Friday, April 29, 2016

Book 7: Healthy Crockery Cookery

TITLE: Healthy Crockery Cookery
AUTHOR: Mable Hoffman
STARTED: April 23, 2016
FINISHED: April 23, 2016
PAGES: 216
GENRE: Cookbook

FIRST SENTENCE: Foods prepared in slow cookers yield healthful yet hearty meals.

SUMMARY: [From BN] America's favorite food consultant who brought variety, taste, and style to the classic crockpotDon't miss out on one of the most popular cookbooks of all time! Now Mable Hoffman presents an all-new crockpot cookbook that builds on the success of her previous bestseller—and provides the perfect solution for our fast-paced, health-conscious times. Here are 150 all-new recipes that utilize the slow-cooking method of the classic crockpot to create low-fat, low-calorie, high-flavor meals the whole family will love. It's the ideal solution for the modern cook who's concerned about maintaining a healthy diet while managing a busy schedule.

THOUGHTS: While there were some decent recipes in here, you can tell the age on this cookbook. There's not much introduction to book, the recipes, or the use of slow cookers. I would have liked more there. That said, these recipes do seem to be healthy versions of the classics. 

RATING: 5/10 [meh]

The Friday Find: Jeffersonian

Thomas Jefferson is my favorite president. He almost got that position by default. Of course I'm going to like you when you donate your library to the country! He was also known for his quote, "I cannot live without books." That quote has been slapped on so many things I've lost count, but these earrings are one of my favorites. They are so chic and sleek.

You can find these at the Library of Congress online store.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Cookbooks

This is the 68th time I done a Variations on a Theme post and, somehow, I have never dedicated one to cookbooks. How is that possible? I shall be remedying that right away. With this post. That is all about cookbooks.

All of these titles are ones I either own or have read. Prepare to be hungry!

Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half
Beth Moncel

As a college grad during the recent great recession, Beth Moncel found herself, like so many others, broke. Unwilling to sacrifice eating healthy and well—and armed with a degree in nutritional science—Beth began tracking her costs with obsessive precision, and soon cut her grocery bill in half. Eager to share her tips and recipes, she launched her blog, Budget Bytes. Soon the blog received millions of readers clamoring for more. [My review. And I should note that this is one of my favorite cookbooks and blogs.]

The Newlywed Cookbook: Fresh Ideas and Modern Recipes for Cooking With and For Each Other
Sarah Copeland

This cookbook is an indispensable reference for modern couples looking to spend quality time together in the kitchen. Inside are more than 130 recipes for both classic and contemporary cooking that are perfect for day-to-day deux and special occasions with family and friends. More than a collection of recipes, The Newlywed Cookbook is also a guide to domestic bliss. Author Sarah Copeland, a newlywed herself, knows that sourcing, cooking as well as sharing food together at the table makes for a happy couple! This beautiful and sophisticated contemporary cookbook is the new go-to for brides and grooms. [My review.]

Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy: Exceptionally Delicious and Nutritous Freezer-Friendly Meals You Can Prepare in Advance and Enjoy
Michele Borboa

Cook the best, most nutritious food for your family and save time and money with this mega-delicious guide to preparing meals you can fix-and-freeze now and enjoy any night of your crazy-busy week! Unlike the sodium-laced, preservative-filled meals you might find in your grocer’s freezer aisle, the recipes in this book feature wholesome ingredients full of flavors that harmoniously come to life the instant you reheat them—so your meals don’t just taste as good as the day you stored them away, but better! From comforting casserole and lasagna recipes made new again with fresh veggies and whole grains, to show-stopping breakfast baked goods and sweet treats, you’ll discover so many “must-make” recipes inside that you may need to consider a larger freezer! [My review.]

The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life
Ellie Krieger

Do you think that healthy food couldn't possibly taste good? Does the idea of "eating healthy" conjure up images of roughage and steamed vegetables? Author Ellie Krieger, host of Food Network's Healthy Appetite, will change all that. A registered dietitian, Ellie is also a lover and proponent of good, fresh food, simply but deliciously prepared. And she's not about denial—no nonfat foods here, because when you take the fat out of natural foods, in go the chemicals. Don't deny yourself butter—use a pat of it, but put it front and center on those mashed potatoes, so you can revel in it with all your senses. The Food You Crave is all you'll need to change the way you eat and change the way you feel. It contains 200 recipes that cover every meal of the day and every craving you might have. Every recipe contains a complete nutritional breakdown, as well as tips on ingredients and techniques that will keep you eating smart and eating well. [My review.]

Simply Scones
Leslie Weiner and Barbara Albright

Scones make delectable treats for afternoon tea, breakfast, lunch, even midnight snacks. Simply Scones features more than seventy luscious recipes for scones and spreads certain to delight both traditional and adverturesome palates. Sweet Scones: Oat Current, Triple Chocolate Chunk, Jam-Filled Walnut, Pistachio Fig Scones Savory Scones: Cheese, Hearty Grain, Pesto, Tex-Mex Scones Spreads: Apple Butter, Clotted Cream, Yogurt Cheese, Chocolate Nut Butter, Raspberry Cream Cheese Spread. Plus dozens more. Special sections tell how to make perfect scones, and how to serve a scrumptious afternoon tea. If you've never indulged in a batch of fresh-baked scones, there's no reason to miss out now! [My review.]

Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat
Chrissy Teigen

Maybe she's on a photo shoot in Zanzibar. Maybe she's making people laugh on TV. But all Chrissy Teigen really wants to do is talk about dinner. Or breakfast. Lunch gets some love, too. For years, she's been collecting, cooking, and Instagramming her favorite recipes, and here they are: from breakfast all day to John's famous fried chicken with spicy honey butter to her mom's Thai classics. Salty, spicy, saucy, and fun as sin (that's the food, but that's Chrissy, too), these dishes are for family, for date night at home, for party time, and for a few life-sucks moments (salads). You'll learn the importance of chili peppers, the secret to cheesy-cheeseless eggs, and life tips like how to use bacon as a home fragrance, the single best way to wake up in the morning, and how not to overthink men or Brussels sprouts. Because for Chrissy Teigen, cooking, eating, life, and love are one and the same.

Other Cookbooks
Bake It, Don't Fake It - Heather Bertinetti
Comfort Food Fix - Ellie Krieger
Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes - Dominique Ansel
Everybody Eats Well in Belgium - Maria Robbins
Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day - Leanne Brown
McGuire's Irish Pub Cook Book - Jessie Tirsch
Slow Cooker Revolution - America's Test Kitchen
So Easy - Ellie Krieger
Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books - Cara Nicoletti

Book 6: Preservation

TITLE: Preservation
AUTHOR: Blake Little
STARTED: April 23, 2016
FINISHED: April 23, 2016
PAGES: 136
GENRE: Photography

FIRST SENTENCE: Preservation has many meanings, from the physical to the spiritual.

SUMMARY: [Not a summary really, but a paragraph from the foreward] Blake saw – and was intrigued by – the juxtaposition of the timeless, pure substance and human flesh, so prone to decay. He was amazed by honey’s transformations when dripped, dribbled, and poured over the human body, and how it can distort and amplify forms, highlight physical perfection, engender repulsion, and suggest both immortality and death. For Blake, gleaming, golden honey has a way of diffusing the personal qualities of his subjects, often making them unrecognizable, democratizing their individual traits into something altogether different and universal. Sometimes terrifying, it can seem to encase his subjects, almost larvae-like in a primordial ooze, as in Ouriel, front, 2012. At other times it is dynamic, its lively motion captured and frozen, in a very different sense, through stop-action imaging, its tendrils – almost electric – spinning forth (Clayton, 2013). Powerfully muscular bodies, like Devion, back 2012, and gracefully balanced poses, such as Tala, standing up, 2013, evoke works of classical art, such as the famous Discus-thrower of the ancient Greek sculptor Myron. Other images recall sober portraits of the Renaissance (Dylan, 2012; Brad, 2012 and Zayden, 2013), or the dainty ballerinas of Degas in Lindsay, 2013.

THOUGHTS: I have wanted to get my hands on this book for quite some time. A while back, I saw a video for the creation of the photographs. (See it here - warning there is nudity.) Ever since then, I've been looking in my local libraries for the work. It never showed up in the catalogs. Finally, I did an ILL request through work. It arrived quickly and I was very, very happy. I ended up loving this work so much that I looked at it three times before I returned it.

This is not a book in the sense that there is much written text (there is only a foreward and the title of the photographs). This is simply a book of photographs. Simply stunning images capturing a moment of time. The way the honey has both movement and stillness on the page is amazing.

I loved this book so much I am considering buying myself a copy. I would happily go back and look at these images over and over again. I hope I can get my hands on one since it was a limited edition. Fingers crossed.

RATING: 10/10 [Best. Book. Ever.]

Links and Stuff: April 28, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book 5: In The Stacks

TITLE: In The Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians
AUTHOR: Michael Cart (editor)
STARTED: April 17, 2016
FINISHED: April 23, 2016
PAGES: 270
GENRE: Short Stories

FIRST SENTENCE: [From the Introduction] I grew up in Logansport, Indiana, a small valley town on the banks of the Wabash River.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Libraries, with their miles and miles of books are, for writers and readers alike, the magical portal to new worlds-the source of terrors, delights, and pleasures aplenty.
Here, in one volume, noted author and librarian Michael Cart has assembled a fascinating collection of twentieth century short fiction about libraries and librarians.

THOUGHTS: I don't think I've ever read a book of short stories before. I assume that this book is like others, some of the stories are great, some meh, and others are just plain confusing or bad. This book was definitely a mix of all of that. Some stories have still stuck with me (and I wish they were longer) others were just downright bad. I would recommend this to other librarians and booklovers, but casual readers might want to stay away.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Why I Love... Borrowing Books From Friends

I've always been a fan of borrowing books from libraries, but I also love borrowing books from friends.

For last Saturday's read-a-thon, I finally read three slow cooker cookbooks I borrowed from Lady K. Not only will we get to share conversations about the recipes, but I was treated to some awesome marginalia. I loved seeing what she thought of specific recipes as I was reading.

In addition to fun marginalia, borrowing books from friends comes with additional insights. You can talk to your friend about what they liked and disliked about a book. You can wax poetic together about shared frustrations or loves with the the text. If the book is from a series, now you have someone to wait it out with until the next book is released. If you both had different opinions about the book, you can have spirited conversations as to why.

Furthermore, books shared among friends tend to be lent multiple times. When books travel amongst friend groups, it creates a casual book club. You might not all be reading the same book at the same time but, sooner or later, you can end up at a party together all talking about the same book.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book 4: The Finish

TITLE: The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden
AUTHOR: Mark Bowden
STARTED: March 24, 2016
FINISHED: April 17, 2016
PAGES: 266
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: One fall night in western Iraq, as a unit from the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) was executing one of its nightly raids on suspected al Qaeda terrorists, this one a suspected regional commander who called himself "Muthanna," the raiders inadvertently discovered the mother lode.

SUMMARY: [From BN] From Mark Bowden, the preeminent chronicler of our military and special forces, comes The Finish, a gripping account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. With access to key sources, Bowden takes us inside the rooms where decisions were made and on the ground where the action unfolded. After masterminding the attacks of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden managed to vanish. Over the next ten years, as Bowden shows, America found that its war with al Qaeda—a scattered group of individuals who were almost impossible to track—demanded an innovative approach. Step by step, Bowden describes the development of a new tactical strategy to fight this war—the fusion of intel from various agencies and on-the-ground special ops. After thousands of special forces missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the right weapon to go after bin Laden had finally evolved. By Spring 2011, intelligence pointed to a compound in Abbottabad; it was estimated that there was a 50/50 chance that Osama was there. Bowden shows how three strategies were mooted: a drone strike, a precision bombing, or an assault by Navy SEALs. In the end, the President had to make the final decision. It was time for the finish.

THOUGHTS: The title is essentially all the summary you need for this book. There are no surprises or radically new insights in this book. What Bowden has down, however, is to craft a narrative of how all the players came together on that fateful day when Osama Bin Laden was killed. He shows the back-stories and storylines of Bin Laden, Obama, and other key players in the raid. He tracks how each encountered one another throughout their lives and ultimately ended up meeting (rhetorically of course) in life.

As always, Bowden continues to show why he is my favorite non-fiction author. His prose always reads and moves like fiction. There is just enough detail to keep you interested, but the text never enters info dump territory. Bowden truly is the ideal writer to start with if you've never been a fan of non-fiction.

RATING: 8/10 [Terrific]

Sunday, April 24, 2016

#Readathon Wrap-Up

Read-a-thon is over for this round. I read for about 17.5 hours and finished 1,482 pages. That results in a $74.10 donation to First Book. I'm rounding it to $75 cause I like even numbers.

I finished reading:
  • In The Stacks: Short Stories about Libraries and Librarians edited by Michael Cart
  • Preservation by Blake Little
  • Healthy Crockery Cookeryby Mable Hoffman
  • Crockery Cookeryby Mable Hoffman
  • SlowCooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

I finished 2/3rds of Marie Kondo's Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. I never got around to reading Judy Blume's In The Unlikely Event.

I'm incredibly happy with how this read-a-thon panned out. By taking it easier on myself (less blogging, less clock watching), I enjoyed myself much more. I hope I can participate in the October 22 read-a-thon. It's on my calendar, so no one try to book anything else with me that day!

What I Read This Week: April 24, 2016

What? You expect a long post after read-a-thon? Ha!

Here is, at least, a list of the titles I completed yesterday:
  • In The Stacks: Short Stories About Libraries and Librarians edited by Michael Cart
  • Preservation by Blake Little
  • Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
  • Healthy Crockery Cookery by Mable Hoffman
  • Crockery Cookery by Mable Hoffman
  • SlowCooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen
  • Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Aside from that, I didn't get much reading done. There was playoff hockey to be watched and RSS feeds to be caught up on. That said, I did finish reading the following earlier this week:
  • Book: Mark Bowden's The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden 
  • Work: April 2016 issue of College and Research Libraries News
  • Article: The Seas will Save Us (The Husband sent me the link to this article a while back. I finally read it on Earth Day. It's perfect.)

#Readathon Check-In The Last

CURRENTLY READING: I finished 2/3rds of Spark Joy.

THOUGHTS?: I think the fine details in this book are causing my eyes to get droopy. I shall be headed to bed after I post this. I am up way past my normal bed-time, so making it even this late is an accomplishment.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Is there anything better than nutella on toast for a midnight snack? I think not.



That's it for me read-a-thon-ers. I shall have my usual wrap-up post on the blog sometime tomorrow.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

#Readathon Check-In The Ninth

CURRENTLY READING: Still working my way through Spark Joy.

THOUGHTS?: I am very much enjoying this more detailed version of Kondo's previous book. It's taking me longer to read than I thought it would because a) it's very detailed and b) I keep getting distracted.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I've just been sipping on water and I finished off the cider. I'm tempted to grab some lemon cookies for dessert but it is getting late. 

Also, how do I always seem to end of reading on the floor for at least part of read-a-thon?



#Readathon Check-In The Eighth

CURRENTLY READING: I'm slowly working my way through Spark Joy.

THOUGHTS?: I'm pretty good at cleaning all the things, but this book makes me want to clean all the things even more. I love the concept of only bringing items into your home and life that spark joy. It's so simple and such a lovely idea.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Dinner was had! The Husband picked up our favorite pizza. One half is meats and one half is a veggie/Mediterranean flavor. So good! If you've never had fried eggplant on a pizza, I suggest you try it. I paired my pizza slices with the last bottle of hard cider in the house. A delicious combo.

We've also turned off the Pandora and switched to the TV. I had some hockey games on, but The Husband found Deep Impact on SyFy. I'm trying not to get distracted, but it's one of my favorite disaster flicks.



#Readathon Check-In The Seventh

CURRENTLY READING: I have finished Why Not Me? and will be starting Spark Joy momentarily.

THOUGHTS?: This book was delightful. I very much want to be friends with Mindy Kaling. She just seems to get it. I particularly liked her last chapter on how confidence is just entitlement. It was very well put.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Nada. The Husband did order a specialty pizza from our favorite DC pizza place. He left a few minutes ago to pick it up since they do not deliver to our area. I can't wait! It's been so long since we've had one of their pies.

Also, I dislike not having pictures in these posts. I couldn't think of anything read-a-thon related, so here's a picture of my tiny stone octopus that my mom named Inky.



Before I go, here is the mid-event survey:

1. What are you reading right now?
I am about to start "Spark Joy" by Marie Kondo.

2. How many books have you read so far?
Six - three of which are cookbooks and one is an art book.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
The one that is up next. I LOVED "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." I'm told that "Spark Joy" is that book on steroids.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Very few. The Husband has been working from home all day, so there are the general, short chit-chat breaks. I've also put together food and done dishes, but all-in-all the day has been mainly reading.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
It was 7pm (EST) before I knew it. The day goes by much more quickly when I don't have hourly blog posts to write.

#Readathon Check-In The Sixth

CURRENTLY READING: I'm just about halfway through with Why Not Me?

THOUGHTS?: This is a perfectly light-hearted, enjoyable, and surprisingly insightful book for read-a-thon. It's also hilarious. I keep reading segments aloud to The Husband while he works. He says he may even need to read it for himself now. Win!

Also, the end papers on this hardcover are fantastic.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Still nibbling on the lunch spread. I'll start to put away the leftovers in a moment so that I can start to develop an appetite for dinner.

PAGES READ SINCE LAST CHECK-IN: 100 (deliberately stopped on an even number for easier math)


#Readathon Check-In The Fifth

CURRENTLY READING: I just closed the back cover on SlowCooker Revolution. Now I am about to begin Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling.

THOUGHTS?: I should not be surprised at all that it took me much, much (!) longer to finish the America's Test Kitchen slow cooker book. They offered far more in-depth recipe introductions along with great shopping recommendations and cooking techniques. These books are on loan from a friend, so I flagged several dozen recipes to take pictures of later. I used a set of Doctor Who post-it notes the in-laws gave me. It looks like a tiny Dalek army has invaded the pages. Ex-term-i-nate!

SNACKS AND STUFF: Still nibbling of the lunch feast. I've stuck mainly to the vegetables, but the honey goat cheese is quite the temptress.



#Readathon Check-In The Fourth

CURRENTLY READING: I'm into my third cookbook, SlowCooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen.

THOUGHTS?: I love reading recipes. The best part about borrowing Lady K's personal family cookbooks is that I come across marginalia gems.

SNACKS AND STUFF: I have just laid out the massive lunch spread for The Husband and myself. He is working from home all day, so we shall be nibbling on these goodies for hours. 

PAGES READ SINCE LAST CHECK-IN: 543 (Cookbooks for the win!)


#Readathon Check-In The Third

CURRENTLY READING: I'm about to start my first cookbook, Healthy Crockery Cookery by Mable Hoffman. But first, you should know I finished both In The Stacks and Preservation

THOUGHTS?: You've heard about In The Stacks (some stories were good, others I didn't really care for)... but now you need to hear about Preservation. The author, Blake Little, is a photographer. There is almost no text in this book (other than the foreword). The rest of the volume is just pages and pages of stunning photographs. Little pours honey on people and photographs the results. The images are striking - some are reminiscent of Degas and others of classic art. I've been wanting to get my hands on this book since I saw the video (link here - fair warning there is nudity).

Here is a sample of some of the stunning images.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Delicious hot breakfast casserole and more coffee was had. I love brunch food. It is the best.



#Readathon Check-In The Second

CURRENTLY READING: In The Stacks: Short Stories About Libraries and Librarians edited by Michael Cart

THOUGHTS?: I have discovered the wonders that is started read-a-thon with a book of short stories. I started this book earlier in the week and hope to finish it by 11am. The best part about it, if I don't like the current story, a new one is just a few pages away. My brother gave me this book for Christmas umpteenth years ago. I'm glad it's proven to be a pleasing way to start the day.

SNACKS AND STUFF: Just coffee since my first check-in. I have also just popped the main breakfast dish into the oven. It should be done in about a half-hour or so. Bring on the egg and sausage aroma!



#Readathon Check-In The First

Good morning! I hope you all are ready for a wonderful and relaxed read-a-thon. Goodness knows I am. This is the most excited I've been about read-a-thon in quite some time. I also need a day like this after going the game last night and watching my Washington Capitals not secure their spot to the next round of the NHL playoffs. C'mon team! You had a 3-1 series lead! But I digress...

Look-ee here!

I've got my (much needed) mug of coffee and traditional kick-off snack (plain greek yogurt with granola and a drizzle of honey) by my side while I tackle my first book, In The Stacks: Short Stories About Libraries and Librarians. I started this book earlier in the week and I hope to have it wrapped before breakfast. Actual breakfast. Breakfast with eggs and sausage.

Onto the opening meme!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Currently overcast and loud bird-call filled Washington, DC. Seriously with the birds. They woke me up at 6am singing me the song of all their people. ALL OF THEM.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Preservation by Blake Little. It's a photographic art book, but I've wanted to read it since I heard about it and saw a trailer of the man's art.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
The cheeses. I am a sucker for cheeses.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
To quote my Twitter account: "Librarian. DC resident. Cupcake 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?
I am a read-a-thon veteran. This is my [I don't remember the actual number] read-a-thon. This time around, I'm being more relaxed. Fewer blog updates, putting less pressure on myself to READ MOAR BOOKS all day. I just want to enjoy a day meant for reading.

Friday, April 22, 2016

#Readathon Eve Check-In

Well what do you know, it's Read-a-thon Eve. I've had this date on my calendar since it was selected, but I wasn't positive I would be able to participate until recently. 

How am I preparing tonight? By attending the Washington Capital's playoff game against the Philadelphia Flyers of course! That's right, this post was auto-set to go off at the start of the game. Have no fears, fellow readers, I was able to take care of my usual prep work yesterday. I took a half-day from work (I have to use days or I lose them), and I hit up the store. I bought my usual smorgasbord of snacks (veggies, cheeses, meats, etc.) and prepped the fancy breakfast to be popped in the oven tomorrow morning.

I've also decided to take a more relaxed approach this time. I started to do so during the last read-a-thon, and it worked quite well. I enjoyed myself more and pressure/stress to READ MOAR BOOKS was a lot lower. I'm relaxing things even more this time. Instead of hourly check-ins, I will only post when I feel like. I've also reduced my usual blog template to be less wordy. More time for reading (and snacking) makes me a happy camper. 

One thing that hasn't changed is my motivation. I will be donating 5 cents for every page I read to First Book.

Here's what's on my table to be read tomorrow. It's heavy on the food titles, but Lady K probably wants her slow cooker books back.

The Friday Find: Light It Up

If you are lucky enough to have a library, den, or office in your home devoted to books, this lamp is perfect for you. I live in an apartment and have none of those rooms, but I would definitely try to fit this lamp into my home decor somehow.

You can find this online at the Library of Congress store.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Links and Stuff: April 21, 2016

Sunday, April 17, 2016

What I Read This Week: April 17, 2016

The Husband and I are in Austin, Texas visiting his parents. I may or may not be thinking of a way to bring their dog back with us. If he goes missing, shhh, I didn't do it. There is a ton of fun stuff to see (and eat) here, but I managed to carve out some reading time on the trip down (around my naps, of course). We head back tomorrow, so I'll get even more reading done then. Even if I don't, Read-a-thon is next weekend, so I shall have plenty of time then.
  • Work
    • This week as National Library Week, so of course I read the 2016 edition of ALA's State of American Libraries. I am very much a fan of the whole "Libraries Transform" theme.
    • Despite only being in the office for a few days this week, I put a decent dent in my Handbook for Digital Projects reading.
  • Magazines
    • Washingtonian, April 2016 - This was a bust issue for me. The Husband and I are condo shopping, but the great places to live piece was not really helpful. The majority of this month's pages was devoted to ads for financial advisors. Blergh. That said, I did enjoy the short piece on what Washington wears to work. I also liked the spotlight piece on the movie All The President's Men
    • Food Network, May 2016 - I took one look at the cover and decided I need to make that dish. It looks so darn tasty. It was a puff pastry napoleon with raspberries and cream. Noms. I decided to pull the whole mini-booklet of puff pastries recipes. There was a whole feature recipe section on aspargus which is one of my favorite veggies. Aside from the food, there were some quick kitchen decor ideas that I noted for possible future use.
  • Books
    • I'm [thisclose] to finishing The Finish. I think it's save to say I will kill off the final pages on our trip back to DC. Good thing I brought another book with me.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Friday Find: Subtly Bookish

If you want to wear an item of clothing that is bookish without turning you into Ms. Frizzle, may I suggest this dress. It looks just a bit like book spines on a bookcase.

Hat tip to Lady B for finding this on Anthropologie.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Why I Love... Reader's Advisory

Last night, I went to a dinner with The Husband's coworkers. Several people from his company were in from out-of-town and they decided to have an informal get together. I've not met many of his colleagues, so this was a nice chance to put names to faces. I ended up chatting with a gentleman who was trying to get back into reading fiction. On went the librarian hat!

I asked him a few questions about books he liked and books he didn't like; genres he loved, and topics he might want to try. I asked about the last few titles he read that he enjoyed just to suss out a bit more information. Then, after I thought for a few moments, I recommended a few books that might be of interest to him.

I love doing reader's advisory because it mixes two things I love: getting to know people and trying to supply them with useful and/or entertaining things. I recommend books to The Husband and my friends all the time, but it's a rare day I get to do it with someone new. Last night reminded me how much I love connecting people with reading.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Seen on the Metro: Translation

As I was exiting the metro this morning, I noticed a middle-aged gentleman reading Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay. I recognized the cover immediately, but the spelling of the title told me it was a translation.

I didn't have time to figure out the language, but I noticed that the gentleman's lips moved as he read. I hope he enjoys that book as much as I did.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

What I Read This Week: April 10, 2016

The polar vortex came back to DC this week. No one was happy about that. At least the cherry blossoms got a chance to look gorgeous before this cold snap. I am ready for spring to be truly here now. I think, however, that summer will come roaring in soon and I will miss the cold weather.
  • Work
    • I forgot to mention (a few weeks back), that I started reading a book on digital projects (Handbook for Digital Projects: A Management Tool for Preservation and Access). Since I'm reading this in the office, I can only manage a few pages here and there. I think it will be useful to my new position. 
  • Magazines
    • HGTV Magazine, April 2016 - This was the annual color issue. It was very bright and fun to flip through. There were no articles to speak of... so I just looked at the pretty pictures. 
    • Cooking Light, May 2016 - Oh Cooking Light, you just get me. I love eating dinner out of bowls, and there was a whole article about building bowl meals. Fantastic! There were also decent articles about food makeovers (making classics healthy) and the best diet for brain health. I pulled a few recipes from this issue, including one for raspberry preserves that might have to turn into a gift for Lady B since she loves them.
    • National Geographic, April 2016 - This issue had great stories on the science of death (and how modern medicine is altering
      our usual perceptions of it) and urban parks. I LOVED the photo ark piece so much that I started to follow the author on Twitter just to see more pictures. This month also so another excerpt from the humans out of africa walking piece. That was a nice surprise. 
  • Books
    • The Husband had to go to NYC for a work thing on Friday. Since he was away for the night, I thought I would get to make a huge dent in The Finish. Yeah... I got distracted by catching up on some of my TV shows. Whoops. I still managed to read about 50 pages this week. I am very much enjoying how Bowden structured this book. It's all back-story so far that is building up tension and expectation leading to.... the finish.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Book 3: The Shelters of Stone

TITLE: The Shelters of Stone
AUTHOR: Jean M. Auel
STARTED: January 25, 2016
FINISHED: March 24, 2016
PAGES: 896
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: People were gathering on the limestone ledge, looking down at them warily.

SUMMARY: [From BNThe Shelters of Stone opens as Ayla and Jondalar, along with their animal friends, Wolf, Whinney, and Racer, complete their epic journey across Europe and are greeted by Jondalar’s people: the Zelandonii. The people of the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii fascinate Ayla. Their clothes, customs, artifacts, even their homes—formed in great cliffs of vertical limestone—are a source of wonder to her. And in the woman Zelandoni, the spiritual leader of the Ninth Cave (and the one who initiated Jondalar into the Gift of Pleasure), she meets a fellow healer with whom to share her knowledge and skills. But as Ayla and Jondalar prepare for the formal mating at the Summer Meeting, there are difficulties. Not all the Zelandonii are welcoming. Some fear Ayla’s unfamiliar ways and abhor her relationship with those they call flatheads and she calls Clan. Some even oppose her mating with Jondalar, and make their displeasure known. Ayla has to call on all her skills, intelligence, knowledge, and instincts to find her way in this complicated society, to prepare for the birth of her child, and to decide whether she will accept new challenges and play a significant role in the destiny of the Zelandonii.

THOUGHTS: For a book that takes almost 200 pages to describe one day of action... nothing feels long. Auel still suffers from explaining the same thing and people, over and over again, but the general storyline and characters make that easy to overlook. This series has sort of taken on an Outlander appeal to me. It's not longer about the plot, it's about enjoying time with characters. I'm along for the ride with them, whatever that may bring. There is only one book left in the series, so we shall see what is in store for Ayla and Jondalar's last adventures together.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

The Friday Find: Transformer

When I explored the online store for the Library of Congress to track down a bookmark, I noticed that there was a ton of awesome stuff to be had. One of the items that jumped out at me was the Library Step Chair.

It's a chair when you want to sit...

...and a ladder when you need to reach the top shelf!

You can buy this online here.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Links and Stuff: April 7, 2016

From Fake Library Stats.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

What I Read This Week: April 3, 2016

You ever have one of those weeks where it flew by so fast you don't actually know what you did? That was this week for me. It started slow - Monday was a day off - but ramped up quickly and ended in a mad dash. From all the things I checked off my to do list (work related, socially, at home), I clearly accomplished much... but I feel like I was run over my a herd puppies.

I need a nap.
  • Work
    • Somehow I was not at my desk all that much this week. Lots of meetings, teaching, and random stuff came up. I did get a chance to peruse the new ALA Editions catalog. This was the first catalog released since I started my new position. I took a few moments to pin some titles that are relevant to my new work tasks.
  • Magazines
    • The Atlantic, April 2016 - It took me forever to read this issue. An article on foreign policy doctrine in the Obama administration and commuting don't really work together. I had to re-read passages several times to make sure I ingested everything correctly. This issue also had an engrossing read on a missing person's case in Alaska. Finally, in a shocking move for this magazine, there was a rather large section the return of the black panther comic... that include an excerpt. It was awesome.
  • Books
    • I put a not-insignificant dent into Bowden's book The Finish. No surprise for a book by this author... I'm loving it. So far Bowden is offering a lot of back-story to set up "the finish."
  • Other
    • Daily Beast posted a fun article about the life of a bourbon barrel.

Friday, April 01, 2016

The Friday Find: Oh yeah!

This week was simply cuh-razy at work. The days flew by so fast that I barely know what I actually accomplished. Much coffee and tea was consumed to keep my going. I wish I had this amusing mug on hand to drink that nectar out of.

You can buy this gem from Philosopher's Guild.