21 January 2009

Librarians and Girl Scouts

Is there an intrinsic link between library staff and Girl Scouts? In the large library where I work, I think about one out of every 10 or so employees is pushing the Girl Scout cookies this month. It seems like the Boy Scout popcorn sales were only about 1 in every 20-25 employees.

My former library director was also a Girl Scout leader and mother of Girl Scouts.

What a wholesome image - librarians and Girl Scouts!
I wonder what percentage of female librarians were Girl Scouts and what percentage of male librarians were Boy Scouts?
I know that in many towns, like Rock Creek, Ohio, the library and Boy or Girl Scout buildings are right next to each other or the Scouts meet at the library.

p.s. The library mistress was not a Girl Scout, but she certainly respects and admires them.

12 January 2009

Boys of Steel: The Pride of Glenville

Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman by Marc Tyler Nobleman and Ross MacDonald. Children's Nonfiction, 3rd grade to adult (more like a graphic novel).

What nerdy kid doesn't dream of being strong, good-looking, invincible, and good with the girls? Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were no different. These two boys from the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland created Superman 70 years ago. And he is still going strong.

This book has excellent retro graphics as are appropriate and the text puts the reader in the shoes of these hopeful youngsters who are marketing their Superman product.

If you have a budding artist or writer in your family, this would be a good gift book.

05 January 2009

What's on My Desk January 2009

Veil of Gold by Kim Wilkins. Adult Fantasy Fiction. DONE.
Wilkins ties in traditional Russian folk lore with a contemporary story about people who are thrust into the magical Russian alternate world of old. She weaves historical figures like Rasputin and Anastasia and folk characters like Baba Yaga in with a modern film maker, a historian, and a Russian Canadian secretary. I found this to be very enjoyable and I was not familiar with any of the Russian folk lore except for Baba Yaga, so that was all original. There are two brief sex scenes, but they aren't particularly graphic and they make sense from the folk lore and plot point.

Once Upon a Time: A Treasury of Modern Fairy Tales edited by Lester Del Rey and Risa Kessler. Adult Fantasy Short Stories. DONE.
This is another pleasant escapist book. By modern they just mean recently written, not set in contemporary times. Here I am using the word Adult to mean written for adults. There is nothing pornographic here and it isn't particularly violent and is pretty much non-offensive. Teens and children older than 9 or so could also enjoy this book. Like other anthologies, say Legends edited by Robert Silverberg, this book may introduce readers to authors they would like to further read. This is a good marketing tactic by Del Rey.
Pawn by Steven James. Adult Fiction. DONE.
This book came recommended to me by a coworker. She said it was a crime/murder book, but had no sex and little or no profanity. It is also published by Revell Books, a Christian publisher.
Well...yes that is right but it was a VERY violent and disturbing book because it tells the story from the mind of the serial killer and the police officer trying to catch him. Now I understand that some people like this sort of thing, but I don't because I really don't want to ever think like a killer!
I was going to have some ladies read it for a book discussion, but now I am not.
I just finished reading it and it is way too gory to recommend for a Christian group to read. After the first few bloody pages I didn't want to read more, but I thought I had better, since I already had it listed for the book discussion. It is well written which is why it came recommended, and it is published by a Christian publisher (Revell, a division of Baker), but it is really violent and it tries to put you in the mind of the murderer. Baker's website says:
About Baker Books
Baker Books has a vision for building up the body of Christ through books that are relevant, intelligent, and engaging. We publish titles for lay Christians on topics such as discipleship, spirituality, encouragement, relationships, marriage, parenting, and the intersection of Christianity and culture. We also publish books and ministry resources for pastors and church leaders, concentrating on topics such as preaching, worship, pastoral ministries, counseling, and leadership.
I don't know how this book would fit in to their criteria. There is a very brief discussion about God, but it is not emphasized.
Certainly, if you wish to read this book you can and I won't think any less of you, but personally I don't want to read more books like this because it leaves me feeling dirty. (Yes, we did read Kite Runner which had equally gory parts, and the Shack, which had a murder, so I know I am being somewhat hypocritical here).
Philippians 4:8 TNIV
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Personally, I don't really care what is in the mind of a murderer because I don't want to think that way, but, again, I certainly don't want to say that others can't read this book. Don't let me be accused of book banning, I just want to warn you this is not a Murder She Wrote kind of nice crime book.
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. Adult Nonfiction.
Am I a glutton for punishment or what? I already said I don't like murder books and here I am reading another. There are two reasons for this:
1. Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints people are interesting to me and this is what it is about. After the April 2008 government seizure of the compound in Eldorado, Texas I thought I would like to know more about fundamentalist Mormons.
2. I think that Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild is one of the best books I have ever read and I wanted to read another of his books. I have read some of his short nonfiction in some magazines as well.
3. It isn't imagined horror, but real crime and Krakauer isn't into bloody details but motivation and understanding. So far it focuses on history and what they think, with just a brief mention of a double murder.
Thief Queen's Daughter by Elizabeth Haydon. Children's Fantasy Fiction.
I enjoyed the last Ven Polypheme book and so did my husband, so I was looking forward to reading this one.
This is a great series with all the elements I look for in a fantasy book. My favorite fantasy books feature groups of characters sent on a quest. In this case, Ven is asked by the king to investigate the origin of a glowing stone. To do so, he sets off with his companions into the den of thieves.
The author even includes a discussion guide and information for teachers who want to include it in a curriculum.
Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel. Adult Nonfiction/Memoir. DONE.
This is a nice book written for a nice audience by a nice person. It is pleasant and, at times, humorous, in a home way like James Herriot's books or Skipping Village (see previous blog on Skipping Village). There are no murders in this memoir (but one eccentric old lady dies of natural causes).
Although Haven grew up fairly poor and her parents were not so great parents, an optimism presides throughout the book. One could compare and contrast to The Glass Castle. Haven's dad is a drunk and a gambler and her mom is a depressed couch potato, but everything turns out okay in the end and Haven doesn't seem to mind too much with her spirit of curiosity prevailing.