61 books added to Mt. Bookpile, thanks to ALA Midwinter. I've read four already... we'll see if I can finish the 57 others before ALA Annual!


Nakedly honest

I'm seeing more and more people respond to the 16 (or 25) Things Meme.

Most people, including me, have been listing relatively trivial items, with the occasional This Is Big comment. After all, as LizB says, "facebook & email may seem like private convos, but they are public", so we tend to keep the truth to ourselves. Except one friend...

Her honesty in her responses awed and humbled me.


The Interview Meme

The Restaurant Refugee invited readers to participate in a self-selecting meme (for the introverted among us!):
If you'd like to play along, just follow these instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. Be sure you link back to the original post.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

So, what did the RR ask me?

1. What advice would you give to our new president regarding revitalizing urban libraries? Money. I know that budgets for libraries are determined by municipalities, and that many are hurting for other, basic services so library budgets get cut. There needs to be a way to stop that, to make funding available for new materials, staffing, longer hours, etc.. QPL is slashing acquisitions in order to retain staff and maintain hours. We should not be forced to make that choice, Mr. President. Find a way to get money to the library systems that need it most.

2. You mentioned on your blog that you recently adopted another cat – a kitten, in fact. New kitten joined with other cats at your house. How many cats do you own and does it concern you that you may become the stereotypical "Cat Lady?" First of all, no one "owns" a cat. Counting Francis, three live with me now, and Greta visits on occasion (she lives in Brooklyn the rest of the time). So 3.5 would be the most correct answer. As for being a stereotypical Cat Lady, I'm starting to suspect the boat has sailed on that one!

3. If you were to view your life as a piece of software, what's your version number (i.e. LazyGal 2.6?) Good question... I'd have to say it's probably Lazygal 3.2 (Version 1 being childhood, Version 2 being adult life up until the move to school libraries). I'm thinking Lazygal 3.3 might be released in beta sometime soon, but you never know.

4. The first time I visited your blog it was to conduct research for this set of questions. I am sure that I barely scratched the surface of your more than six years of posts. What two posts do you wish that I had read? Professional post would have to be A New Mantra (and not just because Doug liked it!); it summarizes where my thinking is these days. Personal posts are more difficult... Psychic Kicking is certainly one, as is Finally: the photos.

5. Please describe your favorite email received since starting your blog. Bonus: describe your least favorite too. I don't get a lot of e-mail about the blog, so I'll respond about comments. I got a number of comments (since deleted) about this post from people involved in the case. Some were, well, disturbing. So that's the bad. The good was when Terry Teachout noticed my blog.


For my "namesake"

Expanding my social network

The other day, Sassy Librarian posted about "lifestreaming" and how she was now using storytlr. In the same day's blogreading, I read Walt's ragged preliminary thoughts on conversations and unhermiting.

Because I'm such a lazy gal and because I didn't want to do the work I brought home (some Book Fair preparation, some other stuff) or the work waiting at home (like, taxes and filing and cleaning), I started playing with both Storytlr and FriendFeed. All the things I'd like to import are now there, and there's little I need to do to maintain them.

There's a part of me that thinks that in a couple of weeks (or months) I'll be canceling both, along with my Twitter feed, Facebook page, and blogs. Sometimes, all this On Line Stuff is just overwhelming, isn't it?


Links Galore


Feeling sensitive

As you can see from my last post, I was feeling a little raw about what happened.

Thinking about it, I realized it's because I recently read a book that has caused me to not really want to read for a while. Not because this book was The Best Book Ever Written, or one that made me think Great Thoughts - far from it. This was a book I almost didn't finish (I finally forced myself to after about a week away from it), a book that was just - to me - bad. I am reading again, but something as far removed from the previous book as I can possibly make it.

I did review the Bad Book, and I'm ok with my opinion not meshing with others'. (For the record, A Confederacy of Dunces didn't rock my world either.) I've had authors comment on my reviews, and I appreciate those that allow me to disagree with them: reading is a personal act, and not every book appeals to every reader. What I don't appreciate are those authors that argue with me, that try to make me feel as though my opinion is wrong because it doesn't mesh with others or with their intent when they wrote the book.

Far worse, however, are books that make me feel cheated and make me not want to read any more.


Antidote to Lazy

Sometimes people think that I'm not really a lazy gal. Read this from Susan Pivan's blog:
I interviewed him for an article I’m writing for SELF magazine about how, according to Buddhist thought, being too busy, rather than a sign of success, is considered a sign of laziness. But how can being in-demand, committed, and loaded with responsibility be called lazy?! Because you’ve allowed your agenda to run you, not the other way around. ...
“Laziness,” David says, “is basically a lack of courage.” He describes being too busy and disorganized as a “pretty effective behavior to avoid the intensity of being alive. What you might find if you slow down is who you really are. (When you do,) you’re reminded of how magnificent you are.” Dramatic pause. “Are you ready to stand up to that?”
That's me. Too busy, too committed, too lazy.


Now this is just ugly

Young girl reviews book negatively. Author goes on offensive. (þ: Bookshelves of Doom)

I've had authors not like what I've said about their books. I've had readers not like what I write on my blog. And I've not liked books or blogposts I read. You know what? You put something out there, you open yourself to praise and condemnation. It's fine if you want to disagree with what you read or to defend your position, but to deny that someone's opinion is less than valid is just wrong.


Imponderables (frozen edition)

I could go on about the cold - but I know I'm not alone in feeling it. Lucky me, the house is tightly sealed and so it's comfortable inside.

Of course, like many others, I'm checking the forecast to see what today/tomorrow hold. I get that Accuweather and Weather Channel have different numbers and predictions and I usually figure the truth is somewhere in the middle.

What I don't get is how the actual temperature is -6 right now, but the "real feel" is 3. If this were summer, I would. But right now? When we're being told to stay indoors, to avoid being outside and to watch for frostbite and other cold-related injuries?



I recently needed to get gas for my car (not an uncommon occurrence). There's a "no-name" gas station that's on my way to/from work that I usually go to, particularly since they're about $.05-$.10 cheaper than the other stations, including the one across the street.

I paid $1.79... ish. Why ish? Because the price was $1.78 9/10. I don't get that.

First of all, why the 9/10? Have we ever paid 7/10 or 3/10?

Second, we always round down when we talk about gas prices. In another endeavor, .9 is rounded up, but not gas. So I tell people I've paid $1.78, when really I've paid almost $1.79.



Notable Quotes

Deliver me from timidity of spirit and from storminess...From all heedlessness in my behavior, deliver me O Lord.
St. Gertrude (þ: Kathleen Norris)


What kind of fool am I?

Those of you that know me in real life know that I'm not the flashiest of dressers - my hemlines are usually below the knee and my tops are not that tight-fitting. I wear glasses. My hair is usually in a bun. Sensible shoes are to be found on my feet. Thanks to my chronic fatigue, I'm one of those "early to bed" folks. I have almost 3000 books between The Collection and Mt. Bookpile. Let's not forget the cats.

In short, I could be considered the stereotypical librarian.

Today at MPOW, during breakfast, I started to hear about a tiny, lost kitten loose in the main building. By 8am, he was in a Have-a-Heart cage in my office. By 3:30, he was in my car, heading for the vet.

Frances needs to be quarantined for two weeks to check for rabies (I got bit a couple of times getting him into the cage), and he needs to be tested for FIV/FeLV. So until the 16th, he's not fully part of the family but...

What kind of fool am I? The kind that rescues an adorable 6-week-old kitten and prays that he soon gets to come cuddle with the boys.


Going slowly

One of my goals for this year is to be slower, more deliberate about things - life things and work things. Blogging is included, and the Slow Blog Manifesto says it best:
Slow Blogging is a willingness to remain silent amid the daily outrages and ecstasies that fill nothing more than single moments in time, switching between banality, crushing heartbreak and end-of-the-world psychotic glee in the mere space between headlines. The thing you wished you said in the moment last week can be said next month, or next year, and you’ll only look all the smarter.
I've noticed that my blog-pace has gotten slower over the years, so expect fewer (but more meaningful and thoughtful, I hope) posts in 2009.


The siren call of the Cybils...

As is my wont, I checked out the 2008 Cybils Shortlist. Hmmm....

Fantasy & Science Fiction - I read 5 of 10 nominees (two more are on Mt. Bookpile). Of those five, two really grabbed me (The Graveyard Book and The Hunger Games). Two of them I just couldn't get into, and one was "meh".

The other lists? I've read maybe five other books, total, and wasn't impressed with any of them. After my stellar year reading Children's/Young Adult books, what does that say about me, my taste or my reading?


The year in words

It's been an interesting year in words, methinks. Which words are in, out and overused say so much about our culture and our times.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word of the year is bailout (any guesses why?). The runners-up held no surprises, unlike in 2004. On the other hand, Lake Superior State University says "bailout" is on 2009's banished words list.

Britannica Blog takes on those words dropped from the Oxford Children's Dictionary. They do have a point:
But let’s think for a moment about how a child might actually use one. Would the average child of today be likely to look up “blog,” “chatroom,” “celebrity,” “voicemail,” “broadband,” “MP3 player,” or (in Britain and Europe) “Euro”? Adding these to the book, as Oxford has now done, is just the lexicographer’s (or, more likely, his marketing manager’s) way of saying “look how up-to-date, not to say hep, we are!” Dictionaries are more likely to be used to look up words with which one is unfamiliar, wouldn’t you have said? Words that a thoroughly modern child is less likely than his grandparents to have encountered, words like “ivy,” “goblin,” “sin,” “aisle,” “heather,” “empire,” “monarch,” “mistletoe,” “abbey,” “willow,” “chapel,” “bishop,” “devil,” or “marzipan.” All of the latter have been removed from the dictionary.
It's true, isn't it? I don't look up words I know, I look up words I don't know. Can't imagine children are any different!

Whichever words you choose to use (or not use), have a verbose 2009.


Year-end Reading Round-up

Counting down from last year's 3952 books left to read, I've got 3773 more books enjoy. 329 of them are sitting on Mt. Bookpile as I type!

What did I think about books I've read this past year? For lists, go here, here, here and here.

And here's the 2008 reading analysis (2007 numbers in parens):

number of books read in 2008: 180 (120)
best month: July - 29
worst month: April - 5
average read per month: 15 (10)
adult fiction as percentage of total: 6 (16)
children's/YA fiction as percentage of total: 65 (44)
mystery as percentage of total: 13 (25)
books read that were published in 2008: 77

180 books... not as good as Jandys, perhaps, but not shabby either. The sad thing is that I also added 131 to Mt. Bookpile. Oh well, there's always 2009!

Other Reading Round-ups:
Asking the Wrong Questions
Bookgirl's Nightstand
So Many Books
And many, many links at Semicolon

Notes from Mt. Bookpile

Children's/Young Adult:
Number removed from Mt. Bookpile this quarter: 35
Number added to Mt. Bookpile this quarter: 29
Net loss: 6
Status of Mt. Bookpike: 329 books to go!