Saturday, December 31, 2016

Best of 2016

Let's be honest, 2016 was not the best year. It was full of extra-sad celebrity deaths; horrible news about war, viruses, and weather disasters; and, yeah, the election. (Let's not talk about that.) Thank goodness for books. Whenever the world made me sad, I could at least turn to the books on my nightstand for a few good moments (cause even hate reading a bad book is better than what was airing on CNN.

I'm on top of my game this year, so this post actually comes to you on New Year's Eve... and not several days (or weeks) into the new year.  In 2016, I managed to finished reading 37 books totaling 10,951 pages.

The year in ratings. Most of the year seemed to be graded on a curve, but a few clunkers were in the mix.

1 = 10/10 [Best. Book. Ever.]
3 = 9/10 [Excellent!] 
8 = 8/10 [Terrific]
10 = 7/10 [Very Good]
9 = 6/10 [Good]
4 = 5/10 [Meh.]
= 4/10 [An "Okay" Book]
1 = 3/10 [Poor, Lost Interest]
0 = 2/10 [Awful]
1 = 1/10 [Don't Waste Your Time]

And here is the year in genres (totals more than 37 due to some books fitting multiple categories).

9 Fiction
4 Memoir
3 Library Science
3 Young Adult
1 Food
1 Juvenile
1 Romance
1 Short Stories
1 Photography
1 Science
1 Books-About-Books
1 Literature
1 Graphic Novel

Lastly, here are my top 5 reads for 2016.

5. The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
4. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
3. Orchard House: How a Neglected Garden Taught One Family to Grow by Tara Austen Weaver
2. Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti
1. Preservation by Blake Little

Friday, December 30, 2016

Book 37: You Will Know Me

TITLE: You Will Know Me
AUTHOR: Megan Abbott
STARTED: December 8, 2016
FINISHED: December 17, 2016
PAGES: 344
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: The vinyl banners rippled from the air vent, the restaurant roiling with parents, the bobbing of gymnasts heads, music gushing from the weight speakers keeled on the window ledges.

SUMMARY: [From BN] How far will you go to achieve a dream? That's the question a celebrated coach poses to Katie and Eric Knox after he sees their daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful, compete. For the Knoxes there are no limits--until a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community and everything they have worked so hard for is suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself irresistibly drawn to the crime itself. What she uncovers--about her daughter's fears, her own marriage, and herself--forces Katie to consider whether there's any price she isn't willing to pay to achieve Devon's dream.

THOUGHTS: First, a quick confession, I could not help but picture the lead character as Simone Biles. Every time she was mentioned, that who was in my head. Thanks, Olympics! Aside from that weirdness, this was a (somewhat) surprisingly good read. This book was on my TBR list for awhile and I decided to pluck it off the library shelf on a whim not fully knowing what to expect. Abbott filled this book with complete characters and enough drama to make things interesting without veering into soap opera territory.

The narrative and ending were telegraphed, at least for me, so the characters are what makes this book. They are fully formed, flawed (in the good way), and their motivations feel real. I knew where they were headed plot-wise, but I loved how Abbott dropped them into situations and saw through the fall-out.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

The Friday Find: Bullet Journal Reading

The new year is just around the corner. Specifically, it starts Sunday. I'm in the process of setting up my bullet journal for 2017. I'm bringing back some classics and trying some new things, and I can't wait to see how this year plays out. 

One thing I will bring back is my reading log. I'm changing the format a bit, but it's mostly going to remain simple. If you want to add a more graphic version of a reading log to your journal, I suggest grabbing this printable book list set.

You can purchase this from ScatteredPapers on Etsy.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book 36: The Dressmaker

TITLE: The Dressmaker
AUTHOR: Kate Alcott
STARTED: November 24, 2016
FINISHED: December 8, 2016
PAGES: 306
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: Tess pulled at the corner of the sheets she had taken straight from the line and tried to tuck them tight  under the mattress, stepping back to check her work.

SUMMARY: [From Amazon] Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she’s had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be her personal maid on the Titanic. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men—a kind sailor and an enigmatic Chicago businessman—who offer differing views of what lies ahead for her in America. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes, and amidst the chaos, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. The survivors are rescued and taken to New York, but when rumors begin to circulate about the choices they made, Tess is forced to confront a serious question. Did Lady Duff Gordon save herself at the expense of others? Torn between loyalty to Lucile and her growing suspicion that the media’s charges might be true, Tess must decide whether to stay quiet and keep her fiery mentor’s good will or face what might be true and forever change her future.

THOUGHTS: This book was not good. It started out being not good and it never got better. The characters are cookie cutters with no real motivations. The drama is weak and overwritten. The history is wrong. There are so many anachronisms that I was tempted to chuck this thing against the wall. The narrative was choppy. It was just bad. Bad. bad. bad.

The only reason this book gets a 3 instead of a 1 is that I liked one character who was a feminist and saw things as gray instead of black and white. Also, I have a thing for Titanic and the cover was pretty.

Don't read this book. It's not worth the time.

RATING: 3/10 [Poor, Lost Interest]

Links and Stuff: December 29, 2016

From Sweet Home

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Book 35: Dietland

TITLE: Dietland
AUTHOR: Sarai Walker
STARTED: November 1, 2016
FINISHED: November 24, 2016
PAGES: 310
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: It was late in the spring when I noticed that a girl was following me, nearly the end of May, a month that means perhaps or might be.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Plum Kettle does her best not to be noticed, because when you’re fat, to be noticed is to be judged. With her job answering fan mail for a teen magazine, she is biding her time until her weight-loss surgery. But when a mysterious woman in colorful tights and combat boots begins following her, Plum falls down a rabbit hole into the world of Calliope House — an underground community of women who reject society’s rules — and is forced to confront the real costs of becoming “beautiful.” At the same time, a guerilla group begins terrorizing a world that mistreats women, and Plum becomes entangled in a sinister plot. The consequences are explosive.

THOUGHTS: I started reading this book before the election and I thought it was awesome. It was rah-rah women, sisterhood rules, screw the patriarchy and societal norms, eff bodyshaming, etc. etc. I was into it. Then the election happen... and I could not make myself read this book. The depression I was in over the fact that this country did not elect woman was deep. Really deep. It took me over a week to read more than a page at a time in this book. Then I hit the anger stage and this book was great for getting me going again.

The narrative is fine. The characters are fine. What I enjoyed about this book was the sentiments in it. Society places far too many damaging expectations on women and girls. This book writes a story that fights against those. In and of itself, the book is meh... but I love the message it holds.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Sunday, December 25, 2016

What I Read This Week: December 25, 2016

Oh yes, I am posting a list of what I read on Christmas Day. If you celebrate, I wish you a Merry Christmas. If you don't, I hope you're having a lovely Sunday.

We're hosting our families again, so everyone is in town. I love this season because it's all about sharing and giving to me. And food. I can't forget about the food. The Husband, who can be a bit of an amateur chef, is making Beef Wellington for our dinner tonight. He made it last year and it is sooooooo good. Last night, we made seafood risotto. Add all the various cheeses, meats, and cookies we have on hand and I'm surprised that I'm not in a constant food coma.

  • Magazines
    • The Atlantic, December 2016 -  Oh man, I feel like this issue should be required reading for the incoming presidential administration. And that is all I will say about that. The foreign policy lessons in both the Kissinger interview and the article on China closing itself off are very important. The article on gambling was just heartbreaking and it makes me believe that we need to investigate industry practices.
  • Books
    • I'm a few essays in to Cupcakes, Pinterest, and Ladyporn. It's the first academic book I've read in awhile, but so far I am enjoying the points the various authors are making. It's also put a new spin on some of the popular culture I consume.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Night Before Readings

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you enjoy this celebrity impressions reading of the The Night Before Christmas as much as The Husband and I did.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Friday Find: Stamp It

I tend to leave my books as pristine as I can, but I'm very tempted by this lovely calligraphy stamp. It's a great alternative to the typical bookplate.

You can find this in the Red Cloud Studio Etsy shop.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Christmas Classics (Again)

This Thursday is so close to Christmas that I feel like I have to make this month's Variations on a Theme about Christmas classics. Now, these are not your traditional classics but, rather, a list of books I think of when I think about this holiday.

Some of these are repeats from my December 2015 post, but these are classics for a reason.

The Polar Express
Chris van Allsburg

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole. Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.

Holidays on Ice
David Sedaris

Holidays on Ice collects six of David Sedaris' most profound Christmas stories into one slender volume perfect for use as a last-minute coaster or ice scraper. This drinking man's companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even the backseat of a van or police car. It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to. It should, in short, behave much like a book. And, oh, what a book it is!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Dr. Seuss

The Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small, hates Who-ville's holiday celebrations, and plans to steal all the presents to prevent Christmas from coming. To his amazement, Christmas comes anyway, and the Grinch discovers the true meaning of the holiday. 

The Night Before Christmas
Clement Clarke Moore

Since it was first published anonymously in 1823, “The Night Before Christmas” has enchanted children with the story of St. Nicholas climbing down the chimney and filling all the stockings before springing back to his sleigh. Many families read the poem every year, and now they have an edition to treasure. The cherished verse, faithfully reproduced here, is accompanied by Charles Santore’s lavish illustrations.

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens

In October 1843, Charles Dickens ― heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher ― began work on a book to help supplement his family's meager income. That volume, A Christmas Carol, has long since become one of the most beloved stories in the English language. As much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths, this perennial favorite continues to delight new readers and rekindle thoughts of charity and goodwill. With its characters exhibiting many qualities ― as well as failures ― often ascribed to Dickens himself, the imaginative and entertaining tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge's eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate, and insensitive miser to a generous, warmhearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England's greatest and most popular novelists, A Christmas Carol has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas.

The Jolly Christmas Postman
Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Fifteen years ago, long before anyone else thought of tucking actual letters and notes inside a book, Little, Brown published The Jolly Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg. This wonderful book gave children a chance to read letters sent from one fairy tale or Mother Goose character to another. Among the funny notes was one from Jack, who lolled on a sun-drenched island, thanking the Giant for the gold that let him afford such a nifty vacation. All this amusing correspondence was deftly illustrated and the book attracted hordes of eager readers. 

More Christmas Classics
A Charlie Brown Christmas - Charles M. Schultz
Christmas - Peter Spier
The Christmas Box - Richard Paul Evans
The Little Match Girl - Hans Christen Andersen
Madeline's Christmas - Ludwig Bemelmans
The Wild Christmas Reindeer - Jan Brett

Links and Stuff: December 22, 2016

From Indie Hipster.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Why I Love... A Nightstand Full of Books

Today was my last day of work before the new year. (I *heart* beings on an academic calendar.) Before I left the office, I made sure to grab several books to get me through the break. I have three books, two of which are academic, waiting for me. It's unlikely I'll even finish one book, but I love the possibilities the stacks on my nightstand represents.

The nightstand stack makes me happy because I know that there is something up next. I know that I have plenty to keep me occupied if I read faster than expected. It also means that if I finish reading one book and am still awake, there is another waiting for me right there. I don't even have to get out of bed to grab my next book. The nightstand stack represents possibilities and it represents the future. There is so much to read and so much to learn. I love knowing that there is always something new to look forward to.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What I Read This Week: December 18, 2016

Winter roared in this week. I busted out the fleece tights, gloves, hats, and thicker coats. That still wasn't enough to handle the crazy winds we had earlier this week. I was practically blown in to the road when walking across campus.

But enough about the bad parts of winter. Yesterday, The Husband and I participated in Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery. My grandfather is buried there, so it was nice to take part in this event. Today, I am off to join the ladies for a Christmas tea. Bring on the finger sandwiches!

The week coming up may be a short week, work-wise, but it is definitely busy. We're hosting both of our families for Christmas again. I have lots of baking, cleaning, and food prep to handle. The Husband is wrapping all the presents because a) he loves it and b) he's extremely good at it. Seriously. His work belongs in magazines and should be repinned muchly on Pinterest.
  • Magazines
    • HGTV, December 2016 - This issue was basically catalog for gift ideas and Christmas decor. It took me all of 10 minutes to flip-through. That said, I love seeing various ways you can decorate for the holidays. 
    • Food Network, December 2016 - This was a surprisingly thick issue... probably because there were so many cookie recipes. As with the issue above, this was basically a catalog for gift ideas and holiday food. I did enjoy looking at all of the pretty gingerbread houses based on regional architecture. People are so creative!
  • Books
    • I'm finished reading You Will Know Me late in the week. I would have finished earlier this week, in one big chunk of late night reading, but it was a school night when I got to a really good part and I told myself I had to go to be instead of reading until 4am. Being an adult is hard.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Friday Find: Light the Season

Still looking for a gift for that booklover in your life... or yourself. I love the idea of this bright book light. I've taken to using my phone's flashlight lately because my book light is too dim. This clip on would make life much easier.

You can find this on Amazon.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Links and Stuff: December 15, 2016

From Kitchen Ghosts

Sunday, December 11, 2016

What I Read This Week: December 11, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We held our annual holiday party yesterday and, for me, that always kicks off the holiday season. It was just as fun and full of food as it always is. I made a few new items (funfetti shortbread bites, mini cinnamon roll cookies, and crab bites) to go along with our favorites. We actually cut back on the amount of food we provide and it still felt like too much. Clearly, The Husband and I don't want anyone to go hungry.

We'e also sent out all of holiday cards and The Husband has been doing a great job of wrapping presents. His skills are amazing. He even wrapped his gifts from me! (After I put them in a box, of course.)
  • Magazines
    • National Geographic, December 2016 - The cover story about faith, healing, and the placebo effect was interesting, but I was most intrigued by the article on young Russians view of the world. I was shocked by how much the piece sucked me in. It offered fascinating insights to how the younger generations have responded to the fall of communism and the rise of Putin. On top of that, I also enjoyed the articles on orangutans and how climate change is impacting our national parks.
  • Books
    • I finally finished reading The Dressmaker. Thank goodness! It was not a good book. Not at all.
  • Other
    • Article club met on Tuesday and we read this piece on reading, self-care, and women using sick days. The piece was right up our feminist alley... but we didn't talk about it at all because one of our members, Lady T, was newly engaged and another, Lady E, announced she was moving to Maine in January. 

Friday, December 09, 2016

The Friday Find: Journal

I track my reading in several locations, but if you want to track yours in one spot, this reader's journal might be a great fit. It would also make a great stocking stuffer for all of the readers in your life.

The journal is small and portable with pre-printed pages to help you track your reading. It also includes a list of great works you might want to toss on your TBR list.

You can find this on Amazon.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

That's What She Said

Way back when, I used to share posts on my blog about bookish quotes under the category "That's What She Said." Today, Twitter informed me that category is an actual Library of Congress subject heading.

First, I laughed.

Then, I Googled.

That lead me to the LOC page about the matter.

Librarians. We may seem stodgy at times... but we're not. We're really, really not.

YouTube Tuesday: Speed Organizing

Sunday, December 04, 2016

What I Read This Week: December 4, 2016

The Husband was out of town for most of the week. That meant that I stayed up way later than normal for two reasons - 1. every noise was suspect 2. I was busy binge watching The Crown on Netflix. I managed a bit of reading, but my magazine box is still jammed full with back issues. I'll get to them eventually.
  • Magazines
    • Washingtonian, November 2016 - The bulk of this issue was basically an advertisement for local doctors. Blergh. At least there were decent articles on the Loving Supreme Court case and a feminist approach to self defense. Additionally, there was a legitimately interesting section on the three local DC airports. Finally, the article on Trump's new hotel and it's battle with keeping a restaurant just made me sad. Very sad.
  • Books 
    • I'm about halfway through Kate Alcott's The Dressmaker. To put it bluntly, this book is not good. At this point, I'm only reading it to see how it ends.
  • Other
    • The Chronicle of Higher Education featured an article on the death of cursive. As someone who loves to write in cursive, this makes me sad.
    • You might sniffle while reading those story about a white envelope at Christmas.

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Friday Find: Inhale

Hat tip to Lady K for sending me this Etsy shop. It sells fragrances and other body products - many of which are based on books AND are vegan. I love lavender so, of course, I was drawn to the scent for The Secret Garden.

You can find this fragrance at RavensCtApothecary.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Book 34: Pointe

TITLE: Pointe
AUTHOR: Brandy Colbert
STARTED: October 22, 2016
FINISHED: October 31, 2016
PAGES: 333,
GENRE: Young Adult

FIRST SENTENCE: I wish I could say the day Donovan came home was extraordinary from the start, that I woke up knowing something special would happen that Thursday evening in October.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Theo is better now. She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor. Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse. Brandy Colbert dazzles in this heartbreaking yet hopeful debut novel about learning how to let go of even our most shameful secrets.

THOUGHTS: Whoopsie! I completely forgot that this book was sitting in my drafts folder entirely unreviewed. Well, I do remember that I very much enjoyed the book as I was reading it. The characters were interesting and the plot was well-placed. I love ballet and, as a former dancer, the descriptions of those scenes felt true to life. I truly looked forward to reading it each evening.

That said, it felt a touch overwritten and dramatic. There was a lot of different plot points going on and I don't think all of them were necessary. One or two of the big "shocking" things could have been omitted and this still would have been a good book.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What I Read This Week: November 27, 2016

Quick write-up today - we need to decorate our apartment for Christmas. I can't decide if we should watch NFL Red Zone or Die Hard whilst we deck the halls.

  • Magazines
    • National Geographic, November 2016 - I read this issue while lying on the floor in my parents living room. It was great! The cover story on Mars was fantastic and I can't wait to binge watch the companion series. On top of the Mars, there was a nice piece on octopi (octopusses?). The pictures were lovely and I can never get enough information on this animal. Finally, there were brief pieces on the opening of US tourism in Cuba and the recovery from the civil war in Sri Lanka that are also worth the read.
    • Washingtonian, October 2016 - Om nom nom. The cover spread on breakfast and brunch places in the DC area has my name all over it. In addition to the list of tasty places I need to try, there was a fun piece on creating your dream kitchen. I can't remodel
      our rental, but I can file ideas away for later. There was also a fascinating (and more than mildly disturbing) article on a weird crime that took place in Virginia. Finally, there was a great piece on "the speech whisperer" - a consultant who teaches women how to speak more authoritatively without coming across as shrill or angry. It makes my blood boil that there is a niche for this kind of work - but I get it.
  • Books
    • On Thanksgiving morning, I finished off the final pages of Dietland. While the ending was a touch of a let down, I generally liked the book. Full review to come!
    • I'm a few pages into The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. It's too soon to tell if I'm going to like this book... but part of it takes part on the Titanic, so that's a positive in its favor.
  • Other
    • When mom is "cleaning fairy" to her son but not to her daughters things need to change.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Friday Find: Grumpy

I don't do black Friday. I prefer to spend it reading. This perfect perfectly encapsulates how I feel when my reading is interrupted.

You can find this in the Wonderflies Etsy shop.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Cooperstown

I am home for today's Thanksgiving holiday. Home is the small village of Cooperstown in Upstate New York. Since I connect this holiday with my hometown, this month's Variations on a Theme is a collection of books about and inspired by my little village.

In addition to this list of good reads, I wish you much warmth, happiness, and pie!

William Cooper's Town: Power and Persusasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic
Alan Taylor

An innovative work of biography, social history, and literary analysis, this Pulitzer Prize-winning book presents the story of two men, William Cooper and his son, the novelist James Fennimore Cooper, who embodied the contradictions that divided America in the early years of the Republic. Taylor shows how Americans resolved their revolution through the creation of new social forms and new stories that evolved with the expansion of our frontier. of photos.

James Fenimore Cooper

During the fierce French and Indian wars, an adroit scout named Hawkeye and his companion Chingachgook weave through the spectacular and dangerous wilderness of upstate New York, fighting to save the beautiful Munro sisters from the Huron renegade Magua. The Last of the Mohicans is the most popular of James Fenimore Cooper’s five Leatherstocking Tales. With its death-defying chases and teeth-clenching suspense, this American classic established many archetypes of American frontier fiction. An engrossing “Western” by America’s first great novelist, The Last of the Mohicans is a story of survival and treachery, love and deliverance.

The Clarks of Cooperstown
Nicholas Fox Weber

Nicholas Fox Weber, author of the acclaimed Patron Saints (“Exhilarating avant-garde entertainment”—Sam Hunter, The New York Times Book Review) and Balthus (“The authoritative account of his life and work”—Michael Ravitch, Newsday), gives us now the idiosyncratic lives of Sterling and Stephen Clark—two of America’s greatest art collectors, heirs to the Singer sewing machine fortune, and for decades enemies of each other. He tells the story, as well, of the two generations that preceded theirs, giving us an intimate portrait of one of the least known of America’s richest families.

A Great Day in Cooperstown: The Improbable Birth of Baseball's Hall of Fame
Jim Reisler

Using an iconic photo of the game's original superstars — a group that included, among others, Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Honus Wagner, and Connie Mack — as his starting point, Jim Reisler explains the unusual origins of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and delivers a delightful history of not only the game's early stars and the house built to honor them, but also the myth of baseball America. With his trademark eye and ear for the spirit of the game's golden age, Reisler explains that the construction of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY was as much an attempt to revive the economy of a struggling draught-ravaged farming town at the height of the Depressioin as it was a tribute to the National Pastime. Weaving quirky, anecdotal stories about the Hall's first eleven inductees in and out of the story of how two industrious businessmen convinced a nation that a former Union general named Abner Doubleday created the game of baseball (which he didn't) and that the first pitch was thrown in the sleepy hamlet of Cooperstown (which it wasn't), Jim Reisler provides us with a fascinating story to be cherished by baseball fans and Americana enthusiasts alike.

Tom Stanton

Every true baseball fan dreams of visiting Cooperstown. Some make the trip as boys, when the promise of a spot in the lineup with the Yankees or Red Sox or Tigers glows on the horizon, as certain as the sunrise. Some go later in life, long after their Little League years, to glimpse the past, not the future. And still others talk of somedays and of pilgrimages that await. The Road to Cooperstown is a true story populated with colorful characters: a philanthropic family that launched the museum and uses its wealth to, among other things, ensure that McDonald's stays out of the turn-of-the-century downtown; the devoted fan who wrote a book to get his hero into the Hall of Fame; the Guyana native who grew up without baseball but comes to the induction ceremony every year; the librarian on a mission to preserve his great-grandfather's memory; the baseball legends who appear suddenly along Main Street; and the dying man who fulfills one of his last wishes on a warm day in spring.

Otsego Lake: Past and Present

Richard S. Duncan

Otsego Lake is one of the most celebrated bodies of water in America immortalized in the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, praised by artists and writers, and loved by generations of visitors to the region. It has been called ""the cradle of American literature"" and even "the Walden Pond of New York State." This volume is the first comprehensive photographic documentation of Otsego Lake. It features the extraordinary color photographs of Richard S. Duncan and draws upon the historical photograph collections of the New York State Historical Association, housed in Fenimore Art Museum. This book takes the reader on a fascinating journey to each of the principal sites around the lake, and reveals the beauty, history, and mystery of one of America's most picturesque landscapes.

Other Cooperstown Titles
American Canopy - Eric Rutkow
Around Cooperstown - Brian and Becky Nielsen
Cooperstown Confidential - Zev Chafets
Cooperstown, The Book 
The Deerslayer - James Fenimore Cooper
The Hall - National Baseball Hall of Fame
Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame - National Baseball Hall of Fame
The Monsters of Templeton - Lauren Groff
Otsego Country, Its Towns and Treasures
The Pathfinder - James Fenimore Cooper
The Pioneers - James Fenimore Cooper
Rural Hours - Susan Fenimore Cooper

Links and Staff: November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Why I Love... Reading at Home

On Sunday, the Husband and I drove up to my hometown in Upstate New York for the Thanksgiving holiday. We're staying in a hotel this year and my parents have moved houses, but this is still my hometown. We don't really have any plans while we're here - other than to eat lots of food - so that leaves a lot of time for reading. Even though I'm reading in a place I've never seen before, there is something so cozy about reading at home.

I love that I can just plop myself down wherever and crack open a book or magazine. There are no outside forces telling me I should be working or cleaning or doing anything else productive. I have no appointments or meeting to get to. I have no plans at all. My calendar is completely blank and I can use this time however I wish. I choose to use it reading. I love that I can just grab a drink and a snack and read the day away.

My parents physical home may change, but it's still home. I can still find a comfortable seat for reading to call my own. I can still snuggle under a blanket. I can still be spoiled by my mom. Wherever home is is still home. And home is for reading.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What I Read This Week: November 20, 2016

On the road again...

The Husband and I are in transit to my folks place in Upstate New York to celebrate Thanksgiving. He has to "work from home" for the first half of the week, but I plan on helping my mom with various holiday, relaxing, and enjoying my home town. Who knows, maybe I'll even manage to read a lot more than this extensive list below. I seriously crushed it in the reading department this week. Who knew clearing out the lesser loved RSS feeds in my reader would give me so much more "offline" reading time? (Most people I presume... but let me have this!)
  • Work
    • College and Research Libraries News, November 2016 -  There was quite a bit on reaching out to Cuba in this issue. I mainly enjoyed the piece on creating strong leadership in libraries. I also liked the brief piece on how leadership is not for everyone. 
    • American Libraries, September/October 2016 - I *heart* the library design issue. It always makes me want to take field trips to see all the new and revamped buildings and spaces. I also loved this month's professional development book picks - they were all about putting patrons in touch with their family history through research and personal collection digitization.
    • American Libraries, November/December 2016 - The first
      piece that caught my eye in this issue was the trend piece on shared spaces in libraries. I also like the story on Snapchat in libraries. I did a Snapchat takeover for my library, and it was fun to read what others are doing well. There was also a thought-provoking piece on what the new role of the Library of Congress should now that we have a new Librarian of Congress. Speaking of the new Librarian of Congress - I muchly applaud the introductory article on Carla Hayden. I can't wait to see where she takes things.
  • Magazines
    • Good Housekeeping, October 2016 - Some of the pumpkin decorating ideas were cute. I may have to try this painting a
      pumpkin instead of carving it trend. There was a fantastic article about raising a child with down syndrome in this issue. Finally, I loved the piece on how it's okay to be a grumpy cancer survivor.
    • Good Housekeeping, November 2016 - More food please! Seriously, all the November issues make me hungry. The cover on this issue left me salivating. As someone who seems to get an inordinate amount of headcolds, I found the piece on avoiding winter illness to be quite useful. Also, I loved how much of this issue was about gratitude and giving back.
    • Real Simple, October 2016 - One of the main features of this
      issue was skillet dinners. I might have added all of them to my "to try" pile. I read this after the election, so I found the article on how to raised caring and empathetic kids to be particularly poignant. And, while I've not had need of it yet, I have a feeling that I will one day put to use the article on what comes after a bad health diagnosis (either for yourself or for a loved one). And, to end on a happy note, there was a touching piece on a couple who became foster parents to three children.
    • Real Simple, November 2016 - Just feed me all the things. Seriously. Thanksgiving issues that cover food will be the end of me. I just want to sample every recipe included in the
      issue. Related... but not really... the how to clean your home before the big food holiday offered a great breakdown and how to. Addtionally, author Jennifer Weiner wrote a nice piece on growing up in different countries and how we benefit from learning from different traditions and ways of life. The one kind of article I could do without is the nutritionists who recommend how to "make it through" Thanksgiving. It's one holiday. I'm going to eat and relax and enjoy it.
    • Real Simple, December 2016 - This issue right after I finished the other two Real Simples. The gift suggestions in this issue might prove to be useful for once. My list of ideas was short this year, so I was happy for the inspiration help. I enjoyed the alphabetical guide to the holidays. It was fun to be reminded about a bit of Christmas history. Finally, I save two recipes out of the dinner section. I don't know if The Husband will love them, but they looked tasty to me.
  • Books
    • I've put a surprisingly large dent in Dietland. There's a chance I might even finish it in the next 12 hours. Right after the election, I was not in the mood for a rah-rah feminist book... but now I am. I soooooo am.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Friday Find: Due It!

Hat tip to Lady B for finding this most excellent library scarf. It comes in three colors, so you can find the scarf that works best with your wardrobe.

You can buy this on Amazon.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

What I Read This Week: November 13, 2016

This was not a good week. I spent far too much time grieving and crying for what might have been if the election had gone the other way. I'm slowly starting to exit the sad stage and enter anger, but I'm not entirely there yet. I spent quite a bit of time of the couch this week just moping and clicking through more bad news on the internet. What reading I was able to finish happened in the few moments of numbness where my brain could focus on words. The reading list is short this week, but reading is therapeutic, and I hope to be back on top of things soon.
  • Magazines
    • The Atlantic, November 2016 - I started reading this issue last week. I was gung-ho about the editorial endorsing Clinton, but I read it again after the election and it made me sad. Every word the magazine's editors wrote is true - and it's just a knife in the gut. Outside of that, the articles on Twitter and cops in schools are very important (perhaps now more than ever.)
  • Books
    •  I'm still reading Dietland but it's slow going. The book is very good, but it's hard to read so a pro-feminist, rah-rah women story after Tuesday. I think, however, that the characters in this novel will get me to stop moping soon. It's hard to stay sad when you seek kick-ass characters being awesome.
  • Other
    • Pantsuit Nation on Facebook. Those stories are so incredibly uplifting. They give me hope. They give me drive.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Friday Find: Soothing

If you need retail therapy this week, might I suggest this Library of Congress dome mug? It can hold a hot beverage to sooth you on bad days.

You can buy this in the Library of Congress shop.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Links and Stuff: November 10, 2016

From Book Porn