Sunday, October 30, 2016

What I Read This Week: October 30, 2016

Ha! I am slowly catching up on my reading. Also, my laundry. I finally remembered to wash the various throw blankets that we have. Now that it is fall, I can finally curl up in the corner of my couch under a (clean!) blanket. Is it too early for me to say, "Bring on the snow!"?
  • Work
    • College & Research Libraries News, September 2016 - I thought I would just flip through this issue after reading the table of contents, but the article on building a pulp magazine collection from scratch was very interesting. The authors talked about acquiring and preserving the collection along with future plans. I think it's worth the read. The article on participatory archiving is also worth a glance.
    • College & Research Libraries News, October 2016 - I very much enjoyed the article on feedback and library instruction. I'm always looking to improve my teaching skills, and I liked the insights offered in this piece.
  • Magazines
    • The Atlantic, October 2016 - I was very late reading this issue, but it was actually really interesting to read the debate article after all the debates ended. Fallows' insights were pretty spot on. The article on the fear of the female candidate made me righteously angry. Also, Ta-Nehisi Coates is becoming one of my favorite contributors. Everything he writes is fantastic. 
    • National Geographic, October 2016 - The cover article about millenials going back to nature was kind of meh to me. It seemed like yet another "woo is this generation" piece for my tastes. The rhino ivory trade was a nice follow up to the previous articles on this topic. Finally, I thought the piece on migrants (including their portraits) was a very compelling read.
  • Books
    • I'm back to my regular read 10-20 pages in bed before falling asleep. So, it's slow going through Pointe, but only because I'm sleepy. Not because the book is bad. In fact, while there is a ton of (possibly unnecessary) drama, I'm really enjoying the story.
  • Other
    • The Chronicle of Higher Education posted a really interesting article on a college professor who requires one paper to be handwritten each course.
    • Article club met this week. We read something a little out of our wheelhouse. It was an article from The Atlantic about hoarding in the age of tidying up and things sparking joy. 
    • If you're having a rough day or week, read this list of nice things people do for those they love. (From BuzzFeed.)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Book 27: The Land of Painted Caves

TITLE: The Land of Painted Caves
AUTHOR: Jean M. Auel
STARTED: September 1, 2016
FINISHED: October 16, 2016
PAGES: 828
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: The band of travelers walked along the path between the clear sparkling water of Grass River and the black-streaked white limestone cliff, following the trail that paralleled the right bank.

SUMMARY: [From BN] The highly anticipated sixth book of Jean Auel's Earth's Children series, The Land of Painted Caves, is the culmination fans have been waiting for. Continuing the story of Ayla and Jondalar, Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived more than 25,000 years ago. The Land of Painted Caves is an exquisite achievement by one of the world's most beloved authors.

THOUGHTS: As with all the other books in the series, I found it overly info dumpy and repetitive. It was kind of frustrating that Auel thought she had to remind her readers over and over again about facts and characters that were well established earlier in the book or series. Other than that, I'm glad I read the story. It was nice to see how everything in this world wrapped-up, even if I thought the ending was a bit lackluster.

There were two things I enjoyed in this book that stand out from the problems:
1. The detailed descriptions and tours of painted caves. The imagery Auel evoked was fantastic. It probably helped that I read the majority of this book while traveling in Southern France. That is where this story takes place. The landscape described was the landscape we were traveling through. It added and extra layer to my reading.
2. The completeness of the world. Auel thought through every detail and made all her characters and the world they live in rich and complete. I feel like there could be much more to this series if Auel wanted to continue with the series.

According to the internet, this is the last book in the series. I will keep my eye out, however, for any additions or spin-offs.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

The Friday Find: Shower Thoughts

Here's something I haven't seen before... a bookish shower curtain. Maybe it will add to your list of great shower ideas.

You can buy this from Amazon.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Vote!

Election Day is on Tuesday, November 8. This election has been long and (honestly) not that fun to witness - even for a political junkie like myself. But elections are important. So go out and vote... and maybe read a book off this list.

Big Girls Don't Cry
Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister, whose coverage of the 2008 presidential election for Salon confirmed her to be a gifted cultural observer, offers a startling appraisal of what the campaign meant for all of us. Though the election didn’t give us our first woman president or vice president, the exhilarating campaign was nonetheless transformative for American women and for the nation. In Big Girls Don’t Cry, her electrifying, incisive and highly entertaining first book, Traister tells a terrific story and makes sense of a moment in American history that changed the country’s narrative in ways that no one anticipated.

The Court and the World
Stephen Breyer

In this original, far-reaching, and timely book, Justice Stephen Breyer examines the work of the Supreme Court of the United States in an increasingly interconnected world, a world in which all sorts of activity, both public and private—from the conduct of national security policy to the conduct of international trade—obliges the Court to understand and consider circumstances beyond America’s borders.  Written with unique authority and perspective, The Court and the World reveals an emergent reality few Americans observe directly but one that affects the life of every one of us. Here is an invaluable understanding for lawyers and non-lawyers alike.

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? 
Thomas Frank

It is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course. But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming. With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank's Listen, Liberal lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party's philosophy and how it has changed over the years. A form of corporate and cultural elitism has largely eclipsed the party's old working-class commitment, he finds. For certain favored groups, this has meant prosperity. But for the nation as a whole, it is a one-way ticket into the abyss of inequality. In this critical election year, Frank recalls the Democrats to their historic goals-the only way to reverse the ever-deepening rift between the rich and the poor in America.

Too Dumb to Fail: How the GOP Went from the Party of Reagan to the Party of Trump 
Matt K. Lewis

From a leading voice among young conservatives, an impassioned argument that to stay relevant the Republican Party must look beyond short-term electoral gains and re-commit to historic conservative values. In 1963 Richard Hofstadter published his landmark book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Today, Matt Lewis argues, America's inclination toward simplicity and stupidity is stronger than ever, and its greatest victim is the Republican Party. Lewis, a respected conservative columnist and frequent guest on MSNBC's Morning Joe, eviscerates the phenomenon of candidates with a "no experience required" mentality and tea party "patriots" who possess bluster but few core beliefs.
Lewis traces the conservative movement's roots, from Edmund Burke to William F. Buckley, and from Goldwater's loss to Reagan's landslide victory. He highlights visionary thinkers who understood nuance and deep ideology and changed the course of the nation. As we approach the 2016 presidential election, Lewis has an urgent message for fellow conservatives: embrace wisdom, humility, qualifications, and inclusion—or face extinction.

This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral--Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!--in America's Gilded Capital
Mark Leibovich

The great thing about Washington is no matter how many elections you lose, how many times you’re indicted, how many scandals you’ve been tainted by, well, the great thing is you can always eat lunch in that town again. What keeps the permanent government spinning on its carousel is the freedom of shamelessness, and that mother’s milk of politics, cash. In Mark Leibovich’s remarkable look at the way things really work in D.C., a funeral for a beloved television star becomes the perfect networking platform, a disgraced political aide can emerge with more power than his boss, campaign losers befriend their vanquishers (and make more money than ever!), “conflict of interest” is a term lost in translation, political reporters are fetishized and worshipped for their ability to get one’s name in print, and, well—we’re all really friends, aren’t we? What Julia Phillips did for Hollywood, Timothy Crouse did for journalists, and Michael Lewis did for Wall Street, Mark Leibovich does for our nation’s capital.

The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity
Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor. Among their secrets: How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs. How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 1966. How Richard Nixon conspired with Lyndon Johnson to get elected and then betrayed him. How Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter turned a deep enmity into an alliance. The unspoken pact between a father and son named Bush. And the roots of the rivalry between Clinton and Barack Obama. Time magazine editors and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy offer a new and revealing lens on the American presidency, exploring the club as a hidden instrument of power that has changed the course of history.

More Political Voting Books
Dark Money - Jane Mayer
Our Divided Political Heart - E.J. Dionne 
Rule and Ruin - Geoffrey Kabaservice
The Values Divide - John Kenneth White
What's The Matter with Kansas? - Thomas Frank
Why the Right Went Wrong - E.J. Dionne Jr.

Links and Stuff: October 27, 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Why I Love... Deep Dives

Tomorrow, I have a one-on-one reference session scheduled with a student. He is designing the reading list for his independent study next semester. He wants to meet with me so that we can analyze his current list and add, where necessary, more material. I love this sort of session! I get to deep dive into a subject that is of real interest to someone else.

I spent part of my day scouring the resources available at our library as well as commercial bookselling websites to see what other material might be out there. This kind of deep dive means that I'm reading book and article summaries, I'm reading footnotes, and I'm reviewing bibliographies. Everything I do is to sample what is out in the vast world of reading and information. I get to follow breadcrumbs to track down the next good thing.

Even if the subject is only in the periphery of my interest, I love building reading lists. I learn a ton of stuff and I know that I'm making a patron happy.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Readathon Wrap Up

Good afternoon! Now that I am caffeinated and more awake, I just want to post a quick recap of yesterday's readathon.

All in all, I considered it quite successful given the fact that I've been plagued my an annoying head cold. I was able to read for just under 16 hours, I finished 6.5 books, and I read 1,357 pages. That means a donation of $67.85 to First Book... which I will push up to $75 because I like rounder figures.

Here are the books I managed to finish. Complete reviews will be posted later.
  • The Dark by Lemony Snikect
  • Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook by Rachel Khoo
  • Trapped by Michael Northrop
  • Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
  • Cravings by Chrissy Teigen
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert (just about halfway)
Also, I used my bullet journal to track my day for the first time. It was awesome. I will definitely do this again.

What I Read This Week: October 23, 2016

I want to put words here, but my brain is in a fog. Between lingering post-readathon sleepiness and whatever cold has taken up residence in my system, I simply can't string together sentences about my week. Good thing I only plan on watching football today.
  • Magazines
    • Once I finished reading The Land of Painted Caves last Sunday, I forewent starting a new book until readathon in an effort to decrease my massive magazine pile. I started reading the October issue of The Atlantic but I have yet to finish it. I'm very close though. Full write up of that issue... and hopefully a bunch of other magazines... next week.
  • Books
    • I finally finished The Land of Painted Caves last Sunday. I'm a little disappointed in how the whole series wrapped up, but I'm glad I read it.
    • Here's what I managed to finish during readathon:
      • The Dark by Lemony Snikect
      • Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook by Rachel Khoo
      • Trapped by Michael Northrop
      • Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown
      • The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
      • Cravings by Chrissy Teigen
  • Other
    • Post-debate tweets. Huh-larious.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Readathon Check-In The Last

CURRENTLY READING: I'm almost halfway through Pointe.

THOUGHTS?: The book is still very intriguing, but I need to call it a night. I want to be able to pay attention to the rest of the story, but the head cold is telling me to go to bed.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I had some Chips Ahoy s'mores cookies right after my last check-in. They are soft and quite tasty.



Readathon Check-In The Eighth

CURRENTLY READING: I'm about a quarter of the way into Pointe by Brandy Colbert

THOUGHTS?: A thing was just revealed in the story that makes me go, "Oh! This is gonna be good."

SNACKS AND STUFF: I had a tasty dinner slow cooker smothered steak over rice. Then I made myself a hot toddy cause I've been told they help relieve cold symptoms.



Readathon Check-In The Seventh

CURRENTLY READING: I delayed dinner so that I could finish reading Cravings.

THOUGHTS?: It was fine. I received this book in my Popsugar box a few months back. It was an entertaining read, but not a book I plan on keeping.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Nada. I'm about to have dinner.



Readathon Check-In The Sixth

CURRENTLY READING: Finished The Hundred-Foot Journey. I'm about to start Cravings by Chrissy Teigen.

THOUGHTS?: The Hundred-Foot Journey was fantastic. I can see why they made it into a movie. Note to self: watch said movie.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I had myself a snack of tasty Caesar flavored snap pea crisps. Also, I'm making rice now to go with our smothered steak slow cooker dinner.



Readathon Check-In The Fifth

CURRENTLY READING: I'm almost a third of the way through The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

THOUGHTS?: So far so good. Reading this makes we wish I had planned curry for dinner. I can't really smell or taste anything at the moment (stoooopid head cold), but I bet a spicy curry would have done the trick. The vivid writing in this novel is also winning me over.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I had some leftover pad thai with tofu and vegetables for lunch. It was tasty.


PAGES READ TOTAL: 794 (Here's hoping I cross 1,000 pages during this readathon.)

Readathon Check-In The Fourth

CURRENTLY READING: I wrapped up Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown

THOUGHTS?: This book was sort of a viral internet thing awhile back. I bought the book months (maybe a year) ago and it's just been sitting around waiting to be read. I love the techniques and the style presented. The recipes are simple but tasty looking... and I loved how every recipe came with a picture.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Just water this time but I am about to go reheat my leftover pad thai for lunch.



Readathon Check-In The Third

CURRENTLY READING: I just closed the back cover on Trapped and will start Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown after I finish this post.

THOUGHTS?: This book was good and had a great pace for readathon. If I had read it during a blizzard, I would find it creepier.

SNACKS AND STUFF: The Husband and I had breakfast when I started Trapped. A few minutes ago, I put tonight's dinner in the slow cooker. I'm going to let that simmer away for a few hours. Bonus - it makes our apartment smell wonderful.



Readathon Check-In The Second

CURRENTLY READING: I just wrapped up Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook and I am going to start Trapped by Michael Northrop.

THOUGHTS?: I LOVE THIS COOKBOOK. The Husband and I discovered Rachel Khoo's cooking show when we were on vacation in Cancun last year. Her show happened to air as we were getting ready for dinner each night. We both loved it, so I immediately ordered her cookbook when we got home. I was not disappointed. This book is essentially her show in bound form. I really wish I could find it on the air here.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Just coffee, but I took the breakfast casserole out of the oven mere seconds ago.



Readathon Check-In The First

CURRENTLY READING: Just finished reading The Dark by Lemony Snicket.

THOUGHTS?: This kids book has been on my TBR list since it came out. I finally got my hands on it, and it was really adorable. I'm going to make The Husband read it.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I devoured my kick-off snack of greek yogurt with honey and granola. I am also enjoying my first cup of coffee.



I love starting readathon with a quick and easy book. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to start the day. Also, I tend to still be waking up, so lighter books are about all I can handle.

Also, here are my answers to the opening meme.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
 - Washington, DC - where the weather has finally turned seasonal. 

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
 - That's a tough one. Probably this first one (The Dark by Leomony Snicket) just because it has been on my list for ages.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
 - There are sugar snap pea crisps with my name on them.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
 - I'm just going to steal my Twitter bio for this: "Librarian. DC resident. Food lover. Fan of exploring things because - Ooo! That's interesting! - is a good policy in life."

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
 - This is my umpteenth readathon. Today, I shall likely be adding naps to my rotation so that I can get over this darn head cold.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Readathon Eve

Well, let's start with the good news... I had plenty of time to finish my bullet journal spread for readathon. It looks fantastic, if I do say so myself. I can't wait to fill out my tracker tomorrow.

The bad news is that the reason I had plenty of time was because I stayed home sick from work today. I hate head colds. They make my ears all clogged, my nose uncooperative, and the rest of me all nappy. But I shall persevere!

This is my final, organized book pile for tomorrow's event. I'll start with the book on the top and work my way down through as much of the pile as I can. This is the largest readathon pile I've ever constructed. I don't think I'll manage to read all of these books, but I'm going to at least put a very big dent in it.

Last readathon, I took a more relaxed approach to the day. I loved the outcome so I've decided to follow the same routine. I'll post updates to the blog (and Instagram) whenever the mood strikes instead of hourly. Tomorrow is all about reading and relaxing... and eating.

As with all my previous readathons, I will be donating 5 cents to First Book for every page I finish.

See you all tomorrow!

The Friday Find: Read in Bed

Readathon is tomorrow. Huzzah! While I enjoy nestling into the chaise section of my couch, other participants like to read in bed. If you are such a reader, might I suggest grabbing a tray? This tray is great because it can support your book AND your snacks. Never forget how important snacks are to a successful readathon.
You can buy this tray from Improvements.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Readathon Pile

After work today, I hit of the DC public library to grab more books for my readathon pile. Look at my haul!

Between this and my previous pile of books, I've probably gone way overboard. I've never read this many books during a readathon before, but I couldn't seem to tell myself to put any of these books back on the shelf.

As excited as I am about this readathon, it appears that I've come down with a cold. This is the second readathon in a row where this has happened. Boo. Hiss. I might have to add some naps in between my reading.

Also, I'm going to find the time tomorrow to finish up my bullet journal spread for the readathon. It won't take long for me to draw out what I have in mind, I just need to find a few minutes to do it.

Links and Stuff: October 20, 2016

Reader Problems

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Readathon: Accumulating

It begins!

I had one book in from the library and grabbed some unread cookbooks to start my pile for readathon. Earlier tonight, I also created a list of books to possibly grab from the library on Thursday. Lady B and I are meeting downtown that night for dinner, but first I'm going to swing by the main DCPL branch and load up on titles. The stuff I have at home is leaving me feeling, "meh." That definitely means a visit to a collection bigger than my own is an order. Oh darn... a field trip to a massive library. Whatever will I do?

C'mon Saturday! I can't wait to get my readathon on.

YouTube Tuesday: ChooChoo

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What I Read This Week: October 9 and October 16, 2016

Wowzers! It has been an incredible past few weeks. The Husband and I went on a wonderful trip to London and France. We walked all over the place and saw many fantastic places and museums. All that walking meant we could EAT ALL THE FOOD. And, oh, was there a lot of delicious food to me had. My stomach is sad that it no longer gets to eat pastries every day.

This post covers the past two weeks of reading.
  • Work
    • American Libraries AL International Digital Supplement - I mostly skimmed this issue, but I loved seeing the innovate projects from libraries around the world.
  • Books
    • I am [thisclose] to finishing The Land of Painted Caves. Traveling by train and plane for hours on end was incredibly helpful. If not for that, I think I would be reading this book until Christmas. 
  • Other
    • ALL THE MUSEUM THINGS. While we were on vacation, we visited the British Museum, the Papal Palace in Avignon, the Space Center in Toulouse, and the Musee D'Orsay (among others). We read all the English language placards we could find. I even managed to muddle my way through a large chunk of the French ones as well. Learning! It's fun!
Reading on the plane.

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Friday Find: Readathon

Guess what! Read-a-thon is on October 22. Some enterprising designer created stickers to help you track your read-a-thoning in your bullet journal. I love it when my favorite things combine.

You can find these in the WreckingBallDesign Etsy shop.

You better believe I'm creating a spread in my bullet journal for read-a-thon. I can't wait to sit down and plan that out!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Why I Love... Travel Reading

The Husband and I returned from a wonderful trip to London and France earlier this week. As much as I love seeing the sights, eating delicious food, and walking through new areas, I also love one of the side benefits of long distance travel - uninterrupted reading time. We had both long flights and train rides to settle in with our books. He loves his Kindle and I stick with door-stopper books.

Reading during travel is great because it's an excuse to ignore everything else and just dive into a book. You don't have chores, work, or other obligations bearing down on you while you're in transit. You are "stuck" in one place for, in some cases, long periods of time. I think the best way to spend those hours is with a good book. You can blissfully ignore the world (and scary airplane takeoffs and landings) by surrounding yourself with a great plot and intriguing characters.

Friday, October 07, 2016

The Friday Find: Cut It Out

Here's something I never thought to look for. Book cookie cutters!

You can find this awesome thing in the KatoBakingSupplies Etsy shop.