Looking for Alaska by John Green

After reading Green's hilarious diary in Booklist about his winning of the Printz award, I had to read this book.


This book is just...wow. Amazing. Real, funny, tragic, introspective, inspiring, amazing. The writing is incredible, the story interesting, the characters flawed and approachable and loveable.

Miles Halter goes away to a boarding school in Alabama. Once there, he fits into a band of misfits and this book chronicles their lives before, and after, some groundbreaking events in their lives. It's about growing up, finding your place, and what happens in the Great Perhaps.

I LOVED Green's writing...one of my favorite lines:

"So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane."


Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door by Lynn Truss

Truss, the author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves has a new rant - the lack of polite communication and action in our society today. In particular, she lambasts the lack of use of please, thank you and sorry, cell phone usage and customer service interactions.

This book is short and to the point, and vibrates with disgust and anger with the turn (for the worse) in today's polite interactions. I read this book in one go, and I probably would have laughed more or appreciated it more in shorter doses.

If you liked her first title, you may very well like this one.

Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine

This book has been creeping into review publications and book catalogs for its interesting premise...Levine is fed up with all the money she spends at Christmas, on useless items, and the stranglehold shopping has on our culture. Instead, she and her partner Paul vow to spend a year not buying anything that isn't "essential".

This book is a combination of things - part diary of their arguments about buying things (are Q-tips essential?), part discussion about sustainable living and society's fascination with shopping, and part political commentary (this was written during Kerry and Bush's election). Each chapter is a month, with new challenges and perspectives on the experiment. In all, Levine saved over $8000, and gained a new respect for what she buys, and why.

Though I got a bit bogged down in the extraneous conversations (politics, economy, etc) because it interrupted the flow of the "story", I enjoyed this nonfiction read.

The Planets by Dava Sobel

This nonfiction book is an interesting entry into the overflowing field of books about the universe, the planets, the stars, and the cosmos.

Despite the glut of information, Sobel has woven astrology, mythology, music and the discovers of the planets into this very readable volume. Each chapter tackles a different planet, but with a different focus for each (the Mars chapter, for example, is from the perspective of the Mars rock found in Antarctica), thus making this more than a textbook read.

A unique perspective on our solar system - I liked it!

For a while now, I've been lamenting the fact that I haven't created anything.

I used to create. I used to knit, crosstitch, write, tweak websites, cook new recipes, anything that let me just go...get in the moment, wing it, and have something to show for it.

Creating always came pretty easy to me.

Lately, though, I come home at the end of the day, braindead and emotionally numb and I sit in front of my television for a few hours, then go to sleep to do it all over again.

It's not healthy for me.

So, this week, I resolved to try and mix things up a little. I was going to take my day off and have something to show for it at the end of the day. At the library, I was flipping through a quilting book when I spotted a pattern that looked easy enough for me - I'm still a novice quilter, and haven't made anything without supervision of my friend, Quilter Extraordinaire Mary.

Still, it didn't look that hard...

I bought batting and material, I cut and cut (and cut) squares, and then opened up my sewing machine and just let go.

I spent all day sewing, cutting, laying out, ironing, threading, sandwiching, pinning and more. I listened to a fabulous book on cd and didn't notice the hours go by.

At the end of the day, I had created. It's not perfect, and I could point out all the problems with it, but I love it. It's kicky and cute, and I'm so proud of my little quilt.

And perhaps nicest of all was the reminder that I'm still creative, that I still have the spark, and though dormant, it's not extinquished.

My First Homemade Quilt Front and Backing

Detail of the squares and ties Back of the Quilt

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer


This has been a book with buzz in the YA world, and I can totally see why. Meyer's story is seductive and suspenseful with interesting and flawed characters, an engaging setting and a romance to die for - literally.

Bella Swan moves to the Pacific Northwest to live with her father, and upon starting school in a new town, finds herself inextricably drawn to Edward, a beautiful boy with a deadly secret. As she gets drawn further into his world, her life is threatened more and more, but she can't stay away...

Meyer's writing is smart and sharp, and Edward is a helluva sexy character. This is a GREAT book for YAs, but I highly recommend it for adults!

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Ilyana Kadushin. The narration was solid and on the mark, and I enjoyed listening to it!

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

I'm fairly confident that this title was assigned to me at some point during my English major-dom at IU, and upon picking it up for my library book discussion group, I remembered why I didn't read it then.

I know I'm not a good librarian or a good English major, because I just don't "get" or don't like some classics, this one included. I know it's important to American literature, and that it was groundbreaking and important and blah blah blah, but I just didn't ENJOY it.

The writing is stilted, the characters ugly, the story doesn't flow, and I don't give a damn what happens to any of them.


And now I get to lead a discussion on it next week. Rest assured, this wasn't MY pick. :-)

Man, it was a trying week.CIMG1607

After flying to finish our Capital Projects plan (which I did), resolve a lingering personnel issue (which it mostly is), and prepare for a board meeting (which I am), it was time for a little R&R.

As my mum's birthday is tomorrow, I decided to head home for the weekend to see the fam and partake in Don's birthday present to Mum - a huge homecooked Indian feast.

And oh man, was it fabulous!

CIMG1609We ate, we laughed, we talked about all sort of things. Don and I got our geek on talking about websites and business plans, and Mum unwrapped her birthday present - a pair of lobster claw oven mitts that never fail to make any of us laugh.

The race was rained out, so I headed home early, and I'm glad I did...with this icky front moving in, I had the beginnings of a migraine by the time I got home. I unpacked, ate, and went to bed early, and slept for 12 straight hours.
Nothing like good food, good family and a good night's sleep to help you face the week head on...

(The entire photo set is here)

The Innocent by Harlan Coben

This was highly recommended to me by our Bookmobile Lady, and all the mags claim that Coben is on the cusp of being the next James Patterson.

I can't disagree.

Coben's writing is suspenseful and tight, his plots full of twists and turns, and his characters flawed and interesting. In this title, Matt Hunter, an ex-con, is on the road to his dream life when one phone call sends his life spinning out of orbit. In a race against time and accusations, he has to save his wife, his family, and the life he's built for himself.

Coben is a masterful suspense writer - gritty and real. High recommended!

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by the rawr-worthy Scott Brick. Brick's narrations are unexcelled - his vocalization is perfect in every way for this title. But then, he could read the phone book and still captivate us. Yes, we at the library have a little crush on Scott Brick...

Night by Elie Wiesel

This short work of nonfiction was the latest "Oprah Book Club" pick, which means we had a run on the title at the library, but I managed to snag a copy.

This novel is only 120 pages, but it is gripping and horrifying from the first page to the last. Wiesel details his experience in the Holocaust from ghetto to Auschwitz to liberation. Along the way, he gives glimpses of friends and family, and then they are seen no more. His struggle to keep his father and he alive is harrowing and heartbreaking, more so because it's true.

If you haven't read any survivor accounts of the Holocaust before, read this one.

The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love by Rosie Rushton

This is a fantastic YA novel (and not just because it's set in England)!

Ellie, Abby and Georgie are three sisters living with their divorced mother, hating their step-mother, and each trying to find themselves with boys, school and life. Then tragedy happens and everything they knew is pulled out from under them. This novel is full of twists and turns, and you don't know who is going to end up with who, and who is going to be okay. Fresh and crisp writing make this a really quick read.

Enjoyable and recommended!

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explore the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

This book has been parked on the NYT Bestseller list for a lot of weeks now, but I was fortunate enough to grab a copy of our shelf the other day.

What a great, GREAT book!

Don't let the title scare you...this has little to do with economics and more to do with, well, everything else. Levitt explores everything from cheating teachers to crack dealers to sumo wrestling and why things are the way they are. The writing is crisp and simple, the explanations thorough and easy to understand, and the book certainly challenges that which you thought was fact.

Highly, highly recommended!

If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende

This is part memoir, part travelogue of Lende's life and work in Haines, Alaska, a small and secluded fishing village.

I was absolutely taken in my Lende's descriptions of Alaska and small town life, and her descriptions of the townspeople - many of whom she gets to know due to her job as the obituary writer.

In turns funny, sad, introspective and touching, I found this a great memoir to pick up and put down, reading chapters in stages so to fully absorb the Alaskan experience. Recommended!

Not Even For Love by Sandra Brown

Because sometimes, a girl needs some escapist, schmaltzy romance to read.

This title was originally published in 1982, and though some things in it are dated, it has aged well. This one of one Brown's shorter stories, and the character development definitely is lacking as she careens through the book with lots of steamy scenes, outrageous situations, and characters that are too good to be true.

But hey, that's what escapist romance is all about!

Dixieland Sushi by Cara Lockwood

This was just a fun little chick lit book. :-)

Jen Nakamura Taylor is a TV producer in Chicago who is called home, to Arkansas, to attend the wedding of her cousin. What follows is a clash of Japanese and Southern culture, revisiting the ghosts of crushes past, and the obligatory boy problems! Throw in a cute British boy and a lot of flashbacks, and you have a kicky little book!

I really enjoyed all her 80s pop culture references, her easy writing style, and her fun characters. Cute!

It's been a week of ups and downs, that's for sure!

Aside from being sick (again) and terminally behind in everything, I had a good day yesterday...

We got rid of our old circulation desk, we got our storage facility to pick up several pallets of boxed books for our upcoming book sale, I laughed maniacally at a bizarre theft at the library while my colleague looked at me as though I'd lost my mind, and...

I got pretty flowers. :-)


This afternoon just got interesting...for the first time at APL, I got to corral all our patrons into the back offices away from windows due to multiple tornado touchdowns in the area...the latest report put one less than a mile from my house - eek!

Who knows what the rest of this week will bring...

An Idiot Girl's Christmas: True Tales from the Top of the Naughty List by Laurie Notaro

I know it's March and I'm just now getting around to reading a Christmas book, but Notaro's books don't tend to stay on our shelves - she's too funny!

This, the shortest of Notaro's books, is a compilation of essays that directly, or indirectly, relate to Christmas in her world. Some are hysterical, and some are merely amusing, but all are well written, biting, and worth reading.

If you haven't read Laurie before, grab one of her books and start reading!

ninThis past weekend, I once again got to worship at the Altar of Trent.

Oh yes...another Nine Inch Nails concert.

Jen, Jason, Sean and I geared up for another foray into the NIN concert world - complete with black liquid eyeliner, black fingernails and a roadtrip to Cinci.

The company was great, the Mad Mushroom cheesesticks exquisite, and the show itself...

Jen and I have been waiting a dozen years to hear certain songs in concert, and this time, our Trent delivered Dead Souls from The Crow soundtrack. Bliss.

The band was full of energy, the sound was fab, and the show was life-altering. I can't wait for Trent to tour again this summer....


Amazing, amazing show.

Personal Highlights from the Show:

*Dead Souls, Dead Souls, Dead Souls...
*Aaron stagediving during March of Pigs
Trent on top of the dais during the opening of Closer
*Aaron jumping off Ally's keyboards pretty much like this (the boy has a lot of energy)
*Jeordie's zen presence going off the deep end during Head Like a Hole when his guitars got screwed up
*Josh's kickass drumming - they have to keep this guy
*Crowd participation by singing lyrics during Terrible Lie, You Know What You Are, Hurt, and Gave Up
*Trent saying "Thank you. Thank you, folks..." in a goofy voice at the end of March
Getting to hear Every Day Is Exactly the Same live

The Setlist:

1. Pinion
2. Love Is Not Enough
3. You Know What You Are?
4. Terrible Lie
5. The Line Begins To Blur
6. March Of The Pigs
7. Something I Can Never Have
8. Closer
9. Burn
10. Gave Up
11. Eraser
12. Right Where It Belongs
13. Beside You In Time
14. With Teeth
15. Wish
16. Only
17. Every Day Is Exactly The Same
18. Getting Smaller
19. Dead Souls
20. Hurt
21. The Hand That Feeds
22. Head Like A Hole


...I've been away from the blogosphere for a while. Things have been hectic and exhausting for LFM...

CIMG1581Between bouts of illness, personnel problems, family crises and being on the road a lot lately, I haven't been much inspired to write anything. I've spent most of my "down time" resting and watching all five season of Angel in succession - the kind of braindead therapy I tend to try and avoid, but I haven't had much oomph to do anything else. (Besides, sexy Spike as a reward...)

In any case, I have been home to see the fam in recent weeks, and managed to accomplish one of my "29 things" for this year - go ice skating.CIMG1578

Something I haven't done in about a decade and a half.

Thanks to my sis for going along with my harebrained scheme!

Well, our new furniture is finally installed, and I gotta say...APL is lookin' pretty good these days.

A few weeks ago, we only offered 4 public workstations, plus a 15-minute terminal where many were known to "park" for as long as they could until we politely shooed them away for the next patron.

Now, we offer 10 public workstations, and a 15-minute "standup" terminal (which cuts down considerably on the parking!), and they have been full since we reopened our doors. Supply and demand...

In other exciting news, I love partnerships in small towns where you can sit down with the editor of the newspaper and the head of a reknowned theatre and in a few hours, hash out a summer's worth of partnership and planning. It's all about collaboration in different places...

Despite some (ugly) bumps in the road, it was a good library week. Yes.

Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

Now, you all know I love my Hoosier homegirl, Meg Cabot - both her YA books and her adult books, and this one is no exception (plus, I got a recommendation from De!).

This time around, Cabot tackles the mystery genre in this fun tale of a former pop star who now works at a college dorm (excuse me, residence hall) in NYC. When co-eds start dying, she starts investigating...

Like Cabot's other books, this one is frothy and fast to fly through. Recommended!

Rosie Dunne by Cecelia Ahern

This novel is a foregone conclusion before it even starts.

Rosie and Alex have been best friends since they were five, and this epistolary novel chronicles their lives together, and the near misses their romance has until they are both well into middle age.

I enjoyed Ahern's first novel (P.S. I Love You) but found this one trite and cloying, and the epistolary style tired and overused in the genre at the moment. Not much of a creative effort on this one...