March 30, 2011

Grad school reflections: Week 10 of my final semester

Spring break was lovely but WAY too short, and then it was back to grad school for week 10! Here's how classes went last week:

Youth Services: We had a guest speaker - a Teen Services librarian. She gave us some awesome ideas for teen programs and talked about her experiences on the job. Awesome! At home we're working on assignments which involve planning our own programs.

Electronic Materials for Children and Young Adults: We turned in our database tutorial projects and offered suggestions for enhancements to other students' projects. (To see my tutorial for Something About the Author Online, click here.)

Adult Reader's Advisory: This week we discussed the Landscape Genres - Westerns, Fantasy, and Historical Fiction. I presented on the Western I read - Night Hawk by Stephen Overholser. (I'll post my annotation here soon.) At the end of class we started discussing eBooks and their role in libraries. Of course the discussion was still going when it was time for class to end, but maybe we'll have some time to pick back up with it next time.

Another great week, another week closer to graduation! I'm excited that I'm done with all my required novel reading for the semester, and I've finished my textbooks too. This will free up a little extra time for fun reading. :)

Wednesday Web Wanderings (46)

 This is a collection of interesting book- and library-related things I've come across online this week. Check 'em out!

Happy reading! 

March 27, 2011

Review - Impossible by Nancy Werlin (audiobook)

Description from Goodreads

"Lucy Scarborough is only 17, but she carries the burden of a curse that has already struck down several women in her family. Each of her afflicted ancestors failed at completing three seemingly impossible tasks, and each succumbed to madness at the birth of her first child. Facing this tragic fate, Lucy braces herself for a losing battle. Mercifully, she has allies in her struggle: intensely sympathetic foster parents and her loyal childhood friend Zach."

What a unique story! I enjoyed the blend of fantasy, mystery, and romance in this book. And the premise was really intriguing, especially since the three tasks were based on the song Scarborough Fair. With that said, I didn't really connect with Lucy for most of the book, and I felt like the romance between Lucy and Zach was a little forced. Also, Zach seemed a little too good to be true for a teenage boy. But I guess that's the beauty of fiction - we can make boys as perfect as we want them to be. :) 

I wasn't really a fan of the audiobook narrator. Her tone of voice just seem so perky and positive while the character was going through horrible things. I don't know...maybe it's just the way I interpreted everything, but I felt like the tone should have been a bit more serious. On the other hand, I loved that each audiobook disc started and ended with an instrumental version of Scarborough Fair, and the narrator sang the song several times throughout the book.

Impossible wasn't my favorite, but I've read several great reviews from other bloggers. If you've read it, let me know what you think!

March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (43)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. I'll share what I received in the mail, bought at bookstores, downloaded to my Nook, or picked up from the library.

At work, our Baker & Taylor rep came to do some training, and she brought a bag of goodies for us. I received these two ARCs of recently released books: 
 - The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor
 - Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda

Downloaded to my Nook/iPad:
 - Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell (free from Barnes & Noble)
 - The Spark by Chris Downie 

From the library: 
 - Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going (audiobook)
 - Every Little Thing in the World by Nina de Gramont (audiobook)

What's in your mailbox this week? 

March 19, 2011

A Bit of Me(Me) - Where in the World?

We all leave our “footprint” on the world, in one way or another. We each, individually, do something or are someone that makes the world a little better just by being here. There's a Book created this weekly meme to get to know the blogging community she loves just a bit better. To know what makes them tick, outside of books, that is. Each week she will post a question to be answered in the following week’s “A Bit of Me(Me).” Check back on her site each Saturday to get the info for next week’s post and link up your post.

This week's question: If you had, an option to choose a place anywhere in the world where you could live for an entire year, where would it be and why?

I would choose Argentina! Here's why. In the summer of 2006, I spent six weeks traveling around South America and learning about culture and language with a professor and small group of students from my college. I was earning a Spanish minor and jumped at the chance to get some college credit while traveling! We spent time in three different countries: Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. I absolutely fell in love with Argentina and vowed I would return some day. I love the people, the language, the culture, the landscape, the food, the wine, the music...pretty much everything! Plus the exchange rate is favorable for Americans - I was able to purchase so many souvenirs and shop in stores I normally couldn't afford. :) 

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the summer of 2006: 

Andes Mountains
Flag near the border in the Andes
More mountains
Vineyard in Mendoza
San Rafael
San Rafael
Buenos Aires - Love the tree canopy!
Buenos Aires
Ok, I'll have to stop posting pictures now or I'll be here all afternoon. I hope I get to go back to Argentina someday! 

March 18, 2011

My interview with I Love Libraries

I was recently interviewed for the I Love Libraries newsletter - click here to read the interview. And definitely take some time to visit the I Love Libraries website or "like" them on Facebook. It's a wonderful resource with plenty of ideas for how to love your library!  

Thanks to I Love Libraries for the interview!

Book Blogger Hop! March 18-21

Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event hosted over aCrazy-for-Books where "book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!"

This week's question: Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once? 

I always have more than one book going at a time. I'll have a print book on the nightstand to read before I sleep, and I'll have a book going on my Nook which I'll carry around in my bag. I also listen to audiobooks during my commute, too. Occasionally a book will be so enthralling that I'll put everything else aside until I finish it. But usually I have several going at once! Thank goodness for I use it to manage my list of books I've read, am currently reading, and want to read in the future! 

March 17, 2011

Grad school reflections: Week 9 of my final semester

Last week was week 9 of the semester, which officially marks midterm! I get way more excited about the word "midterm" now that I'm in a program which doesn't give midterm exams. Last week was also week 6 of my fiancee's boot camp training, so he's halfway to his graduation too. :) 

Here's how my classes went last week. 

Youth Services: We took a field trip to Carmel Clay Public Library to see their AWESOME YA department. (This library is actually just 10-minutes from my apartment, and I have a card there because they have a reciprocal borrowing agreement with every library in the county. Yay for more access to libraries!) First we started by sitting down with the head of the YA department, and she answered a ton of questions from us, which was really helpful. Then we toured the facility, and it is a BEAUTIFUL building. I wish they had a virtual tour online that I could link for you. Anyway, the field trip was a blast!  I love meeting YA people and seeing what great things they are doing with teens.

Electronic Materials for Children and Young Adults: Nothing was due. We are working on another big project due next week. I'm putting together a tutorial for the Something About the Author Online database. I'll post it on here when I'm finished!

Adult Readers Advisory: We spent most of the class discussing our "Secret Shopper" assignment. Each one of us went to a public library and asked a librarian for a good book to read. Then in class we reported back on what questions the librarian asked, whether or not they used reader's advisory tools, and whether or not they successfully recommended a good book. We also talked about the librarian's approachability factor, the library environment, follow-up questions (or lack thereof) and so on. It was really interesting to hear everyone's experiences. Some were really good and some were really bad (unfortunately). But it does make us aware of how it feels to be on the other side of the desk asking for a good book to read, and it makes us more aware of what to do and what NOT to do. 

A great week overall. No class this week because it's spring break. :) :

March 16, 2011

Wednesday Web Wanderings (45)

This is a collection of interesting book- and library-related things I've come across online this week. Check 'em out!

Happy reading! 

March 14, 2011

It's Monday: What Are You Reading? (35)

What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey where bloggers gather to share what we have recently read and what we are currently reading. 

I finished: 

Building Treehouses for Learning by Annette Lamb (textbook)
Building Treehouses for Learning: Technology in Today's Classroom

The Reader's Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction by Joyce G. Saricks (textbook)
The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction (ALA Readers' Advisory)

I am currently reading: 

Impossible by Nancy Werlin (audiobook) 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (reread)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)

Making the Corps by Thomas E. Ricks
Making the Corps: 10th Anniversary Edition with a New Afterword by the Author

Next up: 

Night Hawk by Stephen Overholser (for class)
Five Star First Edition Westerns - Night Hawk: A Western Story

What are you reading? 

March 13, 2011

Review - Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (audiobook)

Description from Goodreads

"In this compelling sequel to Chains, a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson shifts perspective from Isabel to Curzon and brings to the page the tale of what it takes for runaway slaves to forge their own paths in a world of obstacles—and in the midst of the American Revolution.The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped slave passing for free. And then there is Isabel, who is also at Valley Forge—against her will. She and Curzon have to sort out the tangled threads of their friendship while figuring out what stands between the two of them and true freedom."

This story continues the adventures of Isabel and Curzon, this time from Curzon's point of view. For some reason, I just didn't connect as much to Curzon as I did to Isabel in the first book. For a large chunk at the beginning of the book I kept wondering what had happened to Isabel! But Curzon himself was wondering the same thing, and he eventually found out. The circumstances that brought them back together seemed a little coincidental to me, but I can see how it was necessary for the storyline. 

Anderson clearly did her research as she inserted her characters into real events in history. I love how each chapter began with a historical quote from a primary source, and I appreciated that the characters spoke with authentic dialogue for the time period. Listening to the audiobook version of Forge was interesting because the narrator did an excellent job of portraying a young soldier's experience. 

This is a great book for young readers who are want to learn what it might have been like to live during the Revolutionary War. It brings history alive with strong characters and accurate historical details. The only downside of the audiobook is that it doesn't include the appendix that the print version has which helps readers distinguish fact from fiction, find further resources for research, and learn the meaning of the colloquial phrases used in the novel. 


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