Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gail Carriger Coming to Seattle!

Good news everybody!

Gail Carriger is coming to Seattle! NEXT WEEKEND.

Gail Carriger is the mastermind behind the steampunk, fantasy, romance, adventure, comedy-of-manners series, The Parasol Protectorate starring Ms. Alexia Tarabotti. Alexia's Italian (gasp!) father has left her with quite a large nose, unfortunately tan skin, and her ridiculous mother and her silly step-sisters (and you thought the Bennet women were silly). What is perhaps all the more interesting, however, is what she has not: a soul. With a fantastic cast of characters, yes, including vampires and werewolves, but this is not Twilight fan-fiction, Alexia addresses some new supernatural disturbances occurring in London -- that are indeed most disturbing to her! -- while never missing tea and generally shocking the neighbors.

The Parasol Protectorate
In Order:


Friday, November 8 @ 6:30pm
Third Place Book Company
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA

Saturday, November 9 @ 2pm ** Tea Event!
Queen Anne Books
1811 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA

Gail Carriger is also writing a YA series (no nightgowns that spend more time on the floor than on our heroine in this series) called Finishing School that takes place in the same steampunk universe as The Parasol Protectorate, but several decades earlier.

Finishing School
In Order:


Curtsies & Conspiracies to be released November 5, 2013
*Planned: Waistcoats & Weaponry (2014) | Manners & Mutiny

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What I Read: September 2013

What I Read in September 2013

Most of the reading this month was for one of my classes, Multicultural Resources for Youth. I haven't read any children's books since I was the target audience and I have to say that I was a little taken aback. I don't remember what I was reading in grades 1 - 6, but I know that I was reading. I vaguely remember the Sideways Stories from Wayside School and Teacher from the Black Lagoon and The Stinky Cheese Man. These books that I read for class didn't feel like how I remember those books that I read when I was a kid.

The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier

Two fraternal twins -- one with dark skin and black hair and one with light skin and red hair -- from an interracial marriage are entered into Miss Pre-Teen Black Pearl beauty pageant.

This story just felt so painfully contrived. I wish this book had just been a story and that the lesson had come out of it rather than having a lesson in mind and then a book written to teach it.

How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay by Julia Alvarez

Miguel moves with his mother and his little sister from New York to Vermont after his parents' divorce. His great-aunt Lola comes from the Dominican Republic to stay with them, despite not knowing any English, to help out and ends up teaching Miguel valuable lessons about himself.

I think maybe this book tried to tackle too many issues (divorce, otherness, moving, little sisters, absent fathers, family, embarrassing relatives, friends, new school, growing up...) and that's why I felt so scattered while reading it.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

The narrative of this graphic novel is broken into three sections.
1. Jin Wang's parents are Chinese who moved to the US to study and work. One of three Asian students in his school, Jin sticks out and not in a way that he likes.
2. The Monkey King, a traditional Chinese character, learns Kung Fu to attempt to be like the gods.
3. Everybody Ruvs Kin Chee is drawn as though it is a sitcom on television, complete with laugh track. Kin Chee is Caucasian Danny's Chinese cousin who comes for a visit and embarrasses him with his ridiculously stereotyped behavior -- lusting over American women, speaking with a comical accent, playing inappropriate tricks on people.

I loved this. I am a big fan of graphic novels anyway, but I thought that Yang did a fantastic job introducing three separate storylines and twining them together to make a rather poignant observation about what it was like growing up as an American Born Chinese. The art was great; the dialog was accessible and still interesting for adults. I am on the lookout for more work by Yang after this.

The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas

A series of poems about shades of skin color. Illustrated.

The illustrations were beautiful and the poems were nice. This is exactly the kind of book that I would have hated when I was a kid. Nothing happens and the pictures are just too pretty. As an adult, I liked it fine, but thought it was interesting that the majority of the time reading was spent looking at the pictures rather than thinking about the poetry. I'm looking forward to when we talk about the role of visual elements in books for kids in class since that is what really dominated in this book for me. I liked the structure of the collection and how inclusive all of the poetry was. I just felt good while I was reading it.

What did you read in September?

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

All Hallow's Read 2013

I love reading scary books. Love it. But I have a problem. I'm a huge fraidy-cat! I get spooked all the time. Getting into bed and I catch my reflection in the mirror? Frozen in terror and can't sleep. Hear the neighbors dog barking and then it suddenly stops? Heart pounding. Walking across the street and a bird flies up in my face? Duck and cover. I  don't even have to have read or seen anything scary; my imagination is happy to do all the work. The lamest things get my adrenaline going and kick my flight instinct into gear (I have yet to determine if a fight instinct is present, but so far it looks like not). But despite all that, I love wrapping my self up in a blanket, listening to the rain (I'm in Seattle; it's probably raining), having some candles lit, and reading something decidedly creepy. Unsettling. Eerie even. I love that feeling of being so perfectly uncomfortable.

Reading about vengeful houses or blood-soaked ghosts or evil ventriloquist dummies just doesn't really do it in June though. What that means for me is that all of my scary reading gets done in the fall and early winter. But since I get so scared so easily, I can only take so much before my heart will give out, so really it just ends up being October that I read the scary stuff (and maybe it's not even that scary...). This lines up perfectly with All Hallow's Read!

Don't know about All Hallow's Read? Just watch. Neil Gaiman will explain it all.

I know, I know. All Hallow's Read is about giving someone else a scary book to read. I'll still do that! I'm all about giving books. But I add extra flair by reading scary books too. Because I'm all about scary books in October. And extra flair.

Here's my All Hallow's Read lineup for 2013:

The White Devil by Justin Evans

American social outcast Andrew Taylor is shipped off to a prestigious London boarding school where his classmates think he murdered their star athlete and a very pale boy haunts his every move.
The Ghost Writer by John Harwood

Uncovering the ghost stories written by his great-grandmother has disturbed some family secrets and Gerard learns more about his mysterious family than he ever wanted to know.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline meets her "other" parents on the far side of a mysterious passageway in a strangely paralleled and perfect world, but not all is as idyllic as it seems.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

A visiting cousin disrupts the lives of two bizarrely sinister sisters and reveals their possibly violent past in this suspenseful and psychological novel.

I might not get to all of them, but that's the plan. Okay. That's enough. Just thinking about my All Hallow's Reading is creeping me out.

What are you reading for All Hallow's Read? What terror are you gifting?
Leave a Comment telling me about your All Hallow's Read plans and you might be the recipient of one of my All Hallow's Read gifts!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Waiting for All Souls Book #3?

Deborah Harkness' best-selling All Souls trilogy introduces Diana Bishop, a stubborn Oxford researcher with family ties to witchcraft, and Matthew Clairmont, an alluring and dangerous vampire, in A Discovery of Witches. After spending most of her life trying to keep her head down and remain unnoticed by the magical community, Diana attracts unwanted attention when she uncovers an enchanted manuscript in the Bodleian library.

They have defied the Council and now Diana and Matthew escape to an inaccessible, yet -- for Matthew -- familiar place to not only hide from their adversaries, but also to unlock the dark secrets of Ashmole 782. In the second installment, Shadow of Night, Deborah Harkness' expertise in the history of magic and science in Europe really shines.

The third book doesn't have a publication date or publicized cover art yet, but it does have a title! The Book of Life should be released in 2014 and I expect there to be a long queue for it at the library... Get your hold requests in early!

If you're like me, you don't like waiting around for the next book in the series to be published. I tend to stay away from active series or ones that are in their early stages because when I get wrapped up in a story and involved with the characters, I find having to wait for the next book to be really jarring. That being said, sometimes I (often accidentally) start a series (like I did with The Diviners by Libba Bray) and I can't help but wait on the edge of my seat for the next book. Such is also the case with A Discovery of Witches. If you're waiting too -- and from Deborah Harkness' website, it sounds like we've got a minimum of 6 months, but likely longer to wait -- maybe some of these books will get you through.

The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker

Schlumpy graduate student Nora stumbles through a portal and is transformed into a glamorous socialite, but the veneer quickly comes away to reveal the dark side of this new, magical world.

For more modern women in un-modern times and places, you may be interested in following this up with Diana Gabaldon's epic Outlander series.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

When her father suddenly goes missing after researching Vlad the Impaler, the unnamed narrator follows his research across Europe and finds that Dracula may be to blame for both her father and mother's disappearances in this suspenseful and atmospheric Gothic novel.

Love this? Check out Labyrinth by Kate Mosse.
The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

After writing the bestselling The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers, Professor Callie McFay -- a demonology and folklore expert -- encounters a seductive demon in her own bedroom and discovers more than just the faculty lives at Fairwick College.

The Demon Lover is the first in the Fairwick Chronicles, followed by The Water Witch and The Angel Stone, which was just released at the beginning of September 2013.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Arabella by Georgette Heyer

Arabella by Georgette Heyer
Fans of Jane Austen will delight in Georgette Heyer's regency novels featuring strong, if sometimes a bit silly, female protagonists. Wit and humor abound with just the right amount of love story added in to make Heyer's work light and satisfying.

Arabella by Georgette Heyer

Sent to London for the season, the exuberant daughter of a country cleric hopes to meet an eligible man, but an upset carriage and her foolish tongue may ruin her chances and her reputation before she even arrives.

Also by Georgette Heyer:

Cotillion by Georgette HeyerThe Grand Sophy by Georgette HeyerFrederica by Georgette Heyer

Suggestions for further reading:

Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey
Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsay

Disguised as a cabin boy, a high-spirited and resourceful lady encounters a dashing yet stubborn ex-pirate in this high seas romantic escapade.

The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart
The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart

Hurtling along a trajectory with unintended consequences, our heroine finds herself an imposter and an heiress in opposition to an intimidating man's goals in this suspenseful story set in the English countryside.

Georgette Heyer's Regenc World by Jennifer Kloester
Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Regency etiquette, dress, and popular culture in this lively and information work.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Are You My Typeface?

How into typeface are you? More importantly, how into typography do you want your toddlers to be?

Sarah Houghton ( recently Tweeted about this potentially soon-to-be-published children's board book...

Are You My Typeface? by Jesse Austin-Breneman chronicles the adventures of a little letter "a" as it quests to find it's typeface. Along the way it meets characters such as Futura, Arial, and (my personal favorite) Century. Will little "a" find it's typeface?

Check it out:

Interested in helping out the Are You My Typeface? Kickstarter?

Peony in Love by Lisa See

Peony in Love by Lisa See
Peony in Love by Lisa See

After an illicit glimpse of a handsome stranger, the daughter of a prosperous Chinese scholar learns about love and family from an unusual perspective.

Also by Lisa See:

Suggestions for further reading:

Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

At the end of the Ch'ing dynasty in 19th century China, concubine Orchid utilizes all of her resources from intellect to seduction to intrigue to gain and then maintain power in the Forbidden City.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Caught in a love story literally swept up by time, artist Clare and accidental time traveler Henry's passionate relationship defies convention.

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

The lives of three courageous women -- a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter -- and their relationships to each other unfold in this epic, multi-generational memoir set in brutal 20th century China.

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Monday, July 1, 2013

First Week at UHouse: Complete

I'm just starting my second solo week as the University House librarian and so far everything is going great. Everyone as been really nice and seems genuinely happy that I'm there. I've already got a project requested (the biographies and memoirs are difficult to locate) and I'm going to pick out the books to purchase for July this week.

My biggest issue is going to be making my library travel time more efficient. The library is spread out over five floors and I spent most of my first two days running up and down the stairs as I found books that needed to be reshelved or pulled. (Another large chunk was spent wrestling with the printer...) Not only did I feel like I spent more time in the stairwell than among the shelves and residents or in my office, but I was wiped out after my first three hour shift! And the stairwell isn't air conditioned so I was pretty toasty by the end of my shifts.

After a long day running up and down the stair!
I'm going to be pretty tired at the end of this year, working both jobs and finishing up school, but it's going to be worth it!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Gainfully Employed!

Okay, so I already have gainful employment, but now I'm extra-gainfully-employed since I am officially the new University House Librarian!

I was offered the position yesterday! I start training in June and then I'm on my own in July until June 2014 working 8 hours a week. It's going to be a seriously busy year -- I'm not quitting my job at Nordstrom -- but I think this is going to be such a great experience. The community itself is lovely and all the people that I've met so far who live there have great stories to tell (one eloped while she was in college!) but I'm really going to get to do everything to keep  library functioning. Acquisitions, cataloging, weeding, maintenance, readership advisory, publicity, library committee...

I am SO excited. I have to clean my whole apartment before I start! (I might not have a whole lot of extra time for cleaning with a second job...) Clean home, fresh start, and it's finally starting to really look like Summer in gloomy Seattle! Today is good.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Post-Las Vegas Nap Needed

Just got home from my fantastic Las Vegas vacation! For now, I need a substantial nap, but be on the look out for gambling, con, and heist books!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Student Librarian Interview: Selections

Here are the four books that I decided to suggest for my student librarian interview on Thursday!

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Equipped with more lives than a cat, Ursula uses her numerous resurrections to defy destiny and possibly save mankind as World War II looms ever closer.

Harvest by Jim Crace
Harvest by Jim Crace

The morning after the harvest, two ominous columns of smoke and the unexpected visitors that accompany them disrupt the superficially idyllic life on a small English hamlet.

The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot
The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot

Actor Lyle Talbot's story as told by his daughter in this part-family memoir, part-social history vividly recreates the magic of cinema during the golden age of Hollywood.

Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm by Monte Reel
Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm by Monte Reel

Scientist and adventurer Paul Du Chaillu hunts the legendary gorilla for three years in the African jungles to fast track his career and unintentionally fuels the raging evolution debates.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Student Librarian Interview!

I have an interview coming up next week! That's right, an interview to be a REAL LIVE LIBRARIAN! I'm ridiculously excited. If I get the position, I'll be working 8 hours per week at a retirement community near the University of Washington as their house librarian. I'll be responsible for acquisitions, cataloging, readership advisory, shelving, weeding, creating presentations, and leading the library committee -- generally managing the 2,500+ volume reading library. I really want to go check out their library in person, but I'm not sure how they would feel about visitors not visiting their residents...

For part of my interview, I need to select four books for the library to consider purchasing, two fiction and two nonfiction. The books need to have been published within the past six months (November 2012 forward). I was given some demographic information (average age 88, military service, college degrees, etc.) about the residents as well as the library's acquisitions focus (critical acclaim, best sellers, large print, popular or local authors, etc.). I've been doing some looking around and I've started building up a list. I'll spend tomorrow and probably Sunday refining it, but as of 9:26pm on April 26th, this is what I've got. Not knowing what their library is like now is sure making this tough!

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Middle C by William H. Gass
All That Is by James Salter
Harvest by Jim Crace
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro (October 2012)
Snapper by Brian Kimberling (added to the list 4/28)
Daddy's Gone A Hunting by Mary Higgins Clark (added to the list 4/28)

The Entertainer by Margaret Talbot
Artful by Ali Smith
The Generals by Thomas E. Ricks (September 2012)
The Story of Ain't by David Skinner (October 2012! Augh!)
Between Man & Beast by Monte Reel (added to the list 4/27)

Maybe they'll even let me start/join a knitting circle. Books and knitting? All of my dreams fulfilled!

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell

Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell
Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell

Angry and ambitious, Jamalee wants out of her Ozarks trailer park and teams up with her beautiful brother and a hardboiled drifter to escape in this alternately humorous and heartbreaking country noir novel.

Venus Holler – the trailer park on the wrong side of the tracks in the Missouri Ozarks – is the sort of place where people live real fast and learn real slow.

Sammy rolls into town with a once-clean shirt and a couple of cassette tapes looking for somewhere or someone to call home – or at least find some cold beer and womanly comforts for a time, but a warm beer will do too.

Jamalee, a firecracker with hair to match, wants out of the trailer park, out of Missouri, out of the Midwest.

Jamalee’s brother, well, let’s just say if your ex had his lips, he wouldn’t be your ex.

All Jamalee needs to do is raise the cash to get clear of Venus Holler and she has a plan on how to do it. She just needs her brother to seduce the wealthy women in the town and those women have practically already done that for him. Then they’ll just collect the hush money and they’re set. There are just a few bumps in the road: getting paid is harder than Jamalee thought and her brother might rather prefer the company of men.

For the trio, there’s only one thing more dangerous than being ambitious and a loudmouth and that’s being gay in the Ozarks. 

Also by Daniel Woodrell:

Suggestions for further reading:

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

25 years after testifying that her brother slaughtered her mother and two sisters in a Satanic sacrifice, Libby Day finds herself reluctantly working with a group of fanatics to potentially prove his innocence.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Trekking across the unruly western frontier, two guns for hire bound by blood and possibly misguided loyalties hunt their next mark and their next paycheck.

Murder on Rouse Hill by Alan Terry Wright
Murder on Rouse Hill by Alan Terry Wright

This riveting Law and Order-paced historical reconstruction of 1915 Soutland, Missouri and the brutal, unsolved murder that took place there twines small town politics with a brilliant cast of characters ranging from busy bodies to defense attorneys to would-be lynch mobs.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Readership Advisory Session: Sally

About Sally:
Sally is a mid-twenties female library page in the Pacific Northwest, MLIS candidate, and self-described "book snob". She has an academic background in English literature and creative writing. Sally's boyfriend reads primarily memoirs and nonfiction, but she typically doesn't read nonfiction unless it's academic in nature.

Sally's Likes:
- Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
       - Has read all of J.D. Salinger
- Short stories by Karen Russell
       - Has read all of Karen Russell
       - Elastic realism used to illustrate a point rather than a literary gimmick
- Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
- Coming of age stories, especially about boys
- Graphic novels
- French Milk by Lucy Knisley
- Fiction

Sally's Dislikes:
- Nonfiction
- Genre fiction
       - Particularly romances and serial mysteries

Reading Suggestions:
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
1. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

This quirky and poignant love story of a middle-aged, old-fashioned immigrant and a young materialistic Korean-American is superimposed on a dystopian backdrop of a not-so-distant future America teetering on the precipice of economic disaster. Sally may appreciate this critically-acclaimed novel for its unusual characters, multi-layered plot, and satirical, offbeat humor.

Blankets by Craig Thompson
2. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Faith and first love motivate the introspective male protagonist in this critically-acclaimed, autobiographical graphic novel. Beautifully drawn and emotionally charged, Sally may enjoy reading this multidimensional coming of age story because of the male protagonist and depth of narration.

Dandelion Wine  by Ray Bradbury
3. Dandelion Wine  by Ray Bradbury

The summer of 1928 marks the last season of innocence for twelve-year-old Douglas. The simple pleasures and routines of small town life illicit nostalgia for the past and hints at the beginnings of disillusionment. This pre-coming-of-age story is suggested for Sally because of the young male protagonist and mythical elements that are used to support the metaphors in the stories.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith
4. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Unlikely friends, first and second chances at life, and kids growing up in an ethnically-diverse London neighborhood fill this multi-family, multi-generation award winning novel. The multiple coming-of-age stories and topical issues may appeal to Sally.

What would you have picked for Sally and why?

*This readership advisory transaction was a classroom exercise.
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