Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Vast Fields, Top 10, and Chocolate

Since it will be a New Year in just two short days, I believe I am obligated to come up with a Top 10 list of my favorite books of 2009. It's an annotated bibliography, naturally. Got to get it done with that library style. New Year's Resolution? Um, to blog more obvs.

A late addition which didn't make the Top 10 list was Nick Burd's The Vast Fields of Ordinary. This was probably the best book I read all year. It's about a quiet kid named Dade who's not really popular in his high school. He's gay and regularly hooks up with a latin jock on the football team who essentially treats him like crap. His relationship with both his parents is strained, and it's clear at the beginning of the novel that their family unit is essentially falling apart. Dade befriends a new neighbor- Lucy, a lesbian from L.A. who guesses his sexuality and is the first person he can talk openly with. Early on, he ends things with the jock. Soon after, his father throws him a curveball and tells him that he's having an affair. Finally, Dade meets a boy named Alex... and suddenly things don't seem so grim. Alex is fun and kind of likes him, too. Dade is a relatable guy, whether you're gay or not. He just doesn't really get people... I feel like that constantly. I feel like I know someone like every character in this book from growing up in New Hampshire. I finished it on my long holiday bus rode home and enjoyed every minute. Worth the read, I promise.

Also, new addition to sidebar links and fellow book blogger shout-out: Jennifer Hart's The Book Club Girl ran a book club contest that is awarding my library free chocolate, so you should totally check out her blog and see what's up. Great site with interesting interviews.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

CURRENT: 'Sprout' by Dale Peck

I could apologize for not updating, but the truth is... I'm not sorry. I've trying to read people. That takes up a lot of my time, mmm k?

I have been promoting my blog a little bit more (which gives me added pressure to update more). One of the things I've been promising people is that they can come to my blog to see what I'm reading. While this is more or less accurate, I have to say I have a newfound addiction to the reading-friendly website Goodreads. Goodreads allows you to list what you're currently reading and what page you are currently on! which has been a godsend since my bookmark is constantly falling out of my book in my bag. I know that you can also list a "currently reading" title on LibraryThing, but... they haven't given me any new Early Reviewer books in a really long time. If I sound bitter, I am. I reviewed every book they sent me so far. And a lot of them were bad.

Speaking of books (although, not bad ones) - want to know what I'm reading right now? Sprout by Dale Peck. So far, the book is cute. It's a little bit confusing, mainly because of the word choice and placement of the protaganist who is aptly named Sprout. The main gist of the plot is that this witty, smart kid from Long Island is uprooted by his father into the middle of nowheresville Kansas after his mother dies. Like a few of the YA novels I've been reading, there really isn't a chapter format - they are seperated by weird quotes. I'm meeting Sprout's favorite English teacher right now, but I have to admit that my favorite character might be his alcoholic father who, so far, is more comedic and sad than any of the other characters. I still have a long way to go, and I'm going to push through since I'm kind of interested... I just wish the title was more compelling. I usually don't write about what I'm reading this early in, but I thought it might be fun to tell you my lukewarm feelings for a book right now to see if maybe they change later on.

Look forward to some possible adult fiction and nonfiction reviews in the coming month, then I'll probably venture back into forthcoming young adult literature. Enough about me, what are you reading?

Friday, November 27, 2009

In Review: Beauty Salon

Because two books is never enough, I started in on a third:

To be fair, Mario Bellatin's
Beauty Salon is not a full length novel. It's a very tiny, thin book that ends a little after 60 pages. Hence why I chose it. I'm about halfway done. Probably the first depressing book I've read in awhile (although, The Monster Variations had it's moments). It's basically about this cross dressing hair dresser who converts his beauty salon into a clinic for the sick and dying. I guess the people are dying of HIV/AIDS, although the novella never explicitly states that. I went back to "Sky" last night during a long train ride (I missed reading that book, so...) when I could have finished "Beauty" ... I keep trying to read at work but it's just not happening. I honestly don't know how librarians find the time to read, blog, tweet and do everything else... I'm pooped. Hopefully, I'll get through both "Beauty" and "Sky" this weekend.

Monday, November 23, 2009

So Many Books...

...and you know the rest. After taking a week or two off from reading, I am now reading not one but two really interesting books that I'm really enjoying. It's hard to pick which one to finish first.

A colleague of mine put this book in my hand and told me I have to read it. He also describes it as "the gayest book ever" (which I usually reserve to "Running With Scissors" but okay) so I was initially intrigued. It's likely I'm going to finish this one first since it's on loan and I really need to give it back to the person I took it from. I kind of literally stole it off her desk, but she was watching the whole time and smiling so I guess it's okay. The format is very similar to "Sophomore Switch" (I think, at least) in that there are two different characters and chapters alternate between them. The title refers to the fact that both boys have the same name. One of them is gay and one of them is not. The way the book is written though... you could almost see the characters being the same character, so I think it's being deliberately ambiguous. Or we're already supposed to know. I'm not sure. I'm making this book sound super confusing, huh? Well, it's not... it's actually kind of sweet. The language is natural and the supporting characters, including the obese "Tiny" are a joy to discover and read about. So far, I haven't found anything I didn't like so I guess we'll see how the novel progresses. It's a little bigger than I like my books, but since it's good I guess we can let it slide.

The "Sky Always Hears Me..." might just be the first book that I have started reading that I absolutely love. I don't usually bother my friends and family about books I'm reading... I honestly didn't think I was one of those people. Turns out, with this particular book, I am. Each "break" - I call them that because the book really isn't in chapter format - are interspersed with a fortune you would get in a fortune cookie. This is partially because the main character likes writing little fortunes and leaving them everywhere and partially to give you insight into the section you are about to be reading. I usually hate books that cover a vast amount of time... probably the weakest part and only criticism of "Sophomore Switch" actually... but with this story, you don't really notice. I've been reading reviews which describe the main character as "whiny" but I'm not finding her to be so at all. More than anything, she's confused about life and her place with the people in it. Maybe I'm loving it because I'm just relating to her confusion, but I can't say enough nice things. I'm about 100 pages in. Nothing has really happened yet. Maybe nothing will. But I, for one, am I super excited to see how it ends.

That's what I'm reading. What are you?

Also, if you get a chance, be sure to check out my featured "guest spot" on the NY Librarians' Meetup Blog for the Beta Phi Mu sponsored tour of the American Numismatic Society.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In Review: The Pride by A. Campbell

Have you ever read a book and not know how you felt about it? That's my experience while sifting through Alexi Campbell's "The Pride" - a play set in two time periods, one the 1950's and the other more modern times. The book is bizarre, especially since the 1950's piece seems somewhat more interesting. Though, not by much. The story kind of drags, but I suppose that's to be expected in a play. Especially one with homosexual content where you want the readers or viewers of the work to be moved emotionally, which ultimately takes time.

If I wasn't used to reading plays (remember my wondeful work with
The Rivier Theater Company?), I probably wouldn't like "The Pride" very much. As it happens, I'm slightly into it. It's also a pretty quick read, and in dramatic stage setting terms wouldn't be that hard to produce; you would just need to find three characters to play the lead parts and learn a buttload of lines. I also think the female character, who plays an important role in the '50s story as the wife of a gay man, is a little forced in the modern version; she supposedly has one of those co-dependent relationships that gay men and straight women form that are always doomed to fail. Hmmm... maybe I'm being oddly pessimistic there? Anyway, she's just not that interesting in the modern version but then, none of the characters are. Had this book stuck to one time period, I may have liked it more. It also makes it slightly confusing, what the the characters in the past and in the future having the same names and all. Still, I'm not sad that I read it, and I might even recommend it to someone looking to do an offbeat and bizarre play.

Also, is it just me... or does "The Pride" seem like a really bad a title?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Breast Cancer & Comic Books

Yesterday, I woke up early and walked for breast cancer. I was supposed to walk in the NYC AIDS Walk. I raised money, then finally met up with a fella one night, and never ended up actually walking. While I didn't fully complete the breast cancer walk, I did get almost all of the way through it. I should have done the whole thing, but the weather was so bad I decided to duck out early before I got sick from the cold and rain. Judging on how I feel today, I may have ducked out too late :-( I raised $50 bucks (thank you my dad, Ben H. and my roommate Kay!!), which is less than the AIDS Walk but still pretty respectable. I really did it for the free t-shirt... I couldn't find the library team yesterday, so I thought I might miss out. But they're gonna send me the t-shirt anyway, so score.

To take a break from my babbling about reading and tell you a fun library story, I have this kid who comes into the library. He's I think 17 years old. I told him he should start coming to the YA events. And he just did. I've only ever asked a dozen or so kids to come to events sincerely (which is probably why my numbers aren't super big right now), but I always think, at least with people, it's quality over quantity. This kid is the only one who has come more than once, and he's now of the I would say 3 fixture YAs at my library. He told me a few weeks ago he likes superhero comics and complained the library doesn't have them. He's right. So I brought some from home and I'm letting him borrow them one at a time. Sometimes my job can be... frustrating. I mean, I always make the best of everything, but I've been a little down lately. Letting this kid borrow my comic books? This makes me feel great; it's like, why I became a librarian. Anyway, I know that's probably not that inspiration or anything, but it did give me a boost. And as my gentle reader, when I get a boost, you do too... don'tchya?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Big Gay Librarian

For the next few months, I'll be focusing on LGBTQ fiction. I've read a couple, so here they are: I'll admit it. I've picked small ones to start.

When I was still organizing my shelf, "The Slow Fix" by Ivan Coyote stood out for me. I picked it up and read it within the week. Coyote has been up for, and I believe won, some ALA awards for her writing before. This, well... it's more of a collection of essays, is pretty much autobiographical. It doesn't really follow a linear format; sometimes Ivan is talking about her girlfriend, then in the next story she's single, then back to the girlfriend for example. I enjoyed reading it. There was a story about her queer nephew who grows up to be not so queer which is sort of sad and beautiful. It's worth reading, but is super quick to read and the stories don't really compliment each other. It seems kind of like a bunch of stuff was slammed together here. Some works, some doesn't. I liked it, though, and I'm glad I picked it for my first book.

Followed by "Shuck" - a loose fictional account by a first-time author who somewhat lived what poorly named main character Jaeven goes through. I liked this book, pretty much alone among the other reviews of the book I've read. Maybe I'm easy to please when it comes to fiction. I don't think the point is to like Jaeven here... he's pretty much as unlikeable as you can get. His relationship with his roommate/friend/boyfriend is bizarre, but... well, aren't most relationships? I didn't find the book highly sexual, which I guess was a big selling or discussion point for it. Not a lot of actual sex occurs. Really there's just that art gallery thing with the goth boy towards the end. The book is very New York and got me smiling on the references (esp. Dr. Zizmor). A good read- I think I know a lot of gays who would love the book, but also probably not the best in the end.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lantern's Light

So, if you know me, you know it's weird that I would buy a Marvel or a DC graphic novel and then not immediately read it. Well, what happened was... I got one for free. Then I put it next to my alarm clock. Then it ended up under my alarm clock. Then I would look at it every night before bed... taunting me. Yesterday, after a day filled with watching television on my computer (I quite literally ran out of 'new' shows to watch) and ordering pizza, I decided it was time to take the plunge. I finally buckled down and read that damn Green Lantern graphic novel.

And it was pretty good. It was a volume 2, which was totally also something I would not have bought myself. I would have gone for a volume 1. I'm more into DC trade paperbacks lately because the stories are usually more varied and they are much, much cheaper than Marvel ones. Sorry, Marvel. You are the bulk of my comic book collection, but I got most of that when I was paying for you. My mom was. God, I miss Tina... she certainly did spring a couple of bucks for the newest X-Men... but NO MORE! So DC? You're fun to read and you're cheap. You're like that tranny down the street who blocks my entrance into the subway.

BTW, sorry for the long space between posts. Turns out? I can't update my blog at work. It crashes not one but multiple computers, all of which are the only ones I can really use. When I'm at home, I'm more using my computer for recreational activities. While I guess you could say this is for recreation... I mean jeez. It always feel like damn work. I'm going to try harder. Would it help if I just didn't talk about what I was reading all the time? COMMENT BELOW!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stained in a Human Way

So after a long hiatus of laziness, I come back blogging strong. Not only am I reading one book, gentle viewers, I'm reading two. Both are kind of for two different aspects for work, so let's go over the one I'm trying to finish before we go over the one I'm kind of reading for fun.

The book in question is The Human Stain by Philip Roth. I am, by all accounts, a Philip Roth expert because I read the Wikipedia article on him. He's written a lot of books. I think the word prolific was somewhere used to describe him, but I could be making that up. Maybe I'm spoiled because I've been reading a lot of YA fiction lately. Not really into books way overwritten. The Human Stain? Kind of fits those credentials. The story has gone off on so many tangents I'm not even sure we have well... a 'where are we going' feel. The first chapter is 75 pages. I mean, I rest my case. Anyway, I'm muddling through it. I'm almost past 100, and I have just 300 more pages to go after that. When I'm page counting you know I'm in trouble. I'm leading a book discussion on the title at a library that is not my library in three weeks. Whether it's finished or not, that will be the end of The Human Stain.

Before all that was sorted, I used some mega fastly earned Random Buzz points to score an ARC of Monster Variations by Daniel Kraus. I think I got past the first few chapters. If you're reading it, or read it, they've broken into the high school at the part I'm at. It's pretty good. I'm liking the bizarre friendship between the three boys all from different social classes. It's unlike any other YA book I read over the summer. Definitely doesn't talk down to teens, definitely a spooky book I think teen boys would enjoy. Probably going to be recommended for my book committee and become part of my cadre of books I bring on outreach visits. Random Buzzers had a few left, so if you want to join and earn mega quick points, do it now. Before they're gone. Can't wait to go back and finish it... as soon as the Stain of Human proportions is washed out of my brain.

Tried for some ARCs from LibraryThing this month for the first time in awhile... nada. That's sad. I got 4. AND REVIEWED THEM! One of them was about incest. One of them was the WORST VAMPIRE BOOK EVER! Please send me more, librarything. I miss you. And your free books.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kind of in a Rut

I'm starting to run out of books to read. The SLJ review book came at the perfect time. That was a week ago. Now, I have about 5 or 6 books in my office. The two good looking ones have already been reviewed, and the others are either for kids younger than 12 (making them not YA officially) or ... they suck. I started trying to read this book that was authored by a Japanese manga scripter. It was translated. And I just don't like it. So you know what? I'm going to follow my own advice I give to teen readers and stop reading it. I didn't like the first two chapters. Even a little bit. Let it be noted; I gave Japan a chance.

For some techy updates, I did update the blogs in my list since really the list is for me and I've been reading blogs more. There's actually another one I'm adding this afternoon so the hits keep coming. I'm trying to remember to yelp more, but... I always try to be funny and witty in those, and it just doesn't always happen. That makes me, you know, not want to do them. But I'm trying. I also added links on the side to my deviantArt account (which has lain dormant for years) - I put up some scans of artwork I did in the library over the summer, so you can see what most of a semester as an art major got me (psssst... no talent). I also have a twitter account, which is like... not even really a twitter. I just linked it to my plurk account, which is the fake twitter I was using for a year since Kristin made me, and it updates the twitter automatically. My yelp does the same thing. None of these things are on my facebook, since this paragraph was highly annoying and it would be even more annoying if you read it on facebook CONSTANTLY. Right?

LibraryThing has a lot of cool updates, and I signed up for EarlyReviewers this month to get some books (hopefully! fingers crossed!). Check it out, because I am loving going back and editing lists of books- I'm going to finally be able to sort out my NYC books (the whole 30 in my apartment) from the hundreds I have at home. I'm also starting a graphic novel book club at my library, hopefully, so we'll see how that goes. It's all adult-themed graphic novels, but I'll finally read stuff like Persepolis that I always wanted to read. I'm also waiting for a Random Buzzer's book to come in called Monster Variation, but none of these are coming in this week. I need something to read NOW, dangit!

Monday, August 3, 2009

School Library Journal

Several weeks ago, or so long ago I pretty much had already forgotten about it, I sent in an application to do reviews for a little magazine called School Library Journal. As my two 'sample reviews' I actually sent in two recent reviews I had done for my blog at the time. I never received a letter or anything stating that I was accepted, but last Friday they decided to send me a book. So I guess I'm in.

The book they sent me, Out of the Blue by S.L. Rottman, was not something I normally would have picked up. But after really reading it today, I could hardly put it down. It was good. So I just typed up my 250 words (that's right. I used all 250 of 'em!) and sent it off to SLJ. I think I also need to submit a contract for my "Unpaid License". I think part of the fine print, sadly, is that I can't post the review in my blog (or anywhere else for that matter). I can tell you that Out of the Blue comes out in October and you should read it. If you purchase YA stuff or general fiction for your library, I would also recommend buying it. I don't usually say that in my blog, but here... I mean it. This, and Sophomore Switch, are probably the two best out of the dozen or so I've read so far. So those would be your top picks, people.

My review was mostly summary, but hopefully it gets published. I would really love to see my name in print, I am that shallow. I was noticing that my other boss who scheduled me for overtime in the "big house" (as Jay called it) is in SLJ, and I'm guessing I'll find a bunch more people I work with in there as well. It would be nice for them to see me and maybe smirk a little. Anyway, just thought I would share. I'm glad I at least have the chance to do this. And if they don't like this review, hey... maybe they'll send me another. Someone reviewed a Green Lantern graphic novel and I, for the record, could have done a better job... probably :-)

Friday, July 31, 2009

In Review: Viola in Reel Life

Very rarely will I ever gush about a book. This is one of those rare times. I love "Viola in Reel Life" by Adiana Trigiani. I actually finished about half this book in less than an hour (something I haven't done in a very, very long time) and put it down for a few days just to savor the thought of the ending. This book had a lot I could relate to- I picked it up as my "vacation" book while I was traveling, so I too was leaving New York City behind, just Viola. I can also relate to her experiences going to a school she wasn't super excited about; in my case, it was a NH prep school in the good part of town. For Viola, it's in Indiana. Hers was worse.

Viola has a cutting, witty personality that I think many girls (and even none girls) can relate to. She manages to be hip and cool without being overly whiny. That is always on the plus side. With her and her roommates, it gets a little too much like a certain sisterhood involving pants a little too fast, but I do like that she befriends one of them, Marisol, a little better than the rest- especially when they are both stuck at the school for Christmas. I would have liked it a little more if Viola had some more conflict within her perfect room, maybe with Romy the sports star, but alas. Viola is not even really given a proper nemesis; but since this is the start of a possible multi-book series, that can totally be something that develops down the line. I also like how Viola handles her men; she doesn't seem to care that much on the outside, but internally she's not thinking about a lot else. Her documentary filmmaker parents are cool, and I like her strained relationship with them, but the emotions they stir in Viola definitely made me see her as a little less cool, a little more vulnerable. This is worth the read for people of any age, especially is you like your protagonist sassy and cool, which I always do.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Concerts & People: A Bad Mix

While this will break from my usual, "What am I reading?" blog entries (it's Viola in Reel Life right now- coming October 2009- and it's GOOD, girl!) I just came back from a concert and feel compelled to write. Who did I see? Well, Jay Brannan in NYC... but that hardly matters. What matters is the people who were at the show. Someone decided to shove right next to me after Mr. Brannan took the stage, and it was in an area that was not okay. He was violating my personal space. I also took a seat, which meant I had to BUY things at this show. He didn't. His view was as good as mine. And that's just not right. Plus PLUS!!- He decided to whip out his cell phone for 2 minutes during every song, then proceeded to get drunk and sing along badly. I paid $15 for the tickets, but ended up spending over $100 over the course of the night on a 2nd unused ticket, merch, and the food I was forced to buy. For what? For this guy to try and ruin the show for me? I still had fun, but geez. This is why concerts are a bad idea. People seriously don't give a flying ::expletive:: as to whether they ruin their fellow concert-goers time. At. All.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saying [Hello] in RoBot

I finallyFinallyFINALLY finished The Doom Machine. An outer space epic is hard to get through sometimes, even if it is pretty good. And I did love me some gigantic alien spiders, but the descriptions in the book were often so brief I went back and read them over again many times. It became time consuming. All in all, a good book- I recommend it, especially if you're one of those My Teacher is an Alien! fans.

I should be re-reading A Wrinkle in Time for my teen book club, but decided to take a chance with a Scholatic ARC coming out in October titled How to Say Goodbye in Robot. Robot it very, very good. References to everything I love; late night radio, Female Trouble, and Beverly Cleary books. You know you love it. I kind of don't love the busted subplot about her friend's brother, but I figured they had to have some secret thing that ties them together. I have a hundred pages left, and I picked it as my vacation book so... kind of savoring the end. I have a feeling I will do it in one shot. Kind of wish I brought 'Wrinkle' along for the ride.

I have an Oscar Wilde play to read (always forget the name of it) for a Book Discussion Training at work, so I guess I'll read that next. All in all, my trip to NH is really good. No better place to catch up on all your reading.

Monday, July 6, 2009

We Built this [Geo]city

This is a little off topic as far as books are concerned, but while I was looking up an old romantic poem I wrote in high school for a random buzzers contest, I logged in to one of my old Geocities sites. I'm sort of dating myself here, but I was a computer nerd before it became trendy or cool. And Geocities was my jam. That's where I had many, many homepages back when I spoke HTML when I should been learning Spanish. My best website, The Coven of Amy, a tribute for the Buffy character Amy Madison, was even recognized and published in the now defunct Sci-Fi Teen. When you're 16 and have no friends, that's pretty awesome.

Well, when I logged in to retrieve this poem, a little message pops up saying that Geocities is officially shutting down in October of this year. I knew (and sort of stopped using G-cities) when it got bought out by Yahoo! and the ads went all wonky all the time. But to close all the geocities sites on the internet!? That's just plain bananas!

I'm going to try moving the Coven over to an old angelfire site I have set up, but... angelfire has deleted many a site from me more than one time with no cause or reason. Hopefully it's not like that if I put some work into moving everything over (and work it will be, since I largely forgot how to do all this stuff), but... geez. I wish there was a way to stop this from happening. It's sad. I'm inconsolable.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Reading Updates... and More!

So I just got a promotion at the library. It was no big deal though. They basically had to give it to me. Scott called them "loyalty raises" because you automatically get them at a certain point. My review actually made me mad. I didn't exceed the 'satisfactory' base at any point (even though there was a box higher to check) and in things like taking care of the building when I'm in charge and programming ideas, I definitely feel I do more than I should. I would have liked them to at least acknowledge that. I guess I should be happy I make slightly more money than before. And ya know, hang on to that.

FINALLY finished the first in "The Waking" series. I read it fast for me, but not as fast as I usually read Chris Golden's books (for instance, read 'Baltimore' A LOT faster last year). Finally moved on to "The Doom Machine" (isn't that just the best name?), followed possibly by "Happyface" or "How to Say Goodbye in Robot" or, possibly, both. In that order I think, because "Happyface" sounds slightly more interesting when I read the summery descriptions just now.

All in all, still kind of difficult to get back into the reading. "The Doom Machine" has been a good book so far, since it's very much like a modern day "My Teacher is an Alien" - with space travel and whatnot. It's bringing me back to those 3rd grade, 4th grade days when I actually picked up a book and read it for fun. They story is involving, too. I'm now officially shooting for one book a month, since I might actually be able to accomplish that.

Other random notes-

-Went to go see Transformers 2 tonight. Not as bad as everyone says it is. I mean, what were you expecting, people? A film worthy of an Oscar? I was entertained.
-I love Blick. There's one in NYC- near Bleecker St. They gave me a discount on my bulk glue order today. And future discounts for being a librarian. Love you guys.
-There's something called "Doctor Swatch" day where I guess you can go to a Swatch store and get yours fixed for free. Must. Go. to. That.
-Bought Jay Brannan tickets today. Hopefully, he'll want to go with me.

The End.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

In Review: The Waking | Dreams of the Dead

The story follows a girl named Kara who, along with her teacher father, move to Japan. The pair have relocated to the small Japanese town of Miyazu Bay following the death of Kara's mother a few years before. Kara doesn't make many friends at first, but is instantly interested in a rebel punk girl named Sakura who seems to be an outsider herself. As Kara gets into the swing of the Japenese school year and way of life, she starts to hear whispers about a girl who was murdered just outside the school grounds several weeks before. After visiting the dead girl's shrine and seeing a cat die and then explicably return to life, Kara realizes there is something not quite normal going on. She, and several other students at the school, start having vivid nightmares about laughing girls with no faces. When the mean clique of soccer girls start dying one by one, Kara fears she's next.

This is exactly the type of title teens coming into my library are always asking me for. They want spooky, scary books. This book definitely brings the creepy, and it has a little romance between protaganist Kara and a Japanese boy named Hachiro. It's also part of a series, with the other two books coming out several months after this one. I believe that will appeal to teens as well, who often like series opposed to single titles. Recommended for ages 13+.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Review: Going Bovine

Recently, I've started to think about how to structure my book reviews. In this new world order, I wanted to briefly summarize the book in one paragraph, before moving onto some personal considerations in the second. This also makes it more of a personal description of the book than I actual review, I realize, so I should probably stop writing "In Review". My new format however, is pretty much shattered with the next book I want to talk about. Going Bovine by Libba Bray, an intense work of young adult fiction, defies being summarized. The book is many things. It's a character study of it's protagonist Cameron. It's sort of a funky watercolor journey through issues of mortality. It has a lot of crazy characters who pop in, sometimes only briefly, sometimes coming back again and again. Not being a teenager anymore, I can't really say that this books speaks for me. If I had been a teenager when it came out, I'd say this this job probably would have done the best job.

Going Bovine deals with some serious issues; Cameron's disease is extremely rare, yet it gives him a unique perspective and attitude where we can laugh with him instead of feel sorry for him. In many ways, the Cameron at the beginning of the book is struggling for an identity. Oddly, his sickness is what gives him a self-image. I feel like I'm trying to make the book "deep" when it's actually one of the funnier books I've read. Every situation is dealt with in this sort of snarky tone that makes you root for Cameron throughout the story. If I had to be nitpicky and tell you one thing I didn't like, I'd probably go with the character of Gonzo. Gonzo, the video gaming dwarf, becomes Cameron's buddy after meeting him in the second chapter. He's one of the first surreal elements that Cameron starts to deal with. He didn't, to me, seem like a character who went to high school. I pictured him more of a gruff old man who hung around the school trying to peddle drugs and video games on the playground. He would make me laugh, too, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that he was often out of place.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In Review: Castration Celebration

Castration Celebration blurs the line between adult and young adult. Follow the exploits of main character Olivia as she orchestrates her summer musical project, the titular Castration Celebration. Olivia hates men. Her ultimate male example, her father, let her down by cheating on her mother. This point factors into her writing, naming the main character of all things Dick. Dick’s not a great male character. Along with his dumb friends, Biff and Sluggo, the trio serve as examples of what the man-hating Olivia thinks of boys. Pretty graphically at that. Olivia doesn’t hold back her punches when writing the sordid tale, with lyrics and situations based on what is happening at the summer musical camp.

It’s hard to really bond with any characters in this book. In particular Olivia, who is more of an outright brat that tortured protagonist. She’s quick to judge others and isn’t above exploiting things to make her musical great. I wasn’t really finding anything redeeming about her standing out during the first half of the novel. None of the other characters are really fully developed enough for me. I ended up liking Max the most, but didn’t really learn a lot about him other than how he felt about Olivia. I did like the explicitness of the book, including the best song sung by Dick’s friends appropriately titled “Horny.” It’s a good read, but not necessarily the type of book reread over and over or even recommend to a lot of your friends.

In Review: Batman- Scarcrow/Two-Face Year 1

Really this review has to happen in two parts because this is a collection of two different stories (one of which happens to involve 'Two-Face' ... and irony isn't lost on me). The first tale, Bruce Jones' attempt at rewriting the origin of the Scarecrow, doesn't really work at all. The story tries to draw parallels between Batman and Scarecrow (they both wear MASKS! for instance. Really, that's all he had...), creates a mystery about Crane's ancestors, and introduces this bizarre child abuse for Crane that has pretty much never been introduced before. It stays true to Crane's role as an academic, but ew... I think the whole "He killed his grandmother" part was kind of genuis, but using birds to do it? It was just bizarre. And Mark Sable's art made it more bizarre. It really doesn't fit into regular continuity, just because Crane is more of a villain who attacks out of curiosity than some sort of sadistic need. And he's killing people here. Like a crazy person. I didn't hate it, I just really didn't like it, either.

The Two-Face story? Genuis. Sean Murphy delivers a tale that fits into everything we already know- Dent gets his face scarred by acid, had anger issues before, made enemies as a D.A., but it also completely flips it upside down. It introduces a rival D.A. trying to usurp Dent's position who basically engineers all the stuff behind the scenes. It's also implied that Dent starts killing gangsters (and look for a 'cut in half' theme subtly) BEFORE he gets scarred, which to me helps define his character in an entirely new way. The story also stays true to the tradition of "The Long Halloween" and mentions a few times (not to an annoying level) the 'Holiday' killer, which true Batman fans will get a kick out of. Jesus Saiz's art keeps the story on track and visually interesting. It's worth the buy just for this part of the story, which works well as Part 2.

Review has been submitted for LibraryThing, Facebook's Virtual Bookshelf, and Random Buzzer's Reviews. Still to come: Sophomore Switch. Reading Now: the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Summer Reading Blues... and Hope.

So, the Summer Reading Website, as of right now, still does not work. It was supposed to work at the beginning of May. It's almost the end of May now. I'm trying to hype people up teens at my library for it, but it's kind of hard when they want to sign up and they can't. The incentives still haven't come, and we keep getting e-mails about how there's less and less of them with each passing week. It's getting kind of sad. At least, fot his librarian right here.

Despite this bad news bear, I am still trudging along with summer reading plans. I have a host of summer events planned at my library, including some sponsored art programs and some movie nights. Still I'm planning more. I just e-mailed my supervisor a proposal for a "Teen Summer Reading Club" - sort of a forum for teens to sit in a small group and talk about what they all are reading. The club would have 7 official meetings, 5 of which occur early in the summer reading process, the final 2 being towards the end (near my planned ending party). I'm hoping my boss goes for it. I think it will be fun for everyone.

What am I reading? I know you're curious. Next up on the block is "Sophomore Switch" - another Candlewick Press book. In the fall I went to a publisher's presentation, and Candlewick's was the best. They made me want to read "Swim the Fly" and "Sophomore Switch". So far, my new book is much better than my last one. I'm really digging Emily, the English character. She is fun to read about. I'm alread over 100 pages into it. You'll of course get a review when I'm finished but I'm smelling a rave!

Monday, May 18, 2009

In Review: Swim the Fly

I had very few expectations for this book, which is good in hindsight. It was very underwhelming. I think this might be a good example of a "boy book" - a book geared towards young male adolescents who may not necessarily read all the time. The humor was very low brow. Our hero, the protagonist Matt, poops himself pretty early on. While he's dressed up a girl. Hilarious! ... just not for me. I didn't hate the book, but there were few moments to really enjoy. The way Matt and his friends talk to each other is also not how real boys would speak. They use a lot of made up slang words to replace what teenagers would actually say, which is much more annoying than it is endearing. Matt's grandfather and his wacky obsession with his newly widowed neighbor is more bothersome than diversive. I also think it took too long for the ACTUAL love story to develop, which happened far more towards the end of the book than it did towards the beginning. It's not a bad attempt; but it's definitely more 'tween' than 'teen' - and hey, I was just looking for something a little more grown up.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hypocritical Librarian?

So... it turns out I don't take my own advice. I've started reading "Swim the Fly" by Don Calame. I've gotten past the first 25 pages and you know what? I really just don't like it. I don't like the way it's written. I don't like any of the characters. Really. ANY of them. The plot revolves around these three teenage boys who have made a pact over the summer to see a real live naked girl. I'm wondering if it's the plot itself that bothers me. If there's something in there about men being disgusting and women being objectified. Still, I don't even think it's that. I think it's that I've read the first 25 pages and just plain don't like it.

Normally, if one of the teens in my library came to me and told me the same story, I'd be all, "Well stop reading the book and get something else." I just don't think I'm going to do that. I've already read 25 pages, ladies and gentlemen. I know they're going to see that naked girl, and I'm pretty sure I won't like it... but what if I'm wrong? You never know, right? RIGHT!? So I'm going to work my second to last overtime shift today, and I think that is the book I'm bringing with me. Not because I really want to. Because I already started it and I'm too lazy to pick up another book.

I don't think I've said this before, but reading suggestions are always welcome. Especially YA fiction, since I'm supposed to be reading/booktalking the crap out of those. See you later tatertots.

Friday, April 17, 2009

October is Sooner than You Think

Props to YALSA for being kind of organized. They are already promoting this year's teen read week that takes place in October, Why am I telling you about this? Because I already registered, so all the 'first 100 libraries' swag is totally going to me. Hopefully. I registered in like, the first 2 hours after the e-mail. A hundred people couldn't have beat me to it. I mean, hopefully.

Anyway, would it be bad if I make an event around the "We the People" books part of Teen Read Week? It has nothing to do with the theme. But it does kind of kill two birds with one stone- doing a 'read theme'd program at my library for the week, and using the books which I'm supposed to be doing throughout the year. I guess we'll see if the books are still there in October, ay?

Finally finished "Thief of Hearts" by Christopher Golden today in the DMV line. The other book I own is "Meets the Eye", so that might come up in the future as my next read. I also rejoined the Science Fiction Book Club, so I have like, actual books in my apartment now. I just never read them. And reading lately has been making me sleepy. I will try to do better. I just like comic books so much more than the regular. Don't you?

I miss you all horribly. Peace.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life is Good?

So... I kinda won something for my library. They finally shipped all the books today- 22 in total- so it finally kind of made the whole thing real. I was super happy to see all the books displayed where I wanted them to be, and I plan on not shutting up about this for a very, very long time.

Life is kinda good. I've gotten into the work vibe better than ever. My numbers are up for almost everything, and people seem to like me. I have my 2 last overtime shifts in the next couple of weeks, then it will be summer and this big reading thing I'm hearing so much about.

Money? Still kinda tight, and getting tighter as the library is starting to feel it more and more and the costs of the MTA might skyrocket. I guess something about the price of water might go up which would increase our rent, too (which, if it does... I probably won't stay after the lease is up, 'cause that's just DUMB). I also haven't had a date in well, ever. But you know me. When it rains, it pours. And summer is just around the corner.

Later tater tots.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Past in the Theater

So I was shamelessly googleing myself last night, and I came across the blog of this guy. He has an entry about a little play I did a few years that he happened to write. I've actually seen this before but had forgotten about it. For those of you just getting to know me, here are some pictures of me in heavy theater make-up. I played an old, old man. And got to play opposite my LPFL, the wonderful Joselyne Simonson.

These are actually the few pictures I even have. Anyway, I got a kick out of it. I thought I might share.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Thief of Hearts" by Christopher Golden

So I finally started biting the bullet and reading "Thief of Hearts" by Christopher Golden. It's part of the Jenna Blake "Body of Evidence" series. Jenna is a college student who works as a kind of pathology assistant, basically helping people do all the Dana Scully work on dead bodies. I've only ever read "Skin Deep" before, but now own "Thief of Hearts" and "Meets the Eye" due to my Bookmooch-ing, back in the day. I got "Meets the Eye" first and realized I was reading them out of order- basically, someone really close to Jenna dies in "Thief of Hears" and it ripples through the rest of the series. Now that I'm trying to establish some series order, which is something teens coming into my library insist upon (and rightly so!) hopefully I will enjoy all the books much more. "Thief of Hearts" gets REAL good in the death scenes, which are a better read than watching the first "Scream" movie. Golden gives his victims the chance of escape, only to take it away, make them loose all hope, finally give them a chance, then kill them. REAL good, even when you know it's coming.

I'm already halfway through the book, so I'll probably post a full review on Random Buzzers and LibraryThing soon. I might stick with the series for awhile, mainly because I would like to eventually booktalk one or two of them and give an overview of a series of books when I'm doing my presentations. My only complaint is the dialogue- when Golden is writing a YA novel like this, or his Buffy work, sometimes the dialogue seems a little forced- humor is often inappropriate (the characters were making jokes in the next chapter after the major death in chapter 5, which just... didn't go with the tone). Golden should get snaps for delivering plot through the dialogue, but he's at his strongest when he's describing the truly horrific- which I would like more of in the future Jenna Blake novels, so hopefully he gets a little darker. In "Skin Deep" - he definitely does, so maybe it just took him awhile to find his rhythm. Check out the "Body of Evidence" series. It's seriously making me want to take long subway rides and read the ENTIRE time. Check them out from your local library.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Watchmen: Graphic Novel vs. Movie

Watchmen is one of the few graphic novels where the movie has done a better job. Nothing against Alan Moore, who wrote a pretty good story, but the movie does a better job at giving the readers the proper cliff notes to what the story is about. It also has a much better reason for our ultimate villain allowing humanity to unite- he really makes Doctor Manhattan the villain. That element wasn't in the graphic novel, and the gigantic-cloned-psychic-brain-alien thing that is used as the villain in the graphic novel is just... well, silly. Silk Spectre is a lot more likable in the movie version; in the novel, she was just sort of crazy yelling and complaining all the time. Her costume adaptation, which is only loosely based on the original design from the comic, is also just much nicer. Her comic costume is very dated. The movie was cast well, and giving us extended fight scenes upped the ante. I don't usually say "see the movie and read the book" but this is a good example of one time I probably should. Recommended. Go see it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sometimes I Wonder What the World is Coming To...

I feel like I should be doing something. Taking advantage of NYC in 44 degree weather. Going downtown. Getting dangerous. Dancing the night away.

I don't think I'm going to do any of that.

I think I'm going to put on some pants, take out the trash, smoke (don't do it at home, kids), then probably collapse into a deep, restless sleep.

I have tomorrow off. Honestly, I was so on the ball and productive this week, I have nothing to do. It's truly a day off. I don't even have enough laundry to do laundry. My NYC taxes are all done. I actually might work on some... well, work. Which is sad. RE: day off.

Who knows? Maybe I won't stick to the plan. My advice? Don't.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Sister, the Felon

Some reading updates- I've given up on the Maisie Dobbs novel, but I'm hopefully going to have my review up on LJ and Random Buzzers this week. I bet you can't wait to see how I close since I don't know how the novel actually ends; I'll probably leave that part out. I did spend an amazing evening until 3:00 AM reading "The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy" by Robert Leleux. I saw that someone was a fan of it on The Book so I decided to check it out from the Parker Russo Library. Which I shouldn't have, because I haven't been there in almost a month at this point. The book is an amazing story of a boy's dysfunctional relationship with his mother. I read the whole thing really fast. It made my life seem a lot better by comparison, despite having a pretty crazy mother myself. I've also started reading "Seedfolks" by Paul F. I bet not a lot of books are named "Seedfolks" so it should be easy for you to look up, people. It's short, and I'm halfway through it after a short subway ride. It's all about how a local community band together to plant in an abandoned lot/trash dump after seeing a little girl do it first. The novel is written to reflect each character's voice chapter to chapter, so it's kind of fun to read if you have no attention span. I have to do a presentation at a high school (a 'Booktalk' if you will) on some YA Lit I've read, so I wanted to read a bit more before Thursday. I just don't know if that will happen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Books, Books, and More Books

So I am continuing along in reading Jacqueline Winspear's "An Incomplete Revenge." For the record, I'm currently on chapter 11. I was hoping my trip to NH would help me finish the book up, but sadly... the 1930's old english dialogue is forcing me to reread everything the characters say. I have to say, now that I'm halfway through the book, I'm kind of finally getting excited about the novel. The book is a mystery novel following a private investigator named Maisie Dobbs. She is investigating a land purchase deal for a rich dude, but she's finding out there's something off about the town. Someone loves setting fires every year, and she's starting to close in on who it is and why. It's keeping me in suspense, and I kind of like it. This was a LibraryThing EarlyReviewer win, and for last month, I think I won two more books. It's back to nonfiction, though. I know one is about strokes. That should be fun.

I also have an elevated status within the Random Buzzer community as a 'Book Blogger'. I'll be talking a lot more about Random Buzzers now than I have in the past (although, I've kind of talked a lot about them here and on my work blog already...). They are also sending me books to review, so I will be a busy little beaver when it comes to my reading duties. I am thinking about officially applying for some of my reviews, or shorter cliff note versions, to be published in School Library Journal. If they like me, they will send me a book or two to review. Then my name could be in print, in all it's School Library Journal glory. I haven't decided if I really want more reading responsibilities, especially since I still haven't complete "An Incomplete Revenge" ... which I've had for over a month. I just need to bite the bullet and start reading a lot faster.

If that wasn't enough, I have applied also for a continuing education scholarship from Beta Phi Mu. Remember? I was inducted into a library science honor society! Now I'm trying to get something out of it. I know one year they didn't even award the scholarship 'cause no one applied. The address I was supposed to send the application to was a little suspect (there was no street address, just 'Florida State University'). I want to eventually go back to school. I've decided that since my full-time work credentials are not impressive enough, I need to amp up my academic background. I want to go back to school, and I want to do it at the Pratt Institute. I have an informational meeting Thursday evening to at Pratt to see how I could integrate one class a semester into my schedule. I probably won't go back until the fall, maybe even later. Without school, I feel like a brainless loser. Plus, I could probably get a break on my many loans if I take out even more. That's probably not very financially saavy, but it's the best I've got.

Also, thanks to Scott, my YouTube career had temporarily resumed. I'm returning his FlipV next time I see him (true story! and also sad...), so they video well will soon dry up. I've had a lot of weirdo problems uploading them lately, so I keep trying to fix them and reupload them. I have one more to put up, so updates haven't finished yet, people. Remember to comment, rate, and subscribe. The link is in the sidebar on the left. Thanks for reading. I'll see you next time in the funny pages.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Review: The Survivor's Club

The first rule of the Survivor's Club: everyone is a survivor. After reading this title, you may well believe that. Ben Sherwood takes readers on a rollercoaster ride of near death tales ranging from a pilot ejecting at supersonic speed to a woman that nearly died after tripping on knitting needles that pierced her heart. Each chapter includes a theme along with two or three examples of real life survivors to back up the overarching idea introduced. The book is interesting in taking many stories and preserving how fantastic they are, but bringing the narrative back to the same idea. While you may scoff at the idea of people finding religion in near death experiences, it's hard to refute Mr. Sherwood's research after interviewing so many people.

The title approaches the subject sociologically; interviewing people and tallying statistics. While the footnotes are informative, I think the hardcore readers will want some of the statistical information backed up more credibly without having to thumb through the extensive bibliography. I read the book not as someone looking to increase my survivor mindset; I think if you go into reading the title this way, you will enjoy it. It may work for the reader looking to increase their chances of survival in everyday life, too. The book has some great suggestions. Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the online code it comes with on the inside cover; if you go to the website listed in the book, you can determine your 'survivor personality' after taking a 15 minute online quiz. Definitely worth your time, and a great addition for your library as well. Recommended.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Book Review: Any Given Doomsday

I really tried with this book. I read, I cringed, I put it down for awhile, I picked it back up, and then I read some more. I’ve gotten about halfway through at this point, and I really think it’s about time to throw in the towel. It's amazing how a bad book can become even worse. The only impending apocalypse that "Any Given Doomsday" prophesizes is the hopeful end of Lori Handeland's writing career. Toted on the cover as a New York Times bestselling author... I think they may have to make that print bigger if they expect to sell more copies. Then, of course, is the problem of people actually reading it and realizing the book is so poorly written it will give you a migraine.

Let me give you just one amazing example of this literary masterpiece. Note my sarcasm. On page 104, "Jimmy stood in the doorway and surveyed what appeared to be a mass murder. I got a pretty good idea what Jonestown had looked like. Except that there were no remnants of poison Flavor-Aid, just blood on blood and then, hey, more blood." That is not made up. It's an actual excerpt from the book. The premise is a true “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” knockoff which doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that it’s… well, just plain bad. The main character, who in 150 pages I’ve come not to care about at all, is a psychic orphan who became a police officer who… I guess she got fired? Her partner died? She has an ex-boyfriend named Jimmy who cheated on her who is half vampire. He is also a DK, which stands for Demon Killer. Yeah. Not making this up people. Even though calling him a DK is clearly… well, just plain bad… she keeps doing it. She’s called him a DK or referenced DKs at least two dozen times. It’s almost caused me to throw the book out the window. I also don’t believe this woman was a police officer at all. Read the book and you’ll see. On second thought, don’t. Spare yourself the migraine.

I’m a little shocked and severely disappointed by the reviews I’ve read on LibraryThing commenting that the book is “not that bad” and is an overall good book but “lacks character development.” Guys, seriously. That was your biggest problem with this title? How about the fact that none of the characters react realistically to these situations at all. Granted, they are dealing with monsters and the like, but that’s no excuse for creating characters who have never dealt with anything that fantastic shrugging off the situations like they were no big deal. The book also does mention sexuality way too much. That has been brought up in the reviews, but really not enough. At times, it reads like a trashy romance novel. Emphasis on the trashy. I don’t care that the main character is horny. I guess you're supposed to because it's brought up in nearly every chapter. I don’t want to read about how she can feel a man’s junk rubbing up against her thigh. Sadly, these parts aren’t even well written. As a librarian, knowing books like this exist just make me plain sad.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Book Review: Repair for Kids

Children's materials are hardly my forte, and this book was somewhat difficult for me to get through. As the subtitle suggest, the book is not really in a linear format; it acts as a sort of a series of different strategies for getting a child to talk about being sexually abused. Only it doesn't. The book is really aimed at getting a child talking about their emotions, presumably one who isn't talking very much because of a situation of sexual abuse. I mean, that's my guess. It really could be applied towards getting a child talking about their emotions in general. It uses a model called REPAIR, which also stems from the book's title. In implementing the REPAIR model, the first step: R for 'Recovery' - has to make the assumption that the child is broken. Indeed, many of the early mentions in the title speak of the child needing to be 'fixed.' I wasn't really a fan of using this type of metaphor for a child, especially because the book reinforces the idea that nothing is wrong with them over and over again. It gives a mixed signal; the child is broken, but nothing is wrong with them. I think that can lead to confusion from the child who has definitely already suffered enough. Using the REPAIR model, the child is also compared to a stepped on garden plant (p.16). If you take care of the plant, talk to it, etc. it can be REPAIRED! the book tells us. I have a problem with comparing abused children to stomped on flora, especially if I'm expected to read this idea aloud to the child as the text intends.

The author includes a guide for adults using the title towards the beginning. One of the steps includes encouraging a child to talk about natural language, i.e. penis, breast. So it becomes confusing for me when you read on in the book and the text seemingly avoids using this type of language. I think a child might feel more comfortable using natural language if the words were spoken by an adult administering the program or stated in the text itself first. Ideally, both would probably be key. This at least gives the child a point of reference so they can feel more comfortable speaking this way. I also think the title should have a little bit more of a guide for adults at the beginning. It encourages adult to speak to children 'on their level of language' ... but gives no tips or hints how. Several generalized statements like this throughout made me feel frustrated while reading. I ultimately cannot give this book a completely low rating because of the activities that are included. Several of them are good and even clever at getting the child to talk; some are just 'write down your feelings' exercises, while others give multiple choice questions. Many would probably get a child's creative process going which would no doubt get them talking and, ultimately, feeling more comfortable with the adult administering the program. If you can take one thing from this text, take the activities. I think if a child isn't talking, and you need to try to get them to tell you what's happened, these activities can help accomplish that. The workbook format with fun, colorful pictures throughout are also a nice touch. This gives a child the ability to do the activities independently which is good for the intended range of ages 6 to 12.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Book Review: Baltimore

This is not my first foray into Mr. Golden's non-Buffy work. I've also read one of the Body of Evidence series titled Skin Deep. That was a young adult novel. Despite Mike Mignola's illustrations, which may make the title seem like it's intended for a younger audience, the first chapter lets the reader know clearly it is not. The scene opens on the battlefield, with the titular character, Henry Baltimore, leading his troops on a sneak attack against Hessian soldiers. The war itself is never really mentioned. It is only implied that this is all taking in the early 1900's. The first chapter does not go well for Baltimore, climaxing when he encounters something he initially thinks is a 'kite' (and referenced as such several times throughout the book, which I was into). After that, we don't see him really until the end of the story.

The true story really follows three friends of Baltimore; a doctor (who removed Baltimore's leg after the first chapter... yeah, I told you it wasn't good for him), a sailor he hung out with after parting ways with the doctor, and his childhood friend, who is presummably the last person Baltimore saw before disappearing. He has them all meet in a hotel bar to await his arrival. Each share stories of the last time they saw Baltimore, followed by their own personal experiences with the supernatural. Each of these stories (with the exception of one) was fascinating. The sailor speaks of his experience with some killer Marrionettes in what is revealed to be a ghost town. Maybe I'm just not scared of puppets, but the sailor's story didn't do it for me. I would have put a good succubus, or some sort of story of sexual woe... something the story lacks with a bunch of dudes. Plus, the sailor at 19 is decribed as kind of hot. You know some demon chippy would have wanted a piece of that.

The childhood friend (who is myteriously absent in decription for the early part of the book; I really thought he was going to be revealed as evil. He wasn't, and I was slightly disappointed) tells a tale of entering a city, seeing a plague-ridden ship, then noticing one of the 'kites' scurrying away. The novel slightly drags here, but this is the only other part that I wasn't truly entertained. Not only is Baltimore a good read; it's a book that has made me want to start reading true books again. Golden is a master and delving into horror and madness, and it's a thrilling ride to follow each of his characters every step of the way.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Month of Love

So February is finally here. It kind of makes me glad January is over. I lost my wallet and have to wait until the end of this month to get a new ID. Work has reached a new level of suck so that has been great. All in all, there's nowhere to really go but up. And there's nothing like spending Valentine's Day alone that makes me really want to kill myself.

At Kay's suggestion, I spent most of the evening with her doing a "roommate night." This is mostly just us cleaning the apartment together. I have promised to clean the bathroom once a month. I have to say, it really needs to happen once every two weeks. It doesn't get too gross, but... ick. It needs a good sprucing. I helped her sweep up and swiffer the rest, but I hate being watched while I clean. It's not why she wants to do it together; I think she wants to make it fun. But it's cleaning. I get stuffy from the chemicals and I'm in a bad mood. We got Chinese food. I paid for it, which is good, because I've been such a cheap-o lately. Anyway, I'm actually kind of looking forward to next month now. First Monday of every month, baby.

I guess there's some small notes for y'all:
-I resigned my lease with Kay this past weekend. Pending my firing or layoff (which kids, could actually happen! Yeah, work's been fun...) I will probably be staying in New York City until the end of February 2010.
-I am now actively looking for a new job. While that is no surprise if you have talked to me in the past few months, and while I will probably stay where I am given our economy and all, let me know if you hear of any library jobs in NYC.
-I am coming back to NH! For a week! At the end of this month! Exact dates are TBA, but I'm thinking of a Monday - Thursday scenario. Could be shorter 'cause of Tina. I really only need one day to get a new ID.

I guess that's not that many notes after all. I feel like there was more to tell you, I just probably forgot it all. It was a really nice day today. I hear it's supposed to snow tomorrow. Not looking forward to whenever it snows, mainly 'cause I've become a 'walker' again.

I've finally passed page 200 in The Survivors Club. This is good news, since LibraryThing, in its infinite and random algorithmy wisdom has decided to give me a new book to review for February. I'll give you more details on the new book later, but I'm hoping to finish SC sometime in the next week or so. Honestly, it's just so big :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Whisper Quiet

So, on top of all the wallet drama, my television decided to break randomly. I loved that effing television. I bought it before I moved to Boston even though I really couldn't afford it, brought it home with me when I finally finished school and moved back to NH, then brought it with me when I moved to New York. It's been with me for 3 states; the only 3 states I've ever lived in for extended periods of time. R.I.P. crappy DVD/VHS combo TV from Best Buy. I think you died because my roommate watched you too much.

Anyway, my apartment is much quieter now. That's something I actually enjoy, seeing as how Ms Roommate really loves cranking up the TV volume in the morning when she's getting her Today show on. Which wouldn't be annoying, except she thinks the Today show is an actual credible source of information. She quotes it. It's this whole thing. It kind of makes you hate morning television, and maybe even talk shows in general. Okay, maybe not every talk show. I still love you, Oprah.

It's my day off, and without the screaming sounds of my television to wake me up, and even though I somehow went to bed late (okay, I was catching up on 90210, which is improving. Not Whorelips, but pretty much everyone else has gotten better)... I still got up at 6:30 AM. Something tells me I'm going to be cranky later today. My two main goals for the day? I have about 3/4 of a load of laundry to do and I really should get a haircut. Doesn't that sound like it's going to seriously cut into my day? I could also go to police precincts and see if my wallet is turned in, but I bet they probably like it if you call first.

I found out yesterday that I'm working on Sunday. It's not my usual overtime place; it's another one I applied for and didn't know I got. Until they told me to come in. On Sunday. Yesterday. I don't know why I'm complaining. It's not like I'm going anywhere with my no ID. I did get my first replacement credit card in the mail yesterday, so boo yeah. My passport is hopefully going to get updated, and I'm hoping to get a new birth certificate. I'm worried my letters weighed too much. We'll see. I hope this journey into my inner psyche has been worth it for you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Question of Identification

The unthinkable finally happened. While I was coming home after a late night out on Friday, my wallet fell unsuspectingly in the cab I was exiting. It was freezing outside, so I ran out of the yellow taxi pretty quick to avoid the cold weather. Despite this, once getting inside my apartment, I realized right away that my wallet was gone. Thus starts the long process that has taken over my life.

I canceled all my credit cards the day it happened. Thank goodness for 24/7 service. I had to wait until today to try and cancel my DD card and my MTA pass, and the MTA pass people... ick. They woman actually took a tone with me because I didn't leave a message the day it happened. Like, they really would have refunded me the money. Anyway, they're system was down, so they are the only people who I don't know about.

My license? I have to go back to NH for. I also need a birth certificate or a valid U.S. passport to get a new one. Right now, I have neither. My birth certificate, which is wallet sized, was in my wallet. My passport just expired in December 2008. Nashua will mail me a new birth certificate with $12.50 and some intimate financial records, while a new passport? Probably going to cost $70 to $100. Which I'm not crazy about, but should update as a back up.

I had to pick up a package Maso sent me today, and I used my college ID. That ended up working out, so let's hope I'm that lucky in the future. I'm planning on trying to take care of some of these factors on a trip to NH... which I'm taking the last week of February. That's over a month away. While I'm looking at this as a money-saving adventure for the next 3 paychecks, I must admit... I'm mad I did this to myself, and I'm surprised at how complicated all this stuff is. Once I get my new ID, I think I'm going to transfer it over to NY ID as soon as I can. That way, I won't have to trek back to NH next time.

I still haven't dealt with trying to replace my insurance cards. Other than contacting the human resources people at work, I'm not even really sure what to do. Contact the insurance people directly? I don't even know who to call. My life is so much fun right now.

So in conclusion, don't lose your wallet, kids. Even if it's that cold outside.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Some Kind of Wonderful

For the record, this is why I'm excited about working overtime shifts on Sunday. I get to work at this place:

I don't know if you guys have ever watched Bones, but the sassy boss who took over their office in the second season said something her first episode which struck me; she loved working the new, state-of-the-art materials. It was her main reason for taking the job. That's kind of why I love this room. It's brand new. State-of-the-Art. Pretty wonderful.

Shout out to LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. After not giving me any books for a few months (really since I started signing up for it), I finally got a new book; 'The Survivors Club' by Ben Sherwood. It's a nonfiction collection of stories of people who have survived different things in life. Out of the 3 books I've got so far, this is the one I'm probably most pumped to read. I have been reviewing them, and I guess they've updated the site to increase book chances for people who actually do their homework. I may post the review here... if you want.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Everybody Get Random

The title of our post comes from underrated pop superstar Lady Sovereign, who has since been forgotten and replaced by the more bold and entertaining Lady GaGa. When I make my pop star debut? I will be known as Lady Ryan. Lord only knows what my shelf life will be.

Get it? Shelf life? That's a little library humor there, just in case you thought I was veering off library-themed silliness.

After attending a Library Journal sponsored event pretty much all day, I was considering writing reviews for their fine publication. The only thing is... you have to like apply for it. And have sample reviews. That no doubt won't get published. I mean... I got a lot of free books today. I guess I could start reading and put them to good use. I was just really hoping they would give me books and I could just go. I've decided that, while I am muddling through my 'required reading' of YA fiction, if it was more like a homework assignment I would probably do better. For some reason, I just do better with deadlines. In grad school? I was usually even early. Just not with cataloging homework (wink wink, Lizzy).

Despite my melancholy woes over my job for the past few months, there are some positive things going on. Tomorrow night, I will have my second 'Anime Night' program which will hopefully be more popular than the first. This anime is much more G-rated than the first, so I'm going to let kids come even if they're younger. I also bought some Pokey, which is one of the few Japanese snacks I've tried and like, so I'm excited about that. Mainly 'cause I'm going to have some. Last week, I inventoried our gaming equipment which people have avoided touching since the majority of it was stolen before I started my job. I discovered all this stuff that we have, but do not use. So I put the word out, trying to find a good home. Turns out? Only took a day. Only one person interested. It's probably getting picked up next week. I also applied and got accepted into an all expenses paid Geneology course run through the ALA website (which retails for a little under $200, so it's nice it's free). The ironic part is I decided to not renew my ALA membership for the time being, seeing as how it's over $100 smackers and I'm not going to any conferences in the next year. All that, and I found out today I have two more overtime shifts; one in April, and one in May... which goes very nicely with the next one I have in March.

All that, and I got time off to go to the New York Comic Con. I'm telling everyone at work that it's for library freebies, but if you know me better- it's really to try to see that screening of the Bruce Timm 'Wonder Woman' movie and to try to rub elbows with Amber Benson again. Or really any part of her... that would be fine with me. Maybe I could just stroke her hair or something. I'm kind of excited about it, like a big nerd, so it's nice to have things to look forward to.

So yeah... I thought I would give you some hope. I'm going to bed tonight more content that I have been in awhile. I guess you just have to spend the day getting some free books, ya know?

Monday, January 12, 2009

What I've Learned

I've been dragged, kicking and screaming, through Florida's voting process, private school 'joy,' the King of Pop wedding the Princess of Rock, NPR, PBS, PMS, Barney and his little 'friends,' Veggie Tales From the Hood, rap music that gets more irritating and offensive, and a President who receives 74 standing ovations for a 48 minute speech that he didn't even write.

Now I'm speaking, but hold your applause. Maybe you won't clap when I get through. Maybe you'll listen to what I'm saying. It's not 'Anti-American' so don't throw me in jail. In fact, don't draft me, either. I don't wanna fight Osama. My gay cousin does, but you're not asking, so I won't tell. I'll tell you if you're an International Man of Mystery. Yeah, baby. Remember not to shake a baby, especially if you're an English visitor. Tea and accents are the only valued English import. We can't still Big Ben yet, but give us time. It's time to be patriotic because hundreds of people have died in a senseless act of hatred. Buy your flag, support the economy. Remember, it's only legal to pay for it in Vegas, otherwise you're screwed.

We're probably all screwed anyway. If our President can't learn the big words, then who can? Let's clap for him anyway, whether he's making sense or not. A bitter Democrat is a frightening thing. You don't want to see me in the morning. Especially before coffee. I've got my caffeine buzz going, but what have I learned now that I didn't know then? A little cologne goes a long way and deodorant makes all the difference. I've learned that even if she dies twice, Buffy is still going to be somewhere kicking ass. I've learning those Nike commercials were right: I should just do it. After all is said and done, Britney Spears is not a role model for prepubescent girls.

Most of all, I've learning that my small voice among the many can make all the difference.