Sunday, September 28, 2014

What I Read This Week: September 28, 2014

This week I realized that we're essentially two months out from the wedding and still have a "To Do" list the length of me. Queue panic attack. I'm sure everyone who has gotten married has hit that point. Now I understand why people have been telling us to elope. Maybe part of the reasons newlyweds are so happy is because they don't have to plan a wedding anymore.
  • Work
    • American Libraries: International Digital Edition, August 2014 -  I mostly skimmed this issue, but it was nice to get a taste of what other librarians are doing abroad. We once had a librarian from German visit us and it was fascinating to hear how her institution operated.
  • Magazines
    • Real Simple, August 2014 - This was my replacement issue. Woot. I probably could have skipped it. There were some useful laundry trips and no cook meal ideas, but otherwise it was just a flip through issue.
  • Books
    • I'm about a hundred pages into The Valley of Horses. It's a slow paced but an enjoyable read so far. My guess, this will be the last book I read before the wedding.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Variations on a Theme: Banned Books

It's Banned Books Week. Every year, hundreds of books are challenged for their content. I'm always befuddled by literary censorship, probably because I'm of the opinion, "You're reading? Good!" I don't care what people read or why, as long as they are reading. I'm lucky, that I've never been in a situation where I could not access a book, but others are not so lucky. For this month's Variations on a Theme, I'm highlighting my favorite banned books. I have read all of these and loved each and every one.

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival. [My reviews]
The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini

Amir and Hassan are childhood friends in the alleys and orchards of Kabul in the sunny days before the invasion of the Soviet army and Afghanistan’s decent into fanaticism. Both motherless, they grow up as close as brothers, but their fates, they know, are to be different. Amir’s father is a wealthy merchant; Hassan’s father is his manservant. Amir belongs to the ruling caste of Pashtuns, Hassan to the despised Hazaras. This fragile idyll is broken by the mounting ethnic, religious, and political tensions that begin to tear Afghanistan apart. An unspeakable assault on Hassan by a gang of local boys tears the friends apart; Amir has witnessed his friend’s torment, but is too afraid to intercede. Plunged into self-loathing, Amir conspires to have Hassan and his father turned out of the household. When the Soviets invade Afghanistan, Amir and his father flee to San Francisco, leaving Hassan and his father to a pitiless fate. Only years later will Amir have an opportunity to redeem himself by returning to Afghanistan to begin to repay the debt long owed to the man who should have been his brother. [My Review]

Harry Potter (series)
J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a cloak of invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him...if Harry can survive the encounter. Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. [My reviews]

The Giver
Lois Lowry

The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son. Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.[My review]

The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood

It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. But all of that is gone now...everything has changed.

Gone with the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

ince its original publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time—has been heralded by readers everywhere as The Great American Novel. Widely considered The Great American Novel, and often remembered for its epic film version, Gone With the Wind explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. A superb piece of storytelling, it vividly depicts the drama of the Civil War and Reconstruction. This is the tale of Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled, manipulative daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, who arrives at young womanhood just in time to see the Civil War forever change her way of life. A sweeping story of tangled passion and courage, in the pages of Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell brings to life the unforgettable characters that have captured readers for over seventy years.

More Banned Books
In place of my usual link list, I would like to redirect you to ALA's annual list of most challenged books.

Links and Stuff: September 25, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

What I Read This Week: September 21, 2014

Hello Fall! This week's weather was so lovely that I took extra long walks and went running after work. Mother nature, please stay like this for awhile. I do worry that the early cool foretells a bad winter. I hope that's not the case; it would really complicate wedding plans.
  • Magazines
    • Cooking Light, August 2014 - Huzzah! I was able to get a replacement for the issue that went astray during the move. I only pulled one recipe (peach canapes), but I enjoyed looking at all the other delicious summer recipes.
    • Cooking Light, October 2014 - A surefire way to make me drool is to put pasta on the cover. I love carbs - particularly when they are smeared with meat sauce and cheese. Speaking of cheese, the cheese article in this issue made me so hungry I ate a slice of provolone. It couldn't be helped!
  • Books
    • On Monday, I finished reading The Man Who Found Time and was going to start Pamela Clare's Surrender when, two sentences in, I knew I had read it before. Drat. No matter. I picked up Jane M. Auel's The Valley of Horses instead. This may be the last book I read before the wedding.
  • Other
    • NPR posted an interesting story on why Americans wash and chill their eggs while other countries don't. I learned something.
    • Early in the week, The Fiance shared an article on the sharing economy with me. It was quite a thought provoking read.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Seen on the Metro: Red

On a morning commute this week, a woman took the last open seat one row in front of me. After stowing her bag, she pulled out a brand new paperback book. It was so new that it looked like the shrink-wrap was just taken off. I was not able to see the cover, but the top of the page read Best Care Anywhere.

She wore a red sweater, and her black hair was in a bun. Around the bun was wrapped a piece of red cloth that perfectly matched her sweater. As she started reading the book's introduction, her head tilted to the left. I always find it interesting how people hold their heads as the read. Some stay perfectly straight; other people hunch over as if to guard their books or bury their faces in the pages; and some people tilt their head to one side. In this case, our reader's head tilt was "just so" that everytime the metro car hit a bump her sunglasses threatened to fly off. Each time, she would readjust the sunglasses without taking a break in her reading. By the time I got off the train, she was already a few pages into Chapter 1.

The Friday Find: Due Now

Open-toed shoe season is coming to an end. Maybe it's time to pick up a pair of Due Date Card socks? I would be so tempted to stamp these.

You can find these at Out of Print.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Links and Stuff: September 18, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What I Read This Week: September 14, 2014

Football! I got distracted.
  • Magazines 
    • Real Simple, September 2014 - This issue seemed thicker than normal. Is that just a thing that happens to magazines in the month of September? I enjoyed reading the article about the mother her comforted her daughter with mashed potatoes. I dare you to read those pages a not want a bowl of buttery mashed tubers. The article on how to achieve your goals was pretty straightforward but very useful. In well timed pieces, this issue had tips on how to buy rugs. We're still on the search for one to use in our bedroom. And, it seems that Real Simple will now include more articles on work and money. If this issue is any indication, I shall be learning a lot from these new pieces. Finally, the article on 20 minute meals had be stealing recipes left and right.
    • Food Network, October 2014 - I only pulled a few recipes from this issue but there were tons of tasty look apple recipes. This issue also included a section of cute Halloween pumpkin ideas.
  • Books
    • I should finish up The Man Who Found Time early this week. The book was a surprisingly good and quick read.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Friday FInd: Nostalgic Cute

I am posting this for the simple reason that it reminds me of my childhood. 

How cute is that! It's actually a pen drawing and you can purchase it on, where I find everything these days, Etsy.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Links and Stuff: September 11, 2014

Sunday, September 07, 2014

What I Read This Week: September 7, 2014

The Fiance is in Chicago for work, and I have been left to fend for myself. You know what that means? Clean all the things and eat all the vegetables! I have also, not gonna lie, watched far too much bad television. On the productive front, I managed to catch up on a large back log of blog reading and computer file organizing. I was woefully behind on formatting and filing all the things I've added to Evernote.
  • Magazines
    • Washingtonian, September 2014 - This was the first issue of Washingtonian I've read and I am glad I subscribed. The magazine appears to be part news, part local, part style, and part eats with a bonus crossword puzzle. While I skimmed the cover article on classes to take, I enjoyed the articles on Dad's getting flex time for families and the artistry of nipple tattoos for post-op breast cancer patients. Also, I now know of a number of food trucks I need to visit. 
  • Books
    • After the doorstopperness that was Written In My Own Heart's Blood, I need a completely different. I started Jack Repcheck's The Man Who Found Time. The book is about Scotsman James Hutton and his revolutionary idea that the earth was not 6,000 years old. So far it's quite good and easy to read.

Friday, September 05, 2014

The Friday Find: Analog

Courtesy of Lady B, we have a fun t-shirt for this week's Find. I think most bookworms can agree that we'll read anything, analog or digital, but sometimes dead tree books ahve their advantages.

This guy game from Shirt Woot.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Links and Stuff: September 4, 2014

From XKCD:

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Why I Love... Teaching

The new semester has begun, and that means I get to teach again. While preparing for some of these classes can be time consuming, I absolutely love teaching students in library/research instruction. I get to share with them tools and resources that will help them succeed. One of my favorite moments in these classes and when I see students, wide-eyed with awe when I show them a new tool that is perfect for them. (Usually RefWorks and the embedded citation tool it comes with does the trick.)

What I think I love best about teaching, however, is the fact that it causes me to research new things. Every class is different, so I have to prepare anew for each one. I have found so many books and resources from these classes that I am constantly amazed. More than once I have added a book to my TBR list because a class caused it to come across my path.

This job does have it's rewards.