Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book 28: Devil's Bride

TITLE: Devil's Bride
AUTHOR: Stephanie Laurens

STARTED: April 18, 2011

FINISHED: May 9, 2011

PAGES: 388

GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: "The Duchess is so very... very... well, really, most charming."

SUMMARY: [From] Governess Honoria Wetherby is determined not to marry; she plans to have adventures among the Egyptian pyramids in lieu of wedding a controlling husband. But even the best-laid plans can run afoul of luck and outrageous fortune, as is fatefully proven one stormy evening when Honoria happens upon a dying young man in the woods. After passing the night in a cottage alone with the corpse and his cousin, the rakish and very much alive Devil Cynster, it's decided--by the handsome rake--that Honoria has been compromised by the unchaperoned evening and the only remedy is to marry. Despite her flat refusal, Devil is determined to have the beautiful and feisty governess; his family is overjoyed that he's finally planning to marry. But Devil definitely has his work cut out for him as he attempts to convince Honoria to wed him and forego her plans for adventure. Luring Honoria to the altar is further complicated when she insists upon aiding him in the search for his cousin's killer. Which will Devil accomplish first: seducing Honoria or unveiling a murderer? Or will Honoria foil the first plan and solve the second before Devil can?

THOUGHTS: It's good, I guess. I don't rightly remember. In fact, I had to read the summary just to remember what the story was about. That should be a good indicator that I neither loved nor loathed this book. My mom tossed this (entire) series my way a few years ago. I figured it was about time I delve into the first of the books.

Sorry for the lackluster review, but this book simply had no staying power of any kind.

RATING: 5/10 [Meh.]

Links and Stuff: June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book 27: Just Enough Project Management

Just Enough Project ManagementTITLE: Just Enough Project Management: The Indispensable Four-Step Process for Managing Any Project Better, Faster, Cheaper
AUTHOR: Curtis R. Cook
STARTED: April 14, 2011
FINISHED: May 4, 2011
PAGES: 146
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Forward] In Just Enough Project Management, Curtis Cook has successfully translated a body of knowledge meant for large, complex projects into a language that everyone involved with projects can understand and apply to their everyday project work.

SUMMARY: [From] Managers who can bring projects in on time, under budget, and within specs are among the most valuable and marketable in today's project-driven environment. Just Enough Project Management-- written by globally renowned project management authority Curtis R. Cook--is a quick-hitting, no-nonsense pocket guide on how to successfully handle projects of any size, in any environment.

This versatile book's one-of-a-kind, customizable templates free managers from the time-consuming process of having to reinvent basic techniques and methods from one project to the next. Valuable for projects of every size, but especially helpful for today's newer breed of tighter, more focused projects, Just Enough Project Management will help project managers achieve:
  • Greater bottom-line performance
  • Dramatically improved team morale
  • Long-term competitive advantage

THOUGHTS: My new position in the library is a project manager role. I'm glad I read this book because it has given me a good base from which to grown my skills in and knowledge of project management. Just Enough says it perfectly. The author has given the basics and explained them well.

I do wish, however, Cook's examples were more broadly told. He relates most techniques back to what he has done, which is great, but I would have preferred broader examples. The text is a bit repetitive. Good for the rote learning, but it made me the author seem a wee bit of a know-it-all.

All in all, simple, straightforward, easy to read and understand. Nothing too exiting or groundbreaking, but good enough for me.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book 26: Last Day in Vietnam

Last Day In VietnamTITLE: Last Day in Vietnam: A Memory
AUTHOR: Will Eisner
STARTED: April 18, 2011
FINISHED: April 18, 2011
GENRE: Graphic Novel

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Introduction] Each of the stories in this work were culled from an inventory of encounters with unforgettable people I met during the years I was involved with the military.

SUMMARY: [From] Last Day in Vietnam is Will Eisner's memoir of stories about soldiers who are engaged not only in the daily hostilities of war but also in larger, more personal combat. During Eisner's years in the military, and particularly during the many field trips he made for P.S. Magazine, he observed camp life at close range. Some of the stories in this novel are comical, some heart-rending, some frightening, yet all display the incredible insight into humanity characteristic of Eisner's entire oeuvre.

THOUGHTS: Here we have yet another book I picked up for the April Read-a-thon book I am just getting around to reviewing. (Bad, no update blogger, bad!) From what I remember, I found the art of this book a bit cartoony but very expressive. Eisner's vignettes are emotional tales that somehow seem more real because they are told in the style of the graphic novel. Written war is one thing, drawn or pictured war is more powerful because you can see the people. This was a good graphic novel, one I am glad I randomly picked up for the read-a-thon.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

YouTube Tuesday: Making Stuff

Crafty and just plain fascinating.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book 25: Death of a Cad

Death of a Cad (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries, No. 2)TITLE: Death of a Cad
AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton
STARTED: April 10, 2011
FINISHED: April 18, 2011
PAGES: 187
GENRE: Mystery

FIRST SENTENCE: Henry Withering, playwright, slumped down in the passenger seat of the station wagon after another bleak look out at the forbidding landscape.

SUMMARY: [From] Murder Most Fowl When Priscilla Halburton-Smythe brings her London playwright fiance home to Lochdubh, everybody in town is delighted...except for love-smitten Constable Hamish Macbeth. Yet his affairs of the heart will have to wait. Vile, boorish Captain Bartlett, one of the guests at Priscilla's engagement party, has just been found murdered-shot while on a grouse hunt. Now with many titled party guests as the prime suspects, each with a reason for snuffing out the despicable captain, Hamish must smooth ruffled feathers as he investigates the case. When the hidden culprit strikes again, Hamish will find himself trying to save Priscilla from a miserable marriage-and catch a killer before he flies the coop.

THOUGHTS: This series is too charming for its own good. I want this town and these characters to exist. Beaton, you meany, stop making me want to start friendships with fictional characters.

I would say more about this book, but I read it for Read-a-thon.... in April. I am so behind on my book reviews that all I can remember about this one is that it caused me to smile and smirk a lot. These are good things. This is a good series. Everyone (including non-mystery readers like me) should give a whirl.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

On the Job: Give Thanks

I start my new job on Friday. (Woot!) While I am very, very excited to take this new step in my career, a part of me will greatly miss my current position. As Stacks Supervisor, I was given the chance to work with an incredible bunch of part-time employees. I learned as much from them as they did from me. The hardest part of leaving this position is saying goodbye.

Last week, I sent an e-mail to my employees notifying them of my new position. I kept procrastinating this task because I did not want to say goodbye. I stink at goodbyes. I'm not even leaving the library, and I still stink at goodbyes. My e-mail was short and sweet because I actually choked up while writing it. In my message, I told my staff about my new job, spoke about the transition to the new Stacks Supervisor, and, most importantly, thanked them for their hard work and dedication. (I also reminded "my gang" to let me know if they ever want a letter of recommendation.)

It always hurts to say goodbye to those who have done great work, but it's the easiest thing in the world to thank them. Saying "thank you" is easy to do and always appreciated.

So, gang, thank you again for all the hard work. I'll be sure to say hi when I see you around the library.

Friday, June 24, 2011

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Fancy Legs

I've been back from my vacation for over a week... and I'm still catching up on my Google Reader. I finally got around to one awesome entry yesterday. (The Boyfriend, you may want to don blackout goggles now).

Style Me Pretty highlighted a wedding where the bridesmaid all wore different tights. How awesome is that!

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Variations on a Theme: Classic

Summer books don't have to all be guilty pleasures or beachy reads. Sometimes, summer offers the best opportunity to tackle that classic novel you've been meaning to get around to. This month's theme, "Classics," focuses on those books you might find on long forgotten high school or college reading lists.

*Side Note: I'm a bit busy this week (new job is nearing and my brain is melty) so all the summaries come from elsewhere.

The Red Badge of CourageThe Red Badge of Courage
Stephen Crane

Young Civil War soldier Henry Fielding endures the nightmare of battle as he comes to grips with his fears and feelings of cowardice. Stephen Crane's powerful, imaginative, emotionally compelling description of war established him as a major American writer and propelled him to immediate international celebrity.

Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television "family," imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature.

Nineteen Eighty-Four1984
George Orwell

The novel is set in an imaginary future world that is dominated by three perpetually warring totalitarian police states. The book's hero, Winston Smith, is a minor party functionary in one of these states. His longing for truth and decency leads him to secretly rebel against the government. Smith has a love affair with a like-minded woman, but they are both arrested by the Thought Police. The ensuing imprisonment, torture, and reeducation of Smith are intended not merely to break him physically or make him submit but to root out his independent mental existence and his spiritual dignity. Orwell's warning of the dangers of totalitarianism made a deep impression on his contemporaries and upon subsequent readers, and the book's title and many of its coinages, such as NEWSPEAK, became bywords for modern political abuses.

Brave New WorldBrave New World
Aldous Huxley

"Community, Identity, Stability" is the motto of Aldous Huxley's utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a "Feelie," a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today--let's hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren't yet to come.

Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

In a remote Hertfordshire village, far off the good coach roads of George III's England, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet -- a country squire of no great means and his scatterbrained wife -- must marry off their five vivacious daughters. At the heart of this all-consuming enterprise are the headstrong second daughter Elizabeth and her aristocratic suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy, two lovers in whom pride and prejudice must be overcome before love can bring the novel to its magnificent conclusion. 

The RepublicThe Republic

Ostensibly a discussion of the nature of justice, The Republic presents Plato's vision of the ideal state, covering a wide range of topics: social, educational, psychological, moral, and philosophical. It also includes some of Plato's most important writing on the nature of reality and the theory of the "forms."

More Classic Reads
And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
The Count of Monte Cristo  - Alexandre Dumas
Emma - Jane Austen
For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli
The Odyssey - Homer
Rome and Juliet - William Shakespeare
A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

Links and Stuff: June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Useful Things: Halfsies?

Do you have a roommate? or two? or more?

Do you have trouble figuring out who pays what?

Do you want to make sure that you are not over (or under) billed for groceries? cable? beer pong supplies?

Then I suggest you hie on over to Split the Rent.

This remarkable tool is part calculator, part reminder system, part friendship saving device. Input your receipts and bills, note who pays what (and why if need be), and at the end of your "pay period" you'll have total numbers. No more questioning if someone is paying more or less than their fair share. The intent of Split the Rent is "to make shared living easier by providing neutral advice, fair judgement, and simplified expense sharing through web-based tools, calculators, and blog content."

Split the Rent keeps adding features to keep your roommate related finances in check. Visit their blog to find out for.

Best of all, it's free.

Monday, June 20, 2011

On the Job: Transition

In two weeks, I will start my new position in the library. In order to ensure a smooth transition, I have started to compile every document, manual, and random scrap of paper I can think of that might be useful. What I am finding is that I have so much in my head, that I will need to find time to get it all down on paper.

When you've done a job for a long period if time, you start to rely on your head and not on your papers. While this is awesome for productivity, it does cause problems when you have to take time off or leave a position. Thankfully, I will still be in the building to answer questions and conduct training. Not everyone is so lucky.

So, my brief advice this week - when in doubt, write it out. You never know when someone is going to have to fill in for you at the last minute. Even a basic list of tasks and procedures can be helpful to the person who fills your role.

Friday, June 17, 2011

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Vacation

If you happen to find yourself on Pier 39 (Fisherman's Wharf) in San Francisco, I suggest you swing by the Sock Market. This store has a dazzling array of awesome BOOLEAN attire.

The sign may look mundane....
While the need to fly across the country kept me from cleaning out the store, I did admire the gloriousness that was the front window display.

I'll take one of each.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm Back!

For those of you looking for this week's edition of "Links and Stuff," I'm sorry, but you'll have to wait until next week. I have just returned from the West Coast and find myself a wee bit sluggish. (Silly red eye flight.)

Recreational Reading will be back to its regular blog schedule next week.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Links and Stuff: June 9, 2011

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

YouTube Tuesday: User Experience

I love these videos. They give you something to think about, and they are fun to watch.

Monday, June 06, 2011

On the Job: Go For It

Forgive me for the inadvertent, two week absence of the On the Job column. One day I was traveling back from my brother's college graduation and the other was a holiday. I plum forgot to post both days.

I should also take this time to mention that I will be out of town for the next two weeks (West coast bound!) so blogging will be quite spotty. I hope you all will miss me, but the intertubes have a lot of other awesome stuff. Like this addictive (and adorable) video.

Now is as good a time as any to announce that I have accepted a new position in the library. Starting in July, I will be moving into the Stacks Inventory Project Manager position. Woot! It's a brand new position; one that I am a little nervous to take on but very excited to start. So, my advice this week: Go for it.

You never know where every opportunity will lead. Try something new. Ask a few questions. Apply for a new position. Just start a new project. It never hurts to try something. It may be a little scary, but I firmly believe that "going for it" always yields benefits.

Forging ahead can be a daunting task, but everyone has to do it. Stagnation is not the most viable option. I, like many others, do enjoy the occasional rut day or week. But, I find that going for the new project, collaboration, or random event is always more beneficial, more educational, and more enjoyable. Even if the new prospect seems scary, it's fun to take the leap and see what happens.

Even in failure going for it has its advantages. Failure is a chance for education. It shows you what does not work, but can also highlight what might. Failing also gives you a chance to see how strong you are, where your weakness lie, and, most importantly, can show that something not going right is not the end of the world or your career.

I say, just go for it. You never know what you might learn or what you could achieve.