08/05/2012 § 5 Comments
Who is ready for summer? Several of us are finishing up our schoolwork, dealing with stress, and ready for a quick breather. Here are a few summer reading recommendations from your dear HackLibSchool editors. We’ve broken the list down into Leisure and LIS reading. Please add your own recommendations in the comments!
- The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson - Annie and Buster Fang have spent most of their adult lives trying to distance themselves from their famous artist parents, Caleb and Camille. But when a bad economy and a few bad personal decisions converge, the two siblings have nowhere to turn but their family home. Reunited under one roof for the first time in more than a decade and surrounded by the souvenirs of their unusual upbringing, Buster and Annie are forced to confront not only their creatively ambitious parents, but the chaos and confusion of their childhood.
- The City and the City by China Mieville - Twin southern European cities Beszel and Ul Qoma coexist in the same physical location, separated by their citizens’ determination to see only one city at a time. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad roams through the intertwined but separate cultures as he investigates the murder of Mahalia Geary, who believed that a third city, Orciny, hides in the blind spots between Beszel and Ul Qoma. As Mahalia’s friends disappear and revolution brews, Tyador is forced to consider the idea that someone in unseen Orciny is manipulating the other cities.
- The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus – A terrible epidemic has struck the country and the sound of children’s speech has become lethal. Radio transmissions from strange sources indicate that people are going into hiding. The Flame Alphabet invites the question: What is left of civilization when we lose the ability to communicate with those we love? Both morally engaged and wickedly entertaining, a gripping page-turner as strange as it is moving, this intellectual horror story ensures Ben Marcus’s position in the first rank of American novelists.
- Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain - At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.
- Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley - For the YA fiction readers, a fun sci-fi novel about Natalie Ng, a teenage girl whose superpower is the ability to talk to cats. Nat and her best friends tackle a mystery centering on a kidnapped celebrity gossip blogger when the blogger’s cat screams that the woman he is with is an imposter.
- What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson - Bronson tells the inspirational true stories of people who have found the most meaningful answers to that great question. With humor, empathy, and insight, Bronson writes of remarkable individuals—from young to old, from those just starting out to those in a second career—who have overcome fear and confusion to find a larger truth about their lives and, in doing so, have been transformed by the experience.
- Good, Better, Best Wines by Carolyn Evans Hammond - When it comes to wine, your “wants” are pretty simple: a good wine, at a price you can afford, that’s stocked at your local wine shop or supermarket. Good Better Best Wines gives you just that. It reveals in plain English, the good, better, and best wines available for the dollars you’re willing to spend–up to $15–along with photos of clearly labeled bottles to make wine shopping easier.
- The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith - Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal but grows enraged by Dickie’s ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante.
- Re-reading We Heart Libraries by John Ira Thomas and Jeremy Smith (a library-friendly version of the Zoo Force comics) and all the other Candle Light Press books (I recently was gifted with a complete collection). Should be a good time!
- The Essential Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal – Shows you how to do all sorts of exciting gardening/homesteading projects. I am reading it to review it for a journal, but I secretly wanted to read it anyways!
- Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore – If it follows the vein of previous Moore romps it will take a heavy dose of history and completely upend it to the suspension of all disbelief. “Oh lÀ lÀ, quelle surprise, and zut alors! A delectable confection of intrigue, passion, and art history—with cancan girls, baguettes, and fine French cognac thrown in for good measure—SacrÉ Bleu is another masterpiece of wit and wonder from the one, the only, Christopher Moore.”
- Game of Thrones by George RR Martin – I’ve been holding off starting the series until I had time because I’ve been told by many that you will stay up all night reading through them. I haven’t seen any of the tv series and am greatly looking forward to a fun escape for a while.
- Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin – To borrow one of my recent blog posts… “Yelchin gives us a glimpse into Soviet Russia through the eyes of a child. In a flash a young Soviet boy loses everything…but it takes a day for this reality to sink in. Join Sasha on the eve of his communist Pioneer induction. Watch as he moves from total faith in his party and leader…to alienation. Don’t worry–the story is also peppered with humor and hope. The illustrations are works of art worthy of their own book. It’s in my top five favorite children’s books. A must read.”
- Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) [pdf]
- My Data Management Plan – a satire by C. Titus Brown
- The Legal Framework for Reproducible Scientific Research: Licensing and Copyright by Victoria Stodden [pdf]
- Who Owns Oral History? A Creative Commons Solution by Jack Dougherty and Candace Simpson
- Joanna - I am going to read through the papers Rebecca linked to in her last article (gearing up for a fiction purchase battle) and then these writing/education/reading resources:
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott “Lamott’s ( Operating Instructions ) miscellany of guidance and reflection should appeal to writers struggling with demons large and slight.” She states that her goal is to not only make you a better writer, but a better reader and (marginalia pen in hand) I’m already finding that to be true.
- Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin “School was invented to create a constant stream of compliant factory workers to the growing businesses of the 1900s. It continues to do an excellent job at achieving this goal, but it’s not a goal we need to achieve any longer. In this 30,000 word manifesto, I imagine a different set of goals and start (I hope) a discussion about how we can reach them. One thing is certain: if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’ve been getting.”
- You are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins Goins is a blogger and writer I admire and have gotten a great deal from already. I’m looking forward to delving into this and maybe even finally embracing that I am a writer. “In You Are a Writer, Jeff Goins shares the truth about writing. He provides the tools and insights you need to build your platform, develop an audience, and make meaningful connections. No writer should embark on his or her writing journey without reading this first!”
- The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future by Robert Darnton
- Reflective Teaching, Effective Learning: Instructional Literacy for Library Educators by Char Booth
What are you planning to read over the break? Do you have any recommendations?
30/04/2012 § 12 Comments
One of the long-standing jokes of librarianship is that we all got into the profession because “we love to read”, the punchline of course being that we’re all too overworked to read for fun. While I don’t think anyone should enter professional librarianship with the expectation that reading is a requirement of the job (note: it isn’t), I do wish information professionals had more incentive to incorporate a love for recreational reading into our everyday practice.
24/01/2012 § 13 Comments
We got a question on Twitter over the weekend about reading material for LIS:
RT @brandontlocke: Any recommended reads for aspiring/future MLIS students?
It is difficult to respond to such a question in 140 characters or less. I made the attempt by suggesting reputable blogs and e-news sources for LIS information and fiction for mind expansion (and fun!). Feeling that a little more was needed I have expanded with advice, links and resources.
20/10/2011 § 3 Comments
During my first semester of school, and into my second semester I read children’s books because I had been told it was an important part of being a children’s librarian. Over the past year I have found that this is true—but it takes more than a belief in this theory to keep reading, to keep blogging and avoid burn out.
Semester One: The Rookie
A year ago I started library school. I began my coursework with a children’s literature survey to balance out the rigor of my metadata class in my first semester. “Literature for Youth” covered historic and current trends in youth literature while also discussing evaluation models for children’s books. Throughout the semester we read top picks across genres, eras and award winners. The class required me to keep an ongoing blog that discussed one or two books I had read each week. The class was great, blogging was even better, and I fell in love with children’s literature. At the end of the semester I made the naive vow that I would keep reading and keep blogging because it would make me a great librarian someday—and it was fun.
Semester Two: Payoff
My children’s literature class was over—finding time to read got a bit harder. In my first semester reading was built into my coursework—it was for school—I had to do it. In my second semester, my courses required a different kind of reading. Keeping up with my blog took time and commitment, but I was still eager and up for the challenge. Eventually my work paid off. At the end of my second semester of school I started part-time work in a children’s library. I owe a lot of the credit to my blog—it was a great source of conversation during my interview and my comfort level with children’s books gave me a lot of confidence in the process.
Semester Three: The Summer of Burnout
This summer I took two classes, I worked a full-time job and I started my part-time library job. I began the summer semester with the expectation that I would read and blog as I had in the previous semesters. I loved reading, I loved blogging, I had a new library job—I would make time for reading. What was I thinking? I’m not sure how other people do with summer courses—the two classes I took were beyond difficult on a 10 week timeline—especially with my workload. Reading and blogging began to feel like a burden. Not living up to my expectations for myself felt worse.
Semester Four: The Rescue and Renewal
At the end of the summer work eased up and I had more time to read. However, I realized that reading children’s literature with the idea of being a better librarian was not enough reason for me. The theory made sense but it didn’t make sense when all I did was read in my “spare time” or chastise myself for not reading. One of the adult librarians at my job recognized my burn out and she rescued me. I was expressing my frustration with adolescent protagonists–she asked me what kind of grown up books I like to read. I responded with David Sedaris. She stepped away from the desk and returned with a copy of Carl Hiaasen’s Skin Tight. I read like a grown up for a while, when I didn’t want to read—I didn’t read. I took a break.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been faced with some serious readers advisory work. My patrons never cease to challenge me. During these readers advisory sessions I have discovered and internalized why I need to read children’s literature. There is a frustration on both sides of the desk when I can’t help a patron find the right book. Yet nothing feels better than a genuine book talk that leads to a happy patron. In the practice of helping patrons, I have found the truth in the theory I learned in my first semester of library school. Being a great children’s librarian takes a commitment to children’s resources. Reading children’s literature is part of the job. At the same time, a job is a job and a work/life balance must be struck. I’m learning to identify when I am bored or bogged down with kids’ books or blogging about kids books. When that happens, I indulge myself with a mystery (written for adults)—or a break.
27/09/2011 § 2 Comments
In honor of Banned and Challenged Books Week (Sept 24-Oct 1), we’d like to share some of our new and old banned favorites with you! Join in the conversation in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and spread the word during this fantastic week to celebrate the freedom to read!
- Favorite: I can’t pick one! I’d have to say Native Son by Richard Wright, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
- Reading this week: Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson and Lord of the Flies by William Golding and I’m also leading a Banned/Challenged Books Book Discussion at my library.
- Favorite: one of the more famous banned books: Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I love it so much I have this t-shirt. Also George Orwell’s 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. These three books are incredible, and I could write a super long list of other ones I like too.
- Reading this week: One of the unfortunate side effects of doctoral studies is that I don’t really get to read pleasure books except for about 5 minutes before bed, and since my brain is so mushy by the time I crawl into bed I’ve just started reading kids’ books. Right now it’s Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which I’m sure in one of its many incarnations has been banned at some point.
- Favorite: I also can’t choose just one! Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: in college, I took a class on just this book. blew. my. mind. The Awakening by Kate Chopin: I haven’t read this book since high school, but I still remember the heated discussion our class had over the ending. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell: Seriously, how could you ban penguins?
- Reading this week: I think we should be reading banned books all year long! This week I’m not reading a banned book because I’m too caught up with a recent release (The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson) that I just can’t put down! I wouldn’t be surprised if someone eventually challenged it.
- Favorite: Oh, man… Maybe it’s a cliche, but Catcher in the Rye seriously changed the course of my life. Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden are also up there. When I was in middle school the librarian went out of her way to order these for me from the high school library, so I have a soft spot for the intellectual freedom implications. I wasn’t really ready for them then, but when I re-read them as an adult, I was floored. It was spiritual.
- Reading this week: I’m re-reading Julia Mickenberg, Philip Nel, and Jack Zipes’s Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature. Julia Mickenberg also wrote Learning from the Left: Children’s Literature, the Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United States, and she’s a big favorite. Little Rebels contains a huge collection of radical kid’s lit organized by theme from the early 1900s on, reproduced in facsimiles, with author/illustrator bios and some critical commentary. Political challenges aren’t as sexy as they used to be, but it’s oh-so-good! The Marxist abecedarian alone is worth a look.
- Favorite: My all-time favorite books are Grapes of Wrath, The Handmaid’s Tale, and To Kill A Mockingbird all of which were, surprisingly, assigned reading in high school. I went to a fairly liberal private high school where we were encouraged to question authority and engage critically with assignments. I would probably not the book lover I am today without these one.
- Reading this week: The Hunger Games because I’m co-planning a huge event for the public library for the movie release in March. (For the record, I am and will always be Team Gale!)
- Favorite: I have a few favorites but among them are: Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (she’s one of my favorite authors) and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. After I read The Jungle, I didn’t eat hot dogs for YEARS. I read it in middle school and it opened my eyes to the way workers were treated pre-union days.
- Reading this week: Not sure! My student group is doing a Banned Books event and we’re reading out from our banned book of choice. I might choose Heart of Darkness.