Monthly Archives: April 2013

Top Ten Words/Topics that Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up a Book

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top 10 Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Words/Topics that Instantly Make Me Buy/Pick Up a Book. This one was kind of hard for me, but I did come with ten that I think will work:

1. Anything about animal intelligence or emotion – I am a definite animal-lover, so I like to read positive things about the animal kingdom and how they deserve more respect than they get. Books like Animal Wise and The Moral Lives of Animals.

2. Books to do with souls and spirits – Growing up, I thought often about what makes us us, and the fact that no one can ever REALLY know us since they can never hear our thoughts or feel our emotions. I was a very philosophical child, and it made me feel lonely, but secure at the same time knowing it was impossible to know what’s inside a person. So whenever I see books that have anything to do with the soul/body relationship, I jump on them. Books like Every Day and What’s Left of Me.

3. Mary Roach – I’ll read anything by Mary Roach, so those are two words that I will always find. I’m still on hold for Gulp, but I do own the rest of her books. And I love them.

4. Video game fiction – I don’t play video games, but I’ve grown up watching other people play them, brothers, boyfriends, and now husband, so I can appreciate them. And I like reading books that include them as a main plot point, especially futuristic virtual games! Books like Erebos, Ready Player One and Insignia.

5. Psychological/Brain stories – I didn’t get any further than Intro to Psychology in college, but I still find the brain to be very interesting, to say the least. Whether it’s all psychological or a physical brain issue, I’ll pick it up. Books like Brain on Fire and The Lucifer Effect.

6. Pure teenage love stories – By pure, I mean, none of this love triangle BS that most YA novels have going on now. Not that I can’t enjoy that too if it’s done well, but sometimes I just want two people to love each other with no one else involved. Books like Eleanor and Park and Time Between Us.

7. Brian Michael Bendis – Another writer I will pick up every time, my favorite graphic novel author, and the one that really got me started in graphic novels.

8. Graphic novel memoirs – I don’t know why, but this very specific genre always appeals to me. Books like Calling Dr. Laura, Marbles, and Tangles.

9. Post-apocalyptic books – Just good stories about after the end of the world. Books like The Road and The Dog Stars.

10. Dystopia – I almost don’t want to admit it, but I’m still a sucker for dystopian books. I don’t care how similar they are, I love them! I won’t even give examples, because I’m sure everyone knows them. I’m not over it yet, I’ll read more!

That’s it for my top 10 this week!

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BOB BB

I think I mentioned before that one of the displays I’m responsible for is a huge bulletin board area in the teen zone at my library. I’ve been meaning to post my displays, but I’ve gotten a little behind on that. Anyway, for the month of March and a couple weeks into April, I had up brackets for the books in the School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids Books. Here’s a picture after half of the first round:

IMG_4026[1]Basically, I had squares for each title, and I put the dates in the squares so they would know when that battle would be announced. I don’t think I got a picture of it, but I also had an acrylic box where they could vote for their favorite, and then that bottom center red square is where our library’s winner went. I was happy with the votes I got too. Surprisingly, most of them were books actually in the battle, and I got no slips of paper with just “F— You” on them. I was very happy about that.

Here’s a picture at the end of the battle:

IMG_4070[1]SLJ’s winner was No Crystal Stair. The teens at my library voted for The Fault in Our Stars, with Wonder coming in a close second.

It was a really fun display that I stole from a librarian I really look up to that I worked with in my last position. I will definitely do it again next year, and I’d suggest it for anyone that has the space. Letting them vote for their favorite also gives it a little extra spice.

Review: City of Ashes

city of ashes cassandra clareTitle: City of Ashes
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: March 25, 2008
Pages: 453

First Line: “The formidable glass-and-steel structure rose from its position on Front Street like a glittering needle threading the sky.”

“Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.” – from the book cover

My Thoughts: I’m so conflicted about this series! One minute I feel lost in the story, and am enjoying it, and the next I’m annoyed, either at the writing, the characters or the story in general. But at the same time, as much as the characters can get on my nerves, I still care about them.

~~SPOILER SPACE~~

I get that Clary and Jace are highly likely to end up not being siblings eventually, but all their can’t-help-it passionate make out sessions still creep me out a little. I noticed a lot of people seem to hate Jace, but for some reason he appeals to me. I couldn’t tell you why exactly.

Also, I do dig Simon as a vampire. I think that will make his character a lot more interesting. I wish something would make Clary a little more bad ass. I mean, she’s all powerful with a stele now I guess, but also still mostly a wuss, not that that’s entirely  her fault. I just want her to learn how to kick some ass, like Isabelle with her whip. I love the whip. The whip is my favorite. 🙂

My Ratings:
Writing: 2.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Kept me interested: 3/5Overall Rating: 3/5

Review: Requiem

requiemTitle: Requiem
Series: Delirium (#3)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Pages: 391

First Line: “I’ve Started dreaming of Portland again.”

“Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.” – from goodreads.com

My Thoughts: I have put off writing this review because I’m not sure what I want to say. While Lauren Oliver’s writing is still lovely, I felt like the story didn’t actually take me anywhere. I appreciated Hana’s point of view and hearing about her transformation, but I found myself mostly frustrated with Lena and Alex, and in the end I couldn’t bring myself to care about her relationship with him or Julian. Instead I wanted to hear more about the resistance, maybe learn even more about the side characters, but that didn’t happen. And I’ll try not to write any spoilers, but the ending… I mean really, the ending. I realize it’s meant to be open for interpretation (I guess), but after the pointlessness of the whole book, I didn’t want to interpret it. I didn’t care anymore. There are ways to leave a book open-ended, but still give them some kind of ending, but this book just kind of abruptly stopped. And the climax was so anticlimactic. I’m pretty sure I just stared at the book when I was done, thinking “what just happened?” I really enjoyed Pandemonium, but I felt let down by this one, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Subject: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Kept me interested: 2/5
Overall Rating: 2/5

Why I’m Useless at a Conference

Yesterday, I went to our state library conference. I have been to conferences before, but this was my first time as an official “librarian.” I mostly went to sessions, which was good for me. I can sit quietly and take notes as long as the presentation is interesting enough to keep my attention, and the ones I went to were. But there are many ways in which I’m a big fail as a librarian at a conference. One, when confronted with a favorite author, I just twisted my hands and stared. My coworkers were talking to David Levithan and another author after our first session when I came out of the bathroom, and instead of doing something cool and talking to him, I just stared at him thinking “I should really say something, but I have no idea what to say.” Then we walked away.

david-levithan-every-day-side-by-side

Then later in the afternoon, we went into the exhibit hall. I understand that most librarians come home with boxes and bags of free books they picked up while wandering around in there, but I came home with one. And it wasn’t even one that I wanted. I know you apparently just have to ask for books that you want, and the vendors will likely reach behind their magic curtains and draw out a copy for you, but my introverted-self refused to do so. To be fair, this is also in large part because I hate clutter and “stuff” in general, so I do not want to take home a bag of books I’ll never read or a bunch of posters and random crap I’ll never use. I did get a couple more galleys from one of the sessions I attended, and decided to be happy with that. I may not even read those. We’ll see.

I hate being sold things, but also hate to be rude, so I just avoid eye contact with any vendor that looks like they want to talk to me. I will grab a chocolate if their bowl is unattended though, ;). I think the fact that I look very young helps me in that situation, in that I do not look like someone who can make any decisions for a library (and I’m not anyway). I just hate salesy-ness. And fake small talk, which also makes me terrible at making connections with strangers, even if they work in the same field and have the same interests as me.

I did however have fun with my coworkers from another branch in my system, enjoyed the sessions I attended, and ended the day with hope that someday I will be better at conferences but also okay with it if I don’t end up one of those vulture librarians who have to mail 18 boxes of crap back to their library. 🙂

Review: City of Bones

mortal_instruments_city_of_bones_book_cover Title: City of BonesSeries: The Mortal Instruments
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: March 27, 2007
Pages
: 485
First Line
: “‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest.”

“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .” – from book cover

My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure if I would really like this book, but I decided to give it a try since there’s a movie coming out in August. I definitely liked it more than I thought I would. I was drawn in by the mystery of why Clary could see things that no one else could, and then the whole unseen world interested me. I think the main thing that I liked about the book though, is the characters. They are all likeable, pretty well-developed, but have some glaring flaws. I’ve read a little bit further into the series now, so I’m trying to remember the main characters in the first book. Clary is definitely not my favorite character, but I do still care about her a little I guess. Or maybe I just relate to her because I like Jace, I don’t know. I won’t say this is one of my favorite books, but I do think it was a pretty strong start to The Mortal Instruments series. It definitely kept me reading.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Subject: 3.5/5
Originality: 2/5
Kept me interested: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

Calling In

The Thursday before last my throat started hurting. Everyone at work has had a cold, so I thought maybe that’s what I was getting. I had to work that Saturday at a community event and a huge teen program we had going on at the library (235+ people). I couldn’t even make it through my 4 hours at work on Sunday.

I went to the doctor on Monday, and it turned out I had strep. By then I knew that’s what it was. I’ve had strep before and I remembered how BAD it hurt. Well after two days on the antibiotics, on Wednesday, and I had no improvement at all. My doctor told me that either I had a resistant strain or my body was just having a hard time fighting it. So… stronger antibiotics. I finally went back in to work on Friday, but I still felt pretty crappy. I think I’m finally up to 95% myself just today. Strep sucks!

But anyway, so through all that, I kept having to call/email my boss that I wasn’t coming in. My husband dropped off a note from the doctor for me and everything. The truth is my boss was really understanding and didn’t give me any grief about staying home for 4 days. This is a big deal for me because I have had supervisors who quiz me every time I call in sick, which I don’t do but once or twice a year (when I am actually sick). Growing up, we had no excuses to not go to school unless we were puking or bleeding basically. So that pretty much followed me into adulthood. And it’s really nice to have a boss that I feel like really trusts me.

I should be getting back to blogging now that I’m feeling better. I kept thinking I should be getting some posts done since all I was doing was laying on the couch while I was sick, but I just was not up for absolutely anything else. I hate strep.

Review: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Yaqui-Delgado-Wants-To-Kick-Your-Ass-MainPhotoTitle: Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
Author: Meg Medina
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Pages: 260
First Line: “‘Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass.'”

Imagine one morning as you’re going about starting a normal, average day, someone walks up to you and tells you that someone else, some random person that you’ve never even heard of, wants to kick your ass. What kind of thought process would you have? How would you continue your day? Or any day after that while you wait for this person you don’t know to make a move? Would you start to look at yourself differently? Would you start to change who you are?

This is what happens to Piddy Sanchez in Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. She has no idea why Yaqui Delgado wants to kick her ass, or when it will happen, but because of her fear and her feelings of isolation, she starts to change.

My Thoughts: Well, the title certainly got my attention. Plus it’s nice to find a good book with a main protagonist that’s not a tiny, thin, white girl with long, dark hair.

It’s a pretty quick read, and there is a little bit of suspense in the escalation of harassment, and the wait for Yaqui to make her move on Piddy. Piddy’s transformation is also a good look at how bullying can psychologically torture the victims, and make them completely change the way they look at themselves and their lives. Even though a lot of what Piddy did in the second half of the book didn’t seem like her, I felt that it was believable that her character would go to those lengths to avoid Yaqui and her posse.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Top 10 Favorite Book I Read Before I Was a Blogger

toptentuesday

This week’s topic from the Broke and the Bookish is the Top 10 favorite books I read before I was a blogger. Well, I haven’t been blogging for very long, so I’m just basically going with ten of my favorites this week. Considering how much YA I read, it’s surprising how little I’m going to put on this list. But oh well, these are some that really affected me:

1. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer – I was already a vegetarian when I read this book, so I might have been a little bit biased. But I still think it’s a really good book for anyone interested in educating themselves a little more about the food industry and vegetarianism.

2. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer – Oops, apparently I have two books by the same author on my list, but they are very different! This one is fiction!

3. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins – My husband recommended this book to me, and I loved it. I was going to read more by Tom Robbins after that, but I still haven’t gotten to it. :/

4. Room by Emma Donoghue – This book terrified me in a very personal, worst-fear kind of way, but it has a very original viewpoint and great writing.

5. Bossypants by Tina Fey – Oh, Tina Fey. I love you.

6. Lost in Shangri-la by Mitchell Zuckoff – Amazing true story. Very good book.

7. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – I’ve mentioned this book before. I still want everyone to read it.

8. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller – This book is Beautifully written. One of my favorite postapocalyptic books, and I read many.

9. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan – I didn’t realize how much nonfiction was on this list, but I guess I’m a sucker for true stories. I also really like psychology, so this one was particularly interesting to me. And it made me a little paranoid about going crazy.

10. Every Day by David Levithan – Another one I’ve mentioned before that I want everyone to read, and the only YA book on this list… that must mean something!

Wolves Storytime

Wolves is a hard theme to do for family storytime, because some of the younger kids might find some of the stories a little too scary. It’s important to keep a light tone! Anyway, here’s what we used tonight:

Books:

wolfchickenstew

The Wolf’s Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza is a classic!

wolfscoming*

Wolf’s Coming! by Koe Kulka is a little scary, but it has a fun, silly ending.

i am so strong*

I am So Strong by Mario Ramos is about a really cocky wolf, and another one with a little bit of a silly ending.

letsplayintheforestwhilethewolfisnotaround*

Let’s Play in the Forest While the Wolf is Not Around by Claudia Bueda is fun for family storytime, because the kids can easily catch on to the song and sing with you. Plus it starts with the wolf putting on his underpants, so after that, they think everything is hilarious.

Flannels/Visuals:

Lobo

IMG_4077

IMG_4078

Five White and Fluffy Sheep

IMG_4079

The Singing Chick
(I really like this one, but you have to be willing to be dramatic!)

IMG_4080 IMG_4081

IMG_4082

Other good Wolf Books:

Look Out, He’s Behind You! by Tony Bradman
Big Wolf and Little Wolf by Sharon Phillips Denslow