Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Titles On My Holds List!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme hosted by the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish. 

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This week I’m giving you a glimpse into my holds list! In my library system a hold can mean either getting a book delivered from another branch in the system or getting your name on the waiting list for a book that’s currently checked out.

Some of these titles are old, some are new, some are for professional reading and some are guilty pleasures, some are on my work hold list and some are just for me. There’s a little bit of everything here! Here’s what I’m currently waiting to get my hot little hands on:

Fish in a Tree / Linda Mullaly Hunt

Crenshaw / Katherine Applegate

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Nerdy Nummies Cookbook / Rosana Pansino

The Soul of An Octopus / Cy Montgomery

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Roller Girl / Victoria Jamieson

The Way We Live Now / Anthony Trollope

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Dumplin’ / Julie Murphy

Bug in a Vacuum / Melanie Watt

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Waiting / Kevin Henkes

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement / Carole Boston Weatherford

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So, what books are on your TBR / holds list right now?

Top Ten Tuesday -2015 Releases I Missed

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme hosted by the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish. 

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This week’s TTT topic is all about the 2015 releases we never quite got around to reading. I’ve cheated a little bit and shared eight books that I read about on countless blogs throughout the year but never got my hands on.

As a librarian, keeping up to date on the latest book releases is part of my job. Knowing what’s available can help me better help my patrons find just the right books for them. I can usually keep fairly up-to-date with picture book releases, but I’ve only recently started working with school-aged children, which means getting up to speed on an entirely new genre of reading material. I’m also hopelessly behind on my teen reading list. Suffice it to say I’ve a lot of catching up to do, and although I’ve made a bit of a dent, the TBR pile keeps growing….

Here are just a few of the many 2015 releases I just never got around to reading.

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich / Julia Sarconne-Roach

The Sword of Summer / Rick Riordin

The Thing About Jellyfish / Ali Benjamin

Fish in a Tree / Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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Crenshaw / Katherine Applegate

Carry On / Rainbow Rowell

The Rest of Us Just Live Here / Patrick Ness

Dumplin’ / Julie Murphy

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So, which 2015 releases passed you by this year? If you’ve read any of the titles I’ve missed, which ones do think I need to read, pronto? Let me know in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Resolutions for 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme from the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish. 

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January is upon us, which means it’s time to make some resolutions! Here are a few bookish resolutions that I will endeavour to keep in 2016.

  • Stop dog-earing books – I have book marks. I’m a librarian. I should know better. I’m just lazy. No more excuses.
  • Finish what I start – I have the attention span of a gnat. I am notorious for getting bored and not finishing books, and my bedside table is littered with the partially-consumed remains of novels.
  • Branch out – I know what I like and I tend to stick to it. This year, I resolve to branch out of my comfort zone and venture into genres I typically avoid. YA fiction, I’m looking at you.
  • Give ebooks another go – I tried ebooks when they first appeared on the market and I wasn’t a fan. I have a years-old Kindle that hasn’t been taken out of the box, and this year I swear to at least read a single ebook from nose to tail.
  • Stop being a snob – Oprah’s Book Club? Not a chance. Celebrity author? Wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. Glowing review in People magainze? Ugh. But that was then. This year, I resolve to stop judging a book by its cover, author, or fan base, without at least giving it an honest go.
  • Read around the world – The majority of the books I read are either American or British, and this year I want to expand my literary horizons and read more novels from around the world, including works in translation and literature from my own country.
  • Listen to more audiobooks – I’ve always been wary of audiobooks, but I took the plunge in 2015 and downloaded my first-ever title. I spend two hours a day on transit, and on busy days I end up standing, which makes reading difficult. This year, I’m going to face my fear of rotten narrators and try more audio titles.
  • Get involved – I’ve discovered an exciting world of book nerds out there on the web, and this year I resolve to get out there (virtually, of course) and get involved. As a relatively new librarian and literacy educator I’ve still got a lot to learn, and there are so many talented, inspiring writers and bloggers out there who are sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm. It’s up to me to take it advantage of it.

 So there you have it, a handful of bookish resolutions that I hope will help me be a better reader, writer, blogger and librarian, or at least make my paperbacks last a little longer…! 🙂

Any of my resolutions sound familiar? What are some of your resolutions this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday – Book-to-film adaptations I’m curious about….

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme from the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish. 

toptentuesdayOK, here they are, a handful of book-to-film adaptations that have caught my eye. Some of my favourite books are getting the big screen treatment or have recently made their Hollywood debut, and while I am hopeful that the directors and writers will do justice to these stories, I find myself waiting with baited breath….

In no particular order….

1. In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

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One of my favourite nonfiction titles,  In the Heart of the Sea recounts the story of the whaling ship Essex, which was sunk by a whale, leaving the crew stranded in the middle of the ocean for several months. A harrowing tale, wonderfully written and carefully researched, I fear that this will be yet another “inspired by actual events” kind of film that sacrifices history for entertainment. Still, it’s directed by Ron Howard, so I am cautiously optimistic.

2. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

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I love Bill Bryson. He’s a fiercely intelligent comedic writer, with a sometimes acerbic sense of humour.  I’m really hopeful that this adaptation won’t just devolve into a generic buddy/road trip comedy. Still, Robert Redford as Bill Bryson?! Not sure I can picture that one.

3. Left For Dead by Beck Weathers

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Renamed Everest and featuring the all-star cast of Jake Gyllenhall, Keira Knightley, Josh Brolin, and Sam Worthington, this adapted account of an ill-fated mountain expedition looks promising.  I didn’t find the book as gripping as the classic Into Thin Air, but I still think it would make for an exciting film.

4. The Lost City of Z by David Grann

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I’m always delighted to see nonfiction titles adapted for the big screen, but all too often the film becomes but a shadow of the original true story. Still, this is a gripping tale of exploration and madness in the mysterious jungle, so I think it would make for a pretty exciting film even with a bit of Hollywood fact-fudging.

5. The BFG by Roald Dahl

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This is one for my inner child – I loved this story growing up. Steven Spielberg will hopefully do my childhood memories justice.

6. Console Wars: SEGA, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris

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This book pretty much sums up my childhood. Growing up, the battle between Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog was EPIC, with kids divided between the console camps. I’m really hoping this is made into a documentary, rather than a feature film, as there are a lot of personalities I would love to see interviewed.

7. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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I’m really looking forward to seeing Liam Neeson in a film that doesn’t have the word “Taken” in it. I highly respect and admire Patrick Ness, and I’m hopeful that the adaptation of this powerful story will be done with care.

So, have you seen any of these adaptations, or read any of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Books to Try if You Like Rick Riordin

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme from the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish. 

toptentuesdayCan’t wait for Magnus Chase & The Sword of Summer to come out this October? Here are ten books to try if you like Rick Riordin, and are looking for your next adventurous read.

Gregor the Overlander

1. Gregor the Overlander / Suzanne Collins

“When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.”

The Ruins of Gorlan

2. Ruins of Gorlan / John Flanagan

“When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger.”

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

3. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians / Brandon Sanderson

“On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand which is immediately stolen by the evil Librarians who are trying to take over the world, and Alcatraz is introduced to his grandfather and his own special talent, and told that he must use it to save civilization. “

The Dark Is Rising

4. The Dark is Rising / Susan Cooper

“On his eleventh birthday Will Stanton discovers that he is the last of the Old Ones, destined to seek the six magical Signs that will enable the Old Ones to triumph over the evil forces of the Dark.”

The Alchemyst

5. The Alchemyst : The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel / Michael Scott

“While working at pleasant but mundane summer jobs in San Francisco, fifteen-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh, suddenly find themselves caught up in the deadly, centuries-old struggle between rival alchemists, Nicholas Flamel and John Dee, over the possession of an ancient and powerful book holding the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life.”

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos

6. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos / R. L. LaFevers

“Twelve-year-old Theo uses arcane knowledge and her own special talent when she encounters two secret societies, one sworn to protect the world from ancient Egyptian magic and one planning to harness it to bring chaos to the world, both of which want a valuable artifact stolen from the London museum for which her parents work.”

The Hound of Rowan

7. The Hound of Rowan / Henry H. Neff

“After glimpsing a hint of his destiny in a mysterious tapestry, twelve-year-old Max McDaniels becomes a student at Rowan Academy, where he trains in “mystics and combat” in preparation for war with an ancient enemy that has been kidnapping children like him.”

Fablehaven

8. Fablehaven / Brandon Mull

“When Kendra and Seth go to stay at their grandparents’ estate, they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures and that a battle between good and evil is looming.”

A World Without Heroes

9. A World Without Heroes / Brandon Mull

“Fourteen-year-old Jason Walker is transported to a strange world called Lyrian, where he joins Rachel, who was also drawn there from our world, and a few rebels, to piece together the Word that can destroy the malicious wizard emperor, Surroth.”

Loki's Wolves

10. Loki’s Wolves / Kelley Armstrong

“Matt Thorsen is a direct descendent of the order-keeping god Thor, and his classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke are descendents of the trickster god Loki. When Ragnarok–the apocalypse–threatens, the human descendents of the gods must fight monsters to stop the end of the world.”

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Pictures On My To-Be-Shared List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme from the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish. 

toptentuesdayI’m putting my own spin on this week’s TTT theme, with ten books that I can’t wait to share with the kids at my story times and school visits this fall.

Nose to Toes, You are Yummy

Nose to Toes, You Are Yummy!

Interactive picture books are always a hit at story times. Children are made to move, and getting them actively interacting with a story is one of the best ways of keeping them engaged for 30 minutes.

Bunny Roo – I Love You

Bunny Roo, I Love You

Sweet text and adorable illustrations make this perfect for sharing with caregivers and their babies.

Little Baby Buttercup

Little Baby Buttercup

Another gentle story for reading to babies at bedtime.

Meet Dizzy Dinosaur

Meet Dizzy Dinosaur!

In the tradition of “Don’t push the button” and “Press here”, this picture book has kids interacting with the hapless Dizzy Dinosaur.

Dinosaur Vs. Mommy

Dinosaur Vs. Mommy

Kids will love roaring along with this rambunctious toddler dinosaur.

Little Sleepyhead

Little Sleepyhead

A gentle bedtime book that caregivers will love sharing with sleepy babies. So many bedtime books this season!

How to Read a Story

How to Read A Story

Love love love – a perfect celebration of reading as a social activity. A good read for librarians and teachers as well!

Please Mr. Panda

Please, Mr. Panda

A droll take on proper manners.

Zombie in Love 2+1

Zombie in Love 2+1

This story about a zombie couple and their foray into parenthood has a perfect blend of sweet and gross-out humour. I can’t wait to share this one with the kids in October.

Wild About Us!

Wild About Us!

A lighthearted, brightly illustrated ode to self-acceptance, as told by zoo animals.

So – which new picture books are you looking forward to sharing with kids this fall?

Top Ten Tuesday – Nonfiction for People Who (Think They) Don’t Enjoy Nonfiction

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme from the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish. 

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love nonfiction. As a former history student I know that truth is all too often stranger than fiction. Unfortunately the genre is sometimes seen as boring and dry. This is a real shame, because in the hands of a skilled writer, nonfiction can be as thrilling, exciting and rewarding as any novel.

Here are my picks for 10 nonfiction titles that are perfect entries into this fascinating genre. I’ve tried to include a variety of different styles and subject matters – there truly is a nonfiction title out there for everyone.

1. In the Heart of the Sea / Nathaniel Philbrick : Rampaging whales hellbent on revenge, shipwrecks, cannibalism, madness, survival, and adventure – this gripping account of the event that inspired Moby Dick is history at its most intense. It’s about to be released as a movie, too, so make sure to read the book before heading to the theaters.

2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks / Rebecca Skloot : A skillful, sensitive study of the complicated intersections between science, ethics, race, economics, family relationships, and politics in recent American history, focusing on the story of Henrietta Lacks and her unique cells.

3. 52 Loaves / William Alexander : The humorous, eye-opening and at times quite touching account of one man’s obsessive quest to bake the perfect loaf of bread.

4. Into Thin Air / Jon Krakauer: This personal account of an ill-fated Everest expedition is nonfiction at its most gripping. Hold on, because things are about to get intense.

5. Thunderstruck / Erik Larson: Larson is one of the true masters of narrative nonfiction, creating thrilling, awe-inspiring works that skillfully weave multiple story lines together that build to a satisfying conclusion. Any of his recent works would be fine choices, but Thunderstruck is particularly engaging – a cops-and-robbers story of detectives, scientists and murderers caught up in a desperate race to the finish.

6. One Summer / Bill Bryson: Bryson is another established nonfiction master who likely needs little introduction, and whose signature style blends quality research, witty writing and wry humour. Selecting just one of Bryson’s many excellent titles is a challenge, but I have to recommend this brilliant account of a pivotal year in American history. This is history as it should be written – engaging, inspiring, thought-provoking, and absolutely fascinating.

7. The Disappearing Spoon / Sam Kean : Passion, obsession, betrayal, adventure, murder and madness abound in this study of the history behind the development of the periodic table. Think science is boring? Think again.

8. Still Life / Melissa Milgrom : Ready for something a bit off the beaten track? Take a peak inside the weird, wacky and wonderful world of taxidermy.

9. Packing for Mars / Mary Roach : So….how does one use the toilet in space? The wonderfully irreverent Mary Roach tackles this and other fascinating, if not entirely polite, questions about space travel in this hilarious yet informative account. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

10.What If? / Randall Munroe : Brought to you by the mind behind the nerd-favourite web comic XKCD, this collection of short essays uses hard science and a bit of imagination to tackle outlandish theoretical questions, like : what would happen if every human on Earth jumped at the same time? Real science, real humour, real entertainment.

And there you have it – ten nonfiction titles that prove that this genre is anything but boring. Let me know what you think! Did I miss any of your favourites?

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme from the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish.

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This week’s theme: “Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish”. I seem to have a tendency to leave series unfinished…!

1.The Wheel of Time / Robert Jordan – This fantasy classic spans 14 MASSIVE books, plus a prequel and a companion book. I must confess, I have only read the first two. I don’t know if I’ll manage to get back into the series – there are a lot of characters, and I would probably have to start from the beginning just to get caught up again.

2. Legend / Marie LuI used to work with teenagers quite a bit, so I made an effort to introduce more YA lit into my life. I was curious about this futuristic dystopia trilogy, in which a boy and a girl must save the world from the machinations of the mean old grown-ups, because the author worked in the video game industry (and I’m a bit of a gamer). I actually enjoyed the first book in the trilogy, but not enough to make me want to pick up the second two. It was a bit of a case of “been there, read that”.

3. Divergent / Veronica Roth Yet another dystopia – come on, teens, lighten up already! Didn’t like the characters, wasn’t impressed by the world building, couldn’t be bothered to finish the trilogy.

4.Chronicles of the Black Company / Glen Cook I really loved the first book in this dark fantasy series – the adventures of a band of mercenaries who get swept up in a terrible battle in which the lines between good and evil are blurred beyond recognition. The second and third books were OK too. As I progressed through the series, though, the magic began to wear off, and it began to feel as though the author was losing interest in the world he created. I never finished this series, and with so many exciting books on my to-read list, I doubt I will.

5.Inheritance Cycle / Christopher Paolini – I actually enjoyed Eragon, and I probably will try to finish this series, but with so many books on my bookshelf waiting to be read, I still haven’t got around to it yet!

6.Time Quintet / Madeleine L’Engle – OK, so I’ll be honest – I didn’t realize this was a series. I remember reading A Wrinkle In Time as a student and not enjoying it, largely because of the tedious extension activities that were thrust upon us by my English teacher. I haven’t picked it up again since, which is a shame, because I have enjoyed other works by L’Engle.

7.The Foundation Novels – Isaac Asimov  – As a teenager I read a lot of science fiction. I really enjoyed Asimov’s Robot series, so I decided to give Foundation a try. I finished the first novel through sheer force of will alone, and was too confused to be interested in picking up another title in the series.

8. Sword of Shannara Trilogy / Terry Brooks – I know this is a classic fantasy series, but I found it painfully formulaic and unbearably predictable. I managed to finish the first book, but I have no interest whatsoever in finishing the series. Note – I actually met Terry Brooks, and he actually seems like a very nice person, but I still didn’t enjoy this series 😦 .

9. The Malazan Book of the Fallen / Steven Erikson – Wow, there’s a surprising amount of fantasy in this list! I didn’t really get into this series, which I found reminiscent of The Black Company. I don’t mind dark fantasy, but this series just didn’t grab me.

10.Dune – Frank Herbert. I wanted to love this series because it’s such a classic of the genre, but for some reason I never got around to finishing it. I think that’s a bit of trend in this list – some series I didn’t bother finishing because I didn’t enjoy them, but others I just seem to have forgotten – I didn’t hate them, but I wasn’t compelled to seek out the remaining books.

Well, that’s that! Who knows, perhaps I’ll finish some of these series yet! Let me know in the comments if you’ve finished any of these series, or if there are any other series that you recommend trying!

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme from the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish.

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This week’s topic is a bit of a challenge – Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With.

I’m going to have to go outside of the children’s/YA world with this one. I’ve tried to avoid characters that I think were meant to be disagreeable, and have focused instead on protagonists, love interests, and supporting characters. Some of these I disliked, others I found bland and boring, and some I just couldn’t connect with. As always, these opinions are just my own and don’t count for anything more than that – we all like different things, that’s what makes the world such an interesting place, so please don’t be offended if your favourite character appears on my list! We can still be friends!

1. Margaret Beaufort – The Red Queen –  I appreciate that Margaret is ruthless and emotionally damaged, and that the reader is meant to respect her tenacity and determination, but I found nothing remotely compelling or engaging about this historical figure. Whiny, mean-spirited and repetitive, I couldn’t bring myself to care about her story.

2. Flavia de Luce – The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – You say precocious, I say creepy. This eleven-year-old chemistry prodigy brews up poisonous concoctions in her secret laboratory to exact revenge on her family members, which is more unsettling than endearing. The series is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I found Flavia, and her freakish ability to stumble upon murder victims, not all that appealing.

3. Edward Cullen – Twilight –  A creepy, creepy romantic lead who confuses love-interest and stalker. *Shudder*

4 .Bella Swan – Twilight – ARGH. What is wrong with you, girl? He’s a creepy, controlling, undead stalker! Run away!

5 .Harry Hole – The Redeemer – An aloof, alcoholic, emotionally-scarred, romantically-challenged lone-wolf detective who clashes with authority, assembles a motley crew of subordinates, and gets results through unconventional means. *Yawn*. I didn’t hate Harry, but I found him just too predictable to really care about.

6. Anne Boleyn – The Other Boleyn Girl – I actually enjoyed this frothy, inaccurate period piece, but the portrayal of Anne bothered me. One-dimensional, over the top, and without redeeming qualities, Anne is a boring, unlikeable character who serves to make the protagonist, her sister Mary, appear even saintlier. A sad fate for a tragic historical figure.

7. Lady Julia Grey – Silent in The Grave – This heroine repeatedly confuses recklessness for independence. If an experienced professional detective (who you’ve employed) tells you, an untrained amateur, that something is too dangerous, heeding his advice makes you reasonable and intelligent, not weak. Similarly, if an experienced banker offers to manage your finances for you (keeping in mind that you have absolutely no experience in finance), accepting his offer is again not a sign of weakness. Intelligent men and women recognize the limits of their abilities and utilize the skills of their employees. This is yet another ostensibly “strong female character” who is more infuriating than inspiring.

8. Hazel and 9. Augustus – The Fault in Our Stars – Always ready with a witty response and an obscure reference, these Dawson’s Creek-esque teens just didn’t resonate with me. Maybe I was too old when I first read this book, or maybe I was just too dorky and awkward as a teen to be able to relate to these cool kids, but I just couldn’t think of Hazel and August as real people, and couldn’t connect with their stories.

10. Heathcliff and 11. Catherine – Wuthering Heights – ARGH. Two mean, nasty, selfish, petty, cruel, ruthless individuals who ruin the lives of everyone around them. I hated this supposed “romance” when I was in high school English class, and I still hate it!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think of my Top Ten Tuesday list in the comments!