Sunday, September 30, 2012

What I Read This Week: September 30, 2012

I think I may need to take a vacation from life. This week I went to trivia, saw a show, and went to a potluck/football viewing party. I am le tired. Whilst I love doing stuff, I can turn into a hobbit at times. Right now, I am eagerly awaiting a week where I can come home from work and veg to my heart's content.

One day...
  • I tackled the elliptical and recumbent bike on Tuesday (ew, exercise) and managed to finish the September 2012 issue of National Geographic. The article (and photos) on Weather Gone Wild was stunning. The other article I enjoyed was on the walls of ancient Rome - pretty fascinating stuff. I am so glad that I decided to subscribe to this magazine because every issue has been good.
  • I also managed to read to read the October issue of Everyday Food. This, folks, was a winner of an issue. While I did not pull all of the recipes, I pulled quite a few. Everything in this issue looked delicious. There were even two series of recipes: the first about meatballs and the other about upside down desserts. Do not read this before dinner; it will make you over eat.
  • At work, I finally got around to reading the July 2012 issue of Library Resources and Technical Services. I skimmed the majority of this issue but I did find the article on bibliographic records to be relevant to my interests. I also enjoyed the review of collection development and management literature.
  • On the home front, I read a few more pages in the Joan of Arc book. It's a good read so far, but very slow going. I think I need to stop falling asleep after 10 minutes. Maybe then I would be able to get settled into the text.

Friday, September 28, 2012

BOOLEAN - Friday Fashion Find: Celestial

The Mars rover found evidence that water once flowed freely on the red planet. Awesome! That got me thinking about space, which got me thinking about stars, which led me to post these tights. How celestial.

You can find these tights at ModCloth.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Variations on a Theme: Sports

I'm a HUGE Notre Dame Football fan (4 and 0, baby!), but I also like sports in general. This whole replacement ref fiasco (welcome back, real refs!) reminded me how dramatic sports can be. The competition of the game, match, whathaveyou means that there is a built in story. Once you add the elements of perseverance, ego, and skill, you've got yourself quite the tale to tell.

This month's Variations on a Theme is all about sports.

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream
H.G. Bissinger

Return once again to the timeless account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa—the winningest high-school football team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business. In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger chronicles a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires—and sometimes shatters—the teenagers who wear the Panthers' uniforms.

Wait Till Next Year
Doris Kearns Goodwin

Set in the suburbs of New York in the 1950s, Wait Till Next Year is Doris Kearns Goodwin's touching memoir of growing up in love with her family and baseball. She re-creates the postwar era, when the corner store was a place to share stories and neighborhoods were equally divided between Dodger, Giant, and Yankee fans. We meet the people who most influenced Goodwin's early life: her mother, who taught her the joy of books but whose debilitating illness left her housebound: and her father, who taught her the joy of baseball and to root for the Dodgers of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, and Gil Hodges. Most important, Goodwin describes with eloquence how the Dodgers' leaving Brooklyn in 1957, and the death of her mother soon after, marked both the end of an era and, for her, the end of childhood.

Undefeated: Inside the 1972 Miami Dolphins Perfect Season
Mike Freeman

Undefeated explores the Miami Dolphins' legendary 1972 season, the only perfect season in NFL history, and the journey to the championship—a story of heartbreaking injuries, miraculous finishes, and tested relationships. Coach Don Shula transformed the team—through hard work, long practices, and his no-nonsense attitude toward the game—from a laughingstock expansion team, where careers went to die, into a championship franchise. Led by such greats as Larry Csonka, Bob Griese, Nick Buoniconti, Larry Little, Mercury Morris, and Jake Scott—the Dolphins were undefeated in the regular season and went on to win Super Bowl VII, in one of the greatest feats of toughness, perseverance, and discipline the NFL has ever seen. Based on years of research and interviews, Undefeated examines what is perhaps the single greatest accomplishment in team sports history: the unforgettable NFL season in which the Dolphins never lost a single game. There has never been a football team like those Miami Dolphins, and there may never be again.
Swim: Why We Love the Water
Lynn Sherr

Swim is a celebration of swimming and the effect it has on our lives. It’s an inquiry into why we swim—the lure, the hold, the timeless magic of being in the water. It’s a look at how swimming has changed over the millennia, how this ancient activity is becoming more social than solitary today. It’s about our relationship with the water, with our fishy forebearers, and with the costumes that we wear. You’ll even find a few songs to sing when you push out those next laps.

The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever
Mark Frost

The year: 1956. Four decades have passed since Eddie Lowery came to fame as the ten-year-old caddie to U.S. Open Champion Francis Ouimet. Now a wealthy car dealer and avid supporter of amateur golf, Lowery has just made a bet with fellow millionaire George Coleman. Lowery claims that two of his employees, amateur golfers Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi, cannot be beaten in a best-ball match. Lowery challenges Coleman to bring any two golfers of his choice to the course at 10 a.m. the next day to settle the issue. Coleman accepts the challenge and shows up with his own power team: Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, the game's greatest living professionals, with fourteen major championships between them. In Mark Frost's peerless hands, complete with the recollections of all the participants, the story of this immortal foursome and the game they played that day—legendarily known in golf circles as the greatest private match ever played—comes to life with powerful, emotional impact and edge-of-your-seat suspense.

Wayne Coffey

Once upon a time, they taught us to believe. They were the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, a blue-collar bunch led by an unconventional coach, and they engineered what Sports Illustrated called the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century. Their “Miracle on Ice” has become a national fairy tale, but the real Cinderella story is even more remarkable. Wayne Coffey casts a fresh eye on this seminal sports event, giving readers an ice-level view of the amateurs who took on a Russian hockey juggernaut at the height of the Cold War. He details the unusual chemistry of the Americans—formulated by their fiercely determined coach, Herb Brooks—and seamlessly weaves portraits of the boys with the fluid action of the game itself. Coffey also traces the paths of the players and coaches since their stunning victory, examining how the Olympic events affected their lives.

Other Sports Titles
The Best Game Ever: Giants vs. Colts, 1958, and the Birth of the Modern NFL - Mark Bowden
Black Diamond: The Story of Negro League Baseball - Patricia J. McKissack and Frederick L. McKissack
The Blind Side: The Evolution of the Game - Michael Lewis
The Boys of Summer - Roger Kahn
The Breaks of the Game - David Halberstam
Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year - Glenn Stout
The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood - Jane Leavy
The Longest Shot: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf's Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open - Neil Sagebiel
No Limits: The Will to Succeed - Michael Phelps
Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss - Marty Appel
Whenever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball - R.A. Dickey

Links and Stuff: September 27, 2012

I love this post - it's all about vintage ads for libraries and reading.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What I Read This Week: September 23, 2012

I went to the opera this week. It was awesome. I then slipped on a wet speed bump coming home, promptly bruising my bum and knee. It was not awesome. You'd think that I would read more since working out (and shopping) are currently out of the question, but no...

The only reading I got done this week was in my book, An Army of Angels. I am trying to finish this before read-a-thon in three (OMG, just 3!) weeks. It ain't gonna happen. I think I may use read-a-thon to finish it, but that will severely dent my completed numbers. Sad face.

Friday, September 21, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Foxy

I have to post these for.... reasons.

Now for the close up....

Get your pair at Asos.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Links and Stuff: September 20, 2012

My favorite link of the week tells me that popular culture tells us that libraries are mysterious and full of super-natural treasures.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Book 33: Grave Mercy

TITLE: Grave Mercy
AUTHOR: Robin LaFevers
STARTED: August 17, 2012
FINISHED: September 6, 2012
PAGES: 560
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: I bear a deep red stainthat runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip, a trail left by a herbwitch's poison that my mother used to try to expel me from her womb.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

THOUGHTS: Hoo-Boy did this book hit the right spot. I eagerly anticipated reading it each night. Then, when I started to read it, I didn't want to stop. I kept asking for one more chapter until The Boyfriend would pout at me to turn out the light so that I wouldn't be a cranky-sleepy bear in the morning. I love it when that happens.

Ismae is our teenage heroine who toes the delicate line between being headstrong and TSTL, and she does so successfully. Sure there were a few times I was like, "Don't do it!" but for the most part I found her character fascinating and willful without being frivolous and stupid. Gotta love balanced females. Our hero, Duval, is handsome with dashing daring do but still has a few flaws (and family baggage to boot). Yes, he is closer to "too perfect" for my liking, but the two still work as together as a pair trying to solve the political plots occuring in Brittany. Throw is a wonderful cast of secondary characters and the plots-afoot are fun to read.

LaFevers is writing is a wonderful balance of description and action. She explains this enough to give you a wonderful mental image of the scene without devolving in purple prose territory. She also manages to keep the book well-paced, interspersing periods of action with moments of pause, all while maintaining that je ne sais quoi that makes you want to keep reading.

Also, bonus points to LaFevers for basically making her lead character a minion of death. The world development was fascinating. It was magical without being too fantastical for my taste. The conclusion of the book (where Ismae develops her own character) was perfect.

I will say this, I was bummed that this was technically a Young Adult book. I kept expecting it to turn into a romance novel and was mildly disappointed that it did not. Nonetheless, I am eagerly anticipating the rest of the books in this series.

RATING: 8/10 [Terrific]

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What I Read This Week: September 16, 2012

This week was a great week. The weather was glorious everyday. Work, while busy, was productive (and I got to play with a lazer gun... I mean, hand scanner). The Boyfriend started a new job which he seems to like even though it means he's home late and doesn't get to hang out with me as much. (Or, maybe, he seems to like the job because he doesn't get to hang out with me as much. I do talk a lot.) Yesterday was the tournament finals of my competitive bocce league. It was gorgeous out and I finally got to put my parasol to use (even if it did make me look silly.)

All in all, a great week.
  • I managed to finish two, count em!, two issues of Cooking Light:
  • My current book, An Army of Angels, is slow going (so much text on those pages!), but I am enjoying this novelization of Joan of Arc's life. I only hope that I finish it before October's Read-a-Thon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Book 32: Crossed

TITLE: Crossed 
AUTHOR: Ally Condie
STARTED: July 29, 2012
FINISHED: August 16, 2012
PAGES: 384
GENRE: Young Adult

FIRST SENTENCE: I'm standing in a river.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] Separated by the dictatorial Society that rules them, Cassia has been searching for Ky while suffering the harsh conditions of labor camps far from home. About to be sent to the Society’s biggest city for her permanent work assignment, Cassia instead grabs an opportunity to reach the war-torn Outer Provinces, where she finally gets a lead in tracking Ky. Ky has survived being used as a pawn in the Society’s war against a nameless and faceless enemy; he and two companions have escaped into a no man’s land, and Cassia follows. As Cassia and Ky hike through dangerous territory in search of a rumored rebellion and the freedom to be together, the specter of Cassia’s betrothed, Xander, hangs over them. Narrated from Cassia and Ky’s viewpoints, Condie’s sequel to her acclaimed Matched is very much a middle book, centering on a transformative journey and setting up the finale to come.

THOUGHTS: I almost forgot to review this book. Oops! This is the second entry in Condie's new trilogy and, I do have to say, it was pretty good. This book didn't wow me by any means, but I did enjoy the story and the set-up for book 3.

Unlike other books (coughInsurgentcough), the teenagers in this book manage to be teens without annoying the spit outta me. They have their issues and dramas that represent high school, but they also act with growing maturity. I don't have to wonder why the love story is happening because it is clear by the characters actions and words. Also, in this book, Xander and Cassia also pick up a few new characters who add to both the plot and the richness of the story. These are not throw away, background characters. They have their own personalities and motives. I love it when the secondary people get to play!

The only thing that kept me from loving this story is that it stills feels forced in the writing. The plot doesn't flow, it's pushed to achieve a goal. I'm all for the writer trying to make things work, but sometimes it throws the pace of the novel off which lessens my enjoyment.

All in all, not a bad book. I am looking forward to Book 3.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Super Fun!

I've been in a pretty wonderful mood all week. The weather has been lovely, work has been going well, and I made some kick ass dinners this week. I even used my pizza stone for the first time. My joy sent me on a mission to find the most zanily colored tights I could discover.

These are the winner.

Aren't they just spectacular? You can buy a pair from Kron Kron.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Links and Stuff: September 13, 2012

This amazing bit of awesomeness tickled me pink this week. Who doesn't love library tattoos?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book 31: Insurgent

TITLE: Insurgent
AUTHOR: Veronica Roth
STARTED: July 3, 2012
FINISHED: July 28, 2012
PAGES: 544
GENRE:Young Adult

FIRST SENTENCE: I wake with his name in my mouth.

SUMMARY: [From B&N] One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

THOUGHTS: This review is long-delayed. In all the time it's been since I've read this book I keep coming back to the same two thoughts: This book was not that good and I can't wait to see where the third one goes. Congratulations, Roth - you've made me both hate and love your writing.

The writing of this second entry was sloppy and disjointed. Several times, I lost my mental map of what was going on, where the action was, who was who and what that meant, yada yada yada. Also, the "romance" between our two leads felt so forced and overdone that I kept screaming, "Get over it already!" Seriously, if Roth was attempting to make me hate Tris, she succeeded. I get why Tris acted like a petulent teenager (All. The. Time.) but I think it was too much. I kept wondering why Four stuck with her. He's a fine character and deserves better.

Despite my utter loathing for the writing and plotting, I still can't wait to see what happens in the next book. Just when I was about to through in the towel with this series (which I rarely do), Roth opens door for a very interesting ending.

Gosh darnit, now I can't wait to see where this goes.

RATING: 5/10 [Meh] (Would be lower because the execution was poor, but I am still intrigued.)

YouTube Tuesday: Turn on the Lightbulb

Sunday, September 09, 2012

What I Read This Week: September 9, 2012

Just a quick update this week because my brother is in town. I finished Grave Mercy (wooo!) and started reading Army of Angels. It's long and will probably take me forever, but it's a novelization of Joan of Arc's life - a historical person I find to be fascinating.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 07, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Purty

I googled tights. I found these. They're pretty.

You can buy a pair here.

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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Links and Stuff: September 6, 2012

My favorite link of the week is this article about how one library is circulating cake pans. BRILLIANT! I wish there was a library near me that did this. My tiny kitchen is too small to hold all the baking supplies I want to acquire.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: Bolerium

This is a long film, but a rather interesting look a a specialized, independent bookstore.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

What I Read This Week: September 2, 2012

This was one of those weeks at work that was so jam packed with stuff that breathing seemed hard. I'm sure The Boyfriend appreciated my better tennis game as I took out my stress on that little grellow ball. (Seriously, I am way better at tennis when I'm venting out loud and channel my grrrrness.)

The magazine pile continues to grow as I keep ignoring it (and playing tennis instead of hitting the elliptical), but I did a bit better this week.
  • I managed to read the August 2012 issue of National Geographic. This was not the best issue, but it was still pretty to look at. Actually, the articles about East London and lightning were pretty interesting.
  • On the plus side of the reading week, I managed to put a hefty dent into Grave Mercy. I am enjoying this novel very much, and I find myself looking forward to reading it every night. In fact, I think I may make time to read it at the pool... seeing as how I have not been to the pool at all this summer... and it closes after Labor Day.