Archive for the ‘thoughts’ Category

SMILE! You’re on Bibliophile Camera!

June 11, 2008

I just had an experience that made me smile.

I was just sitting here at my desk when a high school kid walked by.  I’m guessing he had just been to the library about a block away because he had a book in his hand.  He wasn’t just carrying it, though, he had his nose pressed into it like there was nothing in the world but him and the book.

This is the first time I’ve seen any evidence of the kids from this high school reading, they’re usually much more interesting in SCREAMING! cuss words at each other or throwing a hackey sack back and forth across a crowded street.  Seeing this kid reading as if his life depended on it made me happy.
It must be an epidemic!  Another group of kids just walked past me that included two girls huddled together pointing things out to each other in a book.  I may have to see if this library is brainwashing kids or something, and then volunteer to help.

Tuesday Thingers – Tagging

June 10, 2008

Today’s question is about tags- do you tag? How do you tag? How do you feel about tagging- do you think it would be better to have standardized tags, like libraries have standardized subject headings, or do you like the individualized nature of tagging? What are your top 5 tags and what do they say about your collection or your reading habits?

My tagging methods have changed somewhat over my year at LT.  When I first joined, I used my tags as a basis for organizing my physical library.  Basically I was using hierarchical tags, but I was not calling them that.  A set of tags for a book might be historical fiction, Europe, England, 16th century.  Books were organized alphabetically by each successive tag.  Historical fiction was after just fiction, but before history.  Historical fiction from England came right before historical fiction based in France.  It was a somewhat cumbersome process and was sort of annoying to have to think through every time I added a new book to my library.
After having to pack and unpack all of my books, I decided to abandon my tagging organization – mostly because I didn’t want to have to meticulously order all of my books again.  Besides that, I think tagging is more interesting when there is some content tagging, as opposed to mere genre/subject tagging, like I was doing before.  This helps me see the cross-genre connections between my books.  All my books dealing with immigration, for instance, books that wouldn’t necessarily be shelved together.

This subject-based tagging is definitely a work in progress, but it is made so much easier by LibraryThing’s new tag page, which easily lets me tweak my tagging so that I don’t have two similar tags.

Unexpected Bookmark

June 9, 2008

Last night, as I was getting ready to go out and run an errand, I asked Brian if he could please feed our cats because I had noticed their food bowl was low (but not empty). He grunted in a noncommittal way that led me to assume that he would do it.

When I got back from my errand, he struck up a conversation.

“What book are you reading now,” he asked.

“Dolphins Under My Bed.”

“Did I see that one? That sounds like something I would remember.”

So of course I had to go off to get my book to show him the cover, all along explaining that this was one of the books I was reviewing for ReaderViews. After showing him the cover and getting a sort of “oh, okay,” from him, I of COURSE flipped the book open. What I saw was this:

I guess he didn’t want to feed them after all!

What odd things have you found in your book? Notes people have left you, strange things left in used or library books.
Or, what odd things do you use for bookmarks?

Search Terms

June 6, 2008

Here is ANOTHER fun idea I am stealing from Natasha over at Maw Books. For a couple of months now she’s been listing the search terms people used to find her blog. Fyrefly did this recently as well. I’ve been saying I want to do it for awhile, then a search term leading to me this last week made me decide I definitely needed to do this as soon as possible. See if you can guess what it was…

devourer of books – This is the #1 most-searched thing for people to find my blog. I guess that means people are actually looking for me.

librarything top 106 unread – Not only did I do that meme here, but TheLiterateHousewife and I are planning to create a challenge based off of this meme this fall. Check back!

andrew davidson gargoyle – An amazing book that I couldn’t put down. See my review here.

“doug dorst” necropolis – Another great first novel that I just reviewed. The full title is “Alive in Necropolis”

“beatrice colin” glimmer palace – I have this book, a review is coming sometime this summer before it is released.

npr summer reading – I posted about this, listing the choices that most interested me as well linking to the actual list.

“pagan kennedy” “dangerous joy” – Another one that I have and that will be reviewed soonish.

jennifer cardwell book blog – Yup, you’re at the right place!

three cups of tea movie – Not according to IMDB, but that would be pretty cool. The book was my very first review here!

the last queen by cw gortner – Good choice, that was my #1 pick in April!

jurassic park book and movies difference – No idea. I hope that you found something else interesting here, because I have definitely not posted about that.  My sister wants me to add that I DID post about Jurassic Park, both the movie and the book, in a Booking Through Thursday post.  I didn’t talk about the difference between them, though, just that I preferred the movie because I saw it before I read the book.

the illegitimate children of henry viii – Really, does NOBODY use capitals when searching? Henry had a few illegitimate children, if you believe that he really fathered Mary Boleyn’s two kids. Here’s some research that suggests he did.

Books – Yes, I DO like books! I can’t believe you noticed!

“dangerous joy of dr sex” – This book gets a fair amount of searches. I may have to move it up my TBR pile, because it seems like lots of people are interested.

people devourer – Twice this was searched and people ended up here. I’m slightly afraid.

devourer of book – Don’t forget the ‘s’! Honestly, I think maybe some people need to be using their bookmarks on their browser or google reader a little more.

mary boleyn tudor period – What other period would she have lived in? She was younger than Henry, so she wouldn’t have been born before his father took the throne, and she certainly didn’t outlive her sister’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I.

devourer – Again. Bookmark/google reader.

book blogs – This is one, and there are other good ones in my blogroll (which needs badly to be updated) and on my May Thank Yous list.

how many kings and queens have there been – In the whole WORLD? I’ve got no clue. Lots and lots, I would imagine. I need a country to be able to answer that question. It looks like 46 in France before they started losing their heads, and 40 in England starting with William the Conqueror and not counting Oliver Cromwell et. al. I did read a good book about the Kings and Queens of England which, I suspect, is how you ended up here.

mary boylyn – You aren’t going to get too far misspelling her name like that…

sara boleyn sister of anne Boleyn – Yah, no such person. You are thinking of MARY.

mary carey nee rochford – No, she wasn’t born Rochford. She was born Boleyn. Rochford is a town in England and it was the site of one of the Boleyn family’s estates. Mary and Anne’s brother George was Viscount Rochford.

mary boleyn movies – Philippa Gregory’s “The Other Boleyn Girl” was made into a movie. I reviewed it here.

movie historical inaccuracies BoleynTons of them!

read the book two brothers – If you mean “Two Brothers: One North, One South,” I honestly wouldn’t if I were you.

what the bible says about devourer – I have no words and no idea. I found these two passages. Pretty much not at all related to anything on this site. Hope you eventually found what you were looking for!

This Blog Goes to 11(th grade)

June 4, 2008

blog readability test

Excuse the terrible, terrible, headline, but I’m tired and punchy while writing this post. This is something I found while checking out Heather’s blog: Age 30 – A Year of Books. Basically the site calculates the readability of your blog, determining the requisite level of education for comprehension. I had a great deal of fun sticking everyone’s urls in to see what everyone else’s readability level is. Unfortunately the site doesn’t give any information on how they calculate, average readabilities, or anything else that is fun. Based on the fact that many of the blogs I checked were listed as being ‘Elementary School’ or ‘Junior High’ I’ve come to two conclusions:

  1. There are some stinkin’ smart grade school kids out there!
  2. I’m probably a bit pretentious in my writing, as I certainly wouldn’t label as ‘juvenile’ the blogs that came up “Elementary’ or ‘Junior High.’ In fact, those are some of my favorite blogs!

What is YOUR blog’s readability, and what conclusions did you draw from that?

Drum Roll Please…

June 3, 2008

Here it is, the long-awaited 100th post!  I wasn’t planning on posting until tomorrow, but I have three posts (including two reviews) just dying to be published, so we’re going to go ahead and do it now. 

But first, some stats:

– 52 people entered this contest.  Basically everyone left multiple comments, blogged about the contest, or both, for a total of 229 entries

– The person with the most entries was Kegsoccer, with a total of 30 (15 comments doubled for blogging). 

– 22 different books were requested.  The most requested book was “The Historian,” followed closely by “Year of Wonders” and then “The Zookeeper’s Wife.” 

And the winners are….. (more…)

Tuesday Thingers – Why LT?

June 3, 2008

Post 99!!

Why LT?

Why did you choose to open and maintain an LT account? Do you/did you use other online cataloging/social networking sites, like GoodReads or Shelfari? Do you use more than one? Are they different or do they serve different purposes?

LibraryThing was the first of the social networking booksites I learned of. A good friend of mine told me about it and strongly insisted that I join, so that she (and others) could peruse my library. I joined and signed up for a lifetime membership immediately, simply based on the strength of the cataloging, with no idea about the social aspects. My oh-so-enthusiastic friend promptly stopped doing anything with LT at all, although she has recently re-joined.

I started plugging into the social side of LibraryThing after learning about the Early Reviewers program in order to figure out how to increase my chances of winning and was promptly addicted. I have a couple of friends who have joined GoodReads, so I keep thinking about creating an account over there as well. However, I simply don’t have the energy to update two different accounts. If I did, I’d keep my wishlist separated from my library on LibraryThing. I have also thought about joining GoodReads or Shelfari to network with more book bloggers, but I just can’t seem to get excited enough about either one to do it. Because LT is what I know, they seem like a lesser thing to me, because they aren’t LibraryThing. I’m sure that both GoodReads and Shelfari have some fun, fantastic features that LT lacks, but with Tim and ‘The Powers That Be’ as responsive as they are, I would need a whole lot more time in my schedule before plugging into other booksites would be worth it.

Thingers (and others), this is my LAST POST before the end of the contest! I will be accepting comments through 9 pm Eastern Standard Time. After that the contest will close. Three winners will be announced tomorrow, Wednesday, June 4th.

BTT – Reading Fundamentals

May 29, 2008

BTT LogoWhat is reading, anyway? Novels, comics, graphic novels, manga, e-books, audiobooks — which of these is reading these days? Are they all reading? Only some of them? What are your personal qualifications for something to be “reading” — why? If something isn’t reading, why not? Does it matter? Does it impact your desire to sample a source if you find out a premise you liked the sound of is in a format you don’t consider to be reading? Share your personal definition of reading, and how you came to have that stance.

Although these are not all things that I like to read, they are all reading. Personally, I stick to novels and non-fiction physical books, as well as whatever audio books I can get for free on Librivox. That doesn’t mean, however, that things like graphic novels are not reading. Heck it says ‘novel’ right in the name! I certainly would not want to argue that “Persepolis” is not really reading.

If you had asked me this question 4 years ago, I might have come up with a different answer. “Comic books?” I might have sneered at you, “comic books aren’t really reading.” That changed when I taught 2nd grade in a high-crime, low-income area on the South Side of Chicago. Most of my kids were non-readers. As in they were barely able to read. Motivating them was often difficult as well. Many of their parents were too busy trying to feed and clothe their families to read on their own or with their children. Many of the parents were probably illiterate, or had very low levels of literacy, because they were failed by the same neighborhood school when they were growing up. TV was the babysitter, and kids tended to be more worried about navigating their way safely around their neighborhood than about reading and math. They needed to learn how to survive in their environment, who had time for school?

In this environment, I was desperate to get my kids to learn, and even more desperate to get them to love learning, reading in particular. The name of the game was finding ANYTHING that interested and engaged them. We had “DEAR” (Drop Everything And Read) time in the mornings, during which many of the kids would simply stare blankly at their books as I made my way around the room to try to read with all 25 of them. When some of my boys brought in comic books that enthralled them and kept them reading intently all through “DEAR” time, and even sneaking peaks during the day, do you think I counted that as reading?

Of course I did! With pleasure! If they are engaged enough to push themselves through comic books that sometimes were slightly too difficult, that meant that they were honing their reading skills. Once they had greater command of language, they were more likely to want to pick up other books in the library that before had been too difficult. They were also finally able to read the instructions on worksheets for other subjects, thus boosting their overall achievement.

If there are words, it is reading. Anything you can read, even cereal boxes, can be a stepping stone. I hope that comic books become the gateway drug of choice leading millions of children to a life-long book addiction.

Note: BTTer’s, check out my big giveaway to celebrate my upcoming 100th post!

BTT – Manuals Ad Nauseum

May 15, 2008

Scenario: You’ve just bought some complicated gadget home . . . do you read the accompanying documentation? Or not?

Do you ever read manuals?

How-to books?

Self-help guides?

Anything at all?

Let me just begin by saying, I’m not very good at instructions.  Written instructions occasionally fare better than oral instructions, because I have a tendency not to listen to people unless I am actually engaged in a face-to-face conversation – or unless I’m really interested in what they have to say, which isn’t usually the case with instructions.  If the instructions are concise and to the point, they have a fair chance of being read, otherwise, they will be skimmed at best.  This explains my lack of interest in writing/grammar manuals, as well as in the types of manuals described in today’s prompt.  If I bring home a new gadget of some kind, I am far more likely to just play with it for a bit and try to make it work (or ask Brian to do so and then explain it to me) than to read through the manual.  I will only consult the documentation for specific features that I have not figured out, not for the whole thing.

Self-help books?  No way.  I can’t even stand the ‘inspirational’ books genre any longer, let alone self-help.  Part of the problem is that I don’t like the way they are written, the other part of the problem is that I’m not likely to take any of their advice anyway.

I will, occasionally, consult how-to books or cookbooks.  Even then, though, I will read about only the specific thing I want to know, unless it is a cookbook with some interesting things to say about food and eating healthily.

I’m starting to wonder if BTT isn’t really my thing.  I have been fairly bored by the three prompts I’ve attempted so far.  I’m sure it is terribly hard to come up with prompts every week, but if next week is also about manuals, I’m done.

Literary Ventures Fund

May 14, 2008

Literary Ventures Fund

So I just had a conversation with Kate from the Literary Ventures Fund.  The more I read about them and talk to her, the more I’m really impressed with their organization.  They basically work with publishers that are too small to have dedicated marketing people and help them market their books.  They do not, however, work with just any old book.  They have to fall in love with a book first – which explains why all the books Kate already sent me all look so fantastic!

Kate and I talked for about half an hour.  She told me more about LVF, I talked about the different places I have been getting books for review: ReaderViews, Barnes and Nobles First Look Book Club, LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

Evidently Kate likes the way I write about the books I read (Big Smile), so I’m going to be reading some of their books and reviewing them here for all of you.  Most of the authors whose books LVF works with are still in their day jobs, so are approachable and not big, scary, FAMOUS people, so expect to see some of them submitting guest posts here, or being interviewed by yours truly.

I’m super excited about this: reviewing for a good cause and reading great books!