Archive for February, 2011

L.K. Madigan

L.K. Madigan died last week.

I only had a few interactions with Lisa on Twitter and on my blog, but she was a truly gracious person, and very willing to engage with her fans. Speaking purely as a fan, I really appreciate that–not all authors are willing (or able) to do so. I am sorry I did not have a chance to get to know her better.

I’m very sorry for her family’s loss, and I’m also very selfishly sorry there won’t be any more books.

ETA 03/02/2011: Friends, admirers remember generosity of Lisa Wolfson, who wrote as L.K. Madigan

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I got this as a gift at Christmas. I’m not planning on doing a Julie/Julia type project, mostly because I am too lazy. (Isn’t honesty fun!)

But since I am taking next week off from work, I’ll make one thing from the book, and post about it here. I can’t decide what would be best: something I fail miserably at, because it’s more fun to read and write about culinary disasters, or something I know I can succeed at and thus build my confidence until the inevitable failure.

Any comments from the peanut gallery?

The real reason I wanted this book is because I’ve gotten lazy about cooking. Mr Lush is happy with the regular rotation of stuff I make, so why bother making something else? Besides, it’s easier to just make spaghetti carbonara AGAIN, rather than to try something new, because that takes planning and it might not taste good. So this is sort of a resolution, although I would not go so far as to call it that–that way lies failure. Rather, it’s me attempting to learn new dishes. Because while I am lazy, I’m perfectly capable of doing more: I like to bake, and that’s a lot fussier and more time-consuming than your average dinner recipe.

So. Onward and upward.

Publisher site

Source: personal copy

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Or rather, a snowed-in weekend. Winter decided to give the midwest one last snowstorm, hooray. At least this wasn’t my weekend to work, and today the library is closed for the holiday anyway, so it really wasn’t too difficult to deal with–I sat on the sofa with Lush Puppy, drank cocoa, and read books:

Zombies vs Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
It’s a short story collection about zombies and unicorns! Generally speaking, I liked the zombie stories better, but there were a few *really* good unicorn ones. My Team Zombie favorites: “Bougainvillea” by Carrie Ryan, “Inoculata” by Scott Westerfeld, and “Prom Night” by Libba Bray. My Team Unicorn favorites: “The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn” by Diana Peterfreund and “Princess Prettypants” by Meg Cabot.

Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance by Sara Poole
Ehhh, it could have (should have!) been a lot better. It took itself far too seriously, desperately wanting to be a Serious Historical Novel, but there were too many anachronisms for it to work, and not enough fun to gloss over the issues. It’s pretty sad that a book featuring the Borgias and their household so prominently is kind of boring. I did finish it, because I was invested enough to want to see how the story ended, but I won’t bother reading the sequel.

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
I just started this book today, and it’s a much better historical novel. It doesn’t take itself at all seriously, and it’s quite frothy and fun. In fact, it makes me want to go back and reread The Scarlet Pimpernel, because the story takes place shortly after the Revolution and even features the erstwhile Scarlet Pimpernel himself! As well as other dashing spies, silly young ladies, and lots of good dialogue. I may not wade my way through the entire series, but if the book remains entertaining, I’ll happily pick up the next few titles.

Jane’s fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harman
This is a lot more scholarly than I expected, so it’s taking me much longer to read it than I had originally anticipated. But I’m really enjoying it–I like that it combines research and a thorough biography with trivia and pop culture. It’s amazing to realize how global Jane Austen’s influence has become, and to see the diverse ways her work has been interpreted and adapted.

Source: all books borrowed from library

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Good Eggs

The Great Gatsby Game

Go. Play. It. NOW.

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Carrie lives in Eatonville, Florida, along with her two best friends are Zora and Teddy. Not only does Zora possess a wild and uncontrolled imagination, she also tells fabulous (and true!) stories better than anyone else in town. So when Zora says that shy and reclusive Mr Pendir is really half gator, half man, Carrie and Teddy believe her. But when Ivory and Gold come to town, and then a headless body is found by the railroad tracks, it takes more than the ability to spin a tall tale to put all the pieces together. Zora, Carrie, and Teddy are determined to figure out what really happened, despite the fact that they’re “only” kids. Along the way they learn some ugly truths about the world they live in, but their determination is rewarded.

This is an excellent book, and I hope it becomes a classroom standard in schools. The story is sophisticated, the characters are engaging, and the mystery is satisfying. The solution was not obvious, and the authors did not condescend at any point to their audience. And most importantly of all, the realities of the world that Carrie, Zora, and Teddy live in are not glossed over; they are not the primary focus of the story, but life is realistically depicted. It is clear that Eatonville is unusual in its status as the first incorporated black township in the US, and also that its residents enjoy an unusual degree of freedom in how they are able to live. The early 1900s were not a good time for most non-white, non-male citizens, and that reality is firmly depicted in the story while still remaining appropriate for the intended audience.

I had read Their Eyes Were Watching God in high school, and enjoyed it very much–the entire class loved it, in fact. Zora and Me makes me want to read more of Zora Neale Hurston’s work, especially Dust Tracks on a Road, which was a source that the authors used for recreating Hurston’s childhood home. This book is also the only work not written by Hurston herself that is endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston trust.

Official site
NY Times article about how the book came to be

Winner of the 2011 Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe New Talent Award and 2011 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Juvenile.

Source: borrowed from library

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Stuff and Things

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Library Lovers Day – 14th February 2011

Pretty self-explanatory. I can only hope that BBC America airs this at some point.
Why DO we all love Mr Darcy? In a fascinating new TV series, author Sebastian Faulks reveals why we find some literary characters so irresistible

I ❤ Wil Wheaton more than ever for this. *sniffle*
librarians are awesome

Preaching to the choir, I know, but still.
Beyond books: what it takes to be a 21st century librarian

Ron Charles talks about his favorite books of the year. I think I need to watch more of his videos!
The best novels of 2010

Things like this are why I’m so frustrated that my library system isn’t allowed to have any social media presence.
New HootSuite Case Study ~ New York Public Library Success

See previous comment.
8 Ways to Find Great Social Media Content

This only reinforces that I’m a Millennial, rather then Gen-X (my birth year straddles the line dividing the two). It’s very interesting to see how the technologies break down by generation.
Generations and their gadgets

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Books due out later this year that I am looking forward to:

Argh, I hate waiting.

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