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I am officially going to ALA. I was pretty sure a month ago when I bought my registration and said I would facilitate a panel. I bought my plane tickets this week though, after realizing I missed the inexpensive window. I should say less expensive, because when does flying ever feel inexpensive?
But I am excited to see New Orleans, and the Mister will be joining me, at least for a bit. I am doing a day of volunteering, although I don’t know what my work will be, yet. It could be anything from construction to cataloging. The conference sessions sound good–hopefully that pans out. Sometimes they sound useful and then you get in there and realize that it just isn’t, or that you’ve taken something really similar in the past.
Even more exciting than a bunch of librarians in a convention center? I have a camping trip with the Boy and dad-family the week before. We have a couple spots out at Kalaloch, a place I love. I hope the weather cooperates, but honestly, this spot I will go to in the pouring rain.
Which is what I got to ride home in tonight. I went to the middle school and saw their a production of The Wizard of Oz. It was amazing! Not every note was on key but it was well executed, the acting was top notch and so was the orchestra and singing. It was easy to see that the kids had put their all into the show.
And then I rode my bike home and got soaked. It was so nice earlier today. So far I am meeting my goal of riding every day.
It’s too late (I am too cold and tired) to add what I am reading. Actually, I can just say that I am still reading The Scar by China Mieville. It is a frickin’ long book, but worth every minute. I don’t think I am going to finish during the check out time.
We have a new city librarian. He doesn’t start until mid-August, but he comes with good references.
Bike to work month is wonderfully under way. We had a great start on Sunday with temperatures in the 60′s, followed promptly by 2 days of frigid rain. I have ridden every day and even included downtown in my commute when I had meetings down there 2 out of the 3 days. The rainy ones of course. And I’ve been running. I can make it around Green Lake, even with all the biking, without walking or stopping and in under 3o minutes. I keep forgetting to check the time when I start, but I know approximately. I’ve been going to bed at a fairly normal hour and getting up EARLY! So early for me–6:30am. And not feeling dead. So yes, exorcising…exercising, I mean…is good for me.
Some of those early meetings downtown were the staff interviews for the City Librarian candidates. I missed one, but hit the other two. I won’t state my preference, or even my opinion on the individuals, as I think it is too touchy a subject to air here. The one I missed, though, is one I hope to miss entirely. Forever. I don’t think I have to worry about that.
What am I reading? Well, almost done with Brain Jack, and it is shaping up and becoming a little less like Little Brother, but only a little. I like the characters and the premise, minus the feeling that Brian Falkner and Corey Doctorow were sharing half a brain when they wrote these books.
I was away from my print books and needed something to read, so downloaded The Scar by China Mieville from the library. It’s good so far, but I’m only a few pages in.
I am also doing some nerdy reading: Exemplary Public Libraries by Joy Marilyn Greiner. I am mostly finding it interesting because the first couple of chapters are about libraries in the UK around the year 20o0, and now those libraries are in desperate jeopardy. So much that the Guardian UK felt the need to post this op ed piece, somewhat late, about how great libraries really are and now necessary. I agree with one of the goodreads reviewers that the book could have used a bit more editing and a better structure. Plus now it is 10 years out of date and could use a brush up. I was reading it to refresh my library theory and I am getting some of that, but finding it a bit repetitive.
Parts of this year were difficult. I would get lonely and down, then either become anti-social and keep to myself, or do a frenzy of booking things with people. The Mister’s been gone for 10 months now and I haven’t seen him since February. My son is with me every other weekend, and we talk and text a few times a week (my bright spots). The winter months were the hardest time. It was dark when I left for work (and I leave pretty late!) and it was dark when I got home. My days off were filled with rain. (This is an exaggeration, but often how I felt.)
It’s still a bit rainy out, off and on. Even Cliff Mass agrees that it has been colder than usual for this time of year, and he’s pretty good at setting us straight when we start getting meloncoly around here. However, this weekend was a turning point for me and the weather today reflected that. It was fairly sunny and warm and I finally embraced being on my own–even if I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing. It’s only looking back that I realize that I wasn’t lonely or tired or depressed all weekend. I gardened, I biked, I ran, I went to the Farmer’s Market on my own and attended a p-patch volunteer meeting.
I’m not saying I’m cured, but I hope that the SADness stays away and that before next winter I find the right ways of coping with the darkness. I hear there are lights and things that help. I’m a librarian, I can do the research. Sometimes it just takes being on the other side before you realize that you should have done something differently.
And I made the best collard green chips today. My collards made it through the winter (just like me!) and there are so many, I had to find something creative to do with them. Later tonight I am going to make them again with some sugar for a sweet and salty flavor. They’re even pretty good for you.
What am I reading? I finished Changeless by Gail Carriger on my trip as well as all those audio books. I liked it as much as the first, a wonderful distraction. No great literary work, but very enjoyable. I seem to be on a trashy supernatural kick and I have also finished Dark Reunion by L. J. Smith, which was ok, but really disappointed me in the end–just too unbelievable. Yes, I know. Fantasy. But there have to be some rules or the story just doesn’t work.
Now I am working on Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, which is an unimaginative book that follows the same basic theme as many other books I’ve read recently. Girl goes to a new school, finds friends, has a crush, stops feeling sorry for herself and finally starts living. However, this one is interesting, well written, catches the imagination and doesn’t require the main character to do anything illegal to get where she’s going.
Anna is sent to Paris by her father to attend the American School in Paris. She didn’t really want to go and leave her friends and the possibility of a new relationship. She’s petrified of leaving the school, not knowing any French and this fear seems to be the main thing she needs to overcome to begin her new life. I haven’t gotten that far yet, and I’ll let you find out for yourself if you choose to read it.
Despite being tired it has been an excellent day. Someday I will grow up and realize that I should not stay up till all hours reading.
However! I got to make up my listening session with our interim City Librarian. There were only 3 of us there this morning, and her, and I really felt heard. I have high hopes that there will be things happening soon. Things that should make us all a little happier. We should hear more next week.
And! I got my funding! For my advisory group! I am so excited! Can you tell!?! Pizza for everybody!
And I moved all my new books to shelving where there is more room, because there are too many of them. It seems like every month I have more new books than the last. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing, but where to put them all? Next I am going to have to read fiction again. I have been enlisting the help of my awesome LAIV to help me do dusty shelf lists–it makes it easier to let them go if I just read over the titles after he’s pulled them. If I handle them all, I want to keep them. We have more of a connection.
What am I reading? I have been super lazy about updating goodreads and netgalley. I hope they will forgive me for another week or so. But I have been reading. When don’t I?
I am trying to finish Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin because it is due tomorrow. I heard about it from a friend who wrote a blog post for the library. It intrigued me enough to use one of my precious 25 hold spots for it, although the library didn’t have very many copies so it took a while to get it. In the mean time, I totally forgot why I put it on hold. I finally remembered today when I was talking about it with my manager. This series was first published in the late 70′s and details life in that time in San Francisco. As you can imagine, there is a lot of love going on, love of all kinds. It is San Francisco after all. I think one of the reasons why the description of this book was so appealing was because my uncle ran away to San Francisco when he was young, in the 70′s. I hoped to see a little of what his life might have been like then. He came back later, with a life partner and aids. I loved him very much, even though I didn’t spend time with him until his return. There was one visit to see them in San Fran when I was a kid, but I really only remember stuffing chicken in my cheeks. I was going through a phase where I didn’t want to swallow food.
I can’t know if this book gives a window into what he experienced. He’s been gone for a while now, and his partner several years later. There’s no one left to ask. I hope he enjoyed it. Tales of the City makes it sound like it could have been fun, and if not, then seriously interesting. The characters are deep, although you don’t realize it at first, and Maupin has a crazy way of making all of them interconnected. Toward the end of the book, where I am now, you come to realize there is a mystery. I don’t know what it is yet, but I think I will very soon. It might be another late night.
It’s not very often that I get to combine two of my loves, books and cycling. Except when I ride to work, I suppose, but one might argue that work, while book related, is not always a “love”. But now I have a real reason to get excited. Bike Snob is coming to Seattle during the Seattle Bike Expo for what he calls a BRA–book related appearance.
Bike Snob is the kind of blogger who cannot offend me, despite all his attempts. He has a masterful grasp of sarcasm and satire and constantly makes me laugh. I have read his blog faithfully since I stumbled upon it last year. Unfortunately, I have not yet read his book. Guess I’d better get crackin’. Or even better, I can buy a copy there and get it signed. Maybe I was just looking for the right moment.
In libraryland we are planning Summer Reading programs–or I should say we just got done. There always seems to be some controversy over interpretation of policy in these situations. We were told we could have 3 system generated programs–things planned by our programming coordinator and paid for through central programming funds–which we would schedule with the performers. The directions also said that any branch generated programs would have to be paid for and supported by the branch. This would lead one to believe that those programs are possible, yes? Some took that as a no. So now we are fighting to have our couple of branch programs as well, where we librarians have ownership and get to interact with our patrons. I will say that my manager was one who interpreted the policy the way I did and I am sure this is all a minor misunderstanding. All I want is a duct tape program! It won’t even cost anything because we already have kits ready.
What am I reading? I think I have too many things on my plate right now.
I have set aside No God but God and picked up The Luxe by Anna Godbersen, which is interesting historical fiction from around1900. Right now it is seriously too predictable, but I am enjoying that the author has included both the rich elite of New York and the lives of their servants. Usually a book will settle on one or the other, with the other half in the peripheral. It is a bit like Gossip Girl during the horse and buggy days, with all the intrigue and backstabbing that you expect.
And I finished reading The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter. Three siblings have lost their mother under mysterious circumstances, and it has affected them in many ways. Their father goes away a few times a year and leaves them with an abhorrent neighbor, until one time late in the school year when he decides they can go visit their aunt Angela in London instead. It turns out there is a misunderstanding and Aunt Angela is away on a trip, leaving the kids stranded and alone. This is the leaping off point for all kinds of adventure.
And isn’t the cover great?
Some of you may have heard about the new debacle between Harper Collins (one of the larger publishing houses) and Libraries this week, with Overdrive standing like a child between two fighting parents (#hcod). First there was news that OD sent out a memo to employees that HC would be putting a cap on check outs of ebooks for libraries. Now, this might make sense if you model ebooks after physical books, where they eventually wear out, get damaged or just disappear over time. However, you’ll notice that neither HC or OD were discussing this with libraries, their clients whom the new policy would affect. Also, they set the magic number to 26 check outs, which is a little arbitrary.
There was a second part of the policy, which would be that HC wanted closer oversight over who was allowed to borrow library materials. That’s just not going to happen. Libraries are already pretty strict about lending policies and who qualifies for a card. Those policies are almost always available on the libraries website. If HC wants to go take a look at each and every one and see if they agree with them, they should go ahead and do so. It might take a while.
So librarians found out about this new policy coming down the pipes in a FEW DAYS, and they put up a fuss (as you can see from the linked twitter feed above). Here are a couple of examples. Then HC replied and OD replied. The first was what you would expect–our current policies are old and we need to update them and stay relevant. Well, publishers do need to stay relevant if they want to survive the digital age, More restrictions are not the way to go. Libraries are already trying to figure out how to have enough electronic copies of a book to satisfy their patrons.
You may ask–but they are electronic, can’t more than one person download it at a time? No no, can’t work that way. How would the authors and publishers make any money if we only had to buy one copy for many people? We buy, essentially, licenses for the book and one person can use one license at a time. Like software can only be put on a limited number of computers. This is copyright (and DRM) and protects the author from giving their book away. Some authors, like Cory Doctorow, give their books away on their own, and that works for them (with rules, of course). Others don’t use a publisher or agent, they publish electronically on Amazon, and have the potential to sell plenty.
The digital age is going through growing pains. We have seen the same problem happening with CDs, MP3s, DVDs and torrents. The question I think it comes down to is will the publishers and producers adapt? We can’t apply print media rules to digital materials. It is a different kettle of fish.
To press my point, here is a message from a Harper Collins author, Marilyn Johnson. At the bottom she gives information on how to give feedback to HC on this issue. Full disclosure, Marilyn Johnson is a library advocate and wrote This Book is Overdue.
I can’t let my readers scare me. I know there are some who are reading my blog in hopes to find some thing to report; to shame me or to prove that I dislike my son’s other family. Just so you know, if you find some thing that fits your criteria, you have fabricated it to be so. While we have our differences in parenting styles and social mores, I don’t think badly of them and in fact really respect the things they have accomplished since I have known them. If the circumstances were different, if we didn’t have the history, I believe we could have been friends.
I ran from my last blog, which had a healthy amount of followers, when I found that some were scouring it for “bad things” to pass on. I hated the idea of being watched like that. I akin it to living in a small town, knowing all your neighbors and somehow garnering a bad reputation so that the local past time becomes spotting your next transgression. It’s enough to make you want to pull up stakes and move out of town. That is the cowards way out though and I won’t be doing it again. If you want to know what I am up to, you can continue to find out right here. Hopefully the neighbors will get bored and start minding their own business, but I’m not counting on it. I am also not making my Twitter private, as I think it takes away from the point of it all. I will block trolls though.
I like this blog. I plan to make it better and maybe stop being lazy and start including more pictures–at least of book covers. I admit that I hate finding a cover, downloading the picture then uploading it again. I wish there was some photo repository in the sky (or the cloud) where I could just link to the url. Maybe Goodreads will let me use theirs…
Oh, and yes I have learned my lesson. No more sarcastic twitter posts about misspellings. Be nice and let the person know. These days you can’t assume you are shouting into a void. And I should help my friends, not mock them, however anonymous it felt at the time.
I’m currently in Vegas visiting my sweetie. His birthday is this week and Southwest was nice enough to give me a free round trip in exchange for going into debt to Chase.
I’ve already finished two books since I got here Monday night and started a third. Thank goodness for the overdrive app–I was able to download the first book in The Vampire Diaries series. I have been meaning to read it for a while, and what better time than when stuck away from my library?
What am I reading? the books I finished are Moon Over Manifest-newest Newbury Award winner, well deserved–and The Clearing by Heather Davis–also quite good.
Reviews and links when I’m back at a computer.
Oh. Did I mention it is 68 and sunny here? Just wanted to run it a little.
I keep trying to figure out why I like Glee, when I hated High School Musical. It frustrates me, with the shallow story lines and the patterns of idiotic behavior. But then they go and point out the idiocy and own it. And they sing songs I know instead of some craptastic ballad that just makes me want to rip my hair out. So yeah, I like Glee. High School Musical…not at all. I am just starting Season 1 Part 2 and I spent the first half of the first episode feeling tired of the corny plot and the second half invigorated with they ways they used the Madonna theme move the story in new directions. Oh, and I got it at the library.
Twitter seems ok. It’s like Facebook, but with less stuff. No imbedded pics, links, but no preview. I’ve found a lot of cool things there; a video about why Twilight is popular (ha!), that my favorite authors have funny and witty things to say in less than 140 characters and that The Onion posts A LOT.
I biked to work today and ran around Green Lake with my brothers. It kind of wore me out, but in a good way. Hopefully I will add more running to my routine and keep it up. I bottled some more ginger ale when I got home. The last batch was super yummy, but tasted more like sparkling ginger lemonade than ginger ale. I tweaked the recipe and split it in two, one with some ground ginger and the other only with fresh, but with a bit less lemon juice and sugar.
What am I reading? Like the Percy Jackson series, Iris, Messenger by Sarah Deming integrates greek mythology, but that is where the comparison ends. Iris has a terrible time at school, and her parents just don’t understand her. Then one birthday she gets a mysterious gift that leads her to find out that the Greek gods have moved to the burbs and have all kinds of problems of their own. The gods tell their stories (popular Greek myths) to Iris, building up to a final message that enlightens her in ways she never would have guessed. This is a good story for younger readers (except for the ending…), and while it is a quick read, it lacks the frenzied pace of Percy.
The file for My Favorite Band Does Not Exist had a fatal flaw and would not go past page 18. I am hoping to get a chance to read it later, as the beginning was pretty good. I am currently reading Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, which was recommended by my sister. It is also based on a Greek myth–Penelope of the Odyssey. I am constantly amazed by the breadth and depth of Ms. Atwood’s writing. To think this is the same author that wrote Oryx and Crake.
No complaints, no changes to the appearance. Perhaps everyone gets updates through a reader these days.
I realized that I hadn’t posted the link to the podcast my TAG members made back in October–although it wasn’t live until early December. So here it is. Some of the sound is a little low; there was a fan going in the room that I couldn’t shut off without turning off the lights.
It is supposed to snow today, but I think that Wednesday is more likely. We never got the snow last week I was hoping for. The temp today is holding at around 37* but it’s supposed to get much colder by Friday. Too bad for my garden, which has managed to survive so far. I should probably go pick all the collard greens and the little cabbages that are trying to get bigger. The only casualty to the freezing temps last week was the rosemary. It was growing so well previous to that, I thought it would make it through. There are a few other things that I will turn under when Spring returns that just don’t look that edible right now.
What am I reading? I just finished Dreadnought, which was lovely if somewhat unbelievable. The zombie element gives things an interesting twist, but I just can’t quite get behind it. I still enjoy the story though and it gives the impression of a well written penny-dreadful.
Tonight I will start Reckless by Cornelia Funke. I have heard good things and can’t wait to see if they are true.