Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's not my fault - It was shiny!

I always meant to read Esme Raji Codell's Educating Esme, but I never got around to it, so when this book with it's sparkly cover came across my path, well, I just had to. I'm a fish like that. I'm all of 30 pages in, and I had doubts for the first 15 or so, but once I realized that she's playing with established fairy tales, I was all in. So far, so good!

UPDATE 12/31/05 1:15pm
I read some review somewhere (probably when I stole the cover image) that this book was "uneven." I won't disagree, but I don't think that is really the point. In my admittedly unimportant opinion, when books are written for this demographic (girls ages 8-12)it is sometimes more important that they are reading and enjoying doing so. That is what this is. It is entertaining. It is not great literature, but it is exposure to the concept that well-known material can be shaped into something entirely different. Besides, sometimes great literature is boring. Really boring. (Oh, and there was a groovy list of witchy books in the back and that makes me happy. I like lists. Well, as long as they aren't lists of things I have to do. Of those lists I'm not such a big fan. I also like glue sticks, but that's another, non drug-related story.)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Is it another...

I'll start with the fact that I really loved The Gospel According to Larry and Vote For Larry by Janet Tashjian. This feels a lot like those, but so far it isn't quite as good. Neenan wants to tell the story naturally, but his narrator jumps around so much in time that it isn't always clear 'when' you are. I'm interested, but it's sure taking time to get into...

UPDATE 12/29/05 7:15pm
It was OK. Amusing, even. But not remarkable (how's that for sentence fragments!). The time setting got better as it went along, but on whole the cover speaks for itself. Basic plot outline: Kid does something embarrassing that gets caught on film and makes him rich & famous. Kid gets manipulated and locks himself in a hotel room to write his version of events, i.e. E! True Hollywood Story. You are reading his book. Ah, metaliterature, how art thou familiar...
I'd really be scraping the barrel to recommend this one to anyone. If I did, it would be to fans of the abovementioned pairing.

The Reigning King

Ah, what a Refreshing read. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar. I read it in two sittings, I read it even when I could have been watching Season 5 DVDs of Gilmore Girls (who knew those fast-talkers could be usurped?). It was realistic, funny and touching. Scott is a normal kid feeling overwhelmed with homework, the HUGE upperclassmen bullies, and finding his place in a school where he doesn't even run into the guys he hung out with in junior high. Oh, yeah, and his mom announces that she's pregnant. What he really needs is a survival guide to freshmen year. So, he starts to write one for the baby. Solid. Makes me want to read other Lubar books... Boys or girls 6th-10th grades.

The 10 Second Delay

I've come to terms with the fact that my reading will probably always outstrip my blogging. I'm on my third book since Smashed, and yet I've not told you about any of them. So, in chronological order: Ghostfire (Outcast Series #3); Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie; and Idiot! A Love Story with Drama, Betrayal and Email.

Ghostfire's prequels, Outcast: The Un-Magician and Dragon Secrets were fresh and fun. I picked them up because I love Christopher Golden's Body of Evidence series. The premise was that Timothy, who has long been hidden from society, is suddenly thrown into his father's world where everyone is a magician, everyone, that is except Timothy. Not only does Timothy not have magic, he actually negates any magic he comes in contact with. While labeled a dangerous freak by the powerful in the guilds Timothy must overcome those prejudices, learn to operate in a world where every task is run by magic and solve the random mysteries and injustices that crop up in each book. He of course has a ragtag group of side-kicks to help him along. I really enjoyed the first two books, but my interest lagged during the third as the tale has become predictably formulaic, which hasn't yet happened with the other series. Good boy pick, ages 8-12.

Monday, December 19, 2005

First things first (you know, where they belong).

Almost two weeks ago I dangled before you a bit of required reading (for me, not for you, naturally). Smashed was its name and it was challenged at my library. I've had the book done for almost a week now and have failed on the most basic of my goals, that of being the Interactivereader. I didn't give you my thoughts as I went along, which was my intention. I have decided that my intention really, well, sucks, and that it takes the fun out of it for me. Luckily, this being the first book (and MY blog) I can easily change intentions that you were unaware of to begin with.

I believe that Smashed was challenged under the mistaken belief that the book was intended for teens. While I personally don't think that it would necessarily be a bad book for that age group, I can understand how some parents would find it... disturbing. Koren led a life, as the subtitle suggests, infused with alcohol and irresponsible behavior. In no way does this book hide what it is about, and in no way does it glorify that lifestyle. That said, it is Adult Non-Fiction. It happened, and just because you think that Koren should have paid a higher price for her choices, does not make her story less valid. There are still valuable lessons to be learned. It is still a cautionary tale of the realistic sort. One can see in it people you know. Once can see how easily people could slide into the cycle. I will not vote for its removal. (Well, duh).

As for what I think? Well, I thought it was sad. Sad in the fact that it was her insecurity that led her to drink. Alcohol may work as liquid confidence, but it is only temporary. Doubt will creep back. It is hard for me to watch, or read, about those who act in a manner I would not. I have no problem with alcohol, but then I'm insufferably responsible. Mostly I felt sorry for Koren, and hope that her abstinence works well for her. I did enjoy how she slipped factoids and commentary into the story in a natural way, enabling depth and intentionally exposing how her story is not unique, which in itself may be the most important revelation.

I'm a little slow on the uptake

As many of you know, I graduated with my MLIS in August. For various reasons, I held off on the whole "get a job" mentality for a while. Suddenly, I decided that it was time to, well, grow up, and start my professional career. So I sent out resumes. And equally suddenly, for the first time in my life, I seem popular. For whatever reason. I've spent the last week working, interviewing via phone, or agonizing over said phone interviews. And a little bit with the freaking out. This is why I haven't posted. That will all change in moments. As all things do.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You may have noticed...

or, well, three of you for sure did. I have added a slick little mini poll in the right sidebar where interested parties can vote on the next title I read. Vote Away! I'm interested to know what you think. Really. I'm not making that up. Tell me. Feedback is good. This will come in handy soon, very soon... (that last bit sounds almost like a threat...hmm). The "On My Bookshelf" links still send you to the B&N summaries if you've never heard of the random things that catch my eye.

UPDATE: It occurs to me that there is one problem with this. Will the voting be continual, ie not start over when I choose a book to read? Just whatever's got the most votes at the time and the new titles are penalized by their newness? Tell me what you think... Jac 2:33pm

Monday, December 12, 2005

Why my name is not 'Grace'

Ok, rather than chug along and finish "Smashed" on Saturday night, I decided that I would attempt to be a much cooler person than I actually am, and go out with my friends bowling. At the best of times, I'm happy when I score above 80, but after this past Saturday, I think all future expectations will be considerably lower. To this very moment, I still have no idea how it happened. The best explanation I can come up with is that the ball must have taken me with it on the first few feet of its journey toward the pins, because before I knew it, I was sprawled, hands splayed on the oily pine lane like Bambi's first time on ice; my hands sliding around furiously as I attempt to prevent actually landing face-first in the disgusting lane. I had no idea how gross those lanes were. When I finally (and I mean finally) am able to get to my feet and make my mortified way to my laughing 'friends,' my hands are covered with a delightful sludge of oil and what I assume to be dust or some equally repulsive black substance. Being the shower at least once a day person that I am, my embarrassment is tempered only with the immediate need to wash my hands. It is only later that I realize that my ankle hurts. I suck it up after I whine some to my friends and get another drink, when it occurs to me that I might have actually hurt myself. Sure enough, when we get to Josh & Megan's and go to apply the ace bandage, what is normally a golf ball sized protrusion, has become more akin to a tennis ball. What was a dull ache, has become a hobbling throb. Luckily, by that time my friends had lost their sarcastic quotation marks and were lovely. Emi even overcame her revulsion of feet to wrap my foot with her professional nurse knowledge. Ah, bowling, that strenuous sport. I think I shall avoid you in the future.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

*NEW* On My Bookshelf

Hey - If you look to the bar on the right side of the screen you will see a list entitled "On My Bookshelf." These are books that I have and plan to read. At some point they may include cover shots. The links lead you to the title's B&N page. They are in no logical order and will not be read in any discernable order. I read according to whims and anything on this list may be bumped at anytime by challeged books, or by anything that looks more interesting. If you have any vested interest in what I should read next, send along a comment, I may take you up on it. Or not. Who knows? Anyway, this is just to give you an idea of what might be coming up next. Or not.

;) Jac

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What I'm Reading Now

Our first post is Smashed: A Story of a Drunken Girlhood. Now, I never promised that I was going to be cutting edge or reading the hottest titles on the market, nor do I particuly want to be controversial. I'm reading this title for one reason only. I'm on the Challenged Materials Committee at my library and this book has been challenged. Which means that I have to bump everything else on my pile (a considerable pile, I might add) and I've always HATED being forced to read something for any reason other than pleasure, so needless to say I'm a bit bitter about this. Fortunately, such experiences round us as individuals, right? I wouldn't be reading it normally, and I'm enjoying the experience. I'm on page 120, so we'll see how it goes. Later!

Ok, here I am, The Interactivereader. Where'd I come up with this name that might be confused with a reading aid? Well, my buddy Dan crowned me with the title. Apparently, when I read, everyone in the room (let's face it, there is only so long I can watch sports with the boys before those characters call loudly) knows how I'm feeling about whatever is held in my hands.

My intention with this blog is partially self-serving. I want to have a personal record of books read (and maybe movies watched, we'll see how ambitious I get) that I can refer to in Reader's Advisory (I am a humble Librarian). I also want to create a forum where people can react to what I'm reading, add their thoughts and, hopefully find a something to read, because in my opinion the best part of being a librarian is sharing books. Oh, and maybe there will be random bits of my life thrown in for fun. Hope you enjoy my rookie efforts.

More Later,