Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Why I Love... Finishing Bad Books

I can't not finish a book once I start it. I just can't. Don't ask me why - I have no logical answer to give you. That means I often slog through books that either stink outright or, more often, just aren't doing it for me at the moment. When I finish a bad book there is the immediate sense of relief followed by a few days of thinking "Why?" Why didn't I like this particular book? Was it the book? Was it me? Would someone else like this? Why them and not me?

I think all of these questions make me a better reader and a better librarian. I learn more about what I like, while also expanding my palette to make recommendations for others. There are so many books out there that I should not feel compelled to keep reading something that is not working for me. Even when the book is "the worst," however, I still think I grow by finishing it.

Life is about learning lessons, good and bad, from your experiences. I think the same goes for books.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

YouTube Tuesday: Vintage, Part II

A follow-up from last week. This time the focus is on a special librarian.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

What I Read This Week: March 1, 2015

I am in the thick of the name change process right now. It's not a fun time. At least my trip to the DMV this week was painless. It's going to take me years to track down everything with my maiden name. Why can't I "Find and Replace" my life? That would make things so much easier.

In other news, we've received both our wedding and engagement albums. They're really purty and I like to flip through them at random moments. Kudos to our photographer, Erin Wheeler, for being utterly amazing.
  • Work
    • American Libraries, March/April 2015 e-supplement -  This was mainly a catalog of e-learning resources, but there was a nice introductory article on the life of libraries
  • Magazines
    • Real Simple, February 2015 - In this issue, I learned some interesting things about human metabolism and how to recover from a break-up. I read most of this issue in the car ride to our ski-trip, so the piece on "warming" soups seemed apropos. There was also a cute article on how a few couples met cute and lived happily ever after.
  • Books
    • I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! I'm 80% done with The Dante Club and the end cannot come soon enough. While the book is a touch more interesting of a read now than when I started, I'm really only in it to find out whodunit. Fingers crossed I finish it next week.  

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Friday Find: Harry Potter and the Awesome Skirt

There are days I want to be Ms. Frizzle simple so I can wear awesomely themed items. Like this!

You can grab this off Etsy.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Variations on a Theme: Purty

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover... and that is very true... but you should totally love these books for the pretty covers. This month's theme is rather subjective, but I can't help but want to share books with excellent cover art.

The Bone Clocks
David Mitchell

Following a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life. For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born. A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting on the war in Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.

Leaving the Sea
Ben Marcus

By turns hilarious and heartfelt, dark and illuminative, Ben Marcus’s Leaving the Sea is a ground breaking collection of stories from one of the single most vital, extraordinary, and unique writers of his generation. In the heartfelt “I Can Say Many Nice Things,” a washed-up writer toying with infidelity leads a creative writing workshop on board a cruise ship. In the dystopian “Rollingwood,” a divorced father struggles to take care of his ill infant, as his ex-wife and colleagues try to render him irrelevant. In “Watching Mysteries with My Mother,” a son meditates on his mother’s mortality, hoping to stave off her death for as long as he sits by her side. And in the title story, told in a single breathtaking sentence, we watch as the narrator’s marriage and his sanity unravel, drawing him to the brink of suicide. Surreal and tender, terrifying and life-affirming, Leaving the Sea is the work of an utterly unique writer at the height of his powers.

Lily King

From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the ‘30’s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives. English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers’ deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell’s poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby, the artistic, female-dominated Tam, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone’s control. 

The Nightingale
Kristin Hannah

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front.  She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France...but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive. Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth.  While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can...completely.  But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

The Island of the Day Before
Umberto Eco

After a violent storm in the South Pacific in the year 1643, Roberto della Griva finds himself shipwrecked-on a ship. Swept from the Amaryllis, he has managed to pull himself aboard the Daphne, anchored in the bay of a beautiful island. The ship is fully provisioned, he discovers, but the crew is missing. As Roberto explores the different cabinets in the hold, he remembers chapters from his youth: Ferrante, his imaginary evil brother; the siege of Casale, that meaningless chess move in the Thirty Years' War in which he lost his father and his illusions; and the lessons given him on Reasons of State, fencing, the writing of love letters, and blasphemy.
In this fascinating, lyrical tale, Umberto Eco tells of a young dreamer searching for love and meaning; and of a most amazing old Jesuit who, with his clocks and maps, has plumbed the secrets of longitudes, the four moons of Jupiter, and the Flood. In 1643, in still-uncharted Antipodean waters, Roberto, a young nobleman in exile, survives the wreck of his ship and lands on another ship, the mysterious and deserted Daphne, which is anchored just across the Date Line from an island surrounded by treacherous reef. If Roberto can reach the island, when time is always yesterday, can he correct his past? Simultaneous hardcover release from Harcourt Brace.

The Monsters of Templeton

Lauren Groff

In the wake of a wildly disastrous affair with her married archaeology professor, Willie Upton arrives on the doorstep of her ancestral home in storybook Templeton, New York, looking to hide in the one place to which she swore she'd never come back. As soon as she arrives, though, a prehistoric monster surfaces in Lake Glimmerglass, changing the very fabric of the town. What's more, Willie's hippie-turned-born-again-Baptist mother, Vi, tells her a secret she's been hiding for nearly thirty years: that Willie's father wasn't the random man from a free-love commune that Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town. As Willie puts her archaeological skills to work digging for the truth about her lineage, she discovers that the secrets of her family run deep when past and present blur, dark mysteries come to light, and the shocking truth about more than one monster is revealed. One dark summer dawn, at the exact moment that an enormous monster dies in Lake Glimmerglass, twenty-eight-year-old Willie (nee Wilhemina) Upton returns to her hometown of Templeton, NY in disgrace. She expects to be able to hide in the place that has been home to her family for generations, but Willie then learns that the story her mom, Vi, had always told her about her father has all been a lie. He wasn't the one-night stand Vi had led her to imagine, but someone else entirely. Someone from this very town. As Willie digs for the truth about her lineage, voices from the town's past — both sinister and disturbing — rise up around her to tell their sides of the story. In the end, dark secrets come to light, past and present blur, old mysteries are finally put to rest, and the surprising truth about more than one monster is revealed.

Other Pretty Book Covers
Boy, Snow, Bird - Helen Oyeyemi
The Clockwork Universe - Edward Dolnick
Cubed - Nikil Saval
Delicious - Ruth Reichel
The Disappearing Spoon - Sam Kean
An Atheist's History of Belief - Matthew Kneale
Slammerkin - Emma Donoghue
What If? - Randall Munroe

Links and Stuff: February 26, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

YouTube Tuesday: Vintage

I may have posted this before, but vintage is awesome for a reason.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What I Read This Week: February 22, 2015

It's ski trip weekend! When this auto-posts I'll either be still asleep, digging into a breakfast casserole, or rounding up some friends to go snow tubing. I never ski on the ski trip; I do other wintery things. Last year, I actually attempted snowboarding and didn't die. It's a bit cold for my tastes this year, so I'm doing other things to keep myself occupied... like claiming the seat closest to the fireplace as my own. Blessed, blessed heat.
  • Magazines
    • Real Simple, January 2015 - I want to organize all the things after reading this issue. I mentally saved the articles on control freak tendencies and getting rid of stuff. I have closets that could use my attention. In addition to those pieces, I enjoyed the articles on raising a DIY kid and quick dinner strategies.
    • Cooking Light, March 2015 - I was surprised at home fast I was able to read this recipe. The only real article in it was the piece about Michelle Obama (which was good). The rest of the issue was a decent collection of recipes. I pulled two to try later.
  • Books 
    • I am still reading The Dante Club. I should just give in, but I'm more than halfway through at this point. If my reading stinks this year, I am blaming this book for getting me off on the wrong foot. Harrumph.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Friday Find: Lord of the Ring

Wear your reading on your finger with this awesome (customizable!) book flower ring.

It's purty and can be found on Etsy.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Links and Stuff: February 19, 2015