26 May 2005

What?!? How could he have *NOT* guessed library card??

Apparently, Darth Vader and his minions spent a day at the library recently.

Thanks to Nat for the link.

The Force is Strong with me!

Even after 30 questions, Darth Vader couldn't guess that I was thinking about a library card. Ha! )Of course, atthe end, he asked what I had been thinking of, so he'd probably guess if I tried that again...)

Challenge Darth yourself.

Good to know...

USA Today looks at how closely 5 summer movies follow the books they're based on.

Quote o' the day

"You must not refuse to lend a book, even to an enemy, for the cause of learning will suffer." (Rabbi Yehuda of Regensburg, Germany 1200 C.E.)

Being Mrs. Alcott

I recently finished Being Mrs. Alcott by Nancy Geary, due for publication July 1st.

As an admirer of the Alcott family, Bronson in particular, I was drawn, initially, to the title. While -- alas! -- the book is not about the literary clan from Concord or Bronson's long-suffering wife, it was still a compelling read.

Grace Alcott is a 58-year-old woman who has always followed the path of least resistance. Married for many years, she begins to take stock of her life, taking note of her children, her finances, her health, and wondering how things turned out the way they did. It is a quiet book; the language is gentle and flowing. It is also extremely readable. I liked Grace a great deal and, even when I wondered about the choices she made, I understood why she made them and found myself rooting that everything would turn out and that she would be, ultimately, happy in her life.

I haven't read anything else by Nancy Geary, so I am unsure if this book is indicative of her usual style, but if it is, I may well be checking out some of her other books soon.

Makes me wanna cry...

"Sherre Sachar comes from a book-loving family. Her father, Louis, is an award-winning author, and the graduating senior thinks that settling down with a good book should be one of life's great joys. But as she prepares to leave high school and head to Cornell University in the fall, she is tired of reading.

"The extensive required reading in her high school classes — including Advanced Placement English Literature, where she flew from one classic to another — left her with no time to pick up books she thought would be fun..."

Read the rest.

This sucks.

Of course, in high school, I just neglected required reading -- unless it was something I *wanted* to read -- and just devoured other books every second of the day. Then again, my high school did not require near the amount of reading that The Boy (now attending the same school) has to do some years later...

Can you imagaine?

Wow! Can you imagine our President handing out books and encouraging the country to read and think? What book would he share? The Very Hungry Caterpillar?

"Derided by some at the time, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is playing an Oprah Winfrey-like role in Venezuela, turning the country into one giant book club - and stimulating a fresh appreciation of literary classics..."

"'To be really honest, I suppose some number of those people who lined up to get the book were illiterate, and the others had probably already read the book in high school, like myself,' says Mr. Zambrano, 'but that is part of the genius of this program. It's about being more educated, but it's also about everyone having the right to a library at home. Why should only rich, reading-types have libraries? We are all equal and worthy - that is what Don Quixote and Chávez are trying to tell us.'"

Read the rest.

Not enough hours...

Fascinating article at the Guardian Unlimited:

"Much of the British public goes to the source it trusts least - tabloid newspapers - for its most crucial everyday information on politics and society, according to a study.

"This is because the sources the public trusts most, notably public libraries, are closed when it most needs them. The study follows official figures showing that only a tiny number of libraries and other archives are open as long as shops."

Read the rest.

22 May 2005

Harper Lee @ the Library

From Yahoo: "Harper Lee, who has been dodging publicity for decades since she published her only book, "To Kill a Mockingbird," made a rare step into the limelight to be honored by the Los Angeles Public Library."

Read the rest.

20 May 2005

Well, who wouldn't be?

from a UK-based website:

Librarians baffled by urine

Librarians in the US have had to admit they are baffled by the case of the urine-stained library books.

Hundreds of books at two libraries, just 13 miles apart in Cleveland, have had to be thrown out.

Linda Yanko, manager of Geauga West Library, told the Plain Dealer: "I can't even believe we're discussing something like this. It's appalling and disgusting."

She said librarians had been finding new cases or urine-related vandalism about once a month with the recent case coming just this week.

The problems at Aurora Memorial Library began more than two years ago and damaged books have been found sporadically ever since.

Officials admit they have no idea who is responsible - or even if the incidents are related.


Tragedy in Turkmenistan!

President Saparmurat Niazov has banned public libraries in Turkmenistan! Eek!

His explanation? "No one goes to libraries and reads books anyway."

The president said libraries are unnecessary as most books that Turkmen need - many written by Niazov himself - should already be in homes, workplaces, and schools. "To read all these books it is not necessary to go to the library as all these books should be close at hand for everyone," Niazov said.

I don't even think I have words for this. Not be be overly dramatic, but I think I might die if I did not have a public library to frequent! I mean, I literally cannot fathom having a life devoid of books, magazines, audio-visual goodies, and all the other treasures found in most libraries.

Read more about his horrific decision here.

This seems dangerous to me...

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune today:

"Before long, patrons wanting to use Naperville Public Library System computers without a hassle will have to prove their identity with a fingerprint.

"The three-library system this week signed a $40,646 contract with a local company, U.S. Biometrics Corp., to install fingerprint scanners on 130 computers with Internet access or a time limit on usage...

"Because the use of the technology is so limited, American Library Association officials said the organization has not taken an official stand on it.

"Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the ALA's office of intellectual freedom, acknowledged that requiring a fingerprint scan might dissuade some people from using library computers...

"But Caldwell-Stone said libraries already collect all kinds of personal information from patrons and at some point must be trusted to protect it."

Read the entire article.

Happy Anniversary!

"Penguin, pioneer of the paperback novel, is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
Defined by generations of iconic covers, Penguin publications adorn bookshelves across the globe, prompting a rush of nostalgic affection.

"But what makes Penguin one of the world's most enduring publishers?"

As Penguin celebrates its 75th anniversary, BBC News has written a nice summary of the company's history. Read the rest.

19 May 2005

The Gift Bag Chronicles

Hello! to any of the faithful who may still check in despite my decided lack of posting. I have been super busy with moving, a new job, and other assorted busyness.

One lovely thing I just learned is that I will have access to shelves and shelves of advanced reading copies, books that we cannot add to our collection but are here to help librarians choose the books they wish to purchase. Once that's done, the rest of the staff is welcome to read them.

On the advice of Science Boy, I will try to write short reviews for the books I read. I have some doubts as to how often I will read any of these books, let alone take the time to write a review -- however short -- but let's see how it goes, shall we?

This afternoon, I finished Hilary de Vries forthcoming novel, The Gift Bag Chronicles. Alex Davidson works as the head of event planning for one of LA's top publicity firms. Her life is hectic; she is forever running around to please and appease her famous clients, whether that means taking calls at 5 a.m. while on vacation or helping to lure goats out of a kitchen with tobacco, Alex is at the top of her game. Her life is busy but, despite the lack of down-time, it seems to be working for her. She even has the perfect boyfriend, Charles, a co-partner in her firm. Sure, he's in New York, she's in LA, but it works that way. The novel follows Alex as she deals with an impossible to please client, family illness, and realizing that maybe what she has isn't exactly what she wants after all.

The Gift Bag Chronicles isn't Great Lit. However, it is an entertaining way to spend a few evenings. I'm not a big fan of Chick Lit (which I suspect this will qualify as), and I saw what was coming after the first few chapters... Still, Ms. De Vries wrote with with and empathy for her characters and held my interest easily. I may even go back and find her earlier novel. Maybe. In all my free time...

01 May 2005

a quick note

So, a lot's been going on and the blog has not been updated...

In brief, I got a new job. Starting May 9th, I'll be working for a much larger library than any other I have worked for previously. Woo-Hoo!

Of course, that made my last few weeks at the last job crazy, as I rushed to tie up loose ends, finish planning / preparing for Summer Reading Club...

Happily, I have a few days off before the new gig. However, I will also be moving for the job, so I will spend most of that week cleaning, packing, throwing stuff out, etc. I think I am gonna be getting rid of a lot of stuff. As I get ready to move, I have begun to seriously consider which things I actually need and the answer is -- way less than I have! I'm gonna see about selling some of it (especially the Alice in Wonderland collectibles) either though an on-line auction store or on Craig's List. The rest will probably either be thrown out, donated to the Salvation Army, or packed up for a future garage sale (although this is less likely than the first two options).

So, never fear, loyal readers! I shall return, just not for a week or so.