Archive for June, 2009

50% Budget Cuts?

Posted June 29, 2009 By Jandy

The Governor of Ohio announced that over the next couple years the public libraries in that state will be losing about 50% of their state funding. Many of the libraries in that state only have that money as their revenue. According to the Governor, the cuts need to be made there to maintain vital funding for other areas such as senior assistance and children’s services. I agree those are valuable services. But if the library funds are cut in half, some will close. Those same two age groups rely on the libraries for assistance.

I haven’t lived in Ohio for many years, but still have family there. I know most of them keep their local libraries busy. There’s a big push on in the state right now to get that changed by the time the budget is finalized tomorrow. Check it out, especially if you live in Ohio. Save Ohio Libraries

If it happens there, how long before it happens where you live?

I Love My Job

Posted June 29, 2009 By Jandy

Someone was in here a few minutes ago needing some specific information. Most of my work is done via email or the telephone, not so much in person. Our patrons/customers/library users (whatever – the lingo keeps changing) are spread around the country. But one of the people in the office needed help. I was able to hand her what she wanted and show her how a lot of what she needed was in one of the books. She walked out with an armload of sources and extremely happy. I love my job.

How To Hook a Reader

Posted June 24, 2009 By Jandy

“Chapter 1

“Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. It is a lurid piece of nonsense, convoluted, implausible, peopled by unconvincing characters, written in drearily pedestrian prose, frequently ridiculous and wilfully bizarre. Needless to say, I doubt you’ll believe a word of it.

“Yet I cannot be held wholly accountable for its failings. I have good reason for presenting you with so sensational and unlikely an account.

“It is all true. Every word of what follows actually happened, and I am merely the journalist, the humble Boswell, who has set it down. You’ll have realised by now that I am new to this business of storytelling, that I lack the skill of an expert, that I am without any ability to enthral the reader, to beguile with narrative tricks or charm with sleight of hand.

“But I can promise you three things: to relate events in their neatest and most appropriate order; to omit nothing I consider significant; and to be a sfrank and free with you as I am able.

“I must ask you in return to show some little understanding for a man come late in life to tale-telling, an artless dilettante who, on dipping his toes into the shallows of a story, hopes only that he will not needlessly embarrass himself.

“One final thing, one final warning: in the spirit of fair play, I ought to admit that I shall have reason to tell you more than one direct lie.

“What, then, should you believe? How will you distinguish truth from fiction?

“Naturally, I leave that to your discretion.

“Chapter 2…”

The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes

Edward Cullen Meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Posted June 23, 2009 By Jandy

Twilight is a huge phenomenon right now. I discovered the books before I knew their popularity, and have recommended them myself. Since the movie, Edward, the main vampire, has become a heart throb, a hottie, sweetheart, or whatever the current term is.

Back in the day (ten years ago) I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy’s mission was to kill vamps. Both the early television show and movie were campy fun although the television show later took itself way too seriously.

Someone finally took the two – the Twilight movie and the Buffy tv show, and mashed them together. It’s a hoot.

(Speaking of Buffy, the reason I started watching Bones on television was because of David Boreanaz…)

Word Picture

Posted June 22, 2009 By Jandy

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates“At first glance, all the upper floors of the Knox Building looked alike. Each was a big open room, ablaze with fluorescent ceiling lights, that had been divided into a maze of aisles and cubicles by shoulder-high partitions. The upper panels of these dividers, waist to shoulder, were made of thick unframed plate glass that was slightly corrugated to achieve a blue-white semi-transparency; and the overall effect of this…was that of the wide indoor lake in which swimmers far and near were moving, some making steady headway, some treading water, others seen in the act of breaking to the surface or going under, and many submerged, their faces loosened into wavering pink blurs as they drowned at their desks.”

From Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

If you’ve ever worked in a cubicle farm, or looked over one while it’s in action, you can see how apt this description is.

Duh! Headlines

Posted June 15, 2009 By Jandy

Childhood: TV Reduces Adult-Child Conversations

Of course it does. To give the article its due, it mentions that’s true even if no one is watching the TV – it just has to be on in the background to make the difference.

Noteworthy Quote

Posted June 10, 2009 By Jandy

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough“…let me tell you something. Inside this stupid body I’m still young — I still feel, I still want, I still dream, I still kick up my heels and chafe at restrictions like my body.”

Said by 72-year-old Mary Carson in The Thorn Birds. When he was around 82 or 83 my grandfather said he still felt like he was 25.

2009 Hugo Award Nominations Announced

Posted June 9, 2009 By Jandy

Hugo AwardsI think I’ve only read one book on the list – Anathem by Neal Stephenson.

Check out the nominations.

When Is a Library Not a Library?

Posted June 8, 2009 By Jandy

When it’s the Huntington Library – then it’s a whole lot more.

A group of us from my book club drove up to visit the Huntington on Saturday. I didn’t realize how extensive it was and what all it includes despite the descriptions I had heard about it.

It has over 200 acres and much of those have been turned over to botanical gardens. We wandered through about half of them before we turned our attention to the museums. According to their site it takes over 40 gardeners and 100 volunteers to maintain those gardens. That doesn’t surprise me as I look at all the photos I took of them.

They have two art museums – one devoted to American artists and one to European artists. Gainsborough’s Blue Boy is there, as well as Pinkie by Thomas Lawrence, the young girl portrait often shown by Blue Boy. My favorite traditional piece is in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art – Newport Lighthouse by Albert Bierstadt (see my photo above) – at least for this trip.

Then there is the Library – with its rare manuscripts (including a Gutenberg Bible and an early edition of Canterbury Tales) and documents. I read a little about the man who may have taught Johannes Gutenberg, Laurens Janszoon Coster. Some claim he set moveable type and Gutenberg learned the idea from him. Perhaps, but Gutenberg is the one who made it famous.

There was too much to see in one day. The Huntington will definitely require more visits.

Turn Coat

Posted June 3, 2009 By Jandy

Turn Coat by Jim ButcherDo you read the Dresden File novels by Jim Butcher? I blogged last year when he was here to sign Small Favor. I made sure I got up to Mysterious Galaxy again this year when he and his wife Shannon Butcher came for talking and signing.

I read Turn Coat over the weekend. You can tell Butcher is in the middle of the arc of his overall storyline. The action is non-stop in this book. Harry Dresden keeps biting off more than he can chew and still manages to swallow and digest it. This time he is protecting his enemy, Warden Morgan, from the White Council of Wizards. Harry is sure Morgan was framed. But proving that and unmasking a trator isn’t going to be easy.

Jim Butcher has excited me once again with this book. I started off slow, then couldn’t put it down (even though I had to so I could sleep and go to work). My biggest problem was it finished too soon (and not soon enough if you understand what I mean – I kept wanting to know what was next?) and the next book isn’t going to be out until next year. He gave us a teaser about the next Dresden book – “(—) was on my doorstep with a small girl. ‘This is our daughter.’ she said.”

Reading Oddities

Posted June 2, 2009 By Jandy

I’Mouth to Mouth by Erin McCarthyve been concentrating on reading books for the 999 challenge, so books are often chosen for their title, when they were published, or whatever. I picked up a chick lit romance that features a deaf woman in this cute potboiler – Mouth to Mouth by Erin McCarthy. I found an audio book to “read” in the car. It’s a story of a spunky orphan taken in by some elderly sisters in 1909. The deaf housekeeper has a key role in A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz.

Hmmm, the reading oddities. I can’t remember how long it’s been since a deaf character showed up in one of my novels, let alone had a major role. Once again, the universe comes together in strange ways…