Pages

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

eResource Review: World Book Timelines

World Book Timelines is a fun little e-resource that my library offers freely. It is accessible both in the branch or at home. With World Book Timelines, you can look at all the different events that have occurred throughout written history. One function of the program is the ability to create your own timeline. You can either add significant dates in history, significant dates in your own life, or both. I decided to create a timeline that includes the day I was born, the day I graduated from high school, college, and grad school, as well as the day I got married. Throughout this lifespan I have added significant events like the Challenger explosion, the San Francisco earthquake, 9/11, the two wars against Iraq, the elections of Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump, and other major events.

The timelines are a great way to see what was going on simultaneously in different parts of the world, and just to get a grasp on World History. I highly recommend this addition to any library's e-resources.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I can't even begin to describe how much I adored this book. Blake Crouch's Dark Matter is a nail-biting, science fiction, thriller unlike any other I have ever read. I cannot go into much detail because the fun of the book is trying to figure out what is going on and how it could all be happening. Jason Dessen, a family man with a wife and son, an undergraduate physics professor is kidnapped and wakes up in a world in which he has no wife, no son, but does have a prestigious physics award and a group of people who hail him as a hero. Which world is real? Does it matter? And how can Jason get back to the world he knows?

The suspense is off the charts and I found myself thinking that the audio book was just too slow, so I bought the book. I never buy books anymore, but I bought the Kindle edition of this one because I know that I'll be wanting to read it again sometime in the near future. Highly recommend for fans of science fiction, thrillers, suspense, and mysteries.

This book fulfills the #2017PopSugarReadingChallenge: Advanced Category #2: A bestseller from 2016
It also fulfills the #2017FullHouseReadingChallenge: Two Worded Title
It fulfills the #2017AudioBookChallenge

Monday, January 23, 2017

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

This was entirely one of the sweetest, nicest books I have ever read. The story concerns Juliet, a woman in her early 30's who lived in London during WWII and wrote a newspaper column about a fictional woman living in London during the Blitz. The columns are turned into a book and she goes on a trip around the country in promotion of her book. However, Juliet is just a little tired and ragged after a long war, so when she receives a letter from a man on the island of Guernsey on the subject of one of their shared favorite authors, a whole new adventure for Juliet begins. The stories of the people living on Guernsey fascinate Juliet. Guernsey is an island in the English Channel that really was occupied by German forces for five years during WWII. In the book, one way the islanders dealt with the challenges of being occupied was to form the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. So, though the circumstances of German occupation really did happen, the characters in this book and the Society they formed are fictional. To tell you how such a society formed and how it got its name would be spoilers. You will have to read for yourself!

The entire book is comprised of letters between Juliet, her publisher, her friend in Scotland, and her new friends on Guernsey. I highly recommend the book if you want a fun read. To say its completely light would be wrong, because of the ravages of war are described within, but it is a heartwarming story and it has a happy ending.

This book fulfills multiple challenges I am participating in including:
One of the categories in the ReadHarder challenge: Category #14: Read a book about war
One of the categories in the PopSugar Reading challenge: Category #3: Read a book of letters
One of the categories in the FullHouse Reading Challenge: Category: Food on Cover or Title
The #2017AudioBookChallenge - No Category

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? 1/23/17

It's that time again already! I've just started on Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. It's a book I actually began back in October, when it was super hot, on the bestsellers list, and extremely hard to get a hold of at the library. However, a brand new book by Marissa Meyer had just come out and ended up on the hold shelf just a few days after I got my hands on Dark Matter. I barely got 15% of the way through the first book, but I knew I was more interested in Heartless, so I gave back Dark Matter so I could concentrate on Heartless. I was sad to let it go.

But now I have it back! I plan on starting from the first page again, so I don't forget anything I had read a few months ago. Everyone has been raving about this book. It was on top of the #libreads2016 list that we librarians all did in December. So, I am really looking forward in delving back into this thriller. What are you all reading?

Don't forget to visit the queen of "It's Monday, What Are You Reading?" at The Book Date.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

eResource Review: Access Newspaper Archive

Time for another look into one of the scores of databases my library district has to offer to its members. Today I spent some time with Access Newspaper Archive. Like its expensive brother, Newspapers.com, Access Newspaper Archive allows you to perform searches in hundreds of newspapers around the world, dating back to the 19th century. The searches can be filtered to only bring back results from certain states, countries, cities, and time periods. An image of the newspaper page shows up on your screen to peruse, but it can easily be printed or downloaded as a PDF file if you so choose.

There are several drawbacks, however, to Access Newspaper Archive. First, the word, phrase, or name that you search for is not automatically highlighted within the image of the newspaper page. This means that you will have to read the tiny print on the digitized newspaper page until you find what you were looking for, which can be a difficult task to perform, as newspapers were not as reader-friendly as they are nowadays.

Second, when searching for some of my ancestors in St. Louis newspapers, I found that the newspapers were limited. For instance, St. Louis Post-Dispatch is only searchable in 1945. That’s only one year out of its nearly 140 year history. The same applies for the now defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat. However, there are some archaic newspapers one won’t find in most other online newspaper archives including 90 years of the St. Louis Christian Evangelist, nearly 130 years of the St. Louis Sporting News, 14 years of the Railroad Telegrapher, the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair newspaper, and the St. Louis Free Press. In Missouri, the Access Newspaper Archive also carries newspapers from Jefferson City, Moberly, St. Charles, Neosho, Joplin, Kansas City, Independence, Maryville, Sikeston, Sedalia, Benton, and Mexico.

Of course, the big difference between Access Newspaper Archive and Newspapers.com is that the former is free for library members and the latter requires a paid subscription. Considering Access Newspaper Archives is free, it is worth checking out, if you are looking for primary source articles on news stories of the past, or if you are looking for primary genealogical sources like obituaries, marriage announcements, and birth announcements. However, it may still be worth paying the extra money for a subscription for Newspapers.com.

Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Monday - What Are You Reading?

As I am new in the world of book blogging, I just discovered that Mondays are for book bloggers to post what they are currently reading. I learned about this from a great book blog called The Book Date. I have been lately posting reviews of books I just finished, but haven't talked much about what I am currently reading.

As of right now, I am listening to two different books, which is pretty normal for me. Since it is around a half hour drive to my job, and another half hour back, I listen to audio books all the time. I pretty much hate all of the radio stations in St. Louis. I have found that I have gotten too old for pop music, and I'm really tired of the oldies. So, right now I am listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. It's a fun, epistolary novel, but I only just started it on Saturday night, so I'm not far into it yet.

The second book is also an audiobook that I am listening to via the Hoopla app on my phone while I cross stitch or journal. I am listening to A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, one of those books I've been meaning to get around to, and finally have. Like the first book, I'm not far into it, only having just started it on Friday.


So, what are you reading or listening to this week? Let me know in the comments below!




Sunday, January 15, 2017

Book Review: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Kindred is one of those books I've been meaning to read the last couple of years and only finally got around to it. The story involves Dana, a 26 year old, newly married black woman in 1976 Los Angeles who inexplicably, and without warning, travels to a 1815 Maryland plantation owned by slaveholder, Tom Weylin. In her first trip, Dana saves Tom's son, Rufus, and quickly returns to her own time. After a second trip where Dana saves Rufus' life again, she realizes a few things. First, Rufus is her ancestor. Second, Dana seems to travel to the past whenever Rufus' life is in danger. Third, Dana can only get back to the present when her own life seems to be in danger. Fourth, no matter how much time has passed in the past, only a few minutes or hours pass in the present. Fifth, being a black woman in the antebellum South is a very dangerous.

Although it ultimately took me 4 days to finish this book, it really was very hard for me to put it down. I was completely enthralled with Octavia Butler's writing. She made the whole story come alive and I found Dana to be a complete heroine, someone I could identify with despite the fact that I am not black, and have never experienced the kind of bigotry she does. I think it was more Dana's spirit and direct approach that I enjoyed. I highly recommend. Best book so far in 2017.

P.S. This book also fulfilled the following challenge categories:

The #2017FullHouseReadingChallenge - Category: Diversity Book
The #2017AudioBookChallenge - No Category
The #2017PopSugarReadingChallenge - Category 32: Main Character has different ethnicity than me
The #2017ReadHarderChallenge - Category 17: A classic by an author of color

The #2017MonthlyMotifChallenge - January: Diversify Your Reading

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Book Review: Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager by H.G. Bissinger

I don't believe I have ever read a book about sports before, and I probably will not have ever read this book except it is the first category in this year's ReadHarder Challenge. The book follows the St. Louis Cardinals as they play a three game series against the Chicago Cubs in late August 2003. The main focus is on Tony LaRussa, the former Cardinals manager, but still gives a lot of insight into the players and coaches as well. I have to admit that I found myself far less interested in the drama of the games' play-by-plays and more interested in the different asides the author took. Examples of these asides include parts on the etiquette of hitting hitters with wild pitches, the evolution of stealing bases, the steroid scandal, and dealing with injured players. I also enjoyed reading about which players are whiny, which are narcissistic, which are hard working, and which are teachable. There was also a section on Darryl Kile and how he acted in his last few days before his tragic death just before a scheduled 2002 game against the Cubs.

Parts of the book lost me a bit, however, especially when we get the play-by-play of the thee games. Thankfully, the author skips certain innings that were quick 1-2-3 outs. Although I learned a lot about a game that I love, the sports non-fiction genre is not one I would have normally read. It helped that I love the Cardinals so much!

P.S. This book also fulfilled the following challenge categories:

The #2017FullHouseReadingChallenge - Category: Non-Fiction
The #2017AudioBookChallenge - No Category
The #2017PopSugarReadingChallenge - Category 15: A book with a sub-title
The #2017ReadHarderChallenge - Category 1: A book about sports

#SaturdayLibrarian in the Middle of Icepocalypse 2017

Well, according to everyone, we were supposed to have this horrible ice storm all weekend. Although we definitely did get some ice (my bleary self can attest to having to scrape off ice from my car that was about a half an inch think), the drive into work today was a piece of cake. Looking at the radar, it seems that all we should get from here on out is rain. Lots of rain. We were supposed to get this horrible, awful, no good winter this year, but it's been pretty tame so far. Then again, we are only half way through January and February can be murder here in Missouri.

And so, despite my fervent prayers that my library district and everything else would be closed today, so I wouldn't have to #SaturdayLibrarian, my hopes did not come to fruition. Instead, it is a very slow Saturday in the library thus far. That's not such a bad thing. There's a lot of stuff I need to get done. I have program wrap-up I need to do from Wednesday's meeting of my #ReadHarder challenge group, there's planning I need to do for a couple of upcoming programs, I need to write up a summary of things I learned from Wednesday's LibAnswers implementation committee meeting and send that out to my co-workers, I need to plan an upcoming book display, et cetera et cetera et cetera. It will feel good to get all of this done, but all I really want to do is snuggle with my hubby and marathon Harry Potter movies.



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

eResource Review: Driving-Tests.org

This year, I will be spending time with all of the eResources my library has to offer. After a year working in a job, I found that I am still unfamiliar with all of these free resources, and I believe that is a gap of knowledge that needs to be fixed if I am to do my job as well as I should. I decided for this first time, I would simply scroll through my eLibrary page with my eyes closed and simply pick the first resource.

I landed on Driving-Tests.org. Driving-Tests.org is a website that is freely accessible through the library’s website. Within Driving-Tests.org is a plethora of Missouri car, motorcycle, and CDL permit/license practice tests. The tests are over the rules of the road, road signs, fines, and limits. There are also the full versions of the Missouri Driver’s Handbook, Motorcycle Handbook, and CDL Handbook. A FAQ spells out for you how teenagers and adults can apply for learner’s permits and licenses, and everything is available in Spanish as well as English. Driving-tests.org specifies on its website that it is not part of any state agency, but is run by a private organization. The website is available both in and outside of the library and does not require special login to access the materials or information. In fact, anyone can access the site by clicking here and selecting their state.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Book Review: A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog's Journey is the sequel to A Dog's Purpose, soon to be released as a movie in the cinemas at the end of the month. Whereas in A Dog's Purpose, the dog who is known alternatively as Toby, Bailey, Ellie, and Buddy learns that his purpose is to love and protect his boy, Ethan, in the sequel, our canine hero learns that his/her purpose is to love Ethan's granddaughter, C.J., and ultimately to love and take care of all humans. Buddy is still alive at the beginning of the book, but ultimately passes and is reborn as Molly, then Max, and finally Toby again. The ending is sweet and perfect. I really enjoyed both books, and although it is wrapped up perfectly, I sure wish there was another book. Very well done, and I can't wait for the movie, so I can take my dog-loving husband to go see it.

 P.S. I am totally a cat person, and have my own four-legged friend who takes care of me, Mia, but that didn't keep me from loving both of Mr. Cameron's books.

P.P.S. This book fulfills a few of the challenges I started in 2017 and it is the first book I started in the New Year. The challenges include:

The #2017FullHouseReadingChallenge - Category: Page Turner
The #2017AudioBookChallenge - No Category
The #2017PopSugarReadingChallenge - Category 21: A book from a nonhuman perspective

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book Review: Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

I just finished this book for my next book club meeting, and honestly, it was really ho-hum to me. Perhaps I'm not such a lover of French sensibilities and would have preferred the setting of England and a bit more of an uptight Englishman as the main character. Perhaps I just didn't have much empathy for a guy who had an affair with a married woman who left him over twenty years before. Perhaps I could barely relate to the books and authors mentioned in Ms. George's book. Many of the titles and books mentioned were fake, not even real, and that annoyed me. I think I'm being generous giving this book three stars. I should probably give it less, but I can't say it was the worst book I've ever read, just one that I never care to pick up again.

Just a side note: Little Paris Bookshop is an English translation of the original German novel that was entitled Das Lavendelzimmer. I encourage you to look up what that title means in English. If you read the book, the meaning of the German title will make more sense. I very much wish that the English translation had retained the title. It makes more sense to me in the long run.