Monthly Archives: July 2015

A Week Without Storytimes…

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…Is like a day without sun. Right? Well, close enough.

It’s extremely odd to go through a whole week of work without planning or holding a storytime. I feel sad to not be hanging with my little munchkins, to have an excuse to sing “The Wheels on the Bus” in public, for a reason, with purpose and feeling.

But Coworker M, who’s come and usurped helped shoulder the burden of our storytimes has done a terrific job (she’s done this for years and years and has an amazing rapport with kids). It does leave us, the main staff, free to do other things, like plan other programs or have more people on desk, both of which we need.

Links:

For the top spot: Friend L sent me this link with the oh-so presumptuous subject line “I think I may have found your top spot link for the blog.” He was right. 

HE. IS. A. FICTIONAL. CHARACTER. 

I have been waiting for this. With two similar titles, it’s about time someone thought this up.

Yes, that Santana.

Some new YA nailbiters!

As with all XKCD comics, don’t forget to hover your mouse over it.

From Camp Friend D:

Isn’t this just so clever (and so very Japanese?)

From Friend D:

This is mesmerizing and gorgeous – watch it!

Kids love gross books. Dollars to doughnuts this one will be a hit.

One thought on the Harper Lee/Truman Capote theory…

And another.

Leonard Nimoy played Sherlock Holmes? Really?

An academic answer to a difficult question.

You’ll need a free account to read this, but: “What if Harper Lee were on Facebook?”

A bookstore coming back! Hooray!

From Mama Bear:

I really liked Crazy Rich Asians when I read it, and now there’s a sequel coming out. Mama Bear also sent me this.

We got the new book! / It’s funner than fun! / The problem, though, is / That it’s too quickly done!

Eccentric and fun, and there’s a great movie with everyone and their mother in it, as well.

Private porn libraries. Never tell me I don’t share great links with you all.

Possibly the best and last word on the subject, according to Mama Bear, particularly when she writes me these things in all caps.

From Sister A:

The movie version of Rebecca is not one to be sneezed at (so rare among film adaptations of great books). It was Hitchcock’s first Hollywood movie, and its importance isn’t to be underestimated.

This reads more like an obituary tribute than a mere appreciation, but the sentiments are worth your time.

Finally, before the next and obviously most important section, What’s Annabelle Reading, here’s a quick example of what our newest section of the library is doing: the Fab Lab. They have 3D printers, laser scanners, Raspberry Pi, and a bunch of other things I don’t understand. The below is on the door of one of the unisex staff bathrooms:

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Yeah. They laser-cut that puppy out of wood. How neat is that?

Now, for What’s Annabelle Reading, I finished Newportby family friend Jill Morrow, and really adored it – its historical setting, how the plot unfolded chapter by chapter, as did the information she revealed about each character, and the rich details she added, too. The subplot of seances and the supernatural was a lot of fun. It would have been a perfect summer read by a beach, but the book was lacking in that no beach was provided. That was its only drawback.

Next, one of my holds came in, The Royal We, written by the ladies behind my favorite fashion blog, Go Fug Yourself. The book is basically the story of Will and Kate, but Kate’s an American (gasp). I’d expected it to be fluffier, but it was surprisingly not.

I’ve also read two more books: the predictably boring A Window Opens, which I plucked off the ARC cart at work, and the Gone Girl-like Dear Daughter, which I finished today and liked very much.

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Outdoor storytime, Thursday, July 16, and Baby storytime, Friday, July 17

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My voice is mostly back, though not at full percentage, but at least this week I don’t sound like Darth Vader.

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This is an actual, unphotoshopped image of me doing storytime last week.

Both storytimes went beautifully (voice normality notwithstanding), and I also found yet another book that works with any age.

For the outdoor storytime, I’m getting used to having a variety of ages pop up, so I come prepared.  Having a growing arsenal of any-age books, too, is superuseful.

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I accidentally went all bedtime theme because I found two adorable books that happened to be bedtimey: Thank You, Octopus (LOVE) and Time for Bed, Fred! Then, just for kicks, I threw in ye olde favorite Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, and voila, I have another any-age. The counting works nicely for babies; the repetition is just what toddlers need; and preschoolers love to sing along with the song, as I discovered on Thursday. Actually, more accurately, I discovered that they love to tell me that I’m singing it wrong (there’s a tune?).

Today, with the behbehs, I pulled it out again to read with Jane Cabrera’s Mommy, Carry Me Please

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Which is when I discovered the part about the counting.

In this Pete the Cat book, (SPOILER ALERT) after Pete loses all his buttons, he realizes he still has his belly button left, so all is well. These storytimes were the first time in a long time that none of my storytimers flashed me their little bellybuttons. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but all the adults and I had a good laugh when I told them that.

Now it’s time to share some horrible news for me and you, my readers, but excellent news for my department: we have a new part-time coworker who will be doing nothing but storytimes for the foreseeable future. So I will still keep posting about library and book stuff, but won’t be doing as many (any?) storytimes. How wretched for me. I will miss them.

Little things make me happy. Our Maker Camp is going tremendously well. Each week has a theme. On my day last week, for movies, we made flip books (you may remember that I’d done them before in a STEAM program). In two weeks, for fun and games, well, you’ll just have to wait to find out what I’m doing.

I had two staff baby visits today! One during my storytime, and one when I was on desk in the children’s area. How fun to watch these little ones grow.

Earlier this week, our town held a fundraiser with a local fast-food place, who agreed to donate half of a person’s meal price to the library if you came in with a picture of the flyer advertising the promotion. We made over $5,000! I’m so grateful to all of my friends who selflessly donated their taste buds for a burrito fix.

I also realize I’ve not posted anything at all about the children’s illustrator project I’m doing as one of my goals, though I have plenty of pictures. It’s fascinating. Pictures/post coming soon, I swear.

Now for the really EXCITING news! I’m really thrilled to announce that our family friend and author Jill Morrow has just published her newest book, Newport! (I’m linking to it in Amazon and not in Worldcat; go buy it, you cheap bastards.) I’ve just started it – you all know I never talk about what books I’m reading, but only what I’ve finished reading – and it’s like taking a mental between-the-wars vacation to the shores of Newport, RI (I’m only about 15 pages in, but the atmosphere is sucking me in already.) Jill was interviewed by Baltimore public radio station WYPR, so take a listen and then go read the book. It’s my blog, I can plug whatever I want, so, again, go read it. Mazels to you, Jill!

Links:

The top spot: First, I have long desired to be Mallory Ortberg of The Toast when I grow up. Second, Rebecca is my most favorite book, and I feel confident in declaring it so. Third, people who also feel that way – the commenters – are my kindred spirits. Fourth, why did Maxim and his wife never, ever have this conversation? I mean, really? (Yes, yes, plot holes and all that, but come on.) Fifth, there is a real-life sequel to Rebecca, but it warrants no mention here. Go look it up yourselves if you’re curious; I refuse to link to it, it’s that bad.

“Are You Walking Toward Something You Should Be Running Away From?” (Which happens to be what I ask my friends when they are thinking about getting married and/or pregnant)

This is what should be inside the front cover of every copy of Go Set a Watchman.

From Friend D:

#booksnotbullets – Selfie up with your favorite books.

I don’t know which I like more: the article or the comments.

From Friend L:

Oh, boy… not for the faint of heart.

From Friend M:

An “Ideas Box” in NYC. Brilliant.

From Mama Bear:

I was wondering when the Confederate flag/Confederacy issue would come round to Gone With the Wind

How is “I must, I must, I must increase my bust!” not on here??

Why a Maryland bookstore won’t be selling Go Set a Watchman.

Oooh, “failed novel,” that’s harsh.

(I swear, I actually almost used the hashtag #thatswayharshtai on the above link, but for some insane reason I didn’t.) Clueless then, Clueless now, Clueless forever.

The great gift (what a true title) of reading aloud.

Have we seen the last days of dystopian YA fiction?

This is a woman who saw Halley’s Comet twice.

From Sister A:

Ten things you, the public, may not know about P&P. I knew most of them, because I have an unhealthy relationship with Our Jane.

Go Set a Watchman

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I guess we all knew I’d be getting around to this topic sooner or later.

My word on the subject is that I will not be reading the book, and it has nothing to do with any revelations about the characters that may have leaked. My position since the announcement of the finding of the sequel has not changed: I feel quite uncomfortable about the wheedling of a woman not completely in control of her faculties at her advanced age and the pressure for her to publish the novel.

Frankly, it’s thisclose to elder abuse, and I feel that my reading it would be tacitly approving of the strong-arming of a not 100% Harper Lee (no matter what her editors or handlers say), and that’s what I can’t sanction.

I’m dying to learn about the plot, to see what Scout’s adult life is like, and to be updated on Macomb so many years later.

But this whole situation just doesn’t sit right with me, and that’s where I stand.

There are other beefs with it, too, like Atticus’ racist views. Honestly, I don’t care. But let’s remember one thing, people:

ATTICUS FINCH IS A FICTIONAL CHARACTER. 

(“It would have been within her literary license to have made him a member of the KKK, if she wanted,” Mama Bear wrote me.)

And he’s also not Gregory Peck. Gregory Peck is an actor who played a character that people hold dear to them – he is not the character. Let’s keep that distinction separate, too.

Mama Bear is level-headed and thoughtful, and not normally a conspiracy theorist, but she did come up with a theory that made some freaky good sense. Go Set a Watchman probably is the only one of the two that Lee actually wrote. What if she put together a strong outline (bare bones) for someone else (Truman Capote?) to flesh out into the magnificent To Kill a Mockingbird?

(I know, right?)

No matter what, though, Mama Bear, as always, says it best. In her own words: “By opening this can of worms, it becomes a very sad end to a legacy that should have remained unsullied and unquestioned.”

No matter what, though, I’m excited to hear what my friends think about it.

Go Set a Watchman-related links (and, of course, more may pop up in the future):

This one gets the top spot, because it’s the best one I’ve read about the whole brouhaha.

How Lee’s father was her inspiration for Atticus.

From Friend D:

“Someone needs to inform that fan that neither Atticus is real, they’re fictional characters in different books who simply share a name.”

By the numbers from NBC.

White power in Watchman and Mockingbird.

“The Onion”‘s take.

From Mama Bear:

There are some word-for-word overlaps between Go Set a Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird. Odd.

Even Oprah couldn’t get a meeting with Harper Lee.

From Sister A:

OH HELL NO.

Ones storytime, Thursday, July 9, and Baby Lapsit, Friday, July 10

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I’ve tried to start this post a few different ways, with jokes, or profanities, but there’s just really no other way than to be straight up with it: this week has been a personal and professional health disaster.

I was fine on Monday. On Tuesday I woke up with a worse than usual sore throat, earache, body aches, etc. (I usually get a mild sore throat to indicate that a cold is coming down the pike, but this was a rager. It even hurt when I wasn’t swallowing.) So I took my very first sick day since joining the library, stayed home and slept all day, and then decided to go to the Urgent Care clinic for a strep test, just in case. (It was negative.)

Wednesday I went in with a developing cough and no sore throat or earache. “Hey, maybe the worst is behind me,” I thought naively.

Oh, no. HA. HAAAAAAA. Ha ha ha diddly ha.

Because on Thursday it turned into laryngitis. I have no voice. Well, I do. A little one. It’s scratchy and raspy and it’s just enough to get by, but not enough to do storytime.

But guess who did storytime anyway? Guess who’s a glutton for punishment? (It’s not like my coworkers didn’t offer to take my storytimes. They’re lovely. I naively thought I could just muddle through and be fine.)

And I was fine, but I just wondered why I didn’t accept their offer.

This was my first Ones down in the Great Hall of our library, in front of SIXTY one-year-olds and their adults. I introduced myself as Annabelle the Frog (which got a laugh), because I had a frog in my throat, and I just battled through the best I could. It was wretched.

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And why, oh why, didn’t I switch out a song book (the terrific Wheels on the Bus by Jane Cabrera) for something else?

Today wasn’t as bad – it was my baby lapsit and I had a nice, small crowd – but I still sounded like a dying donkey.

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These were both new books  – This Jazz Man and Only You – and I can’t wait to use them again when I can do them both justice.

Note to self: next time, just accept someone’s offer graciously when they ask if I want to give up my storytime.

Links!

In the top spot: I admire this young woman almost more than anyone on the planet – truly.

I love this. The times, they are a-changin’.

And you all know how I feel about Ramona Q. (I still have the tape, yes, tape, with all the TV episodes.)

The rule is that you ALWAYS read before watching. ALWAYS.

American Girls: kicking ass and taking names!

From Friend D:

I would in a second, depending how haunted it is. Very? Sign me up!

Because Norton Juster has synesthesia! Just like the main character in A Mango-Shaped Space, which, really, everyone should read, because it’s awesome.

I got 9/26, because I don’t cook or bake.

“Baaaaaaalzac!” #themusicman

Some of NYC’s most secret libraries.

Death and the Brontes go hand in hand. This is a fascinating article about those two topics (and hair jewelry, which is intriguing, I promise).

A quiet life, would be my guess.

From Friend J:

It’s about time we saw more racial diversity.

From Friend P:

When librarians go to war, they go to war. And look at those snazzy uniforms.

From Mama Bear:

OF COURSE THEY HAVE NAMES.

Yes. So much yes to this amazing book, and we will not discuss the sequel.

So Mama Bear sent Sister A and me a picture of a red wheelbarrow in their garage and texted, “Okay, what’s the joke?” and I wrote back, “So much depends upon it…” and then I thought how lucky I am to have at least one parent who thinks like I do.

“Happened to all of us,” Mama Bear wrote in her email to me. But I can’t help feeling there’s something wrong with me. Why did everyone love it and I didn’t?

A charming piece about Harper Lee and family.

Look, I don’t like slagging on other librarians (we’re a family), but they were dead wrong in this case.

I love this building, but it’s about time.

Adorbs! But please don’t put them in library books.

From Sister A:

This is the ultimate literary road trip!

And here are some literary maps along the same theme.

In What’s Annabelle Reading, I finished the odd but compulsively readable The Library at Mount Char, which I swiped off the ARC cart at work.  Then I found at a local Little Free Library (yay!) hardback of Jenny Lawson’s (The Bloggess) Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and could not stop laughing. Two quite different books back to back, no? Finally, in another attempt to whittle down my ARC pile, I read – and enjoyed quite a bit – The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon.