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I just got home from seeing PJ 20 at the Cinerama. It was recommended by another mom with a teen, and at first I thought mine would rather see Moneyball, being the bball player he is, but he readily agreed to see the Pearl Jam documentary. My hope was to take his mind off not having friends to hang out with yet (which proved not to be true since he was offered a ride to see the football game tonight). So, we went to sushi on Capitol Hill, then wandered downtown until the movie started.
If you’ve been on the fence about seeing this, let this tip you towards it. The documentary was very well done and I am sure that the band is very proud of how it turned out. Their voices were all there, not just EV’s. I loved learning all the quirks and how they came together, what made them different from other bands and how they dealt with their fame. I am not the most hardcore Pearl Jam fan–I’ve only seen them live once, a few years ago at the Gorge–but this show made me feel like I know them just a little. I can’t say that someone that dislikes them would appreciate it, as there is definitely an angelic glow that covers even the most tragic events in their career, but if you do like them, see it. You won’t be sorry.
Books! I’ve been reading them…somewhat slowly lately.
I finished book 2 in the Monster Blood Tattoo series. Lamplighter is the continuation of the story of Rossamund Bookchild, foundling and now apprentice lamplighter for the emperor. Rossamund goes bravely into apprenticehood, and even though he isn’t good at everything, he makes up for it in perseverance and smarts. Soon after arriving–a week late, as he finds he can’t live down–a young woman, Threnody, also joins the ranks and becomes a sometimes troubling friend. Circumstances push all of the apprentices out into their profession a bit early, and Threnody volunteers to accompany him to a difficult posting. During their time there, much happens to cause Rossamund to question who he really is. Don’t forget the monsters and subterfuge. I think we will learn more in book 3, Factotum.
The adventure is wondrous and the story strange. If it weren’t for the fact that this book keeps me racing to the dictionary, I would recommend it to everyone. It is not a light read, but very entertaining.
I am finally finishing up Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which also had me consulting a dictionary. Two heavy reads at the same time, it’s lucky I got through them both and almost at the same time. I think I need some fluff to bring my brain back to earth.
I can’t say enough good about Perdido Street Station. In fact, I can’t seem to say anything about it right now. It is amazing, the world that Mieville creates is mind blowing. That’s not as much of a metaphor as it would usually be. You’ll just have to read it yourself.
Finally some good news out of the changes. As good as losing your Branch Manager can be, anyway. My new Regional Manager is top notch–in fact all the people chosen to take those positions are great. In this at least, they seem to have chosen the fresh and innovative, or the older and wiser (not necessarily in years, but experience). Perhaps they are trying to throw a pall on the influence of the union, which is the reason why layoffs go by seniority.
Despite my earlier emotional confusion and survivors guilt, I can feel my thoughts settling and life is becoming much less of a chore lately. As the cooking and cleaning shows. I was pretty depressed when The Mister left and work was still up in the air (not that anything is for sure, but not getting a letter leaves me feeling a little bit better). I still want to do whatever I can for my coworkers, to keep them in jobs. I am just relieved that my mental well being is returning, because I was a crazy dumbass there for a little while.
Right now I am listening to Stars and waiting for my rice to get done for my Palak Paneer–which I have already sampled and am in love with. Stars are lovely chill music and I can’t wait to see them live on November 6th. I bought myself a single ticket because The Boy isn’t sure he wants to go to a show. I will get him an all ages ticket later if he decides he wants to go.
What am I reading? I finished Skin Hunger last night. It was a good story–Sadima is an orphan girl has a power she doesn’t understand and she goes to the city to meet a man who sees her for herself, rather than the mother who died birthing her or the ability that scares them. He is everything and nothing that she hoped, as he is the slave of a man with a dark vision and only his will shall be done. Her love binds her and keeps her in that dangerous place until one fateful night.
Hahp has been given to the wizards to sink or swim as he is able in a world where magic is used for everything. Starvation brings out the need and the clarity to make his own food, but other boys are not so lucky. Alternate chapters are told by Sadima and Hahp, detailing their lives, losses and hungers. The title is not explained, but there are several things it could reference. I recommend not reading the cover flap until you are done with the book, as it gives away a storytelling device that I was glad I didn’t see until after I finished the book.
Monsters of Men is just as good as I hoped (10 pages in…). Gotta go finish my chores so I can go to bed and read. Oh and dinner was absolutely delish!
I am home and in recovery mode. I got home much earlier than I’d expected thanks to a new friend giving me a ride. The only train option was at 6:15 which, knowing the delays on Amtrak, would have gotten me home after 10pm. I was motivated enough to go pick up the Offspring, we watched Astro Boy and then I hit the bed like a ton of bricks and stayed there till 11am.
So what did I do in Portland? Well, besides seeing Natalie Merchant, going to Powell’s and Stumptown and hanging out with my lovely coworkers, I went to many sessions at PLA. It all started with a day of pre-conference on Tuesday. Readers Advisory 2.0 was all about how to give RA over the internets in various forms–electronic submission of reading habits=list of 10 annotated book suggestions, blogs with a steady flow of book reviews. I enjoyed listening, but realized they were all things my system has done before, and some they are still doing. Our Fiction department had to drop online RA submissions because it was too popular and we didn’t have the resources to keep up with it.
The second preconference was Opening Doors, Opening Books: Providing Effective Readers’ Advisory Service and was presented by our own talented and well known Nancy Pearl. Even though I have lived in the Seattle area for most of my life and went to the iSchool, I have never heard her speak before. She deserves all the credit that she receives from readers and librarians. I was afraid that any session I took on RA would only tell me about specific books or give tips that I already knew, but didn’t now how to implement. Instead, Nancy taught me how to judge a book by its cover–or rather by its title. I read a lot, and everyone wants a personalized recommendation, but I just don’t get to read as many adult books. Nancy’s talk broke down how to evaluate what the reader really wants out of a book–character, setting, story or language–and helped me see how I could make a suggestion (because she says we should remove our emotions from the experience) based on that and the knowledge of some titles that would fit that need. She also gave us the hint that a character driven book would often have something about a character in the title, same with a setting driven book. We all came up with examples of books that fell into the four categories to help us have a better feeling for what goes where and give us some titles to choose from later, when implementing her method.
That’s enough library geekery for now. I went to many other sessions, and another one that I will talk about here later is Mourning the Loss: the Challenge of Change, which gave me a bit of a chance to grieve over recent changes and realize the next steps of my movement forward.
I didn’t get to go to many of the places I wanted to while I was in Portland, so I hope to go back soon. I will say that I loved the one night I spent in the Mark Spencer Hotel and hope to stay there again. It is not terribly expensive and has a lot of room options and amenities. It is also in the heart of all the places I want to see.
What am I Reading? I am finishing up Steamed, which is turning out to be a total bit of fluff. I wish I would have read it on the beach rather than in the middle of PLA. So not to say it isn’t enjoyable, just not terribly substantial and quite a niche book–how many romance readers are going to be interested in steampunk? A few, but not a lot.
I finished listening to The Curse of the Blue Tattoo last night on the way to get the Offspring and I seriously loved every minute of it. When I tried to apply Nancy’s method of RA to it, I couldn’t decide on a catagory as it has wonderful characters, is historical fiction, so definitely has a good bit of setting, is full of adventure and happenings so fits into story driven. I found the language unique and inspiring as well, but I think that it is probably the least of the 4. I cannot wait for the next book. Now I just have to decide if I should listen or read it–the voice on the audio is really good as well. Decisions, decisions.
Yesterday when I got all my conference information, included was a paper ad for what I thought was a book. It had what looked like an author pic and a title on it and some information, and I set it aside only wondering who was paying so much to have this included in the adverts. Turns out that it was Natalie Merchant’s picture and that she was playing a show for us. I had no idea until right before lunch.
The show itself was emotionally charged. Natalie has a beautiful throaty and lyrical voice. I have always enjoyed her music, except for the song Thank You that seemed to play every ten minutes for a while in the early 2000’s. Mostly that was just annoyance. Today it was sung just for us; for librarians being there for her when she was young and providing so much of the materials that influenced her. Today it brought tears to my eyes.
The songs that preceded that one also caught my heart. They were poems by different writers that she had adapted into a sort of coming of age album. They were beautiful and haunting and jaunty. I loved every minute. The new album is called “Leave your sleep” and I recommend a listen. Before the show started, we wondered why Natalie Merchant would want to open for a bunch of librarians. As soon as she spoke, it became apparent. She found inspiration in the stacks, librarians helped her find her way, she did tons of research on the poets who’s work she used to write the songs and she shared with us what she found. The link goes to Amazon, but I know the library already has it in the catalog, even though the release date isn’t until April 13.
So I am here in Portland, hanging out with my co-workers, trying not to let my ugly side show. Being here is great and I am learning a lot from the sessions I have been to so far. I have taken the MAX all over and visited Powell’s and Stumptown. The friend I am staying with also took me to Screen Door, which was very good.
What am I reading? I am still listening to The Curse of the Blue Tattoo and reading Steamed: A Steampunk Romance. The first is soo good, but it is taking me a while to get through it, since there is so much going on. The second is turning out to be more of a Romance than I like (with a capitol R), but is interesting enough that I am still going to read it. Jack and his sister, Hallie get blasted into a different dimension where aether created steam is the main source of energy. They find themselves on an air ship with the luscious Octavia Pye and her colorful crew. Jack and Octavia feel an instant attraction that only grows stronger as how strange their situation is becomes more tangled.
I am in Portland at the Public Library Association conference. Random: I am now in the ballroom waiting for Natalie Merchant to come perform for a bunch of librarians.
I’ll let you now how it is…
Put the last of the visiting family on a plane today. Now I will have some more time to work on my booktalks for the First Tuesday webinar. That is happening this Tuesday morning at 10am and is a live broadcast. Here’s hoping nothing goes wrong–it is really only the second time I have been recorded for longevity. The first time was at the ALA conference in 2008 when I talked about zines for YALSA. That one wasn’t practiced at all though. It is good practice for the iYouth conference at the iSchool that I am participating in later in the month (talking about teens, technology and blogs).
A good internet friend of mine had an album release today over on his band blog. They are Starfish Stories: The Band and they release their music under a creative commons license, which allows you to use their music in, say, a YouTube video and all you have to do is attribute the music to them in the way they have asked. I got a chance to preview the release and was quite impressed. It isn’t going to be a top 40 success, but I don’t think it was meant to be that anyway. This music has a lot of creative uses and is very well executed. I especially liked “Goodnight Not Goodbye v2.2”, which I believe is the only one with lyrics. You can download these songs by going to the blog link above–there is a place to donate if you like the music, but you should feel free to listen first.
In Libraryland: More information is coming out, although it is hard to tell what is official (and therefor blogable). There is a lot of talk about writing letters to the union and admin, but nothing is happening yet that is visible to me. There might be some behind the scenes work going on, though. I am not unhappy with my post, so it is hard to get riled up about things, but I do understand other’s consternation over changes made, some supposedly based on “skills and abilities”, that have taken people out of their specialty. Others are happy for the chance to do something different and stirring the pot more could mess up their opportunity for that experience.
What am I reading? Still LaFreak…I am going very slowly right now. We will leave it at that. I hope I finish it in time for the work meeting on Tuesday. I should have more time to read now that I am not staying up late visiting with family.