Saturday, August 26, 2006

maybe it's those nanos eating my brain...

Pretties by Scott Westerfield FINALLY came in to the library for me (the sequel to Uglies that i have been waiting for FOREVER) so, the for the last two nights i have been reading that, and Specials (the final book in the trilogy), and, i have to say, they are pretty damn good!

They continue the story of Tally, who lives in a society about three hundred years after a human spread bacterial plague has destroyed the oil supply, and thus human civilization as we know it. Tally's society is very controlled, and at sixteen all citizens undergo plastic surgery to become "pretty" so that no one has to undergo the trauma of being ugly--or of looking TOO different (unbeknownst to many citizens the surgery also inflicts lesions on their brains which makes them much more affable, happy, and overall, not so smart, basically "pretty-headed".
Of course there is a rebellion going on~(isn't there always a rebellion going on~doesn't there almost have to be a rebellion going on?) to escape civilization, get back to basics, take the pill that "cures" the surgery (also has nanos that eat away your brain causing stupidity and migraines...hmm. . . this is what gives me cause to wonder . . . perhaps something to ask the neurologist about...perhaps not) anyway...
i don't want to give away TOO much but they are some pretty good books (ha, ha, ha,) and they have the added bonus of introducing you to a brand new vocabulary (and i just love new vocab words, like don't i look ICY {from Specials} in this oh-so-old photo)? -->
so check this trilogy out if you feel so inclined...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Excesses of youth

been wanting to disappear, liquify,
watching Havoc and wanting to do the whole youth thing all over again so i can waste it all over again–wanting to liquify
because it feels so good
to feel so bad
so dangerous
in your stomach
the drugs
that mess up your head
instead of just having your head messed up
now i just swim and drown in my dreams
and i can’t find my way
i want to live them again
so tired of this life

Sunday, August 13, 2006

i can almost taste it now...

For a couple of years i lived about 1/2 a block away from the world famous Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan (coincidentally but entirely unrelated there is also the world famous Michigan Head Pain & Neurological Institute located in Ann Arbor and it was while i was living in Ann Arbor that my then under-control migraines became chronic and intractable--so much so that i did not qualify for a study at said clinic--interesting, huh?) Anyway, this was at one of the poorer points of my life (not that i have ever been rolling in the funds, mind you) heading down to Zing's for a sandwich and/or desert and coffee/mocha was a real treat. They also housed a great market with many exotic goods (usually a bit expensive for my tastes) tho they did make great bread. If you're ever in Ann Arbor (or the Detroit area for that matter) you must stop by Zingerman's. The Ann Arbor area boast some great restaurants in general in case your wondering--i really miss it (i have really been obsessing about food lately since my diet has become so restricted--funny how that happens.)
As an outlet for my obsession i have been trying to come up with new ways to work with the foods i can eat--and come up with new varieties of those foods. Luckily i haven't to look much further than my own bookshelves--i have a plethora many still packed but many not. One unpacked is a Zingerman's guide, if you aspire to be any kind of connoisseur this is a great book to have: Zingerman's guide to good eating: how to choose the best bread, cheeses, olive oil, pasta, chocolate, and much more by Ari Weinzweig. "It's got solid research on topics like what makes one rice different than another, or how good vinegar
is made. (There are recipes, too, but the info takes precedence.)" Pick it up, read it, learn it, live it--or not, whatever...

"stories are light"

I think i have a new favorite kids' author in Kate Dicamillo. I just read her Newberry Award winning The Tale of Despereaux (being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread) and i loved it! Now i don't always go along with all Newberry picks put i was recommended this book by a friend and i loved The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane as i have already confessed. So i lost myself to yet another juvenile fiction title and i am so glad i did.
This is tale models itself after classical fairy tales but it definitely has a taste of modern sensibilities. It is about an unlikely hero--a mouse with excessively large ears--who dreams of being a knight. I like the fact that Dicamillo addresses the reader as an active participant in the story. Read Despereaux--i think you'll be you'll be glad you did. (not that i would want to tell you what to do or anything--just a suggestion :)

Friday, August 11, 2006

political intrigue, trickery, treachery, betrayal, religion, war, magic, romance & slime; who could ask for anything more?

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson is an epic fantasy wrapped up in a nice little 615 page package. Now i'm not a big fan of fantasy but i did enjoy this one:
"Elantris was beautiful once. It was called the city of the gods: a place of power, radiance, and magic. Visitors say that the very stones glowed with an inner light, and that the city contained wondrous arcane marvels. At night, Elantris shone like a great silvery fire, visible even from a great distance.
Yet, as magnificent as Elantris was, its inhabitants were more so . Their hair a brilliant white, their skin an almost metallic silver, the Elantrians seemed to shine like the city itself. Legends claim that they were immortal, or at least nearly so. Their bodies healed quickly, and they were blessed with great strength, insight, and speed. They could perform miracles with a bare wave of the hand; men visited Elantris from all across Opelon to receive Elantrian healings, food, or wisdom. They were divinities.
And anyone could become one.
The Shaod, it was called. The Transformation. It struck randomly--usually at night, during the mysterious hours when life slowed to rest. The Shaod could take beggar, craftsman, nobleman, or warrior. When it came, the fortunate person's life ended and began anew; he would discard his old mundane existence, and move to Elantris.
Elantris, where he could live in bliss, rule in wisdom, and be worshiped for Eternity.
Eternity ended ten years ago."
I pasted the prologue here because i believe, besides being so well written, that it is all you really need to get you interested in reading this novel (if you are to be interested). Many of the rave reviews on Amazon say that Elantris avoid many of the cliches of the genre--not being a fantasy aficionado i wouldn't know--but i do know that it doesn't drag; has very strong characterizations and keeps track of its plot line--good enough for me!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

perhaps it's better to rampage?

I was not able to sleep at all last night. Had an 8:00 am meeting this morning. Needless to say i am tired. It's probably also needless to say i have a migraine. It has been a VERY long day. The minutes are growing even longer. I am alone at the reference desk. Not much going on. Kind of slumped over, my head rested in my hand, elbow on the desk (image of the perfect reference librarian right?) There's a twelve year old whose been waiting for his mom for an hour now; he's looking for scary movies, he searches the titles on our shelves, when he can't find what he's looking for there he comes and asks me if we have the same title in (everything we have is on the shelf) i try to remain patient--my nerves are fraying.
A barefooted little girl is gleefully running through the stacks. I hear her giggles and see her pop out each time she reaches the end of an aisle. She is having a grand old time. After a while i detachedly observe that this is inappropriate behaviour for a library. After a while longer it slowly dawns on me that I should be the one to do something about it. I drag myself out of my seat and slowly amble over to the aisle she is about to turn down, i lean myself against the bookcase and wait as she comes charging toward me.
"Hi," i greet her, cheerfully.
"Hi" she says, delighted with the possibility of a new friend.
"Do you have shoes?" i inquire, liltingly.
"yeah," a few clouds of confusion beginning to cross her face.
"Well, you should probably wear your shoes while you are in the library." i struggle to keep the brightness and the lightness in my voice.
"And you really shouldn't run while you're in the library"
At this point the cute little girl's face crinkles up into such a look, and i can just see her thinking, "you're not a very nice lady, it seemed like you were going to be nice, when you were just out to spoil my fun all along!"
I almost feel bad.
But she does stop running.
But i think MAYBE playing the stereotypical, mean-old-shushing-NO-NO-NO-spinster librarian might be the better approach after all. At least then the kids know what they're getting.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

people in glass houses...

Our Internet computers have not been running smoothly of late to say the least--frankly they've been an absolute nightmare--we have to reboot the server and the computers about five times per day (not that it helps much). Today, this teenaged girl came up to the desk and complained that the computer was saying that her password was invalid. I was ready for another big problem and i start the regular flowchart of questions. I asked her the next logical question which was if she was sure she was putting in the correct password. She responded with a massive sigh and a giant eyeroll and a look on her face that let me know that i was so incredibly stupid she could not believe she was wasting HER PRECIOUS time with me. In an exasperated, patronizing tone of voice she spews "The computer WON'T LET me put in a password, it won't LET me TYPE anything!"
"Well if it won't let you put in you password how can it be telling you your pass word is wrong?" seems like a reasonable question to me (but of course i am an IDIOT) So i get up and follow her as she stamps to her computer which she promptly stands beside, waiting for me to magically fix whatever the problem may be. "Well are we both going to stand here and watch the computer do nothing, or are you going to insert your card and show me what the problem is?" i ask (strangely enough i am not in the best of moods at this point--being treated rudely does not always make me want to cheerfully deliver)
She slumps into the chair, shoves her card into the slot, and starts pounding on the keyboard--surely enough her numerical password does not enter in. I lean over her shoulder and point to the NUM LOCK light, softly saying "Do you see this little NUM LOCK light? If this light isn't on isn't on the NUM LOCK key is not on and your numerical keyboard will not work, you can either turn this on (like this) or use the regular keyboard." Needless to say that particular issue was solved and i went back to my little reference desk. Moral for this story (and oh so many others.) Before you insult the intelligence of others you really should be sure that you operating from a place of brilliance yourself.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

don't it make you feel good?

working at the reference desk tonight
(of course)
two women come up and ask for a list of area N.A. meetings which i promptly print up for them.
They thank me and i say "No problem" (with a smile--naturally)
And i hear them exclaim (well not really exclaim but it just seems to fit here--almost like a Clement Moore poem) as they walk out the door,
"Aren't libraries wonderful?"
"Yes, they really are, you can just go in and get exactly what you want, just like that. We should come here more often." know they really should.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"how can a story end happily if there is no love?"

Somehow i seem to be reading more juvenile literature of late than i usually do--not that i'm complaining, mind you, because i'm quite enjoying it. My latest discovery (highly recommended by my co-librarians) was The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.
It is the story of a beautiful china rabbit (with real rabbit fur for his ears and tail). He was always dressed in only the best of clothes and he was highly enamoured of himself. He is also loved and owned by ten-year old Abilene who took very good care of him.
I'm sure you've guessed by now that change is coming for Edward--he is separated from his dear mistress and tho i'm not sure his could be called a hero's journey he does learn the lessons he most needs to learn and it is a truly beautiful story--quite moving really--colour me impressed.
Now this is one of those books that i must own for myself as it is a beautiful tale (wasn't i just talking about how i need to stop buying books)--oh well some things just MUST be HAD--highly, highly recommended.

in case you needed to be told...

This morning (after being awakened by an amazing rainstorm--and the cats telling me that i had better get out of bed RIGHT NOW and do something about whatever was happening outside) i finished reading The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life by Steve Leveen.
Leveen gives basic tips like making a list of books that you want to read (what he calls your "List of Candidates") buy them (he suggests)--preferably in hardcover-- (instead of checking them out from them out from the library--advice i REALLY DON"T NEED TO HEAR--thank you very much)--his philosophy seems to be: BUY, BUY, BUY--buy those books you read in the past that you liked as well as those you MIGHT read in the future-- so that you can always have them at hand whenever you are in the mood for reading; take time to ponder a book after you're done with it (now THAT IS good advice--as is his suggestion that you take advantage of your librarian's vast and helpful knowledge in Reader's Advisory Service;); listen to books on audio; join a reading group; and don't waste your time on books that don't grab your interest.
My opinion? Don't waste your time on this one. Although i did get a FEW ideas for new books i want to read--but of course ALL books curse me with that!