Sunday, February 28, 2016

What I Read This Week: February 28, 2016

Yesterday, The Ladies and I went to high tea at a local hotel. It was delicious and lovely, and I'm glad we've made this a semi-yearly tradition. We sip, we eat, we chat - it's very much something out of Jane Austen... except we tend include feminist discussions in our conversation.
  • Magazines
    • Good Housekeeping, February 2016 - I skimmed most of this issue, but I surprised by how much I enjoyed the story on Joy Mangano. She's the woman who invented the miracle mop. Who knew a home shopping maven could be so interesting. Now I'm almost intrigued enough to see the movie Joy. There were also some decent comfort food recipes in this issue.
    • The Atlantic, March 2016 - The issue took me almost two weeks to read because I read it cover to cover. The lead feature on putting America back together was simply fantastic. It that's a TL;DR for you, the snippet about the factors that show what makes cities resilient is a must read. On top of that, there were fantastic pieces on math education and an attempted coupe in Gambia. Finally, one of the last stories was about a guy buying up water rights in the west. It was an intriguing look at the possible future of economics and environment.
    • Cooking Light, March 2016 - I feel like this issue was written
      with me in mind. One of my favorite things to cook are one-pan pasta dishes. This issue had several of those recipes that I want to try. On top of that, there were great pieces on how and why you should add citrus (or acids) to your dishes and kitchen hacks that might prove useful. 
  • Books
    • I'm still working my way through Shelters of Stone. I only read about 30 pages this week, but at this point I would have finished a "normal" sized book. I still can't get over that I'm 350ish pages in and the story has only covered about a week's worth of time. Epic. Yes it is.
  • Other
    • Salon posted a fun article on the 25 facts everyone knows that aren't actually true.
    • The Atlantic posted a mildly infuriating story on all the unpaid labor women do and how it impacts development.
    • Article Club met this week. We read an article from The Atlantic about when you become an adult. The general consensus in our group... the societal milestones are bunk. Everyone adults differently.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Friday Find: Ardently

I need to host a book themed party just so I have an excuse to purchase these awesome Love Letter napkins. They are so chic!

You can buy these from Uncommon Goods.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Classic Love

Since Variations on a Theme is scheduled for the end of each month, it will never fall on Valentine's Day. I've decided that will not stop me from posting a list of classic love stories. [Hat Tip to Lady K for a few recommendations.]

Doctor Zhivago
Boris Pasternak

First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago's love for the tender and beautiful Lara, the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times. Pevear and Volokhonsky masterfully restore the spirit of Pasternak's original—his style, rhythms, voicings, and tone—in this beautiful translation of a classic of world literature.

Romeo and Juliet
William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers. [Summary from Wikipedia]

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.' Thus memorably begins Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, one of the world's most popular novels. Pride and Prejudice—Austen's own 'darling child'—tells the story of fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters who must marry rich, as she confounds the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy. What ensues is one of the most delightful and engrossingly readable courtships known to literature, written by a precocious Austen when she was just twenty-one years old. Humorous and profound, and filled with highly entertaining dialogue, this witty comedy of manners dips and turns through drawing-rooms and plots to reach an immensely satisfying finale. In the words of Eudora Welty, Pride and Prejudice is as 'irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.'

Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy

Vladimir Nabokov called Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina “one of the greatest love stories in world literature.” Matthew Arnold claimed it was not so much a work of art as “a piece of life.” Set in imperial Russia, Anna Karenina is a rich and complex meditation on passionate love and disastrous infidelity. Married to a powerful government minister, Anna Karenina is a beautiful woman who falls deeply in love with a wealthy army officer, the elegant Count Vronsky. Desperate to find truth and meaning in her life, she rashly defies the conventions of Russian society and leaves her husband and son to live with her lover. Condemned and ostracized by her peers and prone to fits of jealousy that alienate Vronsky, Anna finds herself unable to escape an increasingly hopeless situation. Set against this tragic affair is the story of Konstantin Levin, a melancholy landowner whom Tolstoy based largely on himself. While Anna looks for happiness through love, Levin embarks on his own search for spiritual fulfillment through marriage, family, and hard work. Surrounding these two central plot threads are dozens of characters whom Tolstoy seamlessly weaves together, creating a breathtaking tapestry of nineteenth-century Russian society.

North and South
Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South tells the story of Margaret Hale, a southerner newly settled in the northern industrial town of Milton, whose ready sympathy with the discontented millworkers sits uneasily with her growing attraction to the charismatic mill owner, John Thornton. The novel poses fundamental questions about the nature of social authority and obedience, ranging from religious crises of conscience to the ethics of naval mutiny and industrial action. Margaret's internal conflicts mirror the turbulence that she sees all around her. This revised and expanded edition sets the novel in the context of Victorian social and medical debate and explores Gaskell's subtle representations of sexual passion and communal strife. 


A.S. Byatt

Winner of England’s Booker Prize and the literary sensation of the year, Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas. An exhilarating novel of wit and romance, an intellectual mystery, and a triumphant love story. This tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets became a huge bookseller favorite, and then on to national bestellerdom.

More Classic Love Titles
Emma - Jane Austen
The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje
Le Morte D'Arthur - Sir Thomas Malory
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Much Ado About Nothing - William Shakespeare
The Princess Bride - William Goldman
The Romance of Tristan and Iseult - J. Beider
A Room with a View - E.M. Forster
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
Wurthering Heights - Emily Bronte

Links and Stuff: February 25, 2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

YouTube Tuesday: Librarians in Movies, Part 2

Following last week's Part 1... I had hoped to embed part 2, but embedding is disabled. Please follow this link to see Part 2.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Book 2: Voracious

TITLE: Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books
AUTHOR: Cara Nicoletti
STARTED: January 5, 2016
FINISHED: January 25, 2016
PAGES: 283
GENRE: Memoir / Food / Cookbook

FIRST SENTENCE: Growing up in a family of butchers and food lovers, I was surrounded by the sights and sounds and smells of cooking from an early age.

SUMMARY: [From BN] As a young bookworm reading in her grandfather's butcher shop, Cara Nicoletti saw how books and food bring people to life. Now a butcher, cook, and talented writer, she serves up stories and recipes inspired by beloved books and the food that gives their characters depth and personality. From the breakfast sausage in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods to chocolate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream from Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, these books and the tasty treats in them put her on the road to happiness.

THOUGHTS: If ever there was a book custom built to suit my reading style, it was this one. I assume that is why the most excellent Lady B gave it to me for Christmas. I love books about books. I love food. I love it even more when the two mix in some way.

This book was fantastic. It's not a difficult read, but it most certainly is a fun one. Each chapter focuses on a particular recipe inspired by a book the author has read. She introduces each food with vignette story from her life - why this book/recipes speaks to her, a tangentially related story from her past, that sort of thing. It's a well-structured book that does a fantastic job of introducing you to the author and the recipe.

There's not much else to say about this book, since it's so straightforward and enjoyable. I plan on making the rosemary wine bread sooner rather than later. My mouth is watering already.

RATING: 9/10 [Excellent]

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What I Read This Week: Febraury 21, 2016

Monday was an unexpected snow day. Woohoo! I was wide awake at 4:30am and unable to fall back asleep. Boo! Oh well. A day off is a day off. I think that might be the last we see of winter in DC, but I could be wrong. I know the students at my university are always rooting for another snow day.

I started a new position at work about a month ago. This new position involved the merging of two units, one of which has not had a direct supervisor for several years. Its taken a few weeks, but I think I've finally managed to wrangle out what essentials need to be covered and what projects we need to tackle in the future. There are a lot of workflow/procedures/plans to be written and even more articles/books to be read for the new unit projects to be tackled, but I'm really looking forward to how things should shape up. Hopefully, all of this will make for some fun additions to to the "Work" section of this weekly feature.
  • Work
  • Magazines
    • HGTV Magazine, March 2016 - I enjoyed that this issue encouraged colorful decor and taking decorating risks. Otherwise, nothing special.
    • Food Network, March 2016 - I can't decide if I love the fact that this issue featured stereotypical Irish food (for St. Patrick's Day)... or I'm insulted by something so obvious. The various shepherd's pie recipes did look rather tasty. I just wish this issue wasn't all "Shamrocks!", "Green!", "Corned Beef and Cabbage!". Moving on. There were some decent weeknight dinner recipes in this issue. I was particularly intrigued by the dumpling and shrimp dish. That might make it to our table sooner rather than later.
    • Real Simple, February 2016 - The articles in this issue were a touch shorter than normal. I wonder if this is a new format. Anyway. I enjoyed the features on simple diet changes you can make and how a slob and a neat freak can live in harmony. I would have loved the piece on recipes you can make with your broiler... but I don't trust our broiler. Also, I don't want to clean the pan. Yick. Finally, there was a nice piece that highlighted people and their long-haul projects. It almost makes me want something long-haul-ish to do.
  • Books
    • Twice this week, I went to bed earlier than normal with the intention of reading a few more pages. That didn't happen. Just feel asleep after the same number of pages. Oh well. I'm still enjoying Shelters of Stone, which is a good thing cause there are at least 700 pages left for me to read.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Friday Find: These Words

How is it possible that I've not shared a magnetic poetry set yet! Clearly I have overlooked an obvious find. This would make a perfect gift or stocking stuffer for almost anyone.

You can buy this Book Lovers' edition from The Literary Gift Company.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Links and Stuff: February 18, 2016

"Bookworm" shelf by Kartell.
Also, just want to make a quick note of a change to feature. Normally, I head this list with an LOLcat. As much as I love them, I've decided to expand the image to any illustration/photo/comic I think works. There is so much awesome book related art out there, and I can't wait to share a little bit more of it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Why I Love... Shared Articles

A librarian I work with hosts a professional development lunch once a month. Everyone reads the same article and gathers to talk about it. Simple. I have yet to make it to one of these lunches (shame, I know), but I almost always read the article.

I love that this "perk" exists in my workplace. These shared articles are often items I would not grab to read myself. Thus, my boundaries of work knowledge are expanded. I tend to read from the same journals over and over again, so it's nice to be reminded that there is other stuff out there. Too often, I can get bogged down on what I have to know for work that I forgot there is so material that might be useful. These shared articles help me find the broader picture in library work.

In the same vane as the lunches, I love it when fellow librarians share links and titles to articles in their blog posts or through list-servs. You never know what is going to pop-up or the discussion that might follow. There is a whole wide world of professional reading, so seeing something recommended is a nice way to get a handle on it all.

One of these days I'll make it to a lunch discussion, and who knows, maybe I'll discover even more articles I might have missed.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

What I Read This Week: February 14, 2016

My week was made of meetings. Lots and lots of meetings. Why were there so many meetings? It also ended in a cold snap. The wind chill today is basically arctic. I am not a fan. At least The Husband and I plan on celebrating Valentine's Day by staying inside where it is warm.
  • Magazines
    • National Geographic, February 2016 - I thought the cover story on what's below London was going to be the main feature in this issue. It wasn't. It was kind of a side feature, and I was sad that the piece was not longer; I really wanted to know a whole lot more about the archeological discoveries in London. Aside from that, I did enjoy the pieces on the biology and evolution of the eye, Denali National Park, and women in Saudi Arabia. This issue was kind of random, but the contents were all good.
    • Washingtonian, February 2016 - This issue was kind of meh. As much as I love food, I ended up skimming the restaurants cover piece. That was followed by a large ad section on the "Face of
      Washington" and another on pets that I also just flipped through. The best parts of this issue were in the first few pages. The articles, on the whole were kind of eh, but I did enjoy the piece on sending children to occupational therapy. That was kind of eye opening. That said, I want to get my hands on the dessert featured on the cover. 
  • Books
    • I managed to read about 100 pages in Shelters of Stone this week. That puts me about 175 pages into the novel, and we've just covered the first day. Oh yes. It's a door stopper.
  • Other
    • If you've read Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins, then you know the story of Karana. JSTOR Daily posted the true story of the woman the book is based on.
    • Should you learn to procrastinate? The New York Times posted an interesting column on why you might.
    • Awesome! The Atlantic posted some pretty sweet looking, vintage-inspired NASA travel posters.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Friday Find: Noms

Valentine's Day is on Sunday. If you need a present, why not grab a box of chocolate meant for book-lovers?

You can buy this via BridgeBrands Chocolates.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Links and Stuff: February 11, 2016

Sunday, February 07, 2016

What I Read This Week: February 7, 2016

Today is the day I make far too much chili, have lots of friends over, and watch a football game I have no stake in. At least the Superbowl is preceeded by a Caps game?

Also, this list is short because I've been far too tired to do anything by lie about and empty my RSS reader.
  • Magazines
    • Washingtonian, January 2016 - This had two articles I enjoyed above all others. The first was advice from locals about how to do various things better in DC. The second was on reducing clutter... cause that is still my jam. There was also a nice piece about how Galludet is adapting architecture for the deaf.
  • Books
    • I sure hope you like reading about Shelters of Stone in this spot. It's a hefty book, which I'm enjoying, but it will take me several weeks (months?) to finish its many, many pages.
  • Other

Friday, February 05, 2016

The Friday Find: Pillow

Sometimes I'm stumped for what to post here. When that happens, I head to Etsy and type in something like "books" just to see what comes up. In this case, I found a fun throw pillow.

You can find this in MinnieandMaude's Etsy shop.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Links and Stuff: February 4, 2016

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Why I Love... Seeing Students Read

The weather did nothing but rain today. Sometimes the rain was light, sometimes it poured, but the whole day was gray and wet. If I had been home, I would have made tea and snuggled in with my current doorstopper of a book. Instead, I was at work.

I run our social media accounts, and today I wandered around the library looking for a good picture to post. In our lobby area, we have some relatively comfy chairs for patrons to take over. There were three students studying away, and I snapped a shot. Each student was plugged into their own little world, but they all had some sort of work to do and a hot beverage at hand. I was instantly jealous.

Seeming others read reminded me of the days I was one of those students. Closed off from the world, deep in whatever text I was tackling. Seeing these students read gave me a deep sense of nostalgia. Ah, to be a college student again, when reading was definitely a part of the job.