Saturday, February 28, 2009

First week impressions...

The new job is going really well so far. Cherry Hill has such a beautiful library. It's huge and nice and new. The whole top floor is reserved for youth services and there's a giant story and craft room. Plus, I love that I get to do collection development again. I've really missed that part of being a librarian since my last job centralized the whole process. There's just something really fun about buying books.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm sensing a theme here...

2009 may be the year of the dead best-friend. Dear friends of mine, please don't worry. I'm not planning on offing anyone! I love you all and want you all safe and sound. I'm merely speaking of a pattern I'm seeing in the world of YA publishing. I just finished Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and this is the third book I've read this month about a self-destructing girl with a tragically dead best-friend. First there was You Know Where to Find Me and after that, Love You Hate You Miss You.

I find this theme troublesome. I know that self-destruction has teen-appeal. I remember my friends and I passing Go Ask Alice around in middle school. I'm glad that these books are at least better written and less sensational than Go Ask Alice. Still, I'm much more at ease with Frankie Landau-Banks style narcissism than I am with these pill-popping cutters. I worry that if the plots of these three books are so similar, is the message being sent that all teen girls are ticking suicidal time bombs? This is not really a new thing though. There have always been books like this. Maybe I've just managed to coincidentally pick up three in a row. I think the rest of my ARC pile is historical fiction and fantasy though. So hopefully there will be no more dead girls for a while.

Monday, February 09, 2009


I just finished Need by Carrie Jones and I wish I hadn't bothered. It's a poorly written rip off of Wicked Lovely. Bah.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The reviews are coming in for Coraline

There's a review up over on Slate. I am cautious. I'll have to see it before I make any judgments but this worries me:
It's impossible to get into just why and how Coraline's last third falls apart without giving away too much of the story. But it's not revealing to say that Coraline's enchantment with the alternate universe needed a more gradual rate of decay for the shift to be convincing.
I was discussing with Josh about this earlier. I said that the previews made me think that Coraline's initial foray into the Other Mother's world is too pleasant in the movie. Josh argued that that's true to the book; Coraline likes it there at first. I don't know. I felt like from the very beginning, the Other Mother's universe was slightly threatening and sinister. I guess that speaks to the genius that is Neil Gaiman. He manages to create a world that is both delightful and full of unease.

Can you tell I'm ecstatic he won the Newbery?

Sometimes I miss Miami

But today I'm left shaking my head over the ongoing battle between the school board and the courts over Vamos a Cuba.

This article is interesting because it points out several of the passages that opponents of the book object to. Some of the points seem validly inaccurate. For example:
A page that describes paintings on rocks in a Cuban valley, which the book says were ''made by people who lived in Cuba about 1,000 years ago.'' Opponents said the paintings were made in the 1960s.
Others seem, well, nit picky.
A section on food mentions white rice as the most common food and arroz con pollo as a favorite dish, but does not discuss Cuba's shortages and strict rationing.
I'm ambivalent about the book's value. No, what worries me is something else. Do you know how much has been spent on this legal battle? Over $250,000!

I'm on the YALSA Intellectual Freedom committee. Our committee is presenting a program at ALA's Annual Conference in Chicago titled "Walk the Line: The Fine Line Between Selection and Censorship." So, I've been thinking a lot about the difference between selection and self-censorship and I think the thing about self-censorship is that it comes from a place of fear. And it's really easy to say that everyone should just be fearless and not worry but $250,000 is a lot of money to spend over one book. This has become a battle between organizations with major cash flow. Librarians still lose their jobs defending intellectual freedom. It does happen. There are scary groups out there with lots of money behind them. They can afford prolonged legal battles. So for me being on the IF committee is about all fighting that fear while at the same time making sure people are aware that there is reason to be afraid!

City of Glass

I'm forcing myself to put down City of Glass for just a moment to post about it. OK, I'm on the epilogue so really I'm done but I couldn't put it down before. Even if the plot is predictable, even if the snappy dialogue sometimes makes me roll my eyes, this book is totally addictive. If nothing else, Cassandra Clare has got pacing down pat. I don't care that this is total wish fulfillment. I don't want to stop.

And now I must get back to that epilogue...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

What I'm doing with my last few days of free time...

is making my way through all the ARCs I brought back from ALA midwinter. So far I've finished a collection called Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr and You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn and I'm starting City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. I was thinking about re-posting my Goodreads reviews up on this blog but that's kind of repetitive and I can sum up my thoughts in just a few sentences. Geektastic was a little uneven but overall AWESOME. Highly recommeded for anyone who is a self-described geek, which is most everyone I know. Fragile Eternity was a great set up for the next book but not a very good stand alone novel. You Know Where to Find Me was neither as heart breaking nor as good as I hoped it would be. But it wasn't bad. Just not remarkable. I think City of Glass will be a fun read though. Cassandra Clare isn't the most brilliant writer I've ever read but this series is addictive. Then, after this it's either the new E. Lockhart or Need by Carrie Jones. And I have a whole giant box of books still in the mail. I better get busy!

New Job!

All that finger crossing paid off because I got the job! Yay for being a full-time employed children's librarian!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Stephen King, you better watch your back

I am worried that you may be jumped in an alley by an angry gang of 15 year old girls and their mothers for this.