Sunday, December 28, 2008
3/1/9 - 2783 pages in February
I have decided that I will do a pages read challenge this year. I often wonder about challenges with number of books (50, 100, etc.) because, of course, I could just sit down a read a bunch of juvenile or YA novels and my total would skyrocket.
So, to keep my blog going, I am going to see if I can read 50,000 pages. It sounds like a lot right now, but at this moment, I have read 38,999 and the year is not quite over.
I will be counting the pages that I read on talking books and my Kindle by using the page count for the original edition of the book. Hopefully that works for the moderator of this challenge.
I will continue to review my books at Shelfari and Good Reads, so I will have to figure out something else that I will do with this blog. But for now, this is my challenge for 2009.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
However the book I have ended up with is A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation. I have been reading this book since some time in November so it should have popped into my brain before this. Luci Shaw has put together a wonderful compilation of religious poetry. I found poems by people I knew like C. S. Lewis and Madeline L'Engle and many poets that I had never encountered before.
These are amazing poems; they are well written, thoughtful and thank goodness not sappy. My mental definition of religious poetry is always rhyming and not very deep. Not flattering, but that is what is stuck in my head. This is not at all true of this anthology.
This is an excellent book to end the year on. I once again want to thank Katie for her idea. It did help focus my reading a bit this year. I am not sure I will do another book challenge this year, but I will probably start one for work during our next fiscal year. We shall see... the best laid plans.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
I had hoped that in reading this book, I would find things about the Pilgrims to be thankful for. The BAM challenge was to be about thanks and giving. I did not find what I was looking for, but this was a fascinating book.
Philbrick dispelled many of my preconceptions. Mayflower gave me a better idea about why the Pilgrims came to North America; what the difference is between Pilgrims and Puritans and what the relationship between the Native Americans and the Pilgrim interlopers was like. My history classes did not do justice to anyone from this time period.
Several things amazed me. First of all I had no idea how much we actually know about the Native Americans of New England. I am truly unaware of Native American history and culture. I wouldn't even know where to begin reading, if I wanted to know more.
Secondly, the Europeans were alarmingly convinced that they were the norm. This is an issue for most of us - we can only see the world through our own eyes. However, I am sorry that few of the people who came to this continent could see those who are native as actual people. Humans don't seem to learn quickly.
I wish that I found Philbrick's style a bit more compelling. However, I am more than happy that I have a better idea about some of our early history. So many books show me how little I know. Philbrick did a good job of teaching me more about my country. And for that I should be thankful.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
My book for the November challenge is Mayflower: a story of courage community and war by Nathaniel Philbrick. I now know more about the pilgrims than most of my friends would ever want me to know. My habit, when I learn something new, is to tell the world. Just ask some people I know about how I keep boring them with stuff from The Ominvore's Dilemma.
I am now going to go off and finish the book.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Last month's challenge for BAM was books that haunt. I really don't like ghost tales; I am definitely not into horror and so, I was trying to come up with a book that haunted me in other ways. I got to the end of the month and had not read anything new that I found haunting. I read a bunch of books in October - 12 according to my list at Good Reads, but they were so memorable that I thought I could use them.
The Book Thief is a very different take on this part of history. Death is telling the story and Death sees us very differently than we would like to be seen. This is an amazing story. Zusak is young, I think, but he has an old mind. To conceive of all this and to get it on paper. Just phenomenal.
Main characters are Liesel, Max, Rudy, Hans and Rose. They are all well imagined. I am still thinking about Liesel and her books. I have read lots of books about WWII. most centering firmly on the Holocaust. This is less on the actual death camps, but the atrocities are still there. Thanks to the way Zusak writes, I will be haunted by this book for a long, long time.
The other haunting book about WW II that I have recently read was We Are on Our Own by Miriam Katin. This book preoccupies my mind for several reasons. One, it is a story about WWII that is not familiar to me. I had never thought much about those who tried to escape. What Miriam and her mother went through was very difficult.
Two, the drawings of this "graohic novel" are very evocative. Most of the GNs I have read have been black and white, and very clear. These drawings are in colored pencil and are less clear. As one reviewer stated - they look like a child's memory. Really true.
However, I am mostly disturbed by where Katin's experiences put her with her religion. She has been left haunted herself - without a clear belief system. This is hard for me to imagine.
Hopefully all this explains how I was haunted for the October BAM challenge.
I am looking forward to November and the topic of giving.
Monday, October 27, 2008
The only thing I have so far is one short story from Hardly Knew Her: Stories by Laura Lippman. I have to say that it is sitting in the back of my brain, driving me crazy. But one story is really not enough.
I think I will go find something to read.
Monday, October 13, 2008
I have 12 books to read for my book group; 4 books to read for Readers' Advisory (I actually will probably do more); books to read for The Big Read; and my mom will instruct me to read at least something more over the course of the year.
I read a lot - my list at Good Reads has 86 titles that I read so far this year. But how would I keep up with more than 30 challenges. Even with the fact you can use a book for more than one challenge -more power to those of you who can keep up with all this reading.
I think I will go back to my romance of the week - Charming the Prince. It is fun, light and not for any challenge except to keep my stress level down.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Chacour, Elias. We Belong to the Land
Chesterton, G. K. Orthodoxy
Goldberg, Natalie. Wild Life: Living the Writer's Life
Helms, Randel. Who Wrote the Gospels?
Keating, Thomas. . Open Mind, Open Heart
Kopper, Philp. The Wild Edge: Life and Lore of the Great Atlantic Beaches
Nouwen, Henri. With Open Hands
Russo, Richard. Straight Man
Shaw, Luci. A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation
Swanwick, Michael. Tales of Old Earth
Tan, Amy. The Opposite of Fate
Yehosha, A. B. The Liberated Bride
As I read them, I will mark them in blue this time.
However, I finished Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston just the other day. And all I could think about after finishing the book was talk about change!
I had read this book about 25 years ago when I had just moved to Virginia. I found it to be powerful, moving and significant at that time. My library is about to do this book as our Big Read, so I decided to listen to it this time around. I had forgotten how powerful Hurston's writing is. She had an utterly amazing way with words.
Janey's life involved so much change. Janey thought she knew who she was, but other people had other ideas. Her grandmother, her husbands, her neighbors all thought they knew who Janey should be. It is not until the end of the book that the reader and Janey learn the truth about how a woman might be.
And then there is the change (and lack thereof) since Hurston wrote this book. It has been 71 years since Their Eyes was published. Hurston was given grief for not uplifting her race. What would happen if this book was published now?
African-Americans and women of all colors have made advances in our society. However, we still struggle with our place as it is assigned by this culture. You only have to look at our upcoming election to see that.
I had not expected much change by listening rather than reading. I was wrong. This was so much better for me as an audio book. The book is written in dialect which I can read, but I really did not hear until it was read to me. I am blown away. Janey's story is the story of one of the most wonderful women I have ever read about.
I read this book because it is our next Big Read adventure at PRL. I have changed my mind about doing TEWWG for The Big Read. This story is one that more people should encounter. I hope we can do that through this reading program.
Lastly there is the change in my life since I read this book 25 years ago. I am not a re-reader. There are so many books out there waiting for me. However, I have changed since I read this book for my book group. It was good to encounter Janey and Tea Cake once again. I see their lives in a whole new light since I am older.
Everyone should read this book.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
What a mistake. Now I will have to go back to find the books I haven't read. Ehrlich is a superb writer. She has a way with words that made me want to read The Future of Ice out loud. From the beginning of the book until the end I was so envious. I have no desire to write for publication, but who wouldn't be jealous of Ehrlich's phrasing. Listen to this:
"All I know is this - and maybe I don't know it at all: The inner world is the one where
the cold flame of passion is used to set ourselves free from desire."
The Future of Ice: A Journey into Cold was published in 2004. It was a wake-up call about the possible end of winter and what that would do for our world. Ehrlich was one among many who were talking about global warming long before Gore. I don't object to Al Gore's books, but they are not as beautiful as this one.
I suggested cold for the BAM challenge because by August I am tired of Virginia summers. I was not sorry to find my self in some of the coldest places on this planet with Ehrlich. However, I did not expect to be so moved by my BAM choice. Thank you Gretel Ehrlich, for writing with such passion about your winter experiences.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
I read a couple of reviews before I read Blindsided. I had heard some things about Richard M. Cohen since his wife is Meredith Vieira, anchor on the Today Show. He is an amazing human being. How he and his family have managed is beyond me. MS has been part of Cohen's family for three generations - his father and grandmother both had it. Cohen tells his story well and it is evident that he has great skills as a writer.
However, this book and I did not meet each other at the right time. I did not have enough patience for the style and may be even the content. As a relatively healthy person, maybe I just can't face the scary parts of chronic illness. So although this is a well written book, I just couldn't get into it.
So this is not really a review. I may try to read other things by Cohen. If I need to know more about chronic illness - I may even come back to this particular book. I did not do this book justice, but sometimes that happens. On to next month's challenge.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
All I have to say at this moment, I finished two more books from my TBR pile and I gave the BAM challenge an idea for August. The first book is Quiet in His Presence which I liked very much. I am not crazy about the "his" part, but I will get into that when I post my review on Shelfari. The second book was The Bridal Wreath - definitely not my favorite book. More as I said - on Shelfari.
For the BAM challenge we will be doing cold books in August. Right now I need to finish the book I am reading for the July challenge which is independence.
Life is speeding along - our vacation, even at two weeks, was too short.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The "review" on this website is not really a review - I just want to write down enough to remember the book. I need to practice writing reviews.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Author: Mel Odom
Reading Level: Adult
June's BAM challenge is Knowledge. Katie gave us lots of ideas, but I had had good luck searching our catalog and NoveList Plus before, so I started with our catalog (http://www.pamcat.org/). Found two books with knowledge in the title that looked good, until they came in delivery.
Using NoveList Plus, I just entered "knowledge" as a search term and limited it to adult and fiction. What I got was The Rover by Mel Odom (among other things). I remember that when I purchased this for our library, this fantasy intrigued me, but I did not remember that Wick (the main character) is a Third Level Librarian in the Vault of all Known Knowledge. So The Rover looked like the perfect choice.
I happen to love books where I get to follow characters around a world that I am unfamiliar with. It can be Tudor England, modern day Kansas, or a spaceship winging its way to a new planet. I am not picky about genre (the only one I don't read is westerns) and the pacing can be fast or slow. I mostly want to fall into a world and live there for a few hours or days.
I lived with Edgewick Lamplighter for most of last weekend. I had no plans except to relax and read and so I opened The Rover with great anticipation. Odom did not steer me wrong. He has created a wonderful world with pirate, trolls, elves and great battles of good versus evil. Just what I needed for an extended read.
Edgewick Lamplighter has been a third level librarian for way too long. He works in the Vault of all Known Knowledge where they are busily cataloging the history of the world. He spends much of his free time reading books from the Hralbomm Wing of the library - these books are full of frivolity, which apparently has "no place in the proper history of the world."
Fortunately for us all, Edgewick, Wick to his friends, has to deliver a message for the Grandmagister. And although I could see that this was going to give Wick the opportunity for quest, I could not have ever guessed how the author was going to get Wick the adventures of a lifetime.
The story is a magical quest, like The Hobbit and even a bit like Harry Potter, but Odom took familiar stories and made them new. I give The Rover 3 stars (***). Next time I have a long weekend, the next volume, The Destruction of the Books is probably going along.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I have a lot more than 12 books on my TBR list, so this seems like a good way to keep my blog going and work on all those TBRs. Here is my list with those I have already read in red.
Asch, Scholem. The Nazarene: A Novel Based on the Life of Christ
Bell, Thomas. Out of This Furnace
Campbell, Will D. Forty Acres and a Goat
Chesterton, G. K. Orthodoxy
Gray, Zane. Betty Zane
Grumbach, Doris. Life in a Day
Keating Thomas. Open Mind, Open Heart
Kisly, Lorraine. Ordinary Graces (this book is not meant to be read at one sitting, so this will take awhile to finish
Manning, Brendan. The Wisdom of Tenderness: What Happens When God's Fierce Mercy Transforms Our Lives
Harris, Jan. Quiet in His Presence
Russo, Richard. Straight Man
Undset, Sigrid. The Bridal Wreath
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I may be stretching the point here, but I really want to review Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario while it is still fresh in my mind. This was the book under discussion at my book group last night and it was a great choice. We had much more discussion than I had thought possible and the conversation may have started with immigration and Enrique, but we were all over the map.
Nazario is a reporter for the LA Times and after a conversation with the woman who cleans her house, Nazario felt compelled to research one small aspect of immigration from Central America. She managed to do a story for her paper on the _____ thousand children who ride the trains through Mexico to get to the US.
By following Enrique on his quest to be reunited with his mother (See there is the connection to this month's topic), Sonia Nazario put herself and us in these children's shoes. It is an amazing story.
All of us in the group had our moments with this book where we were depressed or overwhelmed. I won't lie - there are alot of difficult events in this book. However, I highly recommend this tale for several reasons.
- This is a side of immigration that most of us know nothing about.
- You will be amazed by the journey Enrique makes by himself.
- What Sonia Nazario does as a reporter will blow you away.
I give this book a 9 on 1-10 scale. I think that this ranks up there with other good social issue nonfiction (like Nickel and Dimed) and I plan to pay a bit more attention to immigration as we go through the upcoming election.
Monday, April 14, 2008
So let's start with the poetry book. I read Thirst by Mary Oliver. Oliver is always going to be a favorite of mine, since she writes about nature in ways that are both familiar and startlingly new. For example, "The place I Want to Get Back To" contains all the usual references to Oliver's natural world, but the ending just blew me away - it was not what I expected.
This group of poems was written in response to Oliver's companion's death and so some of them were hard for me to read - so raw - in my opinion. "Letter to ____________" is a good example of that. Painful, wonderful, but painful.
I have Donald Hall's book, Without on my shelf. Now I want to go back and reread his responses to his partner's death. I think the two books together will really resonate with me. Both poets really do know how to "open a vein" as Red Smith once said.
Even if you don't normally read poetry - please find at least one poem to read this month. It is amazing how poets can create images that never leave your mind. If you can't find a poem you like, I would be happy to share.
Now on to something lighter. Poetry takes one kind of reading mood. Laura Bower's book was for a whole different mood. I hadn't read any young adult books for awhile, which was one of the reasons; I picked Beauty Shop for Rent... The next reason I picked the book, was the cover - such an infectious smile on Abbey's face. Although at the time, I did not know that her name is Abbey.
This impish looking teenager, Abbey, is being reared by her great-grandmother. Yes, you read that right, not her grandmother or mother, but her great-grandmother, who happens to run a beauty shop. Not only is Granny Po responsible for Abbey, but she has help from the spirited Gray Widows, who seemingly have not a lot to do besides getting their hair done.
Abbey (like most young women in YA novels) has a lot of problems in her life. However, Bowers creates a character and family that I found believable. Life is tough for Abbey, but in the course of the book she grows and learns about life. And by the end the reader is involved enough to be pulling for her. This is funny, sad and ultimately wonderful book.
I plan to share this book with some of the YAs in my life and I am looking forward to Laura Bowers' next novel.
Monday, March 31, 2008
2o Things has been a good experience for me. I experimented with things I found fun - editing pictures, Library Thing and flickr. I am using Library Thing at home (I became a life member) and flickr is helping me figure out my pictures from Israel.
I am not sure I will ever look Rollyo again, but others have told me that they really like that. And please someone help me understand Technorati - I just haven't figured out how to use it.
I want to thank all the people who worked hard to make this a good experience. Fran, the other Sls, the reference department all helped with this project. Special thanks to the staff who played, finished or at least tried to finish. Life long learners are fun to work with.
Can't wait to see what other ways we can play on the Internets - Readers' Advisory blogging, anyone?
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I have been a weaver for almost 30 years and the number of knots I have tied on the loom are definitely fewer than 1000. The narrator of this story, The Blood of Flowers could do 1000 knots in less than an afternoon. I love to weave, but I have never been interested in creating rugs. Knotting rugs is a tedious, but amazing process – one I now know more about, thanks to this incredible historical novel by Anita Amirrezvani.
It was the rug making that helped me choose this book for the BAM challenge for March. (See the blog for this at: http://bamchallenge.wordpress.com/.) We were to find a book for National Craft Month – using any meaning for the word craft.
However, it was the “yarn” that the author spun that kept me reading. Amirrezvani uses Iranian folk tales to seize the reader’s interest. The very first line caught me and held me – “First there wasn’t and then there was. Before God, no one was.” The narrative proceeds to tell us a folk tale that links directly with the heroine’s life.
Amirrezvani has created the story of a very unusual girl who is living in 17th century
I read to discover new worlds, to meet new people and to feel like I have lived in those worlds with the characters. This book taught me about a period of time I knew nothing about. I was drawn into the life of a character I could not have imagined on my own. I did not want to leave 17th century
Monday, March 24, 2008
Podcasts are something I have been using for awhile. I can't always listen to my favorite NPR shows when they come on our local station, so I have listened to Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and This American Life among others on my computer.
I just finished listening to the podcast that Nancy Pearl (super librarian) does for a Seattle radio station. I couldn't figure out how to download that RSS feed, so I downloaded the RSS feed for the New York Times podcast.
Podcasts seem to have become ubiquitous. If you search book reviews - podcasts on Google, there are lots of choices. I can't even imagine how many hits you get if you just search podcasts.
In my usual fashion, I did not pay attention to Carolyn's warning that with so much to explore, we should just start with one.
She was right - I just lost about two hours looking at a variety of sites. I spent much of my time on Etsy. People's defintions of handmade are a bit elastic.
Also, I found some clothing that I think Humbert would have liked seeing Lolita in. I decided not to think too long or too hard about why this might be a popular clothing line.
However, there are lots of beautiful things and I could easily spend a lot of time and money at Etsy.
So, now I have looked at Google Docs and I really can understand why people find these things so useful. I wish my mom knew how to use this - we could edit her thoughts about Israel on the web and then we could both use it.
I think I will try to create my trip presentation here so that I can have it with me wherever I go. I would like that ability rather than trying to remember to e-mail it to myself or putting in on a flash drive.
I am looking forward to the training we will be having with Google Docs later this year.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Did you know that if you go to Wikipedia, you can find "To Kill a Mockingbird in popular culture"? This will tell you what comics, movies and television shows have referenced Harper Lee's book. How many people need to know that Debra in Everybody loves Raymond wrote her college thesis on this book? Since I don't watch this show, I can't even imagine why this might be a plot element.
So what else are Wikis good for? I would think that some of the collaborative work we do on policies and procedures might be done on a Wiki. I did see that a library did their long range plan on a wiki and I would like to know more about that. I need to get to our 17th thing and figure out why we might use Google docs instead of Wiki. That is next so I will write about that after I do that work.
By the way, I found this to be quite useful:
I also liked their zombie animation.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Unfortunately, neither the library or my home network really has enough bandwidth to show Second Life to its best advantage. Sometime, I would like to get on the site and really play around. However, I am not sure about that flying part :>)
I did go to U-tube and check out several videos. Some of them were just plain weird and some of them told me how to make objects on Second Life. I don't plan to get that involved with SL. However, I liked this video. It was sort of like a vacation (as promised): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgtGcTHL2dI
I was glad to hear from Jaime that her professors were using Second Life. I do think it has some very practical as well as some very fun uses.
For me, if I am going to spend time on the web, I am looking for mindless activities like Bubble Shooter or Tetris. I work my brain hard enough at other times.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Looking at all those articles that Carolyn suggested, I feel like we are very far behind. Most of them were posted in 2005 or 2006. So I went looking for some other things. I went to Taming the Web; Library Crunch; I googled Library 2.0. Once again I was looking at many things from 2005 and 2006. Is this all old news? Should I retire and give it up? I decided not.
I read on one of the blogs (Library Crunch) some comments on "radical trust". And I was glad to realize that I am not the only one to think that libraries have been doing this for quite sometime. When I was 10 and went to the public library by myself and the library staff let me check out that I was totally responsible for- that was radical trust. How did they know that I would even manage to get those books down the hill to my house, let alone back to the library several weeks later? I hope that this is one part of Library 2.0 that I have under control. I hope I never stop trusting our patrons. I also hope that I never stop trusting our staff either. That will definitely be the time for me to retire. We can't run a library system without the assistance of everyone and I mean everyone.
The other thing I read was that Library 2.0 involves constant change and evaluation. I think I may have a bit of experience here too. I hope that the changes we have implemented at Pamunkey during my tenure have been mostly good. The evaluation process may need some work, but change has been an integral part of doing good business at Pamunkey.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
However, after Katrina, my husband, two colleagues and a group of students went to New Orleans the January after the hurricane to tear down houses. It changed Bill's life. It gave both of us lots of questions about why such things could even happen.
Heart Like Water by Joshua Clark has given me more food for thought. It also gave me an opportunity to see into New Orleans at its most trying time. Clark stayed in the French Quarter for the whole terrible mess. He saw things that I can't even imagine.
As Kirkus says this is a "difficult and joyless read". It probably wasn't the book for the month of hearts and love. But thanks to the Book of the month challenge, I found it and I am not sorry to read it. I just hope and pray we can avoid another tragedy like this in our national history.
I have just looked at the post on Technorati on our library's 20 Things page: (http://pamunkey20things.blogspot.com) for the second time. I think I have finally figured out what Technorati does. And I guess your average blogger wants the rest of the world to see their blog. So Technorati is helping a lot of people.
However, once again, I am not sure how I feel about the whole public/privacy thing. How much of my life do you really want to know?
Friday, February 15, 2008
I hope it is not too late.
Title: The Nazarene
Author: Sholem Asch
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
I read The Nazarene by Sholem Asch. It was the perfect book to read while on my trip. It was also a good read for books on time, since it was book with time travel of a sorts as the method for telling the story of Rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph, otherwise known as Jesus.
Asch was a Polish born novelist who wrote much of his work in Yiddish. However, in 1939 he chose to write the life of Jesus - this book - The Nazarene. Many of the places that I visited on my tour of Israel were in this book so I spent a lot of the trip saying - I just read about that.
What I can't figure out is why Asch wrote this book. According to Ellen Umansky, Asch started this project after visiting Palestine in 1909. "Since that time I have never thought of Judaism or Christianity separately," Asch told a reporter of the New York Herald Tribune. "For me it is one culture and one civilization, on which all our peace, our security and our freedom are dependent." However, in 1939 it was the height of Hitler's power. The Jewish people could not have wanted to read about the G-d of their oppressors. Why didn't Asch just stick with what he had made popular.
Umansky's article (http://www.nextbook.org/cultural/feature.html?id=117) is an excellent introduction to Asch and his Passion trilogy. And it does give some reasons why Asch may have chosen to write his trilogy.
I am not going to rush out to recommend this book to all and sundry. One of the early paragraphs went on for two whole pages. This is not the type of reading that an average 21st century reader is going to rush out and grab off the shelf.
However, if you want very different telling of Jesus' life - this is the book for you. I guarantee you this is not the story from Sunday School.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
So I figure I just haven't "gotten" del.icio.us. It probably would be easier to figure all this out if I wasn't trying to also get ready for my trip. According to my counter, I leave in two days. It is a bit off, but I will be in Israel on the 9th ready or not.
I think I better go get ready...
... one last housekeeping item. I am trying the Book A Month Challenge on this blog: http://bamchallenge.wordpress.com/ I am going to read The Nazarene by Scholem Asch. It fits the challenge and since my Kindle didn't come, I am trying to take the fattest book in my library.
Now I really am going to go pack.