Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -- Mark Twain
Yesterday I lay in the grassy courtyard of my apartment building, sweating under a sweltering summer sun. I'd risen and done my chores and then wanted nothing more than to lay in the sun like a cat, stretching and sunning myself, napping too perhaps. I read. Then I closed my eyes and missed the Farm. I pretended that the sound of honking horns and cars speeding by were lowing cows and rumbling tractors; the dry grass underneath me became a soft Farm field; the squirrels' chatter and birds' whistles made it more plausible. And yet I wasn't very far from the Farm, in the knowing that we were both under that same hot sun..and somehow that made it all right.
"The Sun" Have you ever seenanythingin your lifemore wonderfulthan the way the sun,every evening,relaxed and easy,floats toward the horizonand into the clouds or the hills,or the rumpled sea,and is gone--and how it slides againout of the blackness,every morning,on the other side of the world,like a red flowers…
Celebrating 60 years since winning the Newbery award is Eleanor Estes', Ginger Pye, the story of a puppy and the family who love him. The story follows the Pye family, of Cranbury, CT (based on New Haven), particularly Rachel and Jerry; Jerry's adoption of a puppy being the catalyst for the book. The book was ok, definitely has that hokey, everything works out perfectly and everything turns out happily ever after thing going that I believe is possibly due to when it was written. When Ginger Pye goes missing the book lulls over the mundane to kill time and add girth to the book; don't punish us so, Ms. Estes! You could have cut out about 50 pages of fluff in the middle!
Would I recommend it? No. Not my favorite, but also because it feels long for its intended age audience--the times they are a changin'; kids don't read books that they did for their age group decades ago--and too childish for kids who would read a book this long.
Finished yet another Newbery winner, 1942’s incredibly short, The Matchlock Gun, Walter D. Edmonds
It’s 1750’s New York State, the area is still a British colony and major concerns to settlers were the French and the Indians. The story recounts the true events around an Indian attack on the Van Alstyne family (Dutch settlers)—a story that was passed on for generations.
My copy of the book had a forward which provided a little background information as to why the Dutch were coming to the United States during this time; this might be helpful for kids in their understand of this time in U.S. history. (I would suggest reading this after reading the story, as the forward also gives away some of the action of the story). Also, keep in mind that this book was written in the 1940s when our cultural understanding/appreciation of/sensitivity toward Native peoples was very different; this fact would provide for a great discussion about how our understanding/appreciation of different cultures has …
“Half of this story is true and the other half might very well have happened.” --William Pene du Bois
In my continuing quest, I recently finished 1948 Newbery award winner, The Twenty-One Balloons, by William Pene du Bois. I was not expecting to like this book, but I actually did. The story was fun and read quickly and definitely reminded me of Around the World in 80 Days for the obvious reason of travel.
Plot: Professor William Waterman Sherman is found nearly dead in the Atlantic Ocean, once revived he is begged to share his tale—he refuses on the grounds that it must first be shared with his fellow members of the Western America Explorer’s Club.
We follow along as Sherman tells his tale: his intention to cross the Pacific Ocean by balloon, only to crash on the volcanic island of Krakatoa instead; here he discovers a small society of wealth, strange culinary rules, and inventiveness.
Would I recommend it? Sure. I liked it. I think this would also be a great family read aloud book or aud…
Booklist had this awesome list on their site some months back and I wanted to share it:
Top 10 Historical Fiction for Youth
by Ilene Cooper First published April 15, 2012 (Booklist).
The magic of historical fiction is that it can take you back in time, where the experiences of another era seem real, yet the characters’ feelings are the same as the reader’s. These 10 titles do just that, whether the setting is a small southern town, Soviet Russia, or a ship at sea. —Ilene Cooper A Month of Sundays. By Ruth White. 2011. Farrar, $16.99 (9780374399122). Gr. 6–8.
In 1950s Black Rock, Virginia, Garnet, 14, gets dumped with her father’s relatives, none of whom she’s met (not even her father for that matter.) But Aunt June treats her like a daughter, and they become close while visiting a new church each week to see if June’s cancer can be cured.
Branch: Independence - Independence High School
Type of Event: Author Visit
Date: Saturday, July 14, 2012 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Meg Cabot is the best-selling author of more than 50 books for children, teens and adults. She is best known for her young adult series, The Princess Diaries, which was brought to life in two feature films. The fourth installment of her Heather Wells Mysteries series entitled Size 12 and Ready to Rock will hit shelves in July. Meg’s other recent releases include Blast From the Past, the latest in the Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls series and Underworld, the second in the Abandon trilogy which will be released this spring. Books will be available for purchase and signing courtesy of the Friends of the Independence Branch Library.
This event will be held at Independence High School (6001 Archwood Road) in the auditorium.
Somehow one day while talking with friends the topic of conversation switched and we started talking about those awkward crushes of our younger days. Most of us couldn't really remember why we were attracted to some of our crushes, but it made for a funny and embarrassing conversation. So, on this lovely Friday I ask you to think back to your childhood, push the cobwebs out of your head, and reminisce about your first, truly awkward crushes?
Bert from Disney's Mary Poppins Why was I attracted to him?: He was a Chimney sweep and Kite salesman, could make sidewalk chalk drawings come to life, danced on rooftops, danced with penguins, looked good in a pin-strip suit, Cockney accent. Davy Jones, Monkees Why was I attracted to him?: I loved the show the Monkees (no one told me it was in serious reruns by the time I saw it), his suave shirts, that shaggy mop, he made a cameo on one of my favorite TV shows (the Brady Bunch). Disney's Davy Jones
Why was I attracted to him?: Umm, bucksk…
My time at the Farm was good, but a little sad too. While preparing for my trip my old roommate, RugbyGirl, informed me that she'd taken a new job at a Farm some hours away in NY State and would be leaving the Farm in July. This news came after finding out that another friend, Farmer MacDonald, is also leaving the Farm in July. Then during my visit I learned that a couple other farmers are moving on this summer...it is always hard to see friends go, but to lose so many at once makes me feel like the landscape of familiarity is shifting. The people who work at the Farm make up so much of the fabric of the place, I can't imagine how it will be to visit it without them there! I was just glad I got to make it out for one last hoorah with all these good friends.
The Farm was definitely in it's pre-summer glory during my visit: everything was green, green, green; smells of hay marked our turn off the state highway, followed by the ever present manure smells from the cows (and h…
Never finished blogging about my wonderfully relaxing vacation..still can't believe that it's been nearly a week and a half already since I was camping in lovely Maine. I think the pictures I posted of Acadia National Park speak volumes, but still manage to not quit capture the raw, natural beauty and amazing vistas of that place. As B1, B2 and I hiked through the woods, near enough to hear the Atlantic Ocean wooshing in and out from the rock lined shore, I thought to myself, "this place is as near to Heaven as I've been. I just want Heaven to be like this, but the woods would also be lined with bookshelves periodically...and a coffee counter." Yes, dear readers, these are the deep thoughts that go through my head.
The time there was great. It rained the first night we were camping, but didn't start until the tents were up, this followed by two gloriously sunny and warm days, perfect for hiking. The hikes ranged from beginners to strenuous (The Beehive) and …
Looking for a (many) great book(s) to read while you soak in the sun this summer?
Here is NPR's Audience Picks: 100 Best Beach Books Ever
1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
4. Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding
5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
6. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg
10. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
11. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
12. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
13. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
14. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
16. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
17. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
18. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
19. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
"Pilgrimage"Vicksburg, MississippiHere, the Mississippi carved
its mud-dark path, a graveyard
for skeletons of sunken riverboats.
Here, the river changed its course,
turning away from the city
as one turns, forgetting, from the past—
the abandoned bluffs, land sloping up
above the river's bend—where now
the Yazoo fills the Mississippi's empty bed.
Here, the dead stand up in stone, white
marble, on Confederate Avenue. I stand
on ground once hollowed by a web of caves;
they must have seemed like catacombs,
Our weekend in Acadia National Park whipped my sedentary librarian ass into shape super quick, with the 14ish miles of hiking we did. I was super proud of hiking the Beehive (pictured above) because it's a hike where you feel like you're climbing up up up forever--at times you even use metal wrungs in the mountain to climb/pull yourself to the next part of the trail. I highly recommend it! Be warned, it is labeled as a "strenuous hike!" HOORAY for camping!
Author Ray Bradbury passed away a couple of weeks back and LHB blogged about him a little bit here, thought I would share, and also post some quotes from Bradbury. (I love this reading Library History Buff's blog, because it always makes me proud of libraries and being a librarian).
"Libraries raised me. I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries, because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years."
"I know you've heard it a thousand times before. But it's true - hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, pratice. If you don't love something, then don't do it."
"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd b…
Stumbled upon this awesome blog post about reading lists, it inspired me to think about a few books which I would like to tackle this summer: Lolita, Vladimir NabokovGrapes of Wrath, John SteinbeckThe Innocents Abroad, Mark TwainEast of Eden, John SteinbeckThe Prodigal Summer, Barbara KingsolverWhat's on your summer reading list?
into Mumford & Sons again...just read that their second album--a follow up to Sigh No More--will be out in the U.S. in September. Can't wait! Went out for breakfast with Amos and the restaurant was playing Mumford and all was good: catching up, good music, good food. I love being at the Farm.
Maine was amazing; can't wait to share pictures. Being at the Farm has been therapeutic for me; so good to be home, and be with friends, and be away from Ohio, and work, and summer reading, and my ordinary day life.
Found this old list I compiled some time back and it felt appropos this week, so I will share it until I have time to post about the trip and share pictures galore!
For anyone who has just recently gotten out of a relationship, some songs/anthems to rock to: Heartless, Kanye West This song is priceless. Best line? "How could you be so Dr. Evil?"Bad Romance, Lady Gaga Lady G has the market on hurt with this, the first of my three choices. The title says it all.Speechless, Lady Gaga Thank you Gaga, thank you.Paparazzi, Lady Gaga Making stalking cool enough to dance to. Single Ladies (Put a ring on it), Beyonce This song calls to be turned up really loud. I only dance to this in my black unitard with my closest friends. Don't stand so close to me, Sting …
Read another groaner of a Newbery winner: The Wheel on the School, Meindert DeJong, illus. Maurice Sendak (1955 Medal Winner).
Remember how Maurice Sendak admitted to not liking children?--it's evident in his participation in this book. To be fair, this book was written in that black hole of children's literature known as the 1950s when people still didn't understand that children wanted to read books that aren't boring as hell.
The book opens with Lina sharing an essay about storks (they live in a small Dutch fishing town). The kids decide to bring storks back to their village, deciding they must find wheels for the storks to nest in. Can they find a wheel for the storks? Will the people in town lend a hand? It took DeJong FOREVER to unlock these mysteries...
It was so damn long: 298 pages (over 300 in some editions)
It is boring as hell
It has that 1950s girls vs. boys mentality
Best line of the book, "We've done so much that's illegal the l…
And the Audiobook of the Year Award goes to: Tina Fey for Bossypants (written and read by Fey) (Hachette Audio)
If you haven't listened to this book and you love Tina Fey, what are you waiting for? It was hysterical.
The three finalists for the award were:
American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition, by Neil Gaiman, Narrated
by Neil Gaiman, Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, Sarah Jones and
a full cast (HarperAudio) • Go the F**k to Sleep, by Adam Mansbach,
narrated by Samuel L. Jackson (Audible) • Steve Jobs, by Walter
Isaacson, narrated by Dylan Baker with an introduction by the author (Simon
& Schuster Audio)
There is this magic about the Farm, a connectedness you get with the people there if you let them get close enough, like that bond you get with a favorite sibling where you just know it's them calling before you even look at the caller id, or you both are humming the same song all day and realize later when you see each other--both true stories; my bros and I are just that cool. Anyway, the Farm has this je ne sais quoi, It's-a-small-world-after-all magic that allows for things to happen. This is what I was reminded of again last night when former Farm roomie and coworker, Neal, randomly texted me yesterday, then somehow caught me by phone during my break, saying, "I was sitting in a bar, having a beer and I thought of you and that I needed to call you and see how the hell you are!" I told him I would be in Maine for the weekend, but probably wouldn't have time to stop and see him--he currently lives in Portland--because we were heading straight to Acadia, he sai…
For all the nit picky flaws that people find with Thoreau's Walden experiment, there is still something that I love about what he was trying to do. He tried to give up some of life's conveniences so that he might better see the changing world around him, might try to appreciate nature; isolating himself for some parts of the human experience, and aiming for simpler means.
When I lived at the Farm parts of the below quote were in my title box on this blog, because, like Thoreau I made the active choice to leave my conventional lifestyle and move to a very alternative place, to live in community, giving up some of the "necessities" of mainstream culture, i.e. cell reception, internet at home, privacy (in some senses). What I did gain, was the ability to see the world around me in a totally different light, to really experience life differently, becoming a stouter, heartier person in the process. And that is really what Walden is about, not just about the experiences, …
I recently read a review of, Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution, and ordered it immediately; what could be cooler than a book that proports to be a: "clear, up-to-date, and visually stunning explanations of some of the most important ideas in science today."
I was not disappointed! This book was a fascinating, educational, well layed out read that takes the reader on, yep you guessed it! a journey through billions of years of evolution. Reading the table of contents alone made me want to start singing my own Billy Joel inspired version of "We Didn't Start The Fire," titled, "Look at Evolution,"
Forming Earth, Layers of Rock,
Dinosaurs, DNA, Darwin, EVOLUTION HEY!
Genetic wheel of fortune, Patagonia, Fossils, Missing Links, Lewis & Clark...California Baseball...damn...I tried.
Anyway, I LOVED this book. There were so many times when I would say to the other librarians, "hey, did you know...?!" Like did you know that…
Summer Reading started today and by the time I left this afternoon over 65 kids had signed up, so we're off to a good start. Even though the next few days will be crazy busy--the public school kids are out already, due to a city construction thing--I can't get the Farm or thoughts of travel out of my mind. The Farm is home to me, the place where I spent the best of my 20s and made some of my best friends. I can't wait to get back and walk in the fields that are familiar to me; to wander around the Farm; to put my ear to the ground and hear the song of the Earth and its tenants. I can't can't can't wait until I am on a train, steaming toward the Farm Thursday morning, until I can get back to the Farm I am enjoying reading Wendell Berry--he gets it.
“Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery an…
It's the simple things: today it was the mother of five--ages 9, 7, 6, 4, and 3--who signed up all five kids for summer reading and then checked out the 20+ books the kids had picked out...and I loved how excited the kids got about A. picking out books B. they didn't go get DVDs like most kids these days do and C. the kids checked out a ton of non-fiction books which looked, "awesome."