Posts Tagged ‘books’

Rex Libris Action Figure (action not included)

Rex Libris Action Figure (action not included)

Ah, yes, the year end wrap-up. Except that it’s already the new year…damn.

Anyway, I have this pile of little bits of paper that I scribbled something on when I thought, “Hey, I should blog about that.” Mostly, it’s books that I read and thought were good enough to recommend.

It came out last year but I never heard anything about it. Then, I  picked it up randomly from our DVD racks at the library. Think of “The Office” only set at the teacher’s lounge in high school. Hilarious! (And sad, really).

In her latest book, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, she takes an intimate (very intimate) and funny look at sexual research. One of my favorite quotes from the book is when she is talking about the picture on the ceiling of the GYN’s exam room:

“…back in the early eighties, no woman’s health center was complete without the ceiling poster of a ring of redwood trees shot from below. So ubiquitous was this image that I cannot, to this day, look at a redwood and not feel as though I should scoot down a little lower and relax.” 😉

  • A quote from illustrator and children’s author Tomi Ungerer that I like:

“My God, children are little bastards who chew and eat you up as they grow.”

  • A great book series that I never would have read if not for a random library patron’s interesting book talk on it:

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gillman

This book was written in 1966 when spy novels really started to become popular fiction. I think it might be labeled as “cozy espionage” today. It’s a really charming series about a sixty-something widower who suddenly decides she will go work for the CIA as a spy. No one quite knows what to make of her, especially the CIA. It’s a fusion of “Murder, She Wrote” meets “Alias” meets “MacGyver.” I really enjoyed them all.

  • Random smattering of books I read not too long ago that I enjoyed:

Heir to Sevenwatersby Juliet Marillier (it’s part of a good fantasy series, so start with Daughter of the Forest)

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (a short and foul-mouthed book…enjoy!)

The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons & Growing Up Strange by Mark Barrowcliffe (sadly, I can identify with this book)

Voyages of Discovery: A Visual Celebration of Ten of the Greatest Natural History Expeditions by A.L. Rice (a huge tome full of amazing and beautiful illustrations, mostly insects)

Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez (Comic fantasy starring an obsessively clean kobold…what’s not to like?)

The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters by Rose George (Non-fiction at its best and messiest)

Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorderby David Weinberger (Heavy new thinking and should be required reading for all librarians) Please see the most awesome video below for a good idea of what it’s about:

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Happy (Indoor) Camper

The good thing about having a few days off is that you can do silly things. Like this:

Is that tent smiling?

Is that tent smiling?

Yes, we decided very, very late one night that we needed to go camping…indoors. So we set up the huge tent (it was a wedding gift…see, this is what happens when you give a man one of those gun bar code zapper thingies and let him loose in JC Penny’s…this tent has a dome light that has a remote and can be divided into two rooms…did I mention the remote?!) in the living room.

Um, there may have been some drinking involved, too. Just a wee bit.

Anyway, we discovered that when 40 year-olds sleep on the floor (despite having stuffed the futon mattress inside the tent…yeah, that was an adventure, too) their backs protest alarmingly the next morning. The tent also freaked the dog out.

I also got to finish two very good books. They are both labeled as “Teen” but I think they are for adults, too:

Nation by Terry Pratchett Nation by Terry Pratchett

                                                                The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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Please Bury Me in the Library

Found this poem the other day and I love it…it’s called Please Bury Me in the Library by J. Patrick Lewis from his book by the same name:

Please bury me in the library

In the clean, well-lighted stacks

Of Novels, History, Poetry,

Right next to the Paperbacks,


Where the Kids’ Books dance

With True Romance

And the Dictionary dozes.

Please bury me in the library

With a dozen long-stemmed proses.


Way back by a rack of Magazines,

I won’t be sad too often,

If they bury me in the library

With Bookworms in my coffin.

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Yeah…sorry about that, but I have been barreling my way through all of Jen Lancaster’s books.

Although I don’t agree with her politics, the woman makes me guffaw (that’s right, that’s what I said…guffaw). You can check out her website for a quick synopsis of all her books (be sure to watch the video!) and also read her blog.

As a side note, for some reason my library only saw fit to order ONE copy of her first book and I am number nine on the hold list. How tempted am I to use my librarian super powers for evil right now and cancel all the other holds ahead of mine? Very.

Of course, I imagine Jen (oh yeah, we are so on a first name basis…) would say to me, “Just shell out the $14 and buy a damn copy you cheapskate!” Only with many, many more curse words in there, of course.

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No, I haven’t seen the new Batman movie…but I did find something very cool I want to build:

The Book Cave  :  Read about it in the New York Times here. I wonder if I can convince our library to put one in the children’s room?

Although I imagine it would need to be up a bit higher, as I can’t seem to get down and up as well as I used to when I was younger. Still, this reminds me of the cool bunk bed house my Dad made for me when I was in the first grade. He took a big piece of plywood and bolted it onto a standard bunk bed frame. It had a big circle cutout to provide access into the lower bunk bed and steps cut into one side so you could climb onto the top bunk. I loved that thing!

Here’s a way to combine the two:


  Click on the photos above and there’s a link to more pictures of the step-by-step building process. It has a bed inside and a little closet, too. Wheeee!

And, for everything bookshelf related…and I do mean everything…check out this blog. I like the twisted grandfather clock bookcase here and the oddly compelling yet insane idea of creating a bookstore shelved just by color here.

Finally, I think we can all see the irony here. The crafter turns books into shelves into art. Very nice! (oh, and another here, too).

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So…what’s up with this recent trend in “before you die” literature?! (Let’s call them BYD books).

I see these books at the front of bookstores, mentioned in magazine articles and, most recently, featured in the new books section of my library. January’s issue of the Smithsonian has an article talking about all of this.  Can we blame this on the Boomers, too? It is certainly targeted at a certain demographic and income bracket.

How many of us can afford to visit fabulous but often far, far away places? Here is the description of some events you must do BYD according to one book:

Dog-sledding, Sweden — Aboriginal dreaming, Australia — Crossing the divide, Turkey — Exploring rainforest and reef, Belize — Châteaux and wine-tasting, France — River-running, Zambia — Flying safari, Namibia — Tracking spirit bears, Canada — Fly-fishing and whisky, Scotland — Hiking through Arches, USA — Tasting warrior life, Mongolia — ‘Lost world’ river journey, Venezuela — Himalayan adventure, Nepal — Watching Aida, Italy — Driving Californian surf, USA — Swimming in thermal spas, Iceland — Gambling and glitz, USA — Riding elephants, Nepal — Heli-hiking in the Rockies, Canada — Felucca down the Nile, Egypt — Climbing a volcano, Guatemala — Trekking the Milford Track, New Zealand — Camel trekking, Jordan — Partying at Mardi Gras, USA — Red Sea diving, Egypt — Riding white horses, New Zealand — Walking the wall, China — Discovering wild flowers, Crete — Finding paradise, the Maldives — Souk shopping, Morocco — Following wildebeest, Tanzania — Palace on wheels, India — Trekking Torres del Paine, Chile — Sea-kayaking Baja, Mexico — Rice-boat cruising, India — Skiing the Vallée Blanche, France — Cycling among rice paddies, Vietnam — Festival of the Sahara, Tunisia — Discovering a medieval city, Estonia — Searching for pearls, French Polynesia.

 Shouldn’t that book have been listed as: 1001 Things Millionaires Must do Before They Die ?!

And who has the time (or inclination for that matter) to find the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die useful? (OK, I am making a special exemption for my brother-in-law…but that’s his job to review them, after all). Our library also has these BYD books for albums, gardens, natural wonders, buildings and, of course, books.

And why the 1001 number? What, someone was watching too much of The Price is Right and decided to up the ante by one? (“What’s the highest bid so far? Well, then I bid 1000 and one…ha ha!”)

I will mention that I have been lucky enough to have seen some spectacular places/experiences (mainly on my parent’s dime when I was under eighteen). However, because I like you, I won’t list 1001 of them here:

  1. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon: Forget the congested, tacky South Rim and go to the real deal. Un-freakin-believable! (Hey, I’m a children’s librarian now…I have to wimp cuss). The best thing (apart from snow in the summer and cute squirrels) is the silence. No planes, no traffic or city sounds…just SILENCE.
  2. Zion National Park: because you almost have to go there to get to the North Rim and, again, A-mazing! See great photos of it here.
  3. The Louvre: Yeah, I went but I was 15 and being dragged there by my parents. Needless to say, I was not much of an art appreciator at that time although I do remember that: 1) the Mona Lisa is a very small painting and you can’t get close enough to really see it; 2) there is no way to see all of the art here in one day; 3)we walked a long, long way from the rail station to get there; 4) I whined about all of this (sorry Mom and Dad!)
  4. The Seychelles: World’s best kept secret Eden. I want to live here, walk on the beach and wear muumuus all day! Sigh…I really hope to go back here someday.
  5. The Phyllis Haehnle Audubon Sanctuary in Michigan: Being here on a cold, foggy day and hearing thousands of Sandhill Cranes calling as they flew in to land one fall evening…prehistoric, goosebump awe-inspiring sound!
  6. The Emergence of the Magicicada Brood: A couple of years ago in lower Michigan…Zowie! A most fantastic experience to hear the deafening noise and have hundreds of them flying around you (and I got to see this with my sister, who also appreciates the magic of this insect, too). I’m including a link to this site here simply because it has a very cool clip (scroll to halfway down the page) of an emerging dog day cicada and tons of other links at the end.

OK, I’m done for now…you get the idea.

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