Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Passover Menu

I'm home sick today and to pass the time I'm trying to come up with a menu for Passover. My mom's letting me cook and I'm excited. So far I think I want to make this cake for dessert. I wanted make a tofurkey but that's not kosher for passover so I will have to think of something else vegetarian. Other menu items I'm considering at the moment: baked stuffed zucchini and mock chopped "liver." If anyone has any other vegetarian ideas let me know.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


44 kids at this afternoon's story time. Our biggest group yet. Yay! Now I am going to go collapse.

Various things on my mind...

1. Pics of the cast from the Twilight movie are up on Stephanie Meyer's website. I'm sorry but looking at those pictures made me giggle. For some reason, reading about a family of sparkling vampires is much less silly than looking at pictures of them.

2. Thanks to Bookshelves of Doom I have found my dream house. Check out the staircase/bookcase. Yum.

3. In local news the penguins are starting trouble again. But at least they have people standing up for them though. School Board Vice Chairman John Stevens said in a written statement “Parents determine what is appropriate for their own children and how to guide their children as they learn and grow,” and that “The schools should not be an instrument of censorship."

Ah. So there are some sane people on school boards!

4. I just finished reading Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin and Extras by Scott Westerfeld. Loved Memoirs. Didn't care for Extras. Zevin writes teenagers really well and Memoirs reminded a lot of the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCaffrey. Extras was a whole lot of superficial characters riding around on hover boards. It was like one very long Quiddich match. I know some kids like that sort of thing but I was never that kind of reader.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Women and Fear

I have been thinking about fear lately. I just finished reading The Terror Dream by Susan Faludi and then there was an article in BUST by Michelle Dobrovolny about women, fear, and solo travel. So it’s been on my mind a lot. Then, as I was leaving the library last night a youngish guy stops me and asks me why I’m leaving so early. I’m confused but not really wary because I figured that he was just wondering if the library was closing soon. But no, it was my schedule he wanted to know about. He said he thought I always closed on Mondays. That’s when I started feeling a bit sketched out. But I thought about the Bust article and how I didn’t want to be fearful when there really wasn’t any danger so I just made a joke about not being willing to work 16 hour days and headed out to my car. Well, this dude followed me asking me where I lived. I said DC. At this point I was at my car in the parking lot and I was getting a bit nervous. The dude asked what I was up to after work. I said I was off to the gym, wished him a goodnight and hopped in my car. No harm done. But could there have been? As I sat in my car I realized that I had no idea if my fear was warranted in that situation or not. Obviously, the dude wasn’t planning on attacking me or he would have done so in the parking lot. Was it fair of me to assume he was an aggressor when he was just being friendly? Was it right for me to be afraid or was I falling prey to a big myth?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

Fourteen year old Sym is obsessed with the Antarctic and Capatin Oates of the failed Scott expedition to the South Pole. She has even created an imaginary friend of sorts out of Oates and confides her feeling to him. When Sym's equally obsessed Uncle (really a kind family friend) takes her on a trip to the Antartic or "The Ice" as they like to call it, it seems like a dream come true. But quickly it turns into a nightmare as Sym realizes her Uncle's intentions are not so kindly after all.

I can say this: the writing is very very good. But, vivid descriptions of the deadly cold, horrific pain, and frostbitten skin did not appeal to me. Ad it's a pretty long book so there was a lot of frostbitten skin! Nor did I like the main charater, Sym. I kept waiting for her to do something heroic, or at least a bit smart. But no, she just seems to bumble her way through survival relying on the paternalistic voice of a dead exploer that only she can hear. I didn't want this old dead guy to be saving Sym, I wanted Sym to do something to save herself. A review on goodreads compared her to Bella from Twilight and she is. But I don't much care for Bella either! Anyway, it's the 2008 Printz winner. So I guess I'm in the minority here, but I was disappointed.

The fact that it won the Printz made me wonder if there's any requiremet of "teen appeal" for the award. I know that's not actually a factor in the Caldecott and Newbery but I thought the Printz was different. So I looked it up and sure enough the website says:
"We hope the award will have a wide AUDIENCE among readers from 12 to 18 but POPULARITY is not the criterion for this award. "
Which is fine. These are literary awards after all. But I do wonder how many parents and educators realize that. Just because a book wins the Newbery or the Printz, that doesn't mean kids will be racing to read it like a new installation of Harry Potter!