Monthly Archives: March 2009

Teaser Tuesday (Mar 31st)

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

“Except,” said Dr. Trefusis, looking around the gathering “that I fear one thing shall remain. When I peer into the reaches of the most distant future, I fear that even in some unseen epoch when there are colonies even upon the moon itself, there shall still be gatherings like this, where the young, blinded by privilege, shall dance and giggle and compare their poxy lesions.”

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation by M.T. Anderson


Dont forget that tomorrow is the last day to enter for the Jane Austen Ruined My Life Giveaway. All you need to do is post a comment with your favorite Jane Austen book.

Also, don’t forget to listen in to Blog Talk Radio tomorrow morning at 10 am (Pacific Time) to hear Miriam Parker’s interview with author Josefina Lopez, of A Hungry Woman In Paris.

Diary of a Hungry Woman – Author Interview

If you have read and enjoyed Josefina Lopez’s colorful book, Hungry Woman in Paris, then you will be interested to know that she will be doing a interview on Blog Talk Radio with Miriam Parker of Hatchette Books on Tuesday March 31st @ 1pm (Eastern time)

Hungry Woman in Paris is the story about a woman who leaves her life in the US, (family, fiance) and goes to Paris for initially a week after her beloved cousin passes away. She ends up staying for a year, enrolls in culinary school and lets herself experience life in the way it is meant to be, through food, love, sex and friendships.  You can read my review of the book here.

Hungry Woman in Paris More information can be found here:

Fans can call into (646) 378-0039 to chat or listen online at the above link.

Please listen in on the interview if you can! Josefina Lopez in an amazing wonderful, and colorful author. Her interview should be incredibly interesting and entertaining.

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Alessandra that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.I’ve seen many of my fellow bloggers already positng library stash finds (Jessica at BlueStocking Society, and Jen at Devourer of Books) I figure I’ll jump on the bandwagon as well. I work in a library on a virtual daily basis and it is impossible to leave work everyday without at least a couple books in my hands. My library loot will be a weekly Friday posting, recapping all my great finds at the library for that week.

This week:


Adam’s Rib (Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy)

Vertigo (James Stewart)

Its Always Funny in Philadelphia (if you haven’t watched it, you must! It is mostly college humor that goes way over the line, but I love it!)


Drood (Dan Simmons)

Shakespeare and Modern Culture (Marjorie Garber)

Belong to Me (Marisa De Los Santos)

Fables, (Graphic Novels books 3,4 & 5)

library loot

BookTalking to the Middle Grades

I went to a very fun and interesting workshop this morning at the Santa Clara City Library.

World famous writer and librarian Joni Bodart did a fantastic presentation about book talking for the middle grades (3rd to 6th graders). Book talking is basically this: a 2-5 minute commercial for a book. It is NOT a review, NOT an evaluation, but simply an ad to get kids to read. Most book talks are done at elementary schools during class visits.

I went to this workshop because I’m always being asked about book suggestions at the library, and I wanted to learn more about how to talk up certain children’s books, as well as find suitable substitutes for the constantly checked out Diary of a Wimpy Kid, among other books.

One thing I learned is that I really need to brush up on my knowledge of children’s books. I usually just read picture books for story times, but I think its time I expand that list. The majority of my reading list is adult books, but I do seriously need to expand that to teen and children’s books because I am the everything-librarian. I have no boundaries, no limitations, no stops! I need to know about every single book being published everywhere for all ages in all formats. I’m glad I made YA/Juvenile books as part of my 999 challenge, but maybe I’ll have to take over another, yet unfilled, category and split the two up.

I remember one of the librarians coming to my 8th grade class to do a book talk on Horror books. Its still stayed with me to this day. She introduced me to authors I already knew about and had read (Stephen King) and ones that I had not heard of (HP Lovecraft). My library doesn’t really do book talks in actual classes. If they are requested, there is a Children’s librarian specialist that will do the talks, but I still like to be in the know, especially for the impromptu talks in the actual library. =)

For parents, you can look up great book talks on to try and talk up certain books to your own kids. Just do a search in the search box for Book Talk. You can look up Joni Bodart, or Richard Pardington (he reviews every single book published for elementary school kids and teens, so there’s a wealth of supply right there for you).

DDC reviews

I know that I have been slightly disorganized with the posting of reviews for the Dewey Decimal Challenge. I’m still getting the hang of running a challenge, and admit that I haven’t been able to put in as much time as I would like to perfect it. To abate the confusion, please post all reviews for the challenge in the comments section of this link. Thanks again for being so patient about this!

Teaser Tuesday (Mar 24th)

TEASER TUESDAYS, hosted by mizb17, asks you to: * Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! Please avoid spoilers!

Here are my two teasers:

Othello has also in recent years come to the attention of what are perhaps today’s most voracious consumers of Shakespeare, business professionals and motivational speakers. A wave of “Shakespeare on business,” “the Bard in the boardroom” books has hit the stands in recent years, and some of these draw their “real life” experience directly from Othello.

From Shakespeare and Modern Culture by Marjorie Garber

Al Capone Does My Shirts – Review

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Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Cholodenko
Age: Elementary
Genre: Historical Fiction
Location: Alcatraz Island, San Francisco

This 2005 Newberry Winner has definitely been on the radar of great children’s books for a while. I picked it up during one of my quieter shifts at the library and have been reading it pretty steadily.

Al Capone Does My Shirts Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Genniger Choldenko tells the story of Moose Flanagan and his family as they move from Southern California to Alcatraz Island, circa 1935. Al Capone is the big fish in the prison cell along with Roy Gardner and Machine Gun Kelly, and Moose’s dad is now working double duty as a prison guard and technician. But, living on the same island as the nation’s worst criminals is not Moose’s biggest problem. He’s the younger brother of an autistic sister, Natalie, who is constantly under his watch and care. There is also Piper Williams, the warden’s daughter. Between looking out for his sister and struggling to make friends and find a sense of normalcy in his life, Moose has his hands full.

What I like about this book is that the kids are very much real. They are the kids at 12-13 years old, struggling to make friends, and be cool. Piper is full of get-rich schemes, from charging the students at their school 5 cents per clothing item to be hand-washed by criminals, or sneaking onto a ferry that also holds Al Capone’s mom coming in for a visit. Baseball is a big part of Moose’s life on and away from the island, and one of the favorite passtimes of the island kids is to try to catch stray home-run balls hit by the convicts.

Moose has it hard on the island, with his older sister getting all the attention. He is an attentive and brave younger brother for constantly putting his sister’s needs before his own. The tight and loyal relationship between Moose and his sister is beautifully written. We can see Moose’s heartbreak at his sister’s faults, but also his love for her. Moose is a very honest and lovable narrator, giving careful details of his ordeals and emotions trying to juggle all the facets of his life.

This book is a fantastic historical fiction peice that I would reccommend to any 9-10 year old wanting a glimpse in San Francisco’s past. I would even offer this book up for adults, as the themes of family and identity are very rich.


Al Capone Does My Shirts
by Gennifer Choldenko
Puffin books, 2004
ISBN 0142403709
225 pages


Find this book at your local library

Buy this book on Amazon

Buy this book on Better World Books

Internet Footnote #6 – GoodSearch

Want to help charities, while at the same finding the answers to all your burning questions? is the place to go!

From the About page:

So, what if we could raise money for our favorite charities and schools by doing something we do every day — searching the Internet?

That’s the question Ken Ramberg (the former founder of JOBTRAK, now a division of and JJ Ramberg (an MSNBC anchor and the former Director of Marketing at asked themselves a few years ago. After realizing what a fraction of the $8 billion generated annually by search engine advertisers could do if it were directed towards organizations trying to make the world a better place, they launched GoodSearch in 2005.

GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users.

The homepage is pretty spiffy. There is a Charity of the Day link, another link for celebrity names and their charities, as well as charity success stories  such as:  The ASPCA has earned $25,000! & The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has earned $11,000!

First, you type in the name of your charity, hit verify. Once that is selected, you can start searching, and half of all profit are delegated for that selected charity. The search engine is powered through Yahoo!, so you will get quality hits. I’ve already done a few searches, and I’m really happy with my results (Librarian approved!)

Gossip Girl – Review

By now, most of us have seen at least portions of the wonderfully teentastic TV show Gossip Girl. The series is based on the snippy Cecily Von Viegesar series Gossip Girl books of the same name. A few of the teen librarians I know really like this series, and I watch the show every once in a while, so i decided to pick up the book and see what all the hubbub was about.

Gossip Girl #1: A Novel (Gossip Girl Series) I was not disappointed. Von Ziegesar creates a fantastic and ugly view of New York from the view of the teen elite. Nothing is out of limits, and nothing is too outrageous. Booze, drugs and parties are a constant fact of life, and sex is as commonplace as a box of tissues on a coffee table.

The first book in the series starts with Serena van der Woodson returning to New York after having been kicked out of boarding school under suspicious reasons. Serena returns to a not-so-loving crowd. Outcast by her former friends, Serena tries to put the pieces of her life back together. Despite her wild-child reputation, Serena is seemingly bland in comparison to Blair Waldorf. Blair is a lot of fun, and I suspect will be the one to track as the series progresses. Blair is bitchy, bossy and knows what she wants. She’s also a hopeless romantic with big dreams and high hopes of losing her virginity to Nate and making Serena’s life miserable. Blair is the biggest obstacle in Serena’s life throughout the book, they girls share a strange love-hate relationship that is common with most best-friends. The competition over looks, wit, style, etc.

Von Ziegesar’s writing style is witty, sharp and is very much a Sex and the City for teens. In between series of chapters are Gossip Girl Blasts, posts on a fictional website summarizing the drama going on with the main cast of the book. This is our introduction to the series on the first page of the book.

Welcome to New York City’s Upper East Side, where my friends and I live and go to school and play and sleep – sometimes with each other. We all live in huge apartments with our own bedrooms and bathrooms and phone lines. We have unlimited access to money and booze and whatever else we want, and our parents are rarely home, so we have tons of pricavy. We’re smart, we’ve inherited classic good looks, we wear fanstastic clothes, and we know how to party. Our shit still stinks, but you can’t smell it because the bathroom is sprayed hourly by the maid with a refreshing scent made exclusively for us by French perfumers.

The series is a fun ride. If you had as much of a boring high school experience as I did, then you’ll enjoy living vicariously through these can-do-no-wrong teens living the sweet life up in New York’s playground for the rich.Are these books appropriate for teens? That’s for parents to decide. The role models are sketchy, but then again, the smug and the sleazy are all glamorized in a cartoonish way in these novels. Von Ziegesar manages to glamorize and dehumanize the rich with her pen. You feel sad for these neglected teens while at the same time being envious of their freedoms and cash flow.


Gossip Girl
by Cecily von Ziegesar
Little, Brown & Company, 2002
ISBN 0316910333
201 pages


Find this book at your local library

Buy this book on Amzon

Buy this book on Better World Books