Monday, December 31, 2012

BOOLEAN: Shiny New Year

Tonight, I shall finally be wearing the salsa tights I purchased (and blogged about) earlier this year. They'll bring some sparkle to my New Years Eve outfit.

Before the year ends, I must share these trendy tights co-founder Katie B. sent to my inbox.


Gotta love the subtle shiny.


Happy New Year! Here's hoping your 2013 is filled with awesome books and awesomer BOOLEAN wear.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

What I Read This Week: December 30, 2012

Since The Boyfriend and I were visiting his folks, my reading time was limited. I did finish a kids book about a christmas tree (review to come) and also put a large dent in a new book, Clan of the Cave Bear. So far I am loving the novel, it's hitting the "I'm on vacation" spot.

Friday, December 28, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Comfort

If you're like me, you're suffering the after effects of eating too much holiday food and candy. This week's tights are not tights at all.  They're very comfortable looking leggings for you to lounge around in.


You can buy a pair from Bloomingdales.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Links and Stuff: December 27, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book 40: Harem

TITLE: Harem
AUTHOR: Dora Levy Mossanen
STARTED: November 5, 2012
FINISHED: December 16, 2012
PAGES: 378
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: Rebekah of the violet eyes heard a voice that would haunt her the rest of her life.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble]  A seductive and intriguing journey from the humble Persian Jewish quarter to the fascinating world of shahs, soothsayers, eunuchs, and sultanas, Harem follows three generations of strong-willed and cunning women: Rebekah — a poor girl married to the abusive blacksmith, Jacob the fatherless — who emerges from her disastrous match with a mysterious brand between her breasts; Gold Dust, Rebekah's treasured daughter, who enters the opulent and perilous world of the harem and captivates the shah with her singing bones; and Gold Dust's daughter, the revered and feared albino princess Raven, who will one day rule the empire.

THOUGHTS: I half loved this book, and half hated it. Mossanen did a wonderful job of developing her world and characters, but the narrative left me feeling a little bored, lost and, at some points, queasy. I'm all for historical fiction books about strong women, but this story didn't quite hold up to the synopsis.

Rebekah, Gold Dust, and Raven are all interesting characters with even more fascinating convictions and motives, but I wish this was a different story. As much as I tried to fall into the plot, it just didn't hold my attention. There were certain chapters that were beautifully written and plotted, but they were few and far between. For the most part, I just couldn't care what happened to any of the leading ladies in the end. Even with the ew! scenes, I quickly decided that I was done with the story. I kept reading simply to see how it all ended.

The best part of this novel was Mossanen's writing style. I had no trouble picturing the world of and around the harem. The author used a rich vocabulary and lyrical storytelling to develop her narrative. Even when the narrative itself was lacking, the writing still kept me going. I'm a sucker for pretty words, and Mossanen crafted some beautiful pages.

I read this book because it has been sitting on my shelves for years. Now I kind of wish it had made it into one of my many weeding sessions. 

RATING: 5/10 [meh.]

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!



Merry Christmas!

May your holiday be filled with food, loved ones, and a stack of books to read by the fire 
(with tasty beverage at hand)!



Image from Breathing Books.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What I Read This Week: December 23, 2012

I'm on a plane! Well, in a few hours I will be. The Boyfriend and I are headed to his parents place in Nashville for the holidays. I'm trying to sweet talk him into taking me to a honky-tonk. I've never been to one before and I'd like to use my boots for some dancing. I've also been promised a trip to the Ice! show where I'll get to slide on my butt down some ice for fun.

Onto the reading! Since I finished both my personal and work books, I decided that this week would be devoted to magazines.
  • The Atlantic, November 2012 - First, I think this magazine reformated it's style again. The layout/graphic design seemed way different than normal. I like it; seems a bit more modern. Second, this was a good and scary issue - like the editors wanted you to worried about the world. At least the articles were good. I quite liked the following:
  • National Geographic, January 2013 - This issue was all about exploration. The articles were great, but the images were the winner in this issue. I just say you get this issue and read it cover to cover.
  • American Libraries, November/December 2012 (Digital Supplement) - I skimmed most of this issue because it was online, but I found the articles on job market and personal branding to be very informative. 
  • Everyday Food, December 2012 - Apparently, this is the last issue (one of the last issues?) of this magazine. Martha Stewart has decided to include the features of this magazine into one of her other magazines. Well, if it is indeed the last issue, it was a good one to go out on. There were some delicious looking cookies and holiday meals that I pulled to make later.



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book 39: College Libraries and Student Culture

TITLE: College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know
AUTHOR: Lynda M. Duke and Andrew D. Asher (eds.)
STARTED: October 1, 2012
FINISHED: December 14, 2012
PAGES: 191
GENRE: Library Science

FIRST SENTENCE: Research assignments might seem to be one of the most routine and commonplace activity of university life.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] How do college students really conduct research for classroom assignments? In 2008, five large Illinois universities were awarded a Library Services and Technology Act Grant to try to answer that question. The resulting ongoing study has already yielded some eye-opening results. The findings suggest changes ranging from simple adjustments in service and resources to modifying the physical layout of the library. In this book Duke and Asher, two anthropological researchers involved with the project since the beginning,

* Summarize the study’s history, including its goals, parameters, and methodology
* Offer a comprehensive discussion of the research findings, touching on issues such as website design, library instruction for faculty, and meeting the needs of commuter and minority students
* Detail a number of service reforms which have already been implemented at the participating institutions

This important book deepens our understanding of how academic libraries can better serve students’ needs, and also serves as a model for other researchers interested in a user-centered approach to evaluating library services.

THOUGHTS: I expected this book to be a bit different. I thought it would focus more on how libraries fit into university culture. It was sort of like that, but it felt more like a study about what libraries are doing wrong, could do better, etc. The information was still beneficial, but it didn't really teach me anything I didn't know. What I would have liked to see is more information about how students think the library should fit into the university community. As it is, I might go back and make a list of all the main "librarians should fix this" points. That might be of use to me in the long run.

RATING: 5/10 [meh.]

Friday, December 21, 2012

Book 38: The Deep Zone

TITLE: The Deep Zone
AUTHOR: James M. Tabor
STARTED: November 21, 2012 
FINISHED: November 25, 2012
PAGES: 432 (Audio Books)
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: Some nights, when the winds of the spring rise up out of Virginia, they peel fog from the Potomac and drape it over the branches of dead trees trapped in the river's black mud banks.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] Burned by her own government in a trumped-up scandal, brilliant microbiologist Hallie Leland swore she’d never return to the world of cutting-edge science and dangerous secrets. But a shocking summons from the White House changes all that. A mysterious epidemic is killing American soldiers in Afghanistan—and poised for outbreak in the United States and beyond. Without the ultrarare organism needed to create an antidote, millions will die. Hallie knows more about “Moonmilk” than anyone—but it can be found only at the bottom of the deepest cave on Earth. To get there, she and her team of experts must brave a forbidding Mexican jungle crawling with drug cartels, federales, and murderous locals. And in the supercave await far greater terrors: flooded tunnels, acid lakes, bottomless chasms, mind-warping blackness—and a cunning assassin with orders to make the mission a journey of no return.

THOUGHTS: The Boyfriend and I listened to this while driving to and from my parent's place for Thanksgiving. It was horrendous but entertaining. We had fun guessing all the plot points before the narrator told us what happened. This was your typical action/mystery/political thriller. There was nothing special about this (other than the fact that it takes place in a supercave).

When The Boyfriend asks for an entertaining book, I deliver. It was the perfect book to keep us entertained for the long drive.

RATING: 4/10

BOOLEAN: New Member Tights!

Co-Founder Katie B. has added a member to our BOOLEAN rolls. Danielle (a.k.a. D Cent) wore these tights and they are spectacular.




And the close up.

Lace patterned tights are perfect for this time are year. They are so festive!

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Snow

I love tights that are both fun and subtle. These snowflake tights are perfect. They offer the image of winter without hitting you in the face with glitter and graphic design (although tights are fun too).


You can pick up a pair from Bare Necessitites.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links from BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Links and Stuff: December 20. 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

YouTube Tuesday: Truth?



The library has been interviewing candidates for a new literacy and instruction librarian. The presentations made me think of this commercial.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What I Read This Week: December 16, 2012

I was ill for most of last week (sad face), so I spent most of my time either asleep or doing a remarkably good impression of a bean bag chair in front of the television. Skillz, I has them.

I did manage to finish my 39th and 40th books of the year - College Libraries and Student Culture and Harem.

Luckily, I feel much better now and should be back on the reading wagon.

Friday, December 14, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Confetti

If you need tights for a holiday work event that are both festive and appropriate, might I recommend these color dot tights. You can wear them at the office all day, and still look fun at night. They remind me of confetti.

You can buy this pair from Bare Necessities.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Book 37: Breaking Point

TITLE: Breaking Point
AUTHOR: Pamela Clare
STARTED: October 14, 2012
FINISHED: November 1, 2012
PAGES: 373
GENRE: Romance Novels

FIRST SENTENCE: Natalie Benoit watched the streets of Ciudad Juarez roll by outside the bus window, wishing the driver would turn up the air-conditioning.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes & Noble] Clare's fifth I-Team novel sizzles with constant adventure and romance. U.S. Marshal Zach McBride is the unwilling guest of Mexican drug lords when he meets another prisoner, American journalist Natalie Benoit. The two join forces to escape and make their way across the treacherous Mexican desert toward the U.S. border. Their romance and mutual attraction develop as they share their unhappy life stories and dodge their enemies in one harrowing encounter after another. Natalie's initial fragility is juxtaposed against Zach's stalwart nature as he helps unearth her hidden strengths and she encourages him to listen to his heart.

THOUGHTS: I've loved Clare's historical romances, but her contemporary's need some help. This wasn't the worst I've read, but it was far from good. At least Natalie wasn't completely TSTL. That said, she was a few bolts short of a complete set in the survival skills department. (Why do romance heroine's always insist upon putting themselves in mortal peril all the time?)  My biggest beef with this book wasn't the heroine, the plot, or the writing, it was with the hero. I'm all for manly men who do good and kick ass, but dear lord, this one doesn't have any flaws. Clare made Zach so perfect that I actually didn't like him. The few times he did mess up, he beat himself up so much that I was annoyed with his pity party. On a final note, Clare, once again, makes her plots overly complicated. Pick one bad guy, dammit! You don't need to weave this complex plotline of multiple bad guys and there motives. That just drags the story down. You've got 350ish pages. Use them well.

RATING: 5/10 [Meh.]

Links and Stuff: December 13, 20212

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book 36: Lord John and the Hand of the Devils

TITLE: Lord John and the Hand of the Devils
AUTHOR: Diana Gabaldon
STARTED: October 13, 2012
FINISHED: October 14, 2012
PAGES: 320
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: Lord John Grey jerked his eyes away from the door.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] In Lord John and the Hellfire Club, Lord John glimpses a stranger in the doorway of a gentleman’s club—and is stirred by a desperate entreaty to meet with him in private. It is an impulse that will lead Lord John into a maze of political treachery and a dangerous, debauched underground society. In Lord John and the Succubus, English soldiers fighting in Prussia are rattled by a lethal creature that appears at night. Called to investigate, Lord John soon realizes that among the spirits that haunt men, none frighten more than the specters conjured by the heart. In Lord John and the Haunted Soldier, Lord John is thrust into the baffling case of an exploding battlefield cannon that ultimately forces him to confront his own ghosts—and the shattering prospect that a traitor is among the ranks of His Majesty’s armed forces.

THOUGHTS: I'm a HUGE fan of the Outlander series by Gabaldon. Lord John is one of my favorite side characters from that series. I am very much pleased by the fact that Gabaldon has written a spin-off series of books surrounding him. Lord John and the Hand of the Devils is a collection of three short stories that Gabaldon has written about Lord John. Each contains her classic strengths of storytelling, scene setting, and richness of detail. If I was not already a fan of the series, I'd like pass these right up. But, as I love her work, this series made me a happy reader. They were not Gabaldon's best effort, but they were comfortable. Sometimes you just need to settle in with a book that makes you happy, and this does just that. These three stories offer a familiar blend of mystery, humor, and balanced narrative.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Book 35: Coffee

TITLE: Coffee: Discovering, Exploring, Enjoying
AUTHOR: Hattie Ellis
STARTED: October 13, 2012
FINISHED: October 13, 2012
PAGES: 64
GENRE: Food

FIRST SENTENCE: Coffee beans are the seeds inside the cherries of an evergreen plant that grows in the humid lands between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn,

SUMMARY: [From Amazon] Discover the story of this aromatic drink, from its humble beginnings growing wild on Ethiopian mountainsides t the daunting array of beans available in coffee shops today. And, with the help of award-winning food writer, Hattie Ellis, you'll soon be able to choose with confidence from fragrant Costa Rican beans and chocolatey Guatemalans, and will have all the practical know-how to ensure you get the ultimate freshness and flavor in your cup. Of course, the black brew is far more than just a drink, as Hattie's delicious recipes, such as Mocha Truffle Tart and Coffee and Almond Ice-Cream prove. So, whether you're craving a zo0my espresso or a tempting cheesecake, Coffee is sure to satisfy. Espresso, cappuccino, café au lait, mocha-coffee has never been so popular or easy to buy. With the help of Coffee and its descriptions of roasts and blends throughout the world, you'll be able to choose with confidence.


THOUGHTS: I love coffee, and this slim little book gave me some new facts about my preferred beverage. I enjoyed the history of the drink the book gives as well as tips on how to make a better brew. I received this book as a gift and, if you've not shopped for the coffee lover in your life, this might make a great stocking stuffer. Also, some of the included recipes looked delicious.

RATING:6/10 [Good]

YouTube Tuesday: Rainbow Remixed


Monday, December 10, 2012

Book 34: An Army of Angels

TITLE: An Army of Angels: A Novel of Joan of Arc
AUTHOR: Pamela Marcantel
STARTED: September 7, 2012
FINISHED: October 13, 2012
PAGES: 592
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: The long table was crowded end to end with the most inviting food she had ever seen.

SUMMARY: [From Barnes and Noble] The story is legend: the french peasant maid Joan of Arc successfully leads an army against the English and is burned at the stake before she turns twenty. Many have tried to re-create her life, but none have succeeded more brilliantly than Pamela Marcantel in this, her dazzling debut.

Here, in dramatic, richly imagined detail, is the full story of the peasant Jhanette, who, at the age of thirteen, is visited by St. Michel, and told she will be known to history at Jehanne the Maid, the girl who would save France from the English. Marcantel paints a fascinating portrait of medieval Europe—a world in which an illiterate girl, chosen by God, can lead an army and never turn back.

After more than five hundred years, Joan of Arc lives again in this hypnotic blend of history and storytelling.
Here, in dramatic, richly imagined detail, is the full story of the peasant Jhanette, who at age 13 is visited by St. Michel and told that she will be known to history as Jehanne the Main, the girl who saves France from the English.


THOUGHTS: It's been almost two month since I finished reading this book, and the last 50 pages are still in my mind. They were that powerful. If the rest of this book held up to those last 50 pages, this would be my top read of the year. Instead, the rest of the story was good, but not great.

I've always been fascinated by Joan of Arc. I find her to be an incredibly complex historical figure, and I believe that she has had a lasting impact on history, feminism, and culture. When I saw this book on the shelf I just had to take it home with me. Said book sat around my apartment for years, but I finally decided it was time to tackle it. Hooo, boy! Tiny print attack. The text size on the page was tiny and there were many, many, many pages of story. It was a long story...


Marcantel has crafted her character's story from childhood. She does not seem to leave out a single day of Joan's life (at least since she started hearing her voices). The plot and writing are rich with detail, character development, and emotion - but at times it felt like too much. This book is exhausting to read. There are so many names, battles, motivations, whathaveyou to keep track of that I wondered if I'd ever make it to the end. Yes, that amount of detail makes the story all the more compelling, but it felt like an editor was needed to cut out the superflous stuff. Joan is shown time and again acting frustrated, left out, impatient, and blessed by her god - but all of that detail would have been more impactful if it happened a little less. The author could have made the same point, but cut down a bit on the pages. I'm all for thick books, but this one felt a bit repetitive.

The secondary characters and settings are all incredibly well developed, but still pale in comparison to Joan. Joan is the star around which they orbit, and without her to set the scene, their details fall apart. It's hard for me to say if that was a deliberate move on the part of the author, if Marcantal was so focused on being historically accurate that she failed to "fill in the gaps" when her research ran thin. 

The last pages are what made this book for me. You know how the story ends, so the sense of dread is built in - but the author uses that innate suspense to connect you to Joan during her captivity and, ultimately, her death. One scene is so brutal in its expression that I actually held back tears. I even had to put the book down and take a break before I could continue. That is good writing, but it was imminently helped by the subject matter.

This book is not something you tackle to read in a weekend. It's a thick story that does not skimp on plot or historical details. It's quite the door-stopper of a novel. Without read-a-thon, I'd still be reading this. It took ten hours of solid reading for me to finally complete the story. All in all, I'm glad I read this book... but I am also glad that I finished it.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

BOOLEAN: Member Tights - Warmth!

BOOLEAN member (and former Roomie) sent me a picture of her tights last week. DC was all warm and sunny for a week and then, unhappily, took a turn for the Brrr. Her comments: If only my thought to wear warm tights this morning had translated to wearing a warmer coat.

 
Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

What I Read This Week: December 9, 2012

No introduction this week. I'm feeling lazy and keep getting distracted my so-bad-it's-good shows on television. Oh Syfy, why you gotta show craptastic disaster movies all the time.
  • In my quest to clear out Google reader, I plowed through a lot of my unread items. I read a bunch of stuff, but I was highly entertained by Slate's The End of Pens - It almost makes me want to read the book the article reviews.
  • I managed to finish the December issue of National Geographic. The stories on the trees (awesome poster included), the Gaza tunnels, and fracking were quite good. So, that's one magazine down, but they keep piling up on me. Maybe I should get on that...
  • In other reading news, I finished:
    • The Fall 2012 issue of my University's magazine. The cover story was about Cool Jobs on Campus and, fun fact, I was a last minute member of the cover shot. Not gonna lie, I loved being a model. 
    • I put in dent in both my books (Harem and College Libraries and Student Culture). They're both good, but my wandering eyes keep seeing other things I want to read right now!. Don't you just hate it when that happens.
Speaking of wandering eyes... my girlfriends and I saw Anna Karenina on Friday. It was magnificent. I highly recommend it. The movie was so well done that it made me want to read the book.

Friday, December 07, 2012

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Seasonal Sparkle

It's the holiday season, so I've decide it's time to post some festive and fun tights. Our first December Friday Fashion Find has a little bit of sparkle but is still appropriate for most offices.


You can find these at Target. I actually purchased a pair for myself last weekend. As a bonus, these tights come in different colors.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Thursday, December 06, 2012

BOOLEAN: Smurfette

Yesterday, I decided that my day needed some pep. So, I pulled out my bright blue tights. Yes, I call them my smurf tights and they attract a lot of weird looks. I am okay with this.


This is the first pair of colored tights I've worn this BOOLEAN season. There's just something about bright legwear that puts a smile on my face.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Links and Stuff: December 6, 2012

Monday, December 03, 2012

BOOLEAN: Unexpectedly Graphic

Last week, as I was preparing for work, I found myself migrating towards the gray tights in my collection. Then, I realized I've only been wearing the tights from the front of my drawer. They've all been gray based tights. And, while I do love gray, I decided to change things up a bit.

So, I randomly shoved my hand into the back of the drawer and pulled out a pair of black tights. It's not a big move from gray, but my lack of coffee addled mind thought it was a change.

As I was donning what I thought were basic black tights - surprise! - they were actually my geometric pair. That made me smile.


It's the little things in life, like fun tights, that make me happy.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to BOOLEANgroup@gmail.com

Sunday, December 02, 2012

What I Read This Week: December 2, 2012

Since The Boyfriend and I were on the road last Sunday (ugh, holiday traffic) this post covers everything I've read since November 18th. Normally, I would have plowed through several books whilst on Thanksgiving break, but touristy stuff (mmmm, beer), my ten-year high school reunion (already?!?) and Notre Dame football (WOOOOOO! BCS CHAMPIONSHIP HERE WE COME!) took most of my reading time away.

All in all, I'm fairly pleased with the reading I've accomplished.
  • My dad likes to mail me articles that he thinks I'd be interested in reading. (We're both librarians, so we're nerdtastic like that.) Normally, I read them right away. Lately, however, I've been a slacker. I finally got around to reading these articles that he sent to me back in... oh... April.
  • I started to put a dent in my magazines. They still keep piling up faster than I can read them; but that's a good incentive to get my back to the gym. Gotta work the holiday snacks off somehow.
    • Everyday Food, November 2012 - I loved the recipes for brussels sprouts and Thanksgiving Day sides. Noms.
    • National Geographic, November 12 - This was a decent issue. I think the best articles were on the penguins and cheetah. I might have been swayed by the pretty, pretty pictures.
  • Other things I managed to read include:
    • The ALA Editions catalog. I love going through these each time the come and clipping out books I want to read for professional development. Right now I'm on a kick about managing teams. 
    • My personal reading book Harem. I'm probably about 50 pages closer to the end of this one. I like it so far, but keep falling asleep before I can finish a full chapter.