Friday, May 22, 2009

lighter notes

Sea of Love by Jamie Ponti
The formula for a teen romantic comedy book (only slightly more complex than a teen romantic comedy movie, frankly) seems to be -- girl's parent(s) move to a remote and interesting place (or alternately, girl goes for the summer to an interesting place) and meets a guy very different from her norm. She isn't sure about it, then is sure about it, then suddenly a boy from her past reappears to ruin everything with his sudden interest in her again, then everything works out for the best in the end. Sea of Love is set at a small Florida coastal tourist hotel which Darby's parents buy after leaving their Wall Street jobs in New York City. The story takes place in the off season, and everything else follows the formula mentioned above. That said, the writing was witty and made me laugh frequently. A book can have a lot more good lines of dialogue than a movie, and more "good moments" as well.
236 fluffly pages

I also read The Perfect Waltz by Anne Gracie, who is a wonderful and witty Regency Romance author that a library customer recommended to me a few months ago. 341 pages.

too heavy

I'm giving up on Billie Letts "Made in the U.S.A." After the teenage girl and her elementary school age brother ran away to find their father, who died in prison, and are stranded in Las Vegas, she turns to modeling for child porn photos to pay for illegal paperwork so she can work while they live out of their car. After she is raped while working as a hotel maid, she starts snorting coke, needs more money to get an apartment so her brother can attend a really nice grade school, and so is about to star in a porn movie for a very smooth man who "helps" her. This is where I am stopping. It seems unlikely that things will get better right away, and this story is way too intense for me right now, especially on audiobook where I can't skip ahead. The only bright spot is that there is someone who is watching over the two kids and leaving them little presents, an apple, a flashlight, a note about where the local shelters serve food, and I am going to have to just imagine a happily ever after ending involving a fairy godmother....
I listened to 4 hours out of about 9.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Sound and the Fury

I read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner for Lit with Lunch this month. I really liked it, even though it was one of the more challenging books I've read, ever. I loved the wikipedia summaries of each section, both because they helped me figure out what in the world was going on and because they offered such helpful encouragement. This was a statement about section one: "Readers often report trouble understanding this portion of the novel due to its impressionistic language, necessitated by Benjamin's retardation, and its frequent shifts in time and setting." This was a statement about section two: "While many first-time readers report Benjy's section as being difficult to understand, these same readers often find Quentin's section to be near impossible." Luckily, section three is hard to read only because the narrator, Jason, is a big jerk. And section four is not told in the first person and is more like a traditional novel, although all of the sections before it are present in the reader's mind, shaping the perceptions in this section.
Reading a book about dysfunctional families and the complexities of family relationships right around my own dysfunctional mother's day was an experience all-it's own.
It is unlikely I would re-read this book for fun, but it is an experience I will appreciate and reflect upon in the future.
321 pages.

B is for Beer

As a long-time Tom Robbins fan, I will happily read whatever outlandish adventure he cares to write. His new book, B is for Beer advertises itself as “A Children’s Book for Grown-ups” and “A Grown-up Book for Children.” I tried reading it aloud to my young daughter with little success. Not enough lift-the-flap and pop-up illustrations to amuse the baby, although the occasional line drawing are lovely for adults. Robbins hints within the story that reading the book to a child might have gone better if I had already been drinking a nice cold one.
The characters includes a 6-year-old girl, Gracie Perkel, who idolizes her Uncle Moe. He is a part-time philosopher and full-time beer drinker who delights and disappoints those arond him in equal measures. Uncle Moe certainly appreciates Gracie’s free spirit more than her parents do. Her mom is distracted by grown-up concerns and her dad is focused on his career (and his secretary.) As Gracie learns more about the mysteries of life and beer, we are drawn along on a hilarous adventure through this world and into another.
Tom Robbins is one of those writers who can turn a phrase and make you laugh out loud at the most mundane observations. Even if you aren’t much of a beer-drinker, this short novel will still make you wish you could recapture that free-spirited imagination of childhood.
125 delightful pages

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

teen reads

Suite dreams by Rachel Hawthorne, 273 pages

Airhead by Meg Cabot -I'm listening, if I finish it will be 7 discs.

Seriously. a brain transplant princess and the pauper story. completely unbelievable yet sort of starting to by addictive for the snarky sarcastic narrator's voice (which is now coming out of the sexy lip-glossed mouth of a teen supermodel)

Friday, May 01, 2009

my first library patron

Upstairs in the cafe, I just ran into my first ever library patron from my first day on the job here at TSCPL almost 8 years ago. I have been priveleged to help this same gentleman several times over the years, and we have both remembered that he was the first customer I helped on that very first day here. (He was an audiobook listener at the time, but has since retired.)

Librarianship is a funny business. We protect people's privacy, their right to read, their individual choices, their reading history, but we also connect with them, learn about their preferences, their personalities, their histories.

I treasure the interactions I share with my customers. While libraries are often thought of as being about all about the stuff you can get, the human connection is still what makes us different from a free pile of books and movies.

And yes, I know this is completely nerdy. But someday when I am less enamored with my job, I'll re-read this and remember that patron, and feel better about the time I have spent here.