Faith Salie | What I’m Reading

April 8, 2018

I am a big fan of NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” and Faith Salie is one of the smartest guests they have on. In fact, she recently set a record with her high score. So I was curious to see what she is reading, and hope you are too! Plus she has a book….

Approval Junkie: My Heartfelt (and Occasionally Inappropriate) Quest to Please Just

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About Everyone, and Ultimately Myself

From comedian and journalist Faith Salie, of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and CBS News Sunday Morning, a collection of daring, funny essays chronicling the author’s adventures during her lifelong quest for approval

Faith Salie has done it all in the name of validation. Whether she’s trying to impress her parents with a perfect GPA, undergoing an exorcism to save her toxic marriage, or baking a 3D excavator cake for her son’s birthday, Salie is the ultimate approval seeker—an “approval junkie,” if you will.

In this collection of daring, honest essays, Salie shares stories from her lifelong quest for gold stars, recounting her strategy for winning (very Southern) high school beauty pageant; her struggle to pick the perfect outfit to wear to her divorce; and her difficulty falling in love again, and then conceiving, in the years following her mother’s death.

With thoughtful irreverence, Salie reflects on why she tries so hard to please others, and herself, highlighting a phenomenon that many people—especially women—experience at home and in the workplace. Equal parts laugh-out loud funny and poignant, Approval Junkie is one woman’s journey to realizing that seeking approval from others is more than just getting them to like you—it’s challenging yourself to achieve, and survive, more than you ever thought you could.


April 7, 2018

I’ve been a fan of Pod Save America (and Crooked Media) since their first podcast with President Barack Obama when they did his last interview before he left office. The podcast is described as,

A political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane…a no-bullshit conversation about politics hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor that breaks down the week’s news and helps people figure out what matters and how to help.

That’s directly from the Crooked Media website, and I couldn’t have summed it up any better. These guys are smart, thoughtful, committed and funny as hell and they have kept me from sticking my head in the oven and helped me navigate the days since Trump took office. When I knew that the shit I was hearing from the White House didn’t make sense, or I didn’t understand how things in the West Wing* usually work, they explained. So when they announced a Miami stop on “Pod Tours America,” a live show of the podcast, I wanted to go.

*My only frame of reference for the West Wing is the TV show “The West Wing,” and my other favorite podcast, “The West Wing Weekly,” hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway and Joshua Malina.

Not only were they doing “Pod Save America,” there was a second show in Miami, “Lovett or Leave It.” Jon Lovett is smart and hilarious and does his podcast live every Friday night, usually in Los Angeles, and I often start my Saturday when the podcast becomes available. PSA is the more serious show, although it certainly has funny moments, especially when Lovett is on. Lovett’s show is my comic relief for the week. My husband and I bought tickets for both.

The shows were held in the Olympia Theater, a historic theater in Miami on April 6, 2018. On a side note, my husband works with a man who remembers going to that theater as a child. It was a movie theater back then, and he said they would pay a nickel to get in and spend most of the day there, watching cartoons, news, movies, etc.

First up was “Pod Save America” with the entire cast plus “Friend of the Pod,” contributor Akilah Hughes. There was a photo opp for a leadership group from a local Miami High school and Marco Rubio made an appearance (just kidding! But a giant Marco head did show up on stage.) Two seniors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Diego Pfeiffer and Delaney Tarr, were the guests.

The show was fantastic. A deep dive was taken into the news of the day (Trump, Scott Pruitt, Trump) and there was a great discussion about how Governor Rick Scott (boos were loud) has changed his politics as he readies for a run for the senate against long time Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who actually cares about his constituents and what happens to us. Marco Rubio was also discussed/made fun of.

Another segment was about news that was under the radar. Tommy Vietor’s passionate response to this question was a rant about Donald Trump and his recent attack on the caravan of immigrants moving towards the U.S. This was started by his getting erroneous information from the “entertainment show” Fox & Friends. Tommy said, “This is why I hate him (Donald Trump)…when he pounds on the people who have it the worst, he reveals his true character.” I love Tommy –  he was President Obama’s National Security Spokesman and has his own terrific podcast on foreign affairs called “Pod Save the World.”

When the MSD students came on stage, they were given a well deserved standing ovation, and Tommy Vietor and Dan Pfeiffer did a fine job interviewing them. It was truly inspiring.

As regular listeners of the pod know, the live shows tend to borrow a bit from “Lovett or Leave It,” specifically some of the games. This show did that, playing “Okay Stop” where they roll a film clip and the panelists shout out “okay stop” and comment on what they just heard. This one was a clip from Fox News featuring Tucker Carlson talking about the YouTube shooting and how the left wing media didn’t focus on the gun because it was just a handgun and didn’t fit their narrative. He neglected to point out that it was most likely because it was a handgun that the only death was that of the shooter by suicide. They also played a game with a member of the audience, Emily, a student at Florida Southern College. Once she said, “Go, Mocs” Jon Lovett lost his shit and thought she was cheering for shoes, and that started a whole discussion about water moccasins, what they are, school mascots, etc. and was pretty funny.

The show ended with a short Q&A from the audience, which doesn’t generally air on the podcast. They allowed the first three people who could get to the microphone to ask questions. Someone asked how to replicate fantastic schools like MSD. Unfortunately, there was no good answer to that. One, dare I say it, older lady, ran down there. She introduced herself an another kind of “senior”  and a Broward County teacher, and asked about FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran in 2007. His son was one of her students. Despite the fact that it was over ten years ago, Tommy Vietor took that question, had all the available facts at his fingertips, and spoke eloquently and compassionately about what happened, the little that they knew, and how he wished they could have handled it better. I was impressed by his candor and depth of knowledge about something that happened so long ago.

I am a baby boomer and all these guys are millenials, as is most of their audience. I could probably count on both hands the number of boomers in the audience. I couldn’t help but feel like I may not quite be the past yet, but these guys are definitely the present and along with the students from MSD, they are the future. Knowing there are such smart people invested in what is going on in this country today and are revving up for tomorrow leaves me feeling hopeful. Hope and change, I still believe.

“Lovett or Leave It” was the late show. To be honest, I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been to the earlier show, there was too much repetition. That said, I adore Jon Lovett, despite his disparaging baby boomer comments over the past year and his one time negative comment about libraries. I have forgiven, but obviously not forgotten. Bottom line is he makes me laugh out loud and I think he’s brilliant. His show is always irreverent, and this was no exception.

The format of the show is different from PSA. Lovett is the host and he always has three guest panelists on. Lately, he has taken to announcing really unlikely, often bizarre people as guests, like Scott Pruitt, before introducing the actual guests and that is always good for some boos and some laughs before the panelists appear. The guests for this show were Natasha Del Toro, who made a documentary called “Wasteland,” an in depth look at Scott Pruitt, Alicia Menendez, a contributing editor at Bustle and Akilah Hughes made a return appearance after doing the first show. It was a good panel but I was hoping that maybe Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum would have made an appearance.

Lovett is much more laid back and casual than PSA. The format of the show always starts with “What a Week,” a recap of all the insanity of the news of the week. It is almost always overwhelming to go through seven days in Trump’s America.

The rest of the show is divided into different games. There are regulars, like “Okay Stop” which made an appearance on this show as well, featuring another Fox News film clip featuring Fox & Friends presidential fave, Steve Doocy (has anyone ever been more aptly named?) Doocy raved about white privilege, bringing on an African American man to discuss so they could have a completely racist discussion but it was okay because the guest was black? One of the panelists (Akilah?) pointed out that it was really a waste because the entire Fox & Friends audience probably turned it off once the “token” made his appearance. Most of the film clips for this game are from Fox News. It’s just easy pickings.

Other games included a new one called “Would More Paper Towels Help?” about Trump’s complete mishandling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and a special for Miami edition about climate change called “Welcome to Waterworld,” where the tide rises to flood Miami if the panel gets the wrong answers. The show always ends with “The Rant Wheel,” and where it lands, rants begin. Topics are on the wheel included the film, “Blockers,” Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Border Invasion, Driverless Car Deaths and more. The panel actually ranted about most of the topics but usually only 4 or so make it to the podcast – I’m curious to see which ones do. Judging by the Lovett rants on the movie and driverless cars, I’d bet on those two for sure.

If I may be permitted my own minor rant for Jon Lovett – in case your mother didn’t tell you (yes, his parents were in the audience,) sit up! Stop slouching and sit in your chair like a grown up. You’re on stage in front of hundreds of people, have a little respect. Rant over.

It was a really fun night and I’m so glad we got to go to both shows. It all sort of ran together for me a bit, so I apologize for any erroneous attributions or anything I got wrong. I borrowed some of these photos from the Crooked Media website and Twitter.

After seeing the live show, I’m even more excited for the upcoming HBO Pod Save America specials. There are more live shows coming up, check out the Tour page for more info and how to buy tickets.

Spare Me the Sneak Peaks

March 26, 2018

Can I just tell you all how much I hate “sneak peaks” of books? It wasn’t really an issue when I was mostly reading crime fiction or literary fiction and before there were digital galleys. But once I started reading romance, it became a problem; the same with digital galleys.

If you’re not familiar, and really unless you are a reviewer why would you be, digital galleys are the e-book version of advance reader copies. ARCs are the paperback pre-published books that publishers mail out to reviewers usually months before the book actually hits store shelves. I still get a lot of print galleys, but no where near what I used to get prior to the end of the world as we know it, AKA e-books.

Now I am like a kid in a candy store. There are two main websites that distribute digital galleys and they are constantly updating them. Between the two, I can choose between literally thousands of pre-published books, most of which are mine for the taking. Some I have to send a request to the publisher, but they almost always approve it.

So when I saw Gayle Forman has a new book coming out, I clicked on “read now” before I read the fine print. She writes both “young adult” and “women’s fiction” books and while I don’t read many young adult books, I make exceptions for certain authors like Rainbow Rowell and Gayle Forman. The upcoming book is called “I Have Lost My Way” and I was still excited after I realized it was a young adult book. But then when I looked a little closer, I saw the dreaded “Sneak Peak” on the picture of the book cover. Luckily, the other website had the full galley available so I was spared.

Romance readers are undoubtedly used to this. You read a romance, get your happily ever after, then you turn the page and there is chapter one of the next book in the series or the first book of a new series or whatever. But just the first chapter, or sometimes the first few chapters.

With the advent of digital galleys, there are occasionally “buzz books” put together, a compilation of sneak peaks of several upcoming books. There are monthly versions and usually after a big conference, like Book Expo or the American Library Association annual conference, there will be digital “books” of sneak peaks of the upcoming books heralded at the conference. I still like the buzz books because they also include a roundup of upcoming titles, but I mostly ignore the excerpts now.

I used to eagerly read them, but then I noticed something, and maybe I’m the only one with this issue. When the book finally did become available in its entirety, I would start reading it and realize it was way too familiar – oh wait, I must have read this already. Then put the book down and move on to the next one. Occasionally, if a book becomes really popular or I keep hearing about it for whatever reason, I will look at it more closely, and once or twice I realized I hadn’t actually read the book, just a sneak peak!

So my solution now is to just ignore them. I don’t turn the page at the end of a romance, if I download buzz books to my e-reader I just read the roundups, and if I accidentally get a “sneak peak,” I’m not going to read it. I got an email from the marketing department at Grand Central letting me know that David Baldacci’s  next Amos Decker thriller, The Fallen, will be available on April 17. They included a link to a digital excerpt. I will not be clicking that link. I will wait, however impatiently, for the entire book.

Maybe its symptomatic of reading 4-6 books a week that I can’t remember that I read only the beginning of whatever book feels familiar. And I’m certainly not going to start scanning through the thousands of titles on my Kindle and iPad to see if it was in another book somewhere. If it took me weeks to read a book then I may not have this problem, but it doesn’t. I read most books in a day or two and almost immediately start the next one.

That is the beauty of the e-book, by the way, to have hundreds of books just waiting for me to read them. Just not the sneak peaks.

Conspiracy Revealed: The Random House Home Video Logo

March 9, 2018

The Random House Home Video division has been closed for almost 20 years, yet somehow its logo lives on. Take a deeper dive into the conspiracies surrounding this 80’s animation.


THE INVESTIGATION by David Bell | 7 Sentence Stories

March 4, 2018

Author David Bell (SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER) narrates an original story told in only seven sentences.


In this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense from the

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bestselling and acclaimed author of Bring Her Home and Since She Went Away, a man must save the life of a little girl who just might be his daughter….

When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Her ten-year-old daughter is missing–and Michael is the father. Unsure whether this is the truth but unwilling to leave the girl’s fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted but never knew he had.

After Michael departs, his wife, Angela, learns shocking news about Erica and fears for the safety of both her husband and the endangered girl. When a stranger, a man who claims a connection to Erica and her missing daughter, knocks on the door, Angela is drawn out into the night–and deep into the tangled web of Michael’s past….

Over the course of one night, lies that span a decade come bubbling to the surface, putting Michael, his wife, and his whole family in jeopardy. And as the window for a little girl’s safe return closes, Michael will have to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth….


March 2, 2018

Bookings now open for LBF’s Agent One-to-One programme

News for release, 2 March 2018:    The London Book Fair (LBF), the UK’s biggest gathering of international publishers and agents, has announced bookings are now open for its Agent One-to-One programme, which will take place in LBF’s Author HQ – the area of the Fair dedicated to writers and aspiring writers.

The Agent One-to-One programme offers Author HQ attendees the opportunity to meet with a leading literary agent, who will be on hand to offer advice on the publishing process and provide feedback on authors’ pitches and ideas.

Participating agents this year include representatives from AM Heath, Darley Anderson, David Higham Associates, DKW Literary Agency, MBA, Peters Fraser & Dunlop, Sheil Land Associates and Susanna Lea Associates.  Between them, the agents’ areas of interest cover everything from children’s publishing, middle grade and YA, to SF and fantasy, as well as literary fiction, commercial fiction, historical fiction and crime thrillers.  Narrative non-fiction and memoir are also covered.

Meetings are by appointment only, and need to be booked in advance of the Fair.

How to book:

Asif Sardar, previous participant in LBF’s Agent One-to-One programme said: “It was a pleasure to meet up with a professional agent who was interested in my work and offered insightful opinions.  Highly recommended for anyone looking to step out from the secret garden of isolated authoring into the daunting world of commercial publishing.”

Author HQ, one of the most popular features of the Fair, will have plenty on offer for both established and aspiring writers, including a three-day seminar programme with industry experts and authors taking to the stage to share their expertise and experience.  All Author HQ events are free-to-attend with the purchase of a three-day pass, required to access The London Book Fair.


The London Book Fair (LBF) is the global marketplace for rights negotiation and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels. Taking place every spring in the world’s premier publishing and cultural capital, it is a unique opportunity to explore, understand and capitalise on the innovations shaping the publishing world of the future. LBF brings you direct access to customers, content and emerging markets. LBF 2018, the 47th Fair, will take place from 10 – 12 April 2018, Olympia London. LBF’s London Book and Screen Week will run for the third year, with the book fair as the pivotal three-day event within a seven-day programme. For further information, please visit:


Diana Gabaldon shows how she crafts a sentence

March 2, 2018

One of my favorite authors (OUTLANDER) shares this animation

360 Video: Inside the Penguin Random House book distribution warehouse

February 17, 2018

This is very cool!

Take a 360 tour of Penguin Random House’s distribution center in Crawfordsvile, Indiana, from the books’ point of view.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2018

thank you, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library






Meet Wade Watts from READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline |

February 12, 2018

Official trailer!