The Librarian’s Book of Lists

The Librarian's Book of Lists

A must-read for the aspiring librarians or lover of libraries and lists. This book includes silly lists like In the Library with the Lead Pipe’s Brett Bonfield’s list of library-inspired Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors, and thought-provoking lists like, Michael Gorman’s five new laws of library science (#5 – Honor the past and create the future.)

You may also get a kick out of the haunted library list or the 25 largest libraries in North America (by volume) list  as well.In the spirit of the holidays, this would make an excellent stocking stuffer or “thinking of you” gift for your favorite bibliophile.

Advertisements

To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story

To Timbuktu

If only I could remember WHAT recommended me this treasure. Travel? Journal? Pictures?! Some of my favorite topics complied in equally as enticing yellow cover. (But you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!) Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg met in Morocco while study abroad with their respective colleges. They fell in love, and made the distance work. Upon their graduations, they had only one plan in mind: Travel. Scieszka ‘s words and Weinberg’s illustrations weave a cohesive story about their post-graduate travel through Asia, Indonesia, and Africa.

At no point does the text disintegrate into a fairy tale, where all of Casey and Steven’s plans fall perfectly into place and they face no hardships. I read on-edge when they experienced identification problems in Mali, but devoured their descriptions of the local cuisine and cultural commentary. I particularly enjoyed reading about the first leg of their trip teaching Chinese schoolchildren English. I definitely empathized for Casey and Steven as they developed lesson plans and tried to connect two cultures by one language. They rise to every challenge they face though, as visitors and as young adults.

My friend Michael is studying Asian Studies at Temple University- Japan campus, and loves it. He is constantly nagging me to visit him in Japan “one of these days”. Of course Japan and China are different, but the travel-bug persists.

Thumbs: 2 out of 2! (and a stomach)

Persepolis

Persepolis

There were two British international students at the university last spring. Liam and Lucy (Yes, those are their real names) furthered my world view just from the stories they told me about their home life. That sensation, paired with my recent binge on graphic novels and gearing up for Script Frenzy, inspired me to read Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis.

Persepolis, followed up with Persepolis 2, are excellent texts for anyone interested in getting into the art of illustration and story-telling. What Satrapi created is in no way “text book”. The fact of the matter is that she’s created a model of what can be accomplished from hard-work, and a very interesting life. Her story compelled me to read it to the end, and it wasn’t just from the subject matter, but her voice. I felt connected with it, which is incredible since my story is a 180 to Satrapi.

Life stories, and memoirs, I have now realized, are my favorite “genre” of writing. My aunt once told me that “No one is interested in what’s going on with anyone”. That’s a good quote to keep in mind when you publicly embarrass yourself, but something I couldn’t lead my life by. I like to hear stories, and learn about people. I like to form bonds, and laugh.

Thumbs: 2 out of 2

Secret Identity

Secret Identity

Marvel will always have a special place in my heart, but I have been coming to terms recently that I love DC. Between Alan Moore for the Neo-Victorian Literature and the purchasing librarian being DC-centric, DC is slowly winning me over. At the end of the day, a graphic novel is a graphic novel (or some may still say “comic book”), but old grudges die hard.

Secret Identity, by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen, ran in 2004 as a miniseries of Superman. Clark Kent is the protagonist, but he is not the familiar Man of Steel. In fact, he detests Superman through his adolescence- until he develops his own Superman-esque powers. It’s only then he dons his own bodysuit and saves humanity on the sly does he accept his namesake-destiny. He battles numerous threats, and the US government, but there isn’t an opponent greater than the one he faces everyday- himself.

This Clark Kent is real. Well, as real as any fictional character based on a fictional character is going to get. He is a human who was given his powers by a meteor landing near his hometown in Kansas when he was a teenager (We see what you did there…). We feel his nervousness when he falls in love with the aptly-named Lois, and his exhilaration as he advances in his writing career. All of these human concerns are balanced with a sense of paranoia of the US government trying to locate him, and just wondering how he became what he is.

As the title implies, Identity is paramount to the miniseries. The struggles that this Clark Kent face are closer to home to the reader than one might experience with the original. You don’t receive the play-by-play of his daily struggles, but the series is four volumes that reflect on his life stages within his human identity and his “other” identity. In this, I found what I enjoy so much from Marvel. The human aspect.  Civil War is slated for this break…

Thumbs: 2 out of 2

 

Will Grayson, will grayson

Will Grayson, will grayson

Hands down, one of the highlights of last summer. Anything John Green and David Levithan pen, individually, is beautifully orchestrated with humor and heat-string-pulling emotion and this collaboration is a must-read for fans of both authors. Will Grayson, will grayson is the best of both writers in one novel.

The title characters, both of whom are young men named Will Grayson, are as individual as the authors who bring them to life. The story is told in alternating chapters, with carefully cultivated styles, of the writers’ selection, to distinguish the Will Graysons apart. You’ll laugh at the incredibly beautiful coincidences of life and laugh, having no idea what else to do, at the cruelty that life also hands the Will Graysons.

I’ll sing the praises of Green and Levithan until they no longer merit them.

Thumbs: 2 out of 2

The Library: An Illustrated History

The Library

Yes, I read a library book about libraries.

Let me just say, The Library: An Illustrated History, by Stuart A.P Murray, is not as illustrated as you might think. The illustrated portion was, more or less, an afterthought from the author. I can only guess that one would need to put a spin on a book about libraries to get the book to sell.

Alexandria, Egypt is an addition to my “Places to go” list because of this book. How could I forget the city of the first library? Well, I am not sure, but all is well now.

Thumbs: 2 out of 2

 

Derby Girl

Derby Girl

This summer’s reading goal is all about clearing house on my reading list.

Derby Girl, written by Shauna Cross, is an older entry on the list. Whip It! is the film version of this novel (novel-to-film is a running theme in my reading goals as well). Cross wrote the screenplay for the film, which I think is much better than the novel. No significant plot changes were made between the novel and the film, but the ending of the novel, which is the same as the film, leaves me very sour.

This is a spoilers-free blog, but the ending is not fulfilling. Cross did a better job in the film of making points and having meaning to the audience, but the ending trails off no matter what form of media you are into. All sub-plots receive closure, but…I want more. No way will this be a series. Cross created a world and characters that were interesting. There was not enough meat left on these bones to form a sequel even though the diner is left wanting more.

Getting back to the film, I found it a fantastic blend of adding further detail and staying true to the story. I believe that the characters of the roller derby team that 16 year-old Bliss Cavander, performed by Ellen Page, joined in the book are changed in the film for the benefit of the actors. Each actor brings some of themselves to their roles (My roller derby name would be Cass Tastrophe). Landon Pigg, who plays Bliss’s love interest, is incredible eye candy, and plays the role of Boy in a Band very well.

“Never date boys in bands” is an emerging theme in teen culture, as we saw in Jennifer’s Body last year, that Derby Girl helped originate. The only teen literature that I’ve read this year not emphasizing that point was the Scott Pilgrim series, but that point may inversely be “Don’t date delivery chicks with seven evil ex-boyfriends”.

Thumbs: 1 out of 2

Anything But Ordinary

Anything But Ordinary

This better be the only rotten apple in my book crop.

My method for selecting books had failed until this. Amazon likes to suggest books for me, based on other books I have viewed. In turn, I will read a summary of them, check if they are available in a library within my county, and then order them for my crop. I understand why Amazon suggested this for me (It’s tags are YA Literature, Romance…), but I wish it had a quality filter.

Summary:

Love story about unique guy and girl, Bernie and Winifred. Then, Bernie’s mom dies and he turns into a total recluse. Bernie and Winifred are both brilliant, but the Bernie doesn’t want to go to college anymore. Bernie doesn’t want to do anything anymore. Winifred gets fed-up and decides to go to college across the country, where she becomes a tricked-out, idiotic, Barbie clone. Bernie drives across country to reunite with her, but is horrified to find the clone that has replaced his girlfriend. He bums around the city for the year (His father is under the ruse that he is auditing courses at the university), and falls for the Winifred’s T.A. The ending is proportional to the given plot, but lame nonetheless.

Usually, I try to find the good in books, but this one was straight-up awful. There was so much room for plot expansion (The guy’s road trip across country is summed-up in one paragraph…what?) and the characters felt so unrelatable. We all have hardships in life, but Winnie and Guy were shallow, in depth (not in the actuality of the story). Very happy that I got this off my reading list.

Thumbs: 0 out of 2