Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10 Fictional Characters

I was tagged to come up with 15 fictional characters who have had a great influence on my life. It was tough to really pull the 10 that I think were most influential. In general there are so many who have helped shaped me and my thoughts that I would need to say any book or character I encountered. However, I wouldn't have encountered any of these without the ability to read or the ability to go to my local library. I've noted the books in which I found the characters.

  1. Claudia (From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler)--The girl ran away to the metropolitan museum of art and figured out how to stay there!
  2. Sam Gribley (My Side of the Mountain) --A boy moves to the forest and lives in a tree off the land for 1 year. He survives.
  3. Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre)--She stands up for herself and then finds happiness where she least expected it.
  4. Dominique Francon (The Fountainhead)--She remains with me to this day. Something about how she handled herself.
  5. Brett (The Sun Also Rises)--Confidence
  6. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)-Strength of faith and belief in all things being good.
  7. James Qwilleran (The Cat Who Series)-writer, animal lover, mystery solver, living in a barn.
  8. Rebecca Sharp (Vanity Fair)--Reminder that climbing socially isn't everything and ultimately doesn't make you a better person.
  9. Jo March (Little Women)-She just stayed true to herself. It wasn't perfect and pretty just who she was for better or worse.
  10. Babar (The Babar Series)--he had friends in high and low places. He had the ability to think clearly, he opened a museum!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Latest on Libraries Reinventing Themselves

Great article in the LA Times today about how libraries are reinventing themselves into a community resource.
You can read it here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where to find inspiration

How do I pick the books I end up reading?
1. I love to go wander the stacks at the library to find something interesting to read. I judge the book based on dust cover, flap and if I know the author. Sometimes I am very surprised and sometimes I'm disappointed.

2. I have my lists of books to read. The Modern Library, The BBC List, and the list of books identified in any universities English 101 course.

3. I use the NY Times bestseller list as a source for new novels and mysteries.

4. Another great place is searching the blogs or websites or just googling book lists to see what other people have read recently, is on their summer reading list, or what is recommended. Interestingly I do not find Barnes and Noble, Borders or Amazon a good source of inspiration. It's almost as if they are too big and too diverse.
I was on the GOOP website today and found a summer reading recommendation post. You can find it here. Several interesting books to consider.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Library Ballot Measure

Get this on the ballot for March 2011




The proposed ballot measure would increase the Library’s Charter-mandated funding from .0125% to .0300%--effectively restoring the Library budget to its 2009 level and gradually restoring service to 6 days a week at the community branches and 7 days a week at the regional branches and Central Library.

If placed on the March 2011 ballot, this measure would require only a simple majority of the vote to pass and would result in no new taxes; it would reallocate a small portion of existing city funds to the Library.

City Council Votes on Library Ballot Measure
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 10:00am
Council Chambers, City Hall, 200 N Spring St., LA 90012,...

How Easy is That?

I "met" Ina Garten today. She was signing her newest book "how easy is that?" at the Santa Monica Williams-Sonoma. The book is fabulous. Lots of good basic easy and yummy recipes. I got into line at 1pm and had my book signed at 2:40pm. I left a bit disappointed.
While waiting in line, I took the time to process what I feel was poor management by Williams-Sonoma. Here are the ways I would have changed the process:
1. Have to book available to purchase in advance of the signing. There was a requirement that the book be purchased at that particular Williams Sonoma in order to get it signed. They did not have copies of the book until today.
2. If copy of the book must be purchased at the signing, make the line for purchasing the book only for purchasing the book and have it connected with the line to get it signed. Otherwise it gets tedious waiting in two lines. Very tedious.
3. If you are only going to have the signing for two hours, limit the number of people in line, make it be reservation or be willing to have the signing last longer than two hours. The assembly line signing doesn't make for a very enthusiastic reader. At least allow the purchaser 1 minute to say hello and have the book personalized.
4. Communicate and work with the surrounding shops that will be dealing with the line that snakes 2 blocks through prime retail area in Santa Monica. Encourage the people waiting in line to be courteous to the shops as well as encourage the shops to offer samples to the people waiting in line. Kiehl's (three blocks away) kept sending their employees down the street to offer samples to all the women waiting in line. I scored a few fun moisturizers. I also scored a free sample of Pinkberry. The Kiehl's shop and the Pinkberry shop were chock full of women with their Williams Sonoma bags with the book from Ina. The shop that wrote "KEEP CLEAR" on the sidewalk by their front door and the tables outside--WAS EMPTY.
5. Finally, I would have made sure to be highlighting items that could be purchased in conjunction with the book. This is gift season. I would have had a few of the items in the book made and offering samples. I also would have highlighted some towels or something from the book that was for sale. I would NOT have everyone who just spent $35 or higher and was waiting in line ushered in the back of the store and then promptly ushered out the front of the store. I would have liked to browse.

Okay so the book is great. The process not so much.
How Easy is That? Not Very

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Latest Library Visit

We returned everything that was due tomorrow when the library is closed for Veteran's Day. We came home with 14 books in total.
Subjects covered:
English Royalty
Vile Verses

We are still waiting on books for the grownup: Current wait list number 154 and 150 for "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" and "Never Let Me Go" respectively.

For the Kiddo:
1. Robots: Clive Gifford--Good descriptive book about all the different types of robots.
2. Skeleton: Steve Parker-One of the discovery series which breaks down all the different bones in bodies and how they are connected. It also covers exoskeltons.
3. Car, Richard Sutton--This one is all the different types of cars. Not as great as we hoped.
4. Ultimate X-men: Peter Sanderson--Superheros and amazing information.
5. You Read to Me and I'll Read to You; very short scary tales to tell each other: Mary Ann Hoberman--FANTASTIC
6. Vile Verses: Roald Dahl--All the poem and songs from his books in one book. Very enjoyable and fun.
7. Dear Mrs. LaRue, letters from obedience school: Mark Teague--fun book of letters written from a dog to his owner.
8. Frog and Toad are friends: Arnold Loebel--This is a beginning reader book. Short chapters, simple stories and the understanding of the progression of a book. AND it's Frog and Toad!

We also picked up three books for school about the autumn season, thankgiving and holidays in general.

For the grownup:
1. Unnatural Causes: P.D. James
2. Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, the queen's favourite: Ophelia Fields.
3. More about Boy, tales from childhood: Roald Dahl--Autobiography.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Her name is Field

We found out from a friend the name of our favorite librarian.
Her name is Field.
It's perfect. Wylie actually thought it was cool.

She is everything a librarian should be and the inspiration for Wylie.
She has long flowing hair that is curly and dark brown. She is slightly overweight but wears beautiful long skirts and long sleeved boat neck shirts and sweaters. Her voice is quiet but firm. You know when she laughs her whole face is part of that laugh. The kind that invites you to join.

She listens. She waits. She teaches. She does not judge. She remembers.
She encourages questions.
She smiles when questions are asked too loudly, too excitedly, and when asked repeatedly. Her instructions of quiet are not stern and punishing. They are explanatory and calm.

Field remembers each and every book that Wylie has read. She remembers his favorites. She tries to find new ones.
Field knows that while picture and first reader books are fun, Wylie wants the good stuff. He wants the information and long stories. She knows that if it's a good mix of diagrams, photos and story Wylie will eat it up.

The worst part...
She's on medical leave. We don't know when and if she is coming back.
There is no substitute.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So Excited for this book...

So I usually test out cookbooks from the library before committing to the purchase. Sometimes I find one I have to have and sometimes I find ones that only really have one recipe I might use a few times at best.

All of the above goes out the window when it comes to Ina Garten, better known as the Barefoot Contessa. I have been able to make, enjoy and alter ALL of her recipes. I love her style of writing and her simplicity in food.

So, why do you ask am I so excited...

She's signing her latest book "How Easy is That" at the Williams-Sonoma in Santa Monica on 11/11/10. I have the day off work and will be one of geeks lined up to get her signature and note in my book. I might even try to get a snapshot with her.

Then when I get home and have fully read the book cover to cover in secret in the car, I will hand it off to Wyatt to hold onto and wrap for me for Christmas.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Everything I know about Skeletons

Wylie wrote his first book this weekend.
So he "ghost" wrote it, in that he dictated to me and I wrote it.
He did sign the back of it and added stickers to illustrate it.
I'll post a photo soon.

It is titled "Everything I know about Skeletons"
It has about 7 pages
It has very interesting facts in it.

The first public reading was at TANS-November 1, 2010.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Back to PD James

I was reading PD James and then the next few books in the series were not available. I've found them again and will be checking a few out to read.
I've also been reading an Anne Perry book that was given to me at the pool by a woman who was finishing it up.
It's a Victorian England mystery!