good press among readers and critics. I will be posting my own thoughts about the book tomorrow. It is one of those books that stays with you long after you finish it.

I was writing my review of Still Alice, in the middle of a thought, when my computer shut down. It has been doing that a lot lately and more and more when I am in the middle of something. The computer has been acting up for months now. It had this annoying habit of rebooting at random or not shutting off when I wanted it too. It wasn't so bad though. Until recently that is; now that it shuts down all its own at the most inopportune times. I have run several virus checks using various scanners. Nothing. My husband and I have tried several other recommended tricks to try and discover the problem to no avail. I think it is time to take my laptop in for a professional opinion. Fingers crossed whatever is wrong is easy to fix and covered by warranty.

In the meantime, I have been looking at other laptops. My husband and I have talked at length about my getting a new one. He'll keep the old one, use it as a secondary computer to his desktop. He's been wanting mobility for awhile now, if only for word processing, and this will work out perfectly. It's an expense we probably should not take on, but now that the idea is in our heads, we are determined to make it work. Figuring out what kind of computer to get has been my biggest dilemma. There are so many brands out there. My current computer is a Dell. I probably won't be getting another one of those anytime soon. The Toshiba and Sony Vaio look promising. What I really want is a MacBook Pro, but financially that just isn't feasible.

My computer has managed to stay on as I write this post. Whew. Thank goodness for periodic automatic saves.

I hope you all have a great week filled with many happy bookish moments. As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts. How are you spending your day? Are you reading anything interesting at the moment?

This Week In Reading Mews:

Reviews Posted:
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl (& a Giveaway - open worldwide)

Reviews Coming This Week:
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
In the Wake of the Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua

New Additions to my TBR collection:
Bought with birthday gift cards (I still have $0.67 left):
  • Tethered by Amy MacKinnon
  • The Outlander by Gil Adamson (recommended by Kelly from The Written World)
  • Friendly Fire by Alaa Al Aswany
  • My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Family's Past by Ariel Saber
  • The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
  • The Dracula Dossier by James Reese
  • First Person Shooter: A Collection of Multi-Genre Short Stories by Kip Shelton
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Gift from Softdrink at Fizzy Thoughts)
Posts of Interest This Week:
Monday At the Movies: The Invention of Lying
Wordless Wednesday: Growing Up
Animals and Writing: A Guest Post by Matthew Pearl

© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I hate the "choosing a computer" process! We recently replaced our kids' laptop and, like you, I was tempted by Mac but knew I'd be replacing our desktop soon as well and just couldn't face up to the price tag. The desktop was replaced a couple of weeks ago. We used to have Dells, and we now have HPs, mostly because HP had a really helpful "help me choose" link on their website that was really useful. Hope things work out for you!

    Also glad you were brave enough to chat with the local author. I am always shy about those things, too.

  2. I used to be as reasonable and rational as your husband. Those days are long gone, ha!

    Sorry to hear about your computer woes, and good luck picking a new one!

  3. You probably made that local author's day. There's nothing more awkward for an author than sitting in a store behind a table of books and nobody comes up to chat. Authors understand that you can't buy every single book you come across, and they appreciate even just your interest in their book.

    As for your computer search, I recently got a Toshiba Satellite laptop and so far, I'm very happy with it. I still love my HP desktop, but I needed the mobility of a laptop. It's a lot of computer for a very reasonable price.

  4. I giggled at your husband's huge, looming TBR pile! God bless him! If only we all had that much self-control! Sorry about the computer...nothing will ruin my day quicker than computer issues. Still, a new laptop is exciting! How is it that my husband has a great big fast Dell, my son is getting one for his birthday, and my daughter will get one for Christmas, and I still have this big stationary thing? I want to blog on the go!

  5. We bought a new laptop about a year or so ago, and I've been very happy with it. I have pretty much exclusively used HP, since I've had my own computers. My very first laptop lasted me a good five years before we had to replace it, which is like a millennium in computer technology time. Good luck with your search!

  6. This Dell is almost 3 years old and has died on me once already. I took it in and they fixed it and I didn't lose anything, thankfully. At the time they installed Kaspersky Anti-virus and that seems to have done the trick. So far, anyway! (knock on wood!)

    I read The Weight of Silence and liked it. It's a quick read.

    I wish we even had any type of decent bookstore in our area!

    As for husbands, while very intelligent, my DH is not a book reader. His TBR pile consists of On the Water, Easy Rider, In the Wind magazines!

    Have a good reading week!

  7. sorry about your computer woes. It sounds like exactly what was happening to our Dell Inspiron laptop. It would shut down at random times, and then eventually did it on a pretty regular basis, it every 5 minutes....UGHHHHH It was 3 years old, and since we only used that one for email and internet, we bought another DELL, 15" for $499 at Best Buy for a replacement. It has Vista, but we are eligible for the free Windows 7 upgrade. (It's been fine). We have another Dell laptop that house our Excel, Word and other programs.

    Good Luck.

    BTW: I loved Still ALice, powerful, and I'll be waiting for your reviews this week, as I have the 2 books you'll be reviewing. Have a great week.

  8. When I see books, my rationality goes out of the window!

    I too was having computer woes a few months back. I replaced my RAM. IT is working great now.

    Sunday Salon: Post Diwali

  9. Hehe... you had me laughing about how you ended up in the bookstore. I agree, you probably made the author's day. Good for you for going and talking to him! I hope you enjoy the book.

    Good luck with the computer. Technology can be sooooo frustrating sometimes!

  10. Good luck on finding a new is exciting to be looking at new computers though! I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Still Alice...not sure if it is on my tbr list or not. Hope you have a wonderful week!

  11. Self-control? Around books? Bwahahahaha! Don't make me laugh. ;-) I have exactly none, of course.

    Good for you for talking to Kip Shelton. I lurk around corners too trying to determine if it's really something I want to read since it's a sure bet that I'll walk out with an inscribed copy if I walk over to them. I swear the publicity/marketing thing must be the worst part of being an author not backed by a huge marketing budget at a major publisher!

    Good luck with the computer search. I'd love a new one (and please make it a laptop, Santa) but it's just not in the cards right now. ::sigh:: I'll have to live vicariously though other people. :-)

  12. Wow, his 18 book tbr pile. lol-That cracked me up big time! Boy could I ever use a bit of his will power too. I have zero. I'm glad you had a nice author visit. I don't usually see too many authors here.

    Computer problems must be going around. I've got to call a professional about mine this week as well. It just stops doing anything at all after a few minutes. I've been working on my old one for a while now.

    Have a great week Wendy!

  13. 18 books? I'd kill for that. Ok, maybe not, but it would be nice not to have the stress of 250+ books to read (and still acquiring at a ridiculous pace).

    As for meeting the author--how brave of you! I probably would have walked the other way as I'm not very good at small talk either. I did meet Brunonia Barry this week (I think you saw the post), and when it came time to introduce myself and tell her that I was actually part of her TLC Blog Tour I froze up and started stumbling over my words! I always feel kind of funny talking about book blogging with others and am curious how it came up in your conversation with Kip Shelton.

    Good luck with the computer. I'd love to have a laptop--might help me get online more often since I wouldn't have to be confined to my office.

  14. I would have gone over to talk to the author too and I'm sure I would have bought a copy of his book as well. I hope you get your computer issues resolved soon.

  15. Sorry about you computer woes! It is no fun. And I had to laugh at your husband's 18 book TBR pile. I've got at least 4 times that sitting around the house, not to mention the huge list at Goodreads! Tell him he is doing very, very well.

    I'm sure you made Kip Shelton's day! Have a great week.

  16. I look forward to your thoughts on Still Alice. I've had it on my TBR shelves for a few weeks now.

  17. Glad you had the chance to meet an author this weekend! I went to Borders today too, but didn't talk to anyone except my husband and the cashier :-).

    I'm so glad you were able to find the time to read Still Alice - you and my sister both got to it ahead of me! I'm only about half-way done, but I still think I'll be finishing and reviewing it this week. It's going to one of the toughest I've ever written - tough to keep focused on the book itself.

    Bummer about your laptop! My son got himself a new Dell laptop a few months ago. The hard drive quit on him not long ago, but it was replaced for free since it's still under warranty. He's still pretty pleased with it, though. As for me, you know I live in a Mac house. My MacBook (NOT Pro) is almost two years old and still doing very well for me. My husband has his eye on a new iMac desktop. Good luck with your computer shopping!

    Have a good week, Wendy!

  18. Still Alice hit me with an emotional punch that I wasn't ready for. I loved it but it broke my heart. I bought a Compaq a few months ago and really love it. I would love a MAC too but $$$$. Your addition of books look great and I think it is so cool to meet a new author!! I can't wait until you get to his book and tell us what you think!!

    Hope your week is great and your computer starts behaving!!

  19. LOL about your husband's 18 book TBR. I can't even imagine such a thing!

    Have a great week!

  20. How I wish I've a managable TBR pile! But then, it's still so hard to say no to books that we want, isn't it? ;)

    I can totally understand about your frustration re. the computer issue, Wendy. I want to purchase a laptop but most of the time I'm either using my office PC or my hubby's laptop. :P

    I hope you've a great week ahead, Wendy!

  21. It's always such a pain when your computer starts to be a problem. On the flip side it's always fun to get a new one. I wish Mac's weren't so darn expensive. I wanted one really bad last year when I replaced my old, big, bulky computer but I figured I could go through two pc laptops with the price on one Mac.

  22. I practically split a gut laughing about your hubby's looming TBR pile. I am over even having my bookshelf looking neat without any books stacked in front of the rows! Reading book blogs will do that to ya. I wish him the best of luck in continuing his steadfastness.

    Too bad about your laptop. I have a Toshiba because I really think it is easy to use, but it just does not have staying power. My first Toshiba's screen quit last year and fixing it cost more than getting a new laptop so I got a new laptop. This one seems to be working better, other than the plug it came with already broke and I was lucky that my dad's computer's plug works in mine even though his laptop was a HP. So my next laptop will so definitely not be a Toshiba. I mean, seriously, wtf? It's always about 2 days after the warranty is up, too, which makes it even more annoying. When they say a year, they mean a year.

  23. Hope the diagnosis is not too costly for your computer. Mine did this several years ago but I can't recall what was causing it. I'm lucky enough now to have a son who is very tech savvy and builds computers so computer repairs are very inexpensive--a little deposit into his gas account and we're good to go!

  24. Laura - I kind of know what features I want, but knowing which brand to get is the hardest part for me. If Macs were more affordable, it would be a much easier decision process, wouldn't it?

    I am glad I took a chance and talked to him. He was a really nice person.

    Nymeth - I once was too, Ana. I blame blogs and reading groups for pushing me over the edge. :-)

    Ingrid - I imagine it can be very difficult to be in that position, sitting at that table hoping someone will stop by and say hi and take a closer look at his or her book. I'm so bad about saying no when the author is right there in front of me though. That's why I really shy away from approaching authors whose book I know I won't really be interested in. Then I feel bad for not showing my support. I'm glad I took a chance and talked with Kip. He sounds like someone I could sit down with and talk with for a while if I could get over my initial shyness.

    I am glad to hear you are happy with your Toshiba Satellite. That's one of the ones I've been considering. And you're right about the prices. They're very reasonable.

    Sandy - LOL Every time he makes a comment about how big his TBR pile is, I have to smile. He lives in my TBR pile. I can't imagine what he thinks of mine given how many more unread books I have than he does.

    I am so very frustrated with my computer. This shutting off business is a real pain. I read an article recently that talked about how computer brands don't really matter--that they all pretty much are the same. It's just a matter of features and the individual computer. My current Dell may be a lemon but the next one could be a real winner.

    I hope you are able to get a laptop one of these days. I really like having the mobility that mind offers.

    Lexi - My husband was saying the HPs are pretty good. I used to have a desktop that was an HP and liked it. My lap top is a year and a half years. I think it's too soon for it to give up on me, so I'm really disappointed in it.

    Linda - Hubby and I have been backing everything up on my laptop just in case--and in preparation for when I do decide on getting a new computer. I am glad you were able to get yours up and running again without losing anything! Hopefully it will last for awhile yet. :-)

    I'm looking forward to reading The Weight of Silence. It may have been you I learned about it! I am so bad about keeping track of who recommended what.

    I hope you have a good reading week too!

  25. Diane - Thank you, Diane. I have an Inspiron too. :-( Mine's only a year and a half years old though.

    I'm waiting until Windows 7 comes out before buying the computer. I may buy it online instead of going into the store. We'll see.

    Still Alice was so good! I am glad I read it.

    I hope you have a great week too.

    Gautami - Haha! My rationality goes out the window when it comes to books too. :-)

    Hopefully it will be an easy (and inexpensive) fix for my computer too. It would be great if my husband could actually use it since I know he'd like to have one.

    Kristie - Wasn't that funny? We both thought the other wanted to go to the bookstore and that's why we went. :-)

    I hope I enjoy the book too. The stories are varied and they sound like ones I'll enjoy so I'm hopeful.

    Yes, technology is the cause for many headaches in my house lately.

    Samantha - Thank you! It is exciting, but I'm not sure I like having so many choices. LOL

    I hope you have a wonderful week too!

    Kristen - I have very little self-control when it comes to books too. My husband is quite as crazed as I am, I think.

    You too? It's nice to know I'm not the only one who checks out an author from a distance at the bookstore and always ends up buying a copy of the book if you do.

    I think the marketing would be my least favorite part of being a published author.

    Thanks for the good luck wishes on the computer front!

    Dar - I try not to laugh in front of him when he talks about his overwhelming stack. It's all in perception.

    I'm sorry you're having computer problems too. Ugh. It's so frustrating, isn't it?

  26. Trish - I know what you mean. Sometimes I wish I only had a TBR stack of 18 books. And then to be able to stop adding to it!

    Thanks. I am proud of myself for taking a chance and talking to the author. Given how shy I can be, it's a big step for me. :-) I think it's so awesome that you got to meet Brunonia Barry.

    It's so funny you should ask how my being a blogger came up in my conversation with Kip Shelton. I blurted it out of nowhere. Really eloquent of me, I know. I just said, "I'm a blogger." I think we were talking about gaming at that point (he used to be a gamer) or maybe that's how I led into that topic. I'm not sure. I don't recommend you follow my lead.

    Thank you for the good luck wishes! I really like having a laptop. The mobility makes it all worth it.

    Kathy - Kip Shelton was very nice and easy to talk to. I'm glad I took a chance and went over to speak with him.

    Gavin - Thanks. I keep expecting my computer to die right when I'm in the middle of responding to my comments.

    Yes, my husband's TBR pile is put to shame by many of ours, isn't it? LOL

    Kathleen - I got a little personal in my review of Still Alice, so it's pretty long. Hopefully no one will mind.

    Florinda - It must have been a weekend for Borders visits. Did you have the 30% off coupon too?

    I cried and cried as I read Still Alice. It was a very emotional read. I even cried re-reading my review of the book a few minutes ago. I'm glad you made me read it though. ;-)

    I am glad your son was able to get the hard drive replaced for free. I would love a Mac. Probably because everyone I know who has a Mac loves it. I keep hoping hubby will say that we can get one, but I know he won't. We really can't afford it. :-(

    I hope you have a good week too!

    Staci - Still Alice did that to me too. It was a very emotional reading experience for me. It hit close to home.

    I'll have to look into Compaq. I really do wish I had the money for a Mac.

    Hopefully I'll get a chance to start Kip Shelton's book soon. It's a collection of short stories and not very long.

    I hope you have a great week too!

  27. Yvonne - I can't imagine that either. LOL Have a great week!

    Melody - I wish I had a manageable TBR pile too, Melody. I guess I should take into consideration how much my husband reads. Eighteen books is a lot since he doesn't read quite as much as I do. :-)

    It'll be nice when I have a fully functioning computer again.

    I hope you have a great week too!

    Booklogged - Yes, the up side is being able to get a new computer. :-) I am so ready for a problem-free computer. I wonder if there is such a thing though.

    Rebecca - LOL It's hard for me not to laugh when he talks about his "big" TBR pile too.

    That's too bad that your Toshiba isn't all that reliable. Definitely something for me to think about.

    Lisa (Lit&Life) - I hope it won't cost too much either, Lisa. The computer is still under warranty and hopefully the problem and the fix will be covered under it too. My husband is pretty good with computers too, but he's at a complete loss with this one.

  28. I spent the afternoon at my parents' house, watching the Seahawks game, which was depressing. Oh, well.

    I'm still reading Fire by Cashore and The Financial Lives of Poets by Jess Walter - they're both good, I just haven't had enough time to read!

    Have a wonderful week, Wendy. :)

  29. Carrie (B&M) - I take it the Seahawks lost then? I'm sorry. :-( I was sad to see the Angels lose last night to the Yankees.

    I am glad you are enjoying Fire and The Financial Lives of Poets. The title of the second one makes me a little leary, but I've heard it's really good.

  30. I'm so glad you approached the author sitting with his books. I've been in that position and it's awkward. I've felt so grateful when someone comes up who's actually interested in the books rather than trying to find directions to the bathroom.

  31. I always blank out on things I really want to remember at the most inopportune times so you are in good company. I think it's great you ended up speaking to Kip Shelton and I am absolutely sure he was very happy to meet and talk with you. Do you think you'll like his book?

    We have computer problems in this house too and I won'r be surprised if out if the screen explodes or melts down into big puddle of goo any day now. Of course we haven't done anything about it mostly because we can't figure out what to do!

    I'm off to read your review of Still Alice which very much intrigues me since Alzheimer's is a condition I am familiar with.

    ~ Amy

  32. My desktop computer's acting funky too. It keeps going to the CMOS setting and I had to reset the time most of the time. I think it's about to go anytime soon... It's more than 6 years old.

    I'm going to read STILL ALICE soon. It's been in my TBR pile for quite some time.

  33. I love meeting authors. You probably made his day :)

  34. Yes, you did make my day. I enjoyed our coversation and I did find your blog. I do hope you enjoy my book. And again thank you for coming by and talking with me. Also, when it comes to computers, unless you're doing heavy graphic work or video editing, steer clear of 64 bit machines. The more RAM the better, and as big a hard drive as you can get. I have had great experience with my dell Inspiron and bad luck with a handful of HPs. Yes, I'm also a computer geek. Thanks again!

  35. Karen - It must be so hard starting out or not being as well known as someone like Nora Roberts. I need to watch the local bookstore websites more regularly to see when authors will be appearing. We don't seem to get too many out this way though.

    Amy (7 Tails) - I'm glad I'm not alone--although I wish neither one of us would lose our thoughts at the most inopportune times like that. :-S

    I do think I'll like the book. It passed my "buy or not buy" test in the store. I like to read a little excerpt to make sure the writing pulls me in.

    Alice - Oh no! I hope you are able to get your computer problems sorted out. At least it's lasted for quite a while. I think I read somewhere that the average life of a laptop is about 3 to 5 years. Hopefully my new one (once I get it) will last that long!

    Stacy - I enjoy meeting authors too. I've yet to meet one that wasn't friendly. Well, maybe that one time . . .

    Kip - You made my day too. It's nice to meet a new-to-me author and I'm looking forward to reading your book.

    Thank you for the advice on the computer. And for dropping in and commenting.


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