Saturday, February 9, 2013

What Libraries Mean To Me

Today is National Library Day. I went to my library today and picked up Life of Pi for our book club selection to celebrate. My kids and husband were waiting in the car so I couldn't hang out and enjoy the day.

I don't know any bibliophiles who don't love libraries. We can't afford not to. Unless you're wealthy, you probably can't afford to buy EVERY book you want to read and let's face it, not all books are ones you want to buy and keep on your shelf. There are some series that I like only enough to check them out from the library, but not to keep. Another fact, Hoarders would come and make a show about you if  you bought every book that you wanted to read. Having the Kindle app on my iPad has helped with that for the books I do buy, but really, the library takes care of the rest.

I live near the Santa Cruz Public Library. It's a pretty decent library. One of the better ones that I've been in. I am not in it as much as I'd like as my boys are in the under 5 set and they don't stand for the whispering inside thing for long, but we do try to go once a week to restock my older son's Cars book bag. Their favorite thing is to put the books in the book drop and try to catch a glimpse of one of the library technicians on the other side (our indoor book drop is in a door) then pushing the elevator call button to get to the kids area upstairs.

I'm still there with them. I remember the library where I grew up in Southern California. I remember the librarian reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to us when I was either four or five. I remember vividly getting my first library card (it was blue!). I went to private school nearby and my class would walk to the library. I can also recall taking out stacks and stacks of books and having half of them already read before we even returned home.

My first job after I got married was working at the library on the Air Force base where my husband was first stationed in North Dakota. The experience was enlightening, a little rocky, but I met a couple people who have turned into lifelong friends.

My husband jokes we really haven't officially moved somewhere until I've found the local library. Libraries along with bookstores are my sanctuary. Libraries are probably higher on the list because you're not expected to buy the book you're reading and are usually not rushed out. Find a comfy spot and you can stay there until the library is closing.

So on National Library Day go to your local library. Maybe make a purchase or donation to their Friends of the Library program. Our libraries are in danger of becoming extinct. Lots of cities and communities are being forced to reduce hours of operation, cut staff and their hours, and minimize the services offered (my library no longer does interlibrary loans outside of the Santa Cruz County system). Let's keep them around for our kids.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Challenge Accepted!

I had a horrible epiphany yesterday. I won't make my goal of 200 books for 2013. As a self diagnosed bibliophile, this was disheartening. Lately I have been doing more work about reading rather than actually picking up a book. I have the book club on Goodreads to moderate, a podcast to research for and write, and this blog to maintain. I also stay at home with my two boys who are four and two years old. Another reason I've slowed down is part of my goal for this year wasn't just to read more, it was to read smarter.

I mainly have been reading a lot of urban fantasy and historical fiction lately. Before that, it was mystery novels and chick lit. After creating Classics Without All the Class with Jeane, I realized I was lacking a lot in my literary diet. Last year I read over 150 books, but they were like having a snack. I needed to start adding something more substantial to my regiment. With CWAtC I was reading one classic a month, but it still wasn't enough. I was skipping meals. So this year I decided to try a buffet of genres (Okay, I think we've taken that analogy as far as we can. You're welcome).
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2)Heart of Darkness

As I talked about on episode 4 of the podcast I've been participating in reading challenges. One of them is the Rory Gilmore challenge. Rory Gilmore is the bookworm daughter on the now finished show Gilmore Girls.  Some enterprising soul went through the entire seven seasons and wrote down every book Rory read. There seems to be different versions of this list, and I am not brave enough yet to do it myself to find out the real number by watching the whole series myself (did I mention I'm swamped?!). This version seems long enough at 340 books. What makes this challenge so enticing is that it's eclectic.  There seems to be everything from the classics to nonfiction to bestsellers.
Madame Bovary

Another I'm attempting is Peter Boxall's 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. I came to the realization I'm never going to finish this one nor do I really want to. Not all these books are ones I'm interested in, but I'm going to make an attempt to hit the ones that I've missed. I've never read Pride & Prejudice. Catch-22 either.

So keeping all this in mind, I've lowered it to 175. It's okay to have high expectations. It's also okay to realize you need to lower those expectations. I'm no elitest. I have no problem if anyone wants to gorge themselves on romances or biographies (I lied, one more food analogy). Reading should be something you enjoy and I found I enjoy a challenge; to feel that I am accomplishing something. I'm still reading Kim Harrison and Philippa Gregory, but I'm adding in some William Faulkner and nonfiction as well.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Association: Life of Pi

Life of Pi
So this month we are reading The Life of Pi by Yann Martell, so that lead me to wonder...any other classic animal books out there for adult readers?  Why do we let the kids have all the fun with Charlotte's Web or Black Beauty?

So here's what I came up with.
Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Call of the Wild
The other wolf/dog book London wrote

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm
The source of farmers' nightmares ever since

Aesop's Fables by Aesop
Aesop's Fables (Oxford World's Classics)
Too bad Aesop didn't profit like Disney did when they had animals teach morals to people

Jaws by Peter Benchley
 Remember "We're going to need a bigger boat"? *

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
I think Captain Ahab should follow Quint and Brody's lead about that boat 

Next week on Book Association: Life of Pi Part 2 - The Nautical Round

*yeah I know that was the movie version, but creative license and all that.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ep #5 The Age of Innocence

On this episode, Jeane and Karena announce a new Gametator, discuss January's selection, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, reveal the poll results for April's book and the poll choices for May's book to movie month.

Websites That Thrill Us

Literary Links - February 4th edition

Your Monday reading un-assignment:

  • Sexy Role Playing Book Groups? As a moderator of CWAtC I can't decide if I'm jealous because we totally could have been doing this (Scarlett and Rhett role playing?) or weirded out. I think I'm going with weirded out