Archive for February, 2012

Did You Grow Up With the Berenstain Bears?

Posted February 28, 2012 By Jandy

We learned today that we’ve lost another great author – although we tend to forget her and her husband when we consider our favorite authors. I’ll admit I haven’t read any of their books in over 15 years.

Jan Berenstain died in Pennsylvania last week. My girls loved those books when they were little. I’m sure my granddaughters will soon be getting into them (the 6-year-old may already be reading them). The Berenstains wrote the books for over 50 years.

Thank you, Berenstains. You’ve left a legacy.

Reading Recommendations

Posted February 25, 2012 By Jandy

Today I finished reading a wonderful fantasy novel for tweens, The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet. The book was recommended by my online friend Lazygal. She’s a school librarian and reads a lot of children’s books for her job. She also is a voracious reader – reading even more than I do. I have to suggest her book review blog, Killin’ Time Reading. She picks up a lot of Advanced Reading Copies when she’s at the American Library Association conferences. Her blog is a good way to keep up with what’s new, especially in children’s literature.

As a final note, you’ll like The Cabinet of Earths.

Stupid Hackers

Posted February 20, 2012 By Jandy

Today I wrote the post about the Nebula Awards. Then I looked at the blog to see how it appeared. Someone had hacked into my blog template and added advertisements like watermarks throughout the whole blog page.


I went to the original template html and tried to remove it, but removed too much. Rather than fight with it, I just changed to a simple Google template for now. Since I’ll be moving the blog over to my new website once I get all the pages converted and set up, I couldn’t see putting too much time into it now.

As you know, it’s not that often I get into my blog two days in a row. But this time I did. The spam ads weren’t there yesterday.

And yes, it’s obviously time I changed my password…

Nebula Awards Nominations 2011

Posted February 20, 2012 By Jandy

Now I’m back to a normal reading year. The Nebula Award nominations for 2011 have been announced. I haven’t read any of the books and stories listed. I’ve only seen one of the dramatic shows listed. I’m sure some of these will end up on Mt. Bookpile.

Check out the Science Fiction Writers of America announcement.

Reading Woes

Posted February 19, 2012 By Jandy

Haruki Murakami, a Japanese author, writes odd books that pull me in. His writing style and concepts are hard to describe. He looks at the current world and gives it an odd twist, leaving it almost the way it was, but not quite. Then he add a fantastical element that sounds plausible as if we could see it out of the corner of our eye.

His latest book, 1Q84, is in keeping with his other work that I’ve read. This book is over 900 pages. Murakami’s work is not quick reading, although it’s not difficult, either. Since it just came out a few months ago, the demand for it from the library is high.

I put myself on the list knowing I would have a wait. My turn came up when I was reading a promised advance copy novel (So Damn Lucky) and had to start my February book club novel (The Shipping News). I was allowed to have it three weeks before it was due.

I was able to start it a couple days later. Like I mentioned, it’s not a quick read. When I had less than a week left, I still had over a third of the book to read.

I was sitting in the dentist’s chair last week waiting for the cement to harden on my crown. I picked up the book and started reading. It had just gotten to a critical explanation that is a focal point of the book. I read the beginning of the explanation on the left page, then moved my eyes to the top of the right page. Suddenly I was in the middle of a conversation. What? I was confused.

I looked at the bottom of the left page. The last sentence hadn’t finished yet. But the top of the right didn’t follow. I noticed the speaker hadn’t been in the scene I had been reading on the left page. Then I noticed the page numbers. Thirty pages (15 pieces of paper) were missing. It looks like they weren’t bound in the book. I flipped around hoping that two sections were mixed up. No, I couldn’t find the missing pages. I closed 1Q84 in frustration. The library waiting list is still long.

Yesterday I returned the book in person (rather than the normal book drop) and pointed out the problem. The librarian was apologetic (it wasn’t his fault). Then he pulled up the hold list for the book. Over 100 people are waiting for it. He added me back on the list, then moved my name to the top because I had already had the book and had waited my turn.

It now is a win for me. I am able to read The Shipping News before Tuesday night, and will have another three weeks to finish 1Q84. I was afraid I’d have to return it unfinished and wait six months to get it again. Now I have time to keep up, then get it back and finish it without having to keep it longer and pay a fine.

It’s an odd story. I really want to see where Murakami is going with it.

Reading Lists and Websites

Posted February 9, 2012 By Jandy

I love the “best of” or “my favorite” reading lists. I’ve connected to others in this blog, like the NPR lists, or lists from the Library Journal, or specific sites that people have created. I know I can’t read everything on those lists because I read so much that’s not on those lists as well. Even so, I can’t resist them.

Today I followed a tweet to David Brin’s blog. He has a number of “best of” lists. David Brin’s List of “Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy Tales” blog entry covers numerous sub sections of the science fiction and fantasy world. Of course I read it through. Yes, there are many I’ve read, many on Mt. Bookpile, and a good number I hadn’t heard of, let alone read.

Then I followed another link that is on Brin’s blog. I’m sunk now. The site is Best SF Books. Yep, lists of author’s favorites, award winners, and more list types that I haven’t discovered yet. Of their top ten choices for last year, I’ve read one (William Gibson’s Zero History) and have one or two on Mt. Bookpile.

My new mantra should be “Stay out of this site. Stay out of this site. You’ll never read the books if you’re buried in the site. Stay out of this site. Stay out of this site.”

As to my website conversion… Obviously 6 months was way too optimistic. I’m working on it, and over 3/4 of the pages are now converted from the current format to the new one. Once they’re converted, I’ll still need to work with the designer to get the site to work the way I want. There are times when we all take on huge projects, then wonder why. This is one of those…