Monday, December 27, 2010

Review: Concierge Confidential

I took Concierge Confidential by Michael Fazio (with Michael Malice) on vacation, and it turned out to be the kind of book you want to take on a trip. It's light, it's gossipy, and it gives an inside peek into the concierge system and how they can get you those dinner reservations when the place is supposedly booked up.

Fazio was a concierge at a big hotel in New York, and then later ran his own concierge company, which serviced apartment and condo buildings. What started as an escape from Hollywood turned into a career of what he found he did best: service.

I read this book while staying in a hotel in DC that left a message on the bed saying they were going to shut down the power for four hours overnight and gave guests a glowstick to guide us around the room if we needed it. Really? That's service? Didn't seem to match what Fazio said about it.

It's nothing that's brain bending, but a good, quick read. I picked up some tips on how to ask for hotel upgrades, too.

I also appreciate that he put his writing partner on the cover because I have a feeling that the OTHER book I read this week, which was a meh 'celebrity' memoir, was written by a ghost writer who got no credit. Now, I know that ghost writing contracts are all different, but it irked me.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A plan comes together

I was ready to write a short review of the latest book I reviewed for American Way magazine, but then I pitched the author to Runner's World since he writes a lot about running. Ding ding ding! Got that assignment too, so I'm not allowed to say who I'm writing about. What I will say, though, is that he's incredibly funny and wrote diaries so interesting that I couldn't put the book down - not easy to do when those diaries are almost 600 pages.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Notes from the book reviewer's office

I'm deep into a very long and twisting book that I'm reviewing for an inflight magazine. I love it, but it's time consuming. So in the meantime, some updates from other corners of my book-related world:

1. I finished the NaNoWriMo challenge! It's when a lot of crazy people attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I did it. But it's not edited - for anything, not even spelling. I started out with three different plots. I jump from first to third person and then back to first again. It ended up being a young adult book about an American girl who has split her time between Tampa, FL and Oxford because her mum is American and her dad is British. In the year after high school graduation, she goes to live with her father. Lots of confusion and running and boys. It's really bad. But that challenge was worth it. I'm trying to write fiction again, and this forced me to sit down and just write.

2. My first book review for American Way magazine, which is the inflight magazine of American Airlines, is in the December 1 issue.

3. I'm doing my annual book clear out. I go through all the galleys and books and samples that have been sent to me over the year, and get rid of what I know I'll never use. They go either to the library, my cousin, or a college friend in Boston. This might sound shocking. But I can't possibly ever read or use everything that's sent my way, and sometimes I get two or even three copies of a book. I do mean clean outs whenever books start to overtake my office, but this is the big one. Books that don't make the cut? Novels that aren't something I'd read in my free time. Vampire books. Anything about how to get skinny or get rich quick. A lot of how to date books go, too. I'm sure there are books here that I would like to read, but I know I won't have time.

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