Thursday, November 29, 2007

cross my heart and hope to spy

Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter is the sequel to the equally fun and funny "I'd Tell you I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You". In both stories, Cammie is a typical teenager girl, except that her mom is the headmistress at a school for girl spies and Cammie is a student there. Highly recommended, especially on audiobook.
I listened to it, 7 hours.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shh! Don't tell Colin!

It's a rhino! I failed to find any crocheted-rhinocerous toy patterns, so I had to make it up as I went along, referring frequently to the google images pages of rhinocerous photos to try to get as many features right as I could. I'm especially proud of the little pot belly, which was inspired by my cat's snuggly girth. He turned out so cute that I can't bear to gift wrap him yet. For now he is living on top of our stereo speaker, safe from the inquisitive, yarn-loving and destructive cats.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Paintings of You by Mia Paluzzi and Chris Delk

Claude’s paintings are realistic but completely devoid of emotion. At his new art school, he meets Ben, a photographer who takes amazing pictures. Claude likes Ben and he thinks Ben likes him too. But everyone is trying to set up Claude and Beatrice. Beatrice is a nice girl, but Claude accidentally offended her when they were introduced. Ben is teaching Clause to improve his paintings, but can he teach him about love as well?
Telling a story about art through a graphic novel format seems like a natural fit, especially in the hands of Mia Paluzzi and Chris Delk. They create fun and flamboyant roommates and add love triangles wherever possible! I love the “guest art” section in the back of the book where other artists drew portraits of Claude and Ben. I was glad to discover that the publisher, Iris Print, features more graphic novels and short fiction with gay characters at This is a highly enjoyable story that will appeal to manga romance readers!
200 pages. I read it twice it was so darn cute!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

tank you very much

so I was walking someone over to pick up an item and i said something about liking audiobooks....and then it went somethign like this:

patron:i spent a lot of time rolling around in tanks listening to books when i was younger.
me: in a tank?
patron: well, yeah, i was a tank commander.
me: I'm gonna see tanks in a whole new way now.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Miranda Priestly is a truly awesome and horrible character in literature. I could do without pretty much every other part of this book, but she is completely memorable. Thank goodness I've never known a boss like her!
I skimmed it for book group 359 pages, although the New York Times Book review by Janet Maslin and a follow up review in the National Review expand the gossipy undertones of the story nicely. (and OF COURSE it's better than the movie version, duh.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica

I tried out a children's audiobook with a cute picture of a girl and a basketball on a park bench.
Even though it was a sports book by Mike Lupica, who I recognized as a boy-author.
It's written sort of like a romance novel except about family love and about a father and a daughter. That sounded creepy, but it was a good book.
So, the story is, twelve year old Molly Parker moved back to Boston with her mom, who was dying of cancer. She lives with family friends, but wants to meet her dad, who according to her mom's letters is the Boston Celtics NBA star Josh Cameron. Molly and her friend Sam Bloom keep finding ways to run into the basketball star but when Molly confronts him, he denies that he could be her father. When he comes back to make amends (he is dragged by his assistant) Molly refuses a paternity test, because she wants him to want her for who she is, not because a test tells him he has to be her dad.
A well written, interesting and engaging story - the back recommends it for ages 10-14.

I listened to it - 6 hours.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Nanowrimo has been strictly required reading only.
I read "Jane Austen" by Carol Shields to prepare for the first Jane Austen Book Club introductory session. 185 pages. And I read To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf for Lit with Lunch today. 236 pages.
Both enjoyable, and several biographical things in common for Jane and Virginia, particularly fathers who turned their daughters loose in well stocked libraries and encouraged them to read widely!
The copy I had from our library had extensive pencil notes in the margins, which I actually loved. It was like reading an annotated edition, with parts pertaining to character and themes marked lightly. :)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Nanowrimo progress: or, why I'm not reading anything right now

This widget would be so much cooler if only my word count was higher.

Friday, November 02, 2007

nanowrimo day 1

So, I've started two novels.
One has 3500 words and begins "Molly Brandon flipped up the front of her sweater, flashing her new black bra for her boyfriend."
The second one has like 80 words and begins "Mekia Janelle Vincent sat alone in the front row ofthe funeral parlor."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Celebrate the Book workshop

Blogging for yourself or your library
· the software is easy
· the writing is personal
· the focus is up to you

A presentation for Celebrate the Book, November 2, 2007

What is a blog? And why are they so popular?
From Blogging 101 By Sandi Hardmeier Published: February 24, 2006

What makes a good blog? a popular blog? a readable blog?
200 Blog Review Questions by Easton Ellsworth October 30, 2007

Popular blog hosts

Examples of book/reading/library/librarian/bookseller blogs
Librarians and/or readers informally tracking what they read
Lissa Reads -
st. louis library girl -
So Many Books: the agony and ecstasy of a reading life -
50 Books One woman. One year. Countless distractions. -

Librarians and libraries supporting book groups through blogs
Genre X: Twenties and Thirties- from Oak Park, Illinois
Intersections - is a book discussion group for librarians, focused on emerging trends in the intersection of society, libraries, and technology.

Librarians and libraries posting book reviews through blogs
Blogging for a Good Book - from Williamsburg Regional Library, Virginia

Librarians and libraries posting Library News, Reviews and Events
Papercuts - at Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
Graffiti - for teens at Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

Bookstore blogs -

People blogging about books
The Millions - “there is a concrete number of books that you or I will be able to read in our lifetime”

Book themed blogs that collect and comment on other book news

Bookslut -

Video blogging and video book reviews
These videos were all created by Lissa Staley and friends for the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. For more uses of videos in libraries, search video host sites like for keywords like libraries or books. New videos are created and added constantly!
The following videos are all available from
Video Book Reviews
What if Barbie had a book group?
The Eyre Affair: Video Book Review
60 second video book review: life on the refrigerator door

Books on hold

So, Nanowrimo starts today, which means i should probably make note of the things that I have read (at least partway) in case I don't get much reading done this month....
Due to distractions (read... world of warcraft and network tv), I haven't been doing as much reading as normal. (plus some medicine that made me sleepy all of October pretty much)

I'm still only about halfway through the new Nick Hornby - SLAM, which is about a teenage London boy who's girlfriend turns up pregnant. It's classic male confessional, and also has a nice skateboarding undercurrent. Although I am increasingly removed from the teenage fanclub, I do remember what it's like to talk to the posters on the wall when no one else will listen, and get back lines from favorite books in response.

The spouse and I were reading the new Douglas Coupland - the Gum Thief - out loud to each other. We got about halfway and then have been questing together in the Outlands of WoW instead. But I do want to get back to this bizarre story of a youngish girl and middle agish man and their communication through a notebook. And of course there is always the story within a story - GLOVE POND!

I have been reading.skimming.studying writing books like crazy --
101 best scenes ever written: a romp through literature for writers and readers by Barnaby Conrad
Growing great characters from the ground up: a thorough primer for writers of fiction and nonfiction
Hooked: write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go by Les Edgerton
The scene book: a primer for the fiction writer by Sandra Scofield
Writing the popular novel: a comprehensive guide to crafting fiction that sells by Loren Estleman
Writing tools: 50 essential strategies for every writer by Roy Clark
All to get ideas for November and refresh my brain on techniques and strategies for writing fiction (and quickly!)

I also re-read most of Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier for book group last Sunday. What a masterpiece. I love that book. Frieda found the perfect place for the new ending, at the end of the third-to-last chapter, where the book could be a happily ever after instead of a tragedy. What I love most about discussion books is that they are forever enriched by the things that my friends add to them through our conversations. And reading a war book, any war book, during a war just makes the experience and your own relationship to it that much more significant.

I also listened to most of the audiobook "I am the Messenger" by Markus Zusak - very different from my normal choices - but also not - a young Australian man, I think he is 19, works as a cab driver and stops a bank robbery, then starts receiving playing cards and cryptic messages in the mail. When he doesn't follow through on them, he gets threatening phone calls and visits. His friends don't understand. Great memorable characters though, especially the people he must visit as part of his duties. I hope to get back to this one someday.