Archive for January, 2011


If only I were crafty! How To Turn Your Book into a Handbag

I bought this, and sad to say, I am very very bad at it. Librarian: The Game

It’s higly entertaining. Adorable Kids With Obsolete Technology

If I lived anywhere near Portland, I would patronize this store. Microcosm Zine Store in Portland Will Exchange Real Books For Unwanted Kindles!

I’ll be buying this lunchbox too! Wanna be a superhero?

Many excellent selections listed on From the Library: 100 Young Adult Books for the Feminist Reader [ETA: there was a kerfluffle about triggers and the appropriateness of some of the titles on the list; three books were removed. I disagree with the reasons behind the removal, and I disagree that it was necessary. Hence my redaction of the link. More on the issue from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Chasing Ray, and Liz B.]

One more reason to love Philip Pullman: Philip Pullman’s call to defend libraries resounds around web (Full text of his speech here.)

The sound isn’t great, but it’s amusing nonetheless. Bonus: we now use Symphony too (don’t get me started), so I recreated this search at work and got basically the same results. Whee!

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Dam it!

So there’s a lot of snow in Minnesota, and many people are experiencing leaks due to the charming and delightful physics of ice dams. Because my home library/office ceiling decided to start dripping water sometime Thursday morning, I joined the ranks of the leaking, damp, and annoyed. Homeownership is fun! (Luckily only three books were damaged, and none of them are irreplaceable; I shudder to think what would have happened if I had discovered the leak after work, rather than before.)

But because I had to pull all of the books off of two cases–as well as move several floor stacks–it got me thinking about my library. And its idiosyncratic organization. I know where my books are, and I can find what I want quickly, but Mr Lush is utterly stymied by it. I don’t think I’m ever going to embrace a strictly-alphabetical-by-author-system at home, but I might possibly be willing to consider a slightly more logical one.

I’ve been meaning to replace a skinny case with a larger one, and then reorganize everything, for quite a while. I was vaguely planning on perhaps doing this in the spring or summer, but things appear to have been bumped up a bit. This will also give me the opportunity to weed my collection; I really ought to get rid of a few books, if for no other reason that I’m running out of room to store them properly. And do I really and truly need to keep those college text books the bookstore wouldn’t buy back? Probably not. If I can weed ruthlessly at work with no compunctions, I can surely do it at home too.

This is obviously not a viable long-term solution.

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My friend Jazi gave me a very nerdy and totally awesome Twelfth Night present. She gave me a copy of Bmabi.

In the original German.

I think at one point I knew that the Disney film had been based on a book, and I might even had known that the book had originally been published in German. But that knowledge had long since been lost in the mists of time.

Until I opened my present, and shrieked and bounced in excitement.

I can’t want to read it!

AND there’s a sequel, which I will have to track down.

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via Bookshelves of Doom

This is pretty neat, if you care about translation. It’s always interesting to hear how different translators do their work, and then compare it to what I do. When Done Right, Little Gets Lost In Translation

At least some of the people want to read their pretty books, and not just look at them. But still. Selling a Book by Its Cover

I think I need this shirt! If only it weren’t yellow… Reading is for Awesome People

Pretty self-explanatory from the title: Buy India a Library

*snicker* Profile of a Twitter User

Fabulous podcast with Neil Gaiman, AS Byatt, and Salman Rushdie. The Uses of Enchantment

Fair enough; everyone needs a little bit of trash sometimes. Why We Love Bad Writing

Again, fairly self-explanatory. How to Read

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The reason for this picture is here. (Via Liz B.)


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Khalujan and Babban are two criminals on the run from their boss Mushtaq. Desperate for a place to hide, they eventually find themselves at their old friend Verma’s compound. Unfortunately, Verma is dead, but his widow Krishna agrees to hide them. Before too long, both men are courting her, but Krishna’s true feelings are anything but obvious. And then the money that Khalujan and Babban stole from Mushtaq and hid in the compound is missing, and cannot be found. Suspicions and accusations fly. Krishna eventually convinces them to kidnap a wealthy businessman so that Mushtaq can be paid off (with enough left over for the three of them, of course). But as events quickly spiral out of control, it becomes clear that Krishna is ruthlessly pursuing her own personal agenda.

Is Krishna playing both men for fools? Will Khalujan and Babban manage to get the money they need to pay off Mushtaq? Is the metaphoric gun that was prominently featured in the first act destined to go off? How will it all end???

I knew the very basics of the story before I watched this, but holy cats. There were so many twisty plot turns, and so many possible ways for the story to end, that the movie ended up being absolutely nothing like I expected. It was AWESOME. Jazi and Libby and I spent the last 45 minutes of the film desperately trying to figure out what was going to happen–we never ever guessed right, but all three of us agreed that that made the film even better. It was utterly unpredictable, in the best possible way, but everything did make sense once the credits finally rolled.

And now I need to watch it again to catch all the tricksy foreshadowing.

The opening credits are over a song about Ibn Battuta. I mean, come on, how can this movie be anything but fabulous!

I’m fond of both Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi, and neither disappointed here. Vidya Balan was also excellent, and I clearly need to see more movies with her. As an added bonus, I got to practice my, er, colloquial Hindi–thanks to several books I’ve read, I usually knew what the coy “…” in the subtitles meant. Jazi and Libby appreciated my knowledge.

Source: personal copy

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Bink and Gollie are the best of friends despite–or perhaps because of–their very different approaches to life, the universe, and pretty much everything. They remind me a lot of Piggie and Gerald, not to mention Frog and Toad.

“Don’t You Need a New Pair of Socks?”

“It’s a sock bonanza!” said Bink.
“Indeed it is,” said Gollie. “An extremely bright sock bonanza.”
“I’ll take this pair,” said Bink.
“Bink,” said Gollie, “the brightness of those socks pains me. I beg you not to purchase them.”
“I can’t wait to put them on,” said Bink.

“P.S. I’ll Be Back Soon”

“I cannot talk right now,” said Gollie.
“Why not?” said Bink.
“Because,” said Gollie, “I am high in the pure air of the Andes Mountain.”
“All righty, then,” said Bink.

“Give a Fish a Home”

“Fred wants to roller-skate,” said Bink. “Fred longs for speed.”
“Fish know nothing of longing,” said Gollie.
“Some fish do,” said Bink. “Some fish long.”

I found all three stories absolutely delightful; the illustrations are marvelous as well. This is a beginning reader, so the text is short and to the point, but it’s amazing just how much personality can be captured in a few short and pithy sentences. I certainly hope this is not the last we’ve seen of Bink and Gollie!

Winner of the 2011 Theodore Seuss Geisel Award, given to the most distinguished American book for beginning readers.

Bink and Gollie official site

Source: borrowed from library

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ALA has announced the 2011 Youth Media Awards. Congrats to all the medalists!

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The Lost City of Z

In 1925, Percy Fawcett, his son Jack, and Jack’s friend Raleigh Rimell disappeared in the Amazon jungle while searching for an ancient lost city. Fawcett was a member of the Royal Geographical Society, and a contemporary of explorer-adventurers T.E. Lawrence and Ernest Shackleton, as well as authors H. Rider Haggard and Arthur Conan Doyle. Fawcett began his career as a military man, then a spy, before becoming an explorer–the Royal Geographical Society at that time actually offered a “degree” for those interested in becoming a certified explorer. Over the course of twenty years, Fawcett had led several successful expeditions into the Amazon. And then he vanished without a trace.

In 2005, journalist David Grann set off to the Amazon to try and learn what had happened to the 1925 Fawcett expedition, and also to see if he could find out anything about the mysterious lost city they were searching for. Grann was only the latest of a long list of people who tried to find an answer to these riddles; over the previous 80 years many, many attempts had been made, but none were successful: over 100 people are estimated to have died in the course of their investigations. While he did not find the answers he expected, Grann did meet a host of interesting people, including one very old woman who, as a young child, had seen the three men shortly before they vanished forever.

Missing explorers! Lost civilizations! Why, it’s practically an Indiana Jones movie, only it’s real! While I had never specifically heard of Fawcett and Z before, I was aware of the tradition of explorers who go missing and are later found…or not. (Stanley and Livingstone, anyone?) But I wasn’t aware that I had consumed cultural references to the Fawcett story: his previous expeditions had helped to inspire Conan Doyle’s Lost World, and the disappearance was referenced in a Tintin story (L’Oreille Cassée), both of which I’ve read.

Normally when I finish a book about another place, especially an exotic place, I want to go there. The Caliph’s House? I’d love to go to Morocco. Holy Cow and Maximum City? I’d really love to go to India. Time Was Soft There and A Year in Japan? Can’t wait to revisit France and Japan. But this book does not make me want to visit the Amazon–it makes me want to stay far, far away:

Murray, meanwhile, seemed to be literally coming apart. One of his fingers grew inflamed after brushing against a poisonous plant. Then the nail slid off, as if someone had removed it with pliers. Then his right had developed, as he put it, a “very sick, deep suppurating wound,” which made it “agony” even to pitch his hammock. Then he was stricken with diarrhea. Then he woke up to find what looked like worms in his knee and arm. He peered closer. They were maggots growing inside him. He counted fifty around his elbow alone. “Very painful now and again when they move,” Murray wrote.


No, I do not want to go to the Amazon. Save it, yes; visit it, no. I am, however, interested enough to have requested 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus to learn more about the possibility of Z.

Source: borrowed from the library

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Odds & Ends

For Tolstoy and Russia, Still No Happy Ending
Is 2011 going to be the year I finally read War and Peace? Maybe.

Books Quiz of 2010
I only got 9/18 (there were at least two I *should* have gotten right), but I don’t feel too badly since it’s a British quiz. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

37 literary resolutions for 2011. What’s yours?
I really enjoyed this. Some of these resolutions are more easy to embrace than others, but it’s well worth reading them all.

13 Minnesota books you really ought to read
I have The Absolute Value of -1 in my TBR pile. It looks really good.

My 2011 YA Wishlist and Smugglivus 2010: Airing of Grievances

Good to know, should you need your reading material to double as protection.

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