Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Words, Words, Words

1. One Book You've read more than once
Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince - read it as a teenager in middle school. It's a little mature I think, but I still find it in library YA sections all the time. Melanie Rawn studied history, and you can tell. The wars and the political intrigue even the plague and famin that ensue are so well developed. There is a great dose of fantasy, magic, and super strong minded women in it too.

2. One Book You would want on a desert island

An Encyclopedia. As much as I love fiction, even really long or dense fiction isn't going to keep me entertained forever. And there are some fiction type things in encyclopedias like dragons or fairies. Not only that it might have some useful rescue information in it.

3. One Book That made you laugh
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison- my SiL lent me this book when I was on my way to Scotland which is very appropriate because the narrator is a British girl. I got stranded at the airport and couldn't sleep on the uncomfortable seats so managed to read it and the two that follow in the series all while waiting for my plane. It was good thing that I read most of it in the middle of the night, because when it got closer to morning and there were actual people around I kept getting weird stares and looks because I was laughing so hard and so loudly.

4. One Book that made you cry

Oh gosh, what book hasn't made me cry would be an easier answer. All of Melanie Rawn's books have made me cry, Wasted (see #5) made me cry, I even think that Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events made me cry at somepoint (those poor orphans). I think that if a book is well written and gets me invested in the characters to the point where I care about what happens to them, when it's something bad, something incredibly good, I am going to cry.

5. One Book you wish you had written

Marya Hornbacher's Wasted. I don't ever wish to go through what this author went through in order to have the material for this story. She started out bulemic at the age of 9 and in high school became anorexic. The account of what happened to her body, mind and soul is fairly horrific and yet so amazingly compelling and articulate. Marya wrote the book when she was only 22. To have had the talent and the streangth to publish things so personal and ugly is really formidable.

6. One Book you wish had never been written

None. I'm a librarian. I don't condone censorship. Read a Banned Book! Even the books I don't like or don't agree with have a right to be published. I will not silence anyone's voice just because I don't like what they say.

7. One Book you are currently reading

Philip Pullman's The Amber Spy Glass - I've been working on this one for awhile. It's a pretty big book and work has kept me pretty busy. This is also a sci-fi/fantasy book and specifically young adult. The heroine is only 10ish and her companion is 12.

8. One Book you've been meaning to read

Oh, where do I start? I have a list. I've never actually finished Frankenstein and I would really like to. I think the concept is fantastic. I love that it was written by a woman, and when you study her life, what was going on with her at the time that she wrote it, the story becomes even more poignant. It is also one of the first science fiction books to be written.

9. One Book that Changed Your Life

In some small way they all have. I wish I knew which book I read first as a child, or was read to me. I bet that would be it. I think if I had to go far far back in my memory I'd choose the Frog and Toad books. My mother has the first few in hard cover and she loved them so much that we had to be very careful when reading them. I think it was my first taste of the idea that you can read a book and love the story so much that you want to take care of and perserve the physical object too. My mother also loved Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup with Rice which I also had to treat with exceptional care. We read it so much that we could recite it together and I every once in awhile I'll say from no where "going once, going twice, going chicken soup with rice." Speaking of Maurice Sendak: we loved Where the Wild Things Are in my house too. I think that book of so many others really fostered my imagination. I saw myself in Max, I still do, I have a wander lust, I always want to get away to bigger and better, more exciting things, but home with family is always a nice place to come back to once in awhile.

Basically...books themselves, and reading have changed my life.

Celebrate Bannned Book Week Sept 25-Oct 1.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Two British Mothers Against Healthy Eating

Apparently two mothers were caught delivering fast food to students after their children's' school began feeding healthier lunches to the students and closing campus at lunch time.

The two women have since stopped pending a meeting with the Head Teacher (principal for all the Yanks).

My favorite

The mothers said that the real culprit was Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef who led a high-profile campaign to force the Government to act on school meals.

Mrs Walker said last week: "I don't like him or what he stands for - he is forcing our kids to be more picky about their food."

Wow! Lets hate a guy who wants children to make healthy choices instead of just accepting the heart-attack-on-a-plate food that is rampant through out Western culture.

I am shocked and dismayed at parents who claim to not be opposed to kids eating healthy meals, but delivering junk food to students, not just their own kids. And the thing is that despite this happening in the UK, I can imagine what would happen in the USA if a school tried to ban unhealthy food and promote only healthy eating at lunch and snack times. Parents would be furious and put up a hell of a lot more fight than these women did. I am rather appalled at parents who blatantly undermine school authority. These tend to be the same parents who wonder why their children are obnoxious and unruly.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Reading List

Finished: The Curious Incident of Dog in the Night Time (**)
The Golden Compass (****)
The Subtle Knife (***)

Reading: The Amber Spyglass (*** - so far)

On the list: The Poisonwood Bible
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Devil Wears Prada

* - Pretty bad, almost wish I hadn't read it.
** - At least a little interesting, not sorry I read it
*** - Good, but has room for improvement
**** - Excellent, recommended
***** - Superperb a must read

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

5 years and 1 day

Yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center.
Yesterday I took my moment of silence for all those who were killed, those families which will forever be affected, and those heroes who put themselves in harms way to help others. But today I am not going to remain silent.

The morning radio show that I listen to was taking calls all morning and discussing "Where were you?" with everyone. From what I've read about people's recollection of traumatic events (specifically the case of the J.F.K assassination) nobody remembers correctly what they were doing. My mother swears that she was in a car w/ a broken radio, but that it worked just long enough to hear that JFK had died and then it never worked again. It makes a fantastic story, but I highly doubt that it's accurate. So, as far as commemorating the day, "where were you" stories don't hold a lot of weight with me.

Before I got out of the car one of the DJs asked a caller if she felt safer now after the events of 9-11 and she said yes. Some one else commented on the "galvanizing of the American spirit" and how everyone felt so patriotic after the attacks. After stewing about it for a full day and a half I have to make some comments.

First of all I think that to consider the emotions that were running through the country after 9-11 a "galvanizing of the American spirit" is to put rose colored glasses over them. The events of 9-11 may have brought us together in grief, but it also brought most American's together in the spirit of Warmongering. The moment a finger was pointed, which was pretty early on, many Americans were calling for us to attack back. The news was filled with reactions from average citizens wondering why our leaders hadn't launched a retaliation right away. We were incenced that something of this magnitude could happen to us, to America. How dare they? was going through everyone's mind. From what I've seen 5 years later, the reverberation of 9-11 is still war. It is still the thought that more fighting and more killing will some how prove that the destruction of our symbol of materials and the death of 300,000+ Americans was wrong. Is it just me, or does it seem counter productive to try to show that spilling blood is immoral by spilling even more blood. They may have hit us first, but we'll hit them hardest seems to be a prevailing theme today.

As for feeling "safer" I wonder what sandbox that listener has her head buried in. One topic that nobody in power seems to want to address since 9-11 is Why? Why did a terrorist group feel the need to hurt us to begin with? What makes them hate us so much? I am not advocating a major over haul of our culture to appease fanatatic fundamental factions, but until we take a long hard look at ourselves and notice that it's not just fundamental countries that despise us any more, but pretty much most foreign citizenry, we are not going to get safer, we are going to get progressively un-safe.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Something Fun for Literacy

Friday is International Literacy Day a day developed by the UN back in the 60s to raise consiousness about illiteracy around the world.

Rather than tackle all of the issues surrounding world wide illiteracy...here is a fun exercise for anyone stumbling onto my blog.

1. Pick up the nearest book. (Don't go looking for a pseudo-intellectual one!)
2. Turn to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post the next 3 sentences.
5. Call on others (or tag specific bloggers) to do the same.

So here goes:

"Thank you," she said to her...her what? Her steed? Her cycle? Both ideas were absurdly wrong for the bright-eyed amiability that stood beside her. She settled for--friend.

--From, The Amber Spyglass (book 3 in the Dark Materials trilogy) by Philip Pullman