You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.

Busy days!  I had a duct tape program yesterday and projects the kids made were just amazing.  We used Stick It for inspiration, which has some great projects and lays everything out in an easy to see way.  I also made a powerpoint with videos from YouTube on the history of duct Tape and how to make a duct tape sheet.  Some day I will remember to try out Prezi for this sort of thing.  As it was, I couldn’t get the sound to come on until I pressed a button on the top of the keyboard (user error).  Oh, and I made this:

What have I been reading?

Hellbent by Cherie Priest  This is the second book in the Cheshire Red Reports series (first book is Bloodshot), which features Raylene, a century old vampire.  She’s a thief for hire but has a soft spot for those who win her over.  So far she has collected a navy seal drag queen, two orphaned children and a blind vampire.  They all live in a brick warehouse in a Pioneer Square area of Seattle.  This episode (because I think this would make an awesome TV series) or perhaps I should say season, has Raylene splitting her attention between finding some magical artifacts and helping her misbegotten family.

This I love about the series:

How well Cherie Priest talks about Seattle.  I didn’t put the book down once to try to figure out how a person got from place A to place B without falling in a large hole.  Usually books set in Seattle bother me with holes in the geography (how does one walk from Wallingford to Capitol Hill in less than an hour?), but I know that’s just me.

Raylene is awesome with her OCD and constant chatter.  She’s a great character and I have come to realize that I am a character person.  Her chatter is all relevant and interesting and helps build the story.  Other characters are less developed because of her dominance, but you get just enough of them keep the flow.

The travel–while the home base is in Seattle, Priest isn’t afraid to take her characters all over the US.  How does a vampire travel?  By car and airplane of course–at night!  That timing can be a little tricky when you have to be in a dark room by the time the sun rises.  There isn’t a lot of sight seeing in some of these trips, but you do get a feel for the location, and certain places are more fleshed out.

There’s a lot of action and adventure in this series.  It won’t let pleasure readers down.  I’ll be recommending this book to adults and teens.  Officially out August 30th.  Bloodshot is available now!

One of the things I really enjoy about my job are all the opportunities to participate in events and projects.  In the last few years I have been on the Instruction Committee (creating policy around our computer classes for the public and laptop computer labs), blog committee (tech liaison etc), scheduling software committee (just wrapping up) and have helped coordinate a teen lock in/overnight, All Ages Art Night, Comixtravaganza, a regional gaming tournament and a reading marathon.  That doesn’t include the regular programming I have done at my branches and outreach to my schools.  I really love making my library a relevant and innovative space that is attractive to all ages.  Now that things have settled down with some of my other projects, I am taking some new challenges.

One thing that will take up much of my time is the formal mentoring program I entered into at work.  I am trying to figure out if management is the right direction for me–to make sure that goal isn’t sticking with me just because it feels like that should be my next step.  I love what I do, do I really need more?  One of the things I want to work on during this time is critical reading and analysis of management and library topics.  My mentor will assign me reading and I will pick something I find interesting and blog about it.  Not here–I have set up another wordpress blog and will use that.  I’ll update when I actually write something, probably in August sometime.  The other thing I will do is job shadow and interview current managers and assistant managers to see what they do and how they balance life and work.

In my own time, I also plan to submit a proposal for a presentation at WLA which is happening in Tulalip next April.  It is a small conference, close to home and a good place to try out my public speaking.  The worst thing about it is that I will probably know people there–bigger chance I’ll embarrass myself, right?  It’s a chance I’ll take.  My proposal entails building communities; how to make teen volunteers/teen advisory group ambassadors for the library and using programs to connect your library to the community.

Speaking of programs, I had a great time making books with Seattle Center for Book Arts:

I’m going to take a time out to rave about a couple of things.  Not crazy rave, but enthusiastic rave–although I leave it up to you to determine whether I am crazy ;)

The first is La Bête, a sweet little restaurant on the West slope of Capitol Hill.  When I showed for our reservation on Sunday, I found myself hoping that the food would live up to the decor.  Whomever designed this place is a master.  The moss greens and browns blend nicely, the art is modern and provocative without overwhelming, and I simply love the grates covering the windows, New Orleans style.

It is a place of smaller, shared plates.  I know at least one of us were worried there wouldn’t be enough.  Not so!  We had oysters on the half-shell, pork rinds with pickled red onions and rabbit and chicken liver pate to start, then followed with the softshell crab, a spring vegetable salad, baked romanesco, the morel mushroom tart, house made merguez sausage, and one of the specials–rabbit wrapped in bacon.  I won’t describe each to you but I’ll give you a couple of bites.  The flavors were very complimentary. The crab was fried perfectly and was creamy and crunchy and yummy. The pate came with a date and apple jam and curly endive on walnut toast.  The oysters were fresh and were some of the best I’ve had, including those I ate in New Orleans. The spring vegetable salad had young garbanzo beans and a perfectly cooked poached egg.   The only thing I didn’t care for were the pork rinds, but I have a feeling that has more to do with me than them.  It was also a great place for a group dinner and the service was excellent.  (P.S. Thanks Dad!)

My second rave was for Gregg’s Geenlake Cycles.  I have window shopped there before and bought a couple of accessories, but the price of their bikes has always kept me a little at bay (I’m not saying they are over priced, just out of my range).  However, I had gotten a look over on my bike from another shop during the bike to work celebration, and I wanted to see what Gregg’s said.  I walked in at 8:20 (they close at 9) to ask if they had time to do an estimate.  The guy behind the counter was seriously friendly and instantly set me at ease.  He hoisted my bike up on the rack and looked it over.  His estimate was much less and less expansive than the other place, he lubed up my chain and break line and made a couple of adjustments.  My ride home was sweeter than any I’ve had on that bike, maybe on any bike.  I am definitely going back to get a new chain set, chain and cables.  Hopefully next week.  It’s amazing what a little excellent customer service and honesty can do.

I am finally back at work in a normal capacity.  Nothing blew up while I was gone–a sign of good planning?  I’ll take it as such.  I had two volunteers come in yesterday and two will come in today.  They are getting things done in a serious way–I haven’t had a regular volunteer since last summer and now I have 4!  Soon I will be hard pressed to find things for them to do.

I just found out that I got the day off I needed for a long ride with friends.  I was pretty hyper about it yesterday.  Now I just have to book the hotel and train ride home.  On the 4th, a few of us rode the Mercer Island loop, which from my house is about 45 miles.  It was easy peasy, so I hope that this 100 miles a day ride won’t kill me.

What am I reading?  I finished Ready Player One and I am having the hardest time giving it away.  There are several people that I think will like it. It’s the future, 2044, and the world is really falling apart.  Classes are very separated, with those scraping by living in squalid stacked trailers and many squatting in cardboard shacks outside of the cities.  Wade Watts is a smart kid.  He takes advantage of all that OASIS has to offer, goes to virtual school and hides all his scavenged equipment from his aunt, who would steal it to pay the rent and for drugs.  He’s also a gunter, someone playing the scavenger hunt-like game that could win him out of his poor surroundings.  No one has found a clue in the last 5 years and many players are ready to give up.

I found it refreshing that Cline doesn’t pound the reader with the “future will suck if you don’t fix…” mallet.  The future is what it is, and while one of the contestants does want to use the prize money to feed everyone, it is easy to see that more than money is needed to fix the world.  Some dystopian fiction seems to bang away with an agenda, and while I feel that saving our planet is important, I don’t need an otherwise exciting book to preach at me while I am trying to enjoy it.

I am now reading Hellbent by Cherie Priest and I am loving it.  Great distraction.  I feel lucky that I get to read so many fun/amazing/interesting/provocative books right now.  And most of them aren’t out yet.

Man, I am slow with the posts lately.  No apologies though, I have been super busy.  I came back to work and got dunked in Summer Reading fever in which we are often 4 kids deep giving out prizes and signing them up.  I always forget how involved it is and what a great opportunity it is to engage the little readers–and make them less afraid of talking to the big scary librarian ;)

Plus we have been getting some serious reference questions mixed in there despite school being out.  And readers advisory for all ages–lots of folks going on trips and looking for a “good book” or a book on cd.  My teen shelves are at half capacity right now.  Almost all the easy to recommend stuff is checked out.  I’m having a hard time finding things to put on display.

So, I promised a what I’ve been reading catch up, so here it is.

Embassytown by China Mielville  The first person narrative and the cold science fiction combined with the short story format  leave this book feeling cold.  The stories are great, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t feel like I invest myself in them.  As always, Mielville creates an interesting and surreal world where you feel immersed in the setting.  Embassytown is a settlement on a world far from others in civilization.  The humans there share their space with the Hosts and while I am only half way through the second story, I have a feeling there is more to the name Hosts than just inviting others into their homes.

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin  I found myself thinking of this book a lot in New Orleans.  It is set in the South, along the Mississippi river and follows the captain of the Fevre River Packets owner.  You learn a lot about piloting and outfitting a steamboat, which might sound boring, but totally is not.  Did you know that steamboats would use lard to make their boats go faster?  There are vampires in this book, but their origin is different from what we are used to and the plot is so interesting.  Very mysterious and dark, Fevre Dream kept me interested all the way through.  It takes a great writer to weave historical elements into a story to make parts that are slow in plot fill you with thoughts of steam engines.  This book is not as long as Game of Thrones and not as fanciful.  It’s a good solid read, although probably most satisfying on dark cold winter nights.

Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows by Molly E. Johnson  I got this one in the mail from Rain Town Press just before I left for vacation.  They included a carmel apple pop, so I couldn’t say no and I have to say that the mystery of a book wrapped in black paper also piqued my interest.  As their website says:

RainTown Press is extremely proud to announce our first book, Spartacus and the Circus of Shadows, by Portland author Molly Johnson. It’s a high adventure runaway tale about Spartacus Zander, a normal kid with a not-so-normal name (and freakish circus abilities) who runs away from home in search of his human cannonball mother who he thinks has been kidnapped by a traveling circus. No spoiler alert here, kids. You’re going to have to wait until October 1st to find out what happens.

I am also not going to give away any spoilers, but I will say this is a wonderful book for older children and tweens.  It’s a bit dark with some moral questions about families that might make it hard on younger readers.  There are lots of cool tricks and characters–lots to do and see!  I’ll definitely be recommending it for purchase.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline  I was lucky to get this book, I think. I approached the Crown booth at ala11 and saw some intriguing buttons scattered around the table.  These were green pixelated keys and half full hearts on a black background.  I asked the rep about them and she started telling me about a book that was coming out, called Ready Player One.  It is set in the future when the world has become so disheartening that most people retreat to OASIS, a simulated world where one can go to school, see movies and look however you want.  It’s also a place to play massive multiplayer games.

The rep saw my Intellectual Freedom Fighter ribbon on my badge and said that the Unshelved guys would be posting an interview with the author sometime soon.  She could tell I was interested and I mentioned that I had read and liked Corey Doctorow and similar authors, so she kind of looked around then went over to a cabinet and pulled out a copy of the book and handed it to me.  It’s the book I decided to keep out to read when I sent all the others off by media mail, and I am almost done.  I will tell you more about it next time, when I am actually finished.  I can say that I love it.  Great first novel that I can’t believe is a first novel.  I keep going to the back of the book to make sure I read that correctly.

Falling Skies by Paul Tobin I don’t actually have this comic in my possession yet, but The Mister and I started watching the TV series in our hotel last week. It was pretty amazing and I love Noah Wyle.  When Dark Horse tweeted about the TV series, I replied that I was watching it and they replied to me that there was a comic and had I read it yet?  I immediately went to see if the library had it, and no they didn’t, so I put in a purchase suggestion and today it popped up in my hold list.  They were probably going to buy it anyway…but it always makes me happy when they purchase something I suggest.  I can’t wait till my copy comes in.