Okay, here is the very last henna belly photo I will subject you to, unless of course you’d like to view the whole damn set, and who would blame you if you wouldn’t?

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I took that with a tripod and the self-timer on my camera, and I put a dog-hair-covered black blanket behind me and then I used Photoshop to black out the remainder of the background and these photos are officially the most self-obsessed thing I’ve about ever done because seriously, it occupied me throughout Riley’s entire naptime today and I tried on all kinds of outfits and I took about a thousand crappy images and if you’re wondering about the goofily downturned head it is because I could not deploy a facial expression that didn’t make me look like I was trying to act like Demi Fucking Moore or some shit, but WHAT THE HELL, I’m a thousand months pregnant and it’s very unlikely I’ll ever be pregnant again and I kind of wanted professional photos to document this last stage but these will have to do, dog hair and all.

I posted these on Flickr despite the fact that there sure are a lot of skeevy people who enjoy favoriting maternity photos, every few days I’ll see that someone has added one of my pictures to their collection of ripely enormous women and I’m just thinking, the hell? I know we all have our kinks but big pregnant bellies, really? Poor delusional bastards, someday they’ll actually be with a pregnant woman and their fantasies will be rudely crushed by the decidedly unsexy reality of acid reflux, gas, congestion, and hemorrhoids.

In other, non-body-part-exposing blog content, I have two questions for you. First: I have a copy of All the Pretty Horses on my nightstand which I am loving but it is taking me forever to read, probably because my brain is utterly useless at this point since it’s full of PLACENTA or something, and I’m planning a trip to the used bookstore this weekend to stock up on some light reading. You know, beach books, except it’s January and the weather sucks ass. Do you have any suggestions for fast-paced, entertaining novels that don’t feature high heels on the cover?

Second: I’d like to create a book out of my entries back over at ClubMom, just as a keepsake for me. I’ve looked into Blurb, and although their software seems like it has the right features, it’s slow as hell and crashy and generally is a pain to work with (at least on my Mac, dealing with a LOT of entries and pictures — its performance may well be a thousand times better under different circumstances). I’d like to use something that can automagically grab my blog content while it’s still hosted on Typepad, and dump it into something I can print — rather than, say, me having to format everything myself in some big gnarly Word document. Have any of you had any experience with successfully doing this?

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kalisah
16 years ago

I just finished Bill Bryson’s “Thunderbolt Kid” memoir about growing up in the midwest in the 50s. He’s such a smart and witty writer and it’s definitely not chick lit. Also, it’s more like a collection of essays than a chronological story, so it’s not necessary to plow through it or lose your place.

Ali
Ali
16 years ago

I second (third, fourth–whatever, I couldn’t make through all the comments!) the Janet Evanovich books. Fluffy and fun, but with an Anti-Heroine edge.
The photos are lovely, BTW! Great job.

superblondgirl
16 years ago

You look great – and the pose is pretty cool, actually. Though I’ll skip the whole Flickr set because it’ll make me jealous (my whole body expanded greatly while pregnant, much more so than yours has).
I’m a big fan of high heels on the cover, so my book recommendations are probably way more fluffy than you are looking for, but one that you might enjoy is Jennifer Crusie. She does the chicky romancy stuff, but she’s hilarious and her characters are always a blast. I have to second (third, maybe) the Janet Evanovich and Christopher Moore (esp. Christopher Moore!!) books, they are both hilarious, laugh-out-loud sorts of books.

Naomi the Strange
16 years ago

I have to say, you did pretty damn good for taking your own photo! Definitely looks professional! Great job!! I read a book by Paul Auster that you might like, it’s called THE BROOKLYN FOLLIES. it’s easy to read, very entertaining, deep at times, a page turner. Plus I love paul auster, he’s one of my favorite authors. Anyway… photos look great!

Trina
Trina
16 years ago

The henna pictures are fabulous! What great keepsakes! I am jealous, you are oh so pregnant, and still no muffin top on your pants. Kudos to you and more gym time for me.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
16 years ago

Prep by Curtis Sittenfield – light, easy, entertaining, but not cheesy or chick-litty

Trace
16 years ago

“Bright Lights, Big Ass” by Jen Lancaster is also absolutely hysterical.

Also? Holy crap, I hope I’m as pretty as you when I’m with child!!

Amber
16 years ago

I’m on the Janet Evanovich Bandwagon as well – I often laugh out loud at her Stephanie Plum series. I also second Carl Hiaasen – he is hilarious and I love everything he’s ever done. Plus, most if not all of his stuff takes place in Florida, so how is that not automatically beach reading? Christopher Moore is also funny.

I also second the letting us know about what you choose for your blog publishing. I have been wanting to do the same thing, but unfortunately I have the giant word document.

You’re so pretty with your baby belly. Even if you feel whale-y, you are most definitely not.

Amy
Amy
16 years ago

beautiful pics! Prep is a great suggestion, or the other book by Curtis Sittenfield – The Man of My Dreams. Both are easy to read like “chick lit” but definitely much more well written.

Also Jennifer Weiner – Little Earthquakes (about pregnancy/new moms), or Good In Bed.

Also- anything in the Shopholic series is quite entertaining.

Mare
16 years ago

I think you’d like Iain Banks (he also writes as Iain M. Banks.) Sedaris will keep you laughing, I think, and if you want good Irish stories that are charming and funny but don’t even hint at high heels on covers, try Maeve Binchy. (I reread The Evening Class once a year because it makes me so happy.)

Jenny J.
16 years ago

You look amazing. Good for you for documenting the belly!

I didn’t read all the comments so this may have been suggested, but a quality fluff book I just read was The Ghost by Robert Harris. It was written by a former speech writer for Tony Blair and its a murder mystery/ political intrigue-type deal that got high marks from everyone a book club.

And yes, please keep us posted on whatever you use to publish your blog entries. I’d like to do that sometime, too.

Courtney
Courtney
16 years ago

I recommend Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal or any books by Bill Bryson.

Elizabeth
16 years ago

You look beautiful.

I found The Golden Compass to be a quick read. Some of my favorite light reading are Jasper Fforde’s books. I like the Thursday Next series (beginning with The Eyre Affair) and the Nursery Crime books are also amusing (my husband likes those ones best).

I couldn’t read much by the end of my pregnancy. I would get through a couple of sentences and then need to go nap for two hours.

AndreAnna
16 years ago

These are truly wonderful photos. You will treasure them forever.

And for mind fluff, read anything by Harlan Coben. “Tell No One” is one of my favorites. It’s a suspense thriller, and a page-turner, but he writes with humor.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
16 years ago

If you are liking All the Pretty Horses, you might like “Work of Wolves”. It’s a western but easier to read than Pretty Horses and has the story telling grace of Nicholas Evans. Or, heck, anything by Nicholas Evans, but I really liked Smoke Jumper.

But, if you want Work of Wolves, I know the Bellevue Library has 3 copies last time I was there. :)

Bianca
16 years ago

I’m pretty sure you’ve already read Operating Instructions by Anne Lammott but if you haven’t in awhile, that’s my suggestion.

However, I’m currently reading Traveling Mercies and her thoughts on faith are really beautiful. At times, she does get a little too Jesus-y for my taste but overall she’s got some beautiful anecdotes about life in there.

Shawnde
Shawnde
16 years ago

Your belly is beautiful!

My pregnancy reading consisted of Jane Austen and “The Princess Bride”. Fun and entertaining – like eating candy.

Rachel
16 years ago

Love Walked In, by Marisa de los Santos. It’s perfect for what you’re looking for, just a light, sweet, wonderful story about a couple of really compelling characters and about the different kinds of love. So, so good. I wanted to buy a copy for each of my female family members for Christmas

For something really light and quick, Anita Shreve’s usually good, and Elin Hilderbrand’s The Love Season kept me amused. You might also try Water for Elephants (thought I didn’t love this as much as some other people did).

Crystal
Crystal
16 years ago

Anything by Walter Moers. He writes and illustrates adult fairy tales (well…not adult-adult, but you know…for grownups) and they are utterly charming and full of awesome satire. They’re not small books but I’ve finished three in as many weeks, they’re impossible to put down.

Look for The City of Dreaming Books or The 13 and 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear. Amazing.

fairydogmother
16 years ago

That photo is gorgeous. I’m impressed that you took it yourself (and a wee bit jealous of your photography skills!). It is so gorgeous. If (when?) I ever manage to become pregnant myself I am definitely keeping this in mind as a way to commemorate the occasion.

Also, I am loving all of these book recommendations. Some of my favorite books ever have already been mentioned. In fact, I may have to go searching for my copy of The Princess Bride. I had somehow managed to forget how much I love that book. And I second (third?) the Jennifer Weiner, Jen Lancaster, and Marian Keyes recommendations.

Formerly DDM (Sonia)
Formerly DDM (Sonia)
16 years ago

I got all squicked out after posting photos of my new brace face back in September. All of my braces photos got over 800 hits in less than 24 hours. I had NO idea until then, that there’s a braces fetish. *shudder* I have since protected all of those photos.

JennyM
JennyM
16 years ago

Great photos, and so professional-looking!

I just re-read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy after, oh, eleventy-three years, and now I’m on a Douglas Adams kick. I second whoever mentioned Bill Bryson, too.

caroline
16 years ago

Those are beautiful pictures. And good for you for taking some. I never did and I kinda regret it now…

Erin
16 years ago

Picture = beautiful! Wish I had thought of doing that!

Book – check out the Stephanie Plum novels (dunno if they’ve already been mentioned here, just kinda scrolled down to the comment form, forgive the double mention if they are) by Janet Evanovich. They are light, funny, and a pretty quick read. And she’s on #14(? I think), so there’s a bunch of them, too.

Enjoy!

GoingLoopy
16 years ago

I second the recommendations for “Water for Elephants”, anything at all by Jodi Picoult, and the Preston/Child books (read the whole series, but skip “The Reliquary” because it’s stupid and really doesn’t add much to the overall effect).

I also have a soft spot for Sue Grafton (“A is for Alibi”, etc), Nelson Demille (my favorite one of his is “The Charm School” – dated, yes, but a nonetheless excellent spy novel), The Sweet Potato Queens books by Jill Conner Browne, and, if you are looking for something really really mindless (God, I can’t believe I’m copping to reading this shit, but oh well) – The Cat Who… mysteries by Lilian Jackson Braun. Yes, they’re vaguely cheesy and silly, but they won’t keep you up at night and they’re cute.

Elizabeth
16 years ago

I love that picture. I hated my pregnant body, so I find it really awesome that you are celebrating yours. I so admire that.

My two go to fun light reads are “Sloppy Firsts” which is just such a good book…if you haven’t read it, it’s a must. I would get Second Helpings at the same time because otherwise you might have to make a midnight run to bookstore to get it when you finish Sloppy Firsts. Not that I know that from experience or anything. And then second, “Youth In Revolt” is a quick read and the funniest thing I’ve ever read. The only book that has ever made laugh out loud. I read it over and over again, I love it that much.

Amy M.
Amy M.
16 years ago

Great photos! I’m so impressed!

I’ll 3rd or 4th the Jennifer Weiner (Little Earthquakes). Stephen Colbert’s “I am America & So Can You” is a hoot. I’ve just read through the Bourne series. They’re a little confusing, but very good. I’m currently reading Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”, a must for anyone who’s worked in food service or loves to eat! :)

Amy
Amy
16 years ago

Nice shot! And, if the blanket was as covered as you say, nice photoshopping, too.

I’m sure that the entries are all in an SQL database, so I’d be shocked if there isn’t an SQL query that would snarf the text out for you… but I’ve never fooled around with it myself, so I wouldn’t know how to construct it. But I’d poke around for SQL manipulation tools, rather than blog-specific tools?

Straight fiction seems to be covered here (though I’d hesitate to classify *either* A Thousand Splendid Suns or anything Iain Banks has written as “light”). In the genre category, I can’t help noticing a conspicuous absence of Good Omens, a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It’s fabulous, funny, and very very quick.

gabby
gabby
16 years ago
L
L
16 years ago

Dude. Seriously. Post a tutorial – from setting up to teching – on how you took those photos. I just found out I’m pregnant with our first and would LOVE photos like this. I have a D70 and Photoshop; I just don’t know what to do with them!

Rubicat
Rubicat
16 years ago

I have loved Alexander McCall Smith’s series about a Botswanan lady – Precious Ramotswe – whe begins a career as a detective. Great for reading about a new culture and funny and interesting. I think they’re the best thing I’ve read in a long time. Best wishes to you and yours.

mixette
mixette
16 years ago

Love, love the photos! You’re going to be really glad you took the time to make those…

I’ll 4th Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld, and add The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith.

Amie
16 years ago

I just finished reading The Girls by Helen Yglesias. It took me two days to read, in not so long bursts. It’s about 4 Jewish sisters between the ages of 80-95, told from the perspective of the youngest. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked it up, but it was really good. Amazon does better reviews than I could ever hope for.

Squeeky
16 years ago

Christopher Moore has written some fabulous books! My 4 favorites are “Bloodsucking Fiends”, “You Suck”, “Dirty Job”, and “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal”. I can not recommend these books enough! They are light hearted and funny, with just enough intellect and philosophy to keep you from hating yourself in the morning.

ikate
16 years ago

BEAUTIFUL photos. Those are awesome.

Books: One of my favs of all time…”Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” by Christopher Moore. I’ve read it a few times and crack up every time.

More recently I’ve burned through “The Double Bind” by Chris Bohjalian, “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen, and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini. I recently went through a bit of a reading drought set off by slogging through “Eat, Pray. Love” and these three books got me out of my funk pretty fast.

ikate
16 years ago

BTW – oh my hell! WTF if going on at Parent Dish? …are they all out to get you over there or something. I’ve been reading there for about 18 months now and things are just getting nasty. Sorry about all that, but I loved your response. Very well put.

Banana
16 years ago

So beautiful!

Paige
16 years ago

Ok. I first saw these on Flickr and thought, “Oh, yay! I’m so glad that she decided to have the mongo belly-shots (sounds like one nasty-ass shooter) taken!” And then I came here to hear the back story and ended up So Freakin’ Impressed that you actually did it yourself! High-five! You’ll forget how dumb it felt to set up and take the self-portraits, and just end up being grateful that you have them.

Jessamyn
16 years ago

Linda, you’re completely beautiful, and so is that photo.

confiance
16 years ago

Ooo, pretty! I love the henna.

Books: I second Water For Elephants – I read that book straight through in 5 hours. Very intertaining, and well-written.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Funny, light-hearted, and yet, you COULD write a 15 page paper if you wanted. (Can you tell that I’m an English major?) But you don’t have to, you can just read and laugh. I Love Love Love Gaiman, his novels are great.

Clueless But Hopeful Mama

Pretty, pretty photos. A lovely memento of the orca months.

I loved “Water for Elephants” and “The Book of Joe” as fast, light reads that didn’t include high heels on the cover.

Let us know how you print out your stuff from Purple is Fruit. I’m looking for some way to keep my blog in an old-school paper format as well.

Michelle
Michelle
16 years ago

You might want to check out Shutterfly; scrapbook queen Ali Edwards just put together a project for them where you just drag in pics and drop in text to make your own book. It might work for what you have in mind, especially since you have lots of pictures.

Marie
Marie
16 years ago

Love your blog….Have a book idea…It is not long and a page turner…can’t remember th author right now but try “The Tattoo Artist.”……very intersting story.

Christian ODell
16 years ago

Books suggestions:
Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town by Cory Doctorow (VERY MINDBLOWING)

Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein

The Game of Kings (Dorothy Dunnett)

Hunger for Memory (Robert Rodriguez)

Taryn
16 years ago

i’ll second “the monkeywrench gang”.
i have read all the books by mary kay andrews. they are very light reading, mystery sorta but not exactly b/c i don’t like mysteries but i love these.

Taryn
16 years ago

i’ll second “the monkeywrench gang”.

i have read all the books by mary kay andrews. they are very light reading, mystery sorta but not exactly b/c i don’t like mysteries but i love these.

wordygirl
16 years ago

Linda that pic is GORGEOUS! I am so jealous. I am going to go get professional ones done in the next couple months and I hope they turn out as well as yours. Well done!!

Liz
Liz
16 years ago

Anything by Carl Hiaasen or Tim Dorsey would be good for quick, voracious reading. Always works for me.

You look beautiful! Can’t wait for STP!!!

Gaby
Gaby
16 years ago

I’d recommend Kristin Gore’s (yes, that Gore) Sammy’s Hill. It’s a bit like Bridget Jones meets Capital Hill, but I found the main character to be a lot less annoying than Bridget.

Another commenter mentioned “Lamb,” which I heartily second, but I believe its true potential can be detected within its full title – “Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Christ’s childhood pal.”

Both of these books are the kind that make you snort out loud on public transportation…not that I’ve done that or anything…

Mary O
Mary O
16 years ago

I thought I’d make it an even 100 comments for you! Your belly looks gorgeous. =)