Monthly Archives: February 2004

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April, I love you!

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Non-Book related post:

I don’t usually read Woman’s Day … but I was at my mom’s and sometimes that’s the most entertaining thing happening…and I found something kind of funny and interesting….apparently lay people are noticing the absolute hipness of librarians…and Woman’s Day is actually having a contest Be a Librarian for a Day!

Out of curiosity, I looked in the official rules to see if librarians could enter or not and I didn’t see anything there … silly, really to think any of us would do it for free! Then it wouldn’t be winning, it would be volunteering.*

To top it all off BUST magazine’s current issue has a feature article on Librarians. I haven’t read it yet (I just got it today!) so I can’t comment but the idea makes me tingle all over. From the cover-> “Baby Got Book: librarians-could they be the new ‘it’ girls?”

*I am not against volunteer work.

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I just finished Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. I’m so happy to say that I have a new fantasy book that I can recommend to the little people. I mean young patrons at the library, not actual little people. Anyway, Cimorene is a young princess who is not satisfied with her life at the palace. She is tired of classes in manners and embroidery and the refined things a princess needs to know. She would rather learn cooking and fencing and magic and economics. Running away and becoming the princess of a very powerful dragon, Kazul, suits her just fine. If only all those darn princes would quit trying to rescue her…

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I’m reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It’s a great book! Here’s the premise: a 16-year-old boy, Pi Patel, who practices Christianity, Hinduism and Islam, emigrates to North America on a cargo ship with his mother, father, brother and the animals formerly of the Indian zoo where his father was zookeeper. The ship capsizes, and all are lost save Pi, a wounded zebra, an orangutan, a spotted hyena, and a fearsome 450-lb. Royal Bengal tiger, who take up temporary residence on an eight-foot-wide, 26-foot-long lifeboat. Soon only Pi and the tiger are left. How he manages to stave off becoming meal fodder while surviving adrift at sea for a long period of time occupies the majority of the book. I am a person who can only take so many Gary Paulsen adventure-type stories. However, I can’t put this book down, cutting into my prized sleep time to steal just a few more moments each day with Pi and Richard Parker (the tiger, an unfortunate victim of a paperwork snafu saddling him with such a name). Aside from the adventure component (which, given the presence of a hyena and a tiger, plus the necessity of eating whatever comes to hand, can get a bit graphic), there are thoughtful treatises on the treatment of zoo animals and the merits of each of Pi’s three chosen religions, all seasoned with Indian sensibility and humour, and a twist at the end that upends everything you thought you had learned about the book while reading it.

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I adored that book too, April. I’ve already used my massive powers of persuasion to get the YA Book Group at my library to read it for next month. I’m about halfway through Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart, which is good but hasn’t really grabbed me yet. It is picking up though so maybe in another hundred pages I’ll be hooked. Did I mention it’s 500+ pages long? Other recent reads are Pictures of Hollis Woods and Olivia Kidney, both of which I liked and Dillon Dillon and Olive’s Ocean, neither of which did much for me. Oh well, you can’t please everyone.

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I absolutely LOVE The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau! This book is brilliant! I honestly couldn’t put it down. I ate my breakfast reading this book and just put my Saturday on hold until I finished. The story is so intriguing and original and I kept thinking of all the different ways it could end but I love Du Prau’s vision … hope without wrapping it all up in a neat package. I could live the rest of my life with just my idea of what happens next in my imagination but apparently there will be a sequel and when it comes out it will be on the top of my “to read” list. Here is just a little synopsis from the summary:

“In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions.”

But the story is really so much more …. well developed and interesting characters, lots of mystery and intrigue … so wonderful… my only problem is that I won’t be back to work until Tuesday and I am just dying to give it to someone else to read!

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Lily B. on the Brink of Cool by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel was disappointing to me. I loved the jacket and the premise of the story, but when it came down to the actual reading of the book, I wasn’t impressed. Anyone else on this one?

Recently read a couple of great picture books:

Mary Had a Little Ham by Margie Palatini

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-To-Be by Mini Grey (!!)

Bad Boys by Margie Palatini

Yesterday I had the Blues by Jeron Ashford Frame

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I was trying to avoid Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar but the library peeps wanted it so I finally ordered it. I figured I should give it a chance and read it for myself. On the back it says something like “Sex and the City for the younger set” but I found it more like Hollywood Wives featuring teen agers. It’s not so much the drugs, drinking, and sex that bothered me about this book (since I love books like The Perks of Being A Wallflower )…it’s that there are few redeeming qualitites about these kids. All the guy characters made me think of Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink. The kids who I do like are really on the outside fringes of these rich, spoiled teens. I guess I like the format of the book…the idea of a gossip website which is the basis for the book…it’s original and contemporary, but I don’t think that’s what’s appealing to kids… I read Hollywood Wives as a teenager and part of the thrill was the forbidden nature of it all … it was also completely unrelatable to me … but with Gossip Girl I wonder…. is it too close to home for some kids to even be intriguing or thrilling … what do the real-life rich, spoiled kids read when they want something “naughty”?

I have to admit though….days after finishing it I came across the 3rd one in the series, a patron had returned it here from another library, and I was drawn to it…reading the back cover then putting it down…then walking by it later and reading the first page … if it had been the 2nd book I’m pretty sure I would have read it… are these books like heroin? I know it’s bad for me but I can’t stop!

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Just finished reading Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. I’m still stunned by the way Dessen was able to penetrate the mind of a physical abuse victim. She really conveyed to the reader why the victim would stay with the abuser. This book takes a really complicated and heartbreaking issue and makes it real…almost too real. I was so taken with all of the characters, especially close friends of the family, Boo and Stewart.