"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, May 27, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday...Free Choice

Top Graphic Novels/series in my library

Library Wars series by Kiiro Yumi...this is by far the most popular graphic series in the library. Students place holds on the next book in line and then check back daily to see if it is back yet. If you have a high school library and don't have this series, I recommend you get it ASAP!

Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi...I'm a little embarrassed to list this book since it is definitely below high school reading level. But I have a group of students who do read below grade level who just love this series.

Death Note series by Tsugumi Ohba...a bit of a controversial series which is actually being challenged in my district. I think by the time kids are in high school they can distinguish right from wrong and know that creating a death list would be in the "wrong" category.

Fruits Basket series by Natsuki Tanaya... this series has been around forever but girls still really like it.  I have up to book #17, then kids are on their own or have to go to the public library.

A Bride's Story series by Kaoru Mori...these lovely graphic novels contain spectacular drawings. Currently the series has four books, more soon.

The Earl and Fairy series by Ayuko...this is a new series to my library and it is a short one, only four books. Kids blaze through it and then are ready to move on.

Brody's Ghost series by Mark Crilley...I just have four books in this wildly popular series and kids read them over and over again and ask me when the next book will be published.

Bone series by Jeff Smith...this series has experienced a resurgence of popularity this year.

Runaways series by Brian Vaughn...Another oldie but goodie. I goofed up and purchased the books out of order and so have a hole in the series.  I hear about this all the time!

Naruto series by Masashi Kishimoto...another series that has been around for years. I have the first 10 books in this lengthy series then kids have to go search on-line or the public library for more.

Foiled and Curses, Foiled Again by Jane Yolen... the second book of this series was published earlier this year. As soon as it hit the shelves students went back and read the first book.

Dresden Files: Storm Front by Jim Butcher, illustrated by Mark Powers... I thought this graphic novel would encourage readers to move over and read the print series.  So far it hasn't happened. This is pretty graphic, so I am not sure I will get more.

I don't read many graphic novels.  Of those listed I've only read the first book in the series of Library Wars, A Bride's Story, and both of the Foiled series.  What are your favorite graphic novels? I am always looking for good suggestions for my library.

Sense and Sensibility... Weekly Update #2

Sense and Sensibility Weekly Update #2. 

Thoughts about the book: I've never noticed before how short the chapters are. I wonder if all Austen's books have similarly short ones.

50 page challenge met? Yes. Part 1, Chapters 13-22

Current Action: Col. Brandon cancels the planned excursion to Whitwell at the last minute which piques the curiosity of Mrs. Jennings. Willoughby suddening leaves the area and Marianne is left bereft. Everyone thinks they must have had a lover's quarrel because they must be engaged. Edward shows up unannounced for a week-long visit. After he leaves Mr. and Mrs. Palmer come to visit the Middletons at Barton Park. Mrs. Palmer is Mrs. Jennings' youngest daughter. While in Exeter the women meet Lucy and Anne Steele and invite them for a visit. Eventually Lucy confesses to Elinor that she and Edward are secretly engaged.

Surprises: After Willoughby suddenly departs, Marianne is so depressed that all she will do is go for walks and play the pianoforte and only songs she played with him.  Remember, in the movie that she did not have a pianoforte at this point.  I had no idea that Edward Ferrars came to Barton Cottage at this point in the story. He had come from Plymouth and he was in very low spirits. Mrs. Jennings figured out that this must be the elusive Mr. F and teased Elinor about it.  She even said something, later in the story, about Edward and Elinor to Lucy Steele.

Question: Everyone seems to know how much everyone else is worth a year and they talk about it freely.  Col. Brandon has a meer $600-700 per year, The Dashwood women $500, Willoughby was set to inherit $2000/year. Do you think that people in Austen's day really discussed the finances of others so freely, or do you think that Austen just added this to make a point?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

To complete the Printz Challenge or not, that is the question?

Eight years ago as a rookie teen librarian I decided to attempt to read all the Printz Award and Honor books. Looking for Alaska by John Green, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Fat Kid Rules the World by KL Going were all award recipients and some of my favorite YA books. By the time I decided to read ALL the Printz books I had about 30 back books to read to catch up. Then all I would have to do was read the year's winners to stay current. It seemed very doable. After working on the it for about five years I've whittled down the past books to about 15. I've also read all the winning titles for the past four years.

But now I am questioning if I really want to continue the Printz Challenge or wonder if it is time to give up on reading the past books.  Why would I consider abandoning the project now?

Well, the reason relates to my recent reading selection. Today I finished reading Freewill by Chris Lynch. It was an honor book in 2002. The book was so confusing and difficult to read I will never, ever recommend it to any student. I wish this Publishers Weekly review had come to my attention before I struggled through it: "...this airless novel does not reward the effort to penetrate it." Hmm, guess I wasn't the only one that didn't like it.

The book is about a boy who was having a mental breakdown related to his unresolved grief over the death/suicide of his father. In addition to not liking the storyline, I started to question the relevance of the book published in 2001. Of the 15 books left to catch up with the challenge, most were published before 2005. Even if I like these novels they will be tough sells to my students just based on the publishing dates.  Why should I spend time reading YA books that won't bring benefit to my readership?

I want to stay up with current winners but I'm not sure if my heart is in it anymore to go back and read past winners. What do you think?  Should I abandon or stick with my Printz Challenge?
I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Snapshot Saturday...May 25th

My daughter turned 25 years old yesterday. This is a picture taken of us when she was one. We were on vacation at a lake in Central Oregon. What a lovely memory.

Snapshot Saturday is now hosted at West Metro Mommy.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Club and Dump Cake

It was my turn to make dessert for book club.  We read the book The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin.  It is set in...wait for it...an orchard in Eastern Washington. So it seems like a logical dessert should relate somehow to fruits that grow in orchards in Washington State (apples, pears, cherries, plums, apricots, peaches, etc.) I decide upon a really simple dessert that I remember making with my girls when they were in Girl Scouts (Girl Guides)---Dump Cake. It was delicious and everyone raved about it.  In fact, a few of the gals even went back for seconds.

Here's the recipe:

Dump Cake

9 x 12 inch cake pan. Oven 350 degrees, 325 degrees if glass pan is used. 
While oven is getting up to temperature, dump one 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple, juice and all, in the pan. Spread it around. Next dump spoonfuls of 30 oz. canned pie cherries on top of the pineapple. I tried to make the cherries spread around to the whole pan, so every bite would have a cherry. Now open a yellow cake mix and sprinkle the contents on top of the fruit so that they are covered. Lastly, use 1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup) slice into pieces and place on top of the cake mix, once again attempting to cover all the mix. 
Bake for one hour or until the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. 
While you are eating it, talk about how much you liked the book The Orchardist even though most of the characters are very strange. Go back for seconds.  Enjoy being with your friends!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Readers of Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan will be treated to a celebration of books AND technology. They will discover a secret society that is not out to dominate the world, or even kill anyone. In fact, this society is very interested in technology, old technology...the printing press.

Clay Jannon is an unemployed web designer. He ends up working for the odd Mr. Penumbra in his 24-hour bookstore as the only graveyard shift employee. Though few patrons walk through the doors at those late hours, half of those that do are even odder than Mr. Penumbra. All are very focused on the books they want, too, and these books are always from the way-back section of the store. Clay is warned his first day of employment to never look inside these books. Who could resist that kind of temptation? What does Clay discover when he gives in to his curiosity? Books written in code. He and his techie friends set out to help Clay figure out what is going on, maybe even unravel the mystery.

As the "plot thickens" the reader is continually confronted with the question, can technology solve all of the problems that confront us? And, do we really want it to?

Several friends suggested that I read this book, knowing that I would love it.  They were right.  For some reason I am drawn to odd-themed books full of quirky characters.  This book fulfills both of those requirements. If I can offer any criticism, it is the ending is a bit too tied up, too tidy for my taste.  I like books to leave the reader with a bit of ambiguity, allowing the brain/imagination to fill in the blanks at the end of the story. But this is a mild quibble, one that must not dissuade a single reader from choosing Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore as their next reading selection.

I consumed this book in the audio format. Ari Fliakos was the voice actor who does fun and quirky very well.  Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore audiobook was produced by  Macmillan Audio in Feb. 2013.

Since Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore won an Alex Award this year, adult books that appeal to teens, I am going to count it toward by YA Audiobook Challenge!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sense and Sensibility Weekly Update #1

In April I finally finished reading Emma by Jane Austen.  It took me over a year to complete it, which was a ridiculous amount of time to get through the book.  But my final success is due in large part to my weekly updates, after which it took only three weeks to complete it.  With that success fresh in my mind, here I am again with another Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, and my first weekly update.

During my weekly updates I will report my progress, pose a question or two, and reflect on anything Austen. I promise there will be spoilers. Since Austen's books have been in publication for over 200 years I figure that most people know the general storylines, especially if you, like me, have seen the film adaptations.

A bit about this book: Sense and Sensibility was first published in 1811. Its original title was "Elinor and Marianne." The edition I am reading from is Barnes and Noble Classics published in 2003.  It is 312 pages long.

50 page goal reached? Yes, just. Part I, Chapters 1-12.

Current action: We meet the Dashwoods as their beloved father dies. the half brother John Dashwood inherits the estate, leaving Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret as guests in their old house. Before being practically pushed out, they meet Fannie Dashwood's brother Edward Ferrars and he and Elinor really hit it off. There is surprisingly little dialogue between characters at this point in the book.  The women finally find a home, a cottage, they can afford on the estate of Mrs. Dashwood's cousin, Sir John Middleton. They are glad to be far away from Fannie and John but must adjust to a much scaled down life. Once they are moved into Barton Cottage they meet many friends and relations of Sir. Middleton including Col. Brandon and John Willoughby who both have their eyes on Marianne. Elinor hasn't heard from Edward Ferrars and that causes some concern for everyone.

Surprises: John and Fannie have lots of money because Fannie brought a large sum into the marriage, so it is surprising how stingy they are with his half sisters once their father dies. Once the Dashwoods move to Barton Cottage we meet not only Sir John Middleton, but his wife, and his mother-in-law. In the Emma Thompson version of the film there is no wife. The wife is a very single-faceted person and isn't very nice or warm to the Dashwoods. The last two surprises are small but somewhat significant.  First, Marianne brings her pianoforte with her to the cottage. All film versions I've seen show her wanting in this department.  And secondly, Willoughby gives Marianne a horse, even though they can't afford to feed it. Proof of how self-centered he is.

Questions: Have you read Sense and Sensibility? Where does it rank for you among the Austen novels?

Comment: Since I am just getting started, I'd love for you to join me. You'd only have to read an extra 50 pages this week to catch up.  Be sure to check on my progress weekly.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Salon...May 19th

Here I am coming through the clematis gate.
Weather: Overcast and mild sprinklings of rain

Yesterday: We worked on pruning back the ferns that have grown so big and looked so scraggly.  I couldn't help thinking about how cliche it is to have to prune ferns that look all rusted in the Pacific Northwest. Afterwards we went clothes shopping in Tacoma. My husband likes new clothes but will only buy them if I am along as a personal shopper.

Today: is Pentecost Sunday. For those of you that don't know that holiday, it is the day that the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples in the early church and filled them with God's power and wisdom. We celebrate it by wearing red clothing to symbolize the tongues of fire that descended with the spirit. As a special celebration this year my church joined with five other congregations for one big service which was held at the local high school auditorium.  It was a very moving and dynamic service, some would even say, it was spirit-filled.

After the service: I had to rush off with a few other people from the congregation to serve lunch at a homeless shelter in Tacoma. It is such a simple lunch: sandwiches  chips, bananas, and cookies yet many of the patrons remark that the lunch is perfect because they can take it in bags so that they have something to eat later in the day, or even tomorrow.

Friday: My husband and I attended the author event for the Pierce County Reads finale.  The highlighted book this year was The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  Both of us really enjoyed both the book and listening to McLain talk about her experiences writing it. I'm now on a 1920s literature kick.  Perhaps my next audiobook selection will be one of  Hemingway's books.

Books read this week:

  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan...a quirky yet very fun book, nothing what I expected but delighted by it nonetheless. I listened to the audiobook of this novel.
  • Wildly Romantic: The English Romantic Poets by Catherine Andronik...Wordsworth, Coleridge,  Lord Byron, Shelley, and Keats. I'm not a huge fan of their poetry but I was agape at descriptions of their lifestyles.
  • Ten Poems to Change Your Life Again and Again edited by Roger Housden...I've completely exhausted all of Housden's poetry books and, as you see from the above selection, am now forced to branch out.
Books currently reading:

  • Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh...this is my current audiobook selection. I think it would be described as historical fantasy.
  • Freewill by Chris Lynch...a short book that I hope will be of interest to male readers.
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen...I have begun reading this book and hope to provide a weekly update of my progress, as I did for Emma earlier this year.

Scripture: Acts 2:2-4 "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them."

Prayers for: my daughter and my nephew who are looking for work; for a friend who is really struggling with low energy caused by lupus. 

In the garden: between this week and last we have all the containers planted with annuals, the seeds are in the ground for sweet peas, and we even have a container tomato this year.  The bees are working on the waxy tops of the peonies so they should bloom soon, a few irises are lingering, and the rhododendrons are still looking lovely.

In the kitchen this week: Tamale Pie that lasted for three meals. I love leftovers if it means I don't have to cook and shop.

Quote of the Day: "Books have a unique way of stopping time in a particular moment and saying: Let’s not forget this."---Dave Eggers

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain...and thoughts on the author event.

Last night my husband and I attended the sixth annual Pierce County Reads author event celebrating this year's book, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. McLain spoke to a small crowd of several hundred and had us all enthralled. The Paris Wife is the story of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, and the five years that they spent in Paris before he became a famous author.

Paula McLain began her talk by telling us how she became a writer, relating back to her early days as a foster kid finding solace in her school libraries. When she was in graduate school working on her degree in poetry someone suggested that she write a memoir about her childhood experiences growing up in the foster care system. She wasn't sure she could do that since she didn't usually write sentences. Her memoir received very little recognition once it was published but she went on to write a novel, which also didn't sell well. After two publishing duds she was casting about looking for a topic for another book when she, by chance, read Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast.  It is Hemingway's last book, published posthumously, containing essays written about the five years that he and his first wife, Hadley Richardson, lived in Paris in the early 1920s.

On the last one and half pages of A Moveable Feast Hemingway seems to express regret that he allowed himself to be lured away from his first love by another woman which broke up his marriage to Hadley. He wrote, "I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her." When McLain read this, she said she just had to learn more about Hadley and thus began the research that eventually led to the writing of The Paris Wife.

In March when The Paris Wife was announced as the 2013 Pierce County Reads book, my husband disappointedly commented that the book was obviously chick-lit. He corrected himself after reading it, acknowledging the historical fiction about the Hemingways was fascinating, especially how they rubbed elbows with so many other famous writers of the day. We both enjoyed listening to Paula McLain talk about her research and found her to be a captivating speaker.

At one point during her presentation I was moved to the point of tears when McLain described a poignant moment during her first book event after the book was published. It was held in St. Louis, where Hadley Richardson grew up. After reading from the book she took questions from the audience when an octogenarian stood up and said that his Aunt Hadley would have loved the book. He and nine other members of Hadley's family had come to the bookstore to meet the woman that wrote the book about his aunt. What a moving endorsement.

I endorse the book, too.  It is not only an enjoyable read but it is an excellent book club selection. My club had a great discussion about the book. Several of the gals in my club did additional research related to the Hemingways, the 1920s, bullfighting, and other people mentioned in the book. We ever talked about various types of alcoholic drinks that were mentioned.

Since reading The Paris Wife, I felt compelled to read A Moveable Feast to balance Hadley's point of view with Hemingway's. While reading The Paris Wife I often felt frustrated with Hadley and the way that she allowed herself to be treated. McLain reminded us during our Q & A session, that Hadley was really a Victorian girl who was suddenly thrust into a Bohemian lifestyle. It is hard for women today to understand what it was like to be a woman in the 1920s. But one thing is obvious, once Hadley Richardson fell in love with Ernest Hemingway her life changed dramatically. She called it as a "great explosion into life."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0 Midweek Update

My first update.  How am I doing on my Bout of Books 7.0 readathon?

I finished the audiobook, Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. LOVED IT! It is my type of book for sure.  Look for my review soon. I don't have a print edition of this book so I would have to listen to it while driving to and from work and then in the evening sitting in front of my computer with the headphones in.

I also finished the book Ten Poems to Change Your Life Again and Again by Roger Housden. This is my 7th book I've read by Housden in as many weeks and I've come to the end of his poetry books. I'll have to branch out now.  What I appreciate about Housden's books is the essays he writes after each poem which adds to my depth of understanding. This one was not my favorite, though I liked it.  If you want to try one of his books begin with his first: Ten Poems to Change Your Life.

I read a chapter in two different YA books trying to determine which I wanted to read next: Burger Wuss by M.T. Anderson and Freewill by Chris Lynch. Neither of them grabbed me after one chapter but I am determined to read them both in my quest to become more and more familiar with books that appeal to boys. Likely I will read Freewill first. It is on my back desk at work so I can catch a few chapters during lunchtime.

I downloaded a new audiobook and have it cued up on my iPod so I can start listening tomorrow on the drive to work, Jepp, Who Defied the Stars. I purchased this book for my library based on good reviews and I'm having a dickens of a time getting students to check it out. If I read it I should be able to find appropriate readers.

In my hands ready to crack open as soon as I hit PUBLISH on this post is Wildly Romantic  The English Romantic Poets by Catherine Andronik. See, I AM branching out in my poetry reading.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I am joining up...late as per usual.  Here are the books I hope to finish this week during my first Bout of Books readathon:

Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Ten Poems to Change Your Life Again and Again by Roger Housden
The Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Wildly Romantic: The English Romantic Poets: The Mad, the Bad, and the Dangerous
and make progress on 
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

May the Reading Force Be With Me!  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Salon...Happy Mother's Day

View of our back deck and the wisteria in full bloom 
Weather: It has been gorgeous in the Pacific Northwest for the past few weeks.  In fact, one day this week our area was the warmest in the whole country, which, if you look at the map of the USA, is quite odd.  Today, however, the weather is changing and it even rained a bit over night bringing the temperature down to a more normal range.

Today: Is Mother's Day.  Happy day to all you mothers and grandmothers out there! I have a wonderful and generous mother who is still very active and vital in her 80s. I am continually blessed to have her as my mother.

Yesterday:  Each year for a gift my husband takes me to a favorite nursery and helps select plants for all our deck pots. Then, and this is the best part, comes home and helps me plant them. We didn't quite finish all the planting yesterday so part of the day will be dedicated to more time together in the garden.

Last Night: We attended the Youth Programs Auction for our church to raise money for youth programs, camping, and mission trips. I ended up with six homemade scarves, and a cross stitch picture that is amazingly detailed of a Thomas Kincaid painting. Money well spent.

This evening: we head up to Seattle for dinner with daughter #2. We spent the evening with daughter #1 and her husband last night at the auction.  I am getting my requisite visits with daughters on Mother's Day weekend.

Books read this week:

  • Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos---a possible Mock Printz selection for 2014. I had one student read it this week and he says it definitely should be on "the list."
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman...an upcoming book club selection and an audiobook. I'll be interested to see what kind of discussion this book generates. 

Currently reading:

  • Mr. Penuumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan...several people have told me that I HAVE to read this book, so I am. It is an audiobook selection.
  • Ten Poems to Change Your Life Again and Again edited by Roger Housden...the last of his poetry books. I read them out of order, so it is not really his last, I have just read all of them so far.

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:6b "...live according to God in regard to the Spirit."

I'm praying for my daughter who lost her teaching job and now is looking for a new situation.

From the kitchen: It was an Italian-food week for us: Eggplant Parmesan and Chicken Cacciatore. I received high praise for both from my husband who eats everything I cook whether it is good or bad. :)

Yard work on Mother's day:  Instead of being ticked, I am delighted that I have help and that there will be summer color in the year.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Snapshot Saturday...May 11

Muffy, our Cardigan Welsh Corgi, is on-duty keeping us safe from neighborhood dogs

Snapshot Saturday is hosted by Alyce At Home With Books

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Libraries 101: Adventures in "weeding"

Weeding definition: 
Weeding is the removing of materials from 
a library collection in a systematic and 
deliberate way. It is an ongoing part of 
collection development, a planned and 
thoughtful action that will ensure library 
materials are current and enticing.
-California Department of Educaiton

Every school year we are required to inventory our whole school  library, all the school's technology, and the textbook repository. It is a big job. But every year it gets easier IF we are organized the year before. This year, as usual, I am using my inventory time as an opportunity to also weed the library of old, out-of-date, undesirable, or inappropriate books. Here are a few of this year's highlights (lowlights) I call Adventures in Weeding:
  • I moved all the reference materials in amongst the regular nonfiction. The Reference section was never used and this way students will possibly use the materials if they see them among the other books on their research topic. This was a huge task because it required that I move nearly all the nonfiction books to reconfigure the space required. It took me weeks and required a trip or two to the chiropractor.  While sorting through books I weeded out eight boxes of dated materials.
  • Students like to hide things behind the books.  Last year I found a carton of milk 3 months out of date.  It was very swollen, but fortunately hadn't burst. This year I found an orange which was shrunk down to 1/4th its normal size and a huge glob of chewing tobacco. You know that stuff wasn't just inadvertently placed there.  Ugh.
  • When my library opened someone decided to place the barcodes on the back of the books on the right corner and I didn't know any better to stop them.  Bad idea. The barcodes obscure the information about the plot on over half the books.  See photo. As I inventory a section I also put aside books with obscuring barcodes and reposition them. I work on that task when I can't be out in the library scanning titles because I have to work the circulation desk. It slows thing down, but I keep reminding myself how nice things will be next year.
See how the barcodes obscure the blurb on the back of the book? Talk about irritating. I am now attempting to reposition these barcodes but it is a big job and takes a lot of time.

  • The gal who selected my opening day collection was a big Sci-Fi and Fantasy fan so she ordered a lot of these genres. As I move along through the shelves I started noticing books in a series, many I have no idea which books comes first. I pull them out and set them aside for a little extra research.  If I don't have sequential books in a series, they get weeded. Today I found two books from one series, the first and the nineteenth. My library has been open for eight years and I finally noticed. Shame on me.  Instead of adding the missing books, out these two go.
  • I have no idea what to do when famous author's works seem dated.  Please offer your advice.  For example today I scanned a book by Robert Heinlein, a famous Sci-Fi author.  The blurb on the back of the book talked about time travel back from the year 2000.  Wait, did I read that right? Year 2000? I checked the copyright date, 1957. Ah, no wonder 2000 seemed so far in the future.  But won't this be a turnoff for students who were just toddlers in 2000.  What would you do? Weed or no?
  • May Contest.  While scanning booksfor the inventory I notice titles that haven't circulated for a while (or ever.) These books should be culprits for immediate dismissal (weeded.) However, many of them are in great shape and look interesting so I decided to host a little contest.  These lowly books are now displayed on the top of the shelves with orange bookmarks   If students check out one of these "special" books they are entered into the May contest. Prizes will be awarded to ten or so students at the end of the month.  So far around 50 of these books have circulated and it is only May 9th, so I should triple that number. And I think I've found a series that is going to be really popular with the hunting/fishing type of boy. It has been hiding on the shelves all these years. Score! 
  • Please share your adventures in weeding in the comment section.
  • May your library garden grow strong and beautiful now that it is weed free!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

For my daughter

Dear One,

This week has been one of frustration and disappointment for you. It is always hard when someone else seems to be in charge of your destiny, not willing to take a look at circumstances from your perspective. But I am fully convinced that God has a hand in this and we know He wants what is best for you and your future. Your dad and I love you very much and are behind you 100%. We just know that you will land on your feet (to use a cat analogy) and we are excited to see where this will lead you. As you know, this past month I've been reading a lot of poetry. So, if you will indulge me just a smidge, please allow the poets to speak for me today.

In this excerpt from the poem "Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII", the poet  Rainier Maria Rilke reminds us that change is good even when the catalyst for the change seems bad.
Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
Where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.
Pour yourself like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with each ending, begins.
Think of this disappointment and this ending as an opportunity for a transformation, as a chance to find that thing that will make you unbelievably happy. Think outside the box. What gifts do you have to share with the world? Where do you want to be in five, ten, twenty years? Begin the journey, a new beginning, with this ending. If you listen to your heart you will know in which direction to take the first steps. My favorite poet, Mary Oliver, says it much better in this excerpt from her poem "The Journey":
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice---
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world
determined to do
the only thing you could do---
determined to save
the only life that you could save.
When you feel stuck and unable to move perhaps it is because you are listening to voices other than your own. Even your husband or your dad and I may be voices "shouting their bad advice." Anger, embarrassment, sadness are all natural emotions and I imagine what you will experience all of them, but don't get stuck. In the poem "The God Abandons Anthony", poet C.P. Cavafy encourages Anthony (of Anthony and Cleopatra) to not despair even though the city of Alexandria is falling to his enemy:
When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don't mourn your luck that's failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive---don't mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.

 "Don't mourn your luck that's failing now, work gone wrong, your plans all proving deceptive" seems so prophetic about your situation. Yet, you have told me that already you have felt a sense of peace about what has happened, already you are noticing that you are "graced with courage." And you are. Grace is always a gift. God's gift of grace to you at this time is the courage to say goodbye to this chapter and hello to the next. Remember what the Apostle Peter said:
Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.--- 1 Peter 5:10
However, this is not time to sit and be complacent. I don't think you should give up without a fight, either. At least clear the record, as we spoke about on the phone last night. But in the end you will have to get back to work.  You've heard the saying God can't drive a parked car. This is not the time to park and sit on the sidelines.  Now is the time for action. The poet Unamuno in "Throw Yourself Like Seed" urges you to make that tiny, momentous step along the road that is yours to walk. It is easy to get stuck. But he says:
start then, turn to the work...
from your work you will be able one day to
gather yourself.
With new beginnings comes new and renewed energy. You may not feel it right now, but it is there, the energy that will sustain you through this.

My sweet one, it is hard for parents when things don't go well for their children. I want to swoop in and fix things. Unfortunately there is little I can do but to love and encourage you and, of course, to pray. Fortunately you have been graced with resolute courage and I know that this new beginning will take you to remarkable and exciting places.

I love you with all my heart,


PS to my readers: I did gain permission from my daughter to post this.

Sunday Salon...May 5th

Azaleas and tulips in front yard
Happy Cinco de Mayo !

Weather: Lovely.  Simply lovely. It is supposed to get over 80 degrees Fahrenheit today, which will be a bit warm for spring flowers but lovely for the humans.

Yesterday: I planted impatiens in the side yard for some summer color. And we took the dog to the vet because she was limping so badly.  When we got there, she stopped limping.  It was just like when you take your car to the mechanic because it is making a funny noise and it doesn't make it once you get there.  Ha!

Friday evening: We attended the Seattle University Spring Choir concert At St. Joseph's cathedral. Afterwards we took our daughter out for frozen yogurt and talked about moments that are captured and seared into our memories. I learned something about both my daughter and my husband.

Last Sunday: Nearly 50 people showed up for the Open House party we hosted by our new choir director. The house was full of very congenial people and I think everyone had a good time, or they acted that way. We ate leftover pulled pork and beans all week.

This past week at school: Inventory! It is 72% complete but is taking up all my spare time.

Gated trellis leading to side yard covered with clematis

Spring yard: This is the prettiest time of the year in our yard. The tulips, though fading, are still providing color, the lilacs are in full bloom, as are the clematis, azaleas, rhododendrons, and wood hyacinths. The new leaves on the trees provide a fresh bit of color, too.  Pictured is a view of my front bed with tulips and white azaleas, a close up of a cluster of rhododendron blooms, and the trellis covered with clematis. This warm weather is going to make everything bloom and fade fast so I must appreciate the loveliness right now.

Only one book completed this week:

  • Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation edited by Roger Housden...this is the eighth poetry book I've read in the last few months, all edited by Housden. Think there is a bit of an obsession going on right now?

Currently reading:

  • Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos... a new YA novel about a depressed, anxious teen.
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman...my current audiobook selection

Today's scripture:

1 Peter 4:8 "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

A library is the delivery room for the birth of ideas, a place where history comes to life. Norman Cousins