Wednesday, January 23, 2013

reading list rundown 2012

Having created three book clubs in 2012, my reading goals were slightly altered through the year, but I still feel like I accomplished a lot of what I wanted to, including my Goodreads Challenge of reading at least 40 books.

Titles with links are those I've reviewed on Goodreads, asterisked titles were on my booklist, bolded titles were my top picks for this year's crop.

January - Winter Garden, Kristin Hannah
January - Extraordinary, Nancy Werlin
January - Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler illustrations by Maira Kalman
January - Wonderstruck, Brian Selznick
February - Attachments, Rainbow Rowell
February - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows*
February - "I Am A Man": Chief Standing Bear's Journey for Justice, Joe Starita
March - Where Things Come Back, John Corey Whaley
March - The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson
March - The Snowman, Jo Nesbo
March - MWF seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, Rachel Bertsche
April - Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore
April - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
May - The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, Erik Larson*
May - The Black Belt Librarian, Warren Graham
May - Assassination Vacation, Sarah Vowell*
May - The History of Love , Nicole Krauss
May - An Object of Beauty, Steve Martin
May - Sisterhood Everlasting, Ann Brashares
June - A Night to Remember, Walter Lord
June - Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes, Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson
June - Heart of the Matter, Emily Giffin  
June - Glaciers, Alexis M. Smith
June - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz*
June - Bel Canto, Ann Patchett*
June - Flat-Out Love, Jessica Park
June - Zeitoun, Dave Eggers
July - The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin
July - Swim, Jennifer Weiner
July - Swamplandia!, Karen Russell
July - Little Earthquakes, Jennifer Weiner
July - Travels with Charley: In Search of America, John Steinbeck*
July - Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Strayed
July - Hell or High Water, Joy Castro
August - The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff
August - Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
August - The Summer Book, Tove Jansson
August - Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
August - Blue Heaven, C.J. Box
September - Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, Lynne Truss*
September - Baby Proof , Emily Giffin
September - An Exclusive Love: A Memoir. Johanna Adorj√°n
September - And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
October - The Borrower, Rebecca Makkai
October - All the Truth, Laura Brodie
October - No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days, Chris Baty
November - The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
November - All Roads Lead to Austen, Amy Smith
November - In the Woods, Tana French
December - The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
December - Why Have Kids?, Jessica Valenti
December - Pride and Prejudice graphic novel, Jane Austen, Nancy Butler, ill. Hugo Petrus
December - Divergent, Veronica Roth

Books I tried and quit in 2012
I Am the Messenger, Markus Zusak
The Maze Runner, James Dashner
Death Comes to Pemberley, P. D. James
The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers - I tried listening to the audiobook and couldn't get into it. I am determined to try actually reading the book later.
Office Girl, Joe Meno
Runaway, Alice Munro - I got about halfway through these short stories and will come back to the rest at a later time.
The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

2012 = 53 books read
2011= 37 books read
2010 = 42 books read
2009 = 30 books read
2008 = 33 books read

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Library Day in the Life Project

Last week, I thought it would be fun to write down everything I was doing for a day at both of the public library's I work at and then blog it. I ended up sitting on it for a while and it's a good thing I did because Sunday, I became aware of the Library Day in the Life Project  and round 8 started on Monday!
From the wiki: "The Library Day in the Life Project is a semi-annual event coordinated by Bobbi Newman of Librarian by Day. Twice a year librarians, library staff and library students from all over the globe share a day (or week) in their life through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates." 

So, I tracked what I did yesterday, too and tweeted on it throughout the day. Here's a look at an average day for me as the young adult librarian at one library, and a clerk/typist in the marketing department of another library.

Job #1 - Young Adult Librarian
9 a.m.  - Turned on laminator; checked interlibrary loan requests (one request for a book that was checked out - replied that we could not fill request); packaged and added postage to book that was borrowed by one of our patrons to send back to the lending library; discussed this week's schedule/events with children's librarian; checked e-mail.

9:30 a.m. - Laminated materials for children's librarian.

10 a.m. - Updated the teen blog to announce Hunger Games trivia contest starting next month; printed flyers and bookmarks and set these up around the library.

10:30 a.m. - Looked at YA books that had been donated to the library to determine if we should add them to our YA collection; made quick display of Hunger Games readalikes to go along with trivia contest.

10:50 a.m. - Mail arrives, check in ILL books returned, process book that came in that a patron from our library requested.

11 a.m. -  Catch up on e-mails; work on monthly report for the director including information about how many books were added/weeded to the YA collection, how many teens attended each event this month and the plans for the Anti-Valentine's party, Hunger Games trivia and Summer Reading Program.

11:30 a.m. -  Leave to go to next job; eat lunch in car; listen to audiobook on way to downtown.

Job #2 - Clerk/Typist II
12:00 p.m. - Checked and followed up on emails; logged into Twitter and determined what to tweet for the library; logged into online calendar of events management system for all branches - 44 events in online calendar to be edited and published - worked on those.

1:30 p.m. - Met with department co-workers and manager for weekly meeting to discuss tasks we're working on.

2:00 p.m. - Edited, formatted and verified event times for print calendar for a branch.

2:15 p.m. - Diet Dr Pepper break.

2:20 p.m. - Worked with marketing manager to discuss setting up Pinterest page for the library; created Pinterest; pinned items, created boards.

3:00 p.m. - Emailed librarians with questions regarding discrepancies in online vs. print calendar; continued working on online calendar events, Pinterest boards, Twitter account and checking emails

4:00 p.m. - Done for the day. Picked up hold at the circulation desk and went home.

Because I'm a library grad student, and a member for a round table group of the state's library association, my librarian-type duties did not end there. I worked on scheduling a meeting with catalogers for an interview assignment for class, sent a "save the date" for a workshop/meeting of the round table that will be held in April and read the online discussion board for my other class before tuning in to "The Bachelor."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

in that big Beretta banquet in the sky

In April 2001, a month before I graduated from high school, my dad brought home a blue 1996 Chevy Beretta to replace the worn-down 1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera I had been driving up until then. His goal was that it would get me through college. But that car had other plans. That car lasted through multiple road trips, a move to Denver, a move back from Denver, and three good years back in Nebraska until this Friday - when it was discovered the repairs needed on it were worth much more than the car itself - equaling more than three car payments on a new car. And so, after much discussion and more tears than a normal person would probably shed on something like a car, it was decided that the Beretta's time in my life had finally come to an end.

This is not actually my car, but it is wonderfully dignified photo of a Beretta.

I thought I would be writing this kind of memorial blog post in 2007. On one of those countless trips from Denver to eastern Nebraska, my car was totaled in a hit-and-run in Lincoln that fortunately I was out of my car during but unfortunately was not covered by my insurance. At all. They wouldn't even send anyone out for any kind of estimate. After a few weeks, my dad (who is the nicest dad in the world, by the way) and his mechanic friend resurrected it. Built from some parts of a Pontiac Grand Am and a new door from a '97 Beretta (causing many mechanics to be confused when I'd bring it in after this since the door said it was a '97 though I told them it was a '96), the car had a second life and gave me four and a half more years of loyalty.

I realize it's kind of ridiculous to be so attached to a car. And, to be totally honest, a not very attractive car at that (please don't tell the Beretta I said that). But me and this car were buds. It didn't mind that I put ridiculous things like a Vanilla Ice pin in the visor to keep the strap from falling down or a worn-down gold chain of dice around the emergency brake because my sister had it in her old car. In return, I put up with its quirks like a super heavy door I'd usually have to push open with my leg and the seat cover that never stayed up on the driver's side meaning my scarf or coat would get stuck on the velcro.

I knew how to get it to work. I knew what button to push when the cassette player kept trying to turn over to the other side of the cassette tape adapter thereby stopping the music from my iPod. I knew that even though the "check engine light" remained on for years the engine didn't actually need checked (I figured this was my car's version of saying "Hi. How's it going?") and I knew that my stuffed Alf doll found at Goodwill would always be in his home in the trunk (except, of course, for that one time when my mom's friend kidnapped him).

My car even supported important causes with me by wearing rubber band bracelets on its gear shift. First, an orange one for juvenile diabetes when my cousin was diagnosed; then pink for breast cancer was added for my aunt, grandma, family friend and co-workers; then a white clear one I got at a workshop that supported youth literacy; and finally a light blue one I got at a library conference supporting libraries.

And so after 10 1/2 years, approximately 111,000 miles and trips through 15 states and 1 Canadian province, the Beretta is leaving me. Where it will go to we haven't yet determined but the search for a new car has begun. A new car that wasn't with me when I moved into the dorm rooms, wasn't with me when I moved to a new state, wasn't with me when I moved back to Nebraska, started grad school, got engaged and married. A new car that won't even know what the '90s were. I'm nervous. How can I trust something that doesn't even know about when Bob Dole ran for president?

Here's a look back and some of the good trips I had with that car:

Nebraska - Countless trips between West Point, Fremont, Lincoln and Omaha as well as countless trips driving across I-80 to get home from Denver. Also, one pretty awesome Nebraska attractions road trip my college friend John and I took for the Daily Nebraskan.

Missouri - Countless trips to see visit my sister in Kansas City when she lived here.

Winnipeg, Manitoba - My sister and I took a "sister's vacation" up to Canada the summer after my first year of college. Driving through South Dakota and North Dakota before we spent some time hanging out with people from the hostel and me drinking in a bar for the first time (since I was legal there at that point). This is the farthest north the car had gone.

Texas - Going through Kansas and Oklahoma before arriving in Austin with said college friend John for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. This is the farthest south the car had gone.

North Carolina - A trip I took before my senior year of college. I lived in NC for a month apartment-sitting a friend of a friend's place because I wanted to get away from Nebraska for a little while. It was a great trip that also had me going through Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. My parents joined me and we drove out to the Outer Banks. If my car could talk it was say it was the most beautiful and frightening place we had been. We drove through a terrible rainstorm on the way back home that resulted in a flat tire and locking the keys in the car. Luckily, a very nice man helped us out until AAA came. This is the farthest east the car had gone.

Colorado - I packed this car to the brim with my belongings as I headed West to Denver after graduating from college to start a job in a new state for some new adventures in my life. I took the car up to the mountains a few times (Georgetown, Breckenridge, Winter Park). This is the farthest west the car had gone. My regret is that I did not take it farther that way.

Minnesota/Wisconsin - In 2009, I took the car for a road trip to visit my friends in St. Paul and Green Bay for my Spring Break. A few months later, I took it back up to Minnesota to visit that same friend after she gave birth to twins. My dad made me a killer tape mix for the ride (that included "Eres Tu" as heard in "Tommy Boy" which had me laughing for hours). Little did I know that would be the last big road trip it would take.

So long, Beretta. Thanks for a decade of great memories. You've left my next car big tires(?) to fill!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 reading goals

Back in 2008, I set out to read books based on monthly themes. I really liked this concept and would love to do it again. However, this year isn't really fitting for that. In 2010, I came up with a booklist of the top books I wanted to read at sometime in my life. I started keeping track on this Booklists page. However, as you can see from 2011's reading list rundown, I read only one book from the Booklist last year. Disappointing. So, in order to try to stay better on track with it, I'm creating a reading list goal for 2012. A lot of these are on the Booklist, but some of these I got over the year at the Friends of Omaha Public Library book sales so, really my Booklist has grown and I need to edit it - and I desperately need to edit the teen one as my priorities have changed there quite a bit. But, I'll get to that another time.

Here they are in no particular order:

First of all, I know, I know. I can't believe I haven't finished "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" yet either. And I call myself a former copy editor. Shame on me.

Four of these books are books I've started reading and really enjoyed but for some reason or another, I got distracted by a different book and I never went back around to them. So 2012 will be the year of finishing things! Sadly, this pile isn't the only pile of books that I own that I've started and not finished but ... baby steps.

In addition to this list, I'm currently working my way through "Why We Broke Up" by Daniel Handler with lovely illustrations by the fabulous Maira Kalman (who also provided lovely drawings for "The Elements of Style Illustrated.") I've also started "I Am the Messenger" by Markus Zusak (author of the brilliant, beautiful "The Book Thief"), which the 8th grade book club I co-host is reading this month.

I don't know how I overlooked adding "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell to this shot, but that's another one I'm working on finally reading this year (I even got the book signed and everything and somehow it went unread even though I absolutely loved the beginning of it).

Also on the list for 2012 is "Divergent," the hot new-ish YA book that was picked as the Favorite Book of 2011 in the Goodreads Choice Awards and "I Am A Man: Chief Standing Bear's Journey for Justice," which is this year's One Book One Nebraska.

And then of course there's some books on my nook that I'd like to read. And "The Girl Who Played With Fire" which is making its way to me from Paperback Swap. And "The Hobbit" before the end of the year when the movie comes out .... Oh goodness. I need to stop myself somewhere to make room for some of those pesky new books that go and get written and look all exciting to read and everyone's talking about them so I just HAVE to read them right now, too!

Alright, here's the list for 2012 as it stands today:

Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss
In The Woods, Tana French
The Maze Runner, James Dashner
The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson
Assassination Vacation, Sarah Vowell
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
An Object of Beauty, Steve Martin
The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
Runaway, Alice Munro
Zeitoun, Dave Eggers
The Heart is A Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler
I Am The Messenger, Makus Zusak
Attachments, Rainbow Rowell
Divergent, Veronica Roth
I Am A Man: Chief Standing Bear's Journey for Justice, Joe Starita
The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson
The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

Since my goal is to read 40 books this year and I've already got half of that listed here I should hopefully be in good shape. Wish me luck! I'll try my best to provide reviews along the way and would love to hear your thoughts on any of these or other books!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

so this is the new year

2011 highlights 

marrying my best friend * going on an Alaskan cruise * buying a house * receiving a grant to buy teen books for the library * getting two promotions at work * getting elected to the Nebraska Library Association's Young Adult Round Table * accepting an appointment to sit on the YALSA blog advisory board * girls' weekend in Minneapolis * eating at Sher-E-Punjab and seeing "Bridesmaids" and "50/50" with Andrea * seeing "The Goonies" on the big screen *  watching the championship CWS game for a second year in a row * watching the entire season of "The Bachelorette" with Chris * Star Wars night at the Storm Chasers * going to the Avoca, NE Quack Off with college friends (for the second time) * seeing Steven Soderbergh speak at a Film Streams benefit * meeting and getting books signed by four authors (Rainbow Rowell, Sarah Dessen, Neal Shusterman and Nancy Werlin) * finally reading "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" * getting a reply from Ingrid Michaelson on Twitter on Thanksgiving Day

2012 plans

finish grad school * take a trip to see family in Las Vegas and Phoenix * tweet more * write more book reviews * read more of the books that I own but haven't gotten around to reading yet * plan/decide on destination for a 30th birthday trip for me and Chris * finally say farewell to the '96 Beretta I've had since high school and buy a new (or new to me) car

I know the 2012 plans may look a little sparse but in order for me to stay focused on that first goal, they kind of have to be.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

reading list rundown 2011

Just like my reading list rundowns for 2010 2009 and 2008, I present you with the books I read in 2011. I'm a little sad I to admit I've read less books this year than last, though I would like to think the fact that I got married in the middle of the year gives me a little bit of an excuse. Also, you'll see a preference to a few authors in there. One of which (Emily Giffin) seemed great for pre-wedding reading and the other two (Neal Shusterman and Nancy Werlin) were authors that visited the Omaha area so I wanted to get more familiar with their works. The asterisk indicates the book I read that was on my booklists. Clearly, that's something I need to get better about as well. Links are provided for reviews (hopefully more coming soon). Bolded books were my top 8 of the year.

January - Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, Portia de Rossi
January - Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson
January - Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the "Happiest" Time of Her Life, Allison Moir-Smith
February - The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman
February - Goodbye, Chunky Rice, Craig Thompson
February - Hector and the Search for Happiness, Francois Lelord
March - The Giver, Lois Lowry
March - Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
March - Lock and Key, Sarah Dessen
April - William & Kate: A Royal Love Story, James Clench
April - A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out Of Life, Bethenny Frankel
April - The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (while one of my absolute favorite books, I'm not bolding it since this is somewhere around the fourth or fifth time I've read this book)
April - The Jane Austen Book Club, Karen Joy Fowler
May - Something Borrowed, Emily Giffin
May - Something Blue, Emily Giffin
May - Love the One You're With, Emily Giffin
June - What Happened To Goodbye, Sarah Dessen
June - Bossypants, Tina Fey
June - The Secret Circle: Initiation and The Captive Part 1, L.J. Smith
June - Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

July - The Secret Circle: The Captive Part 2 and The Power, L.J. Smith
July - The Help, Kathryn Stockett
August - One Day, David Nicholls
August - Beastly, Alex Flinn
September - Dread Locks, Neal Shusterman
September - Dirty Little Secrets, C.J. Omololu
September - Bruiser, Neal Shusterman
October - The Best Advice I Ever Got, Katie Couric
October - The Year We Left Home, Jean Thompson
October - Everlost, Neal Shusterman
November - A Visit from the Goon Squard, Jennifer Egan
November - The Killer's Cousin, Nancy Werlin
November - The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick
November - Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
November - The Rules of Survival, Nancy Werlin
December - Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling
December - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson*

2011= 37 books read
2010 = 42 books read
2009 = 30 books read
2008 = 33 books read

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

catching up

So ... I've totally not accomplished my goal to blog at least once a week. I was apparently overly ambitious when I wrote that goal before my class started this semester and before I really got into the work schedule of my two jobs and before a lot more wedding stuff needed to be decided on.

In any case, I do wish I was blogging more and hopefully will be doing so more frequently in the future. Blogging always creates this sort of mixture of calming me while I'm writing and then completely freaking me out when I publish and put it all out there. Usually the freaking out part causes me to not even start writing a blog post in the first place. But, considering one of my ultimate life goals is to write a book (or books) I need to really work on getting better about this.

Here's a few things that have been going on:

I'm now working about 45 hours a week between the two jobs. Both are quite different in terms of duties  and I'm definitely enjoying being able to experience a variety of aspects of the library world. I've also taken over the interlibrary loan at one of the libraries I work at.
Awhile ago I found out that I was awarded a BWI/YALSA grant that I applied for which means very awesome things for our YA collection. I'm busy getting recommendations and putting together book orders which is pretty much the most awesome part of my job - buying books for teens.
I'm also excited because next week I get to go to two library workshops - one about classic YA literature and one about mending books. Really excited about those opportunities.

I've got one month to go in this semester's Internet Research class and because I just love to put as much stress on myself as possible, I've decided to keep up with the original plan of study I put together a year ago in spite of getting married this summer. This means I'm enrolled in a class from mid-May through mid-June. Since the wedding isn't until mid-July I would think this should work out OK. I hope.

We've got a lot done. The biggest thing left is the DJ (anyone have any recommendations?). Then there's stuff like tablecloths and other decorations, finding some kind aunts to make some cream cheese mints (a staple for weddings in my family), dress fittings, a trial run for the hair, making the invitations, figuring out how many kegs to buy, etc. I don't really want to write a lot about what our plans are because I want a lot of it to be special to the day and not something that people already knew would be coming.

Does anyone else have "cravings" for books? I don't really know how to describe them any other way. I see a book that I really want to read on the shelf at the library and can't get it out of my head until I just have to check it out. I'm obsessed with it. Right now, my obsession is with Sarah Dessen's books. It was recently announced she'll be coming to Omaha in May and I'm super excited to hear her talk. I think I'm also just really ready for warmer weather so summertime-y books are definitely wanted. I read "Along for the Ride" last summer and am making my way through "Lock and Key" now. "Keeping the Moon" is next on my list.

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