Sunday, January 31, 2010

Slumber Parties

Friday night I went out to a new friends house for a girls night/slumber party. She made us Stoli Doli's (soak fresh pineapple in vodka for a couple of days and you have an instant martini), I had my cards read (apparently conflict and theft are in my near future) and we played Rock Band till the wee hours. We skipped the board game which looked like much more work that any of us wanted to do on a Friday night. This was supposed to be a sleepover but since I now get up early to attend a 8 a.m. yoga class I braved the bad weather and headed home at around 1:30 a.m. which didn't exactly leave me at my best for exercise class.

I consider it a personal triumph that I made it up in time for yoga class on Saturday morning. Week by week it is getting a little easier to bend my body into positions last achieved when I was nine. After yoga, we all went over to Chez Elle Creperie and Coffeehouse and had breakfast. It is a perfect brunch establishment and I highly recommend it. For lunch I met a friend at The Westside Local for my last birthday party of the month. It is always sad when birthday month ends.

Later that night, a few neighbors came over for an Ab Fab watching marathon. As usual, I made way too much food and, of course, they also brought treats. We ate too much, drank Tootsie Roll Martinis and wine and had a wonderful time hanging out and gossiping. I do need to invest in some floor pillows for one friend who prefers stretching out on the floor to watch TV and I did a horrible job planning snack options for a real vegetarian but luckily, she forgave me.

Next time I host I think I am going to have a super-girly slumber party and possibly get someone in to do massages, etc...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Readers in the Rue Morgue

I didn't have an free e-books so I thought I would tell you how to win a free book from the Kansas City Public Library. (Just so you know, the mugs are super-cute this year. Luckily staff can participate in this Adult Reading program.)

The Kansas City Public Library invites patrons to become Readers in the Rue Morgue through the 2010 Adult Winter Reading Program (January 11 – March 14, 2010), focusing on the best in classic and contemporary crime fiction.

In addition to rewarding reading experiences, participation earns special prizes and opportunities to engage like-minded readers at book discussions, film screenings, and author events.


1) Read any five books between January 11 – March 14, 2010. Readers may reserve titles or other Library materials by logging into their online account or visiting the nearest Library location.

2) List those five titles on the online reading log and print out your receipt to receive a prize pack at the nearest Library location. You can also pick up a printed 2010 Adult Winter Reading Guide with a reading log form at all Library locations.

3) Attend any Winter Reading event, book discussion, or film screening. A completed reading log is not a prerequisite for attendance.

4) Join the Winter Reading group on for discussions with other Readers in the Rue Morgue.


Prize packs include a Winter Reading Program bistro mug, a paperback book, and an invitation to the annual Winter Reading Party (which will include a drawing for two gift baskets). Prizes may be received at any Library circulation desk.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I love it when it is Fu's turn to brings treats for staff parties.

Book Groups

I did not turn in a blog post yesterday since I have not yet figured out how to attach picture in blogger via my phone and I have never liked the way my blog posts and pictures turned out trying to do it using my email. Next week maybe I will have all my technological issues worked out but in the meantime, here is an unsuccessful picture I took of my cat, who is decidedly not thrilled about flash photography.

Now on to book related topics....

In the past year I have gone from not being involved in any personal book discussion groups to being involved with two. The first group is run by a close friend and his wife and makes some attempt to actually discuss the book before the socializing starts so from now on I will refer to it as my "serious" book club. The other is called the Martini Book Club and the group really does care more about what martini we will be serving than what book we are reading.

Last night I went to my "serious" book club and we discussed Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. I have to admit I procrastinated when reading this book so I only finished the first fourth of it but I have always enjoyed the British sense of humor and will finish this book in the near future. One of the other participants said she felt like the author nailed life in academia and I think she is probably right and this is a major strength of the novel.

In a couple of weeks I will be hosting the Martini Book Club and, since I hosted, I also get to pick the book. I decided to select one of the American Library Association Reading List Award winners for us to try. I selected the 2010 Women's Fiction award winner Very Valentine: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani. This is a pretty easy group to pick a book for because we don't actually spend much (if any) time discussing the book so I don't need to look for books with "issues" and could select based on the fun factor. Also since the last few books fell into the genre "messed up childhood memoirs" I thought something lighter might be nice as well. Now all I need is to find a fun new martini to introduce to the group. If you have a fabulous recipe please let me know!

The next book I need to read is Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson since it is the Kansas City Public Library BIG READ title for this year. I will keep you posted on this upcoming event so you can also participate.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Playing with the Droid

Tonight I am downloading apps (applications for all of you who don't have cool phones) trying to find on that will allow me to blog with ease using my new Droid©. I am currently playing with Androblogger to see if I can create fabulous blog posts.

So far this app is looking pretty utilitarian. I can't spellcheck the post and since typing on the phone is a little hit-or-miss, this is a bit of a problem. (Please do not contact me about typos. I know there will be a couple.)

Let's see what happens when I insert a picture which unfortunately has to be a URL instead of something I can upload from my phone. Since the pictures from my trip to Europe are online, let's try that. If you don't see a picture of a houseboat somewhere on this blog, my little experiment failed.

Monday, January 25, 2010

That was a short break.....

Well, after a short break it looks like I am back on the book award circuit again. I just was offered an appointment on The American Library Association Reading List. "The Reading List seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merit special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them. The eight genres currently included in the council’s considerations are adrenaline titles (suspense, thrillers, and action adventure); fantasy, historical fiction; horror; mystery; romance; science fiction; and women’s fiction."

Assuming my boss approves the appointment I will get to wallow in genre books this time around.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Renaming the Blog

Now that I am finished with my book award committee (see photo for committee members hard at work) and assuming I do not get assigned to a new one, I think I should find a new focus for my blog. I used to post my concert/event/personal musings on my Myspace blog but since so many friends have dropped off the site my blog posts have devolved into more of a personal journal instead of a blog to share with others. So.... I could conceivably post about some of those topics over here. Not the dating woes perhaps, but the things I wouldn't care if library users know about me.

Since I working more at the part-time job again it looks like I might have time between reference questions to post some entries and, hopefully, won't be so burnt out that I can't try to post a bit more often than I have been lately. I think having a "schedule" might be beneficial to keeping the blog posts flowing.

Here is my proposed schedule:

Sunday - I am hoping to have more variety in my social life than I managed in past years so on Sundays I will try to post about a weekend event or activity that I have indulged in. If I spent the weekend in my PJ's with a stack of books, I will blog about that too.

Monday - Library related blog post, which leaves it pretty wide open. It can be a program at the library, a new library innovation, something to share from another blog, etc...

Tuesday - Musings

Wednesday - Picture of the Week

Thursday - Book review, poetry or a book list.

Friday - I will try to get Free e-book Friday back up and running.

Saturday - Free Day

Disclaimer: This is not a set-in-stone schedule, just something to keep me motivated.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Week Two: Facebook (23 Things Project)

I have been on Facebook for several years (long before it went "public") and don't have any new lessons to share so I thought I would talk instead about my love/hate relationship with it. I enjoy it when communicating with co-workers, friends (especially those who live overseas) and family members. I hate it when everyone I have ever met finds me and wants to suddenly be "friends", when Facebook tinkers with privacy settings or when people are inadvertently hurt by the actions of others on these sites. I have seen some of the greatest kindnesses on Facebook and some of the greatest ugliness on this site as well.

Because of the Facebook "friend" terminology I have noticed that social networking can lead to hurt feelings when people misunderstand the use of the work "friend" on places like Facebook or Twitter or simply have differing definitions of what the word friend means. An online "friendship" can develop into a real life friendship with time and a lot of work but many people seem to take to heart the word friend and are enormously hurt when someone "unfriends" them on a social site. Unfortunately, I don't have answers on how to manage friends and more importantly, acquaintances on these sites but I do caution you new 23 Things users to be aware of these issues and try to approach online friendships in a way that suits your personal friendship style.

Having said all that, I would love some new librarian friends so look for my Facebook badge on the sidebar of this blog.

Notable Books Council 2010 Award Winners

I just got back from serving for my fourth and final year on the ALA adult Notable Books Council Committee. I am pleased to announce the winners of the Notable Books Council book award. (My favorites are starred.)

2010 Notable Books List: the best in fiction, non-fiction and poetry

The 2010 selections for the Notable Books List—a source for very good and very important fiction, non-fiction and poetry for the nation’s adult readers—have been announced by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).

Since 1944, the Notable Books Council has annually selected a list of 25 very good, very readable and at times very important fiction, nonfiction and poetry books for the adult reader. Books may be selected because they possess exceptional literary merit; expand the horizons of human knowledge; make a specialized body of knowledge accessible to the non-specialist; have the potential to contribute significantly to the solution of a contemporary problem; and/or present a unique concept.

The winners were selected by the Notable Books Council, a group of RUSA members and readers’ advisory experts from around the country. This year’s committee included Alicia Ahlvers, chair, Kansas City Public Library; Susie Brown, Shaker Heights Public Library; Julie Elliott, Indiana University-South Bend; Lucy Lockley, St. Charles City-County Library District; Valerie Taylor, Lewisville Community Library; Elizabeth Olesh, Nassau Library System; Jessica Pigza, New York Public Library; Nancy Pearl; A. Issac Pulver, Saratoga Springs Public Library; Heather Robideaux, Fayetteville Public Library; Nonny Schlotzhauer, Pennsylvania State University; and Andrea Slonosky.

The 2010 winners are:


Anthony, Jessica. The Convalescent. McSweeney’s. 9781934781104 - my nomination

Rovar Pfiegman, bus dwelling meat salesman, fulfills his destiny as the last of the last of his clan, in this oddly imaginative tale.

*Atwood, Margaret. The Year of the Flood: A Novel. Doubleday/Nan A. Talese. 9780385528771

In the near future, two women survive an apocalyptic event in a queasily enthralling work.

Baker, Nicholson. The Anthologist: A Novel. Simon & Schuster. 9781416572442. - my nomination

A charming failure, poet Paul Chowder struggles to regain his muse and his girlfriend while watching deadlines slip by.

Chaon, Dan. Await Your Reply: A Novel. Ballantine. 9780345476029.

This chilling exploration of the modern meaning of identity follows three people on the fringes of society.

Cleave, Chris. Little Bee: A Novel. Simon & Schuster. 9781416589631. - my nomination

The compelling voice of a refugee illuminates the life-changing friendship between two women that began with a horrifying encounter on a secluded Nigerian beach.

Dexter, Pete. Spooner. Grand Central. 9780446540728.

A boy struggles to navigate the vagaries of the world with the lifelong guidance of his stepfather in this funny and heartbreaking tale.

Harding, Paul. Tinkers. Bellevue Literary Press. 9781934137123.

In this lyrical novel, the life of a dying man is examined through the smallest moments of time and memory.

Li, Yiyun. The Vagrants: A Novel. Random. 9781400063130.

The execution of a dissident woman reverberates through her small town in the aftermath of China’s Cultural Revolution.

McCann, Colum. Let the Great World Spin: A Novel. Random. 9781400063734.

Phillipe Petit’s highwire walk between the Twin Towers provides the backdrop for this rich portrait of the unlikely connections among a group of New Yorkers in the 1970s.

Morrison, Toni. A Mercy: A Novel. Knopf. 9780307264237

Four women—white, mixed race, black and Native American—become a makeshift family under the care of a “good” man in colonial America.

*Powers, Richard. Generosity: An Enhancement. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 9780374161149.

In this postmodern indictment of the biotech industry, a student’s unnerving happiness seems to hold the key to banishing despair from the human genetic code.

Tóibín, Colm. Brooklyn: A Novel. Scribner. 9781439138311.

A young Irish woman faces heart-wrenching decisions in this unabashedly romantic and deceptively simple story of immigration and belonging.


Cullen, Dave. Columbine. Twelve. 9780446546935.

This fine work of investigative journalism challenges the myths and misconceptions of the Columbine tragedy.

*Eggers, Dave. Zeitoun. McSweeney’s. 9781934781630.

This powerful account explores the devastation of post-Katrina New Orleans through the eyes of a Syrian-American who remained and endured the resulting chaos and confusion.

Finkel, David. The Good Soldiers. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 9780374165734.

An embedded reporter describes the human cost paid by an Army battalion on the streets of Iraq in language that is searing, visceral and immediate.

*Grann, David. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon. Doubleday. 9780385513531.

An intrepid reporter sets out to uncover the mysterious fate the last of the great Victorian explorers in this thrilling adventure.

*Guibert, Emmanuel. The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders. First Second. 9781596433755.

Using mixed visual media, this stunning memoir vividly depicts the struggles and accomplishments of a humanitarian mission in an unforgiving terrain.

Holmes, Richard. The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science. Pantheon. 9780375422225.

This lively, stellar group biography animates the engrossing accounts of the research that inspired a sense of awe in poets and scientists alike.

Keefe, Patrick Radden. Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld & the American Dream. Doubleday. 9780385521307.

Human trafficking and its subsequent effects on the American economy and social structures are documented in this fast-paced panoramic expose.

McDougall, Christopher. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. Knopf. 978-0307266309.

One journalist’s quest to discover the secrets of the reclusive Tarahumara Indians leads to an exciting and dangerous endurance race.

Norman, Michael and Elizabeth M. Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. 9780374272609.

In-depth, brutal and moving this narrative provides multiple perspectives into a tragic WWII episode in the Philippines.

Salisbury, Lainey and Aly Sujo. Provenance: How a Con Man & A Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art. Penguin. 9781594202209.

This enthralling page-turner describes how archivists uncovered one of the most extensive frauds in recent art history.

Small, David. Stitches: A Memoir. Norton. 9780393068573.

Stark drawings give voice to the horrors of a child who find redemption in art while growing up in a repressed and disturbed family.

Thompson, Nicholas. The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War. Holt. 978-0805081428.

The remarkable half-century friendship and rivalry between two influential strategists who helped shape American policy is brought to life in this insightful dual biography.


*Alexie, Sherman. Face. Hanging Loose Press. 9781931236706.

Autobiographical poems experimenting with various styles and forms explore childhood, fatherhood, and the trials, perks and humor of minor celebrity.

Dunn, Stephen. What Goes On: Selected and New Poems 1995-2009. Norton. 978039306775

Completely accessible poems written in ordinary language deal with cats, love, barfights, desire, melancholia and relationships.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Last Notable Commitee Meeting

I will be heading off to Boston soon to chair the meeting that will decide the Notable Books Council Award, a list of 25 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader. This is a list that is used by librarians for collection development and by the public to discover quality new literature for the reading pleasure.

After four years of living and breathing this award (not to mention being buried in books) I will be attending my very last Notables committee meeting at the American Library Association Midwinter conference. While I am looking forward to more free time to read some light and frothy books, catch up on some movie watching, get in shape and spend more time with friends, I am also quite sad to see it end. It has been four years filled with discovering new authors, making new friends, talking nonstop about literature and finding that I do indeed know how to pick out extraordinary books.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Week One: Blogging AKA: Inventive Librarian Training

Some wonderfully inventive librarians have come up with their own spin on the original 23 Things concept. While I am fairly tech savvy, I am planning to participate in order to hone my skills and maybe even find a few new things. It's a Kansas Library project but they will let those of us who live or work out-of-state participate.

Take a look at Librarian, Erin Howerton, hosting the opening module: Blogging. 23 Things -

Stephen's Lighthouse has also provided a little history on the 23 Things project.