jPod by Douglas Coupland

Admittedly, I've not read much Coupland, aside from the brilliant and funny Microserfs, published in *gasp* 1996. However, this sounded like Microserfs for the new generation, so I grabbed it when my YA librarian returned it.

She wasn't a big fan of the novel, so I was a bit skeptical, but in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, the silliness and the writing, even if the plot wasn't the most brilliant or attention-grabbing. However, I place more stock in genuinely laughing out loud than I do in a twisty and turny plot.

Smart and snappy writing, deliciously flawed characters, and a quick read - recommended from me!

CIMG2040Per a tradition begun last year, the staff of APL closed the library early last night to attend an Evansville Otters baseball game.

There were almost 20 of us there, eating hot dogs, scoping out cute baseball boys, and harassing Evan the Otter (the fuzzy wuzzy mascot).

It was even Evan's birthday (he's 12), so we got cake!

The storm that blew through a few hours before game time totally cooled things off, and it was a GORGEOUS night to be at the ballpark.

The Otters lost, but it was a great game - thanks, Bosse Field!

(the entire photo set is here)

It all started with an email from Jen:

Nine inch nails vs. Depeche Mode


Ouch. That hurts. I have lusted for Dave Gahan since I was 15. I have lusted for Trent since I was 17. This is gonna be a heartbreaker either way......

Sometimes, it helps to make a list when making a difficult decision, so that's what Jen and I did.


Trent could bench press you.
Dave has tattoos.
Trent's head is fuzzy like a peach.


Trent could bench press me.
Dave has tattoos.
Trent's head is fuzzy like a peach.
Dave has long bad boy hair.
Trent favors fishnets.
Dave prefers to go shirtless.
Trent is 41.
Dave is 44.
Trent is a Taurus.
Dave is a Taurus.
I'M a Taurus.


Trent wears eyeliner
Dave is smexy with facial hair
Trent is smexy with facial hair
Trent does that hand grippy thing with the microphone during dramatic moments.
Dave’s pants are too tight.


Trent is Midwestern.
Dave is British.
Trent likes leather.
Dave likes leather.
Trent is 4 feet tall.
Dave is 6 feet tall.
Trent has Aaron North.
Dave has Martin Gore.

And hey, Dave wears eyeliner too!


Trent is NOT 4 feet tall. He’s another foot and a half over 4 feet. Trent could not play one of Santa’s Elves as a side gig.

Trent makes it all go away.I don’t watch Depeche Mode videos that often – I don’t remember what Dave’s make-up of choice is.


Trent has a great rocker scream.
Dave can shimmy his hips like no man should.
isn't married.
With kids.


Trent had baaaad hair in the 80s.
Dave had baaaad hair in the 80s.
Trent had a drug problem.
Dave had a drug problem.
Trent hasn't died.
Dave died for 2 minutes.

Sadly, the list didn't really help, except to remind me how much I love these boys. ;-)

Before and after:

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Yay for a new bed to replace my 10 year old, $199 special!

Too bad I need some sort of launch pad to get onto it...

CIMG2014After the success of having Silly Safaris at the library last summer, it was decided to have them come back for a return engagement.

Safari Steve (our favorite) came to visit the library this week, with a bunch of animals in tow. An hour later, we had lots of squealing kids, laughing parents, and a room full of satisfied library patrons.

Plus, I got to pet a blue-tongued skink and a baby alligator.

(They have four alligators. Their names are: DooneyCIMG2004 Burke, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Versace. That kills me.)

I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. Hoosier librarians, if you need a good program, give these guys a buzz. :-)

(Carrie, Safari Steve looks so much like Jayne, it freaks me out. I thought of you when I saw him. *grin*)

If your name is Maria, stop reading now.

If your name is John, keep your Limey mouth shut until December. ;-)


A few months ago, my mum requested I make her a quilt for Christmas, and as we thumbed through some pattern books, she fell in love with a quilt filled with blues and greens - colours that reminded her of Trinidad, where she grew up.

The pattern looked easy enough, so off we went to Jo-Anns for several hours of giggling and fabric selecting - which she hasn't seen since.

Last weekend, I spent an entire day sewing, piecing, sashing, and binding a quilt, and finishing it off with cute little ties.

I hope she likes it.

What do you all think? Pretty colours, no?


Finished quilt size: 62 x 42 inches
Pattern: Matrix Quilt from Super Quick Colorful Quilts by Rosemary Wilkinson

This is the first of the officially sanctioned "NASCAR novels" - romance novels set in the world of NASCAR.

Of course, I had to read this. ;-)

Essentially, this is a novel-length fanfic (of which I am *well* versed), full of the sexy race car driver, the quirky Mary Sue, the impossible situation that keeps them apart, then together, then apart, and all the racing action of a NASCAR novel.

I'm really gratified to see fanfic make it as "mainstream", though admittedly insanely jealous that it wasn't MY book deal. ;-)

A fast (get it? fast?) read, but a fun one!

The List: A Love Story in 781 Chapters by Aneva Stout

I was contacted by the promoter of this slim novel and asked to read and review it on this very blog - talk about flattery (and free books!) being the way to my heart. :-)

I really loved this very unique little book - each "chapter" is but a sentence or two, yet tells a cohesive story about falling in love, falling out of love, and the power of a girlfriend or two to save the day. :-)

Though you never know the heroine's name or details (as in a traditional novel), you simply go with the flow as you read it, which doesn't take much time at all. In the end, I more admired the friendships in the novel more than the boy at the end. This is a great gift for that best girl friend in your life...

Very sweet and enjoyable - recommended!

Nailed by Patrick Jones

This is the newest novel from YA librarian guru Patrick Jones, so I was eager to read a novel from our librarian ranks. :-)

Bret Hendricks stands out in a crowd, and would much rather play with his band, hang with his girlfriend or act in the school play than to be a part of the "jockarchy". But what happens to the nail that stands up? It gets hammered...

I really enjoyed this story, and Jones' writing really flows through the story, which was by turns funny, sweet and horrifying. A balanced read - recommended!

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot

Now, you all KNOW I love me some Meg Cabot, so I was thrilled to be the first to read her latest adult novel!

This time, her hapless heroine travels to Europe to see her "boyfriend", which quickly unravels into a vacation diaster. She flees the scene to meet up with her friends at a chateau in France - and to meet the hunky owner.

This novel is quick, quirky and very readable. I loved the neurotic lead character, the situation comedy, and the fairy tale ending.

Highly recommended!!

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

I have become quite a fan of Gregory's historical fiction (especially The Other Boleyn Girl), so I was happy to see a new novel on the shelves!

This time, Gregory follows the life of Catherine of Aragon - Henry VIII's first wife. Catherine was first married to Henry's brother Arthur, and this follows her struggle after his death to remain a part of the family, and to position herself to eventually rule as Queen of England.

This is an engaging, interesting, well-written and well-researched book - just like all of Gregory's novels. If you like historical fiction, definitely add Gregory to your list!

Highly recommended!

Note: I listened to the audio version, ably narrated by Kate Burton. Sadly, it was an abridgement of the original novel.

If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor

I was immediately drawn in by the title of this cute YA novel, which loosely follows the story of Cinderella and her evil stepmother.

Lucy deals with a stepmother, an often absent father, a new boyfriend, an intriquing boy, a new group of friends and her flair for art - all while trying to be the perfect stepdaughter.

This is a fun, fast read - very cute!

Which Brings Me To You by Steve Almond and Julianna Baggott

As you all know by now, I love epistolary novels, so I was excited to read this novel, written by a pair of authors in that very style, especially since one of them was Steve Almond, author of the hilarious Candyfreak.

John and Jane nearly have a sexy tryst in the coatroom of a wedding, before putting on the breaks and making a pact - to write each other confessions of their past loves gone wrong. The letters that make up the bulk of the novel are painful, truthful, interesting, funny and endearing. I came to fall for John myself, and rooted for the two characters to hurry up and find each other.

This is an engaging, interesting and fast read that goes beyond a typical chick lit epistolary read.

Physical: An American Checkup by James McManus

I was intriqued by the premise of this nonfiction book - McManus (a "hard living..middle-aged American") is offered an "executive physical" at the Mayo Clinic by a magazine for whom he works.

What follows are McManus' observations of Mayo, thoughts on his own health and mortality, and then McManus explores smoking, heart disease, diabetes, and the battle for stem cell research in America and around the world.

I found this work thought-provoking and interesting, and very much enjoyed McManus' prose, and his forthright approach to his own health and mortality.


CIMG1991My "week o' Becca" (we worked Grill the Beast together, picked up groceries for it, ushered at New Harmony Theatre on Friday, and so forth) culminated on Saturday with the Summerfest Parade.

Now, Becca and I have never even *seen* the parade (it usually falls during ALA for me) but this year, we agreed to take the Bookmobile and see the sights and throw some candy.CIMG1995

As we said was a Steel Magnolias moment.

We had the marching band ahead of us, a John Deere tractor behind us, and we threw out huge bags of candy to hundreds of people, young and old, lining the streets.

The parade went for about 10 blocks, and we were #32 in line, so it was a pretty good sized parade. Despite the DISorganization at the beginning, we had an absolute blast.CIMG2000

(except for me having to sit in the book drop and hang out the window)

Times like that, I remember why I live in a small town. ;-)

(Entire set is here)


So, three years ago, when I came to APL, we decided to "rework" our Patron Appreciation Day from a chintzy punch and cookies event during the booksale to a big ole cookout for everyone.

Every year, it's gotten bigger and better, and this year it culminated in the biggest event so far...

GRILL THE BEAST, held on 6-6-06.

I'm particularly fond of the flyer Becca has crafted for the event, complete with my head on the chef, the APL logo on the apron, and hairy legs. ;-)

We had our Board President on the grill, various staff helping out, and ran out of 120+ hamburgers and 100+ hot dogs in just over an hour.

Good times.

All the patrons who attended (and even some who didn't) thought it was an awesome thing, and can't believe it's FREE! We get lots of nice compliments on the library, we do it for cheap (we borrow the big honkin' grill and get some food donated), and we all smell smoky fresh for the rest of the day.

I love my library. :-)

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CIMG0613The first weekend in June was our annual TinyTown Relay for Life. I was once again proud to be part of the committee - as Chair of Relay Online. Yes, I even got a day-glo ORANGE shirt that designated me as a committee member at the track. ;-) The weather promised to be perfect, and we had our tent all ready to go the night before.

The theme this year was different states, and we drew "Arizona". I was very proud to display a REAL Arizona tumbleweed my godparents brought back for me. Our tent rocks, though we lost the tent judging competition. :-(

Overall, I raised $1300 individually, and we think theCIMG0620 library team raised more than $1600 altogether, which is fantastic!

We had lots of entertainment at the track all day, and lots of tents were selling yummy food. Plus, I got to huggle on Elmo. ;-)


The evening took a turn for the worse around 7pm (I'd been at the track since 9am that morning), when a megastorm started blowing it.

We tried to brave the lightning and thunder in our (metal-poled) tent while sitting in our (metal-framed) chairs, but then decided to hell with it, and made a run for the van. We went back later and recovered our tent and chairs, and were done with Relay about 10pm that evening.CIMG1951

Overall, a really successful day!

As many of you know, Mum was due to begin chemo the Monday after Relay, and her blood sugar numbers have been out of whack lately. As a result, she's been feeling very under the weather, and not as strong or with as much "oomph" as she has had at past Relays. Still, she (and I) walked around the track for the Survivor Lap - the first time I've ever walked with her during this emotional lap.

I cried just the same.

She is the bravest, strongest, funniest person I know, and I'm proud to be her daughter, and proud that I can spend this day contributing to a cause so vital to us all.

Until next year...


(The entire photo set is right here)

Two new vids from my RSS feeds...

*What if the classic movie "The Ten Commandments" was really a feel good romantic comedy?

*Oh, Diamond Dave. What happened here? Better yet, read the comments of the video. I laughed so hard I cried.

The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans

Admittedly, I only picked up this title on audio because a) it was shorter than most and b) Campbell Scott was the narrator.

(I heart Campbell Scott. I heart Steve Dunne. I heart Campbell's narration and voice.)

However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. Christine's heart is broken, so her best friend tries to help her through the pain by signing them up for a mission to Peru. From there, Christine learns about the jungle, helps orphans, and gets to know an intriquing and attractive doctor.

Evans' description of Peru is wonderful, and I really felt myself transported there. This is just a sweet, sensitive, happy ending type of story - just what I needed.


Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Campbell Scott, who rocks my world.

King Dork by Frank Portman

I heard such great buzz about this YA novel before it came out, and snapped it up when we received it.

And I tried, I *really* tried to get into it, to like it, something.

But I didn't. I didn't like the writing style, I didn't like the story, nor the characters. I ended up skimming the last 100 pages or so just to see if the circular story that went round and round would ever end. And it did.

The only amusing part was the band names throughout.

Not for me...

In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore

Several members of our staff had recommended this book to me, and even suggested I make it the book discussion title for this month. I took them up on their offer, and finally sat down to read this book that has been hard to find on our shelves.

What a fantastic read.

Honore's writing is crisp and thoughtful, and I found myself so drawn into his observations and words, that it was hard to only read a chapter or two at a time so I could absorb and reflect on them. Honore's entire work is about the "slow" movement that is taking root around the world. In a society where we are scheduled to the minute, can't put down our Blackberries, and rush through a meal to get back to work, millions of people are embracing a "slow" approach to life.

Wow, did I need to read this book at this point in my life.

Honore explores slow food, work, sex, medicine, leisure and child-rearing. As someone who works in a public library that has seen a decrease in program attendance, the "children" chapter resonated with me. People can't come into the library to pick up books, read, attend a storytime or come to a program because they, and their CHILDREN, are over-scheduled. Between sports, school, tutors, classes, lessons and more, children are exhausted without ever getting to just play. They don't have time to just explore or be kids - they are too busy being superchildren to their parents, and not always enjoying it.

This whole book is fantastic, and filled with lots of "food for thought". I've even found myself, in the few weeks since I finished this book, trying to find the "slowness" in life - and loving it.

I heartily and highly recommend this title to everyone, and can't wait to discuss it with my book discussion group. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did!

May Day by Jess Lourey

I couldn't resist picking up this slim murder mystery...after all, the murder takes place in a small town library. ;-)

Mira is new to Battle Creek, MN, a small town that will allow her to find herself a new twist in life. She has a job, a cute new boy, and a free place to live...all good things, until the new beau is found dead in one of the non-fiction stacks.

This story is cute and quirky, twisty and pervy, and just a little odd, but in a good way. Mira is a good protagonist, though I suspect more staid readers will be alarmed by the ending, but at least it solved the mystery.

A quick mystery read!