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!

Reading People | The Library Girl Reviews

Reading People  by Anne Bogel 
Published by Baker Books
Genre: Self-Help/Personality
Source: Netgalley (through publisher's launch team)* 

Hi,  my name is Sarah, and I'm a personality fiend. Today, I have the privilege of introducing you all to a really great new book - Reading People by Anne Bogel. I'm just another stop on a blog tour this book is making the rounds on pre-release, and am excited to share it with y'all!

For those of you who *don't* know Anne... she runs this awesome little blog called Modern Mrs. Darcy, where she practices the art of literary matchmaking - among other cool, bookish things.

Reading People spawns out of another one of her loves: personality frameworks. This concise little book does wonderful job of presenting some of the most common and popular personality frameworks out there right now, from the ever popular Myers-Briggs Type Inventory to the Enneagram to even the basics of Introversion/Extroversion. Sharing insights from her own journey to figure out how *she* ticks, Anne gives an outline of these frameworks, as well as tools and tips for assessing yourself, and putting that new found information about your personality to work for you.

I finished reading my galley copy on the plane home from Boston earlier this month, and spent a good amount of flight time swiping back and forth  between the Myers-Briggs and Type Functions chapters, analyzing myself.  I used to type INTJ when taking the various freebie online type inventories. But I've had my doubts on that of late, and I think I resolved them that trip. That highly analytical, Sherlockian, "T" is not me. Anne pairs the types with characters from books (of COURSE she does...) and  Mr. Darcy is an INTJ in her estimation. I love Mr. Darcy, as we all do. I probably would be fine with marrying an INTJ. But I much more identify with the "tireless idealist" of INFJ (Atticus Finch, by Anne's reckoning). I think my past three years of work in libraries have brought that into sharp focus in me.    --- Anecdotally, when I got home from that trip I was eager to try typing my roommate, Meghan. She had gotten ENFJ on an online test but also, wasn't sure. So I was reading down the function stacks, and she was all pretty much in agreement with what they were saying, but not really getting any AHA! moments. UNTIL.... I told her that Anne puts Emma Woodhouse as an ENFJ. Her face lit up and she exclaimed "YAS. That girl GETS me." So yes. She's an ENFJ.

This book is a great jumping off point if you're interested in personality theory, but don't really know where to start... if you've seen "the types as" posts on pinterest and wonder which jumble of letters you really are... or if you're really into the softcore personality tests of Buzzfeed (Do YOU know what type of cheese you are?) Reading People will help you navigate the wide, wide world of personality frameworks, and help you get started.

Do you think typing your personality is a little wierd and out-there? Or maybe you're afraid of being put in a box. Perhaps what I most admire about Anne's approach to personality frameworks is that she recognizes that we as humans are dynamic, and as the title of the last chapter says, "Your personality is not your destiny".  AMEN.

The book comes out September 19th, but you can pre-order it now. Just check out the book's website: Readingpeoplebook.com . If you DO preorder, Anne is throwing in a bonus audio version, and access to her Reading Personalities class!
While you're over there, take the reading personalities test. Its GREAT, and you'll even get an emailed list of recommended reads for your personality! I'm the Explorer. But that's another post for another day. (I promise) :D

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts. This does not influence my review in the slightest.
Thanks Baker Books, and THANK YOU, Anne! <3

I'm Sold! | Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read a Book

I keep thinking, "Man, one of these days I'm actually gonna get my act together, and hop on board the Top Ten Tuesday Train" but I usually end up forgetting to check the theme for the week, or just getting busy and if just doesn't happen. :p
~Such is my life.~  

But today, you're in a for a special treat! (and by you I mean me, because I'm the one who really cares here.) Today, I not only have gotten my act together, but the theme is great.. and something I was just discussing off hand with my sister the other day. 
I don't know about you, but there are somethings that when thrown into a book description, will make my brain turn off all other thought process, and start screaming, MUST READ NOW. 
I mean, its basically just : 

Now, once I start reading the book, I'm often times sorely disappointed, but that doesn't keep me from repeating the process over and over again.

So, for all those publishing house marketers out there that are just trolling book blogs for new ideas to mass market, here's a free list of keywords, ideas, and general stuff that will get me to buy your books. 

1. Help! I'm Trapped in a Video Game! 
This was the one I was discussing with my sister the other day. I'm pretty sure it all stems back to this on Adventures in Odyssey episode where two kids get to play their favorite video game in the Room of Consequences, (which, now that I'm thinking about it, is totally just a fully immersive VR experience... I knew Eugene and Mr. Whittaker were ahead of their time!) and end up getting trapped and learning an important lesson about using time wisely (and video game addiction.) The lesson clearly went over my head, because all I took from it was how freakin' awesome the scenario was. Enter books like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and You by Austin Grossman, and you have one captive audience in yours truly. 

2.Letters, Email, Texts: Narrative through passed notes and grocery lists
There is nothing more exciting than getting a letter in the mail. Nothing more romantic than the sound of AOL's standard "you've got mail" notification. No character study more fascinating than a fictional grocery list. That being said, if a book heavily features letters etc. more than straight up prose narrative, I'm there.
Bonus points if the book features a well designed graphic format, extra bonus points if it includes modern technology. Even MORE bonus points if the writing is plausible to the medium portrayed. (I want a letter to sound like a letter, not like a super polished piece of writing with "Dear {blank} Love, {blank}" bookending it.)
The Klise Sisters first got me hooked on this format when I was small, and are still my measuring stick in this department. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Attachments, and Rosie Dunne have been notables I've read as an adult
3.Jane Austen anything
This is the category I end up regretting the most, because most authors think they can take up Mr. Darcy and run with him and change thing and generally ruin a perfectly good satire of manners with just generally NOT getting the heart of Austen. But I will still give these books a chance... hopeful that this time, maybe, just maybe they haven't bungled things again. Austenland by Shannon Hale is the only one I haven't regretted terribly. and I am just now realizing there is a sequel! excuse me while I get myself to the library! 

5.NYC (just got here this morning. Three bucks! Two bags! One ME!)
This is a recent category for me, one that I blame 200% on Lin Manuel Miranda. I find in myself a burning need to experience life in NYC, though I live in Tennessee. I mean, I want to see the GWB from my front steps. I want FRONT STEPS as only brownstones have. I want to see Pizza Rat as I walk to the subway. I want walk past the dying bodegas and be sad about them dying, and remember when they were vibrantly alive. So I've been gravitating toward the earthiest NYC stories I can find. Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk was the best so far. 

6.Adulting is Hard
Clearly, I seek these books out as a mirror, so I can see my own life stage reflected back at me (I'm a librarian... this is how we talk). I like reading about twenty somethings moving to New York (yes... these categories often overlap) getting publishing jobs and trying to survive. I don't like reading about friends getting married, and having babies while main characters stay put and get depressed about it, yet somehow I end up there anyway. That's like a big magnifying mirror in which your pores look like moon-craters. Come to think of it, MOST of books on this theme make me depressed. Why do I read them? 

7.Funny Girls on the TV
If you have been on my favorite TV shows or movies and write a book about your life, Im gonna snatch that book up so fast. I want to know every thing about you and whether or not you like Mac and Cheese and if we could be BFFs. (I'm looking at you, Anna Kendrick). But this only applies if YOU actually wrote the book. If you hired a ghost writer, I don't want to talk to you. 

No really it is. Google and Facebook will join forces and take over the world! and if that doesn't happen, some upstart, startup millennial app company is going take over the economy! and if that doesn't happen, you're going to accidentally like your ex's photo from five years ago on instagram! Who needs thrillers when any of that could happen? If there's social media involved, I'm in.

9.Geek Life
people being unironically enthusiastic about the stuff they love? call it geekery, call it fandom, call it what you will. If it features extreme introversion, cosplay, fanfic, the works, I'm sold. put that book in my hot little hands. Also applies if the author is, in general, recognized as a certified Geek(tm). Here's my favorite:

10.I'm just a tender little bookshop, and my life is in peril!
Books about loving books. That's the true book lover's draw. I just want to crawl in to these books and live in their dusty messy bookshops! Even better if its a book shop about to meet it's demise. Has someone written a book based on the plot of You've Got Mail yet? cause I'd read the heck out of that. Let me know... Or maybe I should just do it! 

What about you? What are your MUST READ NOW topics? Let me know in the comments! also, if you know any books that fit these categories...please let me know. I always need recommendations! 

What I've been Reading Lately | April

This, y'all, is why I shouldn't have coffee on Sunday night.
Actual screenshot of my phone just now
I ain't even beginning to be tired.

So, I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy in her Quick Lit style, A.K.A., short and sweet and super current (to me at least!) reads.  This month I've been reading an international YA book (for the last two weeks it seems), a quick biography, a second helping of a recent book club number, and starting in on a Book of the Month Club pick (which I didn't actually get from BOTM, because BUDGETS). So here we go!

Lucy and Linh

This was one of those window books for me, allowing me to see into a couple vastly different worlds than my own, exploring race/immigrant relations in a completely different setting (Australia), being from an Asian family and the cultural expectations that are different in many ways from what I experienced growing up, and elite private school culture (and all the nastiness that can dwell there. ick. #happyhomeschooler)

Wishful Drinking

This was totally a last minute grab off the biography spinner on a random and spontaneous saturday jaunt by the North Branch library... and it may have been influence by the fact that I wept at my desk Friday over a video tribute to Carrie Fisher at the Star Wars Gala this past week
I read it all today. It's really a quick read, and hysterically funny, but oh so darkly self-aware.  Sad, really. 100% would recommend if you're still in mourning over her death.  #drownedinmoonlightstrangledbyherbra

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming

gahhhh... what this book has done to me.... Tracie, I simultaneously thank you, and will never forgive you for introducing me to this book.  Its interesting to see what one book like this will mean to half a dozen different ladies in a book club. Can we do a personality study based on reactions and thought processes in regards to certain books? Starting with this one please? I'm still working through thoughts this one stirred up, and they aren't even about cancer, dying or small town living. 

All Grown Up

I just started this book, so this is not a review as much as a commentary on my book-picker as it's been wired of late. 
I seem to keep picking out books that feature
a.) 30-somethings.
b.) single people.

I dunno dude, I dunno. 

Anyhow... looking forward to getting into it. 

So, there you have it! 

The Library Girl Speaks Out | Budget Cuts

I won't often talk politics in public, mainly because I don't consider my knowledge broad, nor complete enough to hold a valid opinion on many issues without making a fool of myself. But with the Trump administration's recent budget proposal, I find myself not only moderately qualified to speak to this situation, but compelled to, out of dedication to the work that is my passion, and my mission.
 The Trump administration has proposed completely cutting out funding for the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), without which, communities with libraries like my own will suffer. 

Federal monies buy many of our books, and most of our computers. On any given day, I can guarantee that you can find at least one person job searching from our computers, and at least one person working on finishing up their college education, not to mention the hordes of kids who can access free preschool curriculum through ABC Mouse. Those people depend on us because they don't have a computer of their own, or they don't have access to affordable internet. (Which is an issue for another day) Cut the IMLS, and you take away those avenues for growth and self betterment. Here's a thought for you, Mr. President - The more access people have to libraries, the sooner they can get jobs. When they get jobs, the sooner they'll be able to to be independent of government aid.

 But, that's not all! (oh, did you think I was done? I'm only just warming up. Get comfortable y'all.) The National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) is also on the chopping block. Do you know what they fund? Let's just get local here. Humanities Tennessee -- the organizer and sponsor of Nashville's weekend of beauty, the Southern Festival of Books (SFB). Okay, Sarah, you say, we know you love books, but the SFB isn't a necessity to Tennesseans in the same way libraries with computers are. How is this important? 
I'm so glad you asked.
 You see the word "Humanities"? yeah? okay, take off the "-ities" part of the word. What do you have left? Human. To quote my favorite author:
 "Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving." - Madeliene L'Engle 
what's that now? Stories make us more human? Reading can build our levels of empathy for others? You mean the humanities might aid in making us a nation of tolerable, decent human beings?
 (but you wouldn't know, Mr. President. You don't read books.)

When the NEH was established in 1965, some of the reasons included in the congressional act include the importance of understanding our past, present and future, and cultivating wise free thinkers, not bots and followers. (My interpretation. You can read it yourself) Cut the NEH and we run the risk of becoming a nation of muggles. Sheeple. Lemmings. PEOPLE WHO DON'T THINK FOR THEMSELVES. moving on.

 Speaking of... do you know who else funds Humanities Tennessee? the National Endowment for the Arts who is, (yep, you guessed it) also facing its possible demise. The SFB isn't the ONLY Tennessee establishment that gets it's funding from the NEA. Among others, the Arts Build Communities grant, administered by the Tennessee Arts Commission has funded many a Tennessee librarian's dream program with awesome storytellers and performers that they wouldn't be able to afford with a small city or county budget. Take it from someone who puts on her prettiest smile and dies from social anxiety every April while fundraising for summer reading programs, most of us DO NOT have local funds allocated to our programs (Don't ask me WHY, I don't understand it). Without grants like those the NEA makes possible, yearly institutions like the Summer Reading Program that nearly EVERY library in the nation holds in one way, shape or form, would be sparse and dying on the vine. Those summer programs are backbone of the summer slide prevention effort for low income families.  A child's literacy by third grade affects their likelihood for high-school graduation and graduation affects likelihood for incarceration and so on an so forth. In a round about way, Cutting the NEA could negatively affect the future of our kids. And this problem is only gonna repeat itself.

So, now that the rant is out, what can you do?

Wise up. 

Educate yourself on this issue. Read through all the links I've included here. There are alot, I know, but they will allow your to form your own opinions on the matter. I don't want you to take my word for it. That would be counter to my own arguments here!

Rise up. 

Speak up. Speak out. Sign petitions like this one at Whitehouse.gov and this one at Every Library. Contact your representatives and tell them how important it is that libraries have this funding source. Figure out who that is for your area here. 
Or maybe you think that the government SHOULD cut that area of the budget, but you still agree with my thoughts here... That's a possibility! In that case... see how you can take the burden off the federal government and help yourself! Donate to your local library. Join a Friends of the Library group to see your library in action from a different perspective.

Eyes. Up. 

Don't bury your head back under the pillow and fall back asleep. Keep your eyes open. Pay attention to what's happening in current events. Look ahead to the future, see if you like where its headed and then do something about it! 

Library Girl out. 

UPDATE: Chuck Sherrill, the Tennessee State Librarian and Archivist, gathered together data that shows what exactly cutting the IMLS means. Another lovely library advocate and LIS student then made this great infographic to visualize that data. check it out!

From the Archives | Dear Mr. Wilding

Facebook's On This Day reminded me of this today... 
Six years ago, I was a fledgling library-girl. I was 19, working part time as a page at South Cheatham Public Library, the library that will always have my heart. There was one patron who was a favorite of all the staff there. He was invested in my education, and particularly rooting for me to get to library school someday. Dear Mr. Wilding, If you could see me now.

Dear Mr. Wilding,
It seems like not that long ago that I was signing a get well soon card from all of us library ladies for you.
It seems that they neglected to tell me that you weren't getting much better.
If I had known, I would have written this all to you sooner, while you could still receive it.
I wanted to tell you, that I was accepted at Bryan.
I couldn't wait to have you back at the library again, so I could tell you.
I knew that you'd be proud of me.

I remember the first time I met you, I wasn't even working at the library yet.
You were there telling stories, when I returned some books for my mom.
It was the middle of the day, and you asked me why I wasn't in school.
I told you that I was in college... and for some reason, that was hard for you to believe.

I remember all the stories you've told me.
about working in the labs with mosquitoes,
and sailing with your kids,
about caving exploring...
Some day, I'll tell my children about you.
I'll tell them those stories.

You were my favorite Mr. Wilding.
Curmudgeonly though you were,
I was always very pleased when you,
my favorite of the Three Interesting Men,
came in for a book.
Because, even though you may have given the other ladies a hard time when it came to finding a book,
I know that you were really a softy at heart.
You may make a face at that statement, (and boy could you make some beautiful faces)
but I know this for a fact.
'cause you were genuinely concerned when I wrecked my car,
and made sure that I was getting a good one when I replaced it.

in fact,
the last time I saw you,
you told me to get home and take care of my cold.
then preceded to tell me that if my car continued to make that clacking noise there might  be something wrong with the...timing belt was it?
I'm gonna miss you Mr. Wilding.
Thanks for making my life so interesting.

Sarah the library girl

Du Iz Tak? | The Library Girl Reads

Du Iz Tak by Carson Ellis 
Published by Candlewick Press
Genre: Picture Book 
Source: Library 

What a magical thing of beauty this book is!
My curiousity was piqued when I read reviews on this new picture book when it came out this year, but I didn't actually get around to ordering it till it won a Caldecott honor at this year's ALA Youth Media Awards. The story of a community of bugs and a curious new addition to their little neighborhood, this book is far from ordinary. Here's a scene from my recent order unboxing:

Fade in to SarahTheLibraryGirl sitting on the floor in DirectorDiane's office, checking titles off the invoice slip
STLG: *picking up Du Iz Tak, thinks* ooh! I've been curious about this one! *begins flipping through*
STLG: *is hit with the made up language.*
STLG *is stymied for a second*
Made Up Language: *begins to sink in*
STLG: *Starts giggling because genius book is genius*
STLG: *to DirectorDiane* Here! look at this one! you're gonna hate it!
DD: *takes book and begins reading out loud* "Du iz tak? Ma Nazoot" What is this?!?
DD: *Skims rest of book* This is wierd, you're never picking books again! *doesn't mean that last bit*
STLG: It's an award winner! We had to have it!
STLG: *takes book back and resumes giggling over it*

After that little exchange, I was curious to see how it would go over with other people, so I took it home with me this weekend and literally shoved it in the hands of everyone who walked into my house.  My roommate read it and picked it up faster than I had even, (she figured out ribble when I couldn't!) a friend of ours read it out loud, with great vigor and a German accent (which somehow seems appropriate) and declared gladdenboot to be his new favorite word.

Far from nonsense, Du Iz Tak is perfect for the word-nerd and budding linguist. The illustrations are not to be forgotten as well! Everything from color palette to the tiniest details (and one special surprise bug) calls out to be studied over again and again. Iz unk scrivendelly boont. 

Review: Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery

Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery Maud: A Novel Inspired by the Life of L.M. Montgomery by Melanie J. Fishbane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delightful! a life time L.M. Montgomery devotee, I was a little hesitant about a novel based on her life story... but I needn't have feared. Fishbane is one of the golden few... a true kindred spirit, who treats this novel of Maud's life with all the detail and care that and fan could wish for. There were definitely squeaks of delight, heart flutterings, and stomach butterflies involved in the reading of this book. I felt like I was in middle school again, which is awesome, because my middle school self was more pure of spirit and less world-weary than my current self is apt to be. I got a distinctly "Little House on the Prairie" vibe from the middle section that I wasn't expecting, but then again, I didn't really know about Montgomery's time out west. There was much I learned that makes me want to do my own research, reading her letters and papers to compare the book to real-life for myself!

Recommended to: Anne-Fans, Little House on the Prairie fans, those who long to be in the innocence of middle school again, letter writers.

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I'm Still Going... | What's saving my life right now

After my coffee, but before my morning bullet journal dump, one of my favorite morning activities of late is check up on my blogs. Modern Mrs. Darcy always on the top of the list, because books. Today, (a day which is wretchedly cold in comparison to other recent days) Anne  shared her "What's saving my life right now" list... because February is cold and blah, and its often hard to see good things in the middle of winter.
Since you know I'm all about those little things in life, I thought I'd jump in on this happy party. So, here are the little things that are keeping me going right now!

1.) Shine Text. Every morning I get a motivational text from this great little thing called Shine. Filled with encouragement, and helpful tips for being productive at work, or taking time for self care, its a great reminder to just take time breathe every morning!

2.) Rotisserie Chicken. This is literally keeping my menu going at the moment. I'm so thankful that I had the foresight to grab a chicken from the hot box at Kroger, because I've been eating left over in one form or another all week, and it's a grand step up from ramen--even if it IS the fancy  kind.

3.) Mah Girls. I literally don't know what I'd do with out the Meg(h)ans (my roommates) right now. No one else would let me sit on their bed and judge their bookshelves, or put up with my reading excerpts of Alexander Hamilton's Guide to Life while they try to eat breakfast.

4.) Lin-Manuel Miranda's social media presence.  (And you thought I wouldn't go there.. HA!) The man made us a spotify playlist this week and he's a certified gift from heaven.

5.) Book Club. I cannot emphasize enough how glad I am these ladies welcomed me in! We're reading Emma right now, and our discussion gathering this month will take the form of a tea party! I'm so excited, I literally can't EVEN. (to borrow the colloquialism)

6.) My Kindle Fire. I never thought I'd say this... but I love the freakin' thing. I read a lot of ebooks for Netgalley, and it wouldn't be very easy on any other device. PLUS, I have netflix on it, and can watch my shows at lunch (my method of choice for keeping people from bothering me while I'm off the clock) ALSO, I just bought this amazing cover for it that looks like a vintage Penguin Classic.  ALSO, with the secrets I recently discovered (from both MMD and Read Aloud Revival) about getting great deals on audiobooks from Audible... I can keep up with my reading in the car!

7.) The ever expanding world of books. Most days I start to panic when I think about all that I haven't read yet, and how I'll never ever have the chance to read it all. These days however, its more of a comfort, to know that there'll always be something out there for me to read. and my reading journal helps me feel like I've got more of a grasp on organizing all that stuff so we're good.

8.) Quiet Resistance. I deleted facebook from my phone post Women's March because I was reading too much and getting worked up. the pro-human-life-in-general, baby-feminist in me has been internally screaming about current events, while the conservative, homeschooled, cheaper-by-the-dozen, staunchly pro-birth girl has been has been (rightly) holding me back from participating in the larger organized public outcry for obvious reasons (and my heart breaks because of it). But I've found solace in doing my small part through world-focused book displays at the library, and ordering hundreds of dollars worth of diverse books for collection development. If I can at all influence my kiddos to become readers who have empathy for others, I will be satisfied.

So... that's me! What's keeping you going in these cold months?

(linked up at modernmrsdarcy.com)

From the Archives | The History of a Librarian-in-Training

The following post was previously published on my library internship blog, oh so nerdily titled The World Is Quiet Here, and found at the following address: http://lebibliothecairecalme.blogspot.com/. If you don't know what the title references, go read A Series of Unfortunate Events.

 People often ask me what made me choose librarianship as my career path to follow, and I'll usually tell them "I just love being around books," mostly because I can't think of any deeper reason on the spot. But after they've walked away, and I'm left with the question still hovering around in my mind, I can begin to pull together the real reasons why I want to be a librarian "when I grow up."

 Yes, I love reading, and even just being around books. I can't remember a time when I couldn't read. At six, I got my first library card, signing the back in ballpoint chicken scratch. My first pin number was 1111 (I was the first child and ones were easy to remember. My sister had twos.) I remember the old DOS-based computer catalog that sat in the children's section. We became well acquainted even then. At the age of eight or nine I figured out how to use the library website to place holds from the comfort of my home. My dad only let me check out three of the twenty books that showed up at the library for me later that week. At ten, I was allowed to walk the half-block the library by myself, for a half-hour at a time. My mom has a picture of me walking across the street in the rain with our giant red and white golf umbrella. She was afraid that I was going to be abducted and that it'd be the last picture she'd ever have of me. A love of the contents cultivated a love of the place. I loved books, so therefore, I loved libraries.

  It wasn't till I was in late middle school to early high school that I started to think that I might want to BE a librarian however. There were two spectacular librarians in my life at this point that I believe started shaping this desire in me. We lived in Tallahassee at the time, and would frequent the main branch library as a family on Friday evenings. We'd pick my dad up from work, grab some mexican food at On-the-Border, then head to the library to stock up for the next two to three weeks. Working the Youth and Children's services at the Leroy Collins Leon County Public Library was a wonderful young librarian by the name of Sarah. Maybe it was the fact that she had the same name as me; maybe it was her amazing red hair, but I wanted to be just like her. She had the best job ever.

  When we weren't visiting the downtown library, my mom would take us to a smaller, closer branch for home-school book club in the afternoons. That's where I met Karen White, also young, lovely and working in the best job ever. She facilitated our club meetings, leading conversation of 10-15 home-schoolers in her little office where we'd sit on the floor, on the desk, on boxes, wherever we'd fit, discussing Shane, Eragon, The Outsiders and other books of our (and our mothers) choice. I still remember the first time I saw her diploma on the wall in the office. She held her Masters in Library Science from Florida State University, and that was the first time I realized that you could go to school to be a librarian. So in my junior year of high-school when my dad asked what I might want to go to college for, we started researching library schools.

  It wasn't till half-way through my freshman year of college that I actually got my first shot at working in a library. I think that it probably solidified my desire to make it through 4-6 years of school. I found that I received intense satisfaction from being able to point people in the direction of the books they wanted, and from keeping my little kingdom of stacks well-ordered. But what I found I loved the best was helping kids find that perfect book, the one that made their eyes light up and got them excited to read. That on the deepest level is my reason for becoming a librarian. I want to share my passion for books with others, to grow young readers, and to cultivate the next generation of the Knowledge Keepers that are Librarians.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir | The Library Girl Reads

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Expected Publication: February 2017

*I got a free copy of this ebook from netgalley for review purposes, a fact which does not influence my review.*

When the men of the English village of Chilbury have all gone off to fight in the war, the church choir is disbanded. Leave it to a group of plucky women to band together and insist on the importance of singing for their community and morale. Thus, the Chilbury Ladies Choir is formed.

This book appealed to me in three ways, so I will approach this review from each angle.
1.) The epistolary style
2.) The WWII time period
3.)Ladies Choirs --- or just ladies being awesome.

1.) The epistolary style
I'm a sucker for books framed as diaries or written correspondence, so the fact that Chilbury was billed as such, was the immediate draw for me. I enjoyed it, as the small segments makes for a quicker paced read, but I had a hard time with the believability of the letter and journal writing style Ryan employed. In particular, Venetia's letters to Angela felt a bit too expositional for them to be realistic. I've read, and even *written* some very detailed letters, conveying conversations and all, but they didn't read like polished prose. -- but that was pretty much my only beef with the book. Lets move on.

2.) The WWII time period
Another weakness of mine is this period, and Chilbury didn't fail me here! The setting and characters felt appropriately authentic, and I was practically casting them in my head with BBC actors for a mini-series. (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BBC!) It was like sitting down for Masterpiece theater on Sunday night. ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL!

3.) Ladies Choirs --- or just ladies being awesome
The name sake and heart of this book, the moments with the choir was really the shining gem of this book to me. A lifelong choral singer, and general appreciator of music, (and those wonders of Welsh/British hymns. *coughCough* I Vow To Thee, My Country *coughCough*) I resonate deeply with the themes of music for healing, and helping one through hard trials of the soul. There are plenty of quotes I'd love to share on this, but can't due to advanced reading copy restrictions... but I'll try to update the review once the book is published with those quotes :)
I've read plenty of the women of wartime stepping up taking charge and ownership of their lives and community when their men were away fighting, and this book handled that subject matter exceptionally. I particularly loved the Mrs. Tilling storyline, as she had the most character development of the whole cast.

I will definitely be recommending this book to my library for acquisition, and recommending to several patrons that frequent my circ desk.
And to you! Look for this lovely on shelves in February!

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Reading Year in Review : 2016

I LOVE statistics, so end of the year wrap up posts are a weakness of mine. Goodreads has a really good infographic style way of showing you your year in books (at least the ones you tracked through the site) so I thought I'd share mine.
My numerical goal for reading this year was 60, a number I picked for two reasons: 1) I read 52 books last year and wanted to challenge myself. 2) I wanted to track my reading through instagram and make a photo book at then end of the year, and 60 is the the number of photos one Chatbook will hold! I ended up reading 82. ("Hamilton wrote... THE OTHER FIFTY-ONE!" yeah, thats how I feel about that over-achievement)
My "theme" for the year was loose ... in 2015 I attempted the Popsugar challenge (you know the one... it was all over Pinterest) and it definitely got me reading out of my normal ruts, but by the end I was burnt out on reading what a list proscribed, so I told myself this year that I would read a.) old-fashioned girl books and b.) whatever I dang well wanted.

I feel like I accomplished both pretty well. (Favorite Old-Fashioned Girl Book: Daddy Long Legs)
My favorite and best month for reading was January, as I had good music to listen to while reading, and we got some snow... that plus the MLK holiday meant some good times spent under covers reading.

During the summer, I binge read through the majority of the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Averaging at barely 150-200 pages each, ploughing through this 80's middle school series was like spending the afternoon on the couch watching my favorite 20min TV comedy series'. I regret nothing.

September was pretty great for my reading life, as I got enfolded into a book club that is everything I've ever wanted. Yay for finding fellow booknerds!

I tried two different book tracking apps this year. the first one, Bookling, which I found via Buzzfeed, being absolutely perfect, with its cute graphics and achievement badges... untill it caught a bug halfway through the year and went postal. I'm gonna give it another try this year to see if the kinks have been worked out.
The other, Leio, has a clean, no-nonsense interface, and isn't very exciting, but, Oh! what numbers it tracks. Since it tracks by pages read over time, you can find out your average reading speed, habits and more.
However, I quit using apps entirely by the end of the year, cause I just wanted to read.

Finally, for the year's superlatives.

Most Likely to Make Me Delete My Social Media // The Circle - Dave Eggers (FABULOUS!)
Best Overall Reading Experience/Best Magical System // Carry On - Rainbow Rowell (read with this playlist on repeat)

Best Mainstream Book "Everybody's reading it!" // Me Before You - JoJo Moyes

Most Disappointing // Eligible - Curtis Sittenfeld (note: someone needs to teach Mr. Sittenfeld about chapters. like what even?)

Most Anticipated // The Crown - Kiera Cass (OhEmGee)

Best Audio Book //  Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonson

Best Book Ever // The Awakening of Miss Prim - Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Most Challenging Read // The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson

Funniest Book/ Most Mac and Cheese References // Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick

Best Middle Grade Fiction/Best Folklore // The Door By the Staircase - Katherine Marsh

Best Graphic Novel // In Real Life - Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang

That's all y'all! Check up in the pages above for my 2017 reading plan.
Happy Reading!

- Sarah