Friday, March 30, 2012

BOOLEAN: Make it Work

This week consisted of lots of days where I woke up thinking, "How the heck do I dress for this?" The mornings were cool, verging on cold (in the high 30s, low 40s) and the afternoons hit the mid-to-high 70s. Seriously, mother nature, my wardrobe gives up - they are no match for your temperature swings.

On Wednesday, I managed to wear a pair of tights that worked-ish. These guys were solid enough to keep me warm in the morning, but hole-y enough to not feel like a sauna in the afternoon.

As much as I love BOOLEAN weather, I hate the transition season.

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BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Dye It

It's Easter Season. Ergo, I've decided to showcase a pair of tights that reminded me of dying easter eggs. They are colorful.

You can purchase a pair from Etsy. Other colors are available.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Variations on a Theme: Academic Romance

Since I'm finally reading a romance novel that is keeping my interest, this month's Variations on a Theme is all about romance novels. Now, I'm not going to list a ton of romance novel titles. No. Instead, I want to use this as an opportunity to explore the romance genre as an academic or scholarly subject. When I was a grad student, I wrote a paper on romance novels. Ergo, I think this is an awesome topic that should be discussed more.

All summaries are from Barnes and Noble. I've included links to my reviews of the books where I can.

A Natural History of the Romance Novel
Pamela Regis

Taking the stance that the popular romance novel is a work of literature with a brilliant pedigree, Regis asserts that it is also a very old, stable form. She traces the literary history of the romance novel from canonical works such as Richardson's Pamela through Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Brontë's Jane Eyre, and E. M. Hull's The Sheik, and then turns to more contemporary works such as the novels of Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, Janet Dailey, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Nora Roberts.

[My review from 2007.]

The Look of Love: The Art of the Romance Novel
Jennifer McKnight-Trontz

Swashbuckling sailors, dashing dukes, naughty nurses, and sexy steward-esses caught in webs of love, passion, betrayal, and intrigue: these are the raw materials of the romance novel--and the lusty covers that advertise them. In The Look of Love, Jennifer McKnight-Trontz provides a rollicking history of the covers and stories that have captivated millions of readers worldwide. More than 150 of the most sensational covers from this venerable if venal literary form are shown in glorious color, focusing on the period from 1940 to 1970, romance design's most fertile era. The Look of Love features artwork and excerpts from titles such as Passion Flower, Kept Woman, Rendezvous in Lisbon, and Jungle Nurse. Along the way, it brings attention to the pioneers of the romance novel: cover artists such as Barye Phillips and Robert Maguire, who helped define the look of paperbacks in general, and Harlequin, the grand dame of romance publishers, with more than 100 million novels sold each year. McKnight-Trontz reveals the themes that typify both the story lines and the covers--hospital romance, the rich and raunchy, royalty, tropical paradises, Westerns, "taboo" relationships, pirates and warriors, and love triangles--resulting in this definitive compendium of camp. A book for romance lovers everywhere.

[My review from 2007.]

Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels
Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan

Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan — the creators of the wildly popular blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books — have no shame! They look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world of romance novels and tackle the hard issues and questions:
— The heroine's irresistible Magic Hoo Hoo and the hero's untamable Wang of Mighty Lovin'
— Sexual trends. Simultaneous orgasms. Hymens. And is anal really the new oral?
— Romance novel cover requirements: man titty, camel toe, flowers, long hair, animals, and the O-face
— Are romance novels really candy-coated porn or vehicles by which we understand our sexual and gender politics?
With insider advice for writing romances, fun games to discover your inner Viking warrior, and interviews with famous romance authors, Beyond Heaving Bosoms shows that while some romance novels are silly — maybe even tawdry — they can also be intelligent, savvy, feminist, and fabulous, just like their readers!

Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature
Janice A. Radway

Originally published in 1984, Reading The Romance challenges popular (and often demeaning) myths about why romantic fiction, one of publishing's most lucrative categories, captivates millions of women readers. In a new introduction, Janice Radway places the book within the context of current scholarship and offers both an explanation and critique of the study's limitations.

Dangerous Men & Adventurous Women: Romance Writes on the Appeal of Romance
Jayne Ann Krentz (ed.)

In this seamless, ultimately fascinating, and controversial book, the authors dispute some of the notions that plague their profession, including the time-worn theory that the romance genre contains only one single, monolithic story, which is cranked out over and over again. The authors discuss positive life-affirming values inherent in all romances: the celebration of female power, courage, intelligence, and gentleness; the inversion of the power structure of a patriarchal society; and the integration of male and female. Several of the essays also discuss the issue of reader identification with the characters, a relationship that is far more complex than most critics realize.

Other Romance Titles
Becoming a Woman Through Romance - Linda K. Christian-Smith 
Desire: Love Stories in Western Culture - Catherine Belsey
Empowerment versus Opression: Twenty First Century View of Popular Romance Novels - Sally Goade
Happily Ever After: A Guide to Reading Interests in Romance Fiction - Kristin Ramsdell
Love's Sweet Return: The Harlequin Story - Margaret Jensen
Reading the Romantic Heroine: Text, History, Ideology - Leslie Rabine
Romance Fiction: A Guide to the Genre - Kristin Ramsdell
The Romance Readers Advisory: The Librarian’s Guide toLove in the Stacks - Ann Bouricius
Romance Writing - Lynn Pearce 
Romantic Conventions - Anne Kaler
Texts of Desire: Essays on Fiction, Femininity, and Schooling - Linda K. Christian-Smith
Women and Romance: A Reader - Susan Ostrov Weisser (ed.)
Words of Love: A Complete Guide to Romance Fiction - Eileen Fallon

Links and Stuff: March 29, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: The Book Doctor

Repairing books is an art form. If you ever get the chance to see book or manuscript preservation/repair in person, jump at the opportunity.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What I Read This Week: March 25, 2012

My week was jam packed. Thank goodness I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

  • The bulk of my reading consisted of Tweet with the #cildc hashtag. Stealing The Boyfriend's iPad allowed me to keep up with the tag the entire conference, and I had a grand ol' time doing so. I highly recommend that stream if you're interested in techy, nerdy, librarian type things.
  • I started my new personal reading book: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. It is quite amusing thus far, and I'm a little over a third of the way in.
  • I also manged to read a few chapters of Fundamentals of Technical Services Management during my commute to and from the conference.
That's it!

Also, I should mention that my quest for an empty magazine box was an epic fail. The new issues of The Atlantic and American Libraries arrived early in the week. Perhaps I'll get to them in the coming days. My week is far less busy and will allow for visits to the gym.

Friday, March 23, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Geometric

I did not wear tights to the conference today (the projected heat scared me away from that idea). I've seen several other attendees wearing fantastic tights. I only wish I knew how to approach them and take pictures without seeming creepy. One day, I will master the skill of the random introduction.

Since my conference tights have been all geometric-y, I thought I'd continue the trend for this week's Friday Fashion Find. This pair of tights reminds me of harlequins. 

These guys are from Eve's Legwear.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

BOOLEAN: Conference Stripes

Thursday was Day 2 of the Computers in Libraries Conference. Once again, I decided to don BOOLEAN wear. If you follow me on twitter (@meghan1943) then you already received a sneak peek of these babies.


The Boyfriend's iPad has become my best friend.
Without the iPad in the way
Close up!

Tomorrow is the last day of the Conference. I haven't decided if I'll wear tights. It's predicted to hit 80... but the conference center seems to stay a lovely 55 degrees. And by lovely, I mean frigid. And by frigid, I mean someone should be serving me hot cocoa at all times.

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Links and Stuff: March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Read-a-thon: Signed Up

Read-a-thon is April 21. So close! Sign-ups started today. You better believe my name is on the list. I was actually first on the list this year.

I think that means I need to spend less time in Google reader...

You can sign up here.

BOOLEAN: Conference Dots

I'm attending the Computers in Libraries conference this week. If you're interested, you can follow my thoughts over on Twitter.

I decided to wear spots for Day 1.

The carpet decided to go with spots as well.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book 5: Unpacking My Library

TITLE: Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books
AUTHOR: Leah Price (ed.)
STARTED: March 1, 2012
FINISHED: March 9, 2012
PAGES: 201
GENRE: Books about Books

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Introduction] As a teenaged babysitter, I went straight for the books.

SUMMARY: [From] As words and stories are increasingly disseminated through digital means, the significance of the book as object—whether pristine collectible or battered relic—is growing as well. Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books spotlights the personal libraries of thirteen favorite novelists who share their collections with readers. Stunning photographs provide full views of the libraries and close-ups of individual volumes: first editions, worn textbooks, pristine hardcovers, and childhood companions.

In her introduction, Leah Price muses on the history and future of the bookshelf, asking what books can tell us about their owners and what readers can tell us about their collections. Supplementing the photographs are Price's interviews with each author, which probe the relation of writing to reading, collecting, and arranging books. Each writer provides a list of top ten favorite titles, offering unique personal histories along with suggestions for every bibliophile.

THOUGHTS:  I’m a librarian. I like books. Yes, I fall into that stereotype. Ergo, when a book appears on our shelves that is all about writers and their personal book collections, I pounce. That said, I don’t think you have to be a librarian to love this book. You just have to like reading.

Unpacking My Library is composed of a series of interviews where authors discuss what is in their library, and why they love those books. In many cases, the authors discuss the impact the book had on their lives and writing. These interviews showcase how our reading changes and grows with us as we move through life. These interviews are accompanied by lovely, full-color photos of the author’s book collection.

While there is nothing revelatory about the authors and their collections (or the writing of the book for that matter), the entire book has a magical quality to it.  Unpacking My Library is not the best book I’ve read, nor the most thought-provoking. It is, however, a book about discovery and shared passions. Books are a commodity to be shared and discussed, when you see a book you’ve read discussed or pictured in one of the photos, it’s hard not to be excited. More than once I found myself scouring the images of author’s shelves for books I too have read. More than once I jumped in excitement when I found common titles. In many ways, it felt as if my own reading choices were being validated.

My only complaint about this book is that it is an awkward shape and size. It’s far wider than your typical book, but is not the huge size of a folio. That makes it awkward to hold while reading – particular if you’re trying to do so on the metro.

This is a quick and easy read, but one where the charming feeling will last with you long after you’ve closed the back cover.

RATING: 8/10 [Terrific]

YouTube Tuesday: Hunger Games

I'm excited.

Monday, March 19, 2012

BOOLEAN: Weather Appropriate

The last time I wore these lace tights, we had a fire drill... and it was very cold outside. This time, I was smarter. DC hit the high 70s (even the low 80s) last week. Ergo, tights with holes in them were an awesome idea.

So much better in the sun.
 These tights are an obvious repeat, but I thought I'd share them when wearing them made sense.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

What I Read This Week: March 18, 2012

Washington DC was gloriously warm this week. I took walks at lunch. They were delightful. On Tuesday, I had delicious Indian food and took a painting/wine class with The Roomie. That too was delightful. I also did some reading.
  • I was a good exerciser and went to the gym twice this week. That time on the elliptical allowed me to finish the March issue of The Atlantic. The Obama article was interesting, but I don't know if I would consider him "explained." 
  • When I finished the Atlantic I had one glorious day when there were no magazines to be read. None. My box was empty. The euphoria lasted all of 24 hours, when I came home to find the April issue of Real Simple waiting for me. Curse you mail man! Luckily, I managed to finish the issue and my magazine box was empty once again. Woohoo!
  • But then, on Friday, what should my eyes see in my mailbox but two more magazines. I love every magazine I subscribe to, but I want to feel a sense of accomplishment by seeing my magazine box empty for one whole week. Good thing my Friday night consisted of watching hockey, drinking wine, eating pizza, and reading these magazines.
    • Magazine number one was the April Everyday Food. I pulled a couple of recipes from this issue including the Beef-and-Asparagus Curry and Cheese-and-Chive Biscuits.
    • The second magazine was also an April edition. This entry was from Cooking Light. I also pulled a few recipes from this one. The recipe I am most excited to try is the sauteed butter-thyme mushrooms. The shrimp vodka pasta also looked rather delectable. Noms.
  • There were a few interesting articles and blog posts this week that wandered into my reading:
    • I finished (!) Unpacking My Library early in the week. That means I've completed book number 5 for the year. (Reviews will come... one day.) That also means I was able to start my new work read, Fundamentals of Technical Services Management. I'm a few pages in and the content is helpful but not entirely new.
    • I put a dent in my personal reading book, Everyman for Himself. I am still not done... and I'm still not liking it that much - I had better finish soon.Good thing there are only 30 or so pages left.

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Book 4: Succeeding in the Project Management Jungle

    TITLE: Succeeding in the Project Management Jungle: How to Manage the People Side of Projects
    AUTHOR: Doug Russell
    STARTED: January 17, 2012
    FINISHED: February 24, 2012
    PAGES: 262
    GENRE: Non-Fiction

    FIRST SENTENCE: On my first project as a manufacturing project leader, inside a company known for it paternalistic management style and for being a big early driver of the Six Sigma methodology, I was the ultimate micromanager.

    SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble]  It’s a jungle out there and project managers are fighting to survive….With countless man-hours clocked and billions of dollars spent every year on project tools, the success rate for projects remains astonishingly low. So what’s the solution?

    Introducing TACTILE Management™, a people-centric system that works in conjunction with an organization’s existing processes. Based on the seven characteristics of high-performance project teams—transparency, accountability, communication, trust, integrity, leadership, and execution—the book shows project managers how to:
    • Take project teams out of their functional silos and transform them into a powerful, integrated force
    • Balance the expectations of customers, management, and project teams with the technical requirements of cost, schedule, and performance
    • Apply practical phase-by-phase project guidance to real-life situations
    • Avoid or minimize possible pitfalls
    • And more
    Every successful project involves someone in the trenches who has the people skills to match process with the capability of his team and organization. This innovative book shows readers how to make the most of their people…and ensure project success.

    THOUGHTS: I would have liked this book more if there had been fewer case studies. The whole text would have be leaner, meaner, and far more useful. Russeil is clearly trying to sell the TACTILE method (which is all well and good), but a lot of this book was simply unnecessary. There were good lessons to be learned, but they were buried under excess pages.

    If you skip the case studies and just read the "meat" of the text, this book might be of use.

    RATING: 4/10 [An "okay" book]

    BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - It's Friday!

    I've had Rebecca Black's song "Friday" stuck in my head all day. (You're welcome for the earworm.) Thus, these tights. These are for Friday night.

    You can buy a pair from Eve's Legwear.

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    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    BOOLEAN: Tumblr Awesome

    If I had a tumblr I would be "retumbling" this. Since I don't, reblog it is.

    These tights are spectacular! They have stars and are glittery. Wants!

    Image originally from Librarian Wardrobe.

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    Links and Stuff: March 15, 2012

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    BOOLEAN: Purple Peeps

    Yeah, I busted out the purple tights again. This time, I got to wear them with my new(-ish) purple shoes.

    I captured this image during my commute home last Thursday. Notice the lovely metro tiles.

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    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Book 3: Zero

    TITLE: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
    AUTHOR: Charles Seife
    STARTED: January 10, 2012
    FINISHED: February 17, 2012
    PAGES: 248
    GENRE: Non-Fiction

    FIRST SENTENCE: Zero hit the USS Yorktown like a torpedo.

    SUMMARY: A concise and appealing look at the strangest number in the universe and its continuing role as one of the great paradoxes of human thought

    The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshiped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now, as Y2K fever rages, it threatens a technological apocalypse. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything.

    In Zero science journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers--from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today's astrophysicists--who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time, the quest for a theory of everything.

    THOUGHTS: I have a new found love of all things science, thanks to The Boyfriend. I picked up this book when we visited the Bibliobarn in October. Something about a number being heretical struck my interest. Zero is an incredibly interesting book, well-written, and only made me go "Huh?" a few times toward the end. Seife set out to chronicle the life of zero (0) and he does so in a remarkably entertaining fashion.

    I had no expectations for this book, so I was pleasantly surprised when the majority was quite readable (and funny!). Seife starts his story from the beginning, when zero was a concept to be blatantly ignored (shun the non-entity!) to today when zero is an integral part of physics, math, and everything else. The book is very easy to understand and follow in the early and middle chapters. We, like those ancients and medievals, are learning about the power of zero. It's only the last few chapters that become convoluted. Zero is firmly implanted in our lives these days, so it takes some serious science to implement our beloved number. Thus, difficult concepts - which are hard to digest in the few minutes before one falls asleep - fill the bulk of the final pages.

    The book is well structured; simple, straight-forward from then to now timeline. This allows Seife concepts and stories to build (and the few digressions from the timeline are a welcome sidebar). The writing is simple for a concept that becomes rather entangled as it progresses. There are math-y and science-y terms, but Seife takes the time to explain the most complicated issues. It's easy to keep up, and occasionally you may find yourself going, "Yes! I did that in my algebra class!

    Yes, this book has footnotes, but it's not a stodgy academic work. This is an eminently readable text for anyone who is interested in the subject.

    RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

    YouTube Tuesday: Stars

    This is not library related, but it is awesome.

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    BOOLEAN: Green with envy?

    When spring comes around, I get the urge to wear my colored tights. Must be the buds of growing things and fresh air messing with my head. Whatever the cause, I am okay with it.

    I promise, these tights are green. My camera and shoe choice conspired to turn these tights gray.

    Slight sheen.

    Best image I could get that shows them as green.

    These are from two weeks ago. The photos have been sitting on my phone waiting for me to upload the images.

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    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    What I Read This Week: March 11, 2011

    I had quite the busy week with work and outside the office. Work was a whirl wind of fully loaded book carts and meetings. I had to go the dentist (no cavities!). The Boyfriend had friends in town; we consumed tasty food with them. I pulled a muscle in my shoulder during my barre class, which made sitting/laying down/standing for long periods of time in the same position not so fun. Needless to say, reading was an afterthought.
    • Articles! There were some. Here, I opine on them:
    • I only have one magazine left. Woohoo! At this point, it's more like half a magazine. More woohoo! I've managed to get to the gym twice which helped me read through the March issue of The Atlantic. So far, my favorite article is about the R.L. Stine Goosebumps book series. I feel a need to reread. (Now I expect my mailbox will be stuffed with all the new issues.)  
    • I didn't touch my personal reading book this week. Bad Meghan. I am, however, on the verge of finishing Unpacking My Library.

    Friday, March 09, 2012

    BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Vintage

    The weather is getting warmer. Thus, tis time to don tights that let the spring breezes in. Spring is the perfect time to wear tights with cutouts, lace styles, or other fishnetty type finishes.

    These lovelies are from Urban Outfitters.

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    Thursday, March 08, 2012

    Links and Stuff: March 8, 2012

    Saturday, March 03, 2012

    What I Read this Week: March 3, 2012

    Who has a four-day weekend? This girl! Thus, I managed to flip through all of my magazines (minus the most recent Atlantic... which I am saving for this coming week's gym visits). Woohoo!

    • To get through the magazine spree included the following:

      • The March issue of Cooking Light. While I did not pull any recipes from this issue, I greatly enjoyed the article about chef's comfort foods. Mmmm... soup.
      • The March issue of Real Simple. I usually pull quite a bit of stuff from this magazine, but in this issue, I only tagged the spread on ten ideas for shrimp. I heart me some shellfish.
      • I also read the January/February issue of American Libraries. There was nothing to exciting about this issue, but I did like reading about how to make book displays more popular. It must be the marketer in me.
      • Finally, my I-Had-Exercising-So-Let's-Bribe-Ourselves-With-Reading magazine was the Jan./Feb. issue of The Atlantic. I managed to finish it. Additional woohoo! 
    • Only one NPR story caught my eye this week. I love Robert Krulwich's blog. This week, he did a great story about an endangered species that was once thought to be extinct. Warning: If you're squeamish around bugs, don't read.
    • Another random article on the intertubes also caught my fancy. This one was about the myth of the eight-hour sleep. The content is quite fascinating.
    • I got a few more pages into Everyman for Himself. It remains and easy read, but I wouldn't say I like it all that much yet.
    • And, lastly, I started reading Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books for work. I need to write a book review (or two) for our spring semester newsletter, and I'm hoping to read and review this book in time.

    Friday, March 02, 2012

    BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - LOL

    These are being posted because they made me laugh out loud.

    Librarians and cats totally go together. Maybe I should get a pair...

    You can buy these here.

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    Thursday, March 01, 2012

    Links and Stuff: March 1, 2012