Burroughs is one of the funniest, most honest, most horrifying fascinating memoirists on the market today. If you like Sedaris or Notaro, you're going to like Burroughs. :-)

This title is a collection of stories ranging from Burroughs as a young boy to present day, and all the stories are so well-written, so funny, and so honest that you find yourself reading chapter after chapter in a row, even though you should break it up and spread out the funny.

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories, and will have to add Running with Scissors to be "to be read" pile!

CIMG2202This is it: the end of an era in libraries...

Well, my library, anyway.

Today, we began weeding out and discarding all our vertical (pamphlet) files.

These mainstays in libraries have been virtually replaced by the internet, by immediately access to the most up-to-date information, and by reference books we can still afford to purchase.

In our trashing of the files, we found AIDS information from 1988, cancer treatment options from 1992, and a travel guide to Florida from 1991.

Yeah...a little out of date. ;-)

Still, I can't help but be a bit nostalgic...
I remember trundling down to the hometown library with a paper to write about humane societies, or the environment, or 20th century inventions and finding a treasure trove of information to copy onto my lined paper.

Okay, so it was grade school, but still that is one of my most vivid early library memories.

Sifting through the folders, finding just.the.right.pamphlet, and gleefully skipping to my seat, feeling like a adult schooled in the ways of research, well on her way to a A+ paper.

Vertical files, the Reader's Guide, card catalogs...it's all been sacrificed to Library 2.0.

Nostalgic, but necessary.

Forward, ever forward...

When I opened that envelope in my mail stack today, it was like opening the letter to find out if you got into your favorite college or not.

It was from the Department of Local Government Finance.

The gatekeepers of library money for the state of Indiana.

Scary money people.

This was going to be the letter to tell me if APL's Capital Projects Plan was approved.

The money we desperately seek to make much-needed repairs to our computers, building, furniture and equipment.

The plan I brainstormed with department heads, wrote every single word of, spoke before County Council about, advertised for, crunched numbers for hours with Mary over, lost sleep over the deadlines of, and agonized over getting every detail right - if you mess up even one small detail, the jig is up and you don't receive your money.

The CPF plan has been on my shoulders alone since the beginning of the year.

And we were approved for EVERY SINGLE PENNY we asked for.

I nearly cried when I saw the approval letter, and then I jumped up and down in my office.


No, but warranted just the same. ;-)

Pretty Woman by Fern Michaels

This was recommended to me by one of my favorite patrons, who said it was just a fun story, and she was right.

Rosie Gardener decides to kick her no-good husband to the curb, starts to lose weight, falls for her trainer, and oh yeah...wins $302 million in the state lottery.

This book is warm and fuzzy with a nice, happy ending and a plot that isn't terribly complicated or deep. I liked the characters and the plot, though I was a bit surprised at Michaels throwing in a bit of the supernatural. Still, compared to the other Michaels books I have read, this one was much better plotted and written.

A good escapist read...

Why Moms Are Weird by Pamela Ribon

This is Ribon's (she of pamie.com fame) second novel, following up her brilliant first novel Why Girls Are Weird.

This time, boys are secondary to family, as Benny Bernstein leaves behind a burgeoning romance in LA to return home to tend to her mother and sister, who are living in a filthy house with no job and a broken leg. What follows is at times comic, frustrating, horrifying and real when it comes to mothers and daughters.

I thoroughly loved this novel, the style, the writing, and the chapter breaks. If you haven't read Ribon, do yourself a favor and check her out!

I Had the Right to Remain Silent...But I Didn't Have the Ability by Ron "Tater Salad" White

If you have seen White's stand-up routine as part of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, you really don't need to read this book.

Aside from a few extra stories, this is virtually a word-for-word account of his funniest stories from his stand up - and while I love White's standup, reading his jokes just isn't as funny as hearing them in his Texas drawl.

Definitely lost something in translation...

Good things:

  • Hazelnut Moolattes at DQ
  • Nancy Pearl coming to Southern Indiana
  • Hugs from vendors, instead of a handshake
  • Eating lunch al fresco
  • Returning to my shifts on the reference desk
  • Cleaning out the office inbox and sorting 87345083 pounds of paper from the last 9 months
  • Good book discussions
  • Quilting Ladies meeting
  • Some of the teens in the library keeping me laughing for 2 hours with their antics on a Monday evening
Bad things:

  • Migraines
  • The internet breaking for libraries and schools in the entire state of Indiana for a morning
  • Garage doors breaking and not getting fixed for three days
  • My pretty flowers finally giving up the ghost

I just finished leading my adult book discussion for the month, and what an amazing discussion.

We were discussing Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking (in which Didion chronicles the year after her husband of 40 years suddenly passes away, and her daughter battles illness after illness), and as we were settling down we kept filling up chairs...old members of the group and some new faces as well.

We discussed the writing, the background, the meanings, the reasons, the family, the past and the present. There were some personal stories, and some compliments and critiques of the memoir. Some people loved the book, and some hated it, but that's par for this group.

Midway through the discussion, one of the new faces decided to speak - and said that her husband had only died a few months before, and that she needed to read this book when she heard about it through our publicity.

Her insights were valuable and thoughtful, and the dynamic of the group changed with this new knowledge of our new member.

The discussion came to a close, and I had a chance to talk with a few people as I was tidying up. Everyone always stays late to grab another slice of cake (it's not a discussion without cake!), to catch up with each other, and to trade book titles.

Finally, everyone was gone but our new member...she lingered behind so that she could speak to me about her life the last few months, her reading of the book, and her need for a little time to herself to get outside herself. We just sat and talked - it was clear she needed someone outside her usual circle of family and friends to confide in, to talk to, and to cry with. We sat and just talked for a few minutes, and she promised me she would finish the book in time, would read our next title, and would be back for the next discussion, because everyone needs "me" time, and if you don't take it, you can be swallowed in the hurt of the everyday.

Though I was sad for her, I walked out of the room with a smile, as this was the perfect reminder of why I do what I do...for every reader a book, for every book a reader, and for anyone who needs it, a librarian willing to listen, to commiserate, and to support. I hope she walked out of the room tonight with a lighter step, just as I did, for finding a group that gives her what she needs.

Days like today, I know without a doubt I'm in the right profession.

An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore

This is the companion book to Gore's documentary of the same name, which has been receiving positive reviews since its release earlier this year.

I thought this was a very powerful book - rather than making it text-heavy, Gore uses well-selected photos to make his point, and writes in short, easy-to-understand paragraphs about the effect our lifestyles have on the planet - global warming, pollution, the burning of rainforests and more. He concludes the book with a look at how everyone can take small steps to better the planet environmentally.

I'm curious to see the documentary now, but found this a worthwhile, interesting (and at times, simply terrifying) read. Recommended!

Nick of Time by Scott and Scott

This is a novel from the new line of books - Romentics - written by and about gay male romances. I was curious what these books were about, and if they would fit in our collection, so my girl Gail picked up a few titles from the big library down the road for me to read and review.

Overall, I liked the book (though the writing is very simple, and the plot not overly complicated) and it deals fairly with gay relationships - closets, sex, family strains and more - without being heavy-handed. I found quite a few typos and a few stilted sentences, but I sense this is a fairly small publishing venture.

If you are squeamish about gay sex, you may want to take a pass - I didn't find anything over the top or offensive, but some more conservative folks might. I've read fanfics that are a lot more detailed and graphic than this novel!

I may have to look into purchasing for the library, if demand warrants...

The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi

I was drawn to this book first by the beautiful cover, and then by the positive reviews the author received.

Priya is from a traditional Indian family, but has lived in the States for several years. She is now returning to visit her family with a terrible secret - she is engaged to an American, and her family is not going to be happy about it. What follows are vivid descriptions of India, the food, the culture, and the clash between Priya and her family.

If you are a fan of Indian film, literature or culture, I think you will enjoy this lovely novel.

High Country Bride by Linda Lael Miller

I'm once again returning to my reading roots - picking out titles of "Western romance" - the books I loved after Sweet Valley High but before true "adult fiction" titles. Most of these titles are set in the years following the Civil War, in the lonely western frontier.

And they always have a cowboy, a reluctant bride, a lot of tension, a good amount of sex and a fun plot, and this one is no exception! In order to keep his inheritance, Rafe must find a wife and sire a child - so he mail orders a bride. Naturally. ;-)

This book surprised me - it has a complex plot that is well weaved, and has a lot of memorable characters and great dialogue, which is sometimes hard to find in these western romances. I highly recommmend this author for escapist historical fiction, and plan to read more in this series!

Dead End Job by Vicki Grant

This YA novel is a HiLo book - high interest and a low reading age, and is geared for YA librarians to give to reluctant readers.

The story is only 100 pages long, with large print and a simple vocabulary, but has an intriquing plot. Frances has a job, a boyfriend, an artist portfolio - and then has a stalker. The story is designed to be taut with tension, though you know how it will end.

This book took me little time to read, but I can definitely see the value of it for lower reading ages transitioning into older books, or for reluctant readers.

Even Vampires Get the Blues by Katie MacAlister

You know I love me some MacAlister vampires stories! This time, we're in Scotland, we have a broody vampire, an elf, and a need to restore some souls - good times!

MacAlister's books are fast and funny, with the right amount of sexy vampire and twisty plot - though this one wasn't my favorite of the vampire tales MacAlister has weaved, I still really enjoyed it!

Vampire in a kilt - rawr. ;-)

Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters and Survival by Anderson Cooper

First of all, I have a big crush on Anderson Cooper, so I was interested to read his memoir about his life and his reporting.

Cooper focuses on several key locations from which he has reported since the early 90s, with the most poignant being his coverage of Katrina, the tsunami and the war in Iraq. Interspersed between the reportage are the death of his brother and father, and how their absence has affected him over the years.

Cooper writes in small, bite-sized sections so that the reader can pause and absorb his observations, and to allow him to jump from one place to the next. His words flow, and his insights interesting.

This is a great memoir on journalism from one of the best - a great read!


This certainly made me smile throughout the day at the office...

Thank you. :-)

8 months, 3 weeks and 5 days ago, I took over as interim director of my library.

Tomorrow, I turn the reins of command over to our new director with a mixture of relief, excitement and trepidation.

It's been a serious learning curve over the last few months for me, and I'm grateful now for the chance to return full-time to the job I love, instead of the interim job usurping every ounce of strength I had.

I've dealt with a furniture installation, a personnel problem that become so severe that attorneys were consulted before it was resolved, evicting people from the library for months at a time for various infractions, I've handled police visits, the writing and presenting of a Capital Projects plan, the writing of our 2007 budget, attending bookkeeping workshops and networking get-togethers, I've survived the arduous process of showing potential directors around and gauging how they would fit in with the staff of our library, wrote the agenda for 9 board meetings and then presented at the meetings, and dealt with all the things that were never laid out in the job description.

I'm tired.

I'm more tired and drained than I've ever been in my life, and while I've been appreciative of learning new things, I'm grateful to return to what I really LOVE - because budgets, bureaucracy, human resources and managing people are not what I love to do at this point in my life.

Collection development, working reference, playing with technology, planning programs, and making APL the best it can be for our adult patrons is where I thrive, where I get my energy, and where I see rewards for a good day's work.

Someday, I will make a great director, but starting tomorrow, I just want to return being a great librarian.

Grayson by Lynne Cox

When Cox was 17, she was swimming in the Pacific one day when she happened upon a baby gray whale that had been separated from the herd, and in particular, his mother. In this short, "feel good" novella, Cox chronicles her experience in the water that day in trying to return Grayson (the whale) to his herd.

This is a short, pleasant story, though as someone who has a fear of all the creatures who live in the depths of the ocean, perhaps not a good one for me. Too much discussion of scary fish, jellyfish and things with teeth. Ish.

This book has been getting a LOT of publicity and promotion, and while pleasant, I'm not sure I would have pushed it so heavily as a publisher. But that's just me...

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I've heard this title brought up in review literature often, and was curious to read something else by Krakauer after the well-researched and well-written Under the Banner of Heaven, especially after reading the blurb on the front cover:

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter....

Krakauer's writing is engaging and the story fascinating, though I would guess everyone has their own opinion of McCandless - that he was a nut, that he was on his own path, or that it was simply a twist of fate that took his life.

Very interesting non-fiction read, and at barely 200 pages, a quick read as well.

Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

I was curious about this title, the second novel from the author of The Devil Wears Prada (which I'm told was a good movie, but that I haven't seen yet).

Bette quits her dull, dull job in a fit of pique one day, and then is hooked up into a new job by her uncle - working as an agent for a fabulous PR agency that throws parties, knows the who's who of celebs, and gets paid to party.

I saw a lot of similarities between this and Devil but enjoyed it just the same as over the top, escapist chick lit. You know how it will end, but it's fun getting there...

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Eliza Dushku of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. She has an incredibly distinctive voice, and did a nice job with the narration.

Snow Blind by P.J. Tracy

I've been a big fan of this mother-daughter writing team since their debut novel, Monkeewrench. This time, it's another mystery that detectives Resoleth and Magozzi must solve...

Two policemen are found dead inside snowmen during a children's festival, thus kicking off this fast-paced mystery that is loaded with twists and turns. The writing is crisp, at times funny, and suspenseful. Though I missed the presence of the Monkeewrench crew, I still very much enjoyed this quick mystery.

I recommend all the P.J. Tracy titles!

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

Well, you *knew* I wasn't going to wait long to grab and read this latest Stephanie Plum novel!

I found her latest plot intriguing...though there was the usual befuddled-bounty-hunting, this focused more on someone stalking a man close to Stephanie's heart...and the lengths she will go to help him.

This novel features, of course, the antics of Lula, the push and pull of the two men in Stephanie's life, a trip to the Burg and some gun play. Perfect. :-)

I tore through this in mere hours, and now have to wait for lucky thirteen...get writing, Janet! :-)

This is an amazing novel, made all the more so by the fact this is Noel's first novel.

Angie is a good student, a good family member and a star swimmer until one day she dives to the bottom of the pool and doesn't come back up. The story traces Angie's battle with bipolar disorder, and the toll it takes upon her family.

Each chapter is from a different voice in the family, and this is the type of novel you don't want to end, because you become so invested in the characters.

Highly, highly recommended...

It's been a long time since I've read a Western historical romance...they were among my intermediate books as a teen - I transitioned from Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club to Danielle Steel and "white woman falls for dangerous brave" books. I thought it was time to revisit that genre...

And they are still as cheesy as ever. :-)

Edwards is among the leading Indian historical romance novelists, chronicling various tribes from the mid-1800s. The writing is pretty stilted, the plot painfully thin, the romance too good to be true, and yet, you can't help but enjoy it.

Good escapist fun that only takes a couple of hours to read!


Congratulations to Jimmie, Chad, and all the Lowe's Beaus on their amazing win of the Brickyard 400 at Indy!

(Quite a birthday present for Mr. Knaus, no?)

This Hoosier was screaming for you all the way. :-)

My favorite Sheriff's Complaints in the local paper this week. Written word for word...

  • Brother-in-law hit caller with a cane and head is bleeding, 2nd caller advisted he hit subject with cane by accident, 3rd caller advised neighbors are arguing, 4th caller advised his kid is being kidnapped and need the state boys here right now

  • Caller has found concrete duck and chicken in his yard

  • Subject is threating to mess neighbor up, burn his house down, and kill his dogs
And they say small towns are boring...

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

Connelly has become one of the top names in suspense fiction today, though this is the first title I've read by him (again recommended by the Bookmobile Lady, who said it actually wasn't one of his best).

In this title, Mickey Haller is a defense lawyer who works out of the back of his Lincoln Towncar - Haller is a little sleazy and slimy, and you aren't sure you want to root for him. Connelly introduces lots of cases and characters, and starts off pretty slow, but once he lights the fire, the book takes off and doesn't let go. By the end, you are rooting for the good guys, while still trying figure out who the good guys are.

I really enjoyed this title - I would read another Connelly novel.

Note: I listened to the audio version, narrated by Adam Grupper. He has an amazing range of voices to draw from, though he struggled with the women and with differentiating some of the "big bads". A good listen, though.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

This is a fantastic YA title from one of the premiere YA authors today. In this title, Dessen weaves in alienation, teenage pressure, a crime, family complications, the origins of love and a lot more into this title.

Dessen's writing is fresh and real, and she doesn't dance around the serious issues in teen lives today - instead, she faces them headon, while still capturing the voice of YAs.

Highly recommended!

The Will by Reed Arvin

This title was recommended to me by the Bookmobile Lady, who said it was a good mystery title by a talented writer.

I agree that the mystery certainly kept me going until the end, though I find Arvin's writing at times overwrought or just too much - too much description, too many lengthy paragraphs that don't move the story forward. It took me longer than I expected to get through this title, though in the end it was a good mystery.

Recommended, with reservations...