Enough with all that negative stuff. Summer is going great. We’re having a lot of fun giving out books and signing kids up for the Summer of Learning. The teen program is less fulfilling, but I still love giving teens books and for right now we still have some to give, so that is wonderful.

The sign up for two of my teen programs are filling up. We have an Arduino program and a Digital Fabrications showcase planned. The rest of the summer is filled with drop-ins where teens can use our region’s new iPad mini to make digital content for our Tumblr or just make something fun with the supplies I will put out.

In reading news, I just finished the yummy new book by Scott Westerfeld that’s coming out in September, Afterworlds. A longer review will come in the next few days.

I got to see The Boy for dinner and a movie on Sunday. I took him and The Mister to see The Fault in Our Stars and it got all three of us sniffling (sorry to out you guys, but I saw you crying! :) It is a truly wonderful adaptation of the book. The Boy’s been waiting for his new job to start and the date keeps getting pushed back. It was great to see him. I wish he was closer or interested in working in Seattle.

In my biking, I’ve had 2 chains break–on different bikes–in the last month. I guess I’m just hard on them, as they both still showed signs of life when I checked them at the co-op. I’m picking up Lucile (Bike Friday Tikit) tonight after work. I had her looked over to make sure there wasn’t anything else major I was overlooking. I’ve been riding my Surly while she’s been in the shop.

I have to say that bike repairs are much more affordable than car repairs were. I certainly don’t miss that.

I got home from a great day at the library to this article by Linda Braun. Linda is our Youth Services Manager and since she put this article out into the world in a professional capacity, but not a Seattle Public Library outlet, I feel comfortable answering it in the politest terms I can muster.

Linda, do you work in public services? No? How long has it been since you have? From what I’ve read on your resume, it’s been a while. Many years, in fact. And no, dropping into a program every few months does not count.

So when you tell us that being busy during Summer Reading (Sorry, Summer of Learning) isn’t a reason for concern, I wonder which library world you’re living in.

According to your piece, this is the only time that our libraries are busy. How would you know? And actually, have you seen our circulation stats? Our program attendance? The number of programs and outreach visits we plan in house each year?

The real argument against your opinion piece is this: How can we give good customer service to these hundreds of families that descend upon us when the summer program starts when we have the same staffing level we had the day before?  How can librarians suggest just right books to parents, teens and children when there are 10 more behind them and only one of us in the building? How can circulation staff keep up with all the fine payments and new cards (because the old ones expired) etc that come with this influx? We do the best we can and we do it cheerfully.

And yes, we complain to each other in private as a means of support through a crazy time. Then things settle down after a week or two and we can do a better job. Welcome to the library Linda. Maybe someday you’ll be one of us.

Half Bad (Half Life, #1)Half Bad by Sally Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nathan ended up with a better childhood than you would think, what with being the son of a black witch and a white witch in a world where white witches rule. Only one of his siblings hate him and the sanctions aren’t that bad.

Until one day they are; Torture and imprisonment become Nathan’s life, despite the fact that he’s done nothing wrong. It brings into question whether “white” is in fact equal to “good.” Nathan makes it through his time with his tormentor and escapes to find someone who can help him reach his full birthright as a witch.

Half Bad is dark and often depressing, like the later Harry Potter books. Also like the Harry Potter books, the plot twists will keep you reading and the magical world will intrigue you. Nathan is a worthy, complicated character learning not to judge a witch by their color, including his dark father.

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Right after getting back from Florida I went to to Wenatchee for a library conference. I had The Boy ride along on the first leg of his journey to Spokane. He’s gone to stay with his grandparents on his father’s side to see if he can find a job over there for a while. Job prospects in Arlington and Darrington were pretty slim before the 530 Slide and they’re even more dismal now. He’s having a tough time over there. He’s lonely and really just wants to go home.

In split family drama, The Boy’s step mother reacted badly to him saying that and sent some messages to him and his grandmother. Some of what she said was negative about me. Usually I let their relationship be their relationship and just try to give The Boy perspective, but I really don’t like the badmouthing and drama that always seems to go with these blow ups, so this time I just blocked her from my life. I don’t need it and now it’s not my problem.

The conference itself was educational. I took a Video making pre-conference where I learned a lot about lighting and sound. My organization gave some really good talks–so much so that I ended up staying at those presentations rather than going to hear others, which was my intention. There was an interesting talk on reimagined spaces–something hot on our list–given by the next county over. I also got to network with a lot of cool folks, some of whom I’ve seen before, but just never got to connect with. Others I didn’t get to talk to enough. Now that I’ve been elected to the CAYAS board, I want to get to know the other key members better.

Tomorrow I’m representing Books on Bikes and the library on Bike to Work day. We’ll be giving away some library swag and have the ability to issue library cards and check out materials. Should be fun!

I’ll get a review up of Half Bad in a day or so. It was quite good.

Let’s Get LostLet’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Leila is taking a road trip to see the northern lights. We get hints at why she is doing this throughout the story, but author Adi Alsaid does an amazing job of keeping the truth from us until the last portion of the book.

Along the way, Leila meets 4 other teens in various states of confusion and crisis. She imparts wisdom as often only a brave outsider can do and helps these four follow a better path. She is like a mythic fairy godmother, but helping these people also helps Leila; first it distracts her from her own problems, then helps bring them into perspective.

I found the ending a little too convenient, but for the sake of spoilers I won’t go there. Great book, great character building. If you like John Green, you will like Adi Alsaid.

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We Are the GoldensWe Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are many good things about this book. The writing, the friendships, the depiction of high school for a normal student, relationships in a divorced family, some racial diversity without calling it out.

Nell and Layla have always been close. For younger sister Nell, the relationship has bordered on obsession. Layla is growing up and becoming detached from her younger sister and while Nell is trying to let her go, she’s worried. Soon we find out there’s a good reason to worry.

Nell is also growing up and starting to do things on her own, with her own personality and activities. She’s trying to be supportive of her sister, but something is just not right. When Layla finally confides in her, she keeps the secret but knows she shouldn’t and it puts a lot of stress on her.

Nell makes a decision and does something about it rather than allowing a bad situation to go on until its natural conclusion. I like this because it shows teens that doing something hard will not end their world.

A couple of things that distracted me: dead brothers as advisers, student teacher romance seemed a little cliche, the “we’re so connected I thought we shared a name” thing, that their parents were always giving them money. Nothing I couldn’t get over though. Fans of realistic fiction will love this book.

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We had a lovely time in Florida and somehow I managed to put out of my mind that going to Florida would make it near impossible to do 30 Days of Biking in April. Oops.  Oh well, I’m back on the bike and now using MapMyRide to keep track of miles for the National Bike Challenge. I’ll also use it for the Cascade/Adobe Commute Challenge, but I don’t think it will do the auto upload thing for that–which it shouldn’t, only commute miles count for that.

So, Florida.  The Mister chartered us a sailboat and we sailed in the Keys for a few days. It was in the 80′s with good winds and plenty of room on the boat for the 5 of us. We had a wonderful time exploring the reef and Key West and then we went to Honeymoon Island outside of Tampa/Dunedin. Click on the picture below for the entire album.

People in Key West ride bikes, but I did not see one helmet.

 

Now that I’m back I’m in full swing planning bikey stuff. I have 3 major things going on. Sound Cycling biking info fairs at the library this weekend, the Commute Challenge–I’m a team captain for the Paperback Riders, and for Books on Bikes we’re hosting a Bike to Work day booth at the Green Lake library.  Our Seattle Public Library Teams will be challenging the King County Library System’s teams this year.  They have 5 teams and 25 riders. We have 2 teams and about 20 riders, so we’ll probably base the competition on percentages of commutes ridden. They also have a lot more ground to cover in a county than we do in a city, although that might not be a big deal.

As for reviews, I have two I plan to write today, although I’ll probably try to set them to publish a day or so down the road.  They are pre-releases anyhow, so you can’t get your hot little hands on them for another few weeks.  Still, good to place holds early and often!

Oh, as an FYI who know The Boy, he is moving to Spokane next week to try his hand at job seeking there. It seems that the Darrington/Marysville area is pretty barren and that Seattle is just too big for a small town kid.  Wish him luck!

It seems that I will be torturing you with bike posts until I finally finish a book. Sometimes there are luls in the reading enthusiasm, or books are just extra long, or I’m reading 3 at once so it takes FOREVER. Or at least it seems that way. Also, if a book is meh, or the second book in a series, I might not review it. Just star and tag in Goodreads and let that be that.

So, biking! My knee is getting better, although I can still feel a pull in there. I keep riding and it keeps getting better, so I figure I’m not hurting anything.

The first of April, the first day of #30daysofbiking, was my day off. I had plenty of errands to run though and ended up with 19.2 miles.  Here’s a quick picture tour:

 

 

Errand 1, FedEx pickup

Errand 2: Emergency Gardening Tool Delivery

Errand 3: Yeast retrieval from Cellar Homebrew

Errand 4: Met with Emily from Cascade and retrieved a growler of Balebreaker IPA from Bottle Works

Day 2 was fairly cool. I rode to work and and on the ride home I randomly met up with  a friend and we got a beer at Chucks Hop Shop. 10.6 Miles.

On day 3 I took the long way to work. I took a bunch of pictures with my Contour Roam 2, which you can see if you click on the picture below. 15 miles

Hello Crow!

Today was less exciting. I rode to work the regular way, then met my family at Northgate. 8.4 Miles. I took The Boy to dinner, then caught a ride home with The Mr. Now we’re all looking at our respective gadgets and relaxing. The Boy is taking in a movie with friends and will be back tomorrow.

I may go on a longer ride with my Woolbuddies on Sunday, but it depends on how planning for the Tour de Cure Fundraising Dinner goes. That’s Sunday evening and trumps everything else.

Recapping, This week from Tues-Friday: 53.2 Miles

Bikes Ridden: Surly the Pacer and Lucille the little green Bike Friday Tikit

Wheeee!  I feel so fortunate when I get to have an interaction with a favorite author on Twitter. It just makes me all glowy.

I read Justine Larbalestier’s post on her blog (which I found through a twitter post) about a cycling adventure. I was impressed because I didn’t know she biked and told her so and she tweeted back at me. I wanted to dance around it makes me so happy.

I’m missing my bike right now. I did a dumb thing and hurt my knee falling over a speed bump in a parking lot. I was looking for a car2go and it wasn’t where it was supposed to be and I was distracted. It didn’t hurt at all, although I had to ice it for some swelling. I rested for 2 days, then rode my bike for 2 days to work and it was still fine, so I went running on the fifth day and oops, not so good. The swelling came back and it started to hurt, too. The bruising came out then as well and I had a pretty purple pattern all over. That’s fading now and I’m feeling good again, but I’ve banned myself from the bike and running until April 1st. No fooling (I wish I was).

Why April 1st? Well, April is the 30 Days of Biking is a fun challenge because it gets me on my bike on my days off, when I’m tempted to take it easy or stay home cleaning. I’m also signing up for The National Bike Challenge that runs May – October and I’ll be doing Bike to Work month in May. I’m a team captain and love the idea of getting my coworkers to bike to work, however, I also love logging all of my bikey miles with the National Bike Challenge which doesn’t care where you are riding to or how often. It just gives a bit more of a sense of accomplishment.  And April 1st so that I don’t start too soon and hurt myself again and have another setback.

So, as you can see, I am a little bike obsessed, as well as YA author obsessed.

The Blossoming Universe of Violet DiamondThe Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was on a list of books that include people of color as the main character. Violet Diamond is in the situation where her mother and all of the family around her is white, she lives in a predominantly white town and she is half black. Her father died before she could know him.

Violet hates the looks from people when she’s out shopping with her mother and sister. Everyone always has that question on their face, where does she fit in? These are questions that children do see, whatever their difference from others. Eventually they start to see it whether or not it’s there.

Violet does get to work through this feeling. She meets her grandmother and the rest of her father’s family. At first she doesn’t quite fit in there either, being half white, but as time goes on she is able to see herself as a whole person and her family sees her that way as well.

The writing drew me in, the characters were well done and the message was interwoven with the story in such a way that you don’t feel preached to. It is nice to see it set in a middle class household (possibly upper middle, as mom and dad were doctors and grandma is a successful artist) rather than a poor one as seems to usually happen.

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