Tag Archives: reading

Back to School Basics – Books

For librarians, teachers and parents, the new year doesn’t necessarily start in January. It starts in September when summer draws to a close and the new school year is on the horizon.

As a new mom & librarian,  I am getting more and more excited for the days when I can take my little guy shopping for back to school supplies (my favorite part as a kid…dorkily enough), as well as taking him to school in general and watching him learn and grow with the world around him.

Lori at Reading Confetti has put together a wonderful collection of books with which to ring in each month. I can see many uses for this for library story times, for themed activities after school and on the weekends to reinforce the concepts in a fun way. This is a very thorough list and a great resource for parents and librarians in search of books to recommend or read to children.

Themed preschool books and activities for each month of the year

The Global Bookshelf

Weekly Recap + Loads of Links!

This guy reads.cafeparaacordarosmortos:Homem lê o jornal, sentado num candeeiro público, enquanto uma revolução acontece debaixo dele.Lisboa, 25 de Abril de 1974 Carlos GilAwesome People Reading

This has been a fairly active week on the blog. One of my favorite book blogging events is going to be starting in a couple short weeks, Paris in July. I don’t have anything planned as of yet, but I do still have a number of books that take place in France waiting to be read on my bookshelf. As for events, we shall see. I might not get farther than baking a batch of madeleine cookies.

Reading is going well, I’m making progress in all of my books. It helps to have books stashed all over the house, so that no matter where I sit down to breastfeed the little bookworm, I can just pick up the closest book and start reading.

I received an incredibly amount of books in the mail this week as well. Its nice to be back on the publishing radar after a brief hiatus.

Books I received in the mail

  1. The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Score *does the Snoopy dance*)
  2. The Wet & The Dry by Lawrence Osborne
  3. The Big Disconnect by Catherine Steiner-Adair, Edd
  4. Along with 6 picture books from Reading Rockets as part of their Start With A Book giveaway.

I also started a new page on the blog to discreetly track the picture books we have been reading to the little one. I won’t backtrack to what we read in the past. It will start fresh as of this weekend. Don’t expect to see too many of those reviews on the main page though. This will stay mostly a blog for adult works.

Books I reviewed:

  1. All My Friends by Marie N’Diaye

Non-Review Posts:

  1. Start with a book (or 6)
  2. Its Coming…My Favorite Time of the Year

Upcoming Reviews:

  1. The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  2. The Log on the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck

What I’m currently reading:

  1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  2. The Fountain of St. James Court or The Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman – Sena Jeter Naslund

The Links!

Literacy Love Sundays – Put your face in a book

Thanks to the Milwaukee Public Library for this great message.

Reading with the Stars (Leonard Kniffel) – Review

Reading with the stars : why they love librariesReading with the Stars: A Celebration of Books and Libraries by Leonard Kniffel
Age: Kids +
Genre: Nonfiction/Reading & Libraries
Source: SkyHorse Publishing
ISBN: 9781616082772
158 pages

Leonard Kniffel, former editor in chief of American Libraries, the national publication of the American Library Association, brings us a collection of interviews, essays, and speech transcripts from celebrated figures of American pop culture, politics, sports and media. Each chapter is devoted a different celebrity: Cokie Roberts, Garrison Keilor, Ken Burns, Laura Bush, Ralph Nader, Ron Reagan, Jamie Lee Curtis, David Mamet, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julie Andrews, Bill Gates, Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, and Barack Obama.

This book arrives at an opportune time as libraries are facing some of the worst and severe budget cuts across the nation. This collection, heralding the value of literacy, books and libraries as an integral part of everyday life. Each chapter offers a list of books read by the celebrity, a list of books written by that celebrity, and a quote highlighting the theme of that chapter. This book is a great for libraries, and will be a great inspiration for kids who look up to these celebrities and want to emulate them. It is a quick read, great for bibliophiles. Although each chapter has a different story for how literacy helped change a life, the book is  probably better read in portions since the I Love Books/Libraries theme can get repetitive after a few chapters.

Book 31 of 2011

Find this book at your local library

Feb Recap

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February royally sucked in regards to challenges. I failed my reading challenge (it doesn’t help when awesomely awesome publishers send unsolicited books in the mail, and it certainly doesn’t help that multiple Borders within a ten mile radius are going out of business and having massive clearance sales).

That being said, I’ve been pretty good about only reading books off my bookshelf, regardless of the number of additional books I’ve been bringing into the house.  The only exception has been Almost Moon, which is the current mandatory bookclub selection.

Books read in February

Paris Was Ours – Penelope Rowlands &

Pygmalion – Bernard Shaw &

What The Dickens – Gregory MaGuire

Almost Moon – Alice Sebold

Paris was ours : thirty-two writers reflect on the city of light by Penelope Rowlands http://var.pulist.net/what-the-dickens-library-edition_small.jpg

http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/h0/h1129.jpg The almost moon : a novel

The Yarn Diet is going okay….I’m not knitting much, mostly because the yarn I have is yarn I inherited when a friend moved away, and thus I have no project concepts for any of it, other than a king size scrap blanket.

I did finish a shrug, a vest and a beanie that I am particularly proud of:

February did bestow the Stitches West Knitting Convention in Santa Clara, CA. I did keep in mind the option of 5 anytime yarn puchases loophole with the Yarn Diet. I only made 2 purchases (of a TON of yarn), so I have 3 extra yarn purchases, and I think I added another 50 skeins to my stash. =/

Lets hope March is a more successful month.

The Night Bookmobile – Review

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The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

Age: Adult


The Night Bookmobile is a graphic short story that tells the story of a young woman who encounters a mysterious, disappearing Winnebego that carries the most valued elements of her past on the streets of Chicago. The night bookmobile is run by Mr. Openshaw and its hours run from Dusk to Dawn. Exploring through the stacks and stacks of books, Alexandra discovers that the bookmobile houses every single book she has every read, or attempted to read in her life. This chance encounter draws Alexandra into an almost obsessive cycle of reading, and trying to find the bookmobile once again, even going so far as to become a librarian to one day work for the bookmobile and The Library.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. – Jorge Luis Borges, “Poema de los Dones”

This is the quote that kept running through my head while I read this graphic novel. Alexandra’s chance encounters with the bookmobile are sporadic, but timely.  She always comes across the bookmobile at a major turning point in her life, three major turning points to be exact. This book reads more like a cautionary tale against having too much love of reading and books (something unheard of among bibliophiles). Seeing the path Alexandra is drawn down is somewhat disturbing, but maybe because I see myself in her place. Who wouldn’t want their heaven to be full of books, read and unread? Audrey Niffenegger made an interesting point in the afterword:

As I worked it also became a story about the claims that books place on their readers, the imbalance between our inner and outer lives, a cautionary tale of the seductions of the written word. … What is it we desire from the hours, weeks, lifetimes we devote to books? What would you sacrifice to sit in that comfy chair with perfect light for an afternoon in eternity, reading the perfect book, forever?

It is a very haunting story, very much in step with Niffenegger’s style. I love my books, I love the stories, the characters and the lives I can spyon  in any book I pick up and read. But I’m not sure what I would sacrifice for that perfect book in that comfy chair with the perfect lighting. This book brings up many thoughts on life and death, being anti-social and the difference between living for a dream and living in reality. I think any reader who comes across this book should take a pause and really understand why they read and just where books fall in line with their priorities.

The Night Bookmobile
by Audrey Niffenegger
Abrams, 2010
ISBN 9780810996175
33 pages

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Find this book at your local library

The night bookmobile

1:1 Challenge – Official 2011 post

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Well, looks like I forgot to make an official post announcing my 1:1 Book Challenge for 2011. Does this mean I can start the challenge now, since I may have already cheated and brought home 3 new books w/o having finished a single one off my bookshelf? I fail at challenges, this isn’t new. But maybe this post is the loophole I need to save some face. =p

So, the starting stats as of TODAY January 7th, 2011:

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Total number of books owned:                                  224

Number of books unread on my bookshelf:       140

Total number of books read that I own:                   84

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A recap on the rules:

For every 1 book borrowed from the library, borrowed from a friend, newly purchased, or sent for review, then 1 book must be read off of my bookshelf. I must follow the sequence:  1 borrowed book, 1 bookshelf book (although as many bookshelf books can be read in a row, no more than 1 borrowed book may be read consecutively.)

Exceptions to the rule:

Cookbooks, craft books, gardening & home improvement. These books will be exempt from the ratio.

Since I broke my rule and brought home 3 new books to keep on my bookshelf, I have to devise a penalty system. Something along the lines of: I have to now read 3 books off of my bookshelf before I can check out a title from the library.

I think that’s a fair compromise. =p

Biblioavore

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Is there a bookworm out there who has never made the statement; “I will read every single book in my public library”?

I made that statement in 9th grade. I walked into the library, bright eyed and full of enthusiasm to start reading. I left home with the very first book on the shelves from the adult fiction, nonfiction, teen fiction, and children’s fiction sections.

I made myself comfy on my bed, the books stacked to my right and a plate of cookies stacked to my left. I picked up the first book, the adult nonfiction and turned the pages to see what I had blindly picked up (I didn’t check the titles on any of the books, nor read any synopsis).

Turns out, the first and last book on my “read through the library” experience was about a famed scientist out in boonies in Texas who claimed to have been abducted by aliens, written in immense detail.

I regret having given up my reading quest because of some nutty guy who probably just had a really graphic dream. Maybe that’s why I started working as a librarian, to constantly remind myself that I need to read every single book in the building.

If I were to start again, would I narrow it down to just Adult fiction and nonfiction? I think nonfiction would be more fun, more challenging to say the least.

Sometimes I think it would a lot of fun to participate in all those one year challenges; A Year Without Made in China, The Happiness Project, Up for Renewal, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. But instead of spending a year trying to be healthy, or a year not buying products from China, I would only invest a month or two.

What would be awesome, is if I can compile 12 different topics and delegate one for each month of the year. Write up all my experiences in a separate blog and then turn that blog into a book and turn that book into a movie.

Or maybe I’ll just keep staring longingly at the library shelves, endlessly plotting towards a better self-education.

The touch, the feel, the books of our lives

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With the prices of e-books dropping almost every week, bloggers, journalists, bookworms and booksellers from around the world debate, discuss and analyze the “future of books.”

One of the major arguments that I hear in the e-book v. real book debate is “I like the feel of a real book in my hands.” That makes complete sense and is justifiable for every person in my generation and those generations prior.

http://www.baby-boomer-resource-center.com/images/ebooks.jpgAs a millennial (born 1983 thank you very much), I didn’t grow up with as much exposure to technology as today’s children do. Access the Internet on your phone? The Internet wasn’t even available for consumer use on computers before I turned 13. I saw and experienced first hand the evolution of music downloads from Napster, to LimeWire, to Bit Torrents while in college.

When I was growing up, I had no choice but to turn to the tangible books. Books  that I could check out from the library, read on the way home, smell, touch and toss around. Today’s children have too many options. They are already assimilating their minds to small screens with massive amounts of information. Most progressive libraries have toddler computers in the children’s room, where kids as young as 6 months old can already start learning how to use a keyboard and maneuver a mouse to change the screen. Parents can plop their kids in front of the computer on websites like TumbleBooks and have the computer read and flip through the pages of picture books. Kids are growing up with so much new information thrown at them, what’s to say that they will develop the same love of real books that my generation does?

Maybe the current generation will still appreciate books they hold in their hands, chew on or carry home. What about the next generations? Will the children of the future care as much for non-electronic books?

Or maybe the issue isn’t even about the format of the written word. Literacy is literacy, whether its in a real book or an e-book.  Shouldn’t educators be accepting of any new resource that promotes convenient access to classic and contemporary books? Libraries go out of their way to embrace new technology, to learn about, to learn from it and to figure out how and why it can best benefit the community.

Its equivalent to the date of MP3s versus cds. With music streaming online, people are listening to more of a diverse collection of musicians and genres than ever before, despite the slipping sales of music cds. It doesn’t seem like books are far from following in the footpaths of the music cds.

Is the value for the love of a real book more than the value of literacy itself? Do the two cancel each other out, and as long as kids are reading something, everything is OK? Can e-books and real books live happily along side each other and does it even matter if one dominates over the other?