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I’ve got a vacation coming up from the 21st through January 1st and I keep finding myself in slow moments throughout the day thinking about what I might read during my end of year reading binge opportunity. I’ve got lots of books in progress and lots of books waiting in the wings. And since I work in a library it is so easy to request books on the spur of the moment. Like I did yesterday. Now, added to my possible binge pile is Nothing: A Very Short Introduction by Frank Close. I found out about the book from the Millions Year in Reading columns. It really is short, only 145 pages. Trouble is, it is one of many in an Oxford University Press series of short introductions to subjects. There is a list of some of the titles in the book and a note that there are, as of 2009 when this book was published, over 200 books in the series. Oxford UP knows readers because I was drooling over several titles and came this close to requesting them from the library before I regained control.
Another library book that recently arrived is Craig Thompson’s Habibi. I’ve been on the wait list for this one for two months. It will be read before my vacation most likely.
Since I was looking for books, I put myself on the e-book wait list for Brian Greene’s latest, Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos. The e-book wait list was shorter than the print list. I almost got in line for the e-book of Moonwalking with Einstein as well but figured that with my luck they’d both arrive at the same time and I am already getting close to the front of the line on some print books I have requests for. Balancing all this can be quite a challenge, can’t it?
I realized the other day that all the books I am actively reading at the moment are nonfiction – a biography on Margaret Fuller, essays and lectures. I was surprised when I realized this and thought I should start a novel right away. But when it came to it I picked up one of the essay books to read. I worried about it a little off and on today and when I got home from work this evening I decided to stop worrying. If I am not in the mood for a novel there is no sense in forcing myself into one. I am sure before long I will be deep into several novels. Still, it’s kind of weird to not be reading a novel at the moment. I don’t recall that ever happening before.
Apologies for the unfocused ramble this evening. I had intended to write about Howards End is on the Landing but couldn’t bring my brain around to it. To compensate, here are instructions on how to build a hidden door bookshelf. I’ve got a place for one, not sure we have the tools and abilities needed to actually pull it off. If Bookman and I manage it though, you all will be the first to hear about it.
Filed under: Books
Did you know that Lisa Yee ( the of fantastic books like Warp Speed, Good Jon Kanani and Millicent Min, Girl Genius) and schedule to be at this year’s Virginia Hamilton Conference…that same Lisa Yee also used to write The West Wing? The show ran on NBC from 1999 to 2006.
I mention this because I recently finished watching the West Wing on DVD and noted some very interesting co-incidences. If you watched the show, you may remember that in the last season Jimmy Smits was the first Latino to run for president. The following happened during his campaign and his subsequent election.
- Smit’s character was a young, revolutionary campaigner
- Leo McGarry, a much older, White statesman, was selected to be his running mate.
- During one of the debates between Smit’s character and his opponent, someone in the crowd yelled “Liar!”
- Smit’s first term was going to be burdened by his predecessor’s actions which got the country involved in a war between India and China.
- Smit, a Democrat, chose several Republicans for key offices in his presidency.
- While campaign, Smit avoided issues dealing with his ethnicity
Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
Filed under: Me Being Me
As the famous line goes, “spring waits for no one.” Okay maybe it is time and not spring but if you measure time in seasons it amounts to the same thing, doesn’t it? All this to say I’ve spent a good portion of my day out in the garden clearing away the dregs of winter. I got a lot done but there is still much to do.
Nonetheless, by this evening the crocuses I had found valiantly trying to bloom beneath the winter mulch were perky and bright with their purple flowers opening up to the sunlight. My pussytoes are beginning to send up little white furry buds and my pasque flowers are unfurling their ferny leaves. The tulips are about six inches tall and soon will be sending up buds. Th peony is also emerging from sleep and poking up from the ground. I expect if the weather stays as mild as this (62F, 17C) I’ll have big gorgeous pink peony flowers by the end of April instead of the end of May.
I had not planned on spending most of my day outdoors in the garden, only a little of it. But after I got going it was hard to stop. That and the thought of not finishing cleaning up the flower beds in the front yard and leaving fresh green shoots trapped beneath soggy leaves made me feel guilty. I don’t have the energy to do much in the garden during the week after work so the poor plants wouldn’t have gotten any attention until next weekend. Couldn’t have that.
As it is, I haven’t gotten to any of the flower beds in the backyard yet. I noticed one of my clematis is already greening up and my climbing rose has small leaves on it too. The honeysuckle also has leaf buds on it. Crazy because it is a month early for this to be starting.
Even with the warm winter I didn’t expect spring to arrive so soon. Living in a cold climate (zone 4 for you gardening buffs), I find the first half of winter to be a wonderful time for relaxing and recovering from the busy gardening season. By the start of January I am already thinking about what I might like to plant in the spring. By early February after winter has done its worst and the days are getting noticeably longer, I begin yearning for spring (forgetting completely about the allergies that will also sprout up). And yet, year after year as spring draws nearer and I am anticipating the ground thawing and getting out to clean up, I am always taken by surprise when the warm days arrive. I was so surprised by spring this year it took a whole week of gradually worsening allergy symptoms before I realized what was going on. I heartily thank the medical establishment for the invention of truly non-drowsy antihistamines and antihistamine eye drops. I would not be able to bear spring or later summer without them.
Enough of my garden rambling for one day. I will endeavor to have something appropriately bookish for you tomorrow.
Filed under: gardening
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Exciting news at OUP! James McPherson has won the The Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The award recognizes and honors the lifetime contributions of a living author for a body of work dedicated to enriching the understanding of American military history including military affairs.
Echoing all of our feelings Niko Pfund, Vice President and Publisher, Oxford University Press said, “Oxford University Press warmly congratulates Jim McPherson on his receipt of the first Pritzker Military Library Lifetime Achievement in Military Literature Award. Few scholars more consistently combine first-rate scholarship with accessible historical writing, and few authors are more of a pleasure to publish. We are delighted that so richly deserving a writer and thinker has been chosen to inaugurate this prestigious award.”
I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately. Stressed but more on the sad side of the scale. I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't want to use the word depressed but I've just been bummed. I am aware there are never enough hours in the da...
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I feel like the clouds are parting. Last night, I managed to get to library to do some writing (It's like going to the office), I stopped for a 6 minute tanning session (for the wedding festivities), I came home, got changed, did some sprints on ...
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I just happened to walk into the room the other day as my 5-year-old took a running dive headfirst into the couch.
"CANNIBAL!" she shouted, and for a second I just stopped and stared as my brain desperately tried to make sense of that.
Um. I think you might have meant cannonball, darling. And also, don't jump on the couch.
My life is very strange.
Anyhow, many apologies for the epically long blog silence. Life is crazy and busy and full of oh so many fascinating things to do. If only we were all apathetic and disinterested around here, I'd have a whole lot more spare time. Of course, then I wouldn't have anything I wanted to do with it. Can't win 'em all.
The KinderScares to-read mountain is as huge as ever and always growing, and if Colum and I can both resist the allure of Other Books and Other Writing Projects, not to mention sunshine and ice cream and all the other distracting things that might catch our fancy, we'll be reviewing a pile of them in the very near future.
And how are you, all my (sadly neglected) pals out in blogland? Do tell.
So I was going to post a seriously awesome Cthulhu drawing by our little monster the other day in honour of H.P. Lovecraft's birthday. BUT as I prepared to take a picture of it for the blog, I discovered to my horror that my digital camera had been crushed beyond all recognition. Ahhhhhhhhh!
The theory is that a backpack it was in got crushed in the truck's gate. But really we have no idea how it happened. What I DO know is that it is a great source of woe, and that now I have to look for a new camera. Bah!
In any case, Cthulhu will have to wait until I have new photography equipment (or hook my computer up to the scanner. But I'm sure he's worth the wait.
In other up and coming bloggy news, I located our daughter's amateur field guide to monsters in a stack of papers and will be posting that soon...once I grab a camera or hook up the scanner.
AND we've spent a lot of the summer doing one of our very favourite things - prowling all the used bookstores we can find for awesome things to read. We even used a road trip as an excuse to haunt used bookstores halfway across the province! Aside from pushing us way past book capacity and necessitating a trip to IKEA for a full THREE new bookcases, we found some awesome spooky kids' books you'll love!
(Because I'm sure you're fascinated by the trivia of my life: the book cataloguing software I bought a few weeks ago tells me we have 122 KinderScares books...and I'm not NEARLY done scanning everything in the house)
SO. Summer (and our conspicuous internet absence) is coming to a close. We're just about done with the amusement park and zoo going, road-trip taking, yard work torture, house-rearranging, and all that other good stuff. And have tons of books and other crazy stuff waiting in the wings (with poor old wait-listed Cthulhu). So hang in there folks! We're just about back. And we hope you've all been having as much fun this summer as we have!
Mondays are hard to be sure. I mean, having to wake up to an alarm instead of sunrise, and then having to get out of bed and go to work, even if you like your job, is always hard after a weekend. But I am beginning to suspect that Wednesday is the new Monday. See, I might not like having to get up to go to work on Monday morning but I am rested and that is huge. I’ve also had a chance to read over the weekend so I’ve got blog fodder when I sit down at my computer.
Wednesday though. By Wednesday I’m tired. Plus, I haven’t had a chance to read anything new and I have run out of blog material from my weekend. So Wednesdays have become the new Monday because it seems like Wednesday is when the week catches up to me and the weekend still seems so far away. Has this happened to anyone else?
Last week after my book lusting for Marjorie Garber’s new book, I checked the library catalog where I work and had her Manifesto for Literary Studies sent to me from another library in our consortium.
Have I ever mentioned that the law library where I work is part of a consortium of private university libraries in the Twin Cities? It is really awesome. So requesting books that my library doesn’t have but one of the consortium libraries does have is a breeze. We share an OPAC and backend system. There is a courier that delivers the books between the schools twice a day. I request a book and it usually shows up for me at the library where I work the next day. What could be easier? Or more dangerous?
So last week after book lusting, I checked the OPAC and saw that one of the libraries had a short book, more a pamphlet, by Garber called A Manifesto for Literary Studies. I requested it in order to whet my appetite and whip up my book lusting to an even higher pitch. I read most of it over the weekend and finished the last ten pages before bed last night. I am not yet prepared to write about it. It needs time and space for some thinking. It consists of two essays and it didn’t seem very manifesto-y to me, but maybe it will after I let it seep into my brain a little.
Now tomorrow is Thursday. In spite of Wednesday being the new Monday we get to skip from “Monday” right to Thursday, which has its consolations.
Filed under: Books
Yes, I am obsessed with book covers. And let's face it, book covers do sell books.
I'll pick up a book based on the cover alone to find out what it's about. Also a catchy title helps.
One thing I've heard numerous times from agents was how much they loved my title "Beautifully Broken." Too bad they didn't like my story as much. Sometimes, I daydream about my cover and what it will look like. How it would feel to see it on the shelves of a bookstore...
Anyhoo, here are some of my favorite covers in no particular order. There seems to be a trend in book covers with faces or backs and one to two word titles seem to be hot among young adult novels right now. Easy to remember, I guess. (And I added a few pics that inspire me.) This post may take a minute to load. Also check out this blog devoted to book cover art
What are some of yours?
Have you ever grabbed a book from the shelf after spying the cover art work?
If you live within the Oneida County area or near Clinton, New York, this July the Utica Writers Club is hosting a writing workshop with special guest speaker, Ms. Maria V. Snyder.
My name is Jordan Mierek and I am an aspiring author. A few years ago, I read Ms. Snyder’s novel POISON STUDY, and fell in love with it. The characters are realistic and captivating, and the storyline is unique. The back of the book included Ms. Snyder’s author biography, as well as her email address. Whenever I read a book I enjoy, I make sure to tell the author.
So, I emailed Ms. Snyder and to my delight and surprise she actually wrote back. Her reply was personal, and not a form letter, which I usually receive from other authors. Since then, we have kept up a correspondence and she has proven very helpful in my own writing endeavors.
When the Utica Writers Club was discussing which author they wanted to host a writing workshop, I knew Ms. Snyder would be the perfect candidate.
Maria V. Snyder was originally a meteorologist before she became a novelist. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling Study series: POISON STUDY, MAGIC STUDY, and FIRE STUDY, the award winning Glass series, and the Insider books.
Ms. Snyder will also have signed copies of her books available for purchase at the workshop.
When: July 16,
BB is up for 2011 best cover on goodreads!
Today we should honor the men, women and children who lost their lives during the horrific terrorist attack on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon.
To all those brave people who gave their lives. And the Heroes that responded to the emergency on Sept 11, 2001. To all the families and friends who lost a loved one on one of the most horrific and tragic events in our nation’s history.
"Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children." - President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001