nonfiction

Non-Fiction Friday: I Work at a Public Library… by Gina Sheridan

I have had a serious dry spell in good non-fiction! I read and read but haven’t loved anything enough to recommend it. Then, I picked up I Work at a Public Library, A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks, by Gina Sheridan. I initially chose the slim book because I needed one that could be read in a day for one of my reading challenges. Then I enjoyed it so much I wished it was longer! Imagine my joy when I discovered that it began as a blog and she continues to add entries. You can find the blog here.

iworkI was also interested in reading the stories because my first, third, fourth and fifth jobs were all at libraries. I worked as a page (that person who re-shelves your books), a reference assistant and later a legal reference librarian (worst.job.ever – no books!). I loved being a page because I spent my days looking at the books and seeing what people loved checking out and returning. And, in case you haven’t visited one lately, the public library is amazing people watching. Amazing. There are very few things in life I enjoy more than people watching.

Gina Sheridan embraced the people watching without making me feel like she was mocking the patrons of the library. From innocent questions about internet porn to the crazy antics of the usual customers, it was clear that these people were important to the author. And, I was incredible impressed with her diplomatic answers to some truly rude and probing questions.

For a small taste: One entry on her blog from December 2017 reads,

“Today a patron brought in his own (large) TV and game console and set them up in a study room. He played for hours with no explanation or disruption.”

This is what I love about the public library. It’s public but for many people it is their home away from home. And they treat it just like it belongs to them – for better or worse.

I really enjoyed this funny quick read but the last chapter, the one that focuses on the patrons that return to thank their librarians, made me happy-cry. Librarians are heroes and Gina’s humurous book and blog embrace the beautiful and sometimes weird things our librarians do for all of us.


Tell me, please!

Do you love your public library? 


WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday, March 28th

WWW

Happy Wednesday! The week has tipped toward the weekend and it is time to check in on what everyone has read, is reading and will be reading. Thanks, as always, to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for hosting. Please check out her WWW post here and the other fantastic people’s lists in the comments section. If you want to participate, please do so! You can leave a link or a list in the comments below.


What did I just finish reading?

So many books! I have been on jury duty so I have been sitting in a room waiting to serve my civic duty for hours and hours (I’m on day three!) and I have filled them with books. There is limited internet connectivity which I why I have read so many and reviewed so little.

Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid was everything I was hoping Dan and Kat’s story would be and more. The review is coming soon!

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert was delightfully dark and weird. I enjoyed it and it’s review is also coming soon!

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown I actually finished late last week and you can find the review here. It was a great read and everything I have come to expect from Pierce Brown.

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan was a quick and hilarious collection of stories from a public librarian. The review is scheduled to appear this Friday for Non-Fiction Friday.

The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan was several hundred pages of ridiculousness. I believe that gratitude is key to choosing happiness but Janice acts as though she invented the concept while filling the book with one brag after the other. Or, as a dear friend of mine calls them “humblebrags.” No review for this one!

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearshall is a late elementary school to middle school book that I consumed like a bag of delicious chips. After the Gratitude Diaries it was such a refreshing and beautiful story and I look forward to telling everyone more about it in…you guessed it, a review that is coming soon!

Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell is a book from the library I grabbed in the off-chance I would be stuck for a long period of time for jury duty. Well into my second day I was thrilled to discover that this cutie is a British countryside story with multiple perspectives. It was so cute! Review coming soon!


What am I Currently Reading?

The Case of the Missing Library Books by Ian Sansom is incredibly enjoyable so far. A nice fish out of water story set in Ireland, what’s not to like?

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman Sundberg is an enormously popular book about a group of elderly individuals who break out of the retirement home and orchestrate a crime spree. It is a book in translation and I struggle occasionally with some of the phrasing but I just can’t help but love the whole idea!

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang is on my desk because I really want to return to Sunday Morning Comics. I need a couple more for a weekly roundup so please let me know if you have other graphic novels or comic recommendations.


What do I Plan on Reading Next?

thebookofjouy

Honestly, this is getting embarrassing. Why didn’t I bring this with me to jury duty?!?

Science Fiction · series

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

When there is a new book in a long adored series there is a unique sense of anticipation. On one hand you know the world. The characters are your friends and sometimes your favorite people. And it is so very thrilling to be back again. On the other hand, the author can make choices in this place you love that give you pause. They can kill off characters you have long treasured or simply change them in a way that negatively alters your connection. Plus, anytime there is anticipation and hype the pressure can kill the enjoyment. I felt all of this and more when I finally received my pre-ordered copy of Iron Gold by Pierce Brown.

irongoldThis book was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2018. I feel I must make two things clear. First, I do not like dystopian science-fiction. Second, the Red Rising Trilogy is  dystopian science fiction and I am still a gigantic fan. I love the characters; Darrow, Mustang, all the Howlers (especially Sevro!) and Ragnar. I am fascinating by the different planets and caste systems. The pace and action are thrilling to the point of near exhaustion. If you enjoy science fiction I feel confident in recommending the Red Rising Trilogy.

When I first heard that there was a new book by Pierce Brown I had assumed that it would be a new series. Instead it is a new trilogy that begins ten years after Morning Star concludes. Darrow, Sevro and the Howlers are still fighting to take control of the inner ring planets. And, while Darrow and Mustang have married and have a son, Pax, the three are rarely together.

I will freely admit that I found the idea that these characters were not at peace after all of their trials and tribulations to be a bit exhausting. Furthermore, I had difficulty remembering who everyone was, especially since some of the main characters in Iron Gold were children or minor players in the prior trilogy. The shifting narratives created delayed comprehension of the story as a whole but eventually gave a much better understanding of the new story Brown was putting together.

By the middle of the book, I was quite torn. Then, slowly, Brown began to rebuild a new generation for the next wave of the revolution. All of the old guard still maintain a presence in the storyline but now the light is shone on a new cast of characters that I found obsessively interesting.

I closed the book thrilled and wanting more. At more than 500 pages it is an epic story. Visiting with some of my favorite characters from the original trilogy was enjoyable but eventually I found that I was more than happy that Brown is re-focusing on other characters for the subsequent books. Not unlike the Star Wars universe, I got to go back and see Luke, Han and Leia but I didn’t expect that they would be the only stars of the show.


Tell me, please!

Have you read the Red Rising Series? Are you interested in Iron Gold?


WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday March 7, 2018

WWW

I LOVE Wednesdays and I j’adore WWW Wednesdays. This is not only my most social day, checking in on other participants, but I come out the other side of my post organized and enthusiastic about reading and blogging. What’s not to love?

So, in the off chance you aren’t familiar (or because I haven’t gotten to participate in too long!) here is how it works. You just post about the three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Then you can link your post or post your reading list in my comments section and then head over to Taking on a World of Words to see the host Sam’s WWW list and all the other participant’s great posts.

So, here we go (in chronological order because….I can’t help myself)


What did I recently finish reading?

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black! After my massive reading dry spell due to my giant test I finally got to read the book everyone seems to be talking about. You can read my review here.


What am I currently reading?

I am still working through the massive Iron Gold which I had put aside to study. So far, I am really enjoying the thrill of being back with Darrow and the crew but I am having trouble not being sad that they are, once again, at war (not a spoiler, I swear the fighting started at the beginning of the book).

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert I started recently to alleviate the stress Darrow was putting me through but this book is terrifying! I cannot wait to see how it all ends but it is too scary for me to read at night.

Thank goodness the ever delightful Penny Reid released Marriage of Inconvenience! I love her books and have been waiting forever to read the story of Dan and Kat.


What do I think I will read next?

I have a pile of books almost as tall as my dog sitting right next to my desk. There is nothing quite as thrilling as a huge pile of books I am looking forward to reading. So, I picked up the top two, The Book Jumper and The Wish Granter to try first. I also know that The Book of Joy has been featured on my “next” list for far too long and I am determined to start it this week.


Tell me, please!

Have you read anything on my lists? Any thoughts?

Feel free to share your WWW or anything else in the comments below!


Fantasy · fiction · YA

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince has been everywhere. I love Holly Black and I was thrilled that she had a new book. But, I made a New Year’s Resolution that I wouldn’t buy any new books. Sigh. I resigned myself to waiting until after the backlog of books was taken care of and then I would zoom out and purchase it right away.
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Then, I received an OwlCrate Subscription for Christmas. And in one of my delightful boxes…The Cruel Prince! I put it aside to read after my test and it was well worth the wait. Plus, just look at the gorgeous OwlCrate exclusive cover. So pretty.

I have loved Holly Black since The Spiderwick Chronicles and I will pick up anything with her name on it. She has a way with magical stories that never fails to engage and surprise me. Her tone varies depending on her target audience but her writing is always tight and masterful. There have been books of hers I have adored and there are others than I appreciated but did not fall in love with completely.

The Cruel Prince is difficult to discuss without spoilers and, truthfully, it has been so hyped that at this point I will be surprised if anyone doesn’t know the basic plot line. Still, for readers venturing outside of their preferred genre into YA – here goes.

It is safe to say that the main character, Jude Duarte, and her twin sister Taryn are human. Their older sister Vivi is half human, half fae and the three of them are taken from their human home and spirited away to live with the Fae by Vivi’s Fae Father. There Jude and Taryn are raised among the Fae with access to the Court but their humanity always sets them apart. They are humans under the protection of the same powerful man that stole them from their home. They are commoners being educated amounts royalty. They live in fear of their present safety and neither girl has any guarantee of a future at all.

Admittedly, for at least the first half of the book I was unengaged. Wait, that is not right. Rather, I felt removed from the action. I felt apart from the story and off-kilter. Approximately half way through the book the threads started to weave together and I realized that my off-kilter matched Jude’s inner turmoil. And when Jude found her purpose I was with her stride for stride.

In the end, I loved The Cruel Prince because it was so much more than a dark Fairy Tale.


Tell me, please!

If you read the book, which character was your favorite?


 

Uncategorized

February Stunk

I took my test. 1000 hours of studying, an equal number of notecards and 15 hours of testing later, I am done. I don’t get the results for a couple of months but, for now, I have a reprieve. A break. And all I want to do is read!

How I have missed new books. During February I read only one new book. Old books I visited for comfort but anything new was a bit overwhelming. My brain was so consumed with the information for my test that I dared not enter into any new worlds or new relationships with characters unknown to me. But I missed my bookish adventures and there are no words to describe the job of reading for pleasure again!

I have just finished reading The Cruel Prince and it is just as good as everyone promised. The review will go up soon but I just wanted to post a little “hello” after a month of quiet!


Tell me, please!

Have you ever been too stressed to read new books? What did you do?


Classic · fiction

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This book has been on my radar for years. I was never assigned it in high school or college but everyone I knew had read it and found it to be profound. I have picked up copies at library books sales through the years (two to be exact) but it took listening to the audiobook version to finally experience this amazing classic book.

fahrenheit451Guy Montag lives in a world ruled by screens. His wife, Mildred is happy to be entertained by her screen “family” who live on three of the four walls of her parlor room walls. And Guy has a prestigious job as a firefighter. Except the fireman of Bradbury’s world are not needed to put out fires. Rather, they are assigned to start them. Firemen are tasked with burning the most illegal of all substances – books.

I cannot stop thinking about the world Bradbury describes. Certainly, a world ruled by screens probably seemed like a futuristic nightmare when Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 in the 1940s. But, as I sit here typing on a laptop while watching on-demand television and texting with friends, it is clear that in 2018 our reliance on screens is a reality few of us can deny.

Certainly all book lovers know people who scoff at our book collection. We have smart, kind, intelligent people who say with pride, “I never read.” Our hearts break. We are confused. How could a person not understand the importance of books?

In Montag’s world reading books is not just scoffed at, it is illegal. And as I finished the story I couldn’t help but wonder, how far is the distance between scoffing at books and burning them? Because, after all, “You can’t make someone change their mind.”


Tell me, please!

Have you read Fahrenheit 451? Are you intrigued? I want to hear your thoughts!


 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday January 31, 2018

Last Wednesday I was hopping around (as I do) and checking out everyone’s WWW lists. I commented that Lili’s art from LilisBlissfulPages was so beautiful and she generously said I could use it. So I give you today’s WWW Wednesday complete with this cutie! Some day I will figure out how to create my own graphics but until that day I really appreciate the generosity of my fellow book bloggers.

www lillisblissfulpages

So, you all know the drill but in case you do not, WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. In it, you answer three questions: What did you just finish reading? What are you currently reading? and What do you think you will read next? Almost everyone else follows directions as to the order but I just have to be chronological.


What did you just finish reading?

The Witch Boy and Pashmina were both for my Sunday Morning Comics. They also helped me check off a couple of to-dos on my 2018 Challenges. I really appreciate that the challenges are helping me select some books that I may not have instinctively chosen.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street I completed just yesterday. Sigh. You can read my full review here but in case you don’t have time – I loved it.


What am I currently reading?

I am almost finished with Fahrenheit 451. I am already gasping to discuss it with someone so, please, let me know if this is a book you have read and any thoughts you have about the story. I expect the review to be done sometime this week.

I started Iron Gold by Pierce Brown last night. I have been anticipated reading Iron Gold for months because I love the world of the Red Rising series. Anticipated reads always make me nervous because there is danger in building a book up too much in your mind. Still, Brown’s books have never let me down before so, fingers crossed!


What do you think you will read next?

thebookofjouy

I have The Book of Joy cued up on my next-to-read pile. The cover alone makes me happy. I think I will need the uplifting message during this long cold February.


There we have it! I cannot wait to see everyone else’s list. Feel free to leave comments on your books below or a link to your WWW. And, make sure and head over to Taking on a World of Words to check out everyone else’s lists.

fiction · historical fiction

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

Some books are so well written that I find myself transported to another place or another time. When I finish the story, I always close the book, hold it in both hands and look back to the cover. I smile because just a few days ago this book was a stranger to me and now it is a friend.

watchmakerThe Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley was a beautiful unknown stranger when I started reading it last week. I always say that a book should be given at least three chapters and by the end of chapter three this book had me mesmerized. I was transported to Victorian England and Japan through the eyes of Thaniel, Grace and Mori. Now that the story has ended I have been abruptly thrust back into the reality of today and find that these characters are not here. Thankfully, a good book is a friend that is always there for me so I can visit them again.

Thaniel, short for Nathaniel, is a clerk. One evening a bomb threat is telegraphed in to Home Office. That same evening he returns home to find a pocket watch in his solitary dwelling on his bed with no explanation. When the bomb eventually does go off, the watch saves his life. And so begins Thaniel’s investigation into the mysterious watch and its more deliciously curious maker, Kieta Mori. Grace Carrow is a reluctant socialite pulled into the story slowly at first until she is completely intertwined with Thaniel and the Watchmaker.

I loved this story. This book was like looking at a place on Google map. At first, everything was general and far away and I couldn’t quite make sense of it all. But, as I kept reading the picture zoomed in slowly until little details because so clear and inviting that I couldn’t stop and I wanted to live there forever. I want desperately to speak in more detail but I had the great joy of reading it without the damper of other’s opinions or any plot spoilers and I will not take this experience from anyone else.

I highly recommend The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. This novel’s complex, yet enjoyable characters and delightful story made for a thoroughly enjoyable adventure on this cold wet January week.


Tell me, please!

Have you read or are you interested in The Watchmaker?


Sunday Morning Comics

Sunday Morning Comics 1/28/18

This week and the next one promises to be extra busy but I look forward all week to my Sunday Morning Comics and a whole pot of coffee to give either up. Sadly, this week I only managed to read two but at least they were both fabulous.

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag I picked up for the cover. That’s right, I judged the book on its cover. I feel that this is permissible when you are giving a book the benefit of the doubt rather than using the cover to rejecting a whole story. The Witch Boy did not disappoint. It is the story of a community of magical families. The males are all shape shifters and the women are all witches. Aster is thrilled by the idea of spells and become a witch. However, Aster is a boy and so this kind of major is forbidden to him. I appreciated the fact that this was a boy wanted to perform a “traditional female” role and how his people dealt with this conundrum.

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani is an extension of my enjoyment of When Dimple met Rishi and my desire to learn more about Indian culture. This story features Priyanka who lives with her Mom in America. She is dealing with a couple of things changing in her life like a typical teenager – rather poorly. But, then she finds a Pashmina that, when she puts it on, allows her to see India in all its glory and suddenly travel to India and experience everything she feels her Mother gave up. But, maybe her Mother knows some things that she doesn’t…

I vastly enjoyed both of these graphic novels. However, as I am new to the medium I keep making what I am coming to find is a beginners mistake – I read them too quickly. To really enjoy both of these books (and so many graphic novels) you have to absorb the message the art is giving you as well as the words. And, both of these wonderful stories deserve me taking the time to enjoy them properly. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make another pot of coffee and read them both again.


Tell me, please!

Do you enjoy graphic novels or comic books? If you have any recommendations, feel free to leave them below or link to your own site!