Monday, July 22, 2013

Repurposing old books

It's that wonderful time of year when I start thinking about making Christmas gifts.  Today, I looked around on Pinterest, aka "internet crack", for Christmas craft ideas.

While working at the library, I have seen many interesting ways to repurpose old books.  For the 50th anniversary of one of our library branches, a coworker made a birthday cake out of books.  It was really very pretty.  Last Christmas, we had a Christmas tree built out of active library books.  These ideas got me thinking that there must be SOMETHING I can make from old, discarded books.  While searching for Christmas card holder crafts, I found one made out of a hard cover book.  If you fold all the pages in half, it makes a big fan to stick the cards in.  You can decorate the book any way you would like.  I used a gold stamp pad to make the book look even older. I found a sprig of Christmas fun and ended up with...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Some of my favorite books

I've never been one to pick out a "favorite" book, song, or movie.  I just can't narrow it down to just ONE because there are so many good ones out there.  It's like having twins and choosing your favorite twin.  I just can't do it. I can, however, share some of the books that I love - in no particular order. I won't give a detailed description of the books so I don't give too much away.

The Shoemaker's Wife - Adriana Trigiani
I am not a romance novel reader.  If you see a long-haired male in an open shirt grasping a busty woman on the front of a book, you can bet your bottom dollar that I won't be reading it. I just don't think that these books are good for women (or anyone) because they give a false sense of the reality of love.  I do, however, enjoy a good love story and that is what The Shoemaker's Wife is.  It is the story of Ciro and Enza who meet as teenagers in the Italian Alps at the turn of the century.  It is a realistic love story with struggles and triumphs.  I don't often cry while reading books, but this book has such heart and it got to me.  Read it and you won't be sorry.

The Greatest Miracle in World - Og Mandino
I received a copy of this book from a friend who said it helped her get through her very ugly divorce. It is one of those books that either helps you or means nothing to you, depending on what is going on in your life at the time.  It is a beautiful story that I like to read whenever I need a lift.  I don't want to give away anything about the book because you need to experience its story as you read it.

Watership Down - Richard Adams
When you read Watership Down you will enter a world people do not normally get to experience.  The world of rabbits.  You will enter the rabbit warren and join them as their home is threatened with destruction.  It is the story of survival and strength as the rabbits abandon their warren to find a new home.  Fascinating.

Relic - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
The first book in a thoroughly engaging series introduces us to Aloysius Pendergast, a very interesting FBI agent.  This was a page turner of a book which kept me completely interested.  To those who knock the books as being to over the top with it's creatures, I have to say it is a FICTION story. It is not REAL LIFE.  I have read every book in this series and they were all fantastic, but this one was my introduction to the main characters.  This book was made into a movie, which did not follow the book completely.  While I enjoyed the movie, I liked the book much better.

The Blessing Way - Tony Hillerman
The first book of  the Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee Navajo Reservation series.  Tony Hillerman weaves a fantastic murder mystery with traditional Navajo beliefs. This was my introduction to this series of books. I have since read all of them.  When Mr. Hillerman died in 2008, it was surprisingly sad to realize that there would not be anymore of these books.

Seven Arrows - Hyemeyohsts Storm
Native American mythology at its best.  This is the story of Night Bear and his people.  It is filled with stories of the Cheyenne people.  It is about how the European invasion of the new world affected the Native Americans.  Wonderful storytelling.

Anansi Boys - Neil Gaiman
I love mythology of different peoples.  This is the story of Fat Charlie and his discovery that his late father was Anansi, the trickster, a West African god who often takes the shape of a spider.  Anansi is the keeper of all stories. This was an engaging book. It is a follow up book to American Gods - which I have yet to read.  I guess you can say I like books with a touch of mythology in them. 

I hope you get a chance to read some of these books and get as much enjoyment out of them as I did.  I will continue to add books that I find that stand out for me as I continue working through my reading list.

What are YOUR favorite books?

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Good Karma from Karma Gone Bad by Jenny Feldon


Karma Gone Bad (How I learned to love Mangos, Bollywood, and Water Buffalo) by Jenny Feldon

I had the distinct pleasure of reading an advanced review copy of this book through NetGalley.com.

Imagine being snatched from the cosmopolitan streets of Manhattan and dropped onto the monsoon flooded, water buffalo filled streets of India.  This is what happens to Jenny, when her husband Jay is transferred to Hyderabad, India to start up a regional office for his company Berkeley, King & Coolidge (affectionately known as BKC). She has left behind her job, family, friends, and her beloved Starbuck to become an expat wife.  With no job, no coffee, and Jay at the office all day, Jenny is lost. While Jay adapts to the new culture, Jenny doesn’t and sinks into a depression fueled by $13.00 bottles of Ragu spaghetti sauce and Lays “Style Cream and Onion” potato chips. 

The more settled Jay becomes, the more upset and depressed Jenny gets.  At one point, Jay sends Jenny back home to her parents in Boston and contemplates divorce.  While in Boston, Jenny discovers that there are people, places, and things that she actually enjoyed  while in India. When Jay comes home for Thanksgiving, they reconnect and Jenny agrees to go back to India for the remainder of their stay.

Karma Gone Bad rises above the self-absorbed whininess of Eat, Pray, Love and makes you really care about the people in the book. Jenny’s failure to adjust to the significantly different culture and her subsequent change of heart, made this a very enjoyable read.
Keep an eye out for this one and make sure you read it.  Your karma will thank you.
Thanks for reading.
Title release date: November 5, 2013
Find it at AmazonBooks-A-Million, Barnes & Noble or your local independent book store.

So many books, so little time

What is worst than having nothing to read?  Perhaps having TOO MUCH to read.  Working at the library has caused a constant question in my life..."What should I read next?"  As I watch books come and go from the library, I am constantly adding books to my "to read" list. I will have to live forever to read everything on my list.

When looking for a book to read, I try to find something unique, which in today's world of copycat storylines, is very hard.  It is rare for me to look to the best seller list or a "recommended" list as I often find the choices do not live up to their hype.

I tend to find an author I like and read everything by that person.  When their books run out, I am lost.  I do have some "go to" websites for discovering similar authors.  If you want to find an author that is similar to your favorite, go to www.literature-map.com and type in your authors name.  A funky bunch of names will explode onto the screen and float around.  Once they settle, you will see a screen like this:

I did a search for author suggestions similar to Vince Flynn.  In the center you see his name with a bunch of names all around.  The closer the name is to your original search name, the more alike they are. You can click on these floating author names and go to their literature map. I have found authors that I have never heard of this way.  It is one of the websites that I share with our library patrons.

Literature-map.com is part of http://gnod.net, and is described on its homepage as "Gnod is my experiment in the field of artificial intelligence. Its a self-adapting system, living on this server and 'talking' to everyone who comes along. Gnods intention is to learn about the outer world and to learn 'understanding' its visitors. This enables gnod to share all its wisdom with you in an intuitive and efficient way. You might call it a search-engine to find things you don't know about." You can also do a similar movie and similar music search.

Another website to help you find new authors is http://www.similarauthors.com/.  Type in an authors name and you will get a list like the following, showing authors to try.



One of the things that I love most about my job at the library is helping patrons discover new books and authors.  It is always a good feeling when a patron returns and tells you how much they loved the book you suggested.  Our library has a display of Staff Recommendations, which is very popular.  It is so popular that a patron will ask a staff member who recommended a book they liked, for another book recommendation. 

How do you discover new books or new authors?  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My thoughts on eReaders vs. a physical book

When eReaders first came out, I was very reluctant to try one.  Like most people, I believed the hype that eReaders would kill the book, bring the publishing industry to a crashing halt, and make libraries obsolete. Instead, the eReader has actually been an enhancement. Instead of hurting the publishing industry, I think it has made it stronger and - in fact - cockier.  What I mean by this is the whole "price fixing" and the class action lawsuit that ensued.  As for making libraries obsolete, this has NOT happened.  The library that I work at is busier than ever.  Physical books are STILL being checked out and read.


The first ebook that I read was on the Kindle app on my iPhone. 
Each night, on this tiny screen, I read many, MANY books. I was hooked.  I would often have a print book and an ebook in progress at the same time.  I still do.  As convenient and portable as ebooks are, I still love the feel of a print book in my hand. I believe that there is room for both physical books and eReaders in this world.  One is not better than the other.  Here are some pros and cons for both:

                                          Physical Book

Pros                                                                            Cons
Easily lendable                                                           Bulky
Physically ownable                                                     Can be damaged
You can make notes in them                                      Uses up natural resources
                                                                                    Landfill fillers

                                               eBook

Pros                                                                            Cons
Portable                                                                       No physical ownership
Many books, one holder                                             Not easily lendable
Green (no trees involved)                                           Most cost the same as physical book
Don't take up much room

I know there are more Pros and Cons on both types of books. Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

I will continue to use both ebooks and physical books. As a voracious reader, it gives me more options to read, which is always good.

Thanks for reading.






Hurricane stories

Excuse me for the non-reading related post, but I wanted to share some things I observed during Hurricane Irma. Steak n Shake 17509 N Pa...