Friday, November 25, 2005

You Asked For It!

Kindred spirits are alive and well in the young adult novel Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by David Lubar. This heartwarming and humorous read chronicles a year in the life of a high school freshman, Scott, who spends his year trying to gain the attention of a girl, avoiding the lunch money bandit, writing eloquent sports articles for the school paper (each in a different literary style), and creating a journal for his soon-to-be born baby brother. This book made me laugh out loud and quicky carved a special place into my heart and onto my bookshelf.

Read it!

Another recent favorite: Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Harry's Done

I finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night. What do I think? Thanks for asking! To me, it is like your birthday when you are planning to go to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner that night. You don't want to eat too much during the day, but you do need something to hold you over. This book is like the fruit filled yogurt that you eat midafternoon - delicious, fortifying, and leaves you plenty to anticipate for the fancy meal ahead.

There were lots of good quotes in this one, and here is one of my favorites:

'You said to us once before,' said Hermione quietly, 'that there was time to turn back if we wanted to. We've had time, haven't we?'

We cannot read that quote without pairing it with one from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone:

But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them. (p. 179).

Who wants some discussion questions?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Harry's Here

Ok, ok, so I finally got my British edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. But, I can't start until my homework is done! I will have to read it soon, however, for an upcoming book discussion.

If I didn't have to read it soon, I was thinking of reading a page a day, and then blogging about every page! What do you think? I would stretch out the fun until approximately April of 2007!!!

Here's a picture of what my copy looks like (thanks!). It's cute. I'll read fast, I promise!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Gospel According to Larry

So, while I have read A LOT of books recently, I have to post about this one ASAP. The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian is a textured, thought provoking read about a seventeen year-old who anonymously tries to change the world with sermons on a website and win the girl he loves, but ends up being the embodiment of everything he stands against.

Read it. It'll change your life for as long as you let it.

Then check out the real life website

It's inspired me to create a "Wired Reads" list. Post any suggestions you have!

We're Waiting Harry....

Check out this funny article from McSweeney's that might give you some insight to what will happen in the new book! (Clipped from The Big A Little A Blog).

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Reading Quote of the Day

"Rosenberg's First Law of Reading: Never apologize for your reading tastes" from Readers' Advisory Service in the Public Library by Joyce G. Saricks.

Here is a quick run-down of what I have read recently, both recreational and school required readings. I'll let you guess which is which! :-)

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.
Fascinating historical facts about Chicago and the World's Fair (1893) combined with riveting narrative about a serial killer in Chicago at the same time.

Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs.
Meet Tempe Brennan, a forensic anthropogist who leaves the lab to solve crimes in this suspenseful mystery series (like Patricia Cornwell).

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
No, I haven't read this before! While meant to be set in the future it seems to be telling a story that accurately describes the world today...

Desire by Amanda Quick.
Lady Clare can no longer maintain control of the Isle of Desire and is forced to marry the King's illegitimate son, who at first seems to be quite of the opposite of her desire. I give this regency romance four hot chili peppers out of five.

Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz.
Kelson is only fourteen when his father, the King, dies and he is next in line for the throne and also his magical powers that can be brought forth by various rituals...if the evil sorceress doesn't kill him first!

Black Rose by Nora Roberts.
The second title of the In the Garden trilogy explores the growing relationship between no-nonsense Rosalind and the hunky genealogical researcher Mitch (who is helping the family discover the origin of their resident ghost. (This one gets three hot chili peppers!)

Some may scoff at romance novels, but hopefully most people can just accept that people have different reading tastes. As I hope you can see from this blog, I like to read things from all over the library. Sometimes, however, a romance novel provides just the right escape from the everyday. This summer is a good example, as I am swamped with homework but I still reserve a few minutes each day for my "brain candy" read.

Go find yours and be proud!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Value of Millions

During the last couple of weeks, I listened to the audiobook version of the book Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. The story of two preteen brothers (saint-loving Damian and future investment banker Anthony) is both heartwarming and funny as we follow their quest to spend over 200,000 British pounds before England converts to the Euro. Damian thinks the money was sent to them from God so they could perform good deeds, a fact which is supported by the various saintly visions he has. Anthony knows better and thinks the money should be used to expand their investment portfolio by buying a house. As the days until conversion near, Anthony learns that the money came from a robbery attempt and Damian realizes that the money is creating more problems than it solves.

Tonight I saw the movie based on the book and I highly recommended it. The screenplay was written by the author, so the story's voice and integrity remained intact. The book is told in first person, so I was impressed with how well the movie revealed the character of Damian. Both boys were adorable and Damian's effort to do the right thing and deal with this mother's death were very touching. The father was shown as strong, hardworking, loving, and vulnerable, which I found honest and compelling. His burgeoning relationship with another women adds another twist to this already dynamic slice of real family life. The cinematic effects and diverse soundtrack complete this well-done adaptation of an excellent book.

Don't trust me? Check out Roger Ebert's review. He says, "This is one of the best films of the year."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Write On

I recently bought the book called A Writer's Notebook by Caroline Sharp in hopes that it would inspire and encourage me to write the great American novel. Well, sadly, that has not happened yet, but I did just now pick it up and make some fantastical plans to do the exercises over my lunch hour at work.

But I'm not the only one who needs encouragement! So, I've decided to post Writing Prompts every now and then for any one interested in listening to their own writing whispers. Type in a response here or keep them in your writer's journal...whatever it takes to get you on the road to writing. This prompt is from The Writer's Block by Jason Rekulak.

Imagine what life would have been like if you had the occupation you'd wanted as a child.

Do You Know Your PATRIOT Act?

Controversy is easy to find in the world today, but harder to clearly define as right or wrong. One such issue concerns the balance of our rights as free citizens with the necessity to protect people and to investigate those whose mission might be to hurt others. What do you know about the PATRIOT Act? Check out the sites below for a quick refresher or overview. It's important because your rights are involved. These are the same rights that men and women are fighting for right now.

American Library Association's PATRIOT Act Page
Preserving Life and Liberty U.S. Government website's Patriot Act Page

Article about the PATRIOT Act and one library's experience (from American Libraries online)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Fingerprinting at the Library?

The Naperville Public Library has contracted with U. S. Biometrics to provide a fingerprint recognition system to allow patrons access to the Internet computers. Currently, the system for internet access asks for the patrons' library card and pin numbers. However, an investigation following an incident involving the viewing of pornography by a patron discovered that people would often use another patron's login information. For example, a child whose parents have selected filtered Internet access for him might use the unfiltered access provided with the login information of his friend.

This technology brings about many questions regarding privacy, confidentiality and freedom of information. What would you think about this if you were a staff member or a patron of this library? One of my questions is this: how long does the computer retain information about sites visited by a specific patron? This would be the same question, regardless of the mechanism for identification. U. S. Biometrics states in the article below that the fingerprint scans can not be used to recreate an actual fingerprint and then searched in a law enforcement database.

This should be interesting to follow in the future.

Here are some articles for to check out for more information. Even though this news was picked up by the Associated Press, no information was available on the Naperville Library webpage as of this posting.

American Libraries online.
The Chicago Tribune.
The Washington Post.
U. S. Biometrics

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Breaking Point

Someone should write a book called The Secret Lives of Books and maybe that would explain why books end up in every room of my house. While herding some of them up today, I was compelled to research the next book in Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series. Rejoice fellow Team 16 fans! Breaking Point (Max and Gina's story) will be released on July 12. You can even order a signed copy!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Waiting for Harry...

It's only 56 days to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince! Although my reading list is jam packed with books to read for summer classes, if you are looking for something to fill the long days and nights until HP returns check out this NPR article with suggestions from Nancy Pearl (Book Lust and librarian action figure fame). This link was found via The Playful Antiguarian blog.

Bandwagon Hopper

While I may not be a diehard Star Wars fan, I have to appreciate the parodies flying around my cyber-galaxy. Here's one for organic food fans starring Cuke Skywalker, Chewbroccoli, Tofu D2, Lord Tader, Ham Solo and others: Store Wars (first seen on the Shifted Librarian blog). Stacy sent me this link to the Star Asciimation Wars. While I can applaud someone listening to their own Star Wars whispers, I have to wonder who has this kind of time? Really? (This is coming from the same person who will most likely spend the rest of the night NOT doing homework, housework, or estate legal work!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


What generation am I? Does anybody know? X? Y? Z? The tick-tock of my writer's clock is a little bit louder each day. The voices in my head are constantly whispering their stories to me in the hope that I will actually take the time to write them down and give them a louder voice. "Soon, soon," I whisper back.

Apparently, I am not the only writer that suffers from Whispering Voice Syndrome as I recently found this post on the PLA blog about how most authors are published around the age of 50. Is this encouraging or does this just enable my procrastination?

Poor Melanie, poor Savannah, poor Jake, poor Brian...will their stories ever be told?

I am the only one that hears them, right?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sweet Home Chicago

This post is for all of you who love information organization and access or who also grew up with a police scanner in your living room. What? I'm the only one? Oh, well - you still have to check out, a database of reported crime in Chicago complete with the capibility to browse by time, location, type of crime and more! This is a mystery writer's goldmine! (Found while reading the Library Stuff blog).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Are You Under Harry's Spell?

Here is an article from The Guardian that describes the crossover reading phenomenon that is Harry Potter. It seems that a record breaking number will purchase the "adult edition" of the book (different covers, not different content - eek!). Here is a link to the adult cover. I think I will stay with the British version I have on order with the children's cover. I've heard it said that people prefer the adult version so they are less conspicuous while commuting and traveling with their copies. Poor muggles.

While visiting various elementary school classrooms lately, I feel like the excitement for the book is more subdued compared to previous release summers. It seems like more kids are excited for the Goblet of Fire movie due out in November (here's a trailer link thanks to AM and her brother). Of course, with the story of Harry and friends becoming more mature, maybe this isn't such a bad thing.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Libraries and Blogging

So, public libraries are getting onto this blogging bandwagon. Here is an example of one library and how they use a blog (from PLA's blog, cited on the Library Stuff blog:

Another interesting tidbit also from the Library Stuff blog is that patrons using the Hennepin County catalog can generate RSS feeds from searches. In other words, they can be notified when new books are available from certain authors or subjects. How cool is that?

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: If the Pants Fit...

Okay, so I was finally convinced to try out this Traveling Pants phenomenon and would you believe that I actually liked the series (by Ann Brashares)? I want a pair of these pants, but I have a feeling that Eddie Bauer doesn't carry them. Really though, I enjoyed this series and I am looking forward to watching the upcoming movie based on the first book. The four girls that comprise the sisterhood are unique, but I found something about each of them that I could identify with. The topics covered are both adolescent and mature, but I appreciated the way certain situations were handled (no spoilers here!). Try this series on for size; I'm certain it will be a good fit!

Plus, if you want to find out which member of the sisterhood is your "soulmate", try this website:

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Entry Level Librarians Beware

Graduate school is hard enough, but what happens when you graduate and you cannot get a job? Let's hope none of the current graduates I know are dealing with the problems depicted in this article from Library Journal about the lack of positions for entry level librarians. Also discussed is the fact that some positions that do not require experience rarely go to new librarians.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Long Time, No Blog!

I’ll try to keep this brief, but here is a rundown of the BEST books I have read since my last blog. All of these titles are must reads! For a funny look at the process of writing, take a look at this site by one of authors listed below (click on the FAQ)!

Recent Favorites
Pennington, Bill. The Heisman: Great American Stories of the Men Who Won.
My Dad received this book while he was in the hospital (from my aunt) and I read over half of it aloud to him. It was a wonderful experience; I only wish we could have finished the book (or at least gotten to the Huskers!). The author highlights a variety of Heisman winners and puts each of them into framework of their respective social and policital eras.

Brashares, Ann. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. (audio)
Colgran, Jenny. The Boy I Loved Before or Do You Remember the First Time?
Cottrell Boyce, Frank. Millions. (audio)

From YA Lit:

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics.
Spiegelman, Art. Maus I.

From YA Lit Book Discussion Group Project:
Creech, Sharon. Walk Two Moons.
Konigsburg, E. L. The View from Saturday.
Lawrence, Iain. B for Buster.
Ryan, Pam Muñoz. Esperanza Rising.
Tolan, Sephanie. Surviving the Applewhites.
Turner, Megan Whalen. The Thief.

Fun New Picture Books:
Asher, Sandy. Too Many Frogs!
Markes, Julie. Shhhhh! Everybody's Sleeping!
Slater, David Michael. Jacques and Spock.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Can't blog now - Ark Angel by Anthony Horowitz just arrived today from the UK!!! I'm traveling to Denver tomorrow...I can pack in the morning! Homework? Who cares!!! Escapism at its best just when a person needs it the most...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

WIRT: How to be Good

How to be Good by Nick Hornby
There comes a time in our lives when we look around and think, "How in the world did I get here?" or "Is this where or who I want to be?" Katie (a doctor, mom, and wife in her late thirties) is experiencing just such a crossroads in her life and Hornby takes us along for the ride. The author's humor and sly observations on life create a thought provoking read that stays with you long after you put it back on the nightstand.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Would YOU want to be Dan Brown?

Well, maybe you would since he's made $50 million in the U.S. alone for four books (according to the New York Times)! However, read this article, "For 'Code' Author, 24 Months in a Circus" about his life today and the pressure to produce a best-selling follow up to the Da Vinci Code before you decide. (Blogger's note: I haven't actually read any of his work.)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Reader Roundup - A Question for You!

So, my purpose in creating this blog is to share interesting literary and library science tidbits with my friends. However, it doesn't have to be one-sided! So, I've decided to post questions for others to respond to with their wisdom and thoughts! Here's goes:

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have ONE book with you, what book would it be?

(How to Survive on a Deserted Island is not an option!)

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Read a Book on Your Cell Phone?

Here's an article from MSNBC news describing the growing number of people who read novels on their cell phones! Can you imagine reading a book just a few lines at a time? Of course, it might come in handy in grocery store lines, airport lines, etc.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

No Privacy for Kids at the Library?

Here is an article from the Portland Press Herald about a bill that is being suggested in Maine that would allow parents to view what children up to age 17 check out of libraries! Scary!

WIRT: Code Blue, How to Be Good, Astro Boy

So, the last few days have found me in a writing slump and I've turned to reading and frozen yogurt for consolation (usually at the same time). Consequently, here's what I've covered:

Code Blue: A Writer's Guide to Hospitals, Including the ER, OR, and ICU by Dr. Keith Wilson & Dr. David Page.
This educational title gave me plenty to consider as it answered some of my basic research questions. At times, it brought back some all too recent memories of not so fun days spent with Dad in the ICU. We've a lot to be thankful for!

How to Be Good by Nick Hornby. (In progress)
I'm impressed with this author's ability to be funny and serious at the same time. This title was recommend by a friend of mine (as her favorite among his work) and I'd be interested to see how his other titles compare.

Astro Boy, Vol. 1 by Osamu Tezuka.
This classic graphic novel stars the robot, Astro Boy, who was created to replace a grieving scientist's son. In this volume, Astro Boy saves the world from the sadly manipulated "Hot Dog Corp", a group of dog-robot cyborgs (among other heroic deeds).

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

WIRT: Beans and Compasses

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.
This complicated fantasy is the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy. I'm listening to the audiobook (again!) and it's among the best with a full cast of performers and narration by the author.

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. (SK, LH)
A story of friendship, family, loss and love told in a down-home, lyrical language. Looking forward to the book discussion!

Toddler Blog from Committed Comic

See how blogging is everywhere? Here is a link to a funny comic strip that I found cut out and placed on my desk this morning. Here's a virtual version for you!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Human Google Search Engine

Check out this article from The Guardian about the retirement of an 82-year old librarian who has been clipping and archiving articles in her home for 55 years. "The Scissor Sister"

Saturday, March 12, 2005

WIRT: Werewolves, ABCs, and Beans

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause.
Life's hard when you are a teenager and a werewolf.

The ABCs of Collaborative Change: The Manager's Guide to Library Renewal by Kerry Carson, et al.
Today's chapter: team building. My writing partners and work colleagues will appreciate me learning how to play well with others.

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.
Yikes, I'd better start this book since my book club meets next week!

Check out the new blog roll on the right, under links!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Snowy March Afternoon

Another lovely day in Illinois. The sky is overcast, the ground is white, and the streets are covered with salt. It's like a gray version of paradise. Ok, obviously not, especially when some people have to go back out in the snow to finish off a split shift at work. Thankfully, in my effort to avoid doing anything productive, I found this very funny clip on my UIUC Library Science Youth Services Bulletin Board. This is for all those librarians who really wish they were police officers.... Check it out (but be need audio)!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Never Enough Time!

What else would an assistant librarian do after spending the day talking about books with other librarians-to-be? Go to the bookstore, of course! But, alas, time and money are in short to supply to this grad student so all I bought was a copy of The Believer (arg - subscription hasn't started yet!). Here's my list of what to read in the future! Thanks to the 404ers who influenced this list with their booktalks!

Batman Handbook by Scotty Beatty.
Mediator by Meg Cabot.
Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence by Paul Feig.
Split Image by Mel Glenn.
Behind Everyman by David Israel.
Devil in the White City by Eric Larson.
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo.
The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.

    Thursday, March 03, 2005

    Lazy Comedians

    Conan, Dave, and Craig: what do you do when you need another joke to fill in a monologue? Do you just go to the fat joke hat and pull out one about Kirstie Alley, Ruben Studdard, or Star Jones? These jokes are not funny, they're mean. If anyone out there (the two people who read this blog that is) watches one of these shows and sees a monologue without a fat joke, let me know! Comedians at this level should be able to come up with amusing comments without relying on such an obvious target as people struggling with being overweight. Whew, do I feel better.

    Wednesday, March 02, 2005


    We hate ants. They are the root of all evil and most likely the reason that dinosaurs became extinct. Anyone want to buy a house? No, really, this is worse than the swarm of flies on the worst birthday ever two years ago. We clean, we call exterminators, and we pay but it doesn't help! Why did I leave Denver again? I'm moving to a high-rise condo. They can't get up to the top floor, can they?

    Monday, February 28, 2005

    Thought of the Day

    "Rejection only happens to those brave enough to take a risk."
    -scrawled across my wannabe writer whiteboard for inspiration.

    Sunday, February 27, 2005

    Random Thought: Heroes Among Us

    Words will fail me as I attempt to express how amazing people are. My Dad, for one, is simply remarkable; but many others have demonstrated how one person can touch the life of another. During just the last few days, several people have done meaningful things such as remembering my name, giving me heartfelt advice on an airplane, listening to me ramble along a cold and noisy street, sending my Dad chocolates, keeping me company in long airport lines, and simply asking how I am and actually listening to my reply. I am very thankful to know the wonderful people that orbit through my life. Sappy and convoluted, but true.

    WIRT: Final Superheroes Thoughts

    Mr. Next-door on the airplane today was intrigued by The Science of Superheroes by Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2002), and rightly so! Here's my favorite quote, concerning "Flash" the superhero with super speed:

    "On a related note, does the Flash sweat? If not, why not? If so, then his uniform must be fairly porous. All that running might steam off the sweat, but the chemical residue might make the Flash the superhero whose body odor announces his presence before he arrives!" -( p. 122-123).

    WIRT: Pedro and Me by Judd Winick

    This is the story of Pedro, the HIV-postive AIDS activist from the Real World reality show. This powerful and moving read was written in graphic art format by his friend and former castmate. This book was a Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor Book in 2001 should be on everyone's list of books to read this year. (Oh, it seems Winick also illustrates the Complete Idiot's series. See how things come full circle?)

    WIRT - Annie and Superheroes on the Run

    Another exciting Friday night in Denver! Sure, I could do homework. Sure, I could work on my writing projects. But, instead, I thought I'd write another dorky WIRT update, while waiting on hold ("expect 45 minutes wait") to change my weekend flight.

    What I'm Reading Today:
    The Science of Superheroes by Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg.
    I've only just begun this fascinating title...but have you ever wondered about the scientific principles in comic books? Well, okay, I haven't either. But think about it, how can Superman lift up a car by it's roof and the car doesn't fall apart when held from the top? Stay tuned for the explanation...

    Nurse by Peggy Anderson is already packed in my luggage, but it is mocking me from the depths of my bag.

    What I've Finished:
    Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden (powerful novel for teens).
    Nerd Gone Wild by Vicki Lewis Thompson (grocery store purchase along with lowfat frozen yogurt - enough said).

    (IT"S RINGING! Leonard is helping me!!! Oh, no. I don't think he likes his j.o.b.)

    What I'm Going to Check Out on Monday:
    The Complete Idiot's Guide to Running by Bill Rodgers.
    I'm sure many of you have heard my whining about not having a treadmill here in CO. And, yes, I know that running outside is a possibility. Anyway, I seem to have an inability to pace myself while running outside. Yes, I know, what a moron. I run too fast and then have to stop! I'm sure you'll want to stay tuned for the next installment of "Ryann Tries to Run."

    Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    WIRT 2/23/05

    For my Young Adult Literature Class: Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden.
    This book is a captivating look into the lives of two girls who are discovering their attraction for each other. I'm captivated by how one character, Liza, is dealing with the idea that her feelings are "wrong" but says that nothing else has ever felt so right. However, this story is written as a flashblack so I am not confident that things will work out for the girls. Some foreshadowing makes me think that a shoe is going to drop in the future.

    My Brain Candy Read: Nerd Gone Wild by Vicki Lewis Thompson.
    I've read some of Ms. Thompson's other "Nerd" stories, and this one stars newly rich Ally and her grandmother's nerdy bookkeeper (a bodyguard in disguise who is hot to guard her body!). She is trying to ditch him in the wild and wooly woods of Alaska...but he's not giving up easily!

    For Writing Inspiration: Nurse by Peggy Anderson.
    This book is a true life look into the life a nurse in a large hospital. It is moving and sometimes hits a bit to close to home, if you know what I mean. I have to read it in very small amounts...

    What else is lying around waiting for me to read:
    The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.
    David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
    Mystic River by Dennis Lehane.
    The Science of Superheroes by Lois Gresh and Robert Weinberg.

    Any thoughts?