Sunday, July 26, 2009

A post.

A band.
Do you know who it is easy to love? A little indie band called the wrens, that's who. They played a very packed Schubas. There was one awkward moment (probably because I was there, as I make things awkward with my very presence) when the mike was turned out to the audience during the last song of the encore "She Sends Kisses" and we collectively froze, then forgot the words to chorus. That didn't ruin the magic of seeing a band that doesn't often tour, and when they do, they put all of themselves into the shows. I've been to a lot of concerts in my life and the majority of them have just been like listening to the album but really loud with the musicians in the room, drunkenly not doing much to entice me to care about watching what they do onstage. This concert of middling aged indieguys from the East Coast was the exact opposite of that experience. Good times were had by all, because this band understand showmanship, and how to vary up sound, texture, distance and style to help make good music.

A challenge.
Abby and Liz have made me aware of the Color Online:Color Me Brown Book Challenge. I will be answering the call of the challenge, will you?

A discussion.
As part of the Year of Dangeresque Reads I joined a Literary Genre Study. Last week I went to the second of the Adult Reading Round Table literary discussions. This one was of Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. I went in thinking I was going to spend the majority of any time I spoke defending my position that the book was trite and could have been better. Instead I found myself drawn into a lively discussion about the fact that had it been a genre book it would have been panned by everyone, but because he was a credible literary author he must have made the decisions he did with the book very intentionally, perhaps to point out that very fact? It is hard to say what McEwan's motivations truly were, and that is when the conversation turned to leading book discussions generally. Some of the Librarians present like to introduce information about the author and facts surrounding the novels, some only like to discuss the book without outside information at all, some will bring up the topical info if the discussion itself isn't going well, it seemed like every single person at the discussion had an entirely different style of book club. Which, was really awesome when you think about it. I've had a couple of not-well attended book clubs over the summer and all of this information is serving to make how I lead discussions in the future much better. Of course, taking the info about book clubs geared towards adults and seniors and applying it to Teens is going to take some work.

A plan.
I'm forming a plan to do a giveaway this week of the last ARC I reviewed, Laura Ruby's Bad Apple. I haven't exactly decided how this is going to work out so please bear with me until I come up with a suitable book-themed contest.

A convention.
I just found out I'm going to Bouchercon! I'm trying to figure out a way to get my mom in just for one day to meet Michael Connelly who is one of her FavieFaves of all time. I'm totally excited about a weekend of whodunits, even though after ALA last week I swore off conventions for a while....oops.

A review.
Fathom Fathom by Cherie Priest

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A very long time ago on a Livejournal Community called Gothic Babes I saw a post by a writer calling herself WickedWish. She had written and published a book called Four and Twenty Blackbirds. I thought she was interesting and so I paid attention to her journal for a while, because even though her book wasn't a national bestseller and she still worked a dayjob I thought her writing style was interesting enough that she was going to publish something worth national attention. I was, of course, quite right and she's become quite the popular fantasy author. Good on Cherie. Now that I've regaled you with my tale of discovering her so long before you did, let me tell you about this book. It is dark and quick and epic and slippery. The point of view switches pick you up and drop you down into the important parts, there is not a lot of fat in this book. There is also no mercy. Characters you like will die; characters you hate will live.
I took away one star because I felt like there was more to this story, that there were some blank pages waiting to be filled in. But there were pirates, and sea monsters, and stone girls and gods and monsters, and murder and mayhem and what more could you as for really? Not much, if you ask me.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, July 17, 2009

A sorta fairy tale: Laura Ruby's Bad Apple

Bad Apple Bad Apple by Laura Ruby

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I believe you can tell a lot about us by the stories we tell about ourselves. Tola's (whose name is from a shortened Italian Cinderella) stories are told through her art. The stories about her are told through the internet and vicious rumors spreading like wildfire through the school. No one believes her, and she's established early on as an unreliable narrator. It doesn't help that the rumors are getting her and her favorite teacher in a lot of trouble. There are so many delicate elements to this story: Tola's family, her friends--past and present, prince charming, her art, her obsession with the Bros. Grimm and her own wicked stepmother, and the teacher in question. Though I must admit that, of course, my favorite character is the blip of the School Media Specialist, Ms. Esme (who fights against censorship and gives Tola subversive materials.) The characters are so strong, the story fluid and for the most part, very well paced. The humor fits well and never seems forced. Oh, and the hero is an aspiring pastry chef, and since my own personal prince charming is currently in pastry school, I can totally appreciate a prince charming who woes through baked goods.

I saw Laura Ruby talk on a panel about Sex in YA Lit at ALA last Monday. I didn't remember her as the author of the ARC I'd just started, but when I put the two things together it totally made sense. She tackles tough topics in such an amazing and inventive way. Well played, Laura Ruby.

According to the Advanced Reading Copy I have this book is due out in October of 2009.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009


The High Strung at Ela Area Public Library
Later I will tell you all about how it is to host the Rock and Roll Library Tour (Yeay! the High Strung!) one day and then go to ALA the next. After that spend the next morning at ALA again (oh, and meet your favorite author ever FTW!)! Then go to work that afternoon, work the desk for 2 hours, and then have a wildly wacky Teen Council meeting that lasts 1/2 hour longer than planned. Oh, and sometimes that book club with only two sign-ups you dread can turn out to be a reaffirmation of why you became a Teen Librarian in the first place.


Right now I just want to point out that if you look at the very bottom of the page here and here you might notice a familiar name. This is the ultimate ReTweet, thanks LJ!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


After reading all of Deathnote I tried to start on Bleach. But to tell you the truth, I think I need a break from deathgods. So, Ouran Host Club instead?

And if you understood what I just said than you probably should stop by The Library's Anime Club. Or form (or ask about forming) your own Anime Club at your Library.

When you think about it, Otaku and Libraries were really kind of made for each other.* I don't know about your Library but mine carries a ton of good manga and anime. We have a gazillion different "how to draw and/or write" manga books. We have a wonderful membership with Operation Anime. We have big screens to show the movies and we have awesome teens who want to watch. Everybody wins!

*I am so very well aware of the fact that this isn't breaking news. But to make up for all of that....KITTENS!

Well, a kitten at any rate.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

xxxHolic and other kinds of Holics

There is a lot of Librarianing going on right now. At the end of June I successfully planned and pulled off a Twilight Prom with 3 different kinds of trivia quizzes (regular book trivia, who said it, and guess whose car?), a ton of prizes, fanart and fanfiction, and a costume contest. It was an intense program attended by upwards of 50 kids, many of whom were in their prom finest. Had it not been for the desk staff and the teen volunteers who helped me with it, there would not have been a Prom. And I didn't realize how much time and effort I'd put into until I got to back work after an extended recovery weekend and realized all the end/beginning of the month things I have to do hadn't magically been done while I was away. And I haven't even mentioned our awesome Summer Reading Program yet. It is awesome. That's actually all you need to know about SRPs in general. Anyway, now that I'm getting back into the groove post-prom, I've been ordering books. And, I recently put a bunch of new books out on our brand new display wall in the Teen Zone at my Library.(Did I mention the beginning of June we completed a month-long renovation project? Our Popular Materials department is even MORE WONDERFUL now.)

Even better, today the head of our Children's department handed me the motherlode of YA ARCs (sent to her by accident of being added to a list at one time and never removed) to read and review! So, with summer on the downhill slide I'm anticipating a bit more time to read and review. I think that my new philosophy on reviewing is to not review what everyone already knows and loves. I think I'd like to have a long bout of discovering the undiscovered. So, if you read this and you'd like me to discover you, feel free to contact me. But even if not I've got plenty to keep me busy reviewing for a while. And, here's the other thing I've decided about my reviews: I'm turning into Kirkus with their all-negative all-the-time approach to reviews. I don't hate everything I read, but for some reason it is mostly the stuff I don't like that motivates me to review it.

That changes right now when I tell you about the series xxxHolic by Clamp. I haven't watched the TV series, and I know next to nothing about Tsubasa, but I love love love love love love love love xxxHolic. I'm starting book 11 tonight. The series follows Watanuki, a college student who can see and interact with spirits, as he begins to work for a woman named YĆ«ko Ichihara who can help him...for a price. The series expertly weaves serious issues and "lessons" about respecting oneself, friendship, and upholding values into wacky highjinks and silly crushes. Like all manga, the fact that it is a comic doesn't make it suitable for all ages, but for those who are mature enough to get it, it will make them think and laugh at the same time.

My Holic is reading, but I seem to have fallen off the wagon and need to get back on. My own Summer Reading Log only has one book and several manga on it! Must.Find.Time.