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Paging Readers: What do you grab for a flight?

Paging Readers: What do you grab for a flight?

Ready readers! Imagine you’re racing to catch a flight or to board a train for a cross-country trip. What reading material do you pick up for the ride?

Do you pick a paperback? Grab a Kindle or a Nook? Load up your smart phone? Or do you pop for a sturdy cloth-bound book and carry it aboard?

Are you more likely to plan ahead and order a book online? Will you browse through a local bookstore? Or do you simply snatch a bestseller off the rack in an airport or train station magazine stand?

What is your favorite book genre for vacations or business travel? Are you partial to mysteries, romances, biographies, memoirs, science fiction, classic literature, or what?

Just for fun:

How many of this week’s New York Times Bestseller List top 10 fiction books have you read?

Top 10 Hardbound Fiction (week of 10-30-11)

  1. The Best of Me, by Nicholas Sparks
  2. The Marriage Plot: A Novel, by Jeffrey Eugenides
  3. Snuff: A Novel of Discworld, by Terry Pratchett
  4. The Affair: A Reacher Novel (Jack Reacher), by Lee Child
  5. Shock Wave (A Virgil Flowers Novel), by John Sandford
  6. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
  7. A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five, by George R.R. Martin
  8. Lethal, by Sandra Brown
  9. The Dovekeepers: A Novel, by Alice Hoffman
  10. 1225 Christmas Tree Lane (Cedar Cove Novels), by Debbie Macomber
Top 10 Trade Fiction (week of 10-30-11)

  1. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett
  2. Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay
  3. The Fifth Witness, by Michael Connelly
  4. Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese
  5. Room: A Novel, by Emma Donoghue
  6. The Sixth Man, by David Baldacci
  7. Freedom: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club), by Jonathan Franzen
  8. Dead or Alive, by Tom Clancy
  9. The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel, by Garth Stein
  10. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, by David Sedaris
Top 10 Paperback Fiction (week of 10-30-11)

  1. Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, by Todd Burpo
  2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
  3. Moneyball, by Michael Lewis
  4. Outliers: The Story of Success
    by Malcolm Gladwell
  5. Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff
  6. The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls
  7. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead, by Max Brooks
  8. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History, by S. C. Gwynne
  9. At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson
  10. Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom, by Jennifer S. Holland
OK, I have some catching up to do. So far, I’ve read just four of the 30 bestselling novels listed here. How about you?

Of course, we could just wait a year or two … for the movies!

Woman Reading photo by Sage Ross
Creative Commons Licensing

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Mayo Clinic's piano-playing seniors hold keys to long-lasting love

What’s the secret to a successful long-term romance and likable longevity? Ask Iowans Marlow and Frances Cowan, and they’ll likely say fun is the ticket.

Maybe you’ve seen this one.

The elderly couple, married more than 60 years and hailing from Ankeny, Iowa, became an internet sensation in 2009 without even owning a computer.

Visiting the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in September 2008 for several days of testing, the Cowans discovered a grand piano in a bright atrium of the massive medical complex. On the piano was a sign, inviting folks to play.

The couple began tickling the ivories, tapping out a lively and comically choreographed impromptu duet of 1910’s “Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet.” And folks went wild.

Take a look and a listen:


A Mayo patient named Sharon grabbed a video camera and caught the Cowans’ performance. When Sharon’s daughter Jodi uploaded the recording to YouTube, it went viral. More than 7.7 million have viewed it so far. The couple has been featured on “Good Morning, America” and Japanese TV.

The Mayo Clinic even had them back for an encore performance last year.

“We’re praising the Lord,” Marlow said in a videotaped interview. “That’s the reason we’re doing this.”

Based on the polish of their public performances, we can only assume Marlow and Frances Cowan have tried this at home – many, many times. And, when it comes to long-lasting love and laughter, surely practice makes perfect.

“My three brothers and I are so very proud of them,” wrote the Cowans’ daughter DeDe Cowan Shour. “God has done great things through them to bring a smile or a laugh to millions of people all over the world. This was an answer to their prayer that God would find some way to use them to bring joy to others in their old age.”

Maybe we need to ask ourselves: Are we having fun yet?

Video screenshots

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Fashion designer's chic centerpiece has savage style in the bag

Fashion designer's chic centerpiece has savage style in the bag.
Creative centerpieces adorn festive tables for holiday gatherings. Home decorating, craft and hospitality how-to magazines fairly fly off the racks each season, as hosts and hostesses seek new and clever ways to decorate their banquet tables for special gatherings.

Louis Vuitton has got it in the bag, so to speak, with sculptured centerpieces.

Commissioned by the designer house, British sculptor Billie Achilleos combined wit and whimsy to create three-dimensional critters for a recent party at Deyrolle, a taxidermy store in Paris. Using whole bags and belts, pocketbooks and purses, Achilleos shaped armadillos, chameleons, grasshoppers and more.

Achilleos harmed no animals in creating the wildly imaginative artwork from a variety of existing Louis Vuitton leather fashion accessories. Animal rights activists may take issue, if desired, with leather-makers (and perhaps the taxidermists hosting the fashion event), but likely not with the sculptor.

Achilleos has produced additional animal sculptures from Louis Vuitton wares, which are displayed in the artist’s own U.K. gallery and in New York City.

Holy armadillo, Batman! That’s some savage table display.

Wild leather creature sculptures surely seem more intriguing than the traditional diaper cake or even the over-50 bra cake. Of course, such creations have their place with informal gatherings, which can become zany zoos of their own. But that's a different sort of animal altogether.

What do you think?  What accessory-based animal art would you like to see adorning your own holiday table?

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