The Migrating Librarianista

September 3, 2012

Greetings, my faithful readers!

Or perhaps you found yourself here by accident.  Either way, this is for you.

This may be last post as the Librarianista for awhile.  This blog was started as a creative outlet during a very frustrating time in my life.  Many of those frustrations have left, to be replaced with new ones.  Unfortunately, these new ones leave me little time to read and they have drained me in a creative sense.  I have no energy to write even two paragraphs per book any more, let alone make it worth reading.  I haven’t blogged here in about 6 months, and I’ve read shamefully few books in that time for my own pleasure.  This time in my life has come to an end.

Thank you for faithfully reading.  And for you new readers, please enjoy the things I’ve read in the past.

I will continue to rate books on Goodreads so you can see what I’ve liked. 

I’m also beginning a new endeavor: a shorter blogging method.  I can’t give up books, and I certainly can’t give up my opinions.  So I’m turning my energies into my recently created Tumblr: The 6 Word Book Review

If you’ve been following this blog, you’re going to see a lot of repeat titles for awhile until it gets to the stuff I’ve read more recently.  But hey.  I’ve got a lot of material here that others haven’t seen yet.  And you don’t know my one sentence review, either :-P

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being great readers and followers.

See Me Run

February 17, 2012

See Me Run (I Like to Read)See Me Run
by Paul Meisel

Dogs everywhere!  Dogs running!  Dogs chasing!  Dogs splashing!  Surprise ending!

This book was a serendipitous find.  It needed a new sticker, so one of my coworkers opened it up after fixing it and started laughing.  Well, then I had to read it.  There is only one word in this book that has more than one syllable.  It’s fanTAStic for that very beginning reader.  But better than that, it’s FUNNY!  It’s that one word that has two syllables that makes this book hilarious.  And Meisel’s illustrations that accompany it, of course.  I know little about the Geisel Medal winners and honor books.  However, knowing that this won one makes complete sense.

Image taken from http://www.amazon.com.

Pirates and Princesses

February 15, 2012

Pirates and PrincessesPirates and Princesses
by Jill Kargman and Christine Davenier (illus.)

Ivy and Fletch have done pretty much everything together since the day they were born.  Their mommies were good friends, so they were together all the time.  Things were going great until the year they went to kindergarten.  During recess (which was something cool and exciting), the girls invited Ivy to play princesses while the boys invited Fletch to play pirates.  Princesses and pirates don’t usually play well together.  Could this be the end of a beautiful friendship?

“Ivy and Fletch had known each other their entire lives.  That’s five whole year, people!”  With such a promising opening line, I had to find out how the rest of this book went.  Well… I was disappointed.  It was a cute story, for sure.  But I felt misled by the title.  There were not enough piratical or princessical happenings in this book.  They were the context for a different, much less adventurous story.  Some of the language was a lot of fun; as in the way I would probably write a picture book.  But overall, one I could take or leave.

Image taken from http://www.amazon.com.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

February 11, 2012

The Diary of a Young Girl (Everyman's Library (Cloth))Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

So I somehow missed reading this book in middle school, high school, college, or grad school.  It’s about time.

Even though I’d never read it, I knew what this book was about.  It was the personal diary of a girl during the Holocaust who lived in hiding with her family for two years.  I also knew she didn’t survive the war.  What I didn’t know was how deep, honest, and penetrating her writing was.  And it can’t possibly be all due to the translator.  Anne’s voice is striking.  I really can’t find the right word I want to use to describe it.  All that resonates with me is her desire and need to write, even if she knows that her writings will never amount to anything.  And yet here we are, 70 years later, still reading what she had to say.  She couldn’t have had any idea.  And something like a diary is so personal and private, you can be more honest with that than in any other form of writing.  I can’t imagine what it would have been like to go through those crucial formative years never leaving the house, never seeing anyone but the same people day in and day out.

Yeah, “It’s a about time” definitely sums up how I felt about reading this book.

Image taken from http://www.amazon.com.

From Pie Town to Yum Yum

February 8, 2012

From Pie Town to Yum Yum: Weird and Wacky Place Names Across the United States   [FROM PIE TOWN TO YUM YUM] [Paperback]From Pie Town to Yum Yum
by Debbie Herman and Linda Sarah Goldman (illus.)

There are hundreds of cities and towns in this country that have just plainly bizarre names.  There are some in every state.  Herman has pulled out 12-15 actual places for each state, along with a couple of fun facts about those places or the state in general and assembled it into this one volume.

This is not your 5th grade geography book.  This is the kind of geography book that inspires road trips and wordplay and immature jokes.  I probably spent a good hour with a friend of mine going through this book and just laughing at some of these names.  My favorites?  Glad you asked!

  • Manly, Iowa
  • Maybee, Michigan
  • Great Scott, Minnesota
  • Frankenstein, Missouri
  • Bat Cave, North Carolina
  • Library, Pennsylvania

Definitely check out this book to learn more wacky geography!

Image taken from http://www.amazon.com.

Top 10.4

January 31, 2012

Top 10 – 2 years old!

Happy birthday, Librarianista!

Wow!  I almost never keep up with something for this long.  Books and libraries seem to have a hold on me, though…

Let’s see.  Since the last time I did a top 10 list, I bought a house and moved, drastically changed my job, and still found some time to read some excellent books.  Here are the top 5 YA and top 5 kids books I’ve read (or listened to) in the last 6 months.

Top 5 YA

  1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
    Hilarity abounds!  I listened to this book on CD and it was one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.  If I had read it, I know I probably wouldn’t have loved it as much.  But as read by the author, I practically peed my pants for 17 hours.
  2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
    I am loving the new take on fairy tales lately.  And I also think robots are pretty cool.  For some reason, I was skeptical about reading this one since I kept seeing ads for it on Goodreads and hearing great things about it.  Honestly, I don’t know what I was afraid of.  The last time Goodreads did that, it was for The Help, and I loved that, too!  I can’t wait to see what comes next in this series.
  3. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
    This isn’t what I’d call a new take on fairy tales – it’s probably the best take on fairy tales.  This series has been around for awhile and I can’t believe that no teacher or librarian ever put it in my hands before.  Characters that reject their own stereotypes, and a wit that rivals The Princess Bride.  Give this to any reader over the age of 10.
  4. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
    I had forgotten that I read this book until I was looking at my past blogs.  But I hadn’t forgotten how much I loved it.  The characters were so real.  A definite diversion from all the fantasy I’ve been reading that gently made my heart break for the real world.
  5. After by Amy Efaw
    Speaking of heartbreaking… I loved how much this book got into the mind of someone who could do something so awful as throw a baby away.  I didn’t feel sorry for the main character; but I couldn’t put this book down either.  The human brain is a powerful thing.  It’s almost frightening what we can convince ourselves of.

Top 5 Kids

  1. Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein
    A collection of original Shel Silverstein poems and drawings published post mortem?  How could this not show up on my list!  Silverstein’s poetry was essential to my development as a reader.  But the most interesting part about this collection was how poignant and reflective it was.  Like he knew how much he had impacted kids throughout his life, and that he was coming to the end.  His silly words, however, will not.
  2. Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
    I love Elephant and Piggie.  All of them.  And anything that Mo Willems does.  Kids don’t even realize what they’re learning when they read his books.  All they know is that they love these characters and that these books are funny!  They also made a great Halloween costume:
  3. Small Saul by Ashley Spires
    Pirates and short people – two things near and dear to my heart.  Not being a kindergartner any longer, I’m not sure how many of them get her jokes.  But being a twentysomething with the heart (and possibly the attention span) of child, I greatly appreciate her giggle-worthy writing.
  4. Mirror by Jeannie Baker
    This book said so much without actually using words.  This is a great example of picture books as an art form.
  5. A Drove of Bullocks and A Filth of Starlings by PatrickGeorge
    I couldn’t pick just one of these books.  Besides, I blogged them together, so I have to put them together on this list.  Or so I think.  Also another very artsy picture book set, but one that is absolute fun.  It’s great word play, and also scientific.

Honorable Mention

  1. Bossypants by Tina Fey
    I can’t technically include this on my list since it’s not children’s or YA literature.  But oh my gosh, was it ever one of the best things I ever let my ears listen to.  It was like 5 hours of the best Weekend Update clips about an amazing woman.  I want to grow up to be like Tina Fey.

Stat curious?  To date, you all have visited my 319 posts 7,397 times!  Thank you all so much!  Here’s to another great year of literature!

Cinder

January 24, 2012

Cinder: Book One in the Lunar ChroniclesCinder
by Marissa Meyer

Robots.  Grease stains.  Plagues.  Moon people.  Are these the things you think of when you hear the name “Cinderella”?  Well they should be now!  126 years after WWIV, the world is suffering from a terrible plague.  No cure has been found, and the Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth has fallen victim to it.  The young Prince Kai is now facing a diplomatic and emotional nightmare.  And we have Cinder.  Cinder is a cyborg – part human, part robot.  They are seen as less-than human, mere property.  Her guardian has “volunteered” her to be studied (aka sacrificed) in hopes of finding a cure for the plague.  What she discovers in the research lab changes her life forever, and has the potential to change the fate of the world.  But can she reach Prince Kai in time?  Would he believe her?

I’ll be the first to admit that my description does not do justice to this novel.  There’s just soooo much packed in there!  This novel is a prime example of how much more a journey can be over the destination.  Almost everyone knows the Cinderella story – you know how it ends.  So then why should you keep reading?  Because these characters are amazing!  Honestly, who would think of a robot fairy tale?  Cinder is a strong lead with a great android sidekick.  The Prince is a gem, caught in the middle of awful circumstances.  Some of the plot twists that were in there were too easily predictable.  But I am excited for the rest of this series!  I am bummed that it’s not supposed to be finished until 2015…  I so hope that cyborgs are the new vampires.

Image taken from http://www.amazon.com.

ArchEnemy

January 13, 2012

ArchEnemy: The Looking Glass WarsArchEnemy
by Frank Beddor, read by Gerard Doyle

Warning!!  Contains spoilers for The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd!

The final segment in The Looking Glass Wars trilogy.  What began as my happy accident with an audiobook on a trip to New Mexico in March has now finally concluded.  Well, the book was written in 2009, but I just recently finished listening to the last disc.

Wonderland has fallen to its worst enemy, King Arch of Borderland.  His aim is to destroy the Heart Crystal – the source of all imaginative power in Wonderland and on Earth.  Queen Alyss and her followers are unable to comprehend how this could happen.  Are the Caterpillar Oracles working against her?  How could Wonderland actually thrive in the hands of Arch, or worse, her Aunt Redd?  How could it survive without imagination, that which its very essence?

I am almost sad that these adventures have concluded.  I have come to care for these characters and for the world which Beddor has expanded from Carroll’s original.  Between Beddor’s excellent pen and Doyle’s perfect delivery, I have left part of my heart in their Wonderland.  I have no idea if these works are well-known.  I had never heard of them – as I said, the first encounter was a happy accident.  But they should be.  Do yourselves a favor.  If you ever loved Alice in Wonderland, if you ever loved a good fantasy story, pick up these books.

Image taken from http://www.amazon.com.

E-Mergency!

January 11, 2012

E-mergency!E-Mergency!
by Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer (illus.)

E has fallen down the stairs and broken its leg!  Now in the hospital, the only way for E to get well is for everyone to stop using it.  A replacement must be found immediately!  The rest of the alphabet decides on O, because of how well-rounded it is.  But even after all of the changes have been “onforcod,” E still isn’t getting better!

Rave reviews from publishers leave much to be desired by readers.  Well, that’s sort of true.  The story is great and words are well-chosen.  But this book suffers from its illustrations.  There is way too much going on for it to be an effective read-aloud.  Although the text certainly lends itself to general hilarity, the busyness on each of the pages prevents a reader from grasping the cohesive story.  One is too occupied with looking at all of the jokes drawn around the text to get to the end of the book remembering what happened in the beginning.

Image taken from http://www.amazon.com.

Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse

January 9, 2012

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible VerseMirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
by Marilyn Singer and Josee Masse (illus.)

In Mirror, Mirror, Singer offers her readers poetic shifts in points of view.  Read one way, her poetry tells one story from a fairy tale.  Read in reverse, they tell another character’s point of view.  If you’ll pardon the pun, it puts a whole new twist on the fairy tale genre.

While I was intrigued by the concept and structure of this book, it gets old quickly.  Once you read a few, you’ve pretty much got them all.  The two voices could be the same character, feeling two different emotions.  Or they could be two different characters – a princess and a prince.  Fun to use as a writing exercise or prompt, but even at 30 pages, this book seemed to go on a bit long.  Masse’s illustrations definitely augment the poems.  They are bold and bright, and help you see the shift when the words fail to convey whose point of view we’re supposed to see.

Image taken from http://www.amazon.com.


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