Showing posts with label Libraries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Libraries. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Library Haul

(Linking up with The Captive Reader's Library Loot event.)

I got a fantastic haul at the library!  This morning I decided I was going to the library and not leaving until I found at least a few books that I would actually read and enjoy.  After sulking through the fiction section and feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't find anything, I went to the nonfiction section on a whim, namely, the literature section.  And that was where I fell upon short stories and a bunch of other fascinating stuff.

I have always blown off short stories for some strange reason, but I have remedied that now.  Here's my list from this week:

1.) Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird, Compiled by Mary McDonagh Murphy

2.) The Best American Essays from 2011, edited by Edwidge Danticat

3.) The Oxford book of American Short Stories, edited by Joyce Carol Oates

4.) The Pen/O. Henry Prize Stories from 2012, edited by Laura Furman

5.) The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, compiled by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland-Just looked fascinating

6.) The Best American Humorous Short Stories, edited by Alexander Jessup

7.) 1491: New Revelations of the Americans Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann-Just a book that looked fascinating.

Whew!  So this month is officially short story month for me.  I'll be posting reviews of some favorite specific short stories, as well as the books that they come from throughout the month of June.  I'm really looking forward to it!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Library Loot 3/11/15

I haven't done a Library Loot post in ages!  This past weekend, however, I went to the library and picked up a substantial stack and now I'm ready to write about my haul.

About Library Loot:

"Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries."


The Plot that Thickened by P.G. Wodehouse-I already reviewed this here and really enjoyed it.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green-I feel I must explain.  This was part of a very long-winded bet with my brother.  I, making amazed noises that people would read The Fault in Our Stars for fun, said that I would never voluntarily read TFIOS because who wants to read a book being wracked by sobs the majority of the time.  My brother got a gleam in his eye and said that if I would read TFIOS, he would, too.  I stretched the bet a little and said that we would each read a John Green book (many of which are heartbreaking).  I haven't heard anything about his book choice, so I don't know how that's going.  I chose Will Grayson, Will Grayson because it's supposed to be actually funny.  John Green is a very skilled and funny writer, so I'm not going to have to brave bad writing, but the genre is not my favorite, so we'll see...


Cotillion by Georgette Heyer- Just a little Regency romance.  Georgette Heyer wrote surprisingly good, historically accurate works of fiction in the 1920s about the 1700s.

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens-This is partly inspired by my Little Women read along (the March sisters are big fans of Pickwick) and partly because I've heard it is a fantastic book.

The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas-Some nice fiction that looked good...about a group of ladies in Kansas who brave the Depression together.

The Chili Queen by Sandra Dallas-More good-looking fiction.

The Train to Estelline by Jane Roberts Wood-A novel about a young woman traveling to Arkansas in the early 1900s to teach.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Library Loot- 9/12/14

I'm participating in Library Loot from The Captive Reader this week!
"Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries."

I haven't done a Library Loot post in a long time, but, unlike my recent library trips, I actually got a good pile of loot.  Yippee!

1. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home- This cookbook is one that I have heard rave reviews of and I think I'm going to love it.

2.  Adventures in Yarn Farming- Just a pretty book about raising sheep for wool.  Since we do this, this book holds a special interest.

3.  Longbourn by Jo Baker- A book about life downstairs of Longbourn, the fictional house of Jane Austen's Bennet family.

4.  Crossing on the Paris by Dana Gynther- The story of three women on board a ship in 1921.

5.  The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin- A woman's yearlong journey of returning home to create a warm, happy life with her family.

6.  The Language of God by Francis S. Collins- I think this book is going to be fascinating.  It's written by a scientist who's head of the Human Genome project.  He's also a serious Christian.  It's his defense of why Christianity and science need to have a harmonious relationship, and how they can go about that.

7. Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid- I have this on interlibrary loan right now, so I'm waiting for it to come to my library.  I'm including this, though, because it's practically on my library loot pile!  This book is part of a new project called The Austen Project.



What's on your library loot pile?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Shift from Amazon Affiliates

So remember how about a month ago I used to always have a link to amazon affiliates whenever I posted a book review?  Well, then you might have noticed that the links just disappeared.  I thought I would let you all know why I ended up deciding against it.
Breadsticks I made for supper one night this week.  Yes, they're completely unrelated.
They were delicious, though.  I wish I could pass you one through the computer screen.

1.  I felt bad about posting the new books for a variety of reasons- new books can be ridiculously pricey, and environmental, financial, and human resources are needed make a new book.  There are lots of nice books that are already out there.  It felt silly to be advocating buying new books when so many used books are looking for loving homes.  :)  I know, that sounded like I was talking about puppies from a shelter.  It also seems like a bad idea to buy new books simply for financial reasons.  I don't know who's reading this blog and I didn't like encouraging a financially struggling reader to spend exorbitant prices on a new book.  Of course there are exceptions to this rule-textbooks and books that have just been released, among other things.

2.  I just recently learned that Amazon is not the best of companies, ethically speaking.  I don't know why I was surprised.  They really are just a big-box store in online format.  And it's no new news that big box companies are almost never ethically sound.  I would rather support a smaller business, be it online or a local bookshop.  If that's what I believe, then it's talking out of both sides of my mouth to recommend that you buy something on Amazon that I've linked and then turn around and say that I prefer local businesses.  Of course, like in reason # 1, there are cases where Amazon really is the best, nay, the only, place to get something.  Then, I say go ahead.  But I don't think that it's a good default.

So anyway, that's why you aren't seeing those handy-dandy links from me anymore.  I do wish that places like Powell's and other little books companies like this and this would implement a book-linking service for bloggers.  I would gladly use it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Post about Young Adult Fiction

This is a post that has been in the works for months, I now realize.  Over these few blogging months, I've occasionally made reference to the fact that I don't exactly love young adult fiction.  I finally decied that it would be a good idea to write a whole post devoted to my thoughts on young adult writing.

So first of all, what is Young Adult writing?  The YA label gets thrown around a lot.  There's a YA section in the library, and YA writers are a huge category, "Young-adult fiction or young adult literature (often termed as "YA"),[1] is fiction written, published, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, although recent studies show that 45% of young-adult fiction is purchased by readers under 18 years of age. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen," says Wikipedia.  I found this to be very useful information.  

So there you have the basic explanation.  Here are some of my observations about Young Adult stuff.  First of all, it's a fairly recent invention.  It's been argued that books like Little Women and Tom Sawyer were seen as the YA fiction of their time.  However, I disagree.  Little Women and Tom Sawyer are books for all ages, books that can span all kinds of time and space and have the ability to charm a 7 year old or a 40 year old.  And here's the other thing: They were written about a certain age, they weren't written for a certain viewpoint and age.  In the 80s, books written specifically for an age span of about 6 years started to crop up.  Today you can't spit without hitting a young adult book.

My second problem with the whole young adult fiction category is that a lot of it is really poorly written.  There seem to be two genres:  the entirely too mature romance fiction with ridiculously improbable situations that set girls, particularly, ridiculous expectations.  Then there's the vampire, slashing, killing, also with a side of romance, equally improbable.  Expecting teens to read just these two genres for 6 whole years is quite strange, if you think about it.  Would we ever say, "Ok, the 40-47 year olds should read mysteries.  All novels for 40-47 year olds are going to be mysteries."  Of course not!  There would be a mass rebellion!  

Third, nobody likes to be talked down to.  In the few rare times that I have picked up a young adult book, there is this condescending tone of, "See?  I can write just like you silly little youngsters talk."  Okay, so that's an extreme exaggeration, but there is a definite tone that you get from reading these books that indicates that the author finds his/her audience slightly below him/her.  

And finally, I can see the value of teenagers moving up to adult fiction at some point.  When I was about 13, I remember going to my mom and asking if I could browse in the adult section in the library.  I was thoroughly bored with the children's section and that just felt like the next step.  There was awhile there where she would glance over the books before I checked out.  I discovered a lot of wonderful authors that I still enjoy today.  I think it's a shame to get stuck in this weird middle ground and miss out on some authors that can be enjoyed by younger ages.  

Now this isn't to say that I don't approve of any middle-grade writing.  There has to be something between the adult section and the very earliest of chapter books for early elementary.  That's where good books like Little Women and Tom Sawyer come in-books that are meaningful, well-written, and fun.  

There are also good Young Adult books.  The whole genre is not trash and I don't want to be too quick to throw away the whole thing.  I have picked up Young Adult things on occasion that are well written and meaningful and fun to read and are written in an interesting, non-condescending tone.  I just recently reviewed Code Name Verity, a new-ish young adult book that was very good, although dark. 

I'd love to hear what all of you think about this (and feel free to disagree with me) in the comments.  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Library Loot- 7/19/2014

From the Captive Reader, "Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library."

I finally have a Library Loot post together!  After missing one and then writing a post for one and forgetting about it, here is my post.  I haven't been doing a ton of library reading, just because of a busy summer, but I still manage to have a nice little pile at all times.  So here's my list:


Code Name Verity-Yes, this is on my list again.  But it's first in line, once I finish just one more book.

The Elusive Pimpernel- You know the book The Scarlet Pimpernel that everybody reads?  I read it a couple years back and really enjoyed it.  I just recently discovered that there is a whole series of books about the Scarlet Pimpernel.  I was pleased that my library has some of the books!

Evelina by Fanny Burney- This is one of those books that has floated in and out of my request list and in and out of the house, but I have a firm grip on it this time and it's not leaving until I finish it!

Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson- Shirley Jackson, the well known dark-bordering-on-horror short story writer, also wrote this very funny memoir about raising her children.  The reviews on Good Reads all said that this book was fantastic.  I am really looking forward to reading this!

Wretched Writing by Ross Petras and Kathryn Petras- Just a funny book, filled with examples of horrible writing.  Is started it last night and sat on the couch, laughing my head off.

So that's my smallish Library Loot for the week!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Library Loot 7/3/14

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

This post is brought to straight from the library.  After a long day of flying around cleaning and doing various daily work, it was pleasant to be in the air conditioned library, book browsing.  Sure, there's the local lake and the pond and various other ways of cooling off, but there's nothing quite like going to a nice library on a hot summer day.  So here's what I got:

1.  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury-A dystopian novel before dystopian novels were a thing.  In the most recent Top Ten Tuesday post by The Broke and Bookish, Fahrenheit 451 was mentioned as a favorite classic.  In horror, I realized that I have never read this book.  Well, I'm about to remedy that.

2.  Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein- A young adult thriller.  You heard me right.  Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I usually (I said usually) sneer at young adult fiction and I almost never read thrillers.  I heard this very highly praised somewhere-can't remember where-and decided to read it.  I have it in both audiobook and regular hardback because my library got mixed up and held the audiobook and then I discovered that they had the hardback.

3.  The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson-A mystery about two brothers living in Sherlock Holmes's house.  Sounds quite exciting.

4.  She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel-The sequel to A Girl Named Zippy, which I mentioned yesterday.  I am beyond thrilled that this book came so quickly through interlibrary loan.  I am prepared to stay glued to this book, so I'm going to find a big chunk of time some weekend to read this cover to cover.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Library Loot 6/5- Or, The Week of Memoirs

I'm here with this week's library loot.  For those of you who don't know, Library Loot is a blogger's collections of reads for the week that she/he has gotten from the library.  Library Loot is hosted by the wonderful blog, The Captive Reader.

Most of the books in my library loot pile are not yet in my library loot pile.  This appears to be the week of the memoirs.  I have a total of three!  As a rather memoir-averse person, this is strange.  But they all look so good.  Anyway, here are the books that are on my to-read-in-the-very-near-future list.  So, here goes:

1.  Her Royal Spyness- I just started this book and I'm really liking it!  It's the story of a young minor royal in the 30s who becomes a spy.  It's the first in a series.


2.  Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk- Looks funny.

3. A Girl Named Zippy- A memoir about a girl in Mooreland, Indiana

4.  A Nurse in Time- A memoir about a nurse in 1930s England.

5. Yes Sister, No Sister: My Life as a Trainee Nurse in 1950s Yorkshire- Yet another nursing memoir

So that's the rundown of what's on my library loot pile!  What are you reading?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Library Loot 5/26

Whew!  Well, I've finally got my Library Loot post together for the week.  I've got a good selection of books this week, mostly from the library.  The other new thing that I've got this week is several nonfiction things!  I just happened to find a bunch of great nonfiction books in the archives of this blog that I thought I must read.  So here goes:

1. What the World Eats by Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel- This book came out quite awhile ago and I heard fantastic things about it, then promptly forgot it.  So now, I'm going to finally get around to reading this.

2. Unpunished- This dagblamed book is getting on my nerves.  It's been in my library loot pile for three weeks and I still can't get around to reading it.  This will be the week that I finally read it!

3. The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray- Recommended by the blog mentioned above.  I just thought this looked mildly interesting.  We'll see how it is.

4. Evelina by Fanny Burney- An interesting-looking book that I look forward to reading.  It's a funny 18th century novel.

5. Dear Enemy by Jean Webster- By the author who wrote the slightly more famous Daddy Long-Legs (which I need to read), this is the story of a woman who takes the role of superintendent of an orphanage.

6. The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson- I just recently finished the Sherlock TV show and loved it and then read the original Sherlock Holmes books.  I'm excited to see how this book turns out.

I feel like I got a good haul this week.  I'm excited to see how the books are!  And yet again, my interlibrary loan limit was exceeded.  Sigh.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mary Stewart Series: Thornyhold

So do you remember this post where I wrote about those beautiful editions of the Mary Stewart books? Well I got a bunch of them!  I am so pleased and excited to have all this lovely reading material.  So unfortunately, my library books have be pushed most definitely to the back burner.  I started with Thornyhold because I remembered loving it.

It's one of Stewart's most fantasy-filled romance.  It is set in the 40s and is the story of young Gilly, who inherits an old house named Thornyhold from her cousin.  This cousin was labeled a witch by the surrounding village and Gilly is fast discovering that she may have some of the same talents.  She also has to deal with the jealous neighbor and her dimwitted son who are out to get her.  However, not everybody dislikes her.  She befriends a little boy who is amazed at her abilities to cure animals and falls in love with the boy's writer father.  Along with a very good plot, there are wonderful cozy descriptions of setting up housekeeping in a little country house.

I will probably not be reading many of my library books until I finish these Mary Stewart books, so this will be a blogging series.  I'd love to have any of you read these along with me!  And the pretty editions are by no means requisite.  Most libraries, I think, have a good selection of Mary Stewart's writing.  I highly recommend all of them.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Letter to My Library

Dearest Library,

I really do adore you.  You are filled with fantastic, interesting books on pretty much any subject under the sun.  Many of those books are delightfully musty and smell of interesting places and times.  However, like most things, you have your faults.  I am writing to address the several small irksome things that bother readers everywhere.
A random lamb picture.  Meet Louisa May Alcott.

1.  Puhlease do not ever, under any circumstance, put the barcode right over the synopsis.  I'm not going to check out a book if I have no idea what it is about.  There have been many books that look very interesting, but are all covered up by stickers and barcodes, so that I can't see the cover and I can't see the plot and I can see about half of the author's name.

2.   I am begging you: don't get rid of the old, archaic books.  They are usually some of the most charming and interesting books.  I understand that they might not be as huge a crowd pleaser as vampire fiction.  However, the old dears have lived a long life and deserve a respectable old age on a nice library shelf, not pitched in the library sale bin.  If you keep them, I promise I will check them all out and read them cover to cover.

3.  Comfy armchairs- how would you feel about putting some really comfy armchairs in a cozy little corner?  I doubt that a squishy old armchair is any more expensive than the stiff chairs you have sitting rather awkwardly around.  That said, this is lower on the list than keeping the old books and the barcodes covering up important parts.  I understand that you have limited money, thanks to cuts in state funding, which is most definitely not your fault.

4.  I wish that I could have more book requests from inter-library loan.  Honestly, after 1/2 an hour with my book blogs, I have far more than 5 book requests.  I understand that if everybody got 100 requests, there would be no books left on the shelves.  But 10 requests?  Please?

And those, dear Library, are my simple requests.  However, I want you to know that if you don't fulfill my requests, I will still come faithfully every week.  I am so pleased with the great service that you do to my community.  One of the best services in the world is access to free books, wherever and whoever you are.

Your's Truly,
Clara