We got a Wii!

July 24The Friends of APL recently purchased a Wii for the library, and only minutes after setting up, several staff members took a stab at bowling, tennis and golf. This is going to be fun…

We can't wait to invite kids AND adults to come to a Wii-fest at the library!

After the staff has "tested it thoroughly", of course…

Does your library Wii? Do people lurve it?


Valentine Princess by Meg Cabot

Though released last winter, it just occurred to me yesterday that I hadn't read the latest in the Princess Mia series!

This novella (short, at only 86 pages) chronicles the days leading up to Valentine's Day as Mia struggles with getting Michael to understand the importance of Valentine's Day, as well as some of the drama unfolding for her friends - also, Queen Clarice goes missing!

This is such a fun little book - like eating cotton candy! :-)


Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst

I was intrigued by the premise of this novel,from the author of Dogs of Babel, which I read a year or two ago.

Told in alternating points of view, this novel chronicles the worldwide travels of several pairs competing on a game show akin to The Amazing Race - this one involving clues, lots of airports, finding hidden objects and a lot of drama. Some of the characters are quirky and funny, and some are hiding painful secrets - all of which eventually see the light of day (usually in front of the television cameras).

Parkhurst packs a lot into this novel - adoption, homosexuality, new love, the price of fame and more, but does so deftly and engagingly. Her writing is lovely, and I found myself reading long past my bedtime as the chapters kept switching points of view and I got to know all her characters better.



One last bit of Harry Potter blogging...

Rock on, Hermione!
Find out your Harry Potter personality at LiquidGeneration!


Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann

This is another book in the Troubleshooters, Inc. series (featuring Navy SEALs) from Brockmann, and it's another great one!

Sam and Alyssa have been dancing around their attraction to each other for years, but when Sam's wife appeared to be dead and his daughter missing, they must put aside their personal feelings to work together.

This novel has a great backstory for Sam (a prominent character in other books), and I liked (as always) the interplay of suspense and mystery with a hot romance. Brockmann can really ratchet up the sexual tension while weaving a really great mystery. I'm not so keen on her insistence at including an "old time story" (usually from WWII), but that's just my preference.

Sam and Alyssa aren't my favorite couple, but I really enjoyed this book!

I love this series - highly recommended!


Our library's Summer Reading Program came to an end on Friday, and we tidied up our cards and bookmarks, drew winners, and got ready for our end of SRP celebration...

The Pirates of the Summer Readin' Pirate Plunge!

This year instead of a block party (in broiling temperatures) we decided to have a pool party complete with swimming, prizes and food!

What a great night (with over 150 attendees) and so much easier on us than the block party!

Everyone we talked to had a GREAT time...I'm so pleased. :-)

Filling Up

Kiddie Pool

Grabbing the Grub



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the Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson

I swear this was on my TBR list *before* I began watching The Tudors! :-)

This novel (by the same author as The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette) focuses on the life - and loves - of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's final wife, who outlived him by a number of years.

Parr was well known not only for surviving Henry's court, but for being the most married queen - four husbands in total. This novel makes the realities of court and of her loves much more real, and is written in a great first person manner, easily explaining this woman and how she became ensnared in Henry's world. Great setting, great intrique, great characters...good

Another good addition to the Tudor fiction canon created by Philippa Gregory and Robin Maxwell!


My parents came down for an extended visit last week to avoid "cabin fever" and to bring me my newest acquisition: shelves for a grown-up!

For the last four years, I've had the most rickety, ugly teeny bookshelves in my house, hand-me-downs from four hundred years ago. Menard's was having a sale on new shelves, and they are so pretty!

Dad and I (well, mostly Dad) assembled the two units, got them in place and it took me only minutes to completely fill them with a part of my book collection!

New Shelves

We also rambled around New Harmony, drove through the back roads of Illinois, bought a new barbecue for my back porch, sat in the sunshine and did a little shopping (or in Dad's case, a LOT of shopping). What a lovely weekend!

(Pics are here of the whole weekend)


The Kid Who Climbed Everest by Bear Grylls

Okay, I had to.

As I was weeding our library's biography collection, I found this and let out a little squeal - my Man Vs. Wild sexyman Bear Grylls had a book on our shelves!

This is Bear's account of his ascent of Mount Everest at the age of 23, 18 months after breaking his back parachuting in Africa. Though not the same caliber as Jon Krakauer's excellent Into Thin Air, I thought this was a very personal, interesting account of Bear's struggle to reach the summit, as well as that of his three Briton friends.

While reading the book, I could hear Bear's voice narrating it, and learned much more about my sexyman than I knew before. Explains how he does all the cold weather stuff on Man Vs. Wild, as well. ;-)

A fine addition to the canon of personal Everest accounts!


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

It came around 2pm on Saturday, and by a little after midnight I had it read (even while taking a break to entertain my parents, eat dinner and watch some TV!).

Suffice to say, without saying anything about the story or any spoilers, that the ending was immensely satisfying.

And now that it's over, I'm sad...

Very, very sad. :-(


The Innocent Man by John Grisham

This work by Grisham, his first foray into non-fiction, was selected as our adult book discussion title at the library for this month, though I hadn't read it previously.

Grisham once again proves his mettle as a lawyer and a writer - sifting through facts and various accounts to write a quick-moving tale of legalese and justice prevailing in the end, with a cast of characters that truly could have been fabricated for a novel.

Mostly though, this book made me incredibly sad and sick at the injustice that was done to Ron Williamson - a man falsely accused of murder and not exonerated from Death Row until 11 years later. The disgusting way that the police handled the case was, to me, the real story, and left me flipping to the author's notes to see what became of the cops and lawyers who handled the case (nothing, it seems).

This was a good read for those interested in legal cases, though at times I found myself wishing it would move along, or twist and turn a bit more; it was a bit tedious for me at times, as I wasn't quite in the frame of mind for a police/law procedural. Still, I think this title will make for an interesting book discussion!


The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

This is one of those books that's hard work - you can't just fly merrily through the pages, forgetting what you just read the minute you turn the page. Instead, it takes time, consideration and thought to read - and I'm glad I did.

Dawkins (celebrated Oxford biologist) once again takes on the issues of organized religion, evolution, atheism, "playing both sides of the street", and science versus faith. Over and over I found myself rereading passages, thinking, "Yup, that's right" and though Dawkins is at times a bit intolerant of that which he condemns, I found his thought process and book layout well-organized.

Clearly, this is not a book for everyone, and I doubt that TinyTown (being the buckle of the Bible Belt) will check this out much, but for someone like myself, it was a great balm to the 304873450873450987345087345 Christian novels and non-fiction works that line my library's shelves.


Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I learned from Judy Blume edited by Jennifer O'Connell

As soon as I saw the title (and contributors) of this collection of essays, I knew I had to read it!

Lots of current chick lit writers (including Meg Cabot, Melissa Senate, Julie Kenner and many, many more female authors I have read) wrote vastly differing essays all relating in some way to a title (or two) of Judy Blume's. Some were directly related to a Blume novel, and some had the faintest of threads tying it to a story. Friendships, maturity, relationships, sex, family and growing up are all featured in these tales.

A great compendium of essays for "my" generation of girls, and if you'll excuse me, I have to go find a copy of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret now. ;-)


Storm Warning: The Story of a Killer Tornado by Nancy Mathis

As someone who has lived her whole life in the Midwest, I have a love/hate relationship with tornadoes, but I've always been fascinated by them (and confess that Twister is a guilty pleasure movie).

This is a fantastic non-fiction work about the F-5 tornado that ripped through Oklahoma on May 3, 1999, chronicling the storm, the aftermath, and the stories of both victims and survivors. Mathis also does a great job of incorporating the history of weather prediction in the US, profiles people like Ted Fujita and Gary England, and weaves threads backwards and forwards in time, making it all into one cohesive retelling of one of the biggest tornadoes in history.

Very well written, interesting, gripping non-fiction reading! Recommended!


July 13Yayayayay!

Becca and I hit the IMAX for a screening of the new Harry Potter film last night - woot!

Random Thoughts (While Trying to be Vague to Avoid Spoilers for People Who Haven't Seen It):

*Overall, I thought it was bloody brilliant - the final scene in the Ministry was just 20 minutes of nonstop goosebumps for me

*God, I love the Weasley twins (who have better hair this time around)

*Umbrage was spectacularly portrayed - evil and tormenting while being sickly sweet on the surface, made worse when Becca and I realized who she reminds us of, causing us to giggle every time she came on the screen

*Daniel Radcliffe really has come into his own as an actor


*The final battle in 3-D was pretty damn cool (even if the 3-D glasses are decidedly NOT damn cool *grin*)

*Dementors = Freakin' Scary

*That Phoenix effect with Dumbledore was superrad

*The whole Cho relationship was a bit...underdeveloped...from the book

*No quidditch. :-(

*Luna was really well cast

*I think a lot of subtle groundwork for the last two books (and thus, movies) was missing, and I'm curious how it will effect the future productions



Parking: $3.00
Lemon Shakeups: $8.00
Tickets at the Gate: $16.00
Funnel Cake: $4.00

Taking your British father to his very first demolition derby at the county fair: Priceless

(During my last visit home, Dad and I visited ye olde Bartholomew County Fair...ahhhh, the memories!)


July 7Funnel Cake

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Murder 101 by Maggie Barbieri

I devoured this book in an afternoon spent lazing in the sunshine on my back porch - the perfect book for that type of afternoon.

Alison is a professor at a small Catholic college when her world is turned upside down...a student is found in the trunk of her stolen Volvo. What follows is the investigation of the murder, the way Alison deals with having her world turned upside down, and the budding romance between her and lead investigator Crawford.

I actually found myself wanting to read more about the romance and less about the mystery based on the lovely "zinger" conversations between them, and the tentative steps both take at love. The ending left the door open for future mysteries - I can't wait!

A fun romance-y mystery! I give it a good grade! ;-)


Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares

I'm a big fan of Brashares "Pants" series, so I was happy to grab this audiobook, the third in the series (I knew I was going to be on the road a lot this week)!

This summer, the "Septembers" are preparing to go away to college - four different schools, in fact. All are struggling with the idea of moving away and growing up, finding love, conflicts within their families, and the thought of leaving each other at the end of the summer. Of course, love, jobs and the pants are a constant in each of their lives.

This is a well-articulated, thoughtful series with great heroines, real struggles, and friendships that anyone would envy. Great, great addition to the series!

Note: I listened to the audio edition, narrated by Angela Goethals. It took a while to get used to her voice, instead of the voices of the actresses playing these characters in the movie, but I thought she did a great job distinguishing between four voices.


The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I was inclined to seek out this book after watching the compelling trailer of the movie due out later this year (and because I'm killing time until Harry Potter 7 is here *grin*).

This is another fantasy series, written for children, but with the vocabulary, themes and often, violence, found in a YA or adult fantasy series. Lyra is entrusted with an altheiometer (it tells the truth) which sets her and her daemon on a path to find her uncle, escape the evil clutches of an organization, take on a bear king, and find her friend Roger.

This is a well written fantasy novel, though I think some of the themes and violence might not be good for the little ones. The movie looks good, too!

Of course, in the spirit of the book, I *had* to find out what my own daemon is...


Of course, it wasn't ALL play and no work at ALA, so I snapped some pictures of the goings-on at ALA Annual...


We're here! We shuttled from our hotel (coincidentally, the one where Reagan was shot) to register and get ready for the conference!


This picture SO doesn't do the exhibit hall justice...

Exhibit Hall

The NMRT (New Members Roundtable) booth in the exhibit hall...this is the roundtable I'm involved in, and ALA marked my takeover as editor and committee chair of Footnotes, the NMRT newsletter sent to several thousand members four times a year...

NMRT Booth

You can't go to ALA and not have your picture taken with Baker and Taylor!!

Baker and Taylor

I had the opportunity to hear Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. speak, but the pictures didn't turn out great. Some pics that DID were of me playing a Wii for the first time! Wii tennis was going on in the exhibit hall, and of COURSE I had to try it! So much fun!


I'm ready for Annual in Anaheim!

Surfer Girl

And now, two true highlights of the conference for me...

First, I had the chance to meet, talk to and get an autograph from Frank Warren, who runs the amazing, inspiring PostSecret (one of my favorite places on the web, and some of my favorite books). Frank was warm and friendly, interesting, and very tall, as it turns out!

Frank Warren

My other squee! moment was getting to meet the wonderful John Green, Printz-Award winning YA author, co-creator of Brotherhood 2.0 (one of my favorite things on the web) and fellow Nerdfighter. John was very, very cool, and I was a total fangirl, walking away with a big grin after meeting him and getting a few autographs on my copy of Looking for Alaska and a digital recording of An Abundance of Katherines. Thanks, John (and no, I won't sell them on eBay)!

June 23

Well, I'm back and mostly recovered from ALA Annual in Washington, DC, held last week. I had a great time wandering the exhibit hall, attending sessions and meetings, meeting authors, and hearing lots of librarians speak and exchange ideas.

Of course, we also managed to squeeze in some sightseeing, exploring, and more, which lends itself to much better pictures than pictures of business meetings. ;-)

If you want the full pictorial tour, you can find my DC set here...below are a few (well, more than a few) favorites...

The gate to Chinatown near the Convention Center...


I adore the Jefferson Memorial, right on the tidal basin and away from the city's hubbub...

Jefferson Memorial

Look Ma!

I'd never seen the FDR Memorial, and it's simply amazing...gorgeous waterfalls, filled with inspiring quotes, and great sculptures...


The Lincoln Memorial is THE place to be on a lovely Saturday evening!

Saturday Night Crowd

I love this shot of the Mall taken from the side of the Lincoln Memorial, which was COMPLETELY deserted...

Lincoln and Washington

The Korean War Memorial was really, really cool...

One More

The new (well, new to me) World War II Memorial is really inspiring and peaceful...

Marissa and the Monument

A lovely sunset above the Lincoln Memorial from the WWII Memorial...

Night is Falling

We spent a good portion of time wandering around the National Cathedral, which is just awe-inspiring...

Another View

We rode upstairs on the tour bus - lovely!

June 25

My one shot of the White House!

White House

And of course, the Capitol...

The Dome

We saw so much of Washington, DC, this reminding me how much I love this city!

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Jinx by Meg Cabot

This book doesn't have a laydown date until July 31, but I was lucky enough to snatch up a galley copy at ALA last week.

In this YA novel, Cabot dabbles with a transplanted girl from Iowa to NYC, dark magics, a cute next door neighbor, a crafty cousin, a new school and the struggle of good and bad. You know...typical. ;-)

As always, Cabot writes with a light tone, endearing characters, and laugh out loud moments while tying together endearing characters and a story that will keep you reading. I read this book in essentially one sitting - once a Cabot fan, always a Cabot fan!



The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

I'm still determined to reread The Eye of the World series before the 12th, and final, book is released.

This continues the story of Rand, Mat and Perrin, and the people who surround them in the ultimate battle between good and evil. It's great to reread with a bit of memory of which characters become important, and how their stories twist. I can't even imagine the plotline, timeline, and notes Jordan must have had...he began laying clues in book 1 that aren't revealed until book 10.

A great, great fantasy series, full of good memories for me...