30.7.07

View from Mt. Bookpile

Over the past few weeks, I've entered all (I think) of the books on Mt. Bookpile in my Good Reads account: (also found in the sidebar)

So now you can go and be amazed at what I haven't read (yet), sneer at some of what I want to read, and generally talk amongst yourselves. Yes, that's 347 to be read books. Some were gifts, some are ARCs, some arrived last month and some arrived years ago... all patiently waiting for their turn in the Currently Reading pile.

Two things:
  • First, while I love my TRP friends, we've had a difficult time creating and sustaining discussion; Good Reads (I hope) will be a better site for that. Still, if you're a reader and you're looking for a like-minded group, come on and join us there!
  • Anyone got a great way to get through the list? I told Thing One that I needed about six months of just reading to make a serious dent (somehow, he didn't seem to want to contribute to that cause!). Since that's not likely, I'm thinking of culling for the quick, easy, read two (or more) in a day reads. Other suggestions greatly appreciated.

Finally, when you see my quarterly updates, you'll also be getting the number of books moving from Mt. Bookpile to The Collection as well as the number added to Mt. Bookpile. And friends, while I love getting new books, please: use your imagination and get me something else... at least until I'm under 200 on that "shelf"...

Notable Quotes

A personal library is the physical version of a bibliography or ‘for further reading’ section in something you’ve published; some books are there because you actually used them, some are there because everyone else thinks they should be there, and some are there because your friends wrote them.
Off the Shelf, Scott McLemee

28.7.07

Late Night Reading

Those that know me know that I'm very much "early to bed, early to rise" (like, 8pm and 4:30am). Last night, though... I was reading a book and didn't want to sleep before I finished it. Now, there was a lonnnng phone call from Thing Two as I was racing to finish, so you'd think I'd have just put it aside for the night and gone to sleep. Nope. I stayed up until 10 finishing it.

What book? Sick Girl by Amy Silverstein. It's an autobiography of what it was like to have a "bad" heart and then a heart transplant at age 25, as well as surviving 17 years with the transplant. According to the blurb, they're comparing this to Girl, Interrupted but... I think it's not quite in the same class. For one thing, there won't be a movie out of it. For another, her fight is so difficult (and she's not afraid to make herself appear unlikable) that it'll hurt seeing it. My biggest problem was when my heart raced and I had to talk myself down from "I have what she had"-itis.

Definitely a pre-order for all ya'll.

26.7.07

Heretical thinking

Today, on LM_NET, a message linked to this post. Suddenly, any numbers of knickers are in a serious twist.

What utter nonsense.

So there's a list of Bestselling Children's Books (since 2000 - so why the outcry just now?). Big deal. There are also lists for:
Hardcover Fiction
Hardcover Nonfiction
Hardcover Advice
Paperback Fiction
Paperback Nonfiction
Paperback Advice

Some see this as ghettoization. Some see it as somehow lessening the importance of children's books - adults won't get to hear about them.

I think the more lists, the merrier. Really: what about a list for mysteries, or sci fi? Think about it: the top seller in one or the other category might never be heard of if everything's subsumed into one list. Just look at what was tops last week (pre-HP):

The Wandmaker's Guidebook, by Ed Masessa.
Fancy Nancy, by Jane O’Connor.
Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy, by Jane O’Connor.
Flotsam, by David Wiesner.
Bad Dog, Marley!, by John Grogan.
Dog, by Matthew Van Fleet.
Pirates Don't Change Diapers, by Melinda Long.
The Lost Files of Nancy Drew, by Carolyn Keene.
Library Lion, by Michelle Knudsen.
The Wizard, by Jack Prelutsky.

CHAPTER BOOKS
New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney.
Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr.
Alchemyst, by Michael Scott.
Marley, by John Grogan.
Specials, by Scott Westerfeld.
Warriors Field Guide, by Erin Hunter.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, written and illustrated by Brian Selznick.
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.
Summer Ball, by Mike Lupica.

PAPERBACK BOOKS
Sealed with a Diss, by Lisi Harrison.
Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer.
Mugglenet.com's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7, by Ben Schoen et al.
Eldest, by Christopher Paolini.
Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale.
Transformers: The Junior Novel, by S. G. Wilkens.
It's Not Easy Being Mean, by Lisi Harrison.
Unforgettable, by Cecily von Ziegesar.
Disney-Pixar's Ratatouille, by Kitty Richards.
Nancy Drew, by Daniela Burr.

SERIES BOOKS
Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan.
Junie B., First Grader, by Barbara Park.
Ranger's Apprentice, by John Flanagan.
Maximum Ride, by James Patterson.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares
Magic Tree House, by Mary Pope Osborne
Charlie Bone, by Jenny Nimmo
Pendragon
, by D. J. MacHale
Confessions of Georgia Nicholson, by Louise Rennison

So, how many would you have heard of otherwise?



Thought so.

25.7.07

Imponderables

We're checking in all the summer books - over 2,000 of them, on four different purchase orders. That's a lot of books. They need to be checked off on the original order and then the packing slip.

So, one shipment from one PO is 18 boxes. Where, in that 18 boxes, do you think you'd find the packing slip? If you guessed Box 1 or Box 18, you'd be wrong. Box 11. No kidding.

23.7.07

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

Hate me because I read HP7 in five hours. I'll not comment publicly on what I thought but... let's just say I'm glad I'm moving on to other reads.

20.7.07

Links Galore

Harry Potter Edition

Not that I'm cynical but,

we're really delaying the voting system overhaul because we're waiting for Republican votes in Congress? Please.

The reason we're delaying it is because the Democrats took back the House and Senate and they're leery of doing anything to upset any apple carts. If we were serious about correcting the Mistake of 2000, we'd have had a national referendum on the Electoral College by now. It wasn't just the machines, it was the system. Which has never worked perfectly (how many dead people voted for LBJ? probably about as many as have summer/winter homes and voted in at least one state as an absentee).

All the delay is just posturing. Let's admit the truth: no one, in Congress or in state legislatures, wants change.

17.7.07

Generation Jones?

Apparently, that's "my" generation: those born between '54-'65. We're not boomers (although most demographers say we are) nor are we GenX (thank all the gods for that). Still, in terms of "modern" communications (text, IM, blogs), apparently I'm in GenX. On the other hand, according to this quiz, so are my parents, born before the boom. (þ : Brazen Careerist)

13.7.07

Links Galore

Partially misunderstood

In My Biases I say:
Evil does exist. Hitler and Stalin may have been the most recent examples of evil leadership; comparing current politicians to either dilutes the meaning of the word and anesthetizes us to the true thing.
Today, I received a comment that says
Most recent examples? You discount Pol Pot, Mao, Kim (pere et fils), Saddam, Milosevic, etc., etc.? How very forgiving and liberal of you!
BrianFH is correct: these are more recent examples of evil leaders. However, I'm not "forgiving" them in the slightest. I'm talking about our habit of referring to US leaders as "Hitler" or "Nazis" or using it for a quick laugh in popular movies/tv (the Soup Nazi - a character I've never seen but have heard about because of the popular ubiquity of Seinfeld - is an example, here and here are political examples). It cheapens the actual horror of what evil they did (I've never heard anyone in politics or popular culture referred to as "another Pol Pot/Milosevic/Mao" - have you?).

Yes, those men were evil, akin to Hitler and Stalin. And yes, they are/were more current examples. But my statement was about diluting the brand (if you will), not about forgiving their crimes. There is evil in this world still: in Darfur is one egregious example. But let's not call something "the next Darfur" unless we really mean it.

10.7.07

95o in the shade

No kidding. That's what the thermometer read in the library today. Because it's a huge, two-story open space, there's no air conditioning. And because we're still doing inventory, we have to be there instead of in the cooler workroom.

Excuse me while I melt...

9.7.07

Phone rings... door chimes...

We've got Company. The show, that is. Several weeks ago, I went to see the "new, updated" Company with some friends. I love Sondheim, and I enjoyed John Doyle's recreation of Sweeney Todd (so did Thing Two, which is a major miracle since he's completely, totally, unabashedly anti-Broadway). So... what's not to love?

This production.

First, the book is horrible. Always has been. It's bad lounge patter in between some great songs. The lead-up to "Ladies Who Lunch"? Please. Completely unbelievable. If you've seen the show before (I saw the 1995 Roundabout revival), you don't need to see it again unless it's got a great star or great director: you can live with just hearing the sound recording.

Second, the direction. I totally bought the cast-as-orchestra during Sweeney. It added something to the show, made it very different from the two productions I'd seen before. But here? Nope. Didn't work. It detracted from the songs (particularly when someone is trying to play and sing at the same time), and just was... messy. Unlike with Sweeney, where it was more in the background.

I found it interesting that two of my Big Broadway friends fell on opposite sides of the like/dislike discussion. One totally bought into the concept and loved the production, the other didn't. Like me, the book was too problematic and the staging to chaotic for her. The show has closed now (it was open when I started this review, but then I put it into DRAFT and then forgot about it), but the cast album lives on.

Get that. Raul Esparza is wonderful, and Barbara Walsh does a good job making you forget Elaine Stritch's performance (I liked her waaay back when, in Big, and still remember her "Stop, Time" number).

Notable Quotes

He said that there are three kinds of history. The first is what really happened, and that is forever lost. The second is what most people thought happened, and we can recover that with assiduous effort. The third is what the people in power wanted the future to think happened, and that is 90 percent of the history in books

5.7.07

Just what I need to start a busy day

Ken Jennings is having way too much fun with his blog.

Good advice

Terry, in responding to a meme, says this about criticism:
Always treat artists with respect. Most of them know how to do something you can't do.

Don't be afraid to be wrong.

Don't be afraid to be enthusiastic!
I think that can stand for authors, too. While I may not like a book, I have no where near the imagination required to create one, either. At least, not fiction.

3.7.07

Too much of a good thing

Lots to post (about ALA, a show I saw, books I'm reading) but not enough time until this weekend - massive project on at MPOW.

Did want to talk a little about this headline: Bush Spares Libby 30-Month Jail Term (NYTimes - other takes here) Leaving aside the ramifications for the Bush administration, the crime involved or any other political discussion, I want to talk about Loyalty. It's something we teach our students (or children, depending): stay loyal to your friends, to your team, to your family. Loyalty is a good thing, it's the right thing. It's not going to a July 4th party with one friend because you'd said you'd go to a bridal shower for another; it's believing in, and standing up for, them, even when it's not popular or convenient. It's not dating your best friend's ex. It's the Spartacus moment in a relationship.

What's interesting to me is that Bush has loyalty - in spades. He's consistently supported and backed "his" people, unlike Clinton, who made a habit of distancing himself immediately when things got rough. We should be admiring Bush's ability and willingness to stand by people that he feels loyal to; instead we denigrate him for not knowing when to dump them or throw them to the wolves.

Sometimes I think that between the two presidential styles lies the ideal. Or does it? Should we ever teach our children that political (or financial, or romantic) expediency is better than loyalty?

1.7.07

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Only 14 books! Can't even use the move as an excuse...

Children's/Young Adult
  • Lady Friday, Garth Nix Five keys down, two to go: will Arthur get to remain a human or not?
  • Puddlejumpers, Jean, Mark Jean So new, there's not even a mention of it on Amazon! Not a bad mix between Dave at Night and the changling-child who saves a world genre. Look for it in 2008.
Fiction/Literature
  • A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon Good follow-up to Curious Incident. Haddon knows how to make you feel that you're inside that person's head - first with autism, now with depression
  • Changing Places, David Lodge Definite period piece and somewhat distasteful to today's ears. Possibly better read during the Swinging Sixties
Mystery
  • The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear, Jasper Fforde 'Nuff said.
  • Dust, Martha Grimes I've said it before: she's pulled the series out of a slump (mostly by avoiding the Long Pud characters)
  • Ghostwalk, Rebecca Stott Good blend of today/yesterday, with some interesting science thrown in. Plus, it's set in Cambridge. How wrong can you go?
  • Kept, D. J. Taylor A bit long and drawn out. More Jane Eyre meets Harlequin meets Dickens than anything else.
  • Past Perfect, Susan Isaacs My first Isaacs and probably my last.
  • The Various Haunts of Men, Susan Hill A series to keep a look out for; not for the cozy lover!
Non-Fiction