Kansas City has the coolest library EVER.
You asked, I'm answering! (Questions about my former acting career will be answered on Friday, you vultures.)
Julie and Shelby asked if I had any favorite cookbooks and/or any unique, un-fashionable, non-obvious books on my shelves that I could share with you.
First, I basically don't cook. At all. I mean, I can cook to the extent that I can follow directions, but I don't like experimenting, risk-taking, or multi-tasking in the kitchen. I like baking, where I can just assemble the dish and stick it in the oven. Having lots of dishes on the stove at the same time panics me a little. So, I like Seriously Simple (hey! they have a holiday cookbook! thanks for asking the question, guys, or I would have had no idea!) and selected dishes from the Williams Sonoma cookbooks -- the older, more basic ones that have titles like PASTA and POTATOES, not the "new flavors" or "foods of the world" ones. And I love Japanese Women Don't Get Old Or Fat because on page 200, there is a recipe for the Perfect Bowl of Noodles. I don't normally link to Google reader because of all the legal issues, but I will trust you to use it wisely, and BUY the book if you like the recipe. I use udon noodles instead of soba; I use instant dashi instead of homemade (which means you don't need the bonito flakes); I skip the sake, scallions, mitsuba, and tempura; and it is hands-down the best noodle bowl I've had outside of Japan. It took me FOREVER to find this recipe.
As for some of the less predictable stuff on my shelves... well, naturally I'm going to list non-fiction first, because as a wanna-be writer, I'm of course expected to have an enormous range of novels on my shelves.
There's A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America by Marilyn Rouvelas (y'all know my husband's Greek, right?)... and there's A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters (y'all know I was born in Tokyo, right?) which provides a detailed etymology of nearly 2,000 kanji and has spectacular appendixes for looking up the characters by pronunciation or by number of brush strokes...
I highly recommend The Lawyer Who Blew Up His Desk for any attorneys in your life... and from my childhood, there is the fantastic Great Pets! which has pet-care advice for everything from dogs and rabbits to geese, ferrets, and snakes. They don't cover chinchillas, which was a bit disappointing for me when I got a chinchilla in college, but if you can't decide whether you want a skunk or a tarantula, this is the book for you.
Poetry: I am apparently still the only person on LibraryThing who owns Colmez Astre's Poésie française: anthologie critique, which is a shame, because if you read French at all, it's one of the best anthologies I've come across.
Graphic novels: Has everyone here read Transmet? For the love of all that is holy, get yourself a copy of the full series IMMEDIATELY.
Audiobooks: I'm not normally a fan of abridged works, but the audiobook of World War Z is genius. Even my mom agrees. And it's not a surprise that I like Stephen King, but I have to give a shout-out to Ron McLarty's reading of Salem's Lot, because it's just masterful.
Fiction: I don't know if I have any surprising fiction. I have uber-popular books like Harry Potter, "required reading" books like Moby Dick and Les Miserables, literary fiction like Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, tons of sci-fi/fantasy, plenty of YA (check out Godless)... and that's just the stuff that's in this room. We also have a storage locker filled with books that we try to rotate stuff in and out of.
Probably the most surprising thing for many would be my lack of any classic women's Brit Lit. No Jane Austen, no Bronte sisters. I can't stand any of it.
Tomorrow: lessons learned from tonight's class on "Obsessive Writing"!