Sunday, September 29, 2013

What I Read This Week: September 29, 2013

Bye, September! I hardly knew ya! Since you flew by so fast, I will honor your memory by keeping this introduction just as short.
  • Work 
    • I managed to get through a few more pages of  The ART of People Management. This last part of the book is actually helpful. More please!
  • Books
    • Since the Fiance was out Wednesday night, I decided to take advantage of his absence by climbing into bed early and reading for several, uninterrupted hours. I am nothing if not a party girl. Dark Triumph has hit the point where I just want to read it all in one sitting. Win. To bad life gets in the way. Lose.
  • Other
    • I got around to reading several articles I tagged to read later. Most were skims, but I found the Atlantic piece on the flipped classroom fascinating. 
    • I'm a big nerd. Maybe that's why this article on how to cite a tweet tickled me pink.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Seen on the Metro: Romantic

I love how a person's outfit can sometimes reflect the book they are reading.

As I was getting off the train yesterday morning, I noticed a woman toting a rather imposing looking hardcover book. I ended up behind her on the escalator, and was able to decipher the title. The book was Catherine Coulter's The Valcourt Heiress. The cover of the book was quite romantic and pretty. The reader's top just happened to blend wonderfully with the book; it was floral patterned and had a delicate, crocheted lace back. Twas quite pretty and romantic as well.

When I see moments like that, I'm reminded of the owner/dog parade scene in 101 Dalmations.

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find- Leaf

I've been seeing a something on Twitter a lot and it makes me laugh. In case you missed it, here ya go:
If you say 'pumpkin spice latte' in the mirror 3 times a girl in yoga pants will appear and tell you all her favorite things about fall.
Since fall is indeed here, let's honor it with some leaf tights.

These guys are by Jonathan Aston and can be found here.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Variations on a Theme: Books About Books

Read-a-thon is on October 12. Huzzah! To honor a day that honors reading, I've decided to post (another) Variations on a Theme all about books-about-books. I've done this topic before (click here!), but there are so many books to choose from that I am going to do it again.

How Reading Changed My Life
Anna Quindlen

In the short, entertaining book How Reading Changed My Life — part of Ballantine's Library of Contemporary Thought series — Quindlen uses her sharp observations and gentle humor to describe her inner life as a reader, a life that other confirmed bibliophiles will recognize with delight and not a few rueful smiles. Quindlen tells of her game attempts to be 'a normal child, who lived, raucous, in the world,' playing outdoors with the other children in the creek or laying pennies on the trolley track: 'But at base it was never any good. There was always a part of me, the best part of me, back at home, within some book, laid flat on the table to mark my place, its imaginary people waiting for me to return and bring them back to life.' In describing her childhood, adolescence, and adult years, Quindlen marks the passages of time with the self-awareness she gained reading different novels, from A Wrinkle in Time to Middlemarch

Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life
Michael Dirda

Once out of school, most of us read for pleasure.Yet there is another equally important, though often overlooked, reason that we read: to learn how to live. Though books have always been understood as life-teachers, the exact way in which they instruct, cajole, and convince remains a subject of some mystery. Drawing on sources as diverse as Dr. Seuss and Simone Weil, P. G. Wodehouse and Isaiah Berlin, Pulitzer prize–winning critic Michael Dirda shows how the wit, wisdom, and enchantment of the written word can inform and enrich nearly every aspect of life, from education and work to love and death. Organized by significant life events and abounding with quotations from great writers and thinkers, Book by Book showcases Dirda’s considerable knowledge, which he wears lightly. Favoring showing rather than telling, Dirda draws the reader deeper into the classics, as well as lesser-known works of literature, history, and philosophy, always with an eye to what is relevant to how we might better understand our lives.

The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else
Christopher Beha

In The Whole Five Feet, Christopher Beha turns to the great books for answers after undergoing a series of personal and family crises and learning that his grandmother had used the Harvard Classics to educate herself during the Great Depression. The result is a smart, big-hearted, and inspirational mix of memoir and intellectual excursion that “deftly illustrates how books can save one’s life."

The Library At Night
Alberto Manguel

Manguel, a guide of irrepressible enthusiasm, conducts a unique library tour that extends from his childhood bookshelves to the “complete” libraries of the Internet, from Ancient Egypt and Greece to the Arab world, from China and Rome to Google. He ponders the doomed library of Alexandria as well as the personal libraries of Charles Dickens, Jorge Luis Borges, and others. He recounts stories of people who have struggled against tyranny to preserve freedom of thought—the Polish librarian who smuggled books to safety as the Nazis began their destruction of Jewish libraries; the Afghani bookseller who kept his store open through decades of unrest. Oral “memory libraries” kept alive by prisoners, libraries of banned books, the imaginary library of Count Dracula, the library of books never written—Manguel illuminates the mysteries of libraries as no other writer could. With scores of wonderful images throughout, The Library at Night is a fascinating voyage through Manguel’s mind, memory, and vast knowledge of books and civilizations.

How To Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World's Favorite Literary Form
Thomas C. Foster

Of all the literary forms, the novel is arguably the most discussed . . . and fretted over. From Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote to the works of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and today's masters, the novel has grown with and adapted to changing societies and technologies, mixing tradition and innovation in every age throughout history. Thomas C. Foster—the sage and scholar who ingeniously led readers through the fascinating symbolic codes of great literature in his first book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor—now examines the grammar of the popular novel. Exploring how authors' choices about structure—point of view, narrative voice, first page, chapter construction, character emblems, and narrative (dis)continuity—create meaning and a special literary language, How to Read Novels Like a Professor shares the keys to this language with readers who want to get more insight, more understanding, and more pleasure from their reading.

Nicholson Baker

The ostensible purpose of a library is to preserve the printed word. But for fifty years our country’s libraries–including the Library of Congress–have been doing just the opposite, destroying hundreds of thousands of historic newspapers and replacing them with microfilm copies that are difficult to read, lack all the color and quality of the original paper and illustrations, and deteriorate with age. With meticulous detective work and Baker’s well-known explanatory power, Double Fold reveals a secret history of microfilm lobbyists, former CIA agents, and warehouses where priceless archives are destroyed with a machine called a guillotine. Baker argues passionately for preservation, even cashing in his own retirement account to save one important archive–all twenty tons of it. Written the brilliant narrative style that Nicholson Baker fans have come to expect, Double Fold is a persuasive and often devastating book that may turn out to be The Jungle of the American library system.

Other Books-About-Books Titles
Beowulf on the Beach - Jack Murnighan
The City of Words - Alberto Manguel
Great Books - David Denby
How to Read a Book - Mortimer J. Adler
The Joy of Reading: A Passionate Guide to 189 of the World's Best Authors and Their Works - Charles Van Doren
On Literature - Umberto Eco
Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America - Jay Parini
So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in the Age of Abundance - Gabriel Zaid
Things That Matter: What Seven Classics Novels Have to Say About the Stages of Life - Edward Mendelson

Links and Stuff: September 26, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What I Read This Week: September 22, 2013

I had an entry all written up for last week. Then I forgot to post it. Oops. But it was for a very good reason...

Last weekend, my mom and future mother-in-law were in town. They joined myself, Lady B, and Lady C for wedding dress shopping. Squee! We went to four different salons and I tried on about 50 dresses. I was able to narrow it down to two I liked best. Yesterday, I hit up the first salon again and re-tried a dress that I couldn't get out of my mind. So, I've made my decision... but I'll refrain from saying anything more, as The Fiance reads this here blog.

Last night the girls and I celebrated the victory by eating tasty food (Lady C made some epic red lentil curry) and watching Gone With the Wind.

I should probably start talking about I've read over the past few weeks... ahem. Here we go:
  • Work
    • I managed to read a chapter in The ART of People Management in Libraries, but man is this book dull. There is some good stuff, but those bits are few and far between.
  • Magazines
    • Real Simple, September 2013 - I like the article that broke down diet versus exercise - it described which was better for various goals. The piece on mentoring was also well done. I also enjoyed the article on how to be a better learner.
    • The Atlantic, September 2013 - No surprise here, I love Mark Bowden's article on drone warfare. The piece on the craigslist killers was also good, but very disturbing to read as well. It's a good thing I didn't read that one right before bed.
    • Real Simple Weddings - Technically this magazine is more like a small book. It was full of good ideas and advice. I'm going to hold on this one as a sort of abridged version of the The Knot Guide
      (more below on that).
  • Books
    • All of the wedding dress stuff reminded me that I should read more chapters in The Knot's Complete Guide to Weddings. So I did.
    • I also started reading the second book in the assassin series by Robin Lafevers. So far I am enjoying Dark Triumph, but I keep falling asleep after a few pages. Lady B wants me to read faster so we can talk about it.
  • Other
    • I read two very interesting articles on homework. Both pieces discuss how homework may not be helping our students.

Friday, September 20, 2013

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Colorsplosion!

I was looking on Pinterest for a pair of uber-fun tights to post. These seemed to fit the bill.

You can find these on Hollywood Fancy Dress.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book 21: Social Media for Academics

TITLE: Social Media for Academics: A Practical Guide
AUTHOR: Diane Rasmussen Neal (ed.)
STARTED: August 8, 2013
FINISHED: August 22, 2013
PAGES: 232
GENRE: Library Science

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Introduction] These days, it seems we cannot escape mentions of the popular online services that comprise social media.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Uniquely addressing the needs of academics and demonstrating how to use social media to benefit their teaching and research, this edited book provides an overview of social media technologies in the context of practical implementation for academics, guided by applied research findings, current best practices, and the contributors’ successful experiences with using social media in academic settings. It also offers sensible strategies for implementing a wide spectrum of social media and related technologies, including blogs, wikis, Facebook, and various Google tools for professional, teaching, and research endeavors. Academics and academic librarians in all fields who are interested in learning more about using social media in the context of their professional life will find this book invaluable.

THOUGHTS: I thought this book was for librarians. Twas not! This book was directed toward professors. That said, it still had some decent chapters about how to engage students via social media. I also liked the bits where it explained how some social media can connect people for research and job hunting. Most of the essays were well written and explained, but a few were trying to hard to show their usefulness.

RATING: 5/10 [meh]

Links and Stuff: September 19, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why I Love... Browsing

There is nothing like going into a library or bookstore and simply browsing. I have found many a book by simply scanning the shelves. Browsing lets me encounter books that I might have never found on my own. Targeted searches are awesome - particularly when you have that One book in mind - but browsing has an aura of magic.

When I don't know what to read, I will sit in front of a section of books that strike my fancy and simply pull titles at random. Sometimes the title will catch my eye, other times it's the cover; either way, browsing brings books to me. I can then skim the pages or read the blurb and decide if I want the book to come home with me.

This serendipitous discovery makes me happy because every book is a surprise.

Friday, September 13, 2013

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Putty Tat

Librarians and cats. It's a thing.

Libraries and cats and tights? Now that is also a thing.

Not gonna lie - these aren't really "me" but I kind of want them. You can find a pair here.

Send your BOOLEAN images and links to

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Links and Stuff: September 12, 2013

My favorite linky thing of the week is courtesy of Buzzfeed. They rounded up some stuff on how to have the best literary themed wedding ever. The Fiance and I are not having that theme... but I may still steal an idea or two.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book 20: Twlight in Babylon

TITLE: Twilight in Babylon
AUTHOR: Suzanne Frank
STARTED: August 8, 2013
FINISHED: August 22, 2013
PAGES: 480
GENRE: Fiction


SUMMARY: [From BN] Separated from the man she loves, Chloe Kingsley finds herself alone in Mesopotamia, haunted by memories and driven to survive. Here, in a land where upheavals in the heavens and a flood on earth portend catastrophe for mankind, the rulers demand an appeasement - a beautiful young woman to placate the gods.

THOUGHTS: This was, by far, the weakest book in this series. The books jumps all over the place; the characters and plotting are not exactly consistent or easy to follow. The only reason I kept reading was because I wanted to learn the ultimate end to Chloe and Cheftu's story. I was disappoint. This book was dull, confused, and just not good. I didn't loath it because I was intrigued by its setting in the ancient era. More of that please.

RATING: 5/10 [meh]

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Seen on the Metro: Not Really

Okay, so I didn't seen this reader on the metro, but it was too good to pass up.

The ladies and I were eating lunch before heading to the theater to see Austenland (note to self: find book). As we dined, I noticed a woman waiting in line for her salad. She had a book in her hands that, from afar, was hard to decipher. I told the ladies, "I think she's reading Gone with the Wind... or that's a translation dictionary. It could go either way."

Happily for me, our reader sat at the end of our table (Sweet Green has long, communal tables). I got to spy on her and see that she was indeed reading Gone with the Wind. She looked to be about half-way through the story. It took everything I had not to interrupt her lunch and strike up a conversation about our dear Scarlett.

I'm always pleased when I see strangers reading books that I myself have enjoyed. I want to give them hugs.

YouTube Tuesday: Coming to Theaters

Monday, September 09, 2013

Book 19: The Heretic Queen

TITLE: The Heretic Queen
AUTHOR: Michell Moran
STARTED: July 29, 2013
FINISHED: August 7, 2013
PAGES: 416
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: I am sure that if I sat in a quiet place, away from the palace and the bustle of the court, I could remember scenes from my childhood much earlier than six years old.

SUMMARY:[From] The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family–with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.

Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history

THOUGHTS: This was the sort of sequel to the other Moran book I read this summer. I liked it just as much in just the same way. It was deliciously readable and not to challenging. I think I have to add this author to my "Ooo, she has a new one out" list.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

Sunday, September 08, 2013

What I Read This Week: September 8, 2013

It took me until Tuesday to realize that I never posted a What I Read This Week post for last week. D'oh! Oh well, the list would have been short. And by short I mean it would have mentioned that I read a few pages in my book. Last week was the first week of classes and it just so happened to coincide with the last major week of us closing/moving a campus library. Needless to say, not much reading was had. I made up for it this week.

  • Work
    • The ALA New Titles and Backlist Bestsellers 2014 Catalog arrived in my mailbox this week. I added a few books to my list to read.
    • I read a few chapters in my professional development book, The ART of People Management. So far, it feels like that authors are bragging about how awesome they are. Hopefully the ego dies out soon.
  • Magazines
    • The Knot: DC, Maryland, and Virginia, Fall/Winter 2013 - I quite enjoyed the "Best Of" list. I might be tracking a few of their recommendations down. I also liked the hint for displaying favors by the exit. We might be doing that as well.
    • The Knot, Fall 2013 - This issue was basically nothing but dresses. I was okay with that as I'm going dress shopping next weekend (squee!). I might ask The FiancĂ© to flag what he thinks I might wear walking down the aisle. I'm curious.
    • Martha Stewart Living, October 2013 - This issue had a ton of pretty Halloween pictures - mainly for ideas of how to "etch" pumpkins. I also liked the quick article on posture.
    • Cooking Light, September 2013 - My goodness was this a tasty looking issue. It's a good thing I read it after dinner or I would have made myself hungry. One of the best looking articles was all about meatballs. I also found the fast meals to be valuable - particularly the section that "souped up" pre-made, supermarket ingredients.
  • Books
    • I finished Ally Condie's lastest book, Reached, Saturday morning. It was a so-so conclusion to the series. Now I need to find something else to read and I don't have a clue what I'm in the mood for. Speak to me, oh reading muse!
  • Other
    • I have a "thing" for hushpuppies. A "thing" could be described as a love that requires me to eat all of them whenever they are around. So, when Slate posted an article on hushpuppies, I was greatly amused and pleased.

Friday, September 06, 2013

BOOLEAN: Friday Fashion Find - Ahoy!

There is a distinctive crisp beginning in the morning air. You know what that means... BOOLEAN season is near. To kick things off, I found a fun pair of navy, polka dot tights.

Aren't they cute?

These are from Parc Botique.

Send your BOOLEAN pictures and links to

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Book 18: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

TITLE: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman
STARTED: July 12, 2013
FINISHED: July 29, 2013
PAGES: 192
GENRE: Young Adult

FIRST SENTENCE: I wore a black suit and a white shirt, a black tie and black shoes, all polished and shiny: clothes that normally would make me feel uncomfortable, as if I were in a stolen uniform, or pretending to be an adult.

SUMMARY: [From Amazon] In Gaiman’s first novel for adults since Anansi Boys (2005), the never-named fiftyish narrator is back in his childhood homeland, rural Sussex, England, where he’s just delivered the eulogy at a funeral. With “an hour or so to kill” afterward, he drives about—aimlessly, he thinks—until he’s at the crucible of his consciousness: a farmhouse with a duck pond. There, when he was seven, lived the Hempstocks, a crone, a housewife, and an 11-year-old girl, who said they were grandmother, mother, and daughter. Now, he finds the crone and, eventually, the housewife—the same ones, unchanged—while the girl is still gone, just as she was at the end of the childhood adventure he recalls in a reverie that lasts all afternoon. He remembers how he became the vector for a malign force attempting to invade and waste our world. The three Hempstocks are guardians, from time almost immemorial, situated to block such forces and, should that fail, fight them. Gaiman mines mythological typology—the three-fold goddess, the water of life (the pond, actually an ocean)—and his own childhood milieu to build the cosmology and the theater of a story he tells more gracefully than any he’s told since Stardust (1999). And don’t worry about that “for adults” designation: it’s a matter of tone. This lovely yarn is good for anyone who can read it.

THOUGHTS: Gaiman does it again. He always manages to tell charming, timeless tales no matter how dark the subject matter might be. The plot of this book is book is straightforward - a young lad tries to save his family and neighborhood from a dark and evil force. Cue the intrigue!

What I loved most about this book was how Gaiman captured the essence of childhood. Children are curious and often don't question what they don't fully understand - they just go with the flow and accept things as they are. This need to explore and experience the world absolutely shines in this book.

As with all of Gaiman's works, the writing is superb and well paced. If you like Gaiman, you'll like this.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

Links and Stuff: September 5, 2013

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Why I Love... Library Books

I might be a bit biased (ahem), but I love library books. Right now, I am reading a YA book that I checked out from my local branch and I love picking it up every night. My love has nothing to do with the writing in the book (although I am enjoying that). Instead, I love the physical nature of library books.

I love the way the dust jacket is cloaked in plastic and glued on. When I open the book to read, it has a distinct crackle-crinkle noise that's absent when I read my own books. It's like a signal to my brain that I'm about to settle in for some good reading time. I love that I can use my check-out receipt as a bookmark. It's a reminder in more way then one. I love that library books always have a sense of newness - even when they look well-loved. A library book is not something I see everyday, so it feels special.

What I love best is knowing that I've shared this book with others. No matter how gently they handle the books, previous readers always leave a sign behind. I've seen dog-eared and creased pages, the occasional coffee stain, or, best of all, the previous readers' bookmarks left forgotten between the pages. These are little treasures that let me know I'm one of many readers. They let me know that what I read is shared with others.

Library books are more than free entertainment. They remind me that I am a part of a great community - and I like it.