Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lost and Found

Lost and Found Lost and Found by Andrew Clements

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

Identical twins Jay Ray and Ray Jay have spent twelve years being mistaken for each other. On the first day of school in their new town, Ray stays home sick while Jay goes to his classes and discovers that due to a clerical error, the school doesn't know he's a twin. The boys decide to take advantage of this and find out what it feels like to be a unique individual for a change. It's fun at first, but their plan has some unexpected challenges.

I enjoyed the peek into the world of twelve-year-old boys. It was a fun, quick read. Frindle is still my favorite, but this is fun, too.

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The Lost Duke of Wyndham

The Lost Duke of Wyndham (Two Dukes of Wyndham, Book #1) The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read book #1 after I read book #2 (Mr Cavendish, I Presume), and maybe it's because I already knew the basic story overview, but I liked book #1 better. The heroine seemed a little more mature, a little funnier. It was the perfect book to read while curled up on my couch during a snowstorm.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Moon

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

My review

rating: 3 1/2 of 5 stars

Whew! I finished it! Now on to the next one...

New Moon wasn't quite as good as Twilight, largely because I got irritated with Bella for ever believing Edward didn't love her and for not figuring out MUCH sooner what was going on with Jacob. But it was still an engrossing, fast-paced, couldn't-put-it-down read. Obviously the second in a series, since the end of the book left so many things unfinished.

I think my most favorite part of the novel was the way Stephenie Meyer showed the passage of time in the months after the Cullens left. I really felt and understood Bella's pain, even as I disagreed with her logic and actions.

Bring on Eclipse!

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

Riveting. That is the best description I can come up with. I felt immersed in the story, in the pain felt by the main characters. It's a beyond-the-grave story of a teenage girl explaining how she came to commit suicide and the 13 people who unwittingly did (or did not do) things that contributed to her decision. Reading it felt like watching a Titanic movie--you KNOW how it's going to end, and yet you are hoping so very very hard that somehow THIS time things will go differently.

The book is filled with the angst of teenagers: very real pain and yet lacking the perspective that comes with age & outliving high school. Full of so many of the decisions of youth, especially the bad ones that seem good or harmless at the time.

I especially liked the structure of the story, how Jay Asher writes it as almost a dialogue between Hannah's voice on the cassettes and Clay's thoughts and interactions with the (living) world.

There are definitely some sexual themes, though, so I would recommend it for high school age or older rather than middle schoolers.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Quantum Wellness

Quantum Wellness: A Transformative Guide to Health, Happiness and a Better World Quantum Wellness: A Transformative Guide to Health, Happiness and a Better World by Kathy Freston

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd give this book three and a half or even four stars for readers who are just starting out on their journeys to health. It meshes well with what I've learned about meditation and with what other Oprah guests have said (people like Eckhart Tolle, Dr Oz, Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra, and so on): live mindfully and increase your awareness to what is happening within and without, "leaning into wellness." I greatly appreciate how Kathy Freston breaks healing down into "The Eight Pillars of Wellness"--meditation, visualization, fun activities, conscious eating, exercise, self-work, spiritual practice, and service--and then further breaks those down into activities to try. She encourages readers to make conscious choices to be healthier in body, mind, spirit, environment, community, and the world.

The part I resisted the most was in the chapters on food. I already eat a very healthy diet, so that wasn't a problem. However, Kathy is very passionate about being vegan, and I am really not there yet. It didn't help to be reading this section while eating my lunch which included chunks of chicken. I completely agree that the appalling conditions under which most food animals are raised are unacceptable and must be stopped already! But I KNOW where most of my eggs come from, and those chickens are quite pampered, so I have no plans to turn vegan just yet. Lean into vegetarianism, maybe, but not veganism. Besides, quite a few of the meal plans & recipes she includes in the appendix are foods/ingredients I can't eat because they contain gluten. (And some because I just don't like them and/or they are impractical to prepare in my circumstances.)

Overall, though, I enjoyed the book and do recommend it.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume (Two Dukes of Wyndham, Book #2) Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent romance novel! Entertaining, a good story, and part of a series. I'm not sure how I missed the first book in the series (The Lost Duke of Wyndham), but all through this one, I kept thinking, "She must be planning another book featuring Grace Eversleigh because it seems like there's a whole 'nother story here." Turns out, yes, Julia Quinn wrote Grace's story first! (Both novels are about a dispossessed duke.) And since Amelia Willoughby has four sisters, it looks like Ms. Quinn should be able to get at least four more books out of this series. Hooray!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Diamond of Drury Lane

The Diamond of Drury Lane (A Cat Royal Adventure) The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fun, fast-paced read. Just a delightful book with a spunky heroine. There's even a glossary in the back to help teens understand some of the British slang circa 1790. What little swearing there is, is mostly archaic (i.e. " old fogrum!"), and there isn't any sexual content, so it's "safe" for tweens and teens to read. The narrator/heroine is about 10 years old, and most of the other main characters are her age up through about late teens or so. Julia Golding brings the streets and alleyways of London to life, so I'm glad this is apparently the first book in a new series.

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Why Don't You Understand?

Why Don't You Understand?: Improve Family Communication with the Four Thinking Styles Why Don't You Understand?: Improve Family Communication with the Four Thinking Styles by Susie Leonard Weller

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's going to take a few more read-throughs and a lot of practice to master the habits and techniques Susie teaches in this book, but I think the effort will really pay off in the end.

Before I went to the conference session Susie led last month on Whole-Brain thinking, I would have described myself as a "left-brained" thinker, with a preference for the logical, linear types of thought-processes. Then I went through her exercises and discovered that actually I am split about 60/40 between quadrant "B" (Practical) and quadrant "C" (Relational), with only a tiny bit of preference for "A" (Logical), and no preference at all for quadrant "D" (Creative--this part was no surprise at all). Research shows that it takes 100% MORE energy for the brain to function in the quadrant diagonally opposite to a person's personal preference, but practicing can make it easier to do. This explains why being creative is possible but so exhausting for me! :}

Given my aforementioned preference for practicality, what I loved most about this book were the examples of dialogue & real-life applications/situations. What I wished there were more of...were yet more examples. :) But I think what is of the most value is the chance to think about and respect other people's ways of thinking and points of view. Ideally, both parents (or any adults in any situation) can learn to calm down, slow down, and make better decisions that work for everyone involved. Like, for example, adapting bedtime so that the practical-thinking child has a routine, the creative child gets to pick a transportation method (i.e. piggyback or magic carpet ride), the logical child understands why the rules exist, and the relational child gets the snuggle time s/he craves.

I highly recommend this book to all adults, but especially those who have kids with opposite thinking styles.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Hard Questions

The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say "I Do" The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say "I Do" by Susan Piver

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd give this book 3 1/2 stars, actually. Perhaps 4 down the line when I have a chance to actually use the questions as jumping-off points for discussion with my boyfriend.

I liked the introduction and how thorough it was. I liked that it's a tiny book and didn't take long to read. I liked that the author introduces each chapter and then gives the questions, allowing plenty of room for discussion because she explains that the book is intended to be used over a period of days or months and not in one sitting.

It seems to be similar to a book my friend N. recommended to me, except that one had something like 1001 questions in it. Obviously 10 times the number of questions to answer probably covers more ground and more thoroughly, but perhaps the benefit of The Hard Questions is that you're more likely to discuss them all? At any rate, I love the idea of discussing important questions with your partner in a safe environment with the goal of understanding and evaluating underlying assumptions, beliefs, values, and goals.

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

In Mozart's Shadow: His Sister's Story

In Mozart's Shadow: His Sister's Story In Mozart's Shadow: His Sister's Story by Carolyn Meyer

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars

I cannot believe I read the whole thing. It felt more like a recitation than a novel. I'd had high hopes for it, and I was interested in the subject matter (the story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's older sister Nannerl), was pretty boring. Flat. The most interesting part was when she was about 28 or 29 and fell in love with an older man whom her father refused to let her marry. Yes--her father was a wretchedly domineering man and totally wrong about, well, most everything. In fact, her father was an excellent example of how NOT to parent, although he at least did love her & her brother. The most interesting thing about the book was actually not IN the book but in my head as I pondered the effect--for good or for ill--bad parenting had on Mozart's legacy of music.

I spent most of this book praying that Nannerl would rebel against her father. Didn't happen, of course. She pleaded with him a few times--about being allowed to train in Italy as a musician (she was an outstanding pianist), about being allowed to travel with him & "Wolferl," and about being allowed to marry Armand d'Ippold, etc., but she never defied him. Mozart did rebel and was eventually allowed to marry the woman he chose. But no one else ever defied Leopold Mozart or bothered telling him the truth. Not that he would listen anyway. I wonder if he was truly this autocratic in real life, or if it's just Carolyn Meyer's vision of him?

This book is categorized as YA fiction, but I'm not certain many teenagers would like it. It wouldn't be among my top recommendations, at any rate. Not enough dialogue, character development, or even plot. I'm sure the chronology was pretty accurate, but the 30 or so years of Nannerl's life that it covers are almost entirely depressing.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts

The Teacher's Funeral : A Comedy in Three Parts The Teacher's Funeral : A Comedy in Three Parts by Richard Peck

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

When fifteen-year-old Russell Culver's teacher dies right before school is to start, Russell is thrilled. But his dream of an endless summer is not to be, as the school board finds a replacement right away--one who already knows all his tricks and excuses.

This was a fun read, although I found A Year Down Yonder much funnier overall.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

Grace [Eventually]: Thoughts on Faith Grace [Eventually]: Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took a while for me to get into the swing of this book. Partly, I think, because I read it entirely during lunch breaks. But mostly it was a little slow in the beginning because I was unfamiliar with Anne Lamont's personal history and style. In her teens and twenties she was a drug user and an alcoholic, and although she's been sober for more than twenty years now, she still talks in her essays about her early years...a little too cavalierly, in my opinion. Something about the way she almost assumes that experimenting with drugs is normal and quite to be expected just really rubs me the wrong way.

On the other hand, her essays are often amusing, and I LOVE her politics, her support for libraries, and her view of faith (i.e. a faith full of love and compassion rather than forcing your narrow beliefs down everyone else's throats). I can see why this book was last month's choice for the book group at my church.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Among the Hidden

Among the Hidden (Shadow Children, Book 1) Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book last year...or maybe 2 years ago. Good book! I intend to eventually read the rest of the series. It's kind of a "what if" book--i.e. what if resources were scarce enough (or rather, controlled by the government enough) that you were only allowed 2 children...and the neighbors would turn you in to the police/government/Gestapo if they found out you had, say, 3 kids...and then BAD things would happen to you/your kids.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I never realized a scientific look at sex (research) throughout history could be so very funny! I was thoroughly entertained and fascinated. If the book wasn't now a day overdue (and on hold for someone else), I would go back to the beginning and read it again because it was just that interesting.

Some of my favorite things about this book were the often-snarky footnotes, the photos or other illustrations that began each chapter, the chapter titles (ex: "The Princess and Her Pea" and "Re-Member Me" to name just two that I think I can get away with without turning this review too risque for work) and subtitles (ex: "Can a Woman Find Happiness with a Machine?" and "Creative Approaches to Impotence"), and Mary Roach's incredible ability to be simultaneously matter-of-fact and tongue-in-cheek. Wonderful! Very educational AND fun.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Guilty Guilty by Karen Robards

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Actually: 3 1/2 stars.)

I put this book on hold and then started reading it expecting a romance novel. Turns out it's more of a suspense novel with some romance thrown in for good measure. And I REALLY shouldn't have started reading it in the evening because I could not stop reading it until it was done lest I have nightmares about the bad guys breaking into my house, etc. Stupid books with their stupid plots that keep you riveted until 3:30 a.m. Curses!

The one thing about this book that drove me crazy was that the heroine refused to tell the hero the truth about what was going on. Of course, the book would only have been about 150 pages long instead of 408 if she had, and it wouldn't have fit with her damaged childhood & the resultant psychological scarring, but still...I hate when people make everyone's lives more complicated and miserable by withholding information!

If you're recommending the book to someone else, be aware that there is some sex in it and a few swear words and a lot of courtroom shooting.

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had seen the online video of Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" at Carnegie Mellon University a couple of months ago. He'd been featured on an episode of "Oprah," and I was so impressed by his optimism in the face of tragedy, that I actually searched for and carved out time to watch the whole lecture. This book is basically that lecture expanded and annotated with additional stories and examples. It's fabulous: funny and wise and poignant. It reads like Pausch is talking directly to you. (I give big kudos to Jeffrey Zaslow who turned Randy's bike-ride-conversations into a book in Randy's "voice.")

Although the book can stand on its own, I would recommend watching the video first so that you can see all the photos and get all the visuals. Only a few are reproduced in the book. Being able to visualize what he's describing or referencing gives more context and meaning to his lessons, I think. And keep the Kleenex box handy for both. This man had SO much life in him, it's hard to believe he actually could have died a few months ago. It simply doesn't seem possible.

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The Red Necklace

The Red Necklace The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would actually give this book 3 1/2 stars. It is the story of a teenage boy, Yann, raised in France just before the start of the French Revolution. He and his guardian are gypsies who use real magic to entertain people at a theatre in Paris. One night they and the "magician" they work for are hired by an extremely vain and foolish marquis (at the behest of a very evil Count) to perform at a private party for some nobility. During their act, the Count murders the magician. With the help of the young, neglected daughter of the marquis, they barely escape the chateau alive.

To avoid spoilers, I'll just say that the Count has no intention of letting them live. Add in the onset of the Revolution, and you've got a bloody mess.

I think the book could have benefited from some sort of a map of the Paris/Versailles area. And maybe even a brief chronology of the French Revolution. But perhaps teenagers reading the book wouldn't care as much as I do about grasping the full context?

It was a really interesting book, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, as I assume there will soon be one.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wake Up and Smell the Planet

Wake Up and Smell the Planet: The Non-pompous, Non-preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day Wake Up and Smell the Planet: The Non-pompous, Non-preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day by Grist Magazine

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who would have thought that reading about how to change your habits & save the planet could make you laugh out loud? The humor makes reality easier to digest, as do the short sections/chapters and grey "sidebars." (They're not really on the side.) Some of their suggestions will take some dedication to achieve, but others are so simple anyone could do them--and everyone should. Forgoing plastic water bottles is one example. Long live ceramic & stainless steel! The book also weighs the pros & cons of disposable & cloth diapers, microwave ovens, dishwashers, etc. I highly recommend this book as a companion to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver (which I think everyone in America should read).

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Twilight (Twilight Series, Book 1) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I never thought I'd see the day when I would love a vampire novel. Frankly, I never thought I'd ever even read one, since I'm not a fan of scary things. But there was so much buzz over Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, and it's being made into a movie, so I felt like I really should read it and know what the teenagers were raving about. Plus it arrived on the Holds shelf right on time for my book group's books-that-have-been-made-into-movies theme this month.

I absolutely loved this book because, first of all, it's not scary (tense at the climax near the end, but not "scary"). It's actually a pretty funny story of a teenager, Bella, from Phoenix who moves to Forks, WA, to live with her dad and ends up falling in love with a vampire, Edward. Edward & his family live in Forks because it's hardly ever sunny there, so their skin doesn't glitter and give them away. The Cullen family are "good" vampires because they choose not to feed on humans.

I could keep talking about this book for a very long time, but I'd just end up giving too much away, so I'll merely encourage you all to read it for yourselves.

If you're recommending it for someone else, know that although Meyer depicts teenagers pretty accurately, she doesn't include swearing, and the closest she gets to including sex is some kissing & petting.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Banned Books Week Video

Here's the latest Banned Books Week video from AL Focus. Be a rebel--read a banned book!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Harmonic Wealth

Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want by James Arthur Ray

My review

rating: 1 of 5 stars

I give up. I simply cannot finish this book. He has a lot to say that I think is dead-on accurate, but he focuses WAY too much on financial wealth. It's only one of his "five pillars of harmonic wealth," and yet he devotes nearly half the book to talking about it.

I felt like he paid lip service to the philosophy that money can't buy happiness & that a lack of money or a mismanagement of money buys a lot of UNhappiness, but he lost me with the focus on becoming a multimillionaire. Particularly since he completely devalues formal education in the process (he doesn't have any form of college degree), saying that virtually no one will use what they learned in school anyway. (Hello?!! I use what I learned every day, even the things I never thought would be useful! I just don't use them in ways I would have expected when I was 20.)

I'm sorry--not everyone in this world can be (or wants to be) a millionaire. In fact, in order for people to hire folks to do all their menial tasks--you know, because they're on their way to becoming "bigger" and therefore richer people--SOMEONE has to work for a pittance. So his logic irritates the living daylights out of me. And admittedly I'm biased, but just because you're rich doesn't mean you provide more service to the world. I can think of a LOT of rich people who do far less to improve this world than a whole lot of less-well-paid folks: librarians, social workers, and teachers, for starters.

I could rant for hours on this book, but I'll spare you the rest. Bottom line: read something else instead. Try Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert or something by Thich Nhat Hanh, any of Barbara Kingsolver's nonfiction, or even You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. (I hear that one's good--haven't read it yet.)

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm actually tempted to add this to my "biography" shelf (or "autobiography" to be strictly accurate) as well as my "ya fiction" shelf because this story is so close to how Sherman Alexie described his own life when I heard him speak a few years ago at the PLA conference in Seattle. It's a funny, poignant book about a Spokane Indian teenager who decides to buck the odds and go to school 22 miles away in a small town full of white folks. He faces all kinds of obstacles and culture shock as he adjusts to his new school and deals with his own people viewing him as a traitor for aspiring to overcome crushing poverty and personal loss and do something with his life.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, even though I think Alexie is funnier in person. If you're recommending this book to kids, keep in mind that it's written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy, so there are some references to masturbation & breasts, etc.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Thump, Quack, Moo: A whacky adventure

Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure by Doreen Cronin

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars


From the author of Click, Clack, Moo comes a tale of Farmer Brown enlisting the help of his animals in preparing his corn maze. Each animal has to be bribed (hammers for the chickens, paint for the cows, and special-order organic feed for the duck) to help, but eventually all are on board. The results, however, are not quite Farmer Brown had in mind, but kids (and adults) will love them. Watch for the subtle humor of the mice and their meteorology correspondence course. :)

Suitable for a preschool/kindergarten storytime; lends itself to audience participation with the repeated noises ("Cluck Whack! Moo Thwack! Thump Quack.")

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Mattland Mattland by Hazel Hutchins

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a sweet story! It's the tale of a boy who has just moved to a new neighborhood--one with lots of mud and nowhere to play/nothing to play with. A stick dragged through the mud creates Snake River...connected with a puddle makes Turtle Lake...and soon Mattland is born.

As the story progresses and the bits of rock and garbage on the lot are transformed into buildings and landmarks, the brown tones of the watercolor illustrations evolve into the colors of an imaginative landscape. Likewise, Matt's solitude flows into friendships as other children sidle closer to see what he's doing and join in the effort to save Mattland when rainwater threatens to wash everything away.

This would be a great book to read to your children. I think it could also work for a storytime for kids circa kindergarten age or preschoolers with longer attention spans. Not TOO many words on the page, but they're not in huge print and don't rhyme. :)

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

American Born Chinese

American Born Chinese American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I did it! I finally read an entire graphic novel! And I'm still alive to tell about it. :)

My friend's 12-year-old daughter recommended it to me, so I figured it had to be pretty good. She knows the whole manga thing confuses me, so she picked a GN that was more like a comic strip with varying sizes of panels--easy enough for me to follow.

This book has three storylines that trade off, and I couldn't figure out whether there was supposed to be one unifying story until almost the very end, but it wasn't hard to track each thread, even when I couldn't see how they would connect. 1) A tale of the Chinese Monkey King, 2) a tale of a lone Chinese American boy making friends with a Chinese boy, and 2) a tale of an American teenager who is embarrassed by his uber-stereotypical Chinese cousin coming to visit. I enjoyed the humor of each, and I was surprised to see a slight religious theme subtly interwoven into the whole--a blend of Eastern and Western.

I also appreciated how fast it was to read. Only 1 1/2 lunch hours required!

Overall, I'd say it's a great GN for teenagers. There are some raging teenage hormones in the story, so I probably wouldn't recommend it to all elementary school kids. And I think I'd actually give it 3 1/2 stars. Were I a big GN fan in general, it would probably get 4 stars. :)

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Return to Summerhouse

Return to Summerhouse (Core) Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so I admit, I'm a sucker for time travel stories. Love them. Can't get enough of them. There is so much "scope for the imagination" (to quote Anne of Green Gables) in time travel.

In Return to Summerhouse, Amy is more or less coerced into going to Maine to stay with two other women--total strangers--as a form of therapy to help her deal with her recent miscarriage. The two women, Faith and Zoe, come to the summerhouse with their own traumas to heal. Where the story really gets good is when Amy starts dreaming about a Lord Hawthorne in the eighteenth century...and wakes up bruised or wet, according to what happened in her dream. The women begin to open up to each other and tell their personal stories, and Amy convinces the other two to come with her to Madame Zoya's cottage and travel back in time to "put destiny back on track."

I loved this book also for believing in fidelity and for championing organic gardening of heirloom varieties (and botanical variety in general).

If you're recommending it to someone else, you should know that there are quite a few sexual references but no explicit scenes.

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Home Before Dark

Home Before Dark Home Before Dark by Susan Wiggs

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would actually give this book 3 1/2 stars if I could. Susan Wiggs usually writes romances, and that's what I expected when I put Home Before Dark on hold. But although there are definitely romantic themes in this book, it's really more a story about two sisters and the complicated bonds of love that tie families together.

The premise of the book is that Jessie, the free-wheeling photographer, comes home to her sister's house in Texas to see her family one last time. Sixteen years ago she gave away her baby daughter to her sister Luz, and now Lila is just as rebellious as Jessie. Sixteen years ago, Luz gave up her own promising photography career to get married and raise not only Lila but also three boys born over the next few years.

What kind of lies do we tell ourselves or our loved ones in the name of protecting them? At what cost?

I'd say more, but I don't want to give anything away. :)

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dangerous to Know

Dangerous to Know Dangerous to Know by Mary Jo Putney

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is actually a reprint of a short novel and a long short story. I'd read the short novel before (The Diabolical Baron), although I can't remember when or where. It's linked to a few other Putney novels of 19th century England. The short story is, on the other hand, set in the American West of the late 19th century and has no discernible ties to her other works. At least not that I can remember. Both stories were pretty good. Nothing earth-shattering, just very well-written romances--perfect for a rare day at home. I'd actually give them 3.5 stars if I could.

If you're recommending the books to other people, be aware that there is some sexual content, although not very explicit at all. As romances go, they are very tame, even by Putney standards.

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi: A Math Adventure by Cindy Neuschwander

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am such a math nerd--I love this book! I love the names of the characters (Sir Cumference and his son Radius, Geo Metry and his brother Sym, Lady Di of Ameter, etc.) and the way the author tells a fairy tale about a knight turning into a dragon when he drinks a potion, and really it's a funny way to explain the meaning of the mathematical value/symbol "π." ("pi"--in case my inserted symbol doesn't translate in cyberspace)

My only real quibble with this picture book, well, I have two: the reverse potion poem has problems with its meter and is a little hard to read out loud, and the illustrations look a little pixelated as though someone scanned images of paintings and then tried to blow them up a little too far. But otherwise, I think this book is great! Perfect for reading to elementary age kids, and I think it could even work (with the right group of kids) in a math class about to embark upon the new and strange world of irrational numbers. Woohoo! (Hey--I already admitted to being a math nerd.)

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Things Not Seen

Things Not Seen Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved reading Andrew Clements' Frindle last year, so when I saw a new copy of Things Not Seen on the new YA fiction book cart, I picked it up. The fact that we'd worn out our old copies and had to order new ones for the library is usually a good sign when choosing which YA (young adult) books to read. And so it proved to be in this case.

Our Hero is Bobby Phillips, an ordinary teenager who wakes up one morning to discover that his metaphorical invisibility has become literal. Clements does a fantastic job of bringing to life the mixed emotions and frustrations a teenager (or anyone) would actually feel when faced with such gigantic, life-altering dilemma. How would you cope? Whom could you trust?

I appreciated that Clements avoided the cliche of the teenage-boy-in-the-girls'-locker-room fantasy. And I appreciated his depiction of the growing relationship between the girl who couldn't see and the boy who couldn't be seen. It was hard for me to put this book down and return to work after my lunch hours were over.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Truesight Truesight by David Stahler Jr.

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

David Stahler Jr.'s Truesight is like George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm meets Lois Lowry's The Giver. Only with blind people. The premise is that about a hundred years in our future, parents are choosing their unborn children's genetics, and a blind couple decides they want their child to be blind like they are, so they tinker with the DNA. It becomes a big media thing, a whole community of blind people grows around them, and eventually they get persecuted by the "seers" (i.e. people who can see) and ask for and get protected status for their Foundation. Part of the group's doctrine is about how much better it is to be sightless because you're not distracted by appearances, are more pure & selfless, blah blah blah. People who can see are vilified and held up as examples of corruption and war, etc.

Fast forward an unknown length of time to when the book is set--on a colony on a planet somewhere outside our solar system. Our hero, Jacob, is a 12-almost-13-year-old-boy who is struggling with adolescence in a society that preaches the good of the group over the good of the individual. Only it turns out that everything isn't quite so perfect in their community--the physical blindness is also sometimes a metaphorical blindness. The "Gatherings" remind me an awful lot of Animal Farm & the "blind" (pardon the pun) bleating of the sheep. Jacob struggles to adjust to his changing awareness of his world, learning some difficult lessons about human frailty and deceit.

The story can be a bit heavy-handed at times, but it's still pretty interesting. Not quite up to Lowry standards, but OK. I'd be interested to know what teenagers thought of it--whether they relate to Jacob's angst, etc. Truesight is the first in a trilogy, apparently, the second book of which is The Seer.

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Friday, July 25, 2008


Smitten Smitten by David Gordon

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Smitten is a sweet book about a mitten and a sock who have lost their partners and become friends. They have adventures and misadventures involving dogs & bicycles & the laundromat...subway tracks...a knitting store.... It's a story about friendship and taking care of each other. It would probably work for a preschool storytime, and it would definitely work for a bedtime story.

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The Boy Who Wouldn't Share

The Boy Who Wouldn't Share The Boy Who Wouldn't Share by Mike Reiss

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is so cute! Great rhymes--perfect for storytime or reading out loud to your children. The illustrations are fantastic, especially the puckered, frowning face of Edward, the boy who would not share. He reminds me of E.T. I love it!!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Sugar Queen

The Sugar Queen The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a little longer to really get into The Sugar Queen than it did Garden Spells, but once I did, I loved it.

This novel falls into the category I believe is called "magical realism." How can you not love a story where books follow one of the characters around?! Books on whatever topic is appropriate to her life appear out of thin air wherever she happens to be. Ha!

At first I had to remind myself that the connections between some of the characters were supposed to be Magic. (I kept wanting to send the women to a PAX workshop...or 4.) But once my brain finally accepted it, that was when the story really started to flow & when I really got interested in piecing together the clues of what was REALLY happening with some of the characters--who people were and what happened with them in the past.

It's a lovely book. A bit poignant at times. Bad parenting!! But all's well that ends well, I guess.

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10-Minute Tidy

The 10-Minute Tidy: 108 Ways to Organize Your Home Quickly The 10-Minute Tidy: 108 Ways to Organize Your Home Quickly by Shannon McGinnis

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars

I discovered while reading this book that it turns out I'm more organized than I thought! :)

Yes, I'm a clutter-magnet and still need to work on keeping the stacks of paper & books & magazines, etc., under control. But I already do many of the techniques described in the book, which I must say made me feel much better about myself. And of course, I don't yet have kids, so I merely made some mental notes about organization strategies for the future. (My favorite was to label drawers and bins with both pictures AND words of what's supposed to go in them. Helps kids put their own things away AND helps teach them to read--brilliant!)

It's a quick read. Very short "chapters." Includes some websites of useful things like how to get yourself off junk mail lists and how to sign your phone numbers up on the Do Not Call list, etc. I probably should have jotted some of those down, but, well, it's a library book--I can always check it out again later!

In general I would recommend this book to anyone feeling overwhelmed by clutter who wants tips on how to deal with it in manageable chunks.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Change in Blog Theme

In case you missed it with my last post (earlier today), I've decided to keep going with my blog now that I've finished the Discover 2.0 tasks. Since I am not likely to remember to blog about my life--nor do I particularly want to share everything with the world--I'm going to post my reviews of what I'm reading--which I'm perfectly happy to share with the world. :) These are also found on my Goodreads account as well.

I tend to read mostly genre fiction, but lately I've been branching out into some non-fiction as well. With a few odds and ends thrown in. We'll see how it goes. I'll try this for a while and then reevaluate somewhere down the line.

One caveat, though: people are welcome to comment, as long as everyone realizes that I may or may not notice soon enough to make any sort of timely response. I'll try, but no promises!

Amanda Quick's "The Third Circle"

The Third Circle (Arcane Society, Book 4) The Third Circle by Amanda Quick

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another installment in the Arcane Society series--this one set later in the reign of Queen Victoria. It was pretty standard Amanda Quick for the most part. A little better on plot than some (there were actually a couple of minor plot twists I didn't see coming), a little weaker on romance than others (seemed rushed & almost forced--not as believable as is her usual style). Not her best work, by any means, but an interesting addition to the series--made me want to go back and brush up on the details from previous installments. I won't bother to buy it, but I'm not sorry I read a library copy.

It does have mention of some sexual content as well as paranormal abilities (crystal energy, para-hypnotism, etc.), so if you're recommending it to someone else, you should be aware of that. I think Quick overuses the word "psychical"--which doesn't even seem like a real word to me--but at least it wasn't quite as noticeable & irritating in this books as in some of her earlier works.

I'd give it 2 1/2 stars if I could. But since I have to choose, I'd say it's closer to 3 than to 2.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The end is just the beginning

Whew! I made it through all the different 2.0 tasks...just in the nick of time! So many things got in the way of completing each item's required tasks, I feared I would not finish before my 4 months were up.

It's been quite an adventure going through each step. I learned so much, and there are so many things (the rest of the video sites, for example) I plan to go back and explore further. My favorite pieces were the steps where I signed up for a Facebook account (and later when I learned how to add Scrabulous to it--both are addictive!), signed up for a Pandora Radio profile, watched funny videos, and learned how to create this blog. I did enjoy many of the other sites & features we tried out as well--Flower Sudoku was fun, Flickr can be an enjoyable way to waste time online, RSS feeds are good for helping me remember what the heck it was I wanted to keep reading (like friends' blogs and so on) and letting me know when Nancy Pearl has a new podcast (radio broadcast). Meebo with the Firefox add-on helps me keep track of when friends & family are online without me having to toggle back & forth between tabs--this is a handy timesaver for me. I already had a Goodreads account, but I enjoyed creating a LibraryThing account and comparing the two. And it was good to create a Google doc from scratch instead of only knowing how to follow a set link to get to one particular file I could edit--a wide world opened up for me with that one.

I won't bother to talk about the steps I didn't like as much or find as useful. I've ranted about those enough already. If you really want to know how I feel about them, you can always re-read prior blog posts. I won't bore either of us with a repetition of my complaints & frustrations.

When I began this program four months ago, I had no idea I would find some of these 2.0 technologies so incredibly addictive or fun. I wanted to learn more about them so I wouldn't sound so clueless when interacting with patrons (especially teenagers), but I didn't think I personally would find some of them as fabulous as I did. What a wonderful surprise! And to think I got paid to learn these great new

I was able to find friends on Facebook whom I had not spoken to in years--never knew what happened to them after we graduated, for example. I'm glad I was sitting at my desk at the time so I didn't startle any patrons with my exclamations of joy & astonishment. :) (Apologies to any coworkers who weren't so lucky and got to share in my delight.) That was probably my most favorite aspect of this whole program and the part I'll use the most in the future, both on a personal level and probably on a professional basis as well, eventually.

My only suggestion for improvement with this 2.0 program would be that a few of the steps could use more explicit instructions. There were several times when I had to ask Sam for help because I had no idea how to accomplish something. (I can track backwards if you want to know specifics.) And there was one item where the instructions on how to accomplish a task were in the comments below the post, not the post itself. I have no objection to asking colleagues for help, and I actually think it's a better way to learn something if you have to teach someone else, but sometimes there isn't anyone around when you get to a step where you need help. So rather than saying things like "Go here and embed such-and-such in your blog," it would be helpful to include step-by-step instructions as to HOW to do that, for example. Overall, though, I think this whole experience was fantastic and completely worthwhile. Thank you very much, Discover 2.0 planning team! I look forward to using my new skills for years to come, adapting to updates and changes and new inventions as they come.

Too many videos, too little time...

Everyone has heard of YouTube, but I have to admit this was my first experience searching for something there. Mostly I'd seen a few of the One Minute Critic videos Sam had posted on YouTube, and I think I'd seen some other random "hey-you-should-watch-this" videos other people had pointed out to me. For my search, I typed in "Library Week," which brought up ALA's videos that I wanted plus other videos I didn't particularly care about. Revising my search to "National Library Week" helped a bit with that. I also got to view a short video from some university library that was pretty cool--video of the library on campus overlaid with clips of students talking about their favorite places in the library & why & what they'd like to change if they could. That was fun!

And I like the option YouTube gave me to put one of the videos (I chose the Nat'l Library Week video about Reference) on my Facebook profile. Very cool!

Next was and another search on "National Library Week." That brought up a whole list of videos in a format that was much easier to scan. I like it better than YouTube's too-crowded layout. Here's my favorite Reference video (the same one I posted on Facebook): makes it really easy to embed their videos. I appreciate that! Plus, on their site, the videos are larger (easier to see) than on YouTube. You can even click a little icon and make them full-screen, which is fabulous!! (note: I just discovered almost by accident that YouTube offers this feature, too. That's good!)

I also discovered that has a drop-down menu off to the side of the video you're watching that lets you "share" the video via a selection of options which includes Facebook. I think I'll try it and compare the two....OK, at first glance they appear the same, but clicking on the postings to view the videos has two different effects: takes you to their site in a new tab, while YouTube lets you view right there within Facebook. I prefer the latter, I think. Still, it's good that no matter which of the two sites I'm on, I can add a favorite video to my Facebook account. (So again, why in the world would you need one of those tumblelogs??)

As for library applications, well, bring on the videos! Sam's One Minute Critic program should be advertised on our FVRL website with all kinds of videos--he's certainly got enough to choose from! Why are we not taking advantage of them? He's been posting them on YouTube & & elsewhere for months. But why not here, where our audience/participants are likely to be?

Likewise, I think we as a library system should be using videos and podcasts to advertise all kinds of library programs and activities. Currently we're only just beginning to do this, and mostly through our teen MySpace pages, etc. This is fine--a good thing--but not enough. We're not maximizing our potential yet. (Incidentally, why can I not find links to these MySpace pages from the FVRL website? Am I just looking in the wrong place, or do you need to go to MySpace directly and then search for FVRL?)

The tricky part is overcoming search quirks. How can we be consistent in our tagging so that all related things can be found by unrelated users? Tags and titles are crucial for the ever-important "findability" factor. It's why I prefer Goodreads to LibraryThing and why I like Blogger's "show all" option for a post's labels--so that I can see what tags (or bookshelf titles) I've used in the past and remember to use them again for related items. I don't have any magic answers here. Just my opinion that there is great potential out there in techland to reach new and returning patrons, and we should be thoughtful in how we go about doing it. That's my 2 cents' worth. For today. Tune in tomorrow....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I'm skipping ahead and blogging about the whole microblogging phenomenon before I blog about YouTube, et al. I'm sure the world will continue to rotate on its axis.

I don't know whether the inventors of Twitter or Tumblr are intending to be annoying, but I find them so. During my video search for the previous Discover 2.0 item, I stumbled across the CommonCraft video on Twitter. I love the CommonCraft videos in general because they explain technology succinctly and clearly. But this one made me laugh because there was a moment in it when Lee LeFever explains that we're interested in what our friends & family are doing but that we wouldn't email them to tell them we're drinking coffee...and yet you can Twitter this information out to everyone in your circle! Aack! If I wouldn't bother people with an email, why in the world would I bother them with constant, pointless updates on my every little move? This is a waste of everyone's time. I cannot express how irritating I find this concept. So do I think it has library potential? God, I hope not! The only redeeming value to the technology seems to be that you have to self-select, in essence to sign yourself up for it. Something I will NOT be doing anytime soon.

Tumblelogs are not quite as annoying, in my opinion. If you have absolutely nothing better to do with your time (you're imprisoned in a dungeon with no books but only a computer, for example), I can see how having one of these or reading someone else's could be fun. I did find a couple of interesting little tidbits on someone's Tumblr posts. Don't think I could necessarily locate the interesting posts again, but that's OK. It's not that important. Frankly, I don't see the appeal of spending all your time finding links or videos or quotes to post on a microblog. If you've got something to post, why can't you post it on a regular blog? There is no minimum length requirement! Personally I'm much more interested in why a person thinks XYZ is worth sharing. Lists of links with no explanatory messages don't tell me why I should spend my valuable time clicking on the links.

Maybe I'm just grumpy because I seem to have too much to do, and all these people on these Twitter & Tumblr sites seem to have WAY too much free time.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Casting about for podcasts

I started off this section of Discover 2.0 by trying to search the first of the recommended directories, But I got an error message saying the server wasn't found or I'd typed the address in wrong (I'd clicked the FVRL 2.0 link and then tried typing the URL in manually, but whatever). So on to the next site, I got a bit luckier with this one, seeing as how the link took me to a real website. So I tried searching for "Nancy Pearl," thinking that if we had to find library-themed podcasts, her interviews might be a good place to start. Trouble was, the results page was an unhelpful list of seemingly unrelated podcasts. I tried a few other searches and eventually located a series of podcasts that were more or less related to one of my searches (the parts I listened to were boring, but that's not the site's fault). The search feature is NOT useful, in my opinion. Or if it is, then it's just not intuitive.

I got a little bit lucky and saw that one of the newest 5 podcasts on the site at that time was a library-related one from Lincoln City Libraries in Nebraska, so I was able to listen to a very interesting 3-book booktalk/book review session. Kind of like a much longer version of our One Minute Critic videos, only just with audio. However, after I'd navigated away and then wanted to return, I was unable to figure out the proper search terms that would locate the Lincoln City podcasts again. Aggravating! So I'm not impressed with PodcastAlley.

The third podcast directory is the Yahoo! Audio Search. Looks easy to use, but all I was able to locate on purpose was one of Sam's early One Minute Critic reviews--audio only. An interesting review, to be sure, but overall I wasn't thrilled to get so many random search results and have 99% of them look like they were songs, not podcasts. And only samples/snippets at that.

Frankly, if I'm searching for a podcast, I'm much much more likely to go directly to a website I like and search for their podcasts. For example: & Bill Harris' blog posts on audio, or NPR's podcast page. So far, I much prefer this method to searching one of the directories (with the possible exception of iTunes, which I haven't tried because I believe we have to be able to download it, which we can't to our work computers). I think going to a known site and listening to podcasts I find there much more useful in general. Then again, I'm not one of those people who spends hours every day aimlessly browsing the web to see what I can find.

NOTE: When I Googled "podcasts," the 6th or 7th link listed was for has a new address?? has grouped the podcasts into folders, which I find useful, but some of them require iTunes to listen to them, which is not so useful here at work.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Opening Pandora's Box

Oh boy. I am totally in love with the Pandora music site. I checked out & IMEEM as well, and they both have their good points, but Pandora...oh my my my. I can now sit at my desk, working away, headphones on, completely blissed out because I'm listening to my "station" on Pandora Radio. When I first went to their site, I typed in "Josh Groban," my favorite contemporary artist, as I had done when I first went to Then a strange thing happened--Pandora did start by playing one of Josh's songs, but then it moved on to playing other songs by other artists whose music matches Josh's in certain characteristics, like melody, harmony, rhythm, lyrics, vocalizations, instrumentation, orchestration, and arrangement. At first I was startled, but soon I began smiling as I realized that I actually liked these other suggested songs. Some of them were actually some of my other favorite songs, and some were brand new or relatively new to me. After a few songs, the site asked me to register--and like a drug addict, I did because I was already hooked. Once registered, Pandora gave me a chance to give each song the thumbs-up or thumbs-down. So far I've only used the thumbs-down option once, and that's over the course of now hours of listening! The one time I said I didn't like a song, the song immediately stopped playing, and a new song began. The rest of the time, I've been sitting here at my desk getting all kinds of things done--I've nearly cleared off my desk for the first time in weeks--while feeling my heart rate slow, my breathing deepen, and my stress melt away. I realize these things are the result of choosing to listen to music that is beautiful and peaceful. (I also created a "Loreena McKennitt station.") Were I listening to rap music or anything with a driving beat, I would not feel so calm. Too bad we can't make some of our edgier patrons listen to my "stations." :)

I also visited the four non-music sites for this 2.0 Item, and while I think they are interesting, none of them captured my adoration as Pandora did. I am glad someone is preserving items on the internet (Internet Archive) and offering free access to them. Ditto for open access to books in the public domain ( But searching for them is so clunky! And I am not a fan of reading copious quantities of text online. Blogs are bad enough, but whole books? Ugh. No thank you. Give me a hard copy any day. (Did I see somewhere that you can download these things and then print them out? That would be preferable, if detrimental to our forests.)

I do like the Mango Languages site, at least based on my free trial. (I am tired of registering for things, so I'll wait on that one for now.) I tested out the Spanish language lesson one, and it was very repetitious, with native speakers pronouncing the Spanish words--2 essential elements for learning a language. I think this site has potential for library use, especially if we could afford to offer at-home access where patrons could sit and practice to their hearts' content without bothering others around them. I didn't check out the costs of offering this service, but I did notice it was specifically marketed for libraries. Patrons frequently ask for language-learning materials to check out, only to discover that the level(s) or formats they need are already checked out--very frustrating for all concerned. This is not to say that I think we should eliminate our current collection. Obviously not everyone has internet access at home, much less the high-speed access Mango would require for optimal functionality. Rather, my vote is to add the service to our existing resources. I know I would use it to brush up my faltering skills!

As for the question of whether CDs are dead, well, no, they're not. They may not be the newest technology on the block, but they are not obsolete yet. Was this supposed to be a serious question?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Google doc experiment

This is the first Google doc I've created. Ta da!! I've been using Sam's Google doc spreadsheets for months, but this is the first time I even considered trying it out for myself. So far...not that hard. Couldn't locate the "Quick Tour" we're supposed to take, but that's OK. I'll ask around to see if anyone else knows how to find that. that I've seen the Quick Tour feature, I have to say I already knew the information in it, so it wasn't that useful. That's OK. It was also quick--as advertised--so I don't begrudge the time. As for the overall concept of Google docs, well, it's fantastic for files you need to edit and share with multiple people, assuming everyone has internet access. I do get a little anxious over the idea of not having a copy saved to my own computer because what if Google's system crashed or the server my documents were on died or somebody hacked my files? Maybe this isn't really a concern and Google has redundant systems and safeguards. Maybe there will never be a time when I need access and have internet problems. Maybe it's no safer on my own computer because it could crash. Nevertheless, I still have a niggling fear over the idea of my stuff being solely "out there" in cyberspace. Overall, though, I think using Google docs to create and manage files for sharing is a great idea! It's proven invaluable more times than I can remember in my own job here at FVRL. And I love that you don't have to worry about not having the "right" software on your computer to match your collaborators' versions. That's very handy. <One frustration I do have is that sharing this document is not as easy as it sounds. I followed the instructions and did everything I think I should have, and yet my "collaborators" haven't received their invitation emails. Argh! So I'll wait some more to see if the next part gets edited....> Thoughts? Opinions? Agree? Disagree? Feel free to edit below:

I received Erin's invitation, and here I am, ready to edit! Do you see me typing, Erin? If we both have this document open at the same time, and if we save frequently, we can use Google Docs like IM!!! Okay, maybe that's not such an efficient use, but kind of fun....

Fun!!! :)

Sort of a slow IM, waiting for the "autosave," but yes!

What this document needs right here is a photograph. One moment please....

We could set up the Information Desk right over there by the edge of the water.

Good patron service -- we go to them wherever they are!!!

But not too close, lest we get swept away... :)

(Post-posting comment: for some reason, publishing my Google doc directly to my blog messed up the permalink. Why is this?)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Scrabulous and Reading Levels

My official reading level of my blog, according to the Blog Readability Test, is "high school." Woohoo! I'd feel even smarter if only I knew whether there was a "college level" rating. Still, it was fun to test out and see.

The next cool thing I played around with learning was Scrabulous. I'm not a fan of violent computer games, and I have barely any hand-eye coordination abilities anyway, so I love the idea of playing word games online. I also like that there isn't necessarily a time limit. This is good because unlike real Scrabble, I can't manipulate the tiles with my hands, just my brain. A tricky thing some days. This is a fun (read: addictive) way to spend time at a computer.

It took a while to figure out how the site worked and how to sign up for it through my Facebook account. One didn't seem to lead to the other until I searched within Facebook for the Scrabulous application. Once I did that and added the application, I realized that there was already a game waiting for me from way back when I first joined Facebook and a friend challenged me to a game. I vaguely recall someone suggesting I join, but at the time, I didn't get the whole "application" concept and ignored her game request. So now...better late than never! (I was able to take my turn, despite the length of time between her challenge and today.) When I added the application to my Facebook account this afternoon, it asked me to invite my friends to join, so I invited a couple I thought might be interested. Many of my friends weren't listed, which I thought odd, until I realized they were already Scrabulous participants.

It would be quite easy to be in the middle of a multitude of games simultaneously, given that you can play with several people at once (on the same game even) and have multiple games going concurrently. What I have not yet sussed out is whether I'm now registered twice--once through signing up on the Scrabulous website & once through Facebook. And does this matter? I suppose I could log in to Facebook & Scrabulous at the same time and compare to see if my 2 in-progress games show up in both places. That would probably be a good clue. :)