Saturday, July 31, 2010

Library Diva needs your help

The dog days of summer seem to have hit my reading list. I'm stuck in a rut with things to read. Tried some non-fiction, turns out I'm not in the mood (I'm ashamed to admit it was Undaunted Courage, too, which has always gotten very high marks for being an abosrbing, exciting read). Tried some fantasy, a book of short stories about dragons, got halfway through and my desire to read about dragons seems to be quenched. At the library, generally seem to find myself re-verifying that I have, in fact, read everything by Jennifer Haigh, Tawni O'Dell, Richard Russo, et al and that the library doesn't carry more Geraldine Brooks or Mark Jude Poirer -- still -- and going home with a bunch of random books that looked kind of appealing but upon closer examination, I don't actually want to read after all.

Someone, please, help me break this cycle. I want to hear about something you guys have read and loved, or something you think I might enjoy. I hate not having a book to read. It tends to lead to lots of mindless puttering around the house and marathon sessions of either WoW or some mindless TV show like Law and Order SVU or Keeping Up with the Kardashians (OMG, Scott is such a dick!). I'm looking for a good reccomendation. I may go to the library as soon as tomorrow to check them out, if I get any.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Some Short Takes

A good way to talk about a few books at once, that are not really worthy of their own entry, but are still things I read. Here are a couple that have been amusing me.

Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen. I liked. I liked very much, but I have nothing terribly deep to say about it. I'm a sucker for a circus story, and if you are too, this is a good one. I liked that it wasn't overly romanticized. The circus in the story was a brutal place, where underperformers and troublemakers got "redlighted" off the moving circus train in the middle of the night, but where all manner of cruelty was tolerated from a high performer. I reccomend this one.

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, by Rebecca Wells. Also known as the woman who brought you the incredibly successful Ya-Ya franchise. Wells' books are sort of the same thing over and over again. If you like them, you'll like this one. It's the story of a spirited Southern girl who has lots of love and lots of tragedy in her life, and overcomes the latter through the former.

One thing I noticed about Wells' books -- they're always about the Queen Bee. You won't find any misunderstood, unpopular, brainy, geeky heroines at the center of her novels. They're all about the Prom Queen, and those in her orbit. In a way, it's a bit refreshing. But I disliked how little sympathy she had, in Ya-Yas in Bloom, for those on the outside.

But that has nothing to do with this book. It's overall a bit of harmless fun. Like I said, won't change the hearts and minds of haters, but those who can't get enough of this stuff will be well-satisfied with this one.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hey, look, I'm at the forefront of a trend!

I saw this article on a friend's Facebook page this morning. I liked it a lot, especially since I've pretty much never been at the forefront of a trend in my life! Guess I'll have to work harder at updating this blog.

From an article on

I realize we're picking the bones from the Old Spice campaign at this point, but when I saw that the Brigham Young University parody of the Old Spice ads had gotten more than 1.2 million views (Old Spicy himself — that's what I'm calling him — did a video for libraries), it got me thinking.

Specifically, it got me thinking about the very enjoyable Librarians Do Gaga video that everyone sent my way after the debut of the NPR Does Gaga video.

And about the fact that a local news story skeptically questioning whether libraries are "necessary" set off a response from Vanity Fair, and a later counterpunch by Chicago's Public Library Commissioner won her support from such diverse, non-library-specific outlets as The A.V. Club and Metafilter, and from as far away as The Guardian.

Call it a hunch, but it seems to me that the thing is in the air that happens right before something — families with a million kids, cupcakes, wedding coordinators — suddenly becomes the thing everyone wants to do happy-fuzzy pop-culture stories about. Why?

">Are libraries the next big thing?