1. How did the last good book you read end up in your hands, and why did you read it?
    These days I’m really into rereading some of my past favorites. It’s like visiting old friends. I just went back to Sorcery and Cecelia, a deliciously fun and very polite romp by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.

    Have you ever made a literary pilgrimage?
    Not unless you count going to Boston Worldcon to meet Tamora Pierce.

    Describe the best breakfast of your life.
    Oh, this is an easy one. At the Denver Worldcon in 2008 (an all-around awesome trip), the hotel I stayed at (across from the Convention Center) had, in my book, the perfect breakfast. It was a little stew pot of tomatoes with spinach topped with two poached eggs and toast tips. (I ordered it without the ham.) I’ve been trying to get back to Denver ever since in the hopes of eating that breakfast again.

    What is your favorite indulgence, either wicked or benign?
    Puff pastries, anything custard or passion fruit related, German half-sweet Rieslings, shellac manicures, large-scale fish consumption, bitter greens, poached eggs, massages, hot tubs, Italian leather shoes, vintage dresses, patterned tights, industrial-inspired jewelry, whole milk, imported tea, expensive bed linen.

    In case you hadn’t guessed, I like to eat, sleep, and dress up.


    Read our Q & A with author Gail Carriger on the Powell’s blog.

     

  2. "Listen, this is obsessive behavior; and over the years I would look at pencils, pens, typewriters, and computers in the way that some men would look at women…"

    - Stephen Dobyns, author of The Burn Palace, is blogging all week at Powells.com.

     
  3. You’re going to want to watch this book trailer. (Trust us.) Then, read John Kenney’s blog post about the making of this commercial for his debut novel, Truth in Advertising.

     
     

  4. "A small number of special corporate interests control our food supply and the Washington decision makers that regulate it. For example, just four firms process 80 percent of the beef sold in U.S. supermarkets. This market power serves to feed Big Food’s ability to influence policy, and we are losing our farming backbone because of it. Thanks to consolidation, big meat companies like Cargill or Tyson can set unfair prices for livestock, cheating small and medium farmers out of money they need to cover their costs. These companies get away with it because farmers often don’t have anywhere else to sell their products.

    Yet consolidated agribusiness is just one winner in the Foodopoly. Another is the biotechnology industry, which is currently working both to approve genetically engineered (GE) salmon and to stifle popular efforts to label it. In just 15 years, U.S. cultivation of GE crops grew from only 7 percent of soybean acres and 1 percent of corn acres in 1996 to 94 percent of soybean and 88 percent of corn acres in 2011. This radical shift happened because public policy has been for sale across five presidential administrations that deregulated and allowed several mergers and acquisitions to take place in the industry, which profited from the discoveries of taxpayer-funded scientific research.

    Now, the biotech industry is eager to get you to start eating genetically engineered salmon — whether you want to or not, and thanks to their influence in Washington, they’re getting help from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

    Author Wenonah Hauter dives into genetically-modified salmon on the Powell’s Blog.

     
  5. The Comfort-Zone Exercise

    Get a large piece of plain paper and draw a circle in the middle. Inside the circle write examples of activities that you feel completely comfortable doing. Around the edge of the circle write down examples of activities that you can do but that you have to push yourself a little bit to do — those activities that may make you nervous in some way but not so much as to stop you from doing them. Draw a larger circle around this circle of activities. In the next band write activities that you would like to do but find difficult to get up the courage to do. Draw another circle around this ring of activities. After that write down those things you are far too scared to try but would like to do. You can create as many circles as you like.

    Read the rest of Philippa Perry’s post on the Powell’s Blog.

     
  6. Here at Powells.com, in addition to exclusive interviewsoriginal essays, and Q&As, we feature a wide selection of guest blogs from noteworthy authors. Each week, a new author contributes to our blog for five days straight, revealing everything from their thoughts on the writing process to details about their favorite neighborhood cat.

    We’re constantly amazed at what comes out of these series, and we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to be able to host so many brilliant authors in one place.

    As the year comes to a close, we thought we’d give a rundown of all our guest bloggers for 2012 in case you missed — or want to revisit — any of their posts.

    Happy reading