Now that I got the music and book lists out of the way, I thought I should squeeze in one more list before the night was out...

It's cunningly titled:

Stuff That Happened in 2007

Catchy, no? ;-)

And without further ado...

  • I completed Project 365: 2007 (a photo a day for the entire year)

  • I went to Seattle for the first time (I got my first ever ear infection while I was there - yay!)

  • I watched the Colts win the Super Bowl

  • I asked Dr. Gray a "good question" during one of Mum's cancer check ups

  • Grandpa died :-(

  • Jen and I pretty much represented the entire female population in line for the first IMAX screening of 300

  • I was interviewed and on TV talking about (what else?) sex offenders

  • I hand quilted a baby quilt all by myself

  • I paid off my car 16 months early

  • I gutted the appearance of the adult services collection (I had help, of course!)

  • I emceed Battle of the Books for over a hundred attendees

  • I visited Chicago as a tourist, rather than going for work or to visit family!

  • I rode a bike (a lot!) for the first time in, oh, 18 years or so...

  • I dressed up like a pirate

  • I walked - all day, a lot of night - in Relay for Life, and raised over $1000 doing it

  • I went to Washington, DC

  • I did yoga. A lot.

  • I took my Dad to his first ever demolition derby (a proud Hoosier moment)

  • I became editor/committee chair of NMRT Footnotes, the publication of a national ALA roundtable

  • I chaired (again) the statewide Publications Committee

  • I played with a Wii

  • I became the director of the library

  • I.Stopped.Smoking.

  • I made a tee shirt quilt

  • I drank beer for breakfast at US Nationals

  • I went to Kunstfest

  • I went to my very first funeral(s) (two, unfortunately)

  • I went to the Biltmore

  • I dyed my hair red

  • I rode a motorcycle

  • I wrote a novel

  • I rented a cabin in Brown County

  • I hiked in the Garden of the Gods

  • I touched the Lombardi trophy

  • I cooked Thanksgiving dinner

  • I finished the samurai crosstitch

  • I got pre-approved for a home loan and found a realtor
Not bad for a year's work. ;-)


Per tradition, it's time for my annual wrap-up of all the books I read in 2007. Though I didn't beat my personal high from 2005 (162), I came pretty close. The stats...

Number of books read in 2007: 159
Number of books read in 2006 (for comparison): 152
Average of books read per month: 13.25
Average of books read per week: 3
Daily average: 1 book read every 2.3 days
Percent of fiction read: 86%
Percent of nonfiction read: 14%
Number of audiobooks "read": 18

And now, for the best books of the year (in my humble opinion, of course!), in author alphabetical order...

Asher, Jay. Thirteen Reasons Why.

Barr, Nevada. A Superior Death.

Brockmann, Suzanne. Out of Control.

de los Santos, Marisa. Love Walked In.

Gilbert, Elizabeth. Eat Pray Love.

Gregory, Philippa. The Boleyn Inheritance.

Kinsella, Sophie. Can You Keep a Secret?.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake.

Meyer, Stephenie. Eclipse.

Picoult, Jodi. Nineteen Minutes.

Roberts, Nora. Morrigan's Cross Trilogy (Morrigan's Cross, Dance of the Gods, Valley of Silence)

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

Shreve, Anita. Body Surfing.

Winston, Lolly. Good Grief.

It goes without saying that anything written by a Brockmann, Cabot, or Evanovich is automatically on the list. :-)

To check back on the reviews of some of these past titles, or to see what reviews you might have missed, click on "book review index" over in the navigation to the right.

Can't wait to see how I do in 2008! Happy New Year!


After stealing Sean's idea last year, it's time for another yearly "mix tape" of Marissa's favorite songs for the year, those that got the most spin on ye olde iPod...

Some of the songs are new, some are old, some are rediscoveries, and some just f'n rock for all time. ;-) Maybe you'll find one or two to check out...


Just Like You Imagined - Nine Inch Nails
(Yeah. The 300 trailer. This song was in constant rotation all year, and then I rewatched AATCHB, and the live version from the concert gets me even hotter. Yeah. Many a morning I screeched into the library parking lot with this blaring, hoping to garner some strength to get through the day.)

I Need You - Dave Gahan
(It's my Dave. And it's catchy and has a different twist on your typical love song...)

Homesick - The Cure
(One of those "lay in the middle of the floor and zone out in the darkness" songs. Not that I have to do that much anymore...)

Capital G - Nine Inch Nails
(Though all of Year Zero rocked, this was my personal favorite track. Danceable and fun, and scathing of George W? Sign me up. But really, almost every track on the CD hit me.)

What Goes Around.../Comes Around - Justin Timberlake
(Amazing beats, amazing song.)

What I've Done - Linkin Park
(The intro from the Halloween movies is cool. And it's just a good rock out song.)

Running Up that Hill - Placebo
(Discovered this while watching an ep of Bones. Haunting...)

Fever Dream - 300 Soundtrack
(My favorite piece of music from this total chick flick. ;-) Also, the guys walking forward and the rhino killing that happens while this piece is playing in the movie? Artistry and radness. This is another one that got me pumped for a day in the doldrums...)

In Your Room (Singles 86>98 edition) - Depeche Mode
(Let's not talk about what this song does to me. Let's instead focus on the fact I love it so much, I have lyrics from it etched into my iPod.)

Requiem for a Tower - LOTR trailer
(This is an AMAZING piece of music, which I finally found on iTunes. Gives me chills every time I hear it. Was on last year's list as "Requiem for a Dream", which was the only version I could find at the time, interspersed with Serenity clips.)

Gimme More - Britney Spears
(I can't help but shake my ass when I hear it. I know. I'm humiliated. But you do it too.)

Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi
(Clearly, I've been watching too much Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel. Who doesn't air guitar to this one?)

Reptile and Eraser - Nine Inch Nails
(Sometimes, a girl just has to go back to The Downward Spiral and rock out to loud, angry, Trentarific music. Particularly during the first 3/4 of this year...)

Seraphimia - TruLife
(Courtesy of Jen, from the Fassylicious ep of Hex. Sultry and fact, it's currently my cell's ringtone [yes, Jen, I replaced the Torchwood theme])

Angel - Massive Attack
(I love the slow build of this song and the mix of airy vocals with harder guitar riffs...)

Canned Heat - Jamiroquai
(If you don't dance when you hear this one, you have no soul.)

Clubbed to Death [Kurayamino Variation] - Rob Dougan
(This is always on the playlist, and has been since 1999.)

I've got a little of everything in there, don't I?

Happy listening!


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

I've enjoyed the other novels by Kingsolver I've read in the past (particularly Prodigal Summer), so when this work of nonfiction hit the shelves, I was curious to read it.

Kingsolver and her family endeavor to spend a year growing/raising their own food, to eat locally, and to write a book along the way about their experiences and knowledge gained. I had a mixed reaction to this book: guilt, for eating out of season produce; annoyance, at some of the preachier passages (I live in Indiana. We grow cow corn and soybeans. Eat that.); envy, that she has 40 acres in which to plant a garden, and I don't even have a yard (yet); inspiration, to be more mindful when I hit the IGA next time. ;-)

This is a measured, well written work, peppered between Barbara's passages with Steven's more "educational" essays, and daughter Camille's perspectives and recipes.

I'll never look at tomatoes or turkeys the same way again. ;-)


Note: I listened to the audio edition, narrated by the family themselves. It felt like it took me twenty seven years to listen - it was particularly difficult during long car trips, when I need something with a bit more...pep. And it was particularly guilt-inducing when I listened while making dinner. ;-) Kingsolver's slooooow delivery took getting used to, but I got there.


Don't Bet Against Me by Deanna Favre

I've always been a Packers fan, and in particular a Brett Favre fan, so I was very interested to read his wife's memoir as she battled breast cancer - another topic that is obviously near and dear to my heart.

This is an easy read, part football, part marriage, part cancer, part Christian teachings. I enjoyed reading about Deanna's background, her marriage to Brett and their connection to football...I tended to tune out during the pages of Christian preachings. ;-)

I enjoyed the pictures included in this easy memoir, and getting a bit of insight into what has to be one of the most solid, respected, and admired families in football - and I'm glad to read that Deanna continues to be cancer free. :-)


Over Hexec by Vicki Lewis Thompson

I've always enjoyed Thompson's "Nerd" series books - they are light and fluffy and entertaining. This time, Thompson tackles wizards, a man with unexplainable sex appeal, a battle over some land...and all of it takes place in a small town in southern Indiana. ;-)

This is a cutesy book - like her others - with lots of sex, conflict and resolution, a bit of mysticism and a few laughs along the way. Plus, small town in southern Indiana. ;-)



Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

I've only read one other YA title by Secret Sibling Johnson (Devilish), which I enjoyed so I wanted to grab this 2004 title to give it a read.

The triangle is made up of Nina, Avery and Mel, lifetime friends who are approaching the end of high school and making decisions about their future. Nina spends the summer at a camp at Stanford, and when she returns she finds that Mel and Avery are, well, together. Naturally, this throws the friends dynamic into flux...

Johnson writes deftly about that transition period at the end of high school, and though the novel didn't end the way I expected, I still thought it was a well written, interesting, engaging YA novel. Recommended!


Sorcery and the Single Girl by Mindy Klasky

There is nothing NOT to love about this book: a librarian, witchcraft, a flamingly gay familiar, a new romance, Washington DC, mojitos and baked goods. ;-)

This is Klasky's followup to Girl's Guide to Witchcraft which I also thoroughly enjoyed. This time, Jane has been invited to join a coven, but she has to prove she is worthy, while nursing a new romance in her life. Naturally, things don't always go according to plan, though Jane DOES discover just how powerful a witch she can be...

This is such a fun series, with lots of elements that I really love. I can't wait for the next title to come along (October 2008? *sigh*), so I can see what will EVER happen with David and Jane...

Highly recommended!


All Done!It's that time of year again.

The pimp wagon is (nearly) loaded up, all the presents are wrapped and stowed, I'm packed up and ready to hit the road, heading for the hometown for a few days of festive cheer with the fam.

I've already been given a head's up of some shopping to be done with Dad-The-Shopper-Man, some menus to plan and execute, and a directive to keep Chemo!Girl in good spirits.

Pretty easy assignments, really. ;-)

Blogging will be sparse until I return to TinyTown, full of year-end book reviews, 2007 in review posts, Christmas photos and who knows what else...

I wish you all a very merry Christmas, safe travels, and lots of good loot. ;-)

Merry Christmas!

visitbrotherhood2Though Jaleh beat me to it, I've been wanting to post about Brotherhood 2.0, but couldn't quite bring myself to.

Mostly, how in a few short days, I won't have a daily dose of brothers John and Hank Green.

And how this so saddens me, and even hurts a little bit.

I've been there since the very first video - watching puff levels, reveling in happy dances, learning about the political situation in Tibet, and mostly laughing and getting to virtually know this two interesting, hilarious, engaging boys. I even met John and ALA, and had a little Nerdfighterly moment.

And come December 31, the Nerdfighters will have no video to watch every day.

What a great gift we've been given this year, and the only thing I can say it...please, sir(s), may we have some more?

These guys are made of awesome, and I can only hope we'll get occasional vlog updates, in between releases of Paper Towns and EcoGeek updates...

That's do-able, right?

(Also, I had to link to one of my fave vids of the whole year: I laughed my ass off during the first part...the suprise, the theme song, the slo mo...killed me. *grin*)

Library Automation

Ahh, library automation at its finest.

Nothing like buying a Dot Matrix computer on eBay so that we can keep printing spine labels.

(Spine label printers are SOOOOO expensive...)

So, when our Dot Matrix died last week, instead of buying a new one from some warehouse for upwards of $350, I did the eBay thing.

Worked out okay for us!

Except for the humiliation of me having to admit to buying a Dot Matrix. ;-)

The price of progress...


Ballet_Shoes_Noel_Streatfeild__5612952The BBC is adapting Ballet Shoes into a television production, starring Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame.

I absolutely adored Ballet Shoes as a child (I had that very edition right there), and can still vividly remember reading about the trials and tribulations of Pauline, Petrova and Posy. Pauline was always my favorite, but I loved all three girls.

Noel Streatfeild was from Sussex (where my grandmother lives), so I always felt as though we had a connection, though tenuous at best. :-)

Thinking about Ballet Shoes got me thinking about other childhood favorites, and my most vivid memories are of Enid Blyton books (Mallory Towers and The Faraway Tree, anyone?), Anastasia Krupnik books, Beverly Cleary (Henry and Ribsy, y'all?), Boxcar Children, The Worst Witch, The Chicken Pox Papers, and the Victoria Plum books.

(That's a pretty good Anglo and American split, actually...)

Makes me want to curl up with all of them and reread (yes, they are still on my bookshelves even today) to try and capture a bit of childhood back again…

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Sammy's House by Kristin Gore

This is the second Washington novel by Gore (yes, Al's daughter), following Sammy's Hill, which I read several years ago.

Because I: a) love chick lit b) love The West Wing therefore I c) adored this book! Sammy has moved from helping a junior Senator to working for the vice president on health care policy. This novel cleverly weaves in a lot of different story lines (health care, politics, blogs, moles, romance and the Washington scene) while giving a true sense of realism to the story (thanks to Gore's insider status, no doubt).

Sammy is still neurotic and insecure, but is good at her job and is a great guide through this West Wing story, which still maintains some of its chick lit edge with humor, ill timed romance, family visits, and a couple of Japanese fighting fish. ;-)

This is a great follow up to the first novel - I really loved it! Makes me wanna bust out my West Wing DVDs again....



Sounds about right.

I heart Hagrid. :-)

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz


There are certain movies that I watch every year to get into the holiday spirit.

I'm telling you this, because I've been told for years that I have a glaring hole in my Christmas movie repertoire.*

Until this morning, I had never, in my 31 years, seen It's a Wonderful Life.

(My mother, when I would mention the film, would always squinch up her face, and say "Oh, that's sad. You wouldn't like that." So I never watched it. Even though it is reputedly played on cable about 4000 times in December.)

It is sad, but not horribly. I sniffled and teared up the end, predictably. I finally understand some of the in-jokes or quotes from it that I've missed for 31 years.

But my own Christmas movies are a different list altogether:

Love Actually: Hugh Grant dancing around as Prime Minister. And Alan Rickman. I wouldn't care if Alan Rickman sat on a stool in the middle of an empty stage and read the back of a shampoo bottle, I'd show up and buy a ticket.

Holiday Inn: My parents bust this one out every year. It's okay, but I actually like...

White Christmas: ...this one better. I always thought Vera Ellen was lovely. Better costumes for the girls. :-)

Sound of Music: Though it has nothing to do with Christmas, somehow this was shown on TV around the holidays every year, so I associate it with doing a Christmas puzzle, food cooking, and a fire roaring. It makes me happy. :-)

Bridget Jones's Diary: It starts off with the holiday Turkey Curry Buffet. Mostly, this is just an excuse to watch Colin Firth for a couple of hours. ;-)

*I should probably mention that I've never seen A Christmas Story either. Maybe next year...

What are your holiday movies?


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I made it one of my literary goals for this year to reread this novel, which I think I last read as an undergrad.

(I also vowed to reread all eleven novels of the fantasy Wheel of Time series. I'm on book four. Oops.)

I can recite, almost word for word, the BBC version of this lovely, classic novel (the one with Colin Firth, not that other one), so I was eager to reread it, to see what was left out, and what was quoted exactly. It's still a wonderful story, with wonderful characters, that makes me smile at the end, sad to come to the last page (or the last scene, when watching).

I'm glad I reread this with a better background and understanding of the story - I certainly didn't appreciate it in college the way I do now! Elizabeth and Darcy are such classic characters, and so familiar to me, that they really are friends now, rather than people in a novel...


I love the first snow of the winter (even if the snow trucks plowing at 5am did wake me up)...

December 16

Yes, Highland Cottage is the only one on the block with Christmas lights, aside from the atrocious snowman blowup across the street from me. Frosty lives! ;-)


Big Boned by Meg Cabot

As y'all know, I'm a Meg Cabot junkie (Hoosier State, represent!). This is the latest novel in her "mystery" series, featuring former pop star turning dorm director Heather Wells.

Heather's dorm seems to be plagued by murder and mayhem, and this novel is no different when Heather arrives at work one morning to find her boss, you know, shot in the head. What follows is a fun romp as Heather tries to unravel the murder in a novel filled with quirky characters, a bit of romance, and a lot of silly lyrics.



Demons Are Forever by Julie Kenner

I've enjoyed Kenner's previous "Demon" novels, so I was eager to dive into this latest one, since the last ended with quite the cliffhanger!

The premise of this fun series is sort of "Buffy as a grown up mum, raising a family and fighting demons". Kenner's tone is light and fun, and she deftly combines family life with killer demons - the time complicated by a lost soul and the fact that Kate's daughter just found out her dark secret...

This is a great series - not gory, but spirited and light. I dig it!


Family Blessings by Fern Michaels

I was trying to think of one word to describe this holiday novel from staple writer Michaels, and I came up with...treacly.

This sickly sweet Christmas novella tries too hard, and has a bit too much strife to be resolved in a couple hundred pages - we have infidelity, abandonment issues, emotional trauma, new jobs, old jobs, emotionally stunted family relations, and even a tornado.

Though it continues to the story of the "Trips" and Grandma Cisco from that story I read a few weeks ago, this one was a struggle. I just wanted to smack everyone upside the head and tell them to move on with their day.

That's probably not the holiday spirit I should be in. ;-)

First novel was okay, but this one was disappointing as hell...


30-Second Bunnies Theatre.

That's all I'm sayin'.

I'd love to see a version of 300 in there…I bet it would be PRICELESS.


Magyk by Angie Sage

My bookmobile lady has raved about the "Septimus Heap" series, so I thought I would give Book One a shot - what a great YA fantasy novel!

Full of action, surprises, and well-drawn characters (though the villains tend to be more funny than truly menacing), this is the story of the seventh son of the seventh son, a Princess, a family and a lot of good magyk.

Though this has obviously been influenced by the "Harry Potter" generation, it's different enough to distinguish it from the other copycats, though I would think it's geared more towards younger readers, despite it's YA label. Colorful characters and continuous forward motion make this an easy book to keep reading.

This is a quick, engaging read, and I'll be sure to pick up the second title, Physik!