Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book 21: The School of Essential Ingredients

TITLE: The School of Essential Ingredients
AUTHOR: Erica Bauermeister
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 22, 2012
PAGES: 256
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: Lillian had been four years old when her father left them, and her mother, stunned, had slid into books like a seal into water.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] A "heartbreakingly delicious" national bestseller about a chef, her students, and the evocative lessons that food teaches about life

Once a month, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect...

The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. And soon they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create.

THOUGHTS: When I started this book at the end of my last read-a-thon, I did not expect to finish it let alone to fall in love. I only encountered this book because it was misshevled in the kids section at the library. If not for that bit of serendipity, I may have never read what I consider to be the best book of 2012 (so far).

Each section of Bauermeister's novel covers the personal story of a member of a cooking class. Towards they end of the book, the stories start to weave and interconnect beautifully. Each story has its own tone, whether it be frustrating, triumphant, or heart-breaking (and, yes, I was in tears for two stories). The best part about these vignettes is that they feel real. The characters are fully formed, and we're being given insights into a part of their complete lives.

And the writing in this book, dear god, the writing is simply wonderful (particularly when food descriptions are on the page - do not read when hungry!). It's lyrical, well composed, and flows with richly developed emotion. You can tell when a writer trusts in their story, because they don't force this writing. This book just flows from one page to the next - as if it appeared, fully formed on the page without ever being drafted and edited. I love it when that happens. Bauermeister lets you fall into the story and its characters because her writing seems so effortless.

The School of Essential Ingredients was the perfect book to end my read-a-thon. It contains a compelling story, realistic characters, and beautifully nuanced writing. If you only attempt to read one book this year, please let it be this one. Also, you may want snacks on hand as this book will make you want to eat buttery mashed potatoes.

RATING: 10/10 [Best. Book. Ever.]

Links and Stuff: May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book 20: Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

TITLE: Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
AUTHOR: Michael Pollen
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
PAGES: 211

FIRST SENTENCE: Eating in our time has gotten complicated - needlessly so, in my opinion.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] Michael Pollan, our nation's most trusted resource for food-related issues, offers this indispensible guide for anyone concerned about health and food. Simple, sensible, and easy to use, Food Rules is a set of memorable rules for eating wisely, many drawn from a variety of ethnic or cultural traditions. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat-buffet, this handy, pocket-size resource is the perfect guide for anyone who would like to become more mindful of the food we eat.

THOUGHTS: Now this is a "diet" book I can get behind. Pollan lays out simple, easy to understand rules for developing a healthy relationship with food and eating. It's not a "do/don't do this" kind of book, but it does over valuable advice for navigating the modern world of food. It's the Pirate's Code of food, they're more like guidelines.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book 19: The Storm in the Barn

TITLE: The Storm in the Barn
AUTHOR: Matt Phelan
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
PAGES: 203
GENRE: Graphic Novels

FIRST SENTENCE: The dust can have it.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and] In Kansas in the year 1937, eleven-year-old Jack Clark faces his share of ordinary challenges: local bullies, his father’s failed expectations, a little sister with an eye for trouble. But he also has to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl, including rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness. Certainly a case of "dust dementia" would explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the Talbot’s abandoned barn — a sinister figure with a face like rain. In a land where it never rains, it’s hard to trust what you see with your own eyes — and harder still to take heart and be a hero when the time comes. With phenomenal pacing, sensitivity, and a sure command of suspense, Matt Phelan ushers us into a world where desperation is transformed by unexpected courage.

THOUGHTS: This book needs to be a movie. The images are so cinematic that they float off the page. I was enraptured by the movement the art created. The character of "the storm" is phenomenal and I would love to see how he translates to the screen.

The story is told in very simple dialog and focuses on only a few characters. The narrative is told mainly in the emotion crafted in the images, but what dialog there is packs a punch. The main character, Jack, is a bit of an outsider who is trying to find his way. He grows during the book into a character with strength and fortitude. The final scenes are some of the best I have ever seen in a graphic novel.

This is a wonderful story. It may be a quick read, but it will stick with you.

RATING: 8/10 [Terrific]

YouTube Tuesday: Mental Image

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What I Read This Week: May 27, 2012

I hope everyone is having a wonderful long weekend. The Boyfriend and I are dog sitting; ergo, my weekend is awesome. I love having a fluffy animal around. That said, I think this here pup is tiring me out more than I am tiring her out. Monday, friends of ours are hosting a Mexican flavored cookout in Rock Creek Park. I can already sense the food coma coming on.

Onto the readings!

  • I flipped though the June 2012 issue of Everyday Food. I pulled several recipes from this issue... most of them involve shrimp. Clearly I have a craving for seafood. Meh. There are worse things I could be hankering for.
  • Also on the docket this week was the June 2012 issue of National Geographic. Once again, I'm thrilled that I decided to subscribe to this magazine. The articles in this issue was spectacular, particularly the cover story about solar flares. Photography-wise, the images in the Outer Banks and Ural Owl article are not to be missed. 
  • There was a really good post on Zen Habits about accepting the fact that you can not and never will be able to read everything. It's worth a look.
  • I also managed to finish two books this week. I completed Veronica Roth's Divergent along with my professional book, The Challenge of Library Management. I've put myself on the wait list for Insurgent; until then, I'm tiding myself over by reading Catching Fire. YA, why do I love you so?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Book 18: Into the Volcano

TITLE: Into the Volcano
AUTHOR: Don Wood
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
PAGES: 175
GENRE: Graphic Novels

FIRST SENTENCE: Pugg Brothers... please report to the principal's office.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] While their parents are away doing research, brothers Duffy and Sumo Pugg go with their cousin, Mister Come-and-Go, to Kokalaha Island, where they meet Aunt Lulu and become trapped in an erupting volcano.

THOUGHTS: While this doesn't come even close to being as awesome as King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, it's still a decent read. The story is very dramatic, and does a wonderful job of showing a child overcoming his fears. The art is very lush and full of movement and emotion. It's not a complex story, but is rich with storytelling and detail.

RATING: 5/10 [Meh.]

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Plaid

I pinned these to my BOOLEAN board a while back. When I was scrolling around for a pair of tights to post, these jumped out at me. The reason... they remind me of the kitchen wallpaper in the Draper househould.

You can buy a pair of these from ModCloth.

For comparison:

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book 17: Death of a Travelling Man

TITLE: Death of a Travelling Man
AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
PAGES: 167
GENRE: Mystery

FIRST SENTENCE: Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth was never to forget that fine spring day.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth's new promotion means more money, but it also means that an eager beaver of a policeman, P.C. Willie Lamont, has been thrust upon him, interfering with Hamish's easygoing way of life. On a walk escaping his new sidekick's bloodhound efficiency, Hamish sees a battered camper parked next to the Lochdubh Hotel. The man Hamish meets inside the camper would have been called a hippie not so long ago and a beatnik a long time before that. Now he belongs to a crowd who refer to themselves as "travellers": people who live like gypsies and try to demand the same rights. But Hamish knows real gypsies and is tolerant of them; they have rights and privileges that date back centuries. Hamish has no time for these so-called travellers, especially not this one, with his good looks and disturbingly smooth manner. Hamish takes an instant disliking to him, but the man manages to endear himself to several villagers. Only Hamish seems to realize the trouble this drifter is stirring up - until the man is found murdered in his camper. Nothing ever happens in the sleepy Scottish town of Lochdubh - nothing except murder. And where there's murder there's Hamish Macbeth to lend his unique brand of charm and wit to the proceedings.

THOUGHTS: This book suffers from a combination of "I've read a lot by this author" and "I've waited to long to write my review." It's Beaton - so, of course, I remember being charmed by the whole story and cast of characters. Other than that, the salient details have seeped out of brain. Fiddlesticks!

I can't remember loathing or loving anything, you can rest assured that this is a straightforward, cozy Beaton mystery. This is the kind of book you love while you're reading it, toss it aside when finished, and then move onto the next book without dwelling too much on what you just read.

RATING: 5/10 [Meh.]

Variations on a Theme: Meghan Recommends

This month's Variations on a Theme is wee bit different. Summer is here! (Even if the weather is still cooler than normal.) During the warm months, I like to read books that make me happy. So, this month's post is all about books I think are awesome and should be read by everyone. Most of these are fairly easy to get through which makes them perfect for a vacation or beach read.

Please feel free to add your recommendations in the comments. All the summaries are from Barnes and Noble, and I've also included links to my reviews.

How I Kills Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
Mike Brown

The solar system most of us grew up with included nine planets, with Mercury closest to the sun and Pluto at the outer edge. Then, in 2005, astronomer Mike Brown made the discovery of a lifetime: a tenth planet, Eris, slightly bigger than Pluto. But instead of its resulting in one more planet being added to our solar system, Brown’s find ignited a firestorm of controversy that riled the usually sedate world of astronomy and launched him into the public eye. The debate culminated in the demotion of Pluto from real planet to the newly coined category of “dwarf” planet. Suddenly Brown was receiving hate mail from schoolchildren and being bombarded by TV reporters—all because of the discovery he had spent years searching for and a lifetime dreaming about. My review.

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

Sixteen-year-old Katniss is smart, athletic, and fast. She can take down a rabbit with a bow and arrow, hitting it straight through the eye. Will these skills be enough to survive the Hunger Games? Suzanne Collins, the author of the middle-grade fantasy series The Underland Chronicles begins anew, exploring a future landscape that will be familiar to devotees of science fiction's dystopic strain. In a nation called Panem, which occupies the landmass that is the present United States, a parasitical fascist Capitol dominates 12 conquered districts. There was a thirteenth district but it was obliterated during a rebellion. The totalitarian government keeps the subjected populations in line by threatened devastation, starvation, and brutality. My review.

I Am Charlotte Simmons
Tom Wolfe

Dupont University - the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition... Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a wide-eyed, bookish freshman from a strict, devout, poor and poorly educated family in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that for the uppercrust coeds of Dupont, sex, Cool, and kegs trump her towering academic achievement every time. As Charlotte encounters the paragons of Dupont's privileged elite - her roommate, Beverly, a Groton-educated Brahmin in lusty pursuit of lacrosse players; Jojo Johanssen, the only white starting player on Dupont's godlike basketball team, whose position is threatened by a hotshot black freshman from the projects; the Young Turk of Saint Ray fraternity, Hoyt Thorpe, whose sense of entitlement and social domination is clinched by his accidental brawl with a bodyguard for the governor of California; and Adam Gellin, one of the Millennial Mutants who run the university's "independent" newspaper and who consider themselves the last bastion of intellectual endeavor on the sex-crazed, jock-obsessed campus - she is seduced by the heady glamour of acceptance, betraying her values and upbringing before she grasps the power of being different and the exotic allure of her innocence. My review.

The Monsters of Templeton
Lauren Groff

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. My review.

The Red Tent
Anita Diamant

Far beyond the traditional women-of-the-Bible sagas in both impact and vigor, The Red Tent is based upon a mention in Genesis of Jacob's only female offspring - his daughter, Dinah. Author Anita Diamant, in the voice of Dinah, gives an insider's look at the details of women's lives in biblical times and a chronicle of their earthy stories and long-ignored histories. The red tent of the title is the place where women were sequestered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and illness. It is here that Dinah hears the whispered stories of her four mothers - Jacob's wives Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah - and tells their tales to us in remarkable and thought-provoking oratories. Familiar passages from the Bible take on new life as Dinah fills in what the Bible has left out - the lives of women. Dinah tells us of her initiation into the religious and sexual practices of the tribe; Jacob's courtship with Rachel and Leah; the ancient world of caravans, farmers, midwives, and slaves; her ill-fated sojourn in the city of Sechem; her years in Canaan; and her half-brother Joseph's rise in Egypt. My review.

Kushiel's Dart
Jacqueline Carey

"When Love cast me out, it was Cruelty who took pity on me." Phedre was the product of an ill-advised union. The daughter of a merchant prince's son and an adept of the Night Court, she was born into a society of courtesans who followed in the service of their angels. She was a flawed child with the mark of the devil. Sold into indentured servitude by indifferent parents, she had little reason for hope. But hope would come in the form of a banned poet named Anafiel Delaunay, who would become her mentor. He wanted her for her mark; he knew what it meant and how he could use it. He taught Phedre to move within the royal halls virtually unseen -- to look, listen, and think. She learned to spy in places of power, and her greatest danger would be that eventually she would know too much. My review.

Other Books I Recommend: 
Titles link to my reviews.

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Feed - Mira Grant
French Women Don't Get Fat - Mireille Guiliano
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling
La Cucina - Lily Prior
The Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollan
Rules - Cynthia Lord
So Many Books, So Little Time - Sara Nelson
World War Z - Max Brooks

Links and Stuff: May 24, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book 16: Rex Libris: I, Librarian

TITLE: Rex Libris: I, Librarian
AUTHOR: James Turner
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
PAGES: 176
GENRE: Graphic Novels

FIRST SENTENCE: Welcome, adventurous reader, to the first issue of Rex Libris, Public Librarian.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] The astonishing story of the incomparable Rex Libris, Head Librarian at Middleton Public Library, and his unending struggle against the forces of ignorance and darkness. Rex travels to the farthest reaches of the galaxy in search of overdue books. Wearing his super thick bottle glasses, and armed with an arsenal of high technology weapons, he strikes fear into recalcitrant borrowers, and can take on virtually any foe from zombies to renegade literary characters. In this first collection of Librarian adventures, Rex must confront the powerful Space Warlord Vaglox and retrieve the overdue Principia Mathematica while an energy manifestation of blood thirsty Vandals attempt to burn down Middleton Library, and all within, to the ground.

THOUGHTS: I loved this book. And, yes, I may be saying that because I am a librarian. I love the idea of some superhero librarian guarding knowledge, tracking down overdue books, and fending off vikings all while saving the world. Yes, that appeals to me.

This is an incredibly smart and punchy graphic novel. It doesn't bother to slow down to explain things to readers (which I love). Rex survives (and tracks down books) using wit and knowledge he's accumulated through the ages. No mild mannered librarian he. I have a soft spot for this bad ass of a librarian. Also, his side kick is a sassy bird who wants to control the world. Yeah, it's that kind of graphic novel.

The dramatic art is an incredibly strong visual which only enhances the oomph of the story. The stark black and white images are full of vivid detail that still manage to convey emotion and power. Loves it!

I heard they're making a movie out of this series - I will be there on opening day if that's really in the works.

RATING: 8/10 [Terrific]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book 15: A Family Secret

TITLE: A Family Secret
AUTHOR: Eric Heuvel
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
GENRE: Graphic Novels

FIRST SENTENCE: Jerpeon only has a few days left to gather up some old things for the Queen's Day flea market.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble]  While searching his grandmother’s attic for likely items to sell at a yard sale, Jeroen finds a photo album that brings back hard memories for his grandmother, Helena. Helena tells Jeroen for the first time about her experiences during the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, and mourns the loss of her Jewish best friend, Esther. Helena believes that her own father, a policeman and Nazi sympathizer, delivered Esther to the Nazis and that she died in a concentration camp. But after hearing her story, Jeroen makes a discovery and Helena realizes that her father kept an important secret from her.

THOUGHTS: Heuvel's work is a simple story that highlights a rarely seen view of the Holocaust. The author does a good job of showing the tough situations friends and neighbors found themselves in during this time.

The artwork is very simply "cartoon," but the basic images help tell the story without distracting from the narrative.

RATING: 5/10 [Meh.]

YouTube Tuesday: Thrills and Chills

Monday, May 21, 2012

Book 14: The Titanic Sinks!

TITLE: The Titanic Sinks!
AUTHOR: Thomas Conklin
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
PAGES: 115
GENRE: Titanic / Juvenile

FIRST SENTENCE: In late April 1912, Mayor William J. Gaynor of New York City received a postcard from Europe.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] Here is the exciting true story about the "unsinkable" Titanic! Dramatic accounts, white-knuckle suspense, and fast-paced action of how the world's biggest, safest ship sank on its maiden voyage. Includes black-and-white photos and full-color underwater photos of the wreck. 

Recounts the story of how the world's biggest, safest ship sank on its first trip.

THOUGHTS: This children's book about Titanic is non-fiction, but it is constructed liked a narrative fiction story. It was very informative (for the intended audience), and would be a good tool to introduce young children to the subject. Conklin frames his story around a few passengers which helps highlight the personal side of the tragedy.

RATING: 5/10 [Meh.]

The Value of the Library

On his blog the Swiss Army Librarian, Brian Herzog, discussed a simple and elegant solution that shows patrons the value the library provides to them.

The library prints out receipts to show which items are checked out. At the bottom of this receipt, the commercial monetary value of those items is displayed. The patron now knows the specific value they are receiving.

Frankly, it's a lovely solution and one I hope more libraries decide to use. But does it go far enough?

Patrons who already use the library already tend to know the value. They may not know the specific monetary value, but the clearly get "the good" they're receiving. What about those who never enter the library? How do we show the value of the libraries services and tools to people who never step foot inside or troll around on our websites?

This is the demographic we need to reach. This is the demographic we need to show our value to. But, as with all marketing, this is the hardest demographic to reach.

If anyone has any ideas of how to spread this message outside the library, my ears are open.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What I Read This Week: May 20, 2012

It's so pretty out! I love it when the weekend comes with blue skies and perfect temperatures. Sadly, the weather wasn't this kind earlier in the week, but that did allow me to get my reading on. Considering I was out  doing stuff most of the week, I managed to finish quite the pile of stuff.

  • The first magazine I tackled this week was the most recent (June 2012) issue of Real Simple. I love this magazine. It's always full of useful information and pretty pictures. In this issue, I LOVED the grilling guide. That article is being saved for further reference..
  • The second magazine I tackled was the May issue of National Geographic. I am so glad I subscribed to this magazine. Yes, it is full of gorgeous photographs and charts - but the articles are also well written and very interesting. This month, I was all about the fuzzy koala bears piece. The article on the birds that make sounds with their wings (and booty dances) was also incredibly interesting. Facts! I needs them. (It's reading stuff like this that makes me awesome at Jeopardy and bar trivia.)
  • At work, I finally got around to flipping through the April 2012 issue of Library Resources and Technical Services. The content I read was way drier than most people care to know but, in case you're interested, I read the following:
  • Book wise, I managed to get a few more pages into Veronica Roth's Divergent. I like the book so far, but I think I need to sit down a read a huge chunk of it in one go. Right now, I'm sneaking pages just before bed. That's no way to fall into a story like this.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book 13: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

TITLE: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
AUTHOR: Andrew Bolton
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
PAGES: 240

FIRST SENTENCE: [Director's Forward] There are any number of fashion designers with the creative distinction to warrant a presentation of their work in an art museum.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] Arguably the most influential, imaginative, and provocative designer of his generation, Alexander McQueen both challenged and expanded fashion conventions to express ideas about race, class, sexuality, religion, and the environment. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty examines the full breadth of the designer’s career, from the start of his fledgling label to the triumphs of his own world-renowned London house. It features his most iconic and radical designs, revealing how McQueen adapted and combined the fundamentals of Savile Row tailoring, the specialized techniques of haute couture, and technological innovation to achieve his distinctive aesthetic. It also focuses on the highly sophisticated narrative structures underpinning his collections and extravagant runway presentations, with their echoes of avant-garde installation and performance art.

Published to coincide with an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art organized by The Costume Institute, this stunning book includes a preface by Andrew Bolton; an introduction by Susannah Frankel; an interview by Tim Blanks with Sarah Burton, creative director of the house of Alexander McQueen; illuminating quotes from the designer himself; provocative and captivating new photography by renowned photographer Sølve Sundsbø; and a lenticular cover by Gary James McQueen.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty celebrates the astounding creativity and originality of a designer who relentlessly questioned and confronted the requisites of fashion.

THOUGHTS: This book was lovely - no really, the pictures were stunningly (and so was the subject matter). I knew very little about McQueen's life before reading this, but I found him to be a fascinating person. His work, while a bit crazy for some, always contained a deeper story and complex reasoning behind him. This book does a superb job of showcasing both the designer and his creations. The images, as I stated earlier, are beautiful and the text that accompanies them is well chosen.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has even a modicum of interest in Alexander McQueen.

RATING: 8/10 [Terrific]

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - TGIF

The only reason I'm posting this is because they're fun. It's Friday. I need some whimsy after a long work week.

Quirky tights make my day. If you're interested, you can buy a pair of these at My Tights.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book 12: Cupcakes of Doom!

TITLE: Cupcakes of Doom!
AUTHOR: Ray Friesen
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
PAGES: 104
GENRE: Graphic Novels

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] It's the ultimate showdown, Our Heroic-ish Pirates versus Those Lousy Vikings to decide the fate of a kingdom! Who will be the victorious, bearded, giant-hat-wearing masters of the sea? Their weapons of choice? BAKED GOODS! Deliciously-Evil Viking Pie, a threat to their homemade pirate cookies, forces Captain Scurvybeard and crew to embark on a quest to find the ultimate pastry: The long lost CUPCAKES OF DOOM! It gets rather silly.

THOUGHTS: If you want a graphic novel that reminds you of an animated Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network show, than this is the book for you. For the most part, I did not really like anything about it. That said, I did snicker a few times. This book would, in all regards, make a wonderful companion to follow Phineas and Ferb.Other that that, don't bother.

RATING: 3/10 [Poor, Lost Interest[

Links and Stuff: May 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book 11: The Tiger Rising

TITLE: The Tiger Rising
AUTHOR: Kate DiCamillo
STARTED: April 21, 2012
FINISHED: April 21, 2012
PAGES: 116
GENRE: Juvenile

FIRST SENTENCE: That morning, after he discovered the tiger, Rob went and stood under the Kentucky Star motel sign and waited for the school bus just like it was any other day.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble ] Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger - a real-life, very large tiger - pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things - like memories, and heartaches, and tigers - can’t be locked up forever.

Rob, who passes the time in his rural Florida community by wood carving, is drawn by his spunky but angry friend Sistine into a plan to free a caged tiger.

THOUGHTS: This book, like all of DiCamillo's works, was quaint, ole-timey, and everything you want a kids book to be. The writing was lyrical without being excessive, the characters were well developed, and the story compelling. I even teared up a bit at the end.

DiCamillo is, hands down, one of my favorite children's authors writing today. You can't not like her books.

RATING: 7/10 [Good]

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Seen on the Metro: Purple Prose?

Whilst heading home from (losing) my bocce game last Thursday, I saw a fun sight. A FedEx employee boarded the train with a romance novel in her hand.

It was purple, which matched her uniform. I don't know why I love it when a person's reading choices matches their wardrobe, but it always tickles me pink.

I couldn't see the title the book, but I was able to figure out that the author was Christine Feehan. According to my scrolling of her titles on Barnes and Noble, the book may have been Spirit Bound or Fever.

Also, every time I see someone reading a romance in public, I want to high-five them for being awesome. I still think these books get a bad rap. We should be reading them loudly and proudly.

YouTube Tuesday: The Past is Here

Best. Library. Trailer. Ever!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book 10: The Ravishing One

TITLE: The Ravishing One
AUTHOR: Connie Brockway
STARTED: April 5, 2012
FINISHED: April 17, 2012
PAGES: 369
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: Some say Lady Fia Merrick was born bad, others that she'd only been raised to it.

SUMMARY: [From] His desire for her turned abduction into seduction...

She is the toast of London society. But Fia Merrick gives her heart to no one, for love is a weakness she cannot afford. Once she would have given her soul to Thomas McClairen, until he shattered her innocent dreams. 

Now he is back, a convict returned to England in disguise to abduct Fia to Scotland, to McClairen's Isle. There, as Fia seeks her revenge in seduction, a passion is ignited that defies the past and cannot be denied...

THOUGHTS: Womp! Womp. This book was a rather lackluster end to a romance series that I considered slightly better than average. Fia was built up to be the best of the Merrick characters, and she sort of turned into a whiny ninny. Sad face.

Also, I am so far removed from reading this book (was this really sitting in my draft pile since mid-April?) that I can't remember many of the salient details about this book. That is never, ever a good thing.

I will say this, the chemistry between the two characters was quite well written. I could, in many instances, even consider it "spicy."

RATING: 5/10 [Meh.]

BOOLEAN: Library Stars

One of my favorite librarians out there, Sarah Houghton (a.k.a. the Librarian in Black), posted a snapshot of her tights on Twitter last week. They are glittery and spectacular.

Every work day needs a little sparkle.

Also, I may have fan-girled out for a bit when she offered to send me a full-sized picture to post.

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What I Read This Week: May 13, 2012

Boo... blogger lost my pre-written entry for Sunday. Sad face.

I have a tendency to write this series over the week so that I can actually remember what I read. So, I'll have ot do my best to recall what my eyes passed over last week.
  • Hunger Games. I finished my re-read. Which, in my desire to stay in the YA/dystopic universe, lead me to start Divergent by Veronica Roth. I am only a few pages in (been watching Mad Men instead of reading) but I like it so for.

Um... phooey... I can't remember anything else.

Friday, May 11, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Climb

Co-Founder Katie B. tweeted me a link this week. It was tagged #BOOLEAN.

I expected the content to be awesome.

And it was.

I don't know where (or if) you can purchase these tights, but they are awesome. If I get a location, I will add it to this post.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Links and Stuff: May 10, 2012

My favorite link of the week comes was about books/reading as lovers. The story came with this awesome quote: "Even before e-readers, reading has had a psuedo-romantic image, as reading is a very solitary activity that often happens in intimate places, like beds, bathtubs, or couches. When we say, "curl up with a good book," we're hinting at the one-on-one,  cuddly love we have for literature."

Sunday, May 06, 2012

What I Read This Week: May 6, 2012

Despite the copious amounts of hockey and Mad Men I watched this week, I still managed to read a rather large pile o'stuff. Go me!
  • Magazines. I read a lot of them this week:
    • While working out this week, I finished read the May issue of The Atlantic. I loved the article about "new rules" for dining out. I consider myself to be an amateur foodie and may try to put my new knowledge to use. Also, I unexpectedly enjoyed the article about Kanye West and Jay-Z. I don't listen to much of their music, but this piece was fascinating.
    • When I subscribed to National Geographic a few weeks back, I did not expect that they would send me two months of back issues along with the new issue. Meh. I'm not one to complain about more fun reading. In the March 2012 issue, I enjoyed reading the cover story about the Apostles, as well as the story about the Arabian seas. My favorite piece of the issue was about the Rhino Wars. It made me tear up a little bit.
    • Finally, I read the May issue of Everyday Food. I pulled several recipes. Most of them involve meat. The Boyfriend should be pleased. I also learned that you should never pack bananas in the same back as cold or frozen food. If you do, you're likely to have brown spots before you even get the fruit home. Who knew?
  • I read a lot of NPR articles, but I have a particular fondness of the 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog. This week, there was an entry about Physics vs. Philosophy that was utterly fascinating. I've been mulling it over in my head since I read it. I love it when that happens. 
  • Book wise, I managed to read some pages in both Hunger Games and my commuting/professional development book. 

Friday, May 04, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Rock the Red

It's hockey play-off season, and I've watched my Washington Capitals fall to 2-1 in their series against the New York Rangers. Sad face.

Saturday is Game 4 and I hope they pull out a win. To help them along, I think those in attendance to should Rock the Red with these bright tights.

These tights are (on sale!) at Anthropolgie.

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Links and Stuff: May 3, 2012

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Seen on the Metro: Lackluster Review?

During one of my random journeys into the heart of D.C. after work, I came across a cute sight as I was leaving the metro train.

A teenage guy sitting near the door was  asleep. We're talking the legs stretched out and relaxed, head back, and mouth threatening to fall open kind of asleep.

This vision, in and of itself, is not unusual to see on the train. What was amusing, however, was the book rest on this guy's chest.

The title: The Nanny Diaries.

I left the train quite charmed.

YouTube Tuesday: Help Karl!