26 September 2012

Language of Flowers

Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh adult fiction This book was disturbing, but I couldn't put it down. The main character is an 18 year old who has been shuffled from family to family her whole life. She finally is placed with a woman who is good to her and teaches her all about vineyards, grapes, vegetables, and flowers. By this time, however, Victoria has learned not to trust anyone and pus
hes everyone away. She ultimately leaves and becomes homeless. The one redeeming quality she has is her knowledge of flowers that her foster mother taught her. Is it enough to survive? Victoria is definitely "damaged goods". She makes some VERY poor decisions. Can she find redemption and make amends with those who have come to be fond of her? Intertwined in the plot is the Victorian Language of Flowers. For example, giving a person Calla lilies shows modesty. Fennel shows strength. A great appendix in the back serves as a reference. http://aboutflowers.com/images/stories/Florist/languageofflowers-flowerdictionary.pdf

Bad Kitty

Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe young adult fiction This is NOT "Bad Kitty" by Nick Bruel. True Confessions time: I accidentally checked out this book and its sequel when I thought I was getting on hold for some books by Nick Bruel. Nick Bruel writes silly, illustrated cat books for elementary school readers. I accidentally read book 2 before this book (1). In this book we are introduced to ultra-hip Jasmine, teenage detective, and her crime solving friends. Jaz and family vacation in Las Vegas where she (literally) stumbles onto a mystery. Who is terrorizing a celebrity, her son, and their three legged cat? Can they trust the Russian and the bartender? Wacky fun ensues. This book is full of cultural references, contemporary language, and slang. If someone were to try to read this 50 years from now, they would have a hard time following all the references. Even someone reading it today may not be immersed enough in "teenspeak" to understand all the references. Good thing the author gives us some footnotes on many pages.

Blood of the Prodigal

Blood of the Prodigal by P. Gaus mystery novel Paul Gaus paints a picture of Amish life in Ohio and how interactions with "Englishers" can get complicated, especially for young people wanting to see more of the world beyond their ordered, plain existance. An Amish man is murdered and a pastor and a professor that the Amish trust are asked to figure out what happened. This is a fairly clean book for a murder mystery and should appeal to Ohioans in particular. This is the first in a series of Ohio Amish mysteries.

Dog Days

Dog Days by Jon Katz audiobook If you have to be trapped in a car with the family, I recommend bringing an audiobook like "Dog Days" or a James Herriot compilation. Katz (Ha! A man named cats writing about dogs) tells of his misadventures on a farm in Vermont or upstate New York. I never was completely sure which state it was in, but it doesn't matter. Each chapter can stand alone, which is good for when you have to make rest stops on the highway. Along with dogs, we encounter elderly neighbors, donkeys, sheep, and more. This must be book 2, because he refers to his "other" book at the beginning of this one. (First dog book: 1) Dog Year. Second dog book: 2) New Work of Dogs. Third dog book: Dogs of Bedlam Farm. Fourth dog book: Dog Days. I am not completely certain that I have this order right, though). His book is endearing, sweet, and witty.

President Obama on Free Speech

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In an address to the United Nations: “As president of our country, and commander-in-chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day,” Obama said. “And I will defend their right to do so.” For that, he received cheers in the cavernous hall. The president worked to explain — before a sometimes skeptical audience that has never completely bought into the U.S. idea that even hateful speech is protected — why the U.S. values its First Amendment so highly. “We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics, or oppress minorities,” Obama said. “We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech — the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.” He said Americans “have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their view.” http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/national_world/2012/09/26/before-u-n--obama-champions-free-speech.html

15 September 2012

Do You Wear Diapers?

Do You Wear Diapers? by Tanya Roitman and Harriet Ziefert, Inc. board book ages 2-4 Toddlers may wonder - "Do tigers wear diapers? Does anyone else wear diapers"? Here is the answer book. No. The answer is "no". Only humans wear diapers. Others poop in or near their own habitats. If your family is full of doctors and nurses or biology teachers, then this a good book for your family. I don't recommend it for a genteel grandmother to read or for someone else who is easily grossed out. Half of my audience laughed and the other half thought it was icky. In case you were wondering: There are NOT pictures of poop, but there are illustrations of various animals. Readalike: Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

28 August 2012

Kitty Kitty

Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe Young Adult Mystery Jasmine is the coolest, hippest teen around. She is a modern day Nancy Drew, except when she is stuck wearing a squirrel costume in Italy. This is a hilarious, smart-alecky book filled with today's slang, instant messaging, etc. Since I am not a young adult, it took me a while to get some of her put-downs. Did I mention that cats absolutely adore her? This is probably a good book for a reluctant reader as the 17 year old character is full of angst against her father, fashion conscious, and perky.

24 August 2012


"Maybe God created the desert so that man could appreciate the date trees, he thought". From The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

16 August 2012


Croak 1 by Gina Damico Young Adult Fantasy Fiction Lexington is a disgruntled teenager. Actually, it is worse than that. She has a big chip on her shoulder, but no one can say why. She is sent to live with her biker uncle to straighten her out. It turns out that he is the Grim Reaper! One of the grim reapers, anyway. The reapers' job (of course) is to take the souls of the dead to the afterlife. Lex becomes a reapers' apprentice. This is the job she was meant to do. This is a smart alecky book with a nod to classical mythology. Since the author called it "Croak 1" it is obvious that this is book one in a trilogy or longer.

06 August 2012


Unveiled: How an American Woman Found Her Way through Politics, Love, and Obedience in the Middle East by Deborah Kanafani narrated by Suzanne Toren adult autobiography audiobook A well educated daughter of a Syrian American lawyer is interested in exploring her Middle Eastern roots. She takes a job with a nonprofit organization promoting understanding of the Arab world. Eventually she falls in love with a man whose first duty is to the love of his life - Palestine. She tells about Middle East politics from a personal point of view. She is not particularly religious nor loyal to any particular political stance except for PEACE. She works toward understanding and peace between Israel and Palestine and the West and the Middle East. Eventually her marriage dissolves and she finds herself without custody of her children. Through her experiences, the listener comes to understand a little bit the frustration that westerners have with sharia law. She also tells the stories of a number of courageous Middle Eastern women, including Queen Dina of Jordan and Suha Arafat, the wife of Yasser Arafat. It is/was certainly a world with which I am not familiar. It is interesting to hear another perspective than what we generally get from the American media.

Summer reading, etc. 2012

What have I checked out of the library so far this summer? Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe. YA suspense fiction. This book has the creepiness of the Flowers in the Attic books. An 18 year old homeless girl is hired by a pair of rich siblings to impersonate their dead cousin. This seems like a good deal to Eve, but will they now bump her off for the money? Jaffe keeps the reader guessing. 7/30/2012 9:31:34 AM _____ Along the Way. Autobiography by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. This father and son actor team tell about their lives on and off set. Daytonians will be interested that Sheen attended Chaminade High and lived in Dayton. He mentions Brown Street, WSU, UD, and Kettering. 7/24/2012 1:14:31 PM _____ Contagion. Video. What if a new virus hit the Earth leaving one in three people dead? How long would it take to make a vaccine? Would riots ensue? Would school be cancelled? This is a realistic look at the possibilities. 7/13/2012 11:34:23 AM _____ Cat Who Turned On and Off. Audiobook. Lillian Jackson Braun. Qwill is a crime solving newspape writer and Koko is his Siamese cat partner. In this delightful installation Qwill is investigating the antiques neighborhood. Has someone taken the antique dealers' competition too far? Is someone murdering for rare treasures? Find out! 7/11/2012 2:40:15 PM _____ Goddess Test. Teen Romance Book. Aimee Carter. This is a modern take on the Greek mythology of Persephone and Hades. Kate is a teenager who is acquainted with death through the lingering illness of her mother. Can she withstand a number of trials to make a deal with death? 7/7/2012 4:47:37 PM _____ Lockdown. Audiobook. Walter Dean Myers. This author is a master storyteller and the reader, J. D. Jackson does a great job with narrating. Fourteen year old Maurice is in juvenile detention for having stolen prescription pads from a doctor's office. Is he doomed to a life of crime or can he turn himself around? The book is gritty, yet authentic as it debates the current situation of inner city children. 6/29/2012 1:41:25 PM _____ Gone Away Lake and Return to Gone Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. Children's book and audiobook. What if you found an abandoned neighborhood complete with spooky old houses, furniture, and more? It is a This Old House and Antiques Roadshow dream as well as that of some New York children. Newbery Honor Book. 6/27/2012 9:18:34 AM _____ Everything Must Go. Video. Will Ferrell. This is a sad, thoughtful, movie about a man who loses his job, his wife, and his home. Is it all bad, though? Now he has time to talk to the people in the neighborhood and assess what is important. 6/27/2012 9:10:23 AM _____ War Horse. Video. This movie follows the life of a British horse during World War I. He is captured by the Germans, then falls into French hands, back to German control, etc. It reminds me of Black Beauty. 6/26/2012 12:22:20 PM _____ Yo Gabba Gabba the Dancey Dance Bunch. children's video. Psychedelic, man. Far out! If you have watched all of the Doodlebops, watch this next. 6/26/2012 12:21:08 PM _____ Mighty Wind. Video + Soundtrack on CD. We watched this fake documentary about 1960's folk singers and enjoyed the music very much, then we checked out the soundtrack to listen to in the car. In particular, the novelty song "Old Joe's Place" and the title song are toe tapping fun! 6/25/2012 12:48:45 PM _____ Mockingjay. Book #3 in the Hunger Games. Katniss has become the symbol of the revolution, but who can she trust? Is she still just a player in someone's game? 6/21/2012 11:49:26 AM _____ Movie. Talking Picture. in Portuguese with subtitles. This is a tour of the history of Western civilization up to 2001 as seen through the eyes of a Portuguese professor and her young daughter as they take a cruise around the Mediterranean. 6/18/2012 12:46:53 PM _____ Movie. Descendants with George Clooney. A family is changed forever when the mother is in an accident and in a coma from which she will not recover. The Dad has to stop
being the "backup parent" and become THE parent. It is a thoughtful film with a great Hawaiian soundtrack. 6/18/2012 10:12:33 AM _____ Book. White Truffles in Winter. This work of historical fiction is based on the life of Auguste Escoffier, a master chef whose work influenced French and English cooking forevermore. Some of his dishes are disgusting and others sound wonderful. Many other historical figures also appear including Prince Bertie, Kaiser Wilhelm, and Sarah Bernhardt. 6/14/2012 2:44:42 PM _____ "Catching Fire" book 2 in the Hunger Games series. Without meaning to, Katniss has become a symbol of rebellion against the Capitol. What will transpire in District 12 and the rest of the country? 6/14/2012 2:35:41 PM _____ Video "The Way" staring Martin Sheen and written by his son, Emilio Estevez. A father decides to walk El Camino de Santiago, a pilgrim's path in France and Spain in memory of his son who died on this historic trail. The walk is a spiritual journey as well as a physical one. Sheen, a Dayton native, gives a great performance. 6/14/2012 2:34:26 PM _____ Audiobook "13 Gifts" by Wendy Mass. Twelve year old Tara is banished to her mother's home town for the summer while her parents are on a research trip to Madagascar. Odd things are happening in this town. Is this like Eerie, Indiana, or is it all in Tara's head? Somehow she is trapped into leading a scavenger hunt. Can she get the items before the summer is out? Sometimes silly, sometimes serious, Tara deals with the quirky characters the best she can. 6/14/2012 2:31:43 PM

12 July 2012

07 July 2012

Absurd Ruling

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/copyright/article/52874-in-supreme-court-filing-libraries-say-decision-in-wiley-suit-threatens-lending-rights.html#comments It is libraries’ inability to acquire and lend e-books that has grabbed the headlines, but according to an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court on July 3, libraries’ ability to lend print books is also under threat. The brief, filed in connection with the case Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons challenges a 2011 Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding that the doctrine of first sale, the provision in the Copyright Act that allows any purchaser of a legal copy of a book or other copyrighted work to sell or lend that copy, applies only to copies manufactured in the United States. If left to stand, the library community says the ruling could strip libraries of their first-sale right to lend copies of works made abroad. In its brief, the Library Copyright Alliance, a coalition of three major library groups (ALA, ARL, and the ACRL) asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Second Circuit, and apply first-sale doctrine to all copies “manufactured with the lawful authorization of the holder of a work’s US copyright.” In a recent interview with PW, lawyer Jonthan Band, who authored the LCA brief, said a ruling upholding the Second Circuit’s interpretation of First Sale would be “a blow to the heart of the library enterprise,” because it would mean libraries conceivably could not lend books that were printed abroad. “Not only books from foreign publishers,” Band explained, “but American-published books that are merely printed overseas.” The LCA brief notes that a significant portion of U.S. library collections consist of resources that were manufactured overseas, and more than 200 million books in U.S. libraries have foreign publishers. The Supreme Court case stems from a ruling in John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Supap Kirtsaeng, in which Kirtsaeng, a Thai-born U.S. student was successfully sued by Wiley for importing and reselling foreign editions of Wiley textbooks made for exclusive sale abroad, in the U.S. market. In its verdict, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit affirmed by a 2-1 margin that Kirtsaeng “could not avail himself of the first sale doctrine,” because language in the statute says that products must be “lawfully made.” The court ruled that those two words—“lawfully made”—limits First Sale "specifically and exclusively to works that are made in territories in which the Copyright Act is law, and not to foreign-manufactured works." That verdict was the second recent decision effectively limiting the First Sale doctrine. In December, 2010, the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 (with Justice Elena Kagan abstaining) in the case of Costco Wholesale Corporation v. Omega, S.A., the net effect of which was to affirm a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that enjoined big-box store Costco from selling copyrighted, foreign-made Omega watches, authorized for sale only in foreign territories, in the U.S. market. Because the Supreme Court deadlocked, however, the Ninth Circuit ruling is non-binding on other circuits. However, "the Second Circuit’s decision is actually worse than the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Costco," explained Band in a blog post because the Ninth Circuit ruled that First Sale still applied to a foreign manufactured copy if it was imported “with the authority of the U.S. copyright owner.” In other words, if a library bought a book in the U.S. from a U.S. publisher, and that book happened to be printed in China, a library under the Ninth Circuit interpretation would have the right under First Sale to lend that book. “Unfortunately, the Second Circuit rejected this exception as not having a foundation in the First Sale Doctrine language,” Band notes. In the LCA brief, the library groups acknowledge that libraries could likely still assert the right to lend foreign-manufactured books based on other, more limited exceptions in the Copyright Act, such as "fair use or implied license," but it is "far from certain" that libraries could "always assert those defenses successfully." More likely, the uncertainty the Second Circuit interpretation would create for libraries could deter many libraries from lending materials in question. "While most copyright owners probably would not sue a library for lending a lawfully acquired copy of a foreign printed book," Band acknowledged, "libraries will not engage in conduct that is technically unlawful just because there is a low probability of litigation." ========= The Declaration of Independence: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”. I do not consent to this absurd judgment. How would a publisher like Scholastic survive without having libraries buy its books? These judges need to be removed from office! Shawna

02 July 2012

Patrick Henry

The Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed. Patrick Henry

28 April 2012

Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey adult fantasy/romance This is #5 in the 500 Kingdoms Series 1.The Fairy Godmother (2004) 2.One Good Knight (2006) 3.Fortune's Fool (2007) 4.The Snow Queen (2008) 5.The Sleeping Beauty (2010) 6.Beauty and the Werewolf (June[17] 2011)
The tale starts off with a princess whose mother has died. Then it moves into Sleeping Beauty and Snow White mode. The princess flees to the woods and finds 7 dwarves. Later, she falls asleep due to poison and has to be resurrected by magic. A number of homeless, penniless princes woo her, hoping to be next in line to the throne of her wealthy kingdom. Throw in some Norse mythology, a few heroic challenges, and there is big fun! I recommend this series to women and their teenage daughters looking for a lighthearted read. The romance is mild and gentle. Generally there are longing looks and that is about it - not even kissing until the end. Some men and teen boys may find the adventure and fantasy appealing as well. The publisher is Luna Books, a division of Harlequin.

12 April 2012

What's Wrong with My Hair?

What's Wrong with My Hair?
Satoshi Kitamura
children's fiction ages 2-7
board book

This book is silly, silly fun! A lion is getting ready for a party, but is having trouble managing his mane. With the help of a hairdressing giraffe he will be the life of the party. They try out all kinds of creative and elaborate styles, but which one will be the winner? Find out for yourself by reading this outrageous board book.

Extra bonus feature - you can try on the lion's hairstyles yourself by holding the book up to your face. I had fun with three children doing this. On the back cover is a suggestion for an art project.

I recommend this for storytimes, bedtimes, and as a gift for your favorite cosmetologist. It would be a good book to have in a hair salon waiting room.

Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum

Road to Oz: Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Triumphs in the Life of L. Frank Baum
Kathleen Krull and Kevin Hawkes
biography for children grades 2 - 5

L. Frank Baum was a dreamer and failed at quite a number of ventures before becoming one of the bestselling authors in American history with his series of Oz books.

I suppose this is an okay book for students writing reports, but I found nothing distinguishing about the writing. The illustrator, on the other hand, Kevin Hawkes did a great job with his illustrations. Some are single color (green ink) and others are full color. He must have studied the works of W. W. Denslow, the first Oz artist, but he does not reproduce Denslow's style exactly. I will read more Kevin Hawkes' children's books based on his treatment of this one.

I appreciate the list of Baum Oz Books in the back and the works cited.

If the reader is into Oz at all, I recommend watching "The Dreamer of Oz", a made for television movie with John Ritter as Baum.

I wonder why the author and publisher decided to name this book "The Road to Oz". There is a different book written by L. Frank Baum named "The Road to Oz" so these will forever be confusing to patrons looking in library catalogs by title.

22 March 2012

Kishka for Koppel

Kishka for Koppel
Aubrey Davis and Sheldon Cohen
children's fiction
fairy tale, fantasy, ages 2-7

In a Yiddith variation of the "Three Wishes" tale, Koppel and his wife, Yetta, are poor people who get by with collecting junk and fixing it up or reselling it. One day Koppel finds a wish-granting meat grinder. What will Koppel and Yetta wish for? The first thing the hungry couple wish for is some kishka. For those of you who did NOT grow up near Cleveland listening to "Who Stole the Keeshka? This is the song I have been humming ever since seeing the title of this book:


Keeshka or kishka is Polish sausage. Jews would not use pork, however, to make this, but beef, lamb, or some other meat.
Anyway, if you think that asking for kishka is funny, just wait and see what happens next! This is a silly tale, but warm-hearted.
I would recommend this for libraries serving a population heavy in Eastern European or Jewish immigrants.

03 January 2012

Congratulations, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline!


- #1 on Amazon’s list of the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2011

-#1 on Wired’s Best of 2011 list

-#1 on Barnes & Noble’s list of the Best Science Fiction Novels of 2011

-#1 on Hudson Booksellers list of the Best Fiction of 2011

-#2 Science Fiction Novel of the Year on Goodreads

-#6 on io9’s list of the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2011

-#9 on Entertainment Weekly’s Best Novels of 2011

-#10 on Apple’s Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Books of the Year

-Library Journal selected RPO as one of their Librarian’s Best Books of 2011

-The Onion A.V. Club selected RPO as one of “The Best Books We Read in 2011”

-Ready Player One is Audible’s Highest Rated Audio Book of the Year

-Author Ernest Cline ranked #29 on USA Today’s Top 100 People of 2011 List