A post! And a giveaway! This is your lucky day...

A few months ago, on one of his many, many business trips, the Husband was seated in (of course) first class next to Mitch Albom.

He recognized the award-winning writer immediately and they started up a conversation.  The Husband mentioned to Mitch (can we call him that now?  He met the Husband.  They're bound to be best friends, right?)  that he is a huge fan of his sports writing.

He then added that his wife (me) is a huge fan of Mitch's novels.

Mitch laughed, and said, "I get that a lot."

About a month ago, I was looking for something new to read.  I opted for The Time Keeper by (our new best friend) Mitch Albom.

I started it at about eight o'clock in the evening, just as the kids were settling down for the night.

I finished it by about eleven.

With tears streaming down my cheeks, I vowed to share this book with everyone I know.

And, late yesterday afternoon, I finished reading it aloud to my entire family.

It. Is. Phenomenal.

Part-fable, part-It's-a-Wonderful-Life, it is engaging and real.  It takes you on a journey that makes you evaluate how you spend your time, and how you value time.   It will make you want to make the most of every precious minute you have in this brief life.  It reminds you that there is always hope, no matter how bleak things seem.

I loved it.  My family loved it.

And in honor of that, I am going to give away one copy to a lucky reader.  Leave me a comment telling me your favorite book.  All comments will be thrown into random.org and a winner drawn on Wednesday, October 24th at 8 p.m. local time.

If you don't win, buy the book anyway.  It's worth every penny.

How to be a rock star mom: Step-by-step instructions

Step One:
Have a good friend plugged in enough to the local literary scene that she alerts you to a book signing by your son's favorite author, Rick Riordan, creator of the brilliant Percy Jackson series.

Be sure to tell your oldest son about this as though it were your idea.

Step Two:
Take your oldest son and two of his friends to the book signing. Arrive two hours early in anticipation of the large crowds. Bring Subway sandwiches and a deck of cards to keep them busy.

Bask in the glow of their praise for your genius as you watch the line stretch out behind you for miles.

Step Three:
While waiting for the signing to start, steal your son's copy of the newest Percy Jackson saga, and ignore Radio Disney blasting from the speakers above your head. Pay no attention whatsoever to the ongoing pictionary game while reading said book. Look up momentarily to discover your son diving head first into the game and take a photograph of his thoughtful and artistic rendition of Medusa.

Smile, wave, and pretend you've been paying attention the whole time.

Step Four:
Laugh and shake your head when the crowd erupts in squeals and screams as Mr. Riordan enters the room. Be grateful your own son is above such hysterics.

Look over to find him hopelessly mooning over Mr. Riordan and basking in the sheer bliss of the moment.

Step Five:
Have your camera ready for the very moment when his peaceful bliss turns into utter delight as he realizes JUST. WHERE. HE. IS. RIGHT. NOW.

Feel very satisfied for making him so happy.

Step Six:
Text friends while waiting in a seemingly endless line for Mr. Riordan's signature.

Step Seven:
Be glad there is a former middle school teacher out there who decided to tell a bedtime story to his son. These actions, several years later, will cause your son to proclaim this day as, "THE BEST DAY OF HIS WHOLE LIFE."

Step Eight:
Drive home with a profound sense of satisfaction for, today, indeed, you were a great mom.

If any of you (or your children) have not read these books, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the first book in the series, "The Lightning Thief." We have all enjoyed them at our house, and look forward anxiously for the movie coming out next February. They are a fabulous way to get your kids excited about reading. My oldest has become a fanatic on Greek mythology and these books have led him to study this subject in depth. I might even venture out on a limb to say that I liked them better than the Harry Potters.

Don't hate me. Read them and judge for yourself.

Picking the collective brain of the internet

After a weekend spent ignoring my family reading, I finished a few days ago. [And I will only say that I liked it, was mildly disappointed in the anticlimactic ending, and would rather have had a little more written detail about the you-know-what that was going on ALL OF THE TIME, apparently. Stupid young adult audience. Spoils it for the rest of us.]

Anyway, I am left with just one question.

Now what do I read?

I have been on a reading frenzy ever since our catastrophic vacation. I have sped my way through all of Philipa Gregory's Henry VIII books (and loved each and every one of them. I may even be a little in love with crazy Henry now. I know. Don't tell my boyfriend Edward. And certainly don't tell the Husband).

I have devoured this, this, this, and this in the last few weeks alone, among others.

But I find myself at a loss. Browsing my favorite online bookstores is not netting me any inspiration. What should I read next? Where can I focus my near-obsessive personality?

Certainly not my husband and children. Oh, no. Not them. They wouldn't know what to do with themselves.

So, I look to you, dear interpeeps, to help me in my time of need.

What are your favorite reads? What have you read lately that you loved and could not put down?

Please tell me another book or series that I can become addicted to. Give me some more reason to ignore my laundry, dirty bathrooms, and children [as if blogging weren't enough, right?]

Right. You know what I'm talking about.