E&B V : the State of the Blog Address

It's my fifth blog birthday, and I'm keeping the tradition a birthday post for Traditions sake.

In this time of my life, writing an "endings and beginnings" post seems superfluous with the annual *actual* birthday reflection, and any New Years Day thoughts I might have, that I've half a mind to abandon the tradition entirely. But then what would this blog be, if not for December 15th, and the annual marking of the passing of time? If I write no other day of the year (and I certainly hope that's not the case) I write on this day.

This year, my internet presence, (for good or for bad, you decide) took a decided turn away from the personal creative non-fiction writing life, to the book-blogger-bookstagram-professional-reader-of-books life. I mourn a little bit the loss of the habits I had of old of waxing eloquent on the meaning of paper snowflakes and painting vignettes of life with family.
 (2013 and 2014 were banner years for this kind of writing. Privately, I know the reasons why... and they smack of idealistic immaturity. Offer up with me an eye-roll to the ghost of Sarahs pasts. Thank you.)
Top Ten Tuesday meme posts and review round-ups just aren't quite the same material, but there is a happy little community I've found myself drawn into this year that self-indulgent musings doesn't allow for, and let's be honest here - sometimes you just need some friends.

I would not say that this blog has become a hard-core book blog by any stretch of the imagination. I don't have the TIME for that non-sense!
but if you're looking for that kind of thing, allow me to point you in the direction of Modern Mrs. Darcy (mostly mainstream adult literature) and Paper Fury (RAINBOW-Y YA GOODNESS and cake). My top two favorite book blogs.
Rather, by nature of my own personal reading goals, and my job (I'm a librarian. Remember?) I found myself reading more - just MORE. More variety, more challenging, more galleys, more "collection developmentally". And More leads to More, so when reading and spending time trolling goodreads and bookstagram hashtags, I inevitably added more to my to-be-read pile. Sometimes reading galleys (uncorrected proof copys from publishers) comes with a requested review. Sometimes those galleys come when you're part of an actual team and end up getting to meet the author and take selfies in her fabulous home library.
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Sometimes you're just so busy with the life and the storytimes and the reading that all you have time for is taking pictures, and that ends up being pretty great for the time being.

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Whatever this may be at the moment, Its all good. I kinda hope to bring a little more focused book action to season six of this little corner of the internet, but we'll be flexible, okay?

If you've read along with me this year. Thanks! You're a pal. I hope you'll stick around.
If you're reading on this blog for the very first time today, Thanks! you're also a pal. I hope you like enough to maybe stay awhile.

Here's to happy reading - and writing - times ahead!


year one
year two
year three
year four

Swing it, Sunny | The Library Girl Reads

Swing it, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Quick Refresher on the 2nd and 3rd of the 5 laws of Library Science as proposed by Ranganathan:
Every reader his / her book.
Every book its reader.

Swing it, Sunny has its readers I know. This middle grade graphic novel could be enjoyed by all, but i think it's only gonna hit home with a select few.
Sunny has your average middle school problems: picking a "cool" Halloween costume, taking care of younger siblings, and friends coming and going out of her life; but she is also dealing with the stress and family turmoil of having an older sibling that's dealing with substance abuse. This is where the book might lose some (like me when I was in middle school) and grab the hand of others and hold on tight. (I imagined my youngest sister the whole while I read this, wondering how she has dealt with our brother's absence during incarceration (not current) and struggle with alcohol.)
A good addition to your graphic novel collection

View all my reviews

feels like fall | a top ten tuesday post

I am 100% a situational reader. There are some books that I simply cannot read for no other reason than it happens to be 90 degrees outside. Case in point, Sarah J. Maas' third installment in the Court of Thorns and Roses series came out in May of this year, and I just COULD NOT get past the first few pages, because since I read the first two in the dead of winter, I couldn't get my mind place itself back in the world of Feyre and Rhysand. As a matter of fact, most fantasy requires cooler temperatures for my brain to process. I think it might have to do with the whole October thing I wrote about the other day. And of course, I always get a Harry Potter itch beginning the last week of July as we prepare for his birthday, and the start of a new Hogwarts term. (Like any true fan, and proper librarian, I observe those dates religiously.)

Today's TTT theme from the Broke and the Bookish being Books With Fall/Autumn Covers/Themes  I'm gonna throw my twist on it by presenting you all with seven books that give me all the fall-ish feels. *titles link to Goodreads*

  1. The Door by the Staircase  - Katherine Marsh. This middle grade book is deliciously halloween-y in the best sort of way. A riff of the Baba Yaga tales of Russian folklore. 
  2. The Awakening of Miss Prim - Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera - it MIGHT just be here because I first read it in the fall of last year, but Miss Prim is a very fall-ish/christmas-y book. I vacillate between the two, but will keep it here because I want everyone to read it. Its cozy and home-y and references Little Women. 
  3. The Gone Away Lake books - Elizabeth Enright - Fall is the season of nostalgia, thus, despite the fact that these books are summer adventures, they land squarely in my fall-ish books pile. I crave reading them out of nostalgia for some of the best reading years of my life (oh Sonlight!) but also because they are themselves full of nostalgia for a long gone time. 
  4. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeline L'Engle - I'm in a constant state of thinking "I should read Wrinkle etc. again" but that thinking intensifies in the fall. Her books, like fall, are Thin Places for me. 
  5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her own Making - Catherynne M. Valente - This fairy story cousin of Alice in Wonderland is here because how wonderful would it be if your name was September? 
  6. The Story Girl - L.M. Montgomery - because I love it, and this cover looks the way today feels. 

What are your favorite fall reads? Do they actually take place in fall, or are they just inexplicably linked to fall in your mind? Do you have trouble reading different books in certain seasons? I want to know! Let me know in the comments or link your own post! 

why I don’t have a boyfriend | a top ten Tuesday post

Ok, so maybe the title is a little facetious, but when I saw that today’s top ten Tuesday post from the lovelies at Broke and Bookish was “book boyfriends/girlfriends-characters you crush on” I couldn’t help myself.
So without further ado, I present here (in order of first reading of their books) 7 of my bookish crushes. 
  1. Prince Caspian - Prince Caspian.  And NOT the swarthy dark-haired Ben Barnes PC as in the Walden/Disney movie, but the fair haired telmarine that Lewis describes him as. To an 8-year-old who was scared of the attic crawl space hole above her bunk bed, imagining Prince Caspian fighting off monsters helped a lot.  His character only got better in the later books. 
  2. Little House on the Prairie - Mr. Edwards. The Tennessee wildcat that swam the river with a bundle of goodies to make sure the Ingalls girls got their presents from Santa is too perfect. I just tried to find some historical data on him.. and he’s probably an combination of a couple of different real life people the Ingalls’ encountered, and the TV show version does NOT do the book character justice, so I’m sticking with my mental image of this crazy 20 something homesteader who would do anything for a passel of kids. 
  3. Anne of Green Gables - Gilbert Blythe. Let be real here. This is my One True Love. If I were to pit all these fictional dudes against each other for my heart, Gilbert would win EVERY time. Do I need to explain why? He’s perfect. He’s supportive, fun-loving, perseverant, and loyal. 😍 
  4. Anne of Green Gables (the later books) - Walter Blythe. Poor lost Walter. The sensitive poet of Anne’s sons, he was always my favorite. When he dies in France during the Great War, I didn’t think I’d ever recover. That was probably the first time I truly mourned a fictional death. 
  5. Lord of the Rings - Faramir. Y’all, Faramir is the most under-appreciated book dude in all of history. And I’m NOT just talking about his Dad’s strange obsession with his elder brother. Boromir wasn’t all that anyway. Even Eowyn overlooks him for hottie Aragorn in the beginning... but thankfully she comes around. He just seems so faithful and gentle and strong. Just... can I have one please? 
  6. Mrs. Mike - Mike Flannigan. Rugged Irish Canadian Mountie. Need I say more?  Also, if you HAVEN'T read this book yet. Get thee to Amazon and buy yourself a copy.
  7. Jane Eyre - Mr. Rochester. OKAY SO I KNOW HE’S AWFUL, BUT THAT BROODING SOUL! Doesn’t look half bad as Michael Fassbender portrays him either. ;) 
Sorry dudes... there’s just a lot of fictional guys with really great qualities that I’m kinda hung up on at the moment... though, if you think you make ups a good combination of these , and are a nice Christian boy, leave me a comment! 😉 

I'm So Glad...

As I get older, I agree more and more with Anne of Green Gables every time October comes around. The first of October this year brought the first true fall weather in Tennessee, and I think its here to stay. The end of September is when my email inbox starts getting barraged with NaNoWriMo emails reminding me that October is prep month, but even before those arrived, one pseudo-fall Saturday morning brought with it the return of my fall inspiration. Are other people's muses tied to a particular season? Is Autumn the most common? I want to write in the fall. Its easier to hear the thoughts in my head when the air is cool and crisp. That doesn't mean it's easier to put words to the thoughts though.

Last month I picked up Stephen King's novella, The Body, having decided to give him a chance with something non-horror. I finished it this morning, and this passage has been resonating in my mind all day. For context: the whole narrative of The Body is written from the perspective a man writing down the events of one weekend with his three best friends when he was an adolescent.
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them—words shrink things that were in your head to more than living size when they are brought out. But, it's more than that isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure that your enemies would love to steal away. And you make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all or, why you thought that it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst I think. When a secret stays locked in not for want of teller but for want of understanding ear.”
― Stephen King, The Body

Do you get that? I do. And it "gets" me as well... right in the solar plexus. This is how it is to write for me -"words shrink things that were in your head to more than living size when they are brought out." This is how it is to talk about a book that won't let me go. (I will cry every time I talk about the Ainulindalë portion of the Silmarillion.) But this is also why I need to write. Those important things are the hardest to say, yet they beg, they long to be said. They seek incarnation as stories, as art, as music. And the writers, the artists, the music makers, they listen and try and fail and try again to give those thoughts a shape that might just live up to them.
After a long hot summer, the cool winds that come with October seem to blow away the sticky humidity in my brain, giving me the courage to try to put voice to my thoughts once again.

So, yes, Anne, I too am glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

p.s. No traditional NaNo for me this year, but I do have some projects forming. Wish me luck!